John MacArthur's Heresy On Predestination

By David J. Stewart

"For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." —Jude 1:4

       Pastor John MacArthur is a dangerous man, because he subtly has introduced many damnable heresies into the church—none more hideous than his denial of the redeeming power of the literal physical blood of Jesus Christ.  MacArthur also teaches a form of works-based salvation. And to no surprise, as a Calvinist, MacArthur teaches that a lost sinner cannot be saved unless God first chooses him or her...

In the thirteenth chapter of Acts, a most fascinating statement is found in verse 48. Paul and Barnabas ready to preach, "And when the Gentiles heard this," that is regarding the gospel, and the gospel of salvation, "they began rejoicing and glorifying the Word of the Lord," now note this, "and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed." The only people who believe are those who have been appointed to eternal life. God only grants the gift of faith to those who are predestined to salvation. He chose us. And to those He has chosen, He gives the power to believe. [emphasis added]

SOURCE: http://www.ondoctrine.com/2mac0032.htm

MacArthur foolishly teaches that God chooses who will get saved, and conversely, who won't. MacArthur is wrong! Here is what Acts 13:48 says:

And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Although at a glance Acts 13:48 appears to teach that God chooses (i.e., appoints) people to be saved, nothing could be further from the truth, which is clearly evidenced if we compare this Scripture with other Scriptures. For example, consider the Words of John 1:12...

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."

Clearly, salvation comes to those who RECEIVE HIM. This is the exact opposite of the garbage John MacArthur is teaching, i.e., "God only grants the gift of faith to those who are predestined to salvation. He chose us. And to those He has chosen, He gives the power to believe." MacArthur states that God must choose us before He gives us the power to believe; BUT, in sharp contrast, John 1:12 teaches that God gives the power to be saved to those who RECEIVE HIM. That power is the Gospel (Romans 1:16). Biblically, it is us who choose God; and not God Who chooses us. MacArthur is teaching doctrines of Devils.
 

What Does Acts 13:48 Mean?

Again, Acts 13:48 reads, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”

The Greek word for "ordained" in Acts 13:48 is “tasso” and means “to appoint, arrange, order, ordain or decree.” The same exact word is used in Romans 13:1, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." Applying the same mentality John MacArthur uses to interpret Acts 13:48 to interpret Romans 13:1, would mean that God appointed Hitler to murder 6,000,000 Jews. Do you think God chooses evil men to kill the innocent? Did God ordain Herod to murder 2,000 infants?  Of course not. The correct interpretation of Romans 13:1 is that God ALLOWS men to rule over men; but this does not mean that God always approves of what men do. The Bible has plenty to say about evil rulers (e.g., Proverb 28:15). Likewise, God doesn't choose those who will be saved; but rather, he allows us to make our own decisions.

The suggestion that "ordained" in Acts 13:48 teaches predestination to salvation goes 100% contrary to dozens of Scriptures which teach that man has a free will, and thus chooses for himself where to spend eternity. Jesus plainly stated in John 5:40... "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." The invitation was open; but they refused. Jesus said "ye will not come"; He didn't say "ye cannot come."

Acts 13:48 simply means that God in His foreknowledge KNEW ahead of time, from the beginning of the world, who would be saved; BUT, God did not choose them to be saved. Carefully notice that the Greek meaning of the word "ordained" does not include the word "chose." 

They who RECEIVE JESUS are saved by the power of God... "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12). That "power" is the Gospel of Jesus Christ... Romans 1:16 states: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." 

Here are some words of wisdom by Dr. John R. Rice concerning John 1:12...

"But what about those who received him? Why, very simply, based on that simple heart reception He gave them authority to become sons of God.  There was no question of their merit or character of fitness, just the simple condition that any who wanted the Lord Jesus may have Him. Any who would receive Him may take Him. And those who received Him, "to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."

Will you note that receiving and believing are the same? If any one wants to know what it means to believe on Jesus, it simply means to receive Him. That is the same kind of promise as Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." That is the same kind of promise of Revelation 22:17, "Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Instant salvation, undeserved salvation, glorious, eternal salvation to the one who receives Christ in the heart. Oh, simple, beautiful, and marvellous!

SOURCE: John, the Son of God; by John R. Rice, pgs. 28,29; ISBN: 0-87398-794-2; Sword of the Lord Publishers

Receiving and believing are the same thing!  Acts 13:48 plainly evidences this fact... "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."  You see, certain of the Gentiles had RECEIVED CHRIST, and were glad, and glorified the Word of God, and it was by the power of the Gospel that they were saved, just as John 1:12 teaches...

