The Gospel of Christ vs. The Gospel of John MacArthur

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by IfbReformer, Dec 5, 2003.

  1. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
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    Recently John MacArthur did a new series on his radio program "Grace to You" that I listen to in the mornings.

    His series was entitled "Hard to Believe" and was done with his corresponding book of the same title.

    This just prompted me to put something together on my site addressing problems with the unbiblical teachings he presents.

    Here are some excerpts(but please read the article in full):

    The full article can be found at http://www.ifbreformation.org/Assurance_MacArthur.html

    Thanks

    I look forward to you responses.

    IFBReformer
     
  2. Elk

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    Hello.

    IF THESE THINGS SAID ABOUT HIM ARE TRUE, then the doctrine sounds strange...for how can people weigh sins and determine where that cross-over fence is?
    I believe that only Jesus saves, and what we do here in life shows how much we believe.
    Second, it is what we do with what God has given us is important, but no one can determine if we succeeded or failed, but God alone. And don't forget Jeremiah...according to the world, he would have been considered a complete failure, but to God he was a success.
    I am reminded of a book called, "The Call" by Rick Joyner. Some of his books are records of the visions that God gave him. This is one where he had a picture of people who were the godliest were closest to the Throne of God. I don't think that it was a "factual" type vision, but a "warning" type vision. Anyway, one of the ones closest to the throne was a homeless man, who died while protecting the body of a drunk on a cold snowy night. This man did not have much in life at all, but what God gave him, he used to promote the Lord, like buying tracts whenever he got fifty cents (if I remember correctly about this story). But this man was far from perfect.
    Yet, even Paul from the Bible was not as close to the Throne as this man.

    I believe when everything is said and done, I think it all comes down to relationship with the Lord, hearing His Voice, listening to Him, and obeying Him, trusting Him.
    It is being a servant to Jesus Christ that makes us a success in this life.
    We will always fail if we measure our successes or failures by the world's standards.

    Consider "Solomon's" warehouse of vanities. All he had for sale were vanities. grin.
     
  3. All about Grace

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    I have just read MacArthur's book "Hard To Believe" and hoped to find some legitimate arguments against what he defines as the "contemporary" church model (of which I am a part). He has created so much hype about this book and its answers to the seeker movement. I was sorely disappointed (to use an old KJV adjective). What I found was much of the same straw men MacArthur has attacked for years. What I have since gathered is that the book is simply a composite of sermons he has preached. What I did not find was any serious rebuttal against the movement.

    It has been my contention from the beginning that MacArthur and others are attacking straw men. This book simply affirms my belief. I love John MacArthur and own over 50 of his books and commentaries, but once again, he falls short in this area.

    I am still waiting for a valid critique of the seeker-sensitive movement. One has yet to be produced. This is not to say the seeker-movement does not have its weaknesses and extremes (just as traditionalism does). But after several years of reading and studying this subject matter, I have yet to find a book or author that shows the movement is unbiblical.
     
  4. USN2Pulpit

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    Please forgive this ignorant brother...can you tell me what is meant by the term "straw men?"

    (I've never used or heard that term before!)
     
  5. Ransom

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    A "straw man argument" is a dishonest debating tactic in which someone attacks a position that his opponent does not actually hold, although it resembles it and is much easier to refute.

    An example would be when KJV-onlyists accuse non-KJV-onlyists of "hating" the King James Bible, when in reality they are merely opposed to certain foolish opinions about the KJV.
     
  6. All about Grace

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    I would add to Ransom's definition that it does not always have to be a deliberate dishonest attack. Many times it can be made in all sincerity. But, as in the case of MacArthur, what he is attacking is an extreme (which makes his own position easier to defend & rallies his troops).
     
  7. pinoybaptist

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  8. IfbReformer

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    I am familiar with your hyper Calvinist beliefs. Although they fall flat on there face when compared with the clear teachings of scripture.

    Ephesians 1:4-5 & 13-14
    I believe in Soverign Grace theology, I would agree that God regenerates us before we accept him giving us the faith to believe on him, but we are not "included in Christ" until we have believed(even though God regenerates us and gives us the faith to believe).

