Unconditional Election and Total Depravity are Gnostic Teachings

augustine - Unconditional Election and Total Depravity are Gnostic TeachingsUnconditional Election and Total Depravity are Gnostic Teachings

Unconditional Election (Predestination), is the letter U in the acronym T.U.L.I.P that forms the basis of Calvinism.

The doctrine of Predestination asserts that some people are born already selected for salvation or damnation, which they cannot avoid even by good deeds in this life. For St. Augustine and John Calvin it is a divine mystery that God in His perfect justice makes the apparently gratuitous selection of the elect, with a parallel thought that He has made a similar selection of the damned  “…those whom in His justice He has predestined to punishment,” and “those whom in His mercy He has predestined to grace.”  –Augustine, Enchiridion c, p. 269

We can’t point fingers at John Calvin alone for this heretical teaching because he obtained it from Augustine’s writings.  But where did Augustine get it from?

Prior to Augustine becoming a Christian in 387 AD he adhered to Manichaeism, an Iranian Gnostic religion proclaimed by their ‘prophet’ Mani (216-276 AD) originating in Sassanid Persia (Babylon).  Shortly after Roman Emperor Theodosius I issued a decree of death for Manichaeans in 382 AD and declaring Christianity to be the only legitimate religion for the Roman Empire in 391, Augustine supposedly became an ardent opponent of Manichaeism however Manichaeism still influenced his thinking as can be seen with the idea of ‘The Elect’.

Mani divided his church into 2 groups;  The Elect, The Hearers and then The Sinners.

  • The Elect (perfects):  those who had taken upon themselves the vows of Manicheaism
  • The Hearers (auditores):  those who had not taken vows, but still participated in the Church
  • The Sinners:  everyone else

Augustine was a Hearer as he never took the Manicheaism vows because he could not live up to their very strict standards (Confessions of Augustine). The life of those who took the vows was a hard one. They were forbidden to have property, to eat meat or drink wine, to gratify any sexual desire, to engage in any servile occupation, commerce or trade, to possess house or home, to practice magic, or to practice any other religion.  Therefore the vast majority of adherents where Hearers and the number of Elect were very small.  When the Elect die their bodies are purified by the sun, moon and the stars – their light particles set free to form little deities in the cosmos surrounding the First-man.  The Hearers have to pass through a long purgatory before they arrive at eternal bliss.  Sinners are thrown into hell, body and soul where they will wander around for eternity in torment and anguish, surrounded by demons and condemned by the angels.

Augustine said regarding Predestination:

“…are rather to understand the Scripture [1 Tim 2:4] as meaning that no man is saved unless God wills his salvation: not that there is no man whose salvation He does not will, but that no man is saved apart from His will…it was of prayer to God that the apostle was speaking when he used this expression.” …. “We may understand by ‘all men,’ every sort of men. And we may interpret it in any other way we please, so long as we are not compelled to believe that the omnipotent God has willed anything to be done which was not done.” –Augustine, Enchiridion, pg. 103

“…the resources of salvation are located in God, outside of humanity. It is God who initiates salvation, not men or women.”   — McGrath, Alister E. Christian Theology: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing, 2007.  pg. 19

“God does not choose us because we believe, but that we may believe.”  –Augustine, Predestination of the Saints 17.34

One can now see how easy it was for Augustine to mis-interpret scripture regarding predestination.  He could not achieve Election in Manicheaism, but by twisting scripture he could be Elect in Christianity.

Mani also believed in Total Depravity (also called Total Inability), which forms the T in T.U.L.I.P, where he said;

“…the nature of man can be corrupt to the point that his will is powerless to obey God’s commands.”  — Henry Chadwick, “The Early Church”, Penguin Books Ltd (August 1994), pg. 228.

