Hypocrisy in Overdrive and the Enigmatic Mysteries in Calvinism
Enigmatic Mystery #1
One of the most enigmatic mysteries surrounding the Reformed position (Calvinism) is that most of its champions contradict one another in overdrive most of the time. In his rebuttal of the many Christians’ criticism of John MacArthur’s infamous public statement that it’s OK to take the mark of the beast because Jesus will pardon and save you, Phil Johnson wrote the following in defense of his guru, John MacArthur.
Revelation 19:20 indicates that multitudes will take the mark of the Beast because they are deceived. Scripture does not say that they are thereby automatically hardened forever against repentance. That is not the point of the strong warnings.
This whole issue suddenly became a matter of intense controversy when it was mentioned on a provocative radio program. It’s certainly not worth all the ink that has been wasted and all the bandwidth that has been consumed by angry people demanding explanations and retractions.
This much should certainly be clear from the biblical text (and I think would be affirmed by all sides): Taking the mark of the Beast is high treason against Christ and will be judged by God accordingly. Meanwhile, the Lord is “good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon [Him]” (Psalm 86:5). (Read here). (Emphasis added).
Now, let’s juxtapose Phil Johnson’s above statement on John MacArthur ‘s YouTube video called “The Doctrine of Absolute Inability.” If man is so completely and utterly depraved and so absolutely incapable to call on God for his salvation, how on earth is he going to call on Him?
Oh I see. Firstly, only the elect are drawn to Him (John 6:44) while they are still in a complete state of inability and only then, after their absolute inability is miraculously changed into an ability, they call on Him.
Those who are going to take the mark of the beast will do so because they are completely and utterly unable to call on Jesus Christ and hence, also due to a complete and utter inability, call on the name of the Antichrist to save them from the wrath of God. Or, shall we rather say, calling on the Name of God is an absolute inability but calling on the name of Antichrist is an absolute ability (John 5:43).
What does this tell us? Well of course, it tells us that the elect who had been deceived to take the mark of the beast because they were absolutely unable to call on the Name of God for their salvation, will of necessity sovereignly and monergistically be saved simply because they are the elect and had been chosen unto salvation before the foundation of the world.
Unless, of course, the elect are absolutely unable to be deceived and thence take the mark of the beast for the sheer hell of it.
Therefore, the bottom line is this. If you are an elect, by all means take the mark of the beast. God won’t hold your absolute inability to call on Him against you. Why should He when He has already decided to save you before the foundation of the world? He is not in the least concerned about your prowess for deception (Matthew 24:4), a deception so heinous that you will be absolutely unable to resist it.
Why would the Bible emphatically declare “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Rev 12:11) when man is supposedly absolutely unable to do anything of spiritual value? However, if you are a reprobate non-elect, by all means take the mark of the beast because you have no hope in hell of ever being saved. You were doomed to destruction in hell way back before the foundation of the world.
Enigmatic Mystery #2
I suppose Calvinists can be forgiven when they contradict one another but to contradict their own reformed doctrines ensconced in TULIP is unforgivable. It proves that they cannot be trusted. Read the following excerpt from Phil Johnson’s rebuttal to the criticism of MacArthur’s infamous “Mark of the Beast Salvific Doctrine” and see if you can spot the contradiction. Phil Johnson wrote:
If someone listens to Pastor MacArthur’s reply and imagines he was saying it’s no great sin to receive the mark of the Beast, listen again; that grossly twists what he actually said. The question is not (as one writer suggests) “How Far Can You Go and Still Be Able to Repent?” The point John MacArthur was making is about the extremes to which God’s grace will reach in order to seek and save a sinner.
Since when does God’s grace need to reach to the extremes in order to seek and save sinners when his grace is IRRESISTIBLE? IRRESISTIBLE GRACE IS the uttermost extreme, Mr. Phil Johnson. There is nothing beyond, over and above irresistible grace. Not even God can go beyond the extreme of his irresistible grace. If the elect (the only ones saved and being saved) cannot resist God’s grace and SHALL be saved come hell or high water, why must God procrastinate and go to an extreme beyond irresistible grace to seek and to save them?
