Granted, that is not all that he said. Quite the contrary, he gave a (surprisingly!) gentle rebuke mixed with a lot of praise and encouragement. The best part was MacArthur’s contrasting the Young, Restless and Reformed with the emergent church. MacArthur promises more to come. I hope that he talks more about – and takes a harder stand on – the fact that a great deal of the “young, restless and Reformed” posture is simply liberal counterculture imported to an evangelical Christian context. It is just the same “stick it to the man” and “down with the establishment” and “fight the power!” and “don’t trust anyone over 30!” and “the older generation is out of touch and their institutions are ineffective” stuff from the 1960s and ever since that we have encountered in government, education, media, entertainment and liberal apostate Christianity. This means that it is conforming to the ways of this world rather than renewing our minds and being transformed from it.
The difference is that where subversion and counterculture will have a lasting (negative, sinful) impact on the larger culture – even when the rebels become “the establishment” themselves – because it is merely evil taking its place in a fallen world ruled by Satan and sin, in a church context things erected on false doctrines, practices and attitudes are built on sand and will ultimately fall. MacArthur was very restrained in his comments – which are very much worth their reading below – but the way for the Young, Restless and Reformed to endure the race until the end (or at the very least to become spiritually mature while in the race) is to drop the “Young” and “Restless” parts as soon as possible.
As a matter of fact, allow me to say this: where with the “Reformed” part you can keep it or leave it, the “Young” and “Restless” parts are non-negotiable: both absolutely, unconditionally have to go. Though I am a 5 Point Calvinist to the core, I would choose fellowship with a stable, mature non-Calvinist over a young, restless and Reformed without a hint of a second thought. I am citing this Bible text very much out of context, but being “young and restless” embraces being “unstable as water” in Genesis 49:4. And what does Genesis 49:4 say regarding those who are unstable as water, young restless and reformed? “Thou shalt not excel …”
Again, John MacArthur was much more positive in his comments than I am being. And considering that MacArthur most certainly is not one to mince words or pull punches, that is most significant! Please read and enjoy: