From my new friend Michael Branda, who gave me permission to re-print his post about Grace to You church, Sun Valley, CA, pastored by John MacArthur. Thank you Michael.
I wanted to contribute to this conversation on the grace of God. When I was a member of John MacArthur’s church (back in the 1980s), we were taught that we were saved entirely by grace, and that grace was completely free–just as the Bible teaches. But what MacArthur did was to redefine “grace” so that it was something different then the Biblical grace. This is a common practice among cults. They enjoy using Biblical terminology, but mean something completely different by it. For example, a cult will say that they believe in Jesus, but it’s a different Jesus then the historical Jesus of the Bible.
What MacArthur taught us was that we were saved by “grace,” but grace was not Christ’s saving death on the cross (as the Bible teaches), but saving grace is the Calvinistic doctrines of unconditional election and irresistible draw. MacArthur’s god chooses you apart from your own choice, and then regenerates you (again, apart from your own choice). This act of “grace” results in you becoming a good person and being made worthy of salvation.
So, salvation is based on you being a good person (Lordship Salvation), but your becoming a good person is based solely on the grace of MacArthur’s god. It’s very deceptive, which is why he is able to fool so many people. He teaches that salvation is by grace, that grace is a free gift, and that grace is based on a work of God–just as the Bible teaches.
But despite all of this, MacArthur’s “grace” is different from the Bible’s grace. The Scriptures teach us that grace is based on the atoning death of Jesus Christ, not on the man-made teachings of Calvinism. As I stated, MacArthur has been able to fool a lot of people by using the same terminology, and similar concepts as does the Bible. So it’s up to us to expose him and his lies!
Amen Michael, thank you again! I agree with you completely, it is a different grace, the gift is a different gift. The gift is not eternal life which one appropriates by believing on Jesus Christ and His work on Calvary, but it is the gift of ‘faith’, which you supposedly are given, in order to be made to believe.
Not the Grace of God at all. MacArthur in his ‘testimony’, does not remember a time where he did not believe. That would be typical of one who believes in his form of election and predestination (God choosing some to hell with no chance to accept or reject Him through belief or unbelief. They are condemned and will stay condemned in that teaching).
He is well-received both in the secular world as he is the “Christian” community, as well as loved by Scholars, Reformed Pastors/Teachers and Puritans the world over. He is the leading proponent of Lordship doctrine, and literally that is his gospel, it is the gospel of self and work. He is the author (as you know) of over 400 books and study guides, boasting millions of sales, multiple best-sellers, and president of his own Seminary (Masters College) along with authoring his own Bible with Commentary in multiple languages; once again, huge sales.
What always comes to mind with MacArthur is this verse.
Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. Luke 6:26