POST 60: JOHN MACARTHUR

Now before you read, I would ask that you take time off to do it. It’s a long article, but it deserves your attention, and you will have to follow through the argument to understand.

MacArthur is well known for his Calvinistic teachings, Lordship salvation, and downplaying the importance of the blood of Christ.

Pastor Steve Rogers, quoted in Wayoflife.org, February 03, 2011

If the following statement is true, John MacArthur is a heretic. But lets take a true and honest examination on what John MacArthur says.

I’ve spent some time now scouring the web for information on John MacArthur, I have seen his critics, and his defense. It is the goal of Standing for the Faith blog to draw believers to Christ and his Word. Before we begin, I would like to make a few preliminary statements:

  1. The Bible is my sole authority for faith and practice.
  2. The Bible is my source of judgement. The Bible says, “John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. ” It also calls for Christians to make a difference between the holy and profane. (Ezekiel 44:23)
  3. Before we begin, I want you readers to agree with me on one verse: “Galatians 1:8-9 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. ” The Bible calls any man who preaches ‘another gospel’ accursed. This is the Bible judgment, not mine own.

     John MacArthur has been very popular among the Baptists and fundamentalists. Many good people listen to his sermons on Grace to You. He has written many good books, like Charismatic Chaos, of which I have a copy. BUT, John MacArthur is not God. The Bible calls us to discern, to be the Berean believers (Acts 17:11), and to try the spirits (I John 4:1).

     I will call on the Bible to make a fair and honest, objective judgment on MacArthur. If I am wrong in the application of Scripture, comment. But I believe Christians would do well to heed the warnings I make in this article. This quotes by John MacArthur are not pulled out of thin air, but are his very words. I will list out the sources, and you may well check them out on your own.

It has been said that John MacArthur says that the death of Christ saves you, not the blood. John MacArthur vehemently denies these charges. Let’s examine his defense. Excerpts from: http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/80-44/the-blood-of-christ

There are others who say that there’s something magical in the blood, something in the blood itself that washes sin away, when the Scripture teaches it was the death of Christ that atoned for sin and He shed His literal blood in sacrificial evidence of the pouring out of His life for sin, but there was nothing magic about that blood itself that could wash sin. And so this heresy has begun to develop, strangely enough.

John MacArthur accuses his detractors of pulling his statements out of context and therefore I quote the whole paragraph. (I make a note here that as I read John MacArthur’s writings, he often makes contradictory statements. I will show some examples later.) Examine this statement, “Scripture teaches it was the death of Christ that atoned for sin.” I would like to ask Mr. MacArthur, where does Scripture say that?

What does the Scripture say?

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

The most powerful:
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 

Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Read the Scriptures as it is. What does it say? The consistent trend is that the BLOOD OF CHRIST ATONES FOR SIN. This is the literal interpretation, which John MacArthur claims to believe.

Hi, this is John MacArthur and recently we’ve had a lot of questions from listeners about what I believe on the blood of Christ. And I thought it might be helpful to just put together some excerpts from sermons preached through the years that will help you to understand where I stand. And to say in general very simply that I affirm everything the Scripture teaches about the blood of Christ seems very basic. You know me well enough to know that I believe the Bible from front to back, cover to cover. As one little boy said, “From Geniuses to Revolution.” There’s no point in the Bible that I don’t accept totally and I believe it literally in every part.

From what you have read. Pass your judgment. Does he believe the Bible literally? John MacArthur continues to write his article, claiming excellently that the blood of Christ atones for sin….BUT…

You see, the pattern of the Scripture is simply this, that God has set in order blood to be that which atones for sin. The death of an individual, the wages of sin is death therefore death and the sacrifice of life is the atonement for sin, the pattern of atonement. The Bible says that the remission of sin is based on the shedding of blood in Hebrews. And so Jesus Christ shed His blood on our behalf that God might be satisfied as He paid the price for our sin. And we by faith in Him find that sacrifice covers our sin. And so, Jesus Christ entered into heaven, not any earthly tabernacle.