    Your thinking is that we are saved before we believe and that is completely unscriptual. God "predestined us to be adopted as his sons" before the foundation of the world. The key phrase here is "to be adopted". Not that we are before we believe. He chose that in the future he would regenerate us, give us the faith and cause us to believe on him and then we would be "include in Christ".

    I believe your theology that people are saved or could be saved and never know it is more dangerous and unbiblical than John MacArthur's Lordship or Pennecostal Arminian teachings.

    Please read Ephesians chapter one very closely and see if you can still believe as you do that people are saved before they believe.

    IFBReformer
     
  9. Rocco

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    I to have read many of his books .I started reading "Hard to Believe" today .Read 30 pages so far .
     
  10. pinoybaptist

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    IFBReformer:

    I don't know if this is the right thread for a discussion on what you and I believe, but, I guess the moderator can always move this or kill the discussion.

    But, anyway, first off, I am not a hyper-Calvinist because I am not a Calvinist like I presume you are. Forgive me if I am wrong.

    When I talk about what you say is presuming one is saved and never know it, I am referring to the eternal purposes of God, who inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15), and therefore is not constricted by time, as we are.

    To the mind and for the purposes of the eternal God, the salvation of all His elect is a done deal. None will be lost, whether the child of God knows it or not, for his sonship is determined not by his creed, or his race, or his nation, or his tongue, but by the eternal purposes of Him who knew them from the womb, which is why Paul said that we are "sitted in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" which I take to be true of all God's children and not just those in the church at Ephesus.

    But, as far as their position in time is concerned, all men, including the elect, who lived in the past, in the present, and will live in the future on this time-constricted earth, were and are enemies of God until they are regenerated by God thru or apart from Gospel preaching.
    I quote John 1:12 - 13 here for what you said was my unscriptural view that we are saved before we believe.

    These received him, and were given authority to become the sons of God, they believed on his name, and they were described as they which were born not of blood (not because they were related to Jesus or to Mary or to any high priest, or because they endured great affliction for him), nor of the will of the flesh (that is to say, they raised their hands and prayed the sinner's prayer and believed somebody's statement that they are saved), nor of the will of man (that is to say because somebody urged them to get saved), but of God.

    So, they were regenerated, born again individuals who were born again because God caused their regeneration, before they even had to receive Jesus, they were already believers. Remember the old man who went and held the baby Jesus in his hands and thanked God because he had now seen his salvation ?

    Now, let us consider John the Baptist, as a little baby in his mother's womb. You say, that we have to have belief first before we be included in Christ ?

    Can a baby in the womb believe ? If not, then how come John knew who Christ was ? If a baby in the womb cannot believe, then are you saying an aborted fetus, or a baby who dies in the womb or barely months after the womb, have no hope ?

    What about those who cannot think clearly. What about three year olds in forty year old bodies. Are they all lost ?

    The key word is "in Christ". No one survives outside of Christ. No one is included apart from Christ. The Bible says we are "accepted in the beloved." Christ is our all in all.

    The Ephesians were not included in Christ when they heard the word. When they heard the word, their inclusion in Christ was a finished fact, and so they believed.

    But then, I keep forgetting that Calvinists or Reformists like yourself make the salvation of God's chosen effective only if they hear the gospel.
     
  11. Dr. Bob

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    Pinoy - Huh? I'm as reformed as the day is long and I'm missing your point or attack on calvinists. We believe a person's salvation is 100% of God from eternity past. We WILL believe because of what God does; but the die is cast and God has chosen his sheep.
     
  12. Dr. Bob

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    Back to the subject: Mac sees things in black-and-white. IF a person is truly regenerate, he WILL live for Christ, be a disciple, follow Him as the LORD of his life, et al.

    Therefore, IF a person is not a disciple and not living for Christ, not accepting the LORDSHIP, then ??? He is NOT truly regenerate.

