The Confusing World Of Dr. John MacArthur
By David J. Stewart | January 2008 | Updated August 2015
"Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein." —Hebrews 13:9
Pastor John F. MacArthur is a dangerous man doctrinally, and a false prophet. I say that kindly, but truthfully. Like many preachers, I have learned many good things from John MacArthur. He does make some brilliant theological statements. Unfortunately, MacArthur is doctrinally flawed in the most important areas of theology: salvation and the blood. What you need to understand is that Dr. MacArthur is a devout 5-point Calvinist. That is, he adheres to the errant teachings of John Calvin (1509-1564).
Some people will argue that Christians ought to be working together instead of against each other; however, that mentality is exactly how the Devil succeeds at removing the old landmarks. Things are not always as they seem. Much sinful compromise is justified under the falsehood of unity.
The problem is that Satan is relentlessly working within the church to destroy it. Don't believe it? Consider Revelation 2:13 concerning the church of Pergamos, “I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is...” We are warned in 2nd Corinthians 11:13-15 that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, and his false ministers transform themselves into ministers of righteousness. Satan is a big liar and a cunning deceiver, and so are his ministers (John 8:44). Satan is not trying to corrupt the local tavern, it's already corrupt; he's trying to corrupt the local New Testament Church. Satan has infiltrated the modern church with numerous false doctrines, which are ultimately aimed at corrupting the simplicity of the Gospel (i.e., God's simple plan of salvation which is by grace through faith alone in Jesus).
MacArthur's 2013 annual salary from “Grace To You” was for $246,586. This doesn't includes money from the sale of his hundreds of books, speaking engagements, et cetera. I have a big problem with any professed servant of God (which is what “minister” means) making that kind of money. Literally, MacArthur makes dozens of times each year what the average American worker earns. Billy Graham is even worse, who gets paid $633,720 a year! That is shameful. This is just my honest opinion of the matter. I've received absolutely not one penny, nor compensation, since I started my online ministry in 2002. I want people to know where my heart is at. My full reward is in Heaven, and the souls reached for the Lord Jesus Christ through my humble labors in the Lord are my greatest treasures! To God be the glory, great things He hath done!
The Deadly Doctrines of John MacArthur
In John MacArthur's sermons and books, he woefully contradicts himself at times concerning certain fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. One such area is that of Eternal Security. In his book, Faith Works: The Gospel According to the Apostles, MacArthur states:
"No advocate of lordship salvation I am aware of teaches 'that every Christian will live a basically successful life until the end'" (pg. 179).
MacArthur need look no further than his own mirror to find major contradictions in his teachings. In Faith Works, he states:
Any doctrine of eternal security that leaves out perseverance distorts the doctrine of salvation itself. Heaven without holiness ignores the whole purpose for which God chose and redeemed us. (pg. 182)
Peter is saying categorically that the essence of what it means to be a Christian is to love Jesus Christ. In fact, there may be no better way to describe the essential expression of the new nature than to say it is continual love for Christ. (pg. 185)
See also pp. 109-121, 123-38, 139-55, 157-73, 175-92.
John MacArthur clearly teaches that every believer is NOT assured a home in Heaven. According to MacArthur, one's salvation is DEPENDENT upon the life he or she lives. This is the damnable heresy of Lordship Salvation! Kindly, Mr. MacArthur is of the Devil. From examining the two preceding statements made by John MacArthur, it can only be concluded that although MacArthur obviously doesn't think a believer can live a sinless life; yet a believer must nevertheless persevere in holy living until the end of life to successfully be saved. The big question, then is, how much does a believer have to “persevere” to make it to Heaven? Is this not the same heresy which Islam teaches? Yes, it most certainly is! Muslims believe that Allah is capricious, i.e., he is unpredictable. In Islam, a Muslim's salvation is dependent upon the life he or she lives—you basically do your best and hope you make it!
In very sharp contrast to Dr. MacArthur's Calvinistic philosophies, the Holy Bible plainly teaches that eternal life is a totally free gift (Romans 5:15, 6:23). Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Notice in the preceding Scripture that we are saved to perform good works, not by our good works. And you cannot mandate those good works to be saved. We are not saved by good works, but we need good works to be right with God as a Christian. That's the big difference. No believer has God's permission to continue in deliberate sin (Romans 3:31), but many people do (like Demas who forsook Paul because he loved the world). All Christians still commit sin, deliberate sin! (Romans 7:14-25).