Calvinism’s definition of Total Depravity asserts that, “as a consequence of the fall of man into sin, every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin. People are not by nature inclined to love God with their whole heart, mind, or strength, but rather all are inclined to serve their own interests over those of their neighbor and to reject the rule of God. Thus, all people by their own faculties are morally unable to choose to follow God and be saved because they are unwilling to do so out of the necessity of their own natures. (The term “total” in this context refers to sin affecting every part of a person, not that every person is as evil as possible.)  [Emphasis added]  –-David Steele and Curtis Thomas, “The Five Points of Calvinism Defined, Defended, Documented”,  pg. 25.

Augustine said that;

Adam and Eve in punishment for their sin “became a natural consequence in all their descendants”.  Moreover, it is not just a corrupted physical nature that we have inherited from Adam, but our… “human nature was so changed and vitiated that it suffers from the recalcitrance of a rebellious concupiscence….”  –City of God, xiii. pg. 3

We can now too see why Augustine believed such an erroneous doctrine.  In order for Election to work, man would have to be totally depraved or incapable of initiating any contact with God unless God chooses the person first.

Both Total Depravity and Election are 2 Gnostic teachings and even though Augustine opposed Manichaesim he did not divorce himself from their doctrines.

“The Gnostics [placed]…the natural order at so vast a distance in moral value from the supreme God. The influence of fatalistic ideas drawn from popular astrology and magic became fused with notions derived from Pauline language about predestination to produce a rigidly deterministic scheme. Redemption was from destiny, not from the consequences of responsible action, and was granted to a pre-determined elect in whom alone was the divine spark.”  [Emphasis added] — Henry Chadwick, “The Early Church”, Penguin Books Ltd (August 1994), pg. 38

Election was a NEW concept and had not been heard of in Christianity before until Augustine introduced the idea.  He had many opponents who rebuked him and his false doctrines.

Julian bishop of Eclanum, said that Augustine was causing trouble because he;

brought his Manichee ways of thinking into the church… and was denying St Paul’s clear teaching that God wills all men to be saved Henry Chadwick, “The Early Church”, Penguin Books Ltd (1994), pg. 232-3

Vincent of Lérins said that of Predestination;

“…a most disturbing innovation, quite out of line with ‘orthodoxy'”.  — Henry Chadwick, “The Early Church”, Penguin Books Ltd (1994), pg. 223

The following men agreed in the Biblical teaching of free will:

JUSTIN MARTYR (c.100-165 A.D.) said;

Dialogue with Trypho, CXLI:

“God, wishing men and angels to follow His will, resolved to create them free to do righteousness. But if the word of God foretells that some angels and men shall certainly be punished, it did so because it foreknew that they would be unchangeably (wicked), but not because God created them so. So if they repent all who wish for it can obtain mercy from God.”

IRENAEUS of Gaul (c.130-200) said;

Against Heresies XXXVII:

“This expression, ‘How often would I have gathered thy children together, and thou wouldst not,’ set forth the ancient law of human liberty, because God made man a free (agent) from the beginning, possessing his own soul to obey the behests of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God. For there is no coercion with God, but a good will (toward us) is present with Him continually. And therefore does He give good counsel to all. And in man as well as in angels, He has placed the power of choice (for angels are rational beings), so that those who had yielded obedience might justly possess what is good, given indeed by God, but preserved by themselves . . .”

“If then it were not in our power to do or not to do these things, what reason had the apostle, and much more the Lord Himself, to give counsel to do some things and to abstain from others? But because man is possessed of free-will from the beginning, and God is possessed of free-will in whose likeness man was created, advice is always given to him to keep fast the good, which thing is done by means of obedience to God.”

ATHENAGORAS of Athens (2nd century) said;

Embassy for Christians XXIV:

“Just as with men who have freedom of choice as to both virtue and vice (for you would not either honor the good or punish the bad; unless vice and virtue were in their own power, and some are diligent in the matters entrusted to them, and others faithless), so is it among the angels.

THEOPHILUS of Antioch (2nd century) said;

To Autolycus XXVII:

“For God made man free, and with power over himself . . . now God vouch safes to him as a gift through His own philanthropy and pity, when men obey Him. For as man, disobeying, drew death on himself; so, obeying the will of God, he who desires is able to procure for himself life everlasting.”

