Is John McCarthur a Calvinist?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Bronconagurski, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. Bronconagurski

    Bronconagurski
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    Hard to say according to these comments about scripture in I Tim. 2:

    Obviously, in some inscrutable sense, God's desire for the world's salvation is different from His eternal saving purpose. We can understand this to some degree from a human perspective; after all, our purposes frequently differ from our desires. We may desire, for example, to spend a day at leisure, yet a higher purpose compels us to go to work instead. Similarly, God's saving purposes transcend His desires. (There is a crucial difference, of course: We might be compelled by circumstances beyond our control to choose what we do not desire. But God's choices are determined by nothing other than His own sovereign, eternal purpose).
    God genuinely desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Yet in "the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Eph. 3:11), He chose only the elect "out of the world" (John 17:6), and passed over the rest, leaving them to the damning consequences of their sin (cf. Rom. 1:18-32). The culpability for their damnation rests entirely on them because of their sin and rejection of God. God is not to blame for their unbelief.
    Since God desires all men to be saved, we are not required to ascertain that a person is elect before praying for that person's salvation. God alone knows who all the elect are (2 Tim. 2:19). We may pray on behalf of all men with full assurance that such prayers are good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior. After all, "the Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works" (Ps. 145:8-9).MacArthur New Testament Commentary, The - MacArthur New Testament Commentary – 1 Timothy.
     
  2. Iconoclast

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    He is a calvinist;
    He is seperating the decree of God in this phrase.
    if all men would repent...God would not reject them.
    There will not be any reprobate that really repented with a godly sorrow, who God would turn away. Such a sinner does not exist, except in the imagination of those on a discussion board:wavey:
     
  3. Havensdad

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    Don't know why it is "hard to say"...I am a Calvinist, and agree completely with what he says here.
     
  4. Bronconagurski

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    So you agree with this statement? "God genuinely desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." If this is true, then why aren't all men saved? Can you have it both ways? Let me ask plainly: Does God choose not to save some because they don't fit His eternal purpose, even though he would desire them to be saved? If so, did the Holy Spirit convict them, only to be rejected?
     
    #4 Bronconagurski, Aug 25, 2012
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  5. Iconoclast

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    see post two:thumbs: All men are not saved because God has never decreed to do so. Allmen are responsible to repent and believe...at all times. God will not turn anyone away until the door is shut-like on the ark...God shut the door.
     
  6. Bronconagurski

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    Sorry, Icon, I edited that post while you were answering to ask further questions.
     
  7. Iconoclast

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    No problem..it is a good question. No one wants to see anyone perish, but we are told many perish because of sin and unbelief, failing to receive or welcome a love of the truth, being religious hypocrites.

    We know many perish, we know God has sworn that he will by no means clear the guilty.....unless they are found in Him.

    We want to be biblically accurate,
     
  8. asterisktom

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    Since you are referring to 1st Tim. 2:4 I thought I would add my two cents. "All" does not always mean "all of possible numbers", but sometimes, as here, means "all types". We do this all the time with our normal conversation:

    "I went downtown and ran into all kinds of trouble." means trouble like "traffic, rude people, missed the bus", etc. It does not mean a drone strike, animals loosed from the zoo, etc. Context determines the scope and usage of "all".

    Likewise, context helps in Paul's use of the word. The three verses before shows that he is referring to different classes of people. He is addressing the hesitance some Christians have to pray for those of a different class, especially to those who are actively persecuting them.

    Preachers today have to use the same message to remind us to pray for our leaders - even the ones we don't really "feel" like praying for.

    Additionally, if Paul really meant "all" as in "every single one" he would not have contradicted himself in his next letter to Timothy, 2 Tim. 2:25, where he admits that God's granting repentance to know the truth (similar phrase as 1 Tim. 2:4) is not an automatically assured thing.

    There is indeed a difficulty related to this text. But the difficulty is not in the text itself, IMO, but in dislodging a pre-assumption that colors how we read it.
     
    #8 asterisktom, Aug 25, 2012
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  9. psalms109:31

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    All means all lets not put another meaning into the text that it does not say.

    Paul knew the old testament and it is referring back to Ezekiel that God does not want the wicked to perish but repent and live.

    It is telling us who believe the desire of God to go out and tell. If the Holy Spirit wanted to say all types of people He would of said all types of people.

    He said He wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, but we can't go against the scripture that says only believers will be saved, all will not come to the knowledge of the truth so not all will be saved.

    They may never hear the words of life or walk away from the knowledge of the truth Jesus and they will not be saved. We can't take away or make our own changes and say what the Holy Spirit have never said. It is the Holy Spirits message that we are to go out and tell it didn't come from us to make changes to.

    Acts 4:12
    Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
     
    #9 psalms109:31, Aug 25, 2012
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  10. Havensdad

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    I do not have time to explain this to you. It is a fairly in depth subject. But look up the terms "Two wills of God," "Permissive will," and "decretive will."

    Basically, when you have a timeless God interact with time-bound creatures, strange things occur!

    Yes.


    No. God's actions are effective. The Holy Spirit only draws the elect.
     