In Christianity, a believer's salvation is rooted in the love and mercy of an awesome God, who offers salvation as a free gift paid for by Jesus' precious blood (1st Peter 1:18,19); BUT in Islam, a Muslim's salvation is rooted in self-righteousness to appease Allah's wrath. John MacArthur has perverted the simplicity of the Gospel, by requiring a holy life as a final step to complete salvation. MacArthur has effectively turned salvation into a lifelong process. How is this not works salvation? There is no simpler picture of salvation than a gift. Romans 5:15 even calls salvation a "free gift." If I offered you a gift, but then required you to do something for years to come to obtain it, would that truly be a gift?
No way! As simple as this truth is, tens-of-millions of people all across the world have been deceived by Satan into thinking that one's eternal salvation is CONDITIONED upon the life that they live. Shame on you Mr. MacArthur! And shame on you foolish preachers who unquestioningly support him. I realize that John MacArthur has produced some excellent study materials on various issues, such as the evils of alcohol, et cetera; however, the Jehovah's Witness cult also produces some of the best literature exposing the sinful world that I've ever read. This does not justify their hellish religion! And neither does John MacArthur's good teachings qualify his damnable heresies. There is no matter any more critical than the issue of salvation.
Again, John MacArthur deceitfully claims that he believes in the Eternal Security of a believer; while simultaneously teaching that only those who continue living holy lives will go to heaven. Mr. MacArthur states...
“Eternal security is a great spiritual truth, but it should never be presented merely as a matter of being once saved, always saved—with no regard for what you believe or do. The writer of Hebrews 12:14 states frankly that only those who continue living holy lives will enter the Lord's presence. [emphasis added]
SOURCE: Kingdom Living Here and Now (pg. 150).
Mr. MacArthur horribly perverts Hebrews 12:14, by alleging that the Author of Hebrews was teaching that a believer must continue in holy living in order to go to Heaven. LIES! The Word of God is adamantly clear in Romans 4:5... "But to him that WORKETH NOT, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." What are you talking about Mr. MacArthur?
Hebrews 12:14 is speaking about our influence upon other people. If we don't pursue peace with others, and live holy lives, then lost sinners WON'T see the Lord in us. You are the only Jesus someone knows. That person may go to Hell if they don't see the Lord in you. As believers, we are supposed to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Jesus said in Matthew 5:13... "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?..." Do you know what salt does to people? It makes them THIRSTY! Christians are supposed to be the salt of this sinful world, that cause lost sinners to thirst for God. Have you lost your saltiness, i.e., savor? This is what Hebrews 12:14 means.
In sharp contrast, John MacArthur corrupts Hebrews 12:14, claiming that a person cannot see God unless they continue in holy living. Mr. MacArthur perverts this Scripture to mean that one's salvation is dependent upon holy living. Clearly, John MacArthur is a false prophet, who doesn't understand the Word of God. He is an unsaved heretic, a Modernist who pretends to be a Christian. No man is saved who believes that human effort is necessary to get to Heaven.
You see, as a 5-point Calvinist Dr. MacArthur views salvation as encompassing a man's entire being, requiring his full surrender to Christ's Lordship, resulting in a drastic change of attitude and direction in one's ambitions and goals, which is manifest by turning away from the world and sinful behavior. The problem is that none of this has anything to do with receiving the free gift of eternal life. MacArthur confuses salvation with discipleship! Sonship has nothing to do with fellowship!
Dr. Martin R. DeHaan correctly and eloquently teaches the difference between salvation and discipleship. ...
"There is a vast difference between coming to Jesus for salvation and coming after Jesus for service. Coming to Christ makes one a believer, while coming after Christ makes one a disciple. All believers are not disciples. To become a believer one accepts the invitation of the Gospel, to be a disciple one obeys the challenge to a life of dedicated service and separation. Salvation comes through the sacrifice of Christ; discipleship comes only by sacrifice of self and surrender to His call for devoted service. Salvation is free, but discipleship involves paying the price of a separated walk. Salvation can't be lost because it depends upon God's faithfulness, but discipleship can be lost because it depends upon our faithfulness."
Source: DeHaan, M.R., Hebrews. Zondervan Publishing House, 1959 (p. 117).
