John MacArthur or Zane Hodges?
If you’ve been in the conversation about the gospel for the past twenty plus years, thenthis dedication will be the strangest thing you’ve ever seen.I���m dedicating this work to both of these men, and largely because they have both greatly influenced my own life. John MacArthur was my first introduction to understanding the Bible as the Word of God, taking it in a normal sense, and studying line-by-line and verse-by-verse. For two years, as a new Christian, I listen to John MacArthur through his tape lending library at a clip of six tapes a week. Roughly that means I listened to at least 275 of his sermons (I’m sure I had some breaks in there somewhere). When I chose to leave Law School and attend Dallas Theological Seminary, I knew only that I wanted to learn the Word; and, I wanted to learn it like MacArthur knew it. Even to this day, no matter how mistaken I may think he is, I still enjoy listening to him! When I left for seminary I wrote him a thank you letter for his huge influence on my life—but as he gets thousands of them, I never heard back. So, publically, thank you John MacArthur for your significant ministry in my life. John, you gave me a love for God’s Word, and I trust the Lord will reward you for it.
Zane Hodges was my first Greek teacher who turned into a friend and mentor over time. Zane scared me to death… though he was easily among the most gracious teachers I’ve ever known. Zane, who went to be with the Lord on November 23, 2008, was always very insightful and very patient in his teaching. I must confess, since I was so immersed in MacArthur’s view, I wasn’t really that fond of Zane Hodges! In time, however, I began to think through the issues for myself, and Zane offered me something strategic in my development as a Bible student and preacher; Zane Hodges really insisted on looking at the text for what it was saying, rather than what I felt I “needed” it to say. This ability to place the Word of God ahead of my theological bias is essential to the true exegete. So, publically, thank you Zane Hodges for your significant ministry in my life. Zane, you gave me love for being brave about looking for what the text itself really says, apart from defending my theology or my heroes from history. I trust the Lord rewards you as well.
So, how can I have heroes that have theologies at such odds? I think the answer is simple—we aren’t having conversations. On the one hand, I am thankful that we still live in a day and age where someone has a true conviction about something that is worth the battle; on the other hand, it would be great in our quest for truth if we were willing to have real conversations. Often we are fighting with our theology rather than with the scriptures and reason. It seems if we all understood our accountability as teachers, we would tread with a lighter step and a little more willingness to consider our own possible mistakes. I remain available to have conversations with anyone, especially those mentioned in this book; but, I really desire a conversation���not a lecture. May God grace us as we labor over such eternally important issues. May God grace us to say the ultimate words for entering through the door of humility, “I may be wrong.”