John MacArthurs video on ‘Why Churches Languish under Cowardly Pastors,’ and some of my own observations

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MacArthur is spot-on, and he certainly has been proven to consistently demonstrate courage throughout the many decades. Understandably this video is only an excerpt. So what MacArthur did not mention (or this video did not permit the time for), is that courage must go way beyond the pulpit. It is the congregants that are called to “confront the world…”

And the “courage” that MacArthur speaks of, is not a special gift that is given only to Pastors, or to only some Christians. Every born-again Christian will have courage. And they will share (or preach) the glorious Gospel outside the four walls of their local church buildings. Thankfully a good percentage of MacArthur’s congregants do that. But the majority of other local churches do not. They do not have, nor demonstrate the Ephesians 4 ‘office of evangelism.’ I’m not talking about ‘an office’ with a hinged door, and a sign that says ‘office of evangelism.’ I’m talking about ‘the office’ of evangelism. If a church does not behold and/or practice ‘the office’ of evangelism, it is neither healthy, nor Biblical. I know many Heralds that are faithfully preaching the Gospel in the streets, but that are not being sent-out by their local church. Yes, they desire to be accountable to, and ‘sent-out’ by their local church, but their local churches do not believe in orthodox evangelism; so they (the church) do not send them. Hence, the local church merely tolerates them. Oh what a shame that is!

Back to this “courage” that MacArthur speaks of. The Bible warned in Revelation 21:8 that the uncourageous (the cowardly) will be cast into the lake of fire. 

“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

Notice how “the cowardly” leads the pack amongst these hell-bound lifestyles?  These cowardly are the fearful and faithless. This ‘fearful’ is the Greek word deilos (δειλός) which is a strong adjective used only three times in the Scriptures. They are the ones whose conduct, character, and reputation are consistently known as being spiritually timid, faithless and/or fearful. They lack the moral fortitude necessary to Biblically follow Christ. They are not willing to die for the cause of Christ. They are not willing to “confront the world.” A Christian is not continually overcome with fear, but they are continual overcomers of their sins, and formal life-styles. This courage is not a ‘works salvation,’ nor is it the cause of salvation, but it is because of salvation.

Over the decades I have noticed that most Bible commentaries are silent on Revelation 21:8, specifically δειλός, but some do have the courage to speak on this.

“The sins of those who perish, among which are first mentioned their cowardliness and unbelief. The fearful lead the van in this black list. They durst not encounter the difficulties of religion, and their slavish fear proceeded from their unbelief; but those who were so dastardly as not to dare take up the cross of Christ, and discharge their duty to him, were yet so desperate as to run to all manner of abominable wickedness – murder, adultery, sorcery, idolatry and lying.”

– Matthew Henry, pg. 1998

“The fearful, who, through fear of losing their reputation, estates, honours, or lives, deny me, or shall not dare to own me.”

– Matthew Poole, pg. 1004

“Cowardly recreants, white-livered milk-sops, that pull in their horns for every pile of grass that toucheth them, that are afraid of every new step, saying as Caesar at Rubicon, “Yet we may go back;” that follow Christ afar off, as Peter; that tremble after him, as the people did after Saul, 1 Sam. xiii. 7, and the next news is, “They were scattered from him,” Ver. 11. These lead the ring-dance of this rout of reprobates; and are so hated of Christ, that he will not employ them so far as to break a pitcher, or to bear a torch, Judges vii.”

– John Trapp, pg. 782

“Those who were cowards and deserters in the battle against the devil will be condemned to the second death.”

– Andrew of Caesarea, pg. 360

“The Lord watched over all who love him but will destroy all sinners. He mentions the cowardly along with the unbelievers, since those who doubt the rewards for those who conquer will certainly be afraid to undergo trial.”

– Bede, pg. 361

So please brethren, do not think it is the sole responsibility of your pastor to demonstrate courage, it is all of ours. And now for MacArthur’s video.

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