I couldn't have said it any better myself. Dr. MacArthur confuses repentance with the fruits of repentance, and confuses faith with that which faith ought to produce. He confuses saving faith (which takes place in a moment of time—Genesis 15:6; Ephesians 1:13) with discipleship (which is a lifelong process).
As Miles Stanford has correctly said:
"Lordship salvation is not the childlike faith of John 3:16. It rightly insists upon repentance but wrongly includes a change of behavior IN ORDER TO BE SAVED. No one questions that there must be a sincere change of mind, a turning from oneself to the Saviour, but Lordship advocates attempt to make behavior and fruit essential ingredients of, rather than evidence of, saving faith"
SOURCE: (Miles Stanford, in his review of The Gospel According to Jesus).
Tragically, churches all across America have been duped by this wolf in sheep's clothing. Examples of MacArthur contradicting himself could be multiplied. It seems that deep within he recognizes that what he is saying is Biblically and practically flawed and so he knowingly or unknowingly contradicts himself. Here's a shocking YouTube video in which Evangelist Paul Washer literally says no one can go to Heaven without works! Washer, like MacArthur, is a staunch Calvinist. It is their heretical views on the perseverance of the saints that corrupt their thinking. I believe in the preservation of the saints, bless God, not the perseverance! Eternal life is a free gift, paid in full by Christ's sacrifice as the Lamb of God. Salvation is received, not achieved. Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith. God will not save anyone who is trying to be saved, He will only save those who are trusting to be saved. Get God's Gift!
John MacArthur, Paul Washer and Ray Comfort... Making Salvation Hard!
In John MacArthur's sermons and books, he woefully contradicts himself at times concerning certain fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. Another such area is that of the Blood of Jesus. I've had several web visitors write to me, and tell me to look at the following web link, where John MacArthur tries to defend his heresy on the blood...
Ironically, the very letter that John MacArthur attempts to justify his heresy on the blood with, condemns him! Here are the very words of John MacArthur, from the above article (close to the bottom of his own letter):
"It is not the actual liquid that cleanses us from our sins, but the work of redemption Christ accomplished in pouring it out." —Dr. John MacArthur
What blasphemy!!! John MacArthur accuses Bob Jones University of starting a smear campaign against him; however, MacArthur's own words stand in testimony against him. This has nothing to do with Bob Jones, or anyone else. This has to do with the heresy which John MacArthur, himself, teaches concerning the precious blood of Jesus Christ. It is possible that MacArthur was influenced by reprobates such as Dr. W.E. Vine, a heretic on the blood. The Word of God clearly states in 1st Peter 1:18-19 that it is the blood of Jesus Christ which saves us (see also 1st John 1:7; Colossians 1:14 and Hebrews 9:12 in the King James Bible). Repeatedly we are taught in the Holy Scriptures that we are washed from our sins by Jesus' blood. 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.”
The Lord told Moses in Exodus 12:13 that he was going to look for the lamb's BLOOD when He came through Egypt (i.e., the Passover)...
"...and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt." —Exodus 12:13
The sacrificed lamb WASN'T sufficient enough! God wasn't looking for the dead lamb; He was looking for THE BLOOD! John MacArthur states in his letter that he recognizes and cherishes the precious blood of Jesus; BUT then totally contradicts himself by stating that the PHYSICAL blood of Jesus has no significance. Blasphemy! Hebrews 9:12 calls Mr. MacArthur a dirty, rotten, big liar...
"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." —Hebrews 9:12
Dr. MacArthur really does make some brilliant theological statements at times. Unfortunately, he is totally wrong on repentance, salvation and the blood of Christ, which is bad news. When a man gets the first button wrong on a shirt, all the other buttons follow.
“There's no such thing as a childhood conversion!” —Dr. John MacArthur
God knows that I don't enjoy exposing anyone. I really hate doing it, making enemies. I do enjoy contending for the Christian faith, helping others to see the truth, and laying up treasures in Heaven; but I never enjoy upsetting others, even if it part of preaching the truth of God's Word. John Calvin was a fool, who mixed discipleship and salvation, creating a doctrinal monstrosity that still infects churches today 500 years later. None of Calvinism's 5-points are Biblical. Kindly, MacArthur is teaching damnable doctrines and needs to be exposed for the false teacher he is. ...
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." —Jude 1:3
It's The Blood Of Jesus!