You see how he contradicts himself? MacArthur says the blood of Christ atones for sin, but the very next sentence, he says it is the death. Which is it Bro. MacArthur? How does John MacArthur reconcile his contradiction? With this statement:

Now I want you to notice that we are communing with the blood of Christ. Now I want to make a point here that we could spend a lot of time on, but we’re not going to. Just to make a couple of statements. There is an English word that you ought to have in your vocabulary because you may find need to use it, or at least to understand it. It is the word metonym. You know what a synonym is? You know what an antonym is? You know what a homonym is? You say, “No.” Well, those are all…those are all terms to describe various kinds of words, and so is the word metonym. A metonym is a different word that is used for something because it has an actual relationship. It is a different word used for something because it has an actual relationship.

Let me see if I can give you an illustration. You say, “The other day I was reading MacArthur.” Now you mean something by that, and we understand you probably were reading one of my books. There’s no writing on me. You didn’t come up and say, “May I please read your right arm.” There’s no writing on me. Or you might say, “I was reading Shakespeare.” You were not reading Shakespeare, you would find that a literal impossibility. Shakespeare is not available to be read. You meant you were reading his writings. That’s a metonym, a word substituting for another word because of an actual relationship.

Now watch, the term “the blood of Christ” is a metonym that is substitute for another term “death.” It is the blood of Christ that simply is a metonym for the death of Christ. But it is used because the Hebrews used such a metonym to speak of violent death. Whenever you talk about the blood of somebody being poured out, to the Hebrew that meant violent death. And when you commune with the blood of Christ, it doesn’t mean the literal blood of Christ, that is a metonym for His death, you commune with His death.

     Let’s backtrack to the literal interpretation of the Bible for a moment. John MacArthur says, “Now watch, the term “the blood of Christ” is a metonym that is substitute for another term “death.” Now, is this a literal interpretation? On http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9470k9b2iVg time:2.14,  John MacArthur says,

When the New Testament refers to salvation by His blood, it is not talking about salvation by His fluid, it uses a blood as a metaphor, or a synonym for death.

This is how he reconciles this contradiction that I have pointed out. But however, is this a literal interpretation of the Bible? The Greek word translated as blood in the New Testament, take for instance, 1 John 1:7, is “αιμα haima hah’-ee-mah.” Which means, according to Strong’s Greek dictionary, “of uncertain derivation; blood, literally (of men or animals), figuratively (the juice of grapes) or specially (the atoning blood of Christ); by implication, bloodshed, also kindred:—blood.” What does blood mean? BLOOD. Actual blood fluid. So, the logical, literal interpretation of the Bible should say, “1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood (ACTUAL BLOOD FLUID) of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” John MacArthur dismisses this as a ‘bizzare notion.’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9470k9b2iVg time:2.33) John MacArthur goes on in his article,

Now let me say something that might shake some of you up, but I’ll try to qualify it. There is nothing in the actual blood that is efficacious for sin. Did you get that? The Bible does not teach that blood of Christ itself has any efficacy for taking away sin. Not at all. The actual blood of Christ isn’t the issue. The issue is that His poured out blood was symbolic of His violent death, the death was the thing that paid the price, right? The wages of sin is what? Death. He died for us. It is His death that is the issue. The Hebrews spoke of it as His outpoured blood because that was something that expressed violent death, and they believed, for example, in the Old Testament it said, “The life of the flesh is in the blood.” And so the pouring out of blood was the significance of death. And so when it says here we are communing with the blood of Christ, it does not mean the literal blood of Christ is efficacious, it does not mean the literal blood of Christ is involved, it means we enter into a genuine vital participation in His death. But it is not the blood, the blood is only the symbol of the poured-out life.

Now, John MacArthur’s statement, “ The Bible does not teach that blood of Christ itself has any efficacy for taking away sin. Not at all.” goes in direct contradiction to God’s Word on at least 8 different passages.

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 

Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

John MacArthur will argue, it’s only in contradiction unless you see the “blood as a metaphor, or a synonym for death.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9470k9b2iVg time:2.14) Now do you see that John MacArthur is not taking God’s inspired Word in a literal sense? Blood means blood. Death means death. They do not mean the same things. Common logic tells us that. If blood does not mean blood, suppose Christ does not mean Christ? Suppose Christ meant Bro. Jeremiah? John MacArthur explains a long way, and I do not have time for that, but suffice it to say, his whole argument is summed up in his statement,

Now obviously we were saved through His death.