The only extreme God decided to go to in order to seek and save the elect was when He sovereignly decreed to save them way before the foundation of the world. It is called UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION, Mr. Johnson. Not even the elect themselves can thwart his sovereign decree to save them before the foundation of the world even if they wanted to. What can be more extreme than that, Mr. Phil Johnson? In fact Mr. Phil Johnson, Calvinism is already an extremist salvific doctrine, so extremely extreme that, according to Calvinists, you need to study Reformed Theology for many years before you can understand its extremities. Calvinists usually tell you “You just don’t understand Calvinism” in spite of your quoting John Calvin directly from his writings, along with quoting leading Calvinists of today.
Enigmatic Mystery #3
Phil Johnson wrote:
Several years ago in a live Q&A session, someone asked John MacArthur if taking the mark of the Beast during the Great Tribulation would be an unpardonable sin. His answer, in short, was no. Though there is a stern warning against taking the mark of the Beast in Revelation 14, the sin is not categorically said to be unpardonable. (That would contradict Matthew 12:31.) The point of the severe language in Revelation 14 is to make clear what an utterly reprehensible sin it will be to swear an oath of willful loyalty to Antichrist.
Someone posted John MacArthur’s reply to that question on YouTube with a melodramatic one-word title in all caps: “OUTRAGE.” Gossip-mongers on the Internet got hold of it, apparently, and within days someone wrote to our ministry saying, “I saw pastor John on a YouTube video saying the way to be saved in the Tribulation is to take the mark of the Beast.”
Mr. Johnson, you obviously don’t know what the difference is between a fair an unfair weight. Don’t fret, I will tell you.
A full and fair weight you shall have, a full and fair measure you shall have, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. For all who do such things, all who act dishonestly, are an abomination to the LORD your God. (Deuteronomy 25:15-16).
You are being downright dishonest, Mr. Phil Johnson, when you wield two different weights in your assessment of John MacArthur’s discerning gift to criticize Roman Catholicism and the strange fire in Charismatic churches (I am neither a Charismatic nor Roman Catholic, lest you should think I am championing their beliefs) and the discerning gift of other Christians who are questioning MacArthur’s interpretation of Revelation 14:8-11.
When MacChy lambastes everything else that is not Calvinistic in nature he is a real hero but when others criticize his dastardly unbiblical statement in regard to the mark of the beast they are GOSSIP-MONGERS. Ravi Zacharias applies the very same tactic when Christians exhort him to repent of things he had said and prayed contrary to the Word of God (Read here and here). As you may have noticed, he calls those who criticize him “donkey fighters” and even calls upon one of the most aggressive haters of God (Mahatma Gandhi) to testify against those who in love and deep concern for him reprove and correct him (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Having said this, you are proving beyond any shadow of doubt that Calvinism is just as guilty of strange fire than the Charismatic and Pentecostal churches. You are in effect warning others not to touch God’s anointed because he (John MacArthur) is supposedly above reproach and when they dare to expose his apostasy they are branded GOSSIP-MONGERS. Allow me to remind you, Mr. Johnson, what the word gossip-monger means. The Merriam-Webtser dictionary and thesaurus defines the word as follows.
gos·sip·mon·ger noun \ˈgä-səp-ˌməŋ-gər, -ˌmäŋ-\ : a person who enjoys talking about other people’s private lives : a person who spreads gossip. (Emphasis added).
If you can prove to me that the command to test all things in the light of God’s Word (1 John 4:1; 1 Corinthians 2:15) is gossip-mongery and that I and many others have attacked MacArthur’s private life, then I would be happy to concede that I am a gossip-monger par excellence. And that, Mr. Johnson, you yourself must admit is hogwash because Revelation 14:8-11 and MacArthur’s infamous statement that anyone can take the mark of the beast and still be saved is anything but a private matter. In fact, it is one of the most universally important matters that has ever reached the ears of mankind. You are in effect teaching people not to obey Jesus Christ who warned “Take heed that no man (including John MacArthur and Ravi Zacharias) deceive you (Matthew 24:4) and to disregard every single passage in Scripture that warns us to be vigilant and acutely aware of the devils devices to deceive Christians.
