The Gospel According to MacArthur: Examining the book The Gospel According to Jesus Pt 1

I have heard people say that they are not convinced that John MacArthur teaches another gospel. My book review will attempt to prove that the free grace view and MacArthur’s Calvinistic view are two different things. Due to the length of the book I will attempt to do this in multiple parts over time with the passages and principles that justify my position to follow in the final post. I have placed MacArthur’s words in  quotes and mine in ( ). All quotes are from the book By John MacArthur

MacArthur, John F. (2009-05-26). The Gospel According to Jesus: What Is Authentic Faith? Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

“Unconverted sinners were not to be urged to repent. The cost of discipleship; the need to hate one’s own sin; Christ’s call to self-denial; His command to follow Him; and (especially) every mention of submission to Him as Lord were systematically expunged from the message Christians proclaimed to unbelievers.”

(How is it that MacArthur could come up with this? What should be proclaimed to the lost?)

“I expect, for example, that someone will accuse me of teaching salvation by works. Let me say as clearly as possible right now that salvation is by God’s sovereign grace and grace alone.”

(Sovereign grace – the Calvinist’s invention – is the way that MacArthur tries to get around his message being labeled as a works message.  The problem however comes when this “sovereign grace” method is shown to be false. )

MacArthur continues to go on to say what this is: “Nothing a lost, degenerate, spiritually dead sinner can do will in any way contribute to salvation. (True so far) Saving faith, repentance, commitment, and obedience are all divine works, wrought by the Holy Spirit in the heart of everyone who is saved. (False. God does not give us or make us do any of these things. We are not puppets.)

“I have never taught that some presalvation works of righteousness are necessary to or part of salvation. (No, but it ends up being that way because God does not make us believe.)

“But I do believe without apology that real salvation cannot, and will not, fail to produce works of righteousness in the life of a true believer. (Hmm, why because God will do it for us as he did supposedly everything else for us? How is that Biblical?)

“There are no human works in the saving act, (True – Tit 3:5) but God’s work of salvation includes a change of intent, will, desire, and attitude that inevitably produces the fruit of the Spirit. (No, not in reality – read Eph 4 – we are told to put off the old man and put on the new – it is not automatic.) The very essence of God’s saving work is the transformation of the will, (Where does the Bible say that God transforms our will?) resulting in a love for God. Salvation thus establishes the root that will surely produce the fruit.

(Only if some things are true – which they aren’t. Those being:

1)  Man being made to believe (name one verse that says this)
2) Man being made to do good works.
3) Man being given only the new nature (One nature). see Rom 7, Eph 4:20 – 32

However, the Bible refutes all three. Ask me about it if you don’t believe me.)

“Several who disagree with my views have said in print that the lordship controversy is a matter of eternal consequence. Whoever is wrong on this issue is seriously wrong about the most basic of Christian truths. On that we agree.”

(Yes, I agree with that.)

“ I went through a phase of thinking that the whole dispute might be a misunderstanding or semantic argument. But as I studied the issues, I came to realize that this is a fundamental difference in doctrine. After many conversations with those who disagree and hours of studying what they are saying, I am now convinced that the two sides in this argument have distinctly different views of salvation.”

(Thank you. People should take notice here of MacArthur’s own admission.  This is indeed not about semantics. It is about salvation itself. What has to happen for a person to be saved from the penalty of sin?  The answer to that is DIFFERENT if you listen to MacArthur versus free grace Biblicists.)

“Thus the good news of Christ has given way to the bad news of an insidious easy-believism that makes no moral demands on the lives of sinners. It is not the same message Jesus proclaimed.”

(Actually the good news is that Christ has purchased salvation for us and it is currently offered to ALL as a free gift. Jn 3:16, ITim 2:4 The insidious thing is that some have replaced that with a non-saving law message that confuses discipleship with salvation and frustrates the grace of God.  Gal 2:21 The message Jesus proclaimed? Which one? The call to discipleship?)

“They have been told that the only criterion for salvation is knowing and believing some basic facts about Christ.” (Some make this mistake) “They hear from the beginning that obedience is optional.” (No, actually obedience on the part of the sinner is irrelevant – filthy rags – until they are converted. Isa 64:6 The only obedience necessary is to believe the gospel.  Salvation is received through faith. Eph 2:8-9)

“It follows logically, then, that someone’s one-time profession of faith is more valid than the evidence of that person’s ongoing lifestyle in determining whether to embrace him or her as a true believer.” (Yes. MacArthur does not do it justice but this is a key point.  It is not so much the profession but the fact that a person now trusts in Christ as Savior.  This is infinitely more valid than any works.  Christ is an absolute truth against which there is no rebuke.  He is the Son of God as well as being the way, the truth, and the life.  Jn 14:6 Those who stand by faith in Him alone to save are secure indeed for all eternity! Jn 3:36 Nothing can tarnish or change that. Works have no bearing on salvation – before or after. Our works can be questioned as to their motive but Christ’s motive cannot be questioned.  We know also that we still have the sin nature so therefore believers can and will at times still sin. Col 3:5, Rom 6:11-14 This alone nullifies MacArthur’s assumption. )

“You cannot remove the lordship of Christ from the gospel message without undermining faith at its core.”

(That is funny because faith is undermined at its core by saying that God makes people believe. Act 16:31 Paul’s answer to the jailer was legit. He did not tell him that he had to wait for God to make him believe in His timing or any such thing. The jailer had to decide to place his faith in Christ to save. Besides, Christ is Lord meaning God. No one is trying to remove that. MacArthur is referring to his slave/master concept.)

“When Jesus called people to follow Him, He was not seeking companions to be His sidekicks or admirers whom He could entertain with miracles. He was calling people to yield completely and unreservedly to His lordship.”

(What does this have to do with salvation? See my review on the book Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman which delves more into this particular topic.)

“Jesus Himself introduced the slave metaphor in the New Testament. He frequently drew a direct connection between slavery and discipleship.”

(So? Please tell me what this has to do with salvation. Does discipleship = salvation?  Matt. 4:18-22 – following and learning vs Acts 16:30-31 believing on Christ.)

“He never muted His description of what it would cost to follow Him. And (contrary to what some church leaders advocate today) He didn’t reserve the hard words for people who were already believers.”

(Unbelievers can begin learning about Jesus to but they need to come to the point where they decide to trust him alone for salvation. The lost in our churches need to be presented the clear gospel free of works or things like discipleship which will just confuse the simplicity that is in Christ. 2 Cor 11:3-4)

“So understood correctly, the gospel is an invitation to slavery. When we call people to faith in Christ, we need to stress that fact in the same way Jesus did.”