  11. Jerome

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    Spurgeon, on the shenanigans some Calvinism enthusiasts undertake when the pesky Scriptures just don't line up with their pet theories:

    [I Tim. 2:4] "What then? Shall we try to put another meaning into the text than that which it fairly bears? I trow not. You must, most of you, be acquainted with the general method in which our older Calvinistic friends deal with this text. "All men," say they, —"that is, some men": as if the Holy Ghost could not have said "some men" if he had meant some men. "All men," say they; "that is, some of all sorts of men": as if the Lord could not have said "all sorts of men" if he had meant that. The Holy Ghost by the apostle has written "all men," and unquestionably he means all men. I know how to get rid of the force of the "alls" according to that critical method which some time ago was very current, but I do not see how it can be applied here with due regard to truth. I was reading just now the exposition of a very able doctor who explains the text so as to explain it away; he applies grammatical gunpowder to it, and explodes it by way of expounding it. I thought when I read his exposition that it would have been a very capital comment upon the text if it had read, "Who will not have all men to be saved, nor come to a knowledge of the truth." Had such been the inspired language every remark of the learned doctor would have been exactly in keeping, but as it happens to say, "Who will have all men to be saved," his observations are more than a little out of place. My love of consistency with my own doctrinal views is not great enough to allow me knowingly to alter a single text of Scripture. I have great respect for orthodoxy, but my reverence for inspiration is far greater. I would sooner a hundred times over appear to be inconsistent with myself than be inconsistent with the word of God. I never thought it to be any very great crime to seem to be inconsistent with myself, for who am I that I should everlastingly be consistent? But I do think it a great crime to be so inconsistent with the word of God that I should want to lop away a bough or even a twig from so much as a single tree of the forest of Scripture. God forbid that I should cut or shape, even in the least degree, any divine expression. So runs the text, and so we must read it, "God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."" —"Salvation By Knowing the Truth"
     
  12. Havensdad

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    Since you are saying that "all men" is never qualified, I guess you are a universalist, then?

    Rom 5:18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.


    BTW "mankind" from Acts 4 is nothing of the kind. It is just the plural word "men." "Mankind" is an interpretation of the word.
     
  13. Havensdad

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    Spurgeon was wrong. If "all men" could never be qualified, and ALWAYS meant "every single individual", then the Bible teaches universalism. Period.
     
  14. asterisktom

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    Sure, lets go to Ezekiel rather than to the other very similar passages that Paul wrote. Not a word about the cross-references I posted.

    Not surprising.
     
  15. psalms109:31

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    All men is qualified with the knowledge of the truth. Universalism is an excuse to change the scripture into what it does not say. Ezekiel shows that your understanding of all men is your understanding. God does want all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth and for them to repent and live. They do not they will die in their sins and we are the messengers of the Holy Spirit not His corrector in what we can't reconcile in our understanding.
     
    #15 psalms109:31, Aug 25, 2012
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  16. Bronconagurski

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    So you are saying that all the major English translations got it wrong? If it means all kinds, then why doesn't it read that way? I can understand the KJV maybe not reading that way, but not the NASB, which reads all men. The HCSB reads everyone. So I don't buy that theory, no offense. That is the same kind of argument those in favor of the gap theory make when they say that "was" should of been translated "became." But it wasn't. BTW, McCArthur thinks all means everyone as well, so that is why it is so difficult to understand where he is coming from.
     
    #16 Bronconagurski, Aug 25, 2012
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  17. Bronconagurski

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    You make a good point with Rom 5:18, although in verse 19 it is change to many instead of all. It seems that the verse is saying all from the seed of Adam are condemned, but those from the seed of Christ have life. Since all are from Adam, then that would mean universal condemnation in and by itself. If it weren't for verse 19, one might think that. Very difficult verses, and a good point. If all means all one place, why doesn't it at another.
     
  18. Winman

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    MacArthur was correct in this verse, "all men" means 100% of all men everywhere.

    Being a Calvinist, this naturally causes you a big problem, because you have been taught that God has only chosen to regenerate a certain number of men and impose faith on them, and pass by all the rest.

    God does not impose faith on anyone. He offers salvation to any man who will believe his word and trust his Son Jesus to save them. So while God desires all men to be saved, he does not force any man to be saved, but every man must choose for himself whether he will trust Jesus or not. Some men choose not to trust Jesus and therefore are lost.

    MacArthur is simply starting to understand the word of God for what it really says, God is not willing that any should perish, but all men everywhere should repent.

    1 Tim 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

    2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    "All" in these verses means 100% of men.
     
  19. asterisktom

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    No offense taken. This is something I would have argued for a while about before, but once is enough. I guess we just disagree. I just think that we tend to dissect the Bible word-for-word too much when, what is called for IMO is a holistic approach: here being Paul's context.

    It is ironic that many who argue for a literal meaning of "all" here, in other places shy away from the same rubric. Case in point is Christ's saying that many will not die before they see Him coming into His kingdom with power.
     
  20. asterisktom

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    Interestingly, when we study the respective contexts of your two verses, Winman, we have two more types of "all". Neither of them being the 100% all that you are arguing for.

    The "all" of Tim. is "all types of people" (a usage commonly found in the NT Greek, like "Money is the root of all [sorts of] evil").

    The "all" in Peter is "all of the elect". This is shown by Peter's earlier comments, esp. his "usward" a few verses earlier.
     

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