Enigmatic Mystery #4
In a desperate effort to prove that the taking of the mark of the beast is not the unpardonable sin, Phil Johnson writes as follows:
Jesus Himself said, “Any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven ” (Matthew 12:31, emphasis added). The one unpardonable sin was the sin of those who had seen His miracles with their own eyes; they knew He was the true Messiah; they were part of the generation to whom He was personally sent. And yet they attributed His powers to Satan.
That was unforgivable because it was such a hard-hearted, willful expression of utter rejection from fully enlightened hearts, who punctuated their rejection with an extreme blasphemy. Those Pharisees had stood in the presence of the living embodiment of all truth; they heard His words and saw His works. All the mysteries of Christ had been unveiled before their very eyes. And yet they spurned Him. There was nothing else that could be shown to them to enlighten them further. They were not deceived; they knew full well what they were doing. That’s why their sin was unpardonable (cf. 1 Timothy 1:13).
Phil Johnson says in effect that only those who had seen his misracles with their own eyes and the genereation to whom He was personally sent could commit the unpardonable sin. Those who had never seen his miracles with their own eyes and never seen Him doing them Himself because never stood in the presence of the living embodiment of all truth, cannot be accused of the unpardonable sin.
Let’s summarize his claim and see whether we can apply it to the mark of the beast. Johnson says:
- “The one unpardonable sin was the sin of those who had seen His miracles with their own eyes.”
- “They knew He was the true Messiah.”
- “They were part of the generation to whom He was personally sent.”
- “They attributed His powers to Satan.”
- “That was unforgivable because it was such a hard-hearted, willful expression of utter rejection from fully enlightened hearts, who punctuated their rejection with an extreme blasphemy. “
- “Those Pharisees had stood in the presence of the living embodiment of all truth.”
- “They were not deceived; they knew full well what they were doing.”
- “That’s why their sin was unpardonable.”
Let us now deal with these assertions one at a time.
1) The fact that 144 000 Jews are going to proclaim the Gospel throughout the entire world during the tribulation and perform Christ’s miracles in everyone’s sight, is ample proof that those who reject Christ’s miracles at the hands of his emissaries, and defiantly accept and receive Antichrist’s false miracles (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9), will be committing the unpardonable sin.
Like the Pharisees in Jesus’ time, the tribulation population will stand in the presence of God’s truth and witness the many miracles He is going to perform through his emissaries. In fact, the many and diverse judgments that are coming upon the world during the tribulation will be ample proof that God Himself is working miracles in their midst (Isaiah 26:9).
Despite these miracles and marvelous signs the majority of people are going to spurn God’s miracles and instead wholeheartedly, willingly and defiantly receive the false miracles Antichrist is going to perform.
That, Mr. Johnson, is the unpardonable sin. Why? Because Jesus said He performs miracles though the power of the Holy Spirit and those who attribute his miracles to Satan are guilty of the unpardonable sin. The tribulation Pharisees are going to sin even greater than the Pharisees in Jesus’ time. They are going to attribute miracles to Satan himself and actually believe that they are from God.
2) Phil Johnson suggests that the Pharisees in the tribulation period won’t have any knowledge of the true Messiah. Really???
What does Paul say about Johnson’s misapprehension?
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.(Romans 1:18-23).
I sincerely hope you noticed the words “into an image made like to corruptible man,” Mr. Phil Johnson. That is precisely what they are going to do in the tribulation.
The corruptible Antichrist is going to make a corruptible image of himself and place it in the most holy sanctuary of the newly built temple, and most of the tribulation dwellers are going to worship him.
Are they going to worship him because they have no knowledge of the true Messiah? Rubbish! Read Romans 1:18-23 again, please.
3) Johnson’s assertion that “they were part of the generation to whom He was personally sent” is most unfortunate. It suggests that Jesus was not sent personally to mankind as a whole but only to the Pharisees.
I can understand why he can make such an unfortunate statement because he and MacArthur believe that Jesus was only sent to and in behalf of the elect (Are they the Pharisees?).
