The Sunday Morning Tune-up ~ Fatal Distraction

The Dilemma of Pragmatism

“Pragmatism has had such a huge Impact in the church that the church is more concerned about what the unbelieving world thinks of it than it is about ministering to the Saints. The church has become an event to attract non-believers. So, if you’re going to do that then you’ve got to buy into the conventional attitudes of those people and not offend them if that’s your goal. That’s what pragmatic goals will do. Then you gotta go with the flow of the culture, you can’t go against that. From my standpoint, the only stock-in-trade we have is the Truth.”  ~ Pastor John McArthur

Fatal Attraction was a powerful movie thriller made in the late 80’s starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close that made EVERY man think twice about cheating on his wife. In Fatal Attraction, the lawyer (Douglas) living the perfect life with the perfect wife (Anne Archer) finds himself fatally attracted to the sexy psychopathic client (Close). In the real-life Fatal Distraction, the pragmatic shepherds guarding their imperfect flock for the perfect Master find themselves fatally distracted by the intentionally imperfect non-believers. In the former, one marriage is threatened (I won’t give away the ending). In the latter, our entire world and every soul in it is threatened. (Only God knows the ending)

What McArthur is essentially describing in his quote above is the very fault line of the divided church…the house that, as Jesus Himself warned us in Matthew 12:25, divided against itself will not stand. The Holy Spirit has been guiding us to correction since Pentecost…

Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

There is something about a wedding. Every culture across the globe loves a wedding. Who doesn’t love a wedding? It breaks my heart to know those even among the chosen…those invited who will not make it through the gate. God puts a question on my heart that keeps me up at night. How that number would be multiplied if those among us with the power to do so would cast off the shadows, deny the dividers, and unite the ecclesia as one powerful YES in response to His last prayer on this earth…please join us for Prayer & Fast Wednesday tomorrow, with an earnestly prayerful intention, that WE may come together as the ONE He prayed for…

I appeal to you brothers to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine you have been taught. Avoid them, for such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. And by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. ~ Romans 16:17,18

“I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one. I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.” ~ John 17:20-23

For Him,


Be careful of anything that is going to deflect your attention from God. ~ Oswald Chambers, Attention to God. The last word in McArthur’s quote is Truth. Period. Not Truth if, or Truth but. Truth is Truth, regardless of consequence or desired outcome. What on earth is pragmatism other than the very definition of deflecting attention from God by making Truth conditional…or even worse, subjective? Isn’t this exactly where the pragmatic shepherds lead their flock to avoid the risk of offending the non-believers? As the Wolf savors the approaching meal. Think about what is being modeled in the world today compared to the standards and principles of yesterday…

He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord. ~ Proverbs 17:15

Thus says the Lord: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” ~ Jeremiah 6:16

When we accept everything, we stand for nothing. ~ Unknown

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot. ~ Mark Twain

How do the pragmatic shepherds reconcile themselves to the model of the second greatest shepherd of them all in King David, who revealed the power of his faith to Saul before he stood up to Goliath, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear.” As Kesterson puts it so well, “It takes action to bring faith into the world.” To which I would only add, there is nothing like the power of faith to overcome the fatal poison of inaction.

Pragmatism becomes passivity becomes paralysis becomes rigor mortis as the well-intentioned shepherds lead themselves astray…along with those in their care. What can be done? I know the Holy Spirit is holding a special mirror up to ALL believers in this hour. It is so much easier to fool ourselves than it is to fool Him. We know from the parable of the ten virgins that not all believers will make it through the gate.

I am praying for all my brothers to make it through the gate. Leave the political tool of pragmatism to the politicians where it actually belongs, on the field of negotiation and compromise. There is no negotiation or compromise on Calvary. There is only our stock-in-trade as Christians; the Truth manifest in Jesus Christ. Isn’t this the very question the Holy Spirit is holding up in front of us now, “Where do you stand?” God knows the answer, but do we?

Is it chance or coincidence that just as I am searching for the ending of Fatal Distraction, my newest Christian brother writes it for me in the very last sentence of his very first book which I finished only moments after I wrote, “God knows the answer, but do we?”

Marcus’s heart was filled to overflowing, for his life, his dreams, his faith, his love, and his family, finally have all experienced the amazing miracle of coming together. ~ Walter Irvin Johnson lll, Coming Together


Chip Murray: Wide Awake

About Chip Murray

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2 Responses to The Sunday Morning Tune-up ~ Fatal Distraction

  1. Nancy Hailey says:

    Chip did you willingly leave fb and messages or were you expelled

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