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I am (prayerfully) starting a book review (as per my friend’s request) on “The Gospel according to Paul” by John MacArthur.
As usual, the book is professionally and artistically rendered — the jacket is a wrinkled papyrus-looking background with ‘The Gospel’, and John MacArthur both in red. I found that interesting, not trying to create some conspiracy to equate his revelations to that of Jesus. Although I do believe at times he believes his own press, although he appears to be a kindly and humble man.
We are reminded that he is a bestselling author on the front cover, and assured on the back flap that the hundreds of books he has written are ‘biblical’.
But are they Biblical?
There are five men who give his book Praise (yes, that’s exactly what it says on the back cover), and they are all Calvinists — whether Old, Hyper or New — MacArthur doesn’t seem to discriminate there). I decided it would be fair to search out his praise team’s ‘gospels’. It took me quite a while to find the first one by ‘Dr. Mike Fabarez’ of Compass Bible church. It is so grievous to me, so sad to see some ‘almost get it right’, then comes telling the ungodly man or woman, the sinner without strength, to go ahead and turn from sin as part of receiving the free gift of eternal life (as if an ungodly person has the ability to do something godly). He also cites 1 John 1:9 as if confessing our sins is a means to salvation (this verse and book is spoken to believers).
The purpose statement is clear I believe in 1 John regarding why it was written; to have fellowship with other believers, with God, and that the joy they already possess will be full:
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 1 John 1:3-4
Who it is written to is also clear:
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2
But we know John MacArthur teaches confessing our sins and repenting from our sins, is just a small part of his ‘gospel’. See just a little on my blog from a transcription of one of his sermons. ‘The Gospel according to John MacArthur”.
I will try over the next few weeks (Lord willing) to wade through his book and share some of the things that may be correct and surely will be works related.
Forewords (and praise for the “Gospel According to Paul”):
- Calvinist Albert Mohler, Jr., President Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (What is his gospel?1)
- Calvinist Steven J. Lawson, OnePassion Ministries, Dallas, Texas (What is his gospel?2)
- Calvinist Derek W. H. Thomas, a Senior Minister at First Presbyterian church along with an RTS Atlanta Fellow of Calvinist R.C. Sproul’s ‘Ligonier’ Ministries (What is his gospel?3)
- Calvinist radio host Todd Friel (What is his gospel?4)
- (Identified by the ‘old Calvinists or Puritans’ as a ‘new Calvinist’) Mike Fabarez, Compass Bible Church, Aliso Viejo, CA, host of Focal Point Radio (What is his gospel?5)
(I also challenge any of you, BEFORE you take teaching from anyone, can you find the gospel easily on their page?)
These men let us know (as usual) that the loss of the gospel can be saved by them explaining it to us in their books. That it is a crisis that MacArthur set’s straight. That it is the ‘right book’, the ‘right author’, and the ‘right time’. They assure you that MacArthur is the “‘right man’ to document and defend the saving message of Jesus Christ”. (Wait a minute now — cannot the Living Word of God document the gospel?)
One reminded me a little of Secular reporter Chris Matthews when he said, “I am thrilled that yet again, ‘Dr. MacArthur’ has given us a timely and much-needed book”.
There is more, but you get the picture. According to these men, we need this pastor, doctor, author, ‘Master-Expositor’ since he has supposedly “helped a ‘generation’ steer clear…of heretical assaults on the gospel”.
So, I dread starting on this “‘revelatory’ exploration of what the Apostle ‘actually taught’”. Although we might find some writings helpful, these people place this man’s revelations above what the Word of God says, but don’t take my word (or anyone’s for it). Prove all things (/test/examine/scrutinize) and hold fast to that which is good (the Word of God). 1 Thess 5:21 pp. Don’t take anyone’s revelation to you on what God has written, look for yourself (Acts 17:11), be noble, use your mind, and search the Scriptures every day.
So here is #5’s gospel, sounds o.k. until you get to his definition of ‘repentance’ (turn or repenting from your sin, along with using 1 John 1:9 as it being necessary to confess our sin). How many by the way? Please consider Numbers 5:6-7, which is #75 of the 613 commandments of the law. Can we be justified by any works of the law?
I will stop here, as I’m sure people will have much to say about how I haven’t even read it yet. No, I have only skimmed it, highlighted and made notes. It is very hard to wade through John MacArthur’s subtle deception regarding the gospel. I want to do it right again Lord willing. I pray you will prove all things yourself (1 Thess 5:21).
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