TATIAN of Syria (flourished late 2nd century) said;

Address XI:

“Why are you ‘fated’ to grasp at things often, and often to die? Die to the world, repudiating the madness that is in it. Live to God, and by apprehending Him lay aside your old nature. We were not created to die, but we die by our own fault. Our free-will has destroyed us; we who were free have become slaves; we have been sold through sin. Nothing evil has been created by God; we ourselves have manifested wickedness; but we, who have manifested it, are able again to reject it.”

BARDAISAN of Syria (c.154-222) said;


” ‘How is it that God did not so make us that we should not sin and incur condemnation?’

-if man had been made so, he would not have belonged to himself but would have been the instrument of him that moved him . . . And how, in that case, would a man differ from a harp, on which another plays; or from a ship, which another guides: where the praise and the blame reside in the hand of the performer or the steersman . . . they being only instruments made for the use of him in whom is the skill? But God, in His benignity, chose not so to make man; but by freedom He exalted him above many of His creatures.”

CLEMENT of Alexandria (c.150-215) said;

Stromata Bk ii ch. 4:

“But we, who have heard by the Scriptures that self-determining choice and refusal have been given by the Lord to men, rest in the infallible criterion of faith, manifesting a willing spirit, since we have chosen life and believe God through His voice.”

Stromata Bk iv ch. 12:

“But nothing is without the will of the Lord of the universe. It remains to say that such things happen without the prevention of God; for this alone saves both the providence and the goodness of God. We must not therefore think that He actively produces afflictions (far be it that we should think this!); but we must be persuaded that He does not prevent those that cause them, but overrules for good the crimes of His enemies.”

In Stromata, Bk ii ch 2, CLEMENT argues strongly that “faith is not established by demonstration.” Faith involves a choice and “choice is the beginning of action.”

TERTULLIAN of Carthage (c.155-225) said;

Against Marcion Book II ch.5:

“I find, then, that man was by God constituted free, master of his own will and power; indicating the presence of God’s image and likeness in him by nothing so well as by this constitution of his nature . . .

-you will find that when He sets before man good and evil, life and death, that the entire course of discipline is arranged in precepts by God’s calling men from sin, and threatening and exhorting them; and by this on no other ground than that man is free, with a will either for obedience or resistance.

. . . Since therefore, both the goodness and purpose of God are discovered in the gift to man of freedom in his will . . .

NOVATIAN of Rome (c.200-258) said;

On the Trinity ch 1:

“He also placed man at the head of the world, and man, too, made in the image of God, to whom He imparted mind, and reason, and foresight, that he might imitate God; and although the first elements of his body were earthly, yet the substance was inspired by a heavenly and divine breathing. And when He had given him all things for his service, He willed that he alone should be free. And lest, again, and unbounded freedom should fall into peril, He laid down a command, in which man was taught that there was no evil in the fruit of the tree; but he was forewarned that evil would arise if perchance he should exercise his freewill in contempt of the law that was given.”

ORIGEN (c.185-254) said;

De Principiis Preface:

“Now it ought to be known that the holy apostles, in preaching the faith of Christ, delivered themselves with the utmost clearness on certain points which they believed to be necessary to everyone . . . This also is clearly defined in the teaching of the church that every rational soul is possessed of free-will and volition.”

De principiis Bk 3 ch. 1:

“There are, indeed, innumerable passages in the Scriptures which establish with exceeding clearness the existence of freedom of will.”

METHODIUS of Olympus (c.260-martyred 311) said;

The Banquet of the Ten Virgins xvi:

“Now those who decide that man is not possessed of free-will, and affirm that he is governed by the unavoidable necessities of fate . . . are guilty of impiety toward God Himself, making Him out to be the cause and author of human evils.”

Concerning Free-will:

“I say that man was made with free-will, not as if there were already existing some evil, which he had the power of choosing if he wished . . . but that the power of obeying and disobeying God is the only cause.”