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."

Please understand that salvation is not a process. Salvation is instant. The very moment that a repentant sinner receives Jesus as their personal Savior, they have also believed on Him in their heart. To be saved, a sinner need only BELIEVE on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 10:43). It is Jesus' precious blood that washes our sins away (1st Peter 1:18,19); and not our own self-righteousness (Isaiah 64:6). We need HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS (i.e., Jesus' righteousness) to get to Heaven (Matthew 6:33; Romans 10:3,4; 2nd Corinthians 5:21). Salvation is receiving; not giving. Salvation is of God; not man. Eternal life is a free gift (Romans 6:23).
 

Jesus Died for the Sins of the Whole World

If, as John MacArthur and other Calvinists teach, God chooses who will and won't be saved, then why does the Word of God repeatedly proclaim that Christ died for the WORLD? ...

John 3:16 proclaims...

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The Bible teaches that "whosoever" may be saved, simply by trusting upon the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Salvation is having our sins taken away by the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1st John 1:7).

1st John 4:14 states:

And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

Jesus could not be the Savior of the world if He ordained only some to believe. 

1st Timothy 4:10 states:

For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

How much clearer could the Bible be? Jesus is the Savior of all men. Jesus paid for the sins of all humanity. If you die in your sins and burn in Hellfire, it will be your own fault. Eternal life is a "free gift" (Romans 5:15). Unbelief is the only sin which can prevent a person from going to Heaven, because everyone who believes upon the Lord is going to Heaven... "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins" (Acts 10:43). There's that word "whosoever" again. In the Greek that means anybody!

John 12:47 states:

And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
 

Calvinism is of the Devil

Oh, how foolish are those men who corrupt the simplicity of the Gospel, and place heavy burdens upon sinners, grievous to be borne. Calvinism teaches that God chooses who will and won't be saved. Consequently, Calvinism also teaches that Jesus only died for the "chosen" few.  How absurd! 

If MacArthur is correct, i.e., that God chooses who will get saved and who won't, then what is the criteria by which God chooses? Are some men better, or more worthy, than others? Calvinism turns God into a respecter of persons; but Romans 2:11 states, "For there is no respect of persons with God." Titus 2:11 clearly states: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men."  The Bible plainly teaches that the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to ALL MEN. That is, all men have the opportunity to get saved. It is man's responsibility to desire the truth; and it is God's responsibility to provide it. God is not obligated to provide the truth unless a man first desires to have it.

The very notion that Jesus only died for certain people is blasphemy against the character of God. Does not Romans 5:6 teach that Christ died for the ungodly? Yes, it does! God loves all mankind, and has manifest His unconditional love towards us by dying for our sins (Romans 5:12). To say that God chose who would be saved or lost before the world began defeats the entire purpose for which God created mankind. God created us to please Him (Revelation 4:11). Hebrews 11:6 declares that only FAITH pleases God. If God forces certain people to become Christians, then where does faith enter the picture? It doesn't. For faith to exist, there must be the opportunity for doubt. Calvinists teach that God, through "Irresistible Grace," forces a person to get saved. How ridiculous! God has given mankind a freewill. It is our choice whether to receive Jesus Christ, or to reject Him. God does not determine our decision.

God is not willing that any should perish (2nd Peter 3:9). If MacArthur is correct, i.e., that God chose some not to be saved, then God is willing for some to perish, because He didn't even give them a chance to get saved. There are so many loopholes in the doctrines of Calvinism. One heresy begets another and another. 

Matthew 25:41 states that God created Everlasting Fire for the Devil and his angels. God never intended for even one human being to burn in the fires of Hell. Yet, according to John MacArthur and other Calvinists, God only chose certain people to be saved, and others were intended to burn in Hell for all eternity. The big problem with Calvinism from every perspective is that it eliminates man's free will to make his own choices. 
 

Conclusion

John MacArthur is full of pudding. Faith is not a gift to those whom God has chosen to salvation, independent of their own free will.  God forbid! Rather, those who freely RECEIVE Jesus Christ are saved by the power of the Gospel (John 1:12; Romans 1:16). Eternal life is a "free gift," which has been paid for by Jesus' literal physical precious blood (Hebrews 9:12). All that God requires for salvation is that we, of our own free will, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).

"...let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." —Revelation 22:17


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