This is not true.

Scripture states:
Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, WE SHALL BE SAVED BY HIS LIFE.

Nowhere in the Bible do you find that the death of Christ saves. If you can find that, I will reconsider by position.

Scripture also states:

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 

Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

     Let’s conclude this article with the Lord’s Supper. What are its to elements? The bread and the wine (grape juice). Listen carefully, Scripture teaches clearly that BOTH the BLOOD and the DEATH of Christ are necessary to salvation. John MacArthur denies this fact. John MacArthur says that the death of Christ saves and the references in the New Testament that refer to the saving property of Jesus’ blood ACTUALLY, REALLY mean death. Now I have went through the literal interpretation of the Bible already. Where the Bible says death, it means death. Where the the Bible says blood, it means blood, in a literal sense of the Word. Now, I do not believe in transubstantiation like the Roman Catholics. If John MacArthur would believe that those who take the blood literally are transubsantiationalists, the reverse argument would be true. Those who take the death of Christ literally also believe in transubstantiation, because the Bible says, “Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you(DEATH ON THE CROSS): this do in remembrance of me.” The body is reference to Jesus’ death.

     Having spoken about the Lord’s Supper, the Bread (symbolizing the death), and the wine[grape juice] (symbolizing the blood) were part of God’s plan of salvation. This is the Biblical position:

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jesus died as a substitute in our place, because of sin, we were condemned to die. But Jesus died on the cross in our place.

AND NOT OF LESSER IMPORTANCE:

 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST CLEANSES US FROM ALL SIN. THERE IS POWER IN THE BLOOD. (This is not a ‘bizarre notion like John MacArthur teaches, it is Bible. If it is bizarre, John MacArthur can tell that to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who washed me from my sins in His own blood (which does not mean death). 🙂 [Revelation 1:5]

MY CONCLUDING STATEMENT: BOTH THE DEATH AND THE BLOOD ARE NECESSARY TO SALVATION. WE COULD NOT HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER. 

John MacArthur teaches that we could not have one without the other, therefore blood means death, and blood is secondary to death.

And then you go over to chapter 9 verse 12, “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the Holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us for if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of an heifer, sprinkling the unclean sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ who through the eternal spirit offered Himself without spot to God purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Can’t you see how superior the sacrifice of Christ is? If the earthly sacrifices accomplished something, what must that one have done?

I am sorry Bro. MacArthur, “by His own BLOOD He entered in once into the Holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us for if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of an heifer, sprinkling the unclean sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the BLOOD OF CHRIST who through the eternal spirit offered Himself without spot to God purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” The double reference to Christ’s blood shows that it is important to salvation. The writer of Hebrews is showing that the BLOOD OF CHRIST is superior to the blood of bulls and goats, because the blood of bulls and goats cannot pay for sin…BUT THE BLOOD OF CHRIST CAN!!! THE BLOOD! THE BLOOD! THE BLOOD!

I am so thankful the blood of Jesus Christ cleansed me from my sin, and that He died in my place so I would not have to spend an eternity in hell.

Now, if salvation and the Gospel message require BOTH the death and blood of Christ, and John MacArthur downplays the significance of the blood, if not fully removing it altogether, then is John MacArthur guilty of preaching another Gospel?

Dear Reader, decide on your own. An remember if he is indeed preaching another Gospel, Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of God says,

Galatians 1:8-9 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be ACCURSED. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be ACCURSED. “

P.S. I was supposed to touch on the other problems on John MacArthur in this article, but after seeing how long the article is, I shall have to leave it here. I will probably examine them in later posts.

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3 thoughts on “POST 60: JOHN MACARTHUR

  1. Amen son. I could not done this. I am sure you have done much to ensure the validity of your claims and also ensuring that you are biblical in your thought. . keep your heart humble, and prayerful, that GOd may use these words to help many come to Christ and the biblical teaching on the blood of Christ. Praying for you that GOD keep you in His will and word pa

    _____

  2. Pingback: Thoughts on Dwelling in the Past | A Constant Grace

  3. Pingback: LIVING IN HARMONY | Inspirational Christian Blogs

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