Dr. John MacArthur
Taken from Chapter Nine of the book "New Neutralism II: Exposing The Gray Of Compromise". by John E. Ashbrook
In this chapter I am making no effort to rank these popularizers in order of importance. However, I will admit that Dr. John MacArthur would be number one on my list,
MacArthur's schooling was at Bob Jones University, Los Angeles Pacific College and Talbot Theological Seminary. He is senior pastor of the large Grace Community Church of Panorama City, California and is speaker on the popular "Grace to You' broadcast, He has stirred controversy and gained fame by taking nontraditional positions on the blood of Christ, lordship salvation and the eternal sonship of Christ. He appears to delight in purporting to know more than the historic theologians on these questions. It is not my purpose to analyze these positions. I will leave that to others.
John MacArthur’s contribution to new evangelicalism is to cross all barriers and bridge all gaps in diverse fellowship. He has spoken in Southern Baptist circles at such places as Memphis’ Bellevue Baptist Church with Dr. Adrian Rogers and in the First Baptist Church of Atlanta with Dr. Charles Stanley, He was a Pastors' Conference speaker prior to the Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans, He serves on the Board of Moody Bible Institute and has been a frequent speaker at Moody Founder's Week and Pastors' Conference. He has spoken for R.C. Sproul, Jerry Falwell and various General Association of Regular Baptist Churches. He has been a featured speaker at Wheaton College, Cedarville College, Dallas Theological Seminary, California Graduate School of Theology, Word of Life, Tennessee Temple University and the National Fellowship of Conservative Baptists. I list these names to show that his speaking engagements range from supposed fundamentalists to confessed new evangelicals,
MacArthur has stated, concerning himself and his Grace Community Church staff, that they consider themselves evangelicals, not fundamentalists. In this light, it is rather strange that MacArthur is a member of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America. Grace Community Church was host to the 1990 National Convention of this group. The prospect of this invitation caused some stir among the more fundamental brethren of that fellowship. Consequently, at the group's 1989 convention in Limerick, Pennsylvania, a question and answer session was held with Dr. MacArthur. The panel members quizzed him about the blood of Christ, lordship salvation and Christ's eternal sonship. The group decided that he was not heretical. Sad to say he was not quizzed about his new evangelical connections and engagements. I have not studied MacArthur's writings enough to call him heretical, but a glance at his itineraries demonstrates that he is by all means new evangelical.
I was a member of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America in 1963 and contended on the convention floor that to eliminate criticism of ecumenism and new evangelicalism from the Voice magazine, the group's organ, would open the door for independent men who had no conviction of separation to enter the group and hold ministerial credentials there. In Dr. John MacArthur I offer you Exhibit A.
[See "Selected Resources for Sale" on the left side of the Front Page of this web site, or "Discernment Resources" on the right side, to order this book.
You can order this book direct from John Ashbrook if you wish.
"Here I Stand" Books
536 Greenside Drive
Painsville, Ohio 4407
MacARTHUR LEAVES 'INCARNATIONAL SONSHIP
Popular Bible teacher Dr. John MacArthur now says: "I want to state publicly that I have abandoned the doctrine of 'incarnational sonship.' Careful study and reflection have brought me to understand that Scripture does indeed present the relationship between God the Father and Christ the Son as an eternal Father-Son relationship. I no longer regard Christ's sonship as a role He assumed in His incarnation." We applaud his willingness to reverse himself and acknowledge that his earlier teaching did not square with Scripture, though he still denies that it is "rank heresy." Will "fundamentalists" who have defended his "serious error" teachings now do a sudden reversal? Will MacArthur now recant his teaching on the blood of Christ which many fundamentalists regard as heresy? His incarnational Sonship (and other) teaching caused a schism in the IFCA a decade ago (see 2/1/90 & 11/15/95 CCs). How now will IFCA leaders, who continued to promote him, and other MacArthur defenders react to his reversal? IFCA's Voice magazine for many years has kept right on promoting MacArthur ministries in full-page ads. Should MacArthur and IFCA leaders who sided with him now apologize to the IFCA for the great harm the "Sonship" error has caused to that fellowship?
MacARTHUR'S CONFUSING TEACHINGS ON 'LORDSHIP' & BLOOD
—The following is taken from Preaching to a Dying Nation, a new 250-page book by Drs. R.L. Hymers and Christopher Cagan, available free to preachers, $7 to others, by phone 818/352-0452. Popular teacher Dr. John MacArthur is quoted: "Saving faith is a commitment to leave sin and follow Jesus at all costs." "Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything." Hymers says this is "pure Romanism" and concludes: "Much of today's preaching does not emphasize the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4) simply because the gospel is not needed if man can save himself by making a Lordship decision, as advocated by MacArthur and his followers." [We have found that MacArthur confuses justification and sanctification, and salvation and discipleship (see 1/15/89 CC) –ed.]. MacArthur has said "The blood of Jesus could not save" and "the blood of Christ is a metonym for His death." In his Study Bible he wrote: "Blood is used as a substitute for death." But Cagan uses Rev. 1:5, "He has washed us from our sins in His own blood," and says we could not have been washed in His death. He uses the Lord's Supper as proof that MacArthur is wrong on the Blood, and says: "Why not just take the bread, if the Blood is nothing more than a metonym for the death? Why do we need two separate elements?"
HOW COULD MacARTHUR SIGN IFCA DOCTRINAL STATEMENT?
—Since Dr. John MacArthur recently changed his position on the eternal Sonship of Christ [see 10/1/99 CC], the CC editor called his office and asked how he could sign the IFCA's "eternal Sonship" doctrinal statement all those years when he strongly denied this doctrine. We received a helpful reply (12/1/99 e-mail) from his personal secretary who pointed out that IFCA Executive Board president Richard Gregory was aware of the difference in view and allowed him to sign it. She added: "John has mentioned in a letter to someone else that the statement on sonship in the IFCA doctrine is simply that Christ is the eternal Son of God without any explanation." She said: "Even people who believe in an incarnational sonship, such as he used to, could affirm the statement that He is the eternal Son of God [with] qualification. Therefore, signing it was not a problem for the board or for John." MacArthur doesn't think his teaching created the rift in the IFCA but blames it on "divisive" people. George Zeller observes: "1) I know the men MacArthur is referring to, and these men are not divisive. It was never their desire to bring about a division in the IFCA. Their only desire was to defend and uphold the IFCA doctrinal statement and not to broaden its meaning so as to allow for contrary views. These men were not the ones who caused the rift. It was MacArthur's "incarnational Sonship" teachings that triggered the controversy and the whole problem could have been easily solved from the beginning if the IFCA leadership had simply enforced its own doctrinal statement. 2) The IFCA doctrinal statement simply says Christ is the eternal Son of God without any explanation because we believe exactly what these words mean….Such a clear statement of doctrine does not need explanation. The words mean what they say. MacArthur once taught the following: 'The Bible nowhere says that Christ is the eternal Son.' This denial of eternal Sonship is also very clear and needs no explanation. 3) The problem that we have had with MacArthur is his affirmation of our doctrinal statement 'with qualification.' [In essence he said:] 'I affirm that Christ is the eternal Son of God with the qualification that He did not become the Son of God until Bethlehem.' But what if someone said, e.g., 'I affirm the full deity of Christ with the qualification that I don't really believe He is God!' If the IFCA allows for such qualifications, then any person holding any deviant or heretical view could sign the IFCA statement!"
Thank you for visiting Cephas Ministry Inc. (www.cephasministry.com)