The Disputation with Manes:

“For all creatures that God made, He made very good, and He gave to every individual the sense of free-will in accordance with which standard He also instituted the law of judgment. To sin is ours, and that we sin not is God’s gift, as our will is constituted to choose either to sin or not to sin.”

ARNOBIUS of Sicca (c.253-327) said;

Against the Heathen: 64

“I reply: does not He free all alike who invites all alike? Or does He thrust back or repel any one from the kindness of the Supreme who gives to all alike the power of coming to Him? To all, He says, the fountain of life is open, and no one is hindered or kept back from drinking . . . ”

Against the Heathen: 65

“Nay, my opponent says, if God is powerful, merciful, willing to save us, let Him change our dispositions, and compel us to trust in His promises. This then, is violence, not kindness nor the bounty of the Supreme God, but a childish and vain strife in seeking to get the mastery. For what is so unjust as to force men who are reluctant and unworthy, to reverse their inclinations; to impress forcibly on their minds what they are unwilling to receive, and shrink from . . .”

CYRIL of Jerusalem (c. 312-386) said;

Lecture IV 18:

“Know also that thou hast a soul self governed, the noblest work of God, made after the image of its Creator, immortal because of God that gives it immortality, a living being rational, imperishable, because of Him that bestowed these gifts: having free power to do what it willeth.”

Lecture IV 20:

“There is not a class of souls sinning by nature and a class of souls practising righteousness by nature; but both act from choice, the substance of their souls being of one kind only and alike in all.”

Lecture IV 21:

“The soul is self-governed: and though the Devil can suggest, he has not the power to compel against the will. He pictures to thee the thought of fornication: if thou wilt, thou rejectest. For if thou wert a fornicator of necessity then for what cause did God prepare hell? If thou wert a doer of righteousness by nature and not by will, wherefore did God prepare crowns of ineffable glory? The sheep is gentle, but never was it crowned for its gentleness; since its gentle quality belongs to it not from choice but by nature.”

GREGORY of Nyssa (c.335-395) said;

On Virginity (368/3G8) ch. XII:

“Being the image and the likeness . . . of the Power which rules all things, man kept also in the matter of a free-will this likeness to Him whose will is over all.”

JEROME (c.347-420) said;

Letters CXXXIII:

“It is in vain that you misrepresent me and try to convince the ignorant that I condemn free-will. Let him who condemns it be himself condemned. We have been created endowed with free-will; still it is not this which distinguishes us from the brutes. For human free-will, as I said, depends upon the help of God and needs His aid moment by moment, a thing which you and yours do not choose to admit. Your position is that once a man has free-will he no longer needs the help of God. It is true that freedom of the will brings with it freedom of decision. Still man does not act immediately on his free-will but requires God’s aid who Himself needs no aid.”

Against the Pelagians Book III, 10:

“But when we are concerned with grace and mercy, free-will is in part void; in part, I say, for so much depends upon it, that we wish and desire, and give assent to the course we choose. But it depends on God whether we have the power in His strength and with His help to perform what we desire, and to bring to effect our toil and effort.”

JOHN CHRYSOSTOM (347-407) said;

On Hebrews, Homily 12:

“All is in God’s power, but so that our free-will is not lost . . . It depends therefore on us and on Him. We must first choose the good, and then He adds what belongs to Him. He does not precede our willing, that our free-will may not suffer. But when we have chosen, then He affords us much help . . . It is ours to choose beforehand and to will, but God’s to perfect and bring to the end.”

As we can see they all believed in free will, except Augustine.  This idea was then carried over to John Calvin and today Predestination and Total Depravity form part of the base doctrine of Calvinism.


While I was doing my research I found this youtube video by Paul Washer from Heart Cry Missionary Society who is also an ardent Amillennialist (A Roman Catholic doctirine) and dabbler in Contemplative Spirituality.  Paul Washer asserts that an 18th month old baby is totally and utterly evil.  How Paul Washer can make such a statement is beyond reason.  I suppose when you are Divinely Chosen you can say the most ludicrous things.  This is a very shocking video.