(Wow, see the logical progression here – or lack thereof. Salvation = discipleship = slavery….  The gospel is a call to slavery. Hmm. I Cor15:1-4)

“If we want true liberty from sin and all its fruits, it is not autonomy that we need, but a different kind of bondage: complete surrender to the lordship of Christ.”

(Meaning that God supplies us with faith against our will therefore the necessity of fruit inspection? Gotcha… but no sir.  I’ll take my free gift of salvation earned by Christ and not me. Eph 2:8-9, Rom 5:15-21)

“The gospel according to Jesus calls sinners to give up their independence, deny themselves, submit to an alien will, and abandon all rights in order to be owned and controlled by the Lord. By confessing Jesus as Lord (Kurios), we automatically confess that we are His slaves (douloi).

(Discipleship does call for self denial but the gospel calls for a sinner to trust Christ alone for salvation. Acts 10:43)

“There is also no legitimate way to adjust that message to make it sound appealing to people who admire Jesus but are not prepared to serve Him. Jesus Himself never catered to that perspective. He was not seeking admirers; He was calling followers — not casual followers, but slaves. That explains why He demanded His disciples’ implicit obedience, and when He encountered people who were unwilling to obey unconditionally, He discouraged them from following Him at all.
(Yeah, more confusion of discipleship with salvation/conversion.)

“Listen to the typical gospel presentation nowadays. You will hear sinners entreated with words like, “accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior”; (this could be true as long as you mean trust Christ alone) “ask Jesus into your heart”; (no, the Bible does not tell us to do this) “invite Christ into your life”;(nor this) or “make a decision for Christ.” You may be so accustomed to hearing those phrases that it will surprise you to learn that none of them is based on biblical terminology. (No they aren’t but they are not the free grace view.) They are the products of a diluted gospel. (Yes, but JMac’s discipleship/works gospel isn’t any better. Rom 4:5) It is not the gospel according to Jesus. (None of it is.) The gospel Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, (NO, discipleship is not the gospel I Cor 15.) a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, (NO) not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. (Irrelevant because JMac is referring to discipleship anyway – not salvation – so obviously you don’t have to pray for discipleship or salvation.) Jesus’ message liberated people from the bondage of their sin (which message – the call to discipleship?) while it confronted and condemned hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of true righteousness. It put sinners on notice that they must turn from sin and embrace God’s righteousness. It was in every sense good news, yet it was anything but easy-believism.”

(Wow, another huge batch of confusion there. )

“One segment of evangelicalism even propounds the doctrine that conversion to Christ involves “no spiritual commitment whatsoever.”1 (How does an unregenerate person make a Spiritual decision!? Regeneration before faith is false. Eph 1:12-13; Rom 10:17;1 Cor 1:21 -more on this in the final series post. A person must be converted before any spiritual decision can be made using the new man.) Those who hold this view of the gospel teach that Scripture promises salvation to anyone who simply believes the facts about Christ and claims eternal life. (The correct way of saying this is that a person CAN believe the gospel and be saved. John 3:15-18) There need be no turning from sin, no resulting change in lifestyle, no commitment — not even a willingness to yield to Christ’s lordship. (Don’t worry about any of this before conversion. An unregenerate person won’t want to do these things anyway. This is why the Calvinist invents the idea of regeneration before faith so that God will make them want to. ) Those things, they say, amount to human works, which corrupt grace and have nothing to do with faith. (They are human works if God doesn’t do them for us – are they not? ) The fallout of such thinking is a deficient doctrine of salvation.” (So God making people believe and adding in discipleship to the gospel is better?)

“It is justification without sanctification, and its impact on the church has been catastrophic.” (Quite the opposite is true. The church today is filled with works gospels including Calvinistic Lordship salvation – slave-ation – probation –whatever you want to call it. Btw, the Bible mentions that believers are the sons of God – how does that square with the slave thing? Gal 3:26; Gal 4:5-9, 31; Eph 1:5; Rom 8:15-17)

“The community of professing believers is populated with people who have bought into a system that encourages shallow and ineffectual faith.” (They are also populated with many who think that God makes the elect believe and that they must toil in law keeping hopefully proving that they are one of the chosen ones. Talk about frustrating grace for believer and keeping the lost lost. I’d gladly like to see a person with a weak faith that is solely placed on Christ for salvation versus any person with strong faith placed in Christ plus their own works. Gal 3:1-2)

“Many sincerely believe they are saved, but their lives are utterly barren of any verifying fruit.” (Maybe so, but why is that? Is this always because they are not saved? Or, is it because they have not yet matured in their growth? I Cor 3 Who is the judge of fruit anyway?  I Cor 3:13-15

God looks at the person and knows if they are identified with Christ or not. Col 3:3-4; 2Cor 5:21; Isa 61:10; Rom 3:25; I John 5:12; If they are, then He sees Christ’s righteousness anyway – not whatever sins they commit. All sins committed in the past, present, or future are forgiven for a believer. Ps 103:12; I John 2:2; Rom 5:1; 8:1; Eph 1:7)

“Contemporary Christians have been conditioned to believe that because they recited a prayer, signed on a dotted line, walked an aisle, or had some other experience, they are saved and should never question their salvation”

(Straw man – this is true however we should never question our salvation once we believe Christ for it. To do so would be to question the very Person we have believed in.

1Jn 5:9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
1Jn 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
1Jn 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
1Jn 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
1Jn 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.)

“Scripture encourages us to examine ourselves to determine if we are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5).”

(Wrong, in the sense that this is not to be done by fruit inspection but by checking who we believe in for salvation. Phil 3:8-9, Eph 1:13, Gal 3:5)

“Peter wrote, “Be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you” (2 Peter 1:10). It is right to examine our lives and evaluate the fruit we bear, for “each tree is known by its own fruit” (Luke 6:44). The Bible teaches clearly that the evidence of God’s work in a life is the inevitable fruit of transformed behavior (1 John 3:10). (No. Walking in the Spirit does have view-able results at times but fruit alone does not prove or disprove salvation.) Faith that does not result in righteous living is dead and cannot save (James 2:14 – 17).3 “(False, this is a common Calvinist misconception and view of these verses. The faith being called dead here is relating to its inability to be any good for those around you by way of good works. This is dealing with justification before men (James 2:16), not God. Rom 4:2-9)

“Professing Christians utterly lacking the fruit of true righteousness will find no biblical basis for assurance of salvation (1 John 2:4). (Yeah, good luck trying to quantify “utterly”. People living in sin surely have an occasion to struggle with doubts – Satan will be trying to use this to their detriment. Rev 12:9-10; I Pet 5:8 – but assurance is found in Christ and the erring believer can confess and get right – fellowship wise – with God (I John 1:9.))