4) Johnson’s own words “they attributed His powers to Satan” proves that the taking of the mark of the beast during the tribulation fits the unpardonable sin like a glove.
How does the reprehensible sin of taking the mark of the beast differ from the Pharisees’ unpardonable sin of attributing God’s miracles to Satan? There is no difference whatsoever.
In fact, the tribulation Pharisees’ unpardonable sin will be much worse than that of the Pharisees in Jesus’ time. They are going to attribute Christ-hood (Messiahship) to Satan himself.
They are going to accept his false miracles and worship his image placed in the most holy sanctuary of the newly rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. That WILL be the unforgivable sin because, to use Phil Johnson’s own words:
5) “it will be such a hard-hearted, willful expression of utter rejection from fully enlightened hearts (Romans 1:18-23), who will punctuate their rejection with an extreme blasphemy.”
6) Jesus Christ stood as the living embodiment of truth in the midst of his own disciples and yet there were many things they did not understand or believe about Him, not until He explained it to them.
That’s why Jesus said to them:
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:12-13).
The absence of the bodily presence of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Truth during the tribulation cannot be seen as an excuse to prove that the tribulation dwellers who take the mark of the beast cannot commit the unpardonable sin.
God’s Spirit of Truth will be in their midst to convince them of their heinous sin but they will resist Him to the very end.
Their rebellious resistance and their defiance to obey God and repent is nothing else than the unpardonable sin.That’s why John says in Revelation 16:
“And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image.
And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.
And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.
For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.” (Revelation 16:1-9).
Their persistent refusal to repent in the midst of God’s judgments is an affront to the Holy Spirit and that, Mr. Johnson, is head-on the unpardonable sin.
7) Phil Johnson claims that “the Pharisees were not deceived because they knew full well what they were doing.” Deception is not dependent on knowing or not knowing. God says
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”(Hosea 4:6).
Both Phil Johnson and John MacArthur know and acknowledge that the seven year tribulation is primarily and peculiarly the time of Jacob’s Trouble (the Jews) (Jeremiah 30:7).
Not a single Jew or Gentile in the tribulation will be able to say: “I did not know that the taking of the mark was an unforgivable sin because I was deceived.” Deception is the willful and deliberate acceptance of a false teacher’s lies.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. “(2 Timothy 4:3-4).
They will be deceived because they want to be deceived and not because they are going to be ignorant of deception.
8) Phil Johnson concludes his defense of John MacArthur with this statement “That’s why their sin (Pharisees’s sins in the time of Jesus) was unpardonable.”
To call it the unpardonable sin, according to Phil Johnson, Jesus must be bodily in your midst as God’s truth;
you must witness his miracles first hand and reject them; you must know Him as the true Messiah;
you must be part of the generation to whom Christ was personally sent; you must attribute his powers and miracles to Satan;
your enlightened heart must persistently and utterly reject Him with an extreme blasphemy; and you must be deceived and know full well what you are doing.
I have proved without a shadow of a doubt that the tribulation dwellers who are going to take the mark of the beast will be guilty of every single point Phil Johnson raised.
The only conclusion we can reach is that the taking of the mark of the beast is indeed the unpardonable sin. I urge Phil Johnson and John MacArthur to recant and repent of their evil and publicly confess that they are wrong.
I urge you, Mr. Phil Johnson, to stop your defense and your declaring innocent false teachers, for Paul of Tarsus said:
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
Prove to the Body of Christ that you are a genuine servant of Christ. Refute and repudiate John MacArthur in public for his apostasy.
It may cause you to lose your illustrious position in his church but what is better – to choose rather to be mistreated with the people of God like Moses or to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin? (Hebrews 11:25).
I wouldn’t want to stand in John MacArthur’s shoes in the Day of Judgment. He has and still is leading thousands astray. I assure you God doesn’t like that.
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peters 2:1)
MacArthur may deny that He is denying the One who bought Him, but he is definitely denying what He says in Revelation 14. Denying his Word is tantamount to denying Him personally. There’s no difference.