During the 2007 Shepherds Conference at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, John MacArthur delivered a lecture entitled “Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist Should Be a Premillennialist.” It created quite a stir among Reformed pastors and theologians. I remember reading Tom Ascol’s “Founders Ministries Blog” and the dust-up MacArthur’s lecture created in the comments there.
Probably no one has done more for the resurgence of expository preaching in our generation than John MacArthur. In a few personal encounters, I have found Dr. MacArthur to be gracious, modest, thoughtful, and kind, and I have learned much from him and almost always consult his commentaries when I’m working with a New Testament passage. I still have a first edition copy of The Gospel According to Jesus, published in 1988 and bought and read in 1988. MacArthur clearly stated and defended the biblical gospel against the “easy believism” of twentieth-century evangelicals (and of too many Southern Baptists, my own denomination, even today).
And yet, as a former dispensational premillennialist, I have for years regarded Dr. MacArthur’s eschatological views regrettable and find his lecture on Calvinism and premillennialism disappointing. There have been several very good responses to the assertions in MacArthur’s lecture, and one of the best I have read is by Kim Riddlebarger, senior pastor of Christ Reformed Church in Anaheim, California, and visiting professor of systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California. I encourage you to read it on Riddlebarger’s “Riddleblog: Devoted to Reformed Theology and Eschatology.” Riddlebarger helpfully clears up a lot of mischaracterizations of Amillennialism, in particular the bogus charge of replacement theology.