“Real salvation is not only justification. It cannot be isolated from regeneration, sanctification, and ultimately glorification. “(No, it can’t in one sense but the gospel message leading to conversion results in justification once the message is received by faith.  This is why we have to make sure to keep discipleship in the realm of ongoing sanctification for the believer. To mix the two is to confuse the whole thing. )

“Salvation is the work of God through which we are “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29; cf. 13:11). Genuine assurance comes from seeing the Holy Spirit’s transforming work in one’s life, not from clinging to the memory of some experience.”

(No, as I said, genuine assurance comes from the genuine object of our faith – Christ- not by our works. Rom 8:33-34)

“Faith, like grace, is not static. Saving faith is more than just understanding the facts and mentally acquiescing. (It is trusting/believing) It is inseparable from repentance, surrender, and a supernatural longing to obey. (No, where is this in the Bible?) None of those responses can be classified exclusively as a human work, (false – like I said – they can be if a human does them) any more than believing itself is solely a human effort. Misunderstanding on that key point is at the heart of the error of those who reject lordship salvation. (Prove it from scripture) They assume that because Scripture contrasts faith and works, (YES!!! Gal 3:2  This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?) faith must be incompatible with works. (They indeed are incompatible as far as conversion goes. JMac is looking at this from and all encompassing angle with God doing everything for us. Believers are not saved by any works though they “should” walk in them. Eph 2:10)

“They set faith in opposition to submission, yieldedness, or turning from sin, and they categorize all the practical elements of salvation as human works. (Likewise MacArthur lumps meanings of everything else into the idea of faith making it end up to be an all inclusive term – which it isn’t.) They stumble over the twin truths that salvation is a gift, yet it costs everything. (No, MacArthur stumbles over the fact that salvation is a free gift and his type of discipleship for the believer comes after conversion if at all.)

“Salvation is a gift, (Yes) but it is appropriated through a faith that goes beyond merely understanding and assenting to the truth. (No, there is no such thing as a kind of faith concerning conversion.) Demons have that kind of “faith” (James 2:19). (Irrelevant. Demons believe there is one God James 2:19 and can’t believe on Christ for salvation anyway because it is not offered to them.) True believers are characterized by faith that is as repulsed by the life of sin as it is attracted to the mercy of the Savior. (False! See where the logic leads with this. Dangerous.)
On repentance MacArthur says, “The Greek word for repentance, metanoia, literally means “to think after.” It implies a change of mind, and some who oppose lordship salvation have tried to limit its meaning to that.29 (It means what it means. Is he trying to say that he is trying to expand it from that meaning? Why would he do that unless he wants it to mean something else based on his Calvinistic presuppositions?) But a definition of repentance cannot be drawn solely from the etymology of the Greek word. (Since when? Yes we must compare scripture with scripture but, even in that, the meaning of the word presents no problem.) Repentance as Jesus characterized it in this incident involves a recognition of one’s utter sinfulness and a turning from self and sin to God (cf. 1 Thess. 1:9). (No, they were saved by faith, not by turning from idols. That was something that happened after conversion.) Far from being a human work, it is the inevitable result of God’s work in a human heart. (No, regeneration is the result of faith in Christ to save but it is not inevitable that we will always walk in the new man.) And it always represents the end of any human attempt to earn God’s favor. It is much more than a mere change of mind — it involves a complete change of heart, attitude, interest, and direction. It is a conversion in every sense of the word. The Bible does not recognize “conversion” that lacks this radical change of direction (Luke 3:7 – 8). (False, these verses do not prove this point. We should do works meet for repentance but that is different than saying you must do them in order to prove that you are saved.) A true believer cannot remain rebellious — or even indifferent. (False. You would have to advocate a “one nature” position to argue this and that position would be false anyway.

Rom 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
We still have the old sin nature – the body – but also the Spirit.
) Genuine faith will inevitably provoke some degree of obedience. (No, faith in the correct object results in the new birth but it does not make the flesh go away.) In fact, Scripture often equates faith with obedience (John 3:36; Rom. 1:5; 16:26; 2 Thess. 1:8).30 “By faith Abraham [the father of true faith] . . . obeyed” (Heb. 11:8). That’s the heart of the message of Hebrews 11, the great treatise on faith. Faith and works are not incompatible. Jesus even calls the act of believing a work (John 6:29) — not merely a human work, but a gracious work of God in us. (He is explaining this wrong. That is not what Jesus meant there.) He brings us to faith, enables and empowers us to believe unto obedience (cf. Rom. 16:26). (NO, this verse is talking about us being able to believe because of the gospel – look back at verse 25.) It is precisely here that the key distinction must be made. Salvation by faith does not eliminate works per se. (It eliminates it as far as conversion goes.) It does away with works that are the result of human effort alone (Eph. 2:8). (False, see the danger of the “faith is a gift” view yet?)

It abolishes any attempt to merit God’s favor by our works (v. 9). But it does not deter God’s foreordained purpose that our walk should be characterized by good works (v. 10). (Irrelevant, don’t confuse conversion with sanctification.) We must remember above all that salvation is a sovereign work of God. (No, this is the crux of the matter.  Salvation is earned by Christ who paid our sin debt by His sacrificially death on the cross, shed blood, and resurrection. Salvation is offered to all based on that work done for us – NOT – Christ/God believing or repenting for us etc)

Speaking of salvation by faith, MacArthur goes on to say, “Biblically it is defined by what it produces, not by what one does to get it.” (No, it is defined by Christ and all one does to get it is believe!!! Think about how many times JMac prompts me to say this.)

“Works are not necessary to earn salvation.  But true salvation wrought by God will not fail to produce the good works that are its fruit (cf. Matt. 7:17). (Irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints are both false. This means that God does not force us to believe and that we do not have to persevere to prove that we are saved.  Perseverance of the saints is not eternally security. God does not have to make us do good works in order for us to stay saved.  Our salvation is based on Christ and His rightousness as mentioned earlier. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit and covered by the blood of Christ.)

“No aspect of salvation is merited by human works, but it is all the work of God (Titus 3:5 – 7).” (If only JMac and others actually understood this.)

“Thus salvation cannot be defective in any dimension.” (Salvation cannot be defective because Christ purchased it and God the Father accepted His payment. Not because God makes us “sovereignly” go through the process as elected ones. )

“ As a part of His saving work, God will produce repentance, faith, sanctification, yieldedness, obedience, and ultimately glorification. Since He is not dependent on human effort in producing those elements, an experience that lacks any of them cannot be the saving work of God.”