John Calvin’s reign of terror:

  • He had Servetus burned at the stake on October 27, 1553,
  • Gentile beheaded in 1566,
  • 34 women burned at the stake after accusing them of being witches who caused a plague that had swept through Geneva in 1545,
  • “Freckles” Dunant dies under torture in February 1545 without admitting to the crime of spreading the plague,
  • Several men and women are apprehended including a barber and a hospital supervisor who had “made a pact with the devil.”  in 1545,
  • 2 women executed by burning at the stake for sorcery by spreading the plague in March 7, 1545,
  • Belot (an Anabaptist) chained and tortured – against infant baptism in 1545,
  • 7 men executed concerning the plague outbreak in May 16, 1545,
  • a child was whipped publicly for calling his mother a thief,
  • a girl who struck her parents was beheaded,
  • Jacques Gruet accused of writing a poster against Calvin, was arrested, tortured then executed in July 1546,
  • and the list goes on, his victims ranging in age from 16-80.

If John Calvin was Elect, then so was Hitler!  58 murders is as good as 6 million.


John MacArthur and Grace to You ministries has this to say regarding Predestination:

I love the doctrines of grace and don’t shy away from the label “Calvinist.” I believe in the sovereignty of God. I’m convinced Scripture teaches that God is completely sovereign not only in salvation (effectually calling and granting faith to those whom He chooses); but also in every detail of the outworking of Providence.  –“Why I am A Calvinist”  — Phil Johnson, Grace to You ministries, http://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/10194

The Five Points of Calvinism:  Defined, Defended and Documented
Afterward by John MacArthur

I am thankful for this timely revision of wonderful classic that has already been an immense blessing to countless thousands. Notwithstanding its success over the years, the only question that ultimately matters about the “five points of Calvinism” is whether these doctrines are biblical. This book has demonstrated (conclusively, in my judgment) that the “five points” are nothing more or less than what the Bible teaches. The doctrines of grace and divine sovereignty are the very lifeblood of the full and free salvation promised in the gospel.

Today Calvinism is being subjected to constant attack. Several recent, popular, published critiques have tried to discredit John Calvin the man, or they have unfairly blamed Calvinism for the dubious politics of the Reformation era. But the doctrines of Calvinistic soteriology must stand or fall by the test of Scripture, period.

Scripture speaks with absolute, unmistakable clarity on these vital issues: (1) Sinners are utterly helpless to redeem themselves or to contribute anything meritorious toward their own salvation (Rom 8:7-8). (2) God is sovereign in the exercise of His saving Will (Eph 1:4-5). (3) Christ died as a substitute who bore the full weight of God’s wrath on behalf of His people, and his atoning work is efficacious for their salvation (Isa. 53:5). (4) God’s saving purpose cannot be thwarted (John 6:37), meaning none of Christ’s true sheep will ever be lost (John 10:27-29). That is because (5) God assures the perseverance of His elect (Jude 24; Phil 1:6; 1 Peter 1:5).

Those are the five points of Calvinism. I believe them not because of their historical pedigree, but because that is what Scripture teaches.

John F. MacArthur Jr.

Well John MacArthur, your Calvinistic version of Salvation falls and it falls hard!


The correct Biblical interpretation is this:

  • CONDITIONAL ELECTION – God has chosen that all humanity be righteous by His grace, yet has called us to respond to that grace by exercising our God restored human freedom as a condition of fulfilling election.
  • DEPRAVATION – Human beings are sinful and without God, incapable (deprived) on their own of being righteous; however, they are not irredeemably sinful and can be transformed by God’s grace; God’s prevenient grace restores to humanity the freedom of will.

Jesus Christ died for ALL mankind, not just for the Gnostic Elect.

Calvinism is not the gospel as Calvinists would love to have you believe.  Calvinism is a horribly devious doctrine in that it sounds biblically correct for the most part, until you reach the MOST IMPORTANT PART: Salvation.  Here you are presented with Predestination and Total Depravity; teachings out of the pit of hell.   If a person is locked into a false sense of salvation, then Satan has done his job well.