    MacArthur is right . . as far as this goes. What is questionable is WHO IS HE to judge wheter John Doe is/is not truly following Christ as Lord? In this, Mac is wrong.

    You and I are not the judge of this. THAT is the problem. Only Jesus knows who is truly His disciple (i.e., regenerated one). WE judge on outward factors; God judges inwardly.
     
  13. Rich_UK

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    I've heard John MacArthur preach countless times and I love the fact that his main emphasis is *Obediance*.

    Although, as Dr Bob said, JM is very black and white, I truly believe his heart is always in the right place. He is cut and dry as far as continuation in sin is concerned. I believe we can tell a christian at times by their fruits but also bearing in mind that many *Christian* churches are *saving* multitudes each week so in that area we can't always make a sound judgement. Obediance is the best way to judge whether someone is truly saved but obediance in love, crushing legalistic type of obediance. :eek:

    Rich
     
  14. Rich_UK

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    ooops,
    What I meant was, NOT a chrushing legalistic type of obediance.
     
  15. IfbReformer

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    While you may claim not to be hyper-calvinistic, you exibit the tendencies of hyper-calvinists. I am familiar with your Primitive Baptist Distinctives on this. I have spoken with others on this board and I have a friend who is
    attending a Primitive Baptist Church.

    We pray for him that God will show him the truth and he will come out of it.

    I used to think Primitive Baptists just did'nt believe in things like Sunday School and singing. But now I have learned much more from a friend of mine and I am deeply disturbed by the movement.

    The Salvation theology, is not just somewhat off, it is entirely a different Gospel. The last time I checked my Bible it says "whoever does not believe stands condemned"(John 3:18).

    To say that someone is saved apart from belief and trust in Jesus Christ as their savior is heresy plain and simple.

    I will pray for you that God would reveal his truth to you and bring you out of this false sect.
    [/QB]
    [/QUOTE]

    It is a "done deal" that each of God's elect will trust on him at some point in time. But that trust and belief in him must take place.

    Ephesians 2:4-6(NIV)
    "4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,"

    It is true that this passage teaches we are regenerated while "we were dead in transgressions" - pre-salvation regeneration. But regeneration causes us to believe and that is when we are "included in Christ".

    We don't start out our lives being regenerated, for clearly there was a time in each of our lives before we were regenerated and saved that we "were dead in transgressions".

    I want to zoom in this statement you said:
    "None will be lost, whether the child of God knows it or not, for his sonship is determined not by his creed, or his race, or his nation, or his tongue,"

    I agree that salvation is not based upon our cultural or ethnic backround, but upon our belief and trust in Christ. You reject this and say people are saved apart from belief and trust in Christ.

    ...

    So, they were regenerated, born again individuals who were born again because God caused their regeneration, before they even had to receive Jesus, they were already believers. Remember the old man who went and held the baby Jesus in his hands and thanked God because he had now seen his salvation ?

    [/quote]

    We are not saved by regeneration, we are saved by belief. Regeneration brings us to the belief on the Son of God that saves us.

    "before they even had to receive Jesus, they were already believers."

    Your statement above makes no sense. If you are a "believer" than means you have trusted in Christ. So how can you be a "believer" before you believe? Try and think that one through.

    Can a baby in the womb believe ? If not, then how come John knew who Christ was ? If a baby in the womb cannot believe, then are you saying an aborted fetus, or a baby who dies in the womb or barely months after the womb, have no hope ?

    What about those who cannot think clearly. What about three year olds in forty year old bodies. Are they all lost ?

    </font>[/QUOTE]David said this in 2 Samuel 12:

    2 Samuel 12:21-23(NIV)
    "21 His servants asked him, "Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!"
    22 He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.' 23 But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.""

    Now David knew he would go to see his infant child that died. Why? It is somewhat debateable, some people say it is because there is an age of accountablity, that is what I believe.

    Other say it is because his father was a believer and because of what Paul states in 1 Corinthians:

    1 Corinthians 7:14(NIV)
    "For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy."

    So can God choose to grant salvation without direct belief to children or those who have the mind of children? Sure I don't know for sure. But does this exception then open the flood gates as you have done for all people and negate the necessity for belief for all people as you assert - no I don't think that can stand against the testimonty of the scriptures.