(This whole thing is totally false! There is no scriptural support for this. Now can people see the difference between JMac’s Calvinistic view and discipleship gospel and the free grace view and free grace gospel?)

JMac teaches another gospel because Calvinism leads to another gospel.  Augustine and Calvin testify to this because they have articulated these same type of ideas years and years ago. The erroneous ideas behind Lordship salvation and Calvinism are not new at all. (See my post “Salvation in their Own Words Pt 3”)

Please as always feel free to comment and let me know what you think whether you agree or disagree.

God Bless and don’t forget to stand for the faith no matter what people like Jmac or his followers might say.

Jim Floyd

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59 Responses to The Gospel According to MacArthur: Examining the book The Gospel According to Jesus Pt 1

  1. Jim,

    Excellent expose’.

    And yes, it is the “gospel” according to John MacArthur — and NOT according to Jesus and His Word, the Bible.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  2. jimfloyd12 says:

    Yeah, it is sad to think that most churches today are teaching a gospel that more resembles MacArthur’s man made gospel than the real thing.

    Jim F

  3. Nan says:

    I agree with J.Mac that the free gift of salvation produces repentence, a renewed mind and righteous works. All I can “do” to be saved is to let go, fall on my knees, cry uncle and give in. Unless I give up control, how can I be born again?
    Believing in Jeus Christ is not the same as believing Jesus Christ.
    From nangros@frontier.com

  4. jimfloyd12 says:

    Nan,

    Do you then believe that God performs all of salvation for the elect few? How then do you know if you are one of the elect short of fruit inspection to see if you are living as a person controlled by God? Conversion itself is not a matter of giving up control of one’s life. It is a matter of trusting in the work of Christ (believing the gospel). Conversion results in regeneration which gives us the new man but this does not mean that the old man goes away. The regenerated person then has the ability to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and His Word. We have to be careful about thinking that God produces things in us like repentance (which is just a change of mind). Does God change our mind for us? Why should God change our mind for us if we are commanded to repent (change our mind) believing the gospel? Makes no sense. The Phillipian jailer was not told to give up the control of his life, turn from sins, wait for God to turn him from his sins, count the cost of following Christ in discipleship etc. Paul told him to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what you and everyone else must do to be saved. Let’s not make it harder than it is. Paul didn’t.

    “Believing in Jesus Christ is not the same as believing Jesus Christ.”

    You’d have to clarify your take on the difference with this because I don’t believe there is one. Are you trying to say Christ makes us believe? Otherwise it appears to be the same difference.

    Jim F

  5. jimfloyd12 says:

    The thing we have to remember here is that MacArthur does not give the correct gospel. No person is saved by an incorrect gospel therefore there is no new man and no benefits from it – just frustration for believers and futility for the lost because it can’t save.

    Think of it this way. The condition for receiving salvation is faith in Christ alone. What has MacArthur said that signifies that he understands this without additions or without making God do everything for us?

    Not to mention MacArthur’s own testimony doesn’t include an understanding of this. He basically says that he always believed and his life showed the works that it needed to. More on that later.

    Jim F

  6. jimfloyd12 says:

    Here is a portion of John MacArthur’s salvation testimony. It is part of a discussion with Phil Johnson and can be found in it entirety online. I won’t link to it directly but here is the relevant portion:

    PHIL: How old were you when you first recall sensing your need for Christ?

    JOHN: Well I always believed the gospel. I don’t ever…I don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t believe the gospel. I mean, it was so wonderfully modeled by my Mom and Dad, it was so consistent. They were exactly at home what they were in the church. And what my Dad was in the pulpit he was in the house. And Christ was always very wonderful to me and inviting to me. And my Mom and Dad lived out their Christian life before me. And so, I never rebelled against it. I always knew I needed Jesus to be my Savior.

    But there was an incident when I was about nine or ten. I had gotten involved in some vandalism because some kids had kind of prompted me to do it. My Dad was actually preaching in another town and he took me with him for the week of evangelistic meetings and some kids vandalized a school. And they happened to be, one of them happened to be the pastor’s kid and so he drags me along, you know, my Father takes me to spend the week with this pastor’s family with him. Anyway, I get involved in this thing. And they did some stuff in the school and I came back and I was…I felt terrible and frightened by it. And I sat down on the steps with my Dad…as a result, I don’t know…remember the exact time sequence, but I said, “You know, I think…I’m not a good boy and I need the Lord to forgive me.” And that was sort of an initial prompting. And I remember my Dad praying with me on the steps that the Lord would save me. There may have been other times that I brought it up, but that one stands out in my mind. And as to whether I was actually converted at that time, I don’t know. Again, in the years following I never rebelled, I was always responsive to the things of Christ. But I don’t know that they were really the dominant matters of my life and the priorities that early.

    PHIL: So you’re saying…are you saying it would be difficult for you to put your finger on when your conversion took place?

    JOHN: Yeah. I’ve never been able to do that. And it doesn’t bother me. I think I’m one of those kids…I was one of those kids that never rebelled and always believed. And so when God did His saving work in my heart, it was not discernable to me. I went away to high school and for all I knew, I loved Christ, I was part of the ministry of the church. I went away to college and I wanted to serve the Lord and honor the Lord. I was certainly immature. But at some point along the line, I really do believe there was a transformation in my heart, but I think it may have been to some degree imperceptible to me because I didn’t ever have a rebellious time, I didn’t ever revolt against, you know, the gospel or not believe. And I guess that’s…in some ways that’s a grace act on God’s part. So that all that wonderful training found some level of fertile soil in my heart and none of it was wasted.

  7. philipdean2013 says:

    Very well done! I like your system of answering point by point – very effective. I agree this is a FAR CRY from the real gospel – Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and ye will be saved. It’s that simple. It has to be simple enough for a person who is at their wits end, who is turning to God and crying “have mercy on me, a Sinner!”
    When you have the TULIP philosophy, and everything you look at is through those lenses, you are incapable of reading Gods word except through Calvin’s glasses.

  8. jimfloyd12 says:

    Thanks Philip,

    I figure it is easier to read and follow if I do these in that fashion – at least as far as a blog post goes. Writing a book would be a different story.

    Glad to see that you agree. Yes, TULIP tunnel vision is not how you would want to view scripture. It is odd to me that most Lordship types put such an emphasis on works but do they realize what type of person Calvin was or what heinous things he did based on his erroneous beliefs? Who in their right mind would want to view scripture from his perspective?