UPDATES:  Please see this SHOCKING article that EXPOSES John Calvin as a FREEMASON:  Huguenots, John Calvin and Freemasonry

Please share:

Deborah (Discerning the World)

Deborah Ellish is the author of the above article. Discerning the World is an internet Christian Ministry based in Johannesburg South Africa. Tom Lessing and Deborah Ellish both own Discerning the World. For more information see the About this Website page below the comments section.

Name or Username
Terms and Conditions

After commenting you have 15 minutes to EDIT your comment. Click the gear comment-gear at the bottom right corner of the comment box, then click EDIT.

Recent Comments Section: The last page of most recent comments is displayed first. Please read all previous comment pages if there are any. Thank you.
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Burning Lamp

Sylesa, not to harp on this, but I am very concerned that you don’t realize what JMA teaches.

Here is his own words about Limited Atonement.

MacArthur’s Denial That Christ Died for all Mankind in His Public Tapes

In 1995 John MacArthur gave a message on 2 Corinthians 5:14 (Tape GC 47-36). In this message MacArthur made it very clear that Christ died as a Substitute only for those who believe in Him. The following is transcribed directly from this tape. These are MacArthur’s words:

The atonement has its unlimited aspects. You see benefiting from the atonement in unlimited ways the human race through temporal deliverance (emphasis mine). He’s the Saviour of all men in a temporal sense (emphasis mine), that is, He doesn’t destroy them all immediately upon their sin. You see providence, God’s care, in a very general sense. He (God) lets the rain fall on the just and the unjust, divine goodness. And then you see gospel invitations given to every man and every man held culpable for the rejection of that invitation to be punished eternally because he will not believe. All those indicate to us that there is an unlimited aspect of Christ’s work on the cross, but when you talk of “Substitution” you now are talking about the limited aspect of it. (Tape GC 47-36)

The atonement can only be a real substitution for those who died in Christ (believers). In the substitutionary sense He died only for those who died in Him (those who put faith in Jesus). He is the Substitute only for those who believe (emphasis mine), otherwise you have a major problem because you have Christ dying as a Substitute for the whole world. That means He was bearing the sins of the whole world in a substitutionary sense. If in fact He was carrying Himself to the cross as a Substitute for the sins of every person who ever lived, He would therefore have done away with the wrath of God and procured for them eternal life and we would all be universalists (Tape GC 47-36).

He did not die as a Substitute, taking away the sin of people who don’t believe in Him or He would have procured a salvation for them and everybody would be saved. In the substitutionary sense He bore only the sins of those who ultimately would put their faith in Him (emphasis mine) because they were His (Tape GC 47-36).

Thre are even MORE examples at this website:
http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/reformed/macatone.htm This person is not attacking JMA, he is defending the truth of God’s Word as it pertains to the precious and holy sacrifice of our Lord Jesus and the salvation message.

Please understand I mean this in love and I used to respect JMA’s teachings but as I came to understand Calvinism/Reformed Theology and as he aligned himself with those who followed that, I began to examine his teachings. I know people who followed him and were sucked into the wrong doctrine or became very confused about it. One was a very dear friend who got all messed up in his theology becauae of following JMA’s teachings.