    You say the "Ephesians were not included in Christ when they heard the word" - really?

    Ephesians 1:13-14(NIV)
    13And you also were included in Christ WHEN you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.

    What part of verse 13 and the phrase "you also were included in Christ WHEN you heard the word of truth"?

    It is right in front of your face yet you choose to reject it. Why? because you have built an entire salvation theology not around the scriptures but upon your wanting to bring into the kingdom of God those who do not believe on the Son of God.

    I leave you with these scriptures to ponder and see of the Gospel you belief(that no one has to believe on the name of the Son of God to be saved) matches up with God's Word:

    Ephesians 1:13(NIV)
    "13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,"

    John 6:28-29(NIV)
    "28Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"
    29Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

    John 3:16(NIV)
    "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

    John 3:18(NIV)
    "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."

    John 3:36(NIV)
    "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."


    John 6:40(NIV)
    "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

    John 20:31
    But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

    There are many more, but this is enough for you to ponder.

    I pray for you.

    IFBReformer
     
  16. Aaron

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    Have you considered that church membership is an office? Though it is true that the Lord knows His own, we can and should judge whether one is walking in a manner worthy of his office, and remove him if he continues in sin.

    We are to regard one removed from the office of believer as "an heathen and a publican."
     
  17. Daniel David

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    I think the point of IFBs post was to argue against MacArthur's Lordship salvation. IFB is of the cheap grace, errrggh, "free" grace theory.

    Basically, if I bring up any number of relevant texts to this discussion, it will be ignored. 1 Cor. 3 and Eph. 2:8-9 are the filter through which all other texts in the N.T. are understood.
     
  18. gb93433

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    I see no where in scripture where we are to believe because of what God does but rather because of what he has already done. Jesus has already died and risen and ascended.

    In 1 Peter 1:4 the word for reserved is a perfect participle . Our inheritance is reserved from the past until now in the present and continuing on into the future.

    If all is so cast then why in Matthew 22:2-14 are so many called?

    Matthew 22:2-14, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. "And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. "Again he sent out other slaves saying, `Tell those who have been invited, "Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast." ' "But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. "But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire."Then he ^said to his slaves, `The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.`Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.' "Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. "But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he ^said to him, `Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And the man was speechless. "Then the king said to the servants, `Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' "For many are called , but few are chosen."

    2 Cor. 5:11, "Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men , but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences."

    Later in 6:2 Paul writes, "for He says, "At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you." Behold, now is "the acceptable time," behold, now is "the day of salvation"

    So why persuade men if God has already chosen and has not called anyone to himself. But He has called many but few have chosen the path God has chosen for them,
     
  19. gb93433

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    My Bible says, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, period. What else is there. MacArthur is possessed with American theology in the comfort of his home. Put him in some persecuted country and he won't find anything to write about much . He won't be arguing some fine point of salvation but rather he will decide to live or not live for Jesus on a daily basis. It's that simple. When Jesus called his disciples he called them to follow Him. They eithewr followed or not.
     
  20. Elk

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    Dear IFB Reformer,
    Hey there. You quoted this and I know it is late here, but...regarding...
    ***********************
    ""before they even had to receive Jesus, they were already believers."

    Your statement above makes no sense. If you are a "believer" than means you have trusted in Christ. So how can you be a "believer" before you believe? Try and think that one through."
    ***********************
    Consider that in the Bible at least two times, once in Psalms and once in Acts, it talks about those that "fear" God will be saved.

    In my opinion that encompasses an initial belief in God. Just a point to consider.

    But I'm not arguing with anyone here...I find this interesting for I have never studied this concept really until recently...predestination, etc.

    Perhaps all here are just coming at it from a different perspective, yet, perhaps if the entire Bible is embraced on every side and every view, we would all find ourselves fairly balanced somewhere inbetween the views....yes? no? Just wondering.

    God bless you all.
     

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