  9. Curtis says:

    “If you believe what you want about the Gospel, it is not the Gospel you believe , but yourself. “

  10. john says:

    Jim, MacArthur’s false gospel is very similar to the false gospels being taught by most major evangelists, churches, denominations, and ministries. I would highly recommend the book “I Never Knew You: The Horror of the Great White Throne Judgement and How You Can Avoid It” by Michael Patrick Bowen.

    In this book, Bowen catalogs the false gospels of many of the biggest names in evangelism (Joel Osteen, Charles Stanley, Pat Robertson, Rick Warren, John Hagee, Beth Moore, James Dobson, Jimmy Swaggart, Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, Franklin Graham, and Billy Graham).

    Following are a couple of excerpts regarding Charles Stanley’s and Billy Graham’s respective false gospels and the eternal consequences of believing a false gospel:

    Regarding Charles Stanley:

    “Stanley’s plan of salvation goes like this: If you want to accept Jesus as your savior then you must pray and admit the fact to God that you are a sinner, that you must believe that Jesus died to pay for your sins on the cross, that He came back to life, and then you must obligate yourself to His rule by transferring control of your own life over to the control of Jesus.”

    and

    “This is a “works-based” plan of salvation that will not save a lost person from God’s wrath, and therefore it is a false gospel according to the bible. While I love Charles Stanley and will always speak well of him, the plan of salvation that he teaches is not the same one that
    Christ teaches us in the bible.”

    and

    “In sum, no combination of good works plus faith in Christ can save a lost person from the lake of fire. No matter how sincere you are before God, partial faith in Christ and partial faith in the
    Christian Lifestyle will not save you. Only faith alone (apart from your good works) in the finished work of Jesus Christ will save you. Either Charles Stanley is right and Jesus Christ is wrong, or Charles Stanley is wrong and Jesus Christ is right. Whom do you choose to believe, this day?”

    Regarding Billy Graham:

    “In sum, will you choose to believe Billy Graham, or will you choose to believe Jesus Christ? Go to his BGEA Website, read what his salvation statement says, listen to him on the radio, watch his television sermons. Inform yourself fully on what he teaches. Then contrast what he says with the things Jesus Christ says. In the end, compare everything you learn about Billy Graham’s teachings to what God tells us in John 3:16, John 6:40, John 6:47, 1 Thessalonians 4:14, and Ephesians 2:8-9. They will not match. They will be very different, but, you must choose whom you will believe. If you choose what Christ says, you will have everlasting life in heaven; however, if you choose a plan that is different from Christ’s plan of salvation, you will be cast into the everlasting lake of fire:”

  11. jimfloyd12 says:

    Thanks for that John, I’ll have to check out that book when I get a chance.

    Yes, I think MacArthur’s take on salvation and the gospel is widespread throughout churches in America and around the world.

    The problem lies in that to be saved a man must be born again and this doesn’t happen if a person just waits for God to bestow it upon them or if they believe a works gospel. It is not that hard to understand really but people like lies better than the truth for some reason.

    Jim F

  12. Pingback: The Gospel according to John MacArthur | Redeemingmoments

  13. jimfloyd12 says:

    Here is a great sermon that discusses some of these issues concerning “change of life” teaching.

    Jim F

  14. philipdean2013 says:

    Pardon me if I touch on a sore point here, but telling someone they need to repent is not Lordship Salvation. If this strikes you as rude or challenging, please by all means delete this. But the book by Bowen was pretty much one of the first rants I ever did on my blog!
    Lordship Salvation requires an almost total cessation from sin to consider yourself saved. In the case of Ray Comfort, he makes the mistake between salvation and sanctification, a common error.
    Telling someone they need to repent and be born again is Biblical.
    17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4:17 (KJV)
    Repentance Biblically is a change of thought leading to a change of actions. If I tell you you’re going to Hell unless you get saved, and you get on your knees and pray to the Lord to be saved you just… what? Repented. Did the repentance save you? No, the Lord saved you when you placed your trust in Him.

    Again, if you feel this is rude, or challenging or disrespectful, please delete it! I just highly recommend all people stay away from the Michael Patrick Bowen book. If you like I can give you the link to my post on it. and if you feel this is done in the wrong spirit, again, please delete it.

  15. Curtis says:

    yes absolutely a soul needs to repent to be saved however it is possible to repent and never trust Christ Jesus as Savior , but you can not believe Trust/Rely/Depend on Christ Jesus paid for our/my sin’s with out repenting . When a Soul Trust Christ Jesus as Savior for payment of Sin’s they have repented and believed the Gospel and receive eternal Life for ever Justified no matter what. To require a Soul to turn from sin for Salvation is heresy . That’s why Jesus said Repent , Stop trying to work your way to God. Believe I am The way, I am The Truth, I am The Life , No one comes to the Father but by Me
    John 14:6

  16. jimfloyd12 says:

    Hi Philip, I understand what you are saying. Let me put it this way. Repentance is required for salvation but in terms of conversion it is synonymous with faith. You said, “Repentance Biblically is a change of thought leading to a change of actions.” I would basically agree with this howvere we need to be clear as to how this is applied. Repentance relating to conversion is a change of mind that results in trusting Christ alone. So the change of thought is: I need to trust Christ as my Savior and the change of action is: trusting Christ as Savior – as opposed to whatever or whoever I was trusting before. Does that make sense? It has nothing to do with works.

    I understand that not all those who advocate repentance from sins for salvation are strictly Lordship salvationists (so they say anyway) but Lordship salvationists like JMac do all use that same type of repentance from sins requirement. Scaling back some of JMac’s lordship demands like disciplship etc doesn’t make repentance from sins for salvation ok. Some will say well repentance is a total change of mind about Christ that includes a willingness to turn from sins and leads to a changed life. This is not true however. It is putting repentance into an overarching view. Concerning conversion it should be more tightly defined.

    Further study of verses related to repentance would be helpful. There are no verses that say that repentance at conversion is in relation to sin. It is in relation to the Savior.

    I welcome your comments Philip. I consider it no disrespect on your part. From this I would say that you agree with me, “If I tell you you’re going to Hell unless you get saved, and you get on your knees and pray to the Lord to be saved you just… what? Repented. Did the repentance save you? No, the Lord saved you when you placed your trust in Him.” Correct?

    Jim F

  17. jimfloyd12 says:

    Curtis,

    You are correct and Biblical.

    “When a Soul Trust Christ Jesus as Savior for payment of Sin’s they have repented and believed the Gospel and receive eternal Life for ever Justified no matter what. ”

    Jim F

  18. john says:

    Jim, I think that all of those who advocate “turning from sins for salvation” are strictly Lordship “salvationists.”

