John MacArthur opened up the Shepherd's Conference with a talk called, 'Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is a Pre-Millennialist.' Challies reports him as saying, ""It's too late for Calvin," he said," but it's not too late for the rest of you. If Calvin were here he would join our movement." This is just crazy. I have yet to hear the audio, but it seems that MacArthur has done a nice job shredding straw men (my concern with regard to the emerging church as well). It is a conundrum for many as to how MacArthur can be dead on in so many areas, and yet hold to dispensationalism. To separate Israel and the church is to make a disaster of the Pauline epistles. Of course it is his conference so he has the right to preach on whatever he wants. I can't help but wonder what the other speakers were thinking, since to my knowledge, none of them are dispensational pre-millenialists. In fact, I think the only Reformed dispensationalists I know of is MacArthur, and those that follow him. Anyway, I will leave you with a quote from Michael Spencer:
The decision to make this the keynote of one of the largest reformed pastors conferences in the world says volumes about where the head and heart of Macarthur are at this point in his ministry. When I get up at a key moment in my ministry to tell you you aren’t legit unless you have my eschatology, something’s out of balance.-The equation of amill with a tendency to take up theistic evolution really stands out to me as a revealing comment. A lot is said in that connection.-The particular view that the reformers knew less than characters like Darby, Scofield and the inventor of the rapture, Margaret Macdonald, is a testimony to the hubris of this stream of American evangelicalism. And they have courses on this at seminary. Luther and Calvin wrong. Darby and Scofield right. That folks, is sectarianism at its most brash.