http://www.gty.org/search/resources/gnostisisms John Macarthur is AGAINST gnosticism, he is NOT gnostic.He has ALWAYS belieeved that the written Word of God is the way that God speaks to us and that thru the WRITTEN Word of God , we are given ALL things that we need for life and godliness. NO SECRET KNOWLEDGE! He is AGAINST all that craziness of the charasmatic movement which everyone is claiming extrabiblical revelation and knowledge. I can’t atand to see him misrepresented on this site by people who THINK they know what he teaches BUT DO NOT! As for babies, JM believes that tho they are born in depravity as we all are, he believes that ALL babies and children go to heaven.He states it plainly in his teachings on this topic, do a search on his website or if you want the link i will get it for you.The reason he believes is because they have not chosen to reject Christ even tho they are born in sin. Two paralell truths people. Soveriegnty AND freedom.I defend him because he is a tremendous and fearless bible expositor in a dark time of the church when many “preachers of the Word” are not teaching the Word at all but are after your money or their own agrandizement.Or teaching damnable heresies such as many that have been exposed on this site. It’s just a shame that because people don’t understand election and freedom that they will reject the tremendous wealth of bible knowledge that he exposits to edify and build up the body of Christ in a day when he is one of the few who actually do preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified as the scriptures say. I have read the blogs and because i am so familiar with his teachings , i can see the error and misunderstanding of you guys about what the man teaches and believes. Oh well, have it how it suits all of you, it is your own loss. If you think you know , then you can’t be shown any differant so i am lettin it alone after this post.

Burning Lamp

Sylesa, please understand, we are not attacking JMA, but rather exposing false
teaching no matter whose toes are stepped upon. What is important is the truth
of God’s Word and defending His Gospel. I am sure you would agree with that,

We can’t chew the meat and spit out the bones – or drink milk that is tainted with

We are to examine teachings in the light of God’s Word. Have you studied TULIP
and what it means? Do you understand the implications of Limited Atonement which
is only one of the false teachings in TULIP.

I have included sources of documentation that JMA subscribes to TULIP despite the
fact that he downplays it and is dispensational.

If you choose to ignore these warnings, that is certainly your choice. But we will have
done our duty to the LORD to honor His truth and not that of man. I understand that
this is a lot of absorb and it is disappointing. But I pray God opens your eyes and you
come to see what is being said here and why it is being said. We judge no person, that
is only for God to do. But the Bible INSTRUCTS us to test the spirits and to examine
teachings to see if they line up with God’s Word. That is all we are trying to do here.
May the Lord grant you wisdom and discernment in all things. Please understand we
love you and we love the Lord and His truth above all.


Deborah and Burning Lamp, thank you for your input, i very much respect your opinions and the spirit in which you are giving them.I am not sure where to begin, trying to answer to both at once. I guess i will go with the Lordship salvation thing first. All that JM is saying in a nutshell is this “Faith Without Works Is Dead”. He is simply making the point that IF a person has been born from above and the heart has been changed by God, there will be evidence of this in the life of the individual. I wholeheartedly agree with this. “Everyone who has this hope in him , purifies himself even as he is pure” 1st john3:3, the scriptures also say that (1st john 2:3-4)that we may know that we know Him if we keep his commandments, and that if we say we know Him but don’t keep his commandments we are a liar ect. ect. Read the entire booj of 1st john. Jesus himself said that “not everyone who says to me lord, lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of him who sent me.And , how about the rich young ruler who went away sad because our Lord knew that money was his idol and he was not willing to forsake all to follow. I literally could go on and on.Now here is the issue. Am i seeking to do right and obey so that i can be right with God and go to heaven? Or am i surrendering to what i know to be Gods will as expressed in His word BECAUSE I have put my trust in him? John Macarthur teaches the latter. For instance, if you were drowning , and somebody pulled you out, would you feel obligated to that person out of duty or would you want to do right by them? I know that that is a simplistic answer but i am still having my morning coffee and my brain isn’t working better than that, lol! JM teaches that he himself has sin in his life, that he struggles with sin(i have the tape , i can send the link if you want it) and that it is a constant struggle in the life of every believer . He teaches that is is not the perfection of the life but the direction of a heart that has been changed and now wants to do Gods will , where previosly Gods will did not matter to them. All he is saying in a whole lot of verbage is that faith without works is dead. he is not preaching a works salvation. He preaches against a works salvation.THe heart motivation is what is important.How in the world do we eliminate or otherwise exegete the scriptures that i have pointed out here as well as MANY more all pointing to the fact that if we have been caved , we are walking in newness of life? NOT to BE saved, but BECAUSE we are saved.Anotheer for instance, the scriptures say that if we don’t forgive our brother, neither will we be forgiven. At first glance it appears that we must do the “work” of forgiving others in order that we get forgiven by God, when in fact our {continued} unforgiveness of others really reflects that we ourselves have not yet experienced the forgiveness of God, otherwise our hearts would be changed and we would forgive because of faith working thru love. Not to say that we don’t all struggle with the sin of unforgiveness or any other sin , but it will not be our hearts desire to stay in that sin. And why not? not to be saved, but because God has opened our eyes to see sin and given us a heart that seeks to follow Him. Jm comes across strong, but this is the essence of his teaching on Lordship salvation. It is basically that saying a prayer and walking an aisle does not save you. It is a work of God in your heart whereby He brings you to faith and repentance by His grace because of the shed Blood of Christ and saves you, and when and if that happened , eventually, it will show up in a changed life.I know for sure that this is what he believes because i have listened to many many of his teachings. Do you disagree that ones life look differant after salvation? Eventually? Or are you thinking that JM teaches that you DO right TO BE saved? He does not teach that , i assure you. If he did , i would reject him also. This is a long post , so i will submit it , then answer deborahs, lol, sorry that i am so long winded! thank you again for your input. please respond and let me know how you feel about a persons life changing after salvation. Are you from America?