    Following is an excerpt from the doctrinal statement of Clear Gospel Campaign:

    “d) Regarding the Denial of the Doctrine of Grace

    We believe that the requirement of works to attain eternal life is incompatible with the belief that Salvation is a gift of God (John 4:10; Romans 4:4; 11:6; Galatians 2:21; 3:10-14; 5:1-4; Ephesians 2:8-9), including:

    i) the belief that the performance of specific works or actions, such as circumcision, baptism in water, public confession of Christ, or speaking in tongues, is required in order to secure eternal life;

    ii) the belief that a promise of future works of the law must be offered in exchange for God’s offer of eternal life, such as “repenting of one’s sins,” or “making Christ the Lord of one’s life;”

    iii) the belief that obedience to God’s laws are necessary to maintain one’s salvation, and that salvation can therefore be lost through disobedience to the laws of God;

    iv) the belief that one must persevere in good works and obedience to the Ten Commandments to confirm that they are saved, thereby requiring that works are ultimately necessary to secure salvation, and that the sure and final declaration of salvation is only offered in conjunction with the works of the law.

    We believe that the aforementioned works-based doctrines contravene the very meaning of the word “grace,” insulting the gracious nature of God Himself as the giver of eternal life, thereby constituting a rejection of his offer of eternal life (Romans 11:6-7; Ephesians 2:8-9). We find no evidence of saving faith in a profession of faith tainted by any of these heresies.

    We acknowledge that believers may fall into error or confusion regarding salvation and works after their conversion, as happened to the church of Galatia (Galatians 1:6-7. 3:1). We further acknowledge that the believers of Galatia were regarded as “brethren,” (Galatians 1:3), having fallen into this grievous error subsequent to their coming to an authentic faith in Christ (Galatians 3:1-3). We note, however, that the authors of this grievous error, who had never believed on Christ alone, having simply added Jesus Christ to a pre-existing confession of salvation by works (Acts 15:1) were regarded as “false brethren.” (Galatians 2:4). To this end, we affirm that a lost sinner must, at some time in his life, believe on Christ alone, apart from the works of the law, for his salvation, and that apart from such an authentic moment of saving faith, there is no hope of salvation.

    We believe that the more ardently and regularly a pastor or teacher holds forth any of the above perversions of the gospel of grace as a necessity for salvation, the more firmly a pre-existing grid of salvation-by-works is fabricated in the hearts and minds of the congregants, progressively shackling the lost sinner more hopelessly behind a veil of deception, making it less and less likely that any forthcoming profession of faith has meaningfully grasped the message of salvation.”

  19. john says:

    Phillip, you said:

    “If I tell you you’re going to Hell unless you get saved, and you get on your knees and pray to the Lord to be saved you just… what? Repented. Did the repentance save you? No, the Lord saved you when you placed your trust in Him.”

    My comment: I agree that the Lord saved you when you placed your trust in Him. However, praying to the Lord to be saved is not the same as trusting in Him. If someone does not trust in Christ, then asking to be saved will not help. If someone does trust in Christ, then asking to be saved is not necessary.

  20. jimfloyd12 says:

    John,

    You said, “Jim, I think that all of those who advocate “turning from sins for salvation” are strictly Lordship “salvationists.”

    I agree with that basically but I believe that there are added extremes within the broader LS group. Some are more loose four point calvinists and reject limited atonement and many of MacArthur’s extremes like committment to discipleship etc but still have some of the basics of LS like repentance being a willingness to turn from sin and live a changed life. Also anyone holding to perseverance of the saints is a LS advocate whether they admit it or not.

    I agree with the material from Clear Gospel Campaign and I echo your sentiment that praying a prayer plays no part in receiving the free gift but faith does. Many people that place their faith in Christ express that in prayer in some fashion but it is Christ alone that saves when we decide to trust in Him. A person can simply hear the gospel and believe it and be saved without mouthing any prayer.

    The danger of LS is that it is works oriented start to finish. Repentance defined as turning from sin or willingness to turn from sin ties into that. It is opposed to free grace (salvation being a free gift).

    Jim F

  21. philipdean2013 says:

    Yes, Jim, you’re correct. I agree with how you summed up what we’re both saying.

  22. mary says:

    hi guys just been listening to mike gendrons new radio show where he brought on his pastor. i was horrified they claim to believe in the gospel that they r saved by grace by faith and claim eternal life. then he said 90% of christians are only professing as they use james 2 dead faith and saving faith if your life has not been changed drastically that u r not saved they say there are two kinds of faith. they are now telling most true born agains that they are not truly saved and putting them under works. talk about so much confusion of what the gospel truly is. mike gendron has been troubling me the way he is going he is a calvanist and turning everyone else that way he is so convincing because he does such a good job in exposing catholicsm.

  23. jimfloyd12 says:

    Mary,

    Yes Gendron advocates that a person must show evidence of change. There however is no such thing as kind of faith concerning conversion. Many Calvinists will expose Catholicism to a degree but they still have errors of their own.

    Jim F

  24. Angie says:

    Yes, “reformeds” will only expose Catholicism up to the parts that are not “reformed”, and they stop exposing Catholicism at the parts where Catholicism is the same as what reformeds believe: those Catholic parts the reformers didn’t reform but retained. Those parts of the elephants running around, knocking over the furniture, inside the living room.

  25. jimfloyd12 says:

    Welcome Angie,

    Yes, you would think it would have been obvious for them to have rejected all of the problems with Catholic theology. Sadly, certain elements lingered on even into the reformation and ever since. The thing is that people don’t need Catholism or Reformed Catholicism to help them understand the Bible. They both on the contrary are detriments to Biblical understanding.

    Jim F

  26. William says:

    Is anyone aware of the fact that in John MacArthur’s other book entitled, “The Gospel According to the Apostles” that MacArthur made a rather evil statement revealing his evil persona regarding Free Grace gospel believers? On page 205 at the bottom paragraph he states, “Frankly, some mongrel species of dispensationalism out to die, and I will be happy to join the cortege”. In other words, MacArthur was referring to the Dispensationalism and teachings of Lewis Sperry Chafer, Charles Ryrie, Zane Hodges, and others. Such a hostile statement says a lot about where he’s coming from.

  27. jimfloyd12 says:

    No doubt MacArthur would love for his critics to die out and for his Lordship style works salvation to be unchallenged. What he is doing however is setting himself at odds with God and those who understand the gospel. Very telling in my opinion that he would do that.

    Jim F

  28. William says:

    That’s not the only thing that is revealing about MacArthur. I recently discovered that he denies childhood salvation. The following is an excerpt from an article online which reveals his position on childhood salvation: On September 25, 1990 at the Calvary Baptist Church in Brewer, Maine (Rev. Larry Pawson, pastor), Dr. MacArthur was involved in a question and answer session which was publicly taped. During that session he said the following about child salvation:

    “Now let me say this and I don’t want you to panic when I say it. Saving faith is an ADULT ISSUE. Saving faith is an ADULT EXPERIENCE. Salvation is an ADULT EXPERIENCE. Am I saying that a child cannot be saved? I’m saying that salvation is a conscious turning from sin to follow Jesus Christ with an understanding of something of the sinfulness of sin, its consequences and something of who Jesus Christ is, what He has provided and that I’m committing my life to Him. At what point can a child understand that?…I tell parents that salvation is an adult decision….There is no illustration in Scripture of childhood salvation. There is none. People want to throw the Philippian jailer and his household; well that’s talking about his servants so there is no reference there about his children. So there is no such thing as a childhood conversion.”

    Every church that I’ve been to always has a CHILDREN’S MINISTRY. MacArthur’s statement blatantly contradicts Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:13-16, and Luke 18:16. God made the Free Grace gospel of John 3:16 so simple and easy that a child could BELIEVE and be SAVED!

  29. jimfloyd12 says:

    Yeah, I have seen that before. He denies that children can be saved but it is a foolish error. Any person may believe the gospel for salvation and even children can understand the gospel as outlined in the Bible. I believed at age 5.

    MacArthur also in his own testimony does not claim to have done himself what he advocates here:

    “…a conscious turning from sin to follow Jesus Christ with an understanding of something of the sinfulness of sin, its consequences and something of who Jesus Christ is, what He has provided and that I’m committing my life to Him.”

    He say that he was always saved and knows this because the didn’t rebel. You can find this online in an interview he did with Phil Johnson on one of his websites.

    There is also the problem with MacArthur had with failing to understand the importance of the blood of Christ relating to the atonement.

    Jim F

  30. mary says:

    Yes, its breaks my heart about macarthur, such a revered man especially with the Baptists. You dare speak against him it certainly gets you in hot water. What a wake up call for me, i thought these men were so godly, yet they are misleading thousands to hell with their so called heavenly gospel.

  31. jimfloyd12 says:

    Yes Mary, I wish it weren’t so but it is true that MacArthur teaches a different gospel. The “lordship” gospel and free grace gospel can’t both be true. I want to also note that I don’t have anything personal against MacArthur or lordship proponents but their teachings do need to be called out and examined according to scripture. When you find that it doesn’t match up then it is our job to defend the true gospel no matter how unpopular that might be. Thankfully most that see the error are eventually thankful that it was brought to their attention even though it can be a shock at first.

  32. William says:

    2 Corinthians 11:4 is so true today. The church has lost much spiritual discernment. It appears that many people just blindly follow the teachings of JMac and others and have taken their teachings for granted and accepted it as sound Biblical doctrine without ever comparing “their” teachings to what God’s Word really teaches.
    Just because JMac is a popular well known speaker with a huge congregation and the president of a seminary and on the radio does not make him and his teachings Biblically correct.

  33. jimfloyd12 says:

    You are correct William. We all need to be discerning and comparing all things, from any person, with scripture. Errors and lies are some of the best weapons of the devil. Especially when he can get seemingly trustworthy people to spread them for him unwittingly.

  34. William says:

    Yes, Jim. The devil does not always feed poison so obviously, sometimes he insidiously hides it in the meat. When it comes to Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, it’s more obvious and more easily discernible, but when it comes to Lordship Salvation, it’s a little more tricky and takes more discernment.

  35. jimfloyd12 says:

    Yeah and once it sets in it can be a long painful process to remove all of it. It tends to entrench itself deeply.

  36. Curtis says:

    That Lordship Salvation is real slick and is prevalent in my area, entrenched in the Culture of Amish and Mennonite for me even attending IFCA Fundamentalist and Evangelical assemblies . I didn’t even know I was under the Influence of Lordship Salvation but my spirit was troubled and I didn’t sleep good at nite. Now that I have been sitting under a pulpit and searching the scriptures to confirm I am hearing a simple Gospel message of Free Grace. I sleep good and my spirit is not troubled in spite of difficulties I am facing. Now that I study the Free Grace gospel I can spot and catch a counterfeit gospel just by the sound of a speakers voice. Now I know what Jesus meant when He said ” my sheep hear my voice”
    Curtis

  37. jimfloyd12 says:

    That is great to hear Curtis! I’m am glad that your your spirit is free from the oppression that can come from those that try to, in effect, put us back under the law or make us think that we have to continuously work to measure up in order to prove that our faith is real. Thankfully faith is only the conduit by which we receive the free gift of salvation. I also will add that you are now in a much better place from which to actually serve God and live the joyful Christian life that God intends for His children. Serving God is very difficult if there is unrest about our eternal position in Christ.

    I’m glad also that you are able to see the counterfeits. Those who can are in the minority. Funny you mention the sound of their voice. I have often marveled at just the sound and tone of some of these LS teachers and preachers. Also, once you understand the real thing – the free grace gospel – you can spot ANY false gospel because they won’t match up.

    Blessings,

    Jim F

  38. Speedy says:

    “The gospel is a call to slavery” — sorry but at that point, I’m done reading

    I might finish it later (if I have a capacity to read this heresy)
    There are huge similarities between LS & ISLAM (which means submit)

  39. jimfloyd12 says:

    Speedy,

    Thanks for stopping by. I don’t blame you. When writing some of these reviews I have to take many breaks. Especially with this and the book by Kyle Idleman. Both likened the call to salvation as the call to slavery. Obviously they don’t understand grace or the blessed freedom in Christ.

    Jim F

  40. Pingback: John MacArthur’s Lies, ‘Saved or Self-Deceived’ | Redeemingmoments

  41. James says:

    On the comment of child salvation. Are you saying that if a child doesn’t hear the Gospel or doesn’t understand it then they are doomed to Hellfire?

  42. jimfloyd12 says:

    James,

    No, not necessarily. I believe there is an age of accountability. I believe that once a person is able to understand it then they are accountable. Also I do not believe some mentally or physically handicapped people will be accountable since they weren’t ever able to understand.

    Jim

  43. James says:

    Thanks for clarifying that up for me Jim. By the way nice site been reading up on this Lordship Salvation controversy lately on here.

  44. William says:

    James, On the topic of childhood salvation, here is what MacArthur had to say years ago:

    On September 25, 1990 at the Calvary Baptist Church in Brewer, Maine (Rev. Larry Pawson, pastor), John MacArthur was involved in a question and answer session which was publicly taped. During that session he said the following about child salvation:

    “Now let me say this and I don’t want you to panic when I say it. Saving faith is an ADULT ISSUE. Saving faith is an ADULT EXPERIENCE. Salvation is an ADULT EXPERIENCE. Am I saying that a child cannot be saved? I’m saying that salvation is a conscious turning from sin to follow Jesus Christ with an understanding of something of the sinfulness of sin, its consequences and something of who Jesus Christ is, what He has provided and that I’m committing my life to Him. At what point can a child understand that?…I tell parents that salvation is an adult decision….There is no illustration in Scripture of childhood salvation. There is none. People want to throw the Philippian jailer and his household; well that’s talking about his servants so there is no reference there about his children. So there is no such thing as a childhood conversion.”

    Did you hear that?! MacArthur says “there is no such thing as a childhood conversion.”

    Our Lord says in Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, and Luke 18:16:

    But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17″Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

    God made the Free Grace gospel of John 3:16 so plain and simple that a child could BELIEVE and be SAVED. I can just picture MacArthur saying to a little child who just got saved by believing the gospel of John 3:16 that he/she cannot be saved unless he/she submits to a lifelong submission to the Lordship of Christ, stop sinning, commit, obey, and persevere until he/she is blue and purple in the face and vomiting.

    EVERY CHURCH THAT I’VE BEEN TO ALWAYS HAD A CHILDREN’S MINISTRY.

  45. jimfloyd12 says:

    Thanks James, I am glad you are enjoying the site. Stop by again soon.

  46. jimfloyd12 says:

    William,

    You bring out a good point concerning MacArthur’s error. What you have quoted illustrates the level to which things go when you fail to decipher the difference between faith and faith plus. Or between faith and discipleship. I would argue that there is no example of “Lordship salvation” in the Bible since it isn’t even a real thing as MacArthur defines it. We always see people in the Bible eternally saved by faith.

    As far as children being saved, what about Samuel? or David? They did not wait to place their faith in God till they were adults and could “count the cost”. Timothy might be another example.

    Jim F

  47. William says:

    JIm,

    Exactly! Great analysis! David was a teenage kid when he slayed Goliath and it is clear in Scripture that God was with David as indicated in 1 Samuel 17: 45-47. Scripture says that Samuel was a boy and it is clear that God was with Samuel as he grew up as indicated in 1 Samuel 3:19.

    William

  48. jimfloyd12 says:

    Yes, also 2 Tim 3:15 refutes MacArthur.

  49. Brad4Grace says:

    Don’t know why MacArthur is so popular. His message is just re-packaged or “inside out Catholicism” . What good news is his message? It is accursed, and it’s works…it’s works for salvation. They say “no it’s not God changes you and it is him working through you”. That is just double-talk frankly to back up their faulty position.

    Bring that down to salvation for a child, same thing. Can a child get saved by beleiving the gospel? Of course. Can I child KNOW they are saved? Yes! 1 John 5:13
    These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

    All this popular Evangelical Lordship nonsense is not historic Christianity… it is heresy. Oh and they quote Calvin and Spurgeon, as if those men had it all figured out. Truth is men like MacArthur are enamored by the “Reformers” and their volumes of writings.
    Calvinists are buying into a philosopy, not biblical truth.
    They are simply spreading the error of men. (Calvin, Spurgeon etc.)

    MacArthur’s quotes are the opposite of grace.

  50. Brad4Grace says:

    And another thing :)….
    Often times children believe the gospel more easily than adults…
    Infact it is child-like faith that accepts the gospel as true and accepts it as truth.
    MacArthur makes me mad!

  51. jimfloyd12 says:

    I agree Brad, MacArthur can be irritating especially when he says things like salvation is an adult decision. Calvinism’s errant overstatement of man depravity leads to them changing the gospel due to the fact that they change how salvation is received. For them they have to pull sanctification issues into the mix because they create a scenario where they cannot prove their faith is God given unless it exhibits certain qualities in their eyes. Key word “their”.

    Jim F

  52. Paul Helderman says:

    Jim,
    You made one comment in this article, that: “An unregenerate person won’t want to do these things anyway. This is why the Calvinist invents the idea of regeneration before faith so that God will make them want to.”
    I agree with you, and I am looking to prove to a friend that MacArthur and others believe that regeneration is that mysterious something that God does to a person before faith i.e. (rebirth, born again, believing).
    Do you have any direct quotes from either MacArthur or Piper or others that clearly state that regeneration comes before faith? If not what would be the simplest way to prove that to them?

  53. jimfloyd12 says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for stopping by. I will look to see what I can find. I know for sure some of these guys advocate faith is the gift to the elect. To me that is basically the same difference as regeneration before faith. Though many of these guys will play games and try to say well it happens all at the same time.

    Jim F

  54. Paul Helderman says:

    And maybe the fact that they clearly advocate faith as a gift to the elect is the answer because it seems to me that they are certainly very clear on that one. I think many who are “Calvinist” have just not through the implications of faith as a gift.

  55. jimfloyd12 says:

    Right, here is MacArthur from faith works.

    Regeneration logically must initiate faith” (MacArthur, Faith Works, 62).

  56. jimfloyd12 says:

    Here is Piper:

    “We can say, first, that regeneration is the cause of faith… Having been born of God results in our believing. Our believing is the immediate evidence of God’s begetting.”

  57. Paul Helderman says:

    Thanks Jim,
    Do you know where that Piper quote came from?

  58. jimfloyd12 says:

    Paul,

    I believe it was a quote from a sermon that I’d rather not post a link to but I could email it to you.

    Jim

  59. jimfloyd12 says:

    Paul,

    I have also found a lot more from John MacArthur. I am currently reviewing his book The Gospel According to Paul and in it he proclaims the regeneration before faith view.

    On page 104 he states:

    “God’s grace is the originating cause of regeneration; the sinner’s faith is the immediate effect. Unfortunately, many Christians think and speak as if it worked the other way around – as if a free-will act of faith from the sinner were the determining factor that enables God to bestow His saving grace. In other words they think faith is the cause and regeneration is the effect.”

    This sums up the regeneration before faith reformed position very well. And it totally explains his lordship twisting of the gospel. It really all goes back to that: can man believe the gospel or must He be forced to? Once one says he must be forced to then it matter what “kind” of faith is given. One it matter what kind of faith is given then it matter how that person performs and on and on and before you know it everything that ought to pertain to the Christian life pertains to faith. So for guys like MacArthur belief is more that belief. It becomes whatever else you want to add to it to see if it is genuine.

    Jim F

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