hello deborah , not sure what time it is in S Africa, lol! thats why it seemed that i was up early , the time differance. Anyways, this is what i believe. I believe that God IS soveriegn , That He is ALL knowing , That He knows the beginning from the end and i personally believe that Jesus died for the whole world(I differ with JM on that fine point). I believe that the call goes out to the whole world that God has come in the flesh thru the man Jesus Christ and that there is salvation in no other name.I believe as you do that God in FORKNOWLEDGE knows who will accept him and who will not. I als believe that we cannot seek God apart from the grace of God who prompts us to seek Him(there is none that does good , none that seeks after God). Jesus said that No one CAN come to me except it were given him of the Father, and He said this when He knew the thoughts of the unbelieving, i’m sure that you are aware of the scripture. I believe that that call goes out to ALL and that God in Forknowledgw knows who will accept and who will reject and yet i still believe that none of us would have ever called on Him unless we were enabled to do so by the power of Gods grace.We have our responsibility to call and believe just as the unsaved do. They are both true.I believe the call is effectual in those whom God foreknew, and at the same time, believe thet they would not have called except God in His mercy and grace and in His forknowledge of their response called first. I believe in totally depravity, we would not seek God apart from Him first moving our hearts to do so.We are dead in our tresspasses and sin and God has to Quicken us to seek Him and to believe, that is why the word says that we have “RECIEVED” like precious faith. I differ only slightly with Jm.on this finer point. He does believe and preach WHOSOEVER will may come as the scriptures teach.This is what i know, as long as Jm preachees that WHOSOEVER will may come(AND HE DOES) and preaches Christ crucified for our sins(AND HE DOES) the call is put out for all. God knows who will accept and who will not. And as for babies, he has a teaching on that on his site, he believes that babies and children go to heaven. Some of the posts that i have read brought that into questio SURMISING what JM MUST believe (that innocent babies, not “chosen” go to hell) when in fact he DOES NOT believe this. ON his site in the search box type in babies and it will bring up the teaching.Also, JM DOES NOT hold the view that if you don’t believe in election that you are reprobate! where in the world did that some from? HE calls the arminians his brethern in the faith. Such differences do not make a person reprobate and if i ever heard him say such a thing i would not listen to him anymore! I think that many people are surmising that because he believes in election that he must believe a certain way about many other things without searching out for themselves what any particular subject is and making it their business to find out what he DOES believe on whatever topic they may be wondering about. It is easier to villify him and call into question all his beliefs based on election! To me , here’s what i know, Jesus said that He would cast NONE out and Jesus also said that no one CAN come unless it is given him of the Father . These are both true and i don’t need to figure it out. All i know is that i have repented and called on Him and He has not cast me out because He can’t lie, and that settles it for me. Also , he says to preach the word to All and so that is needful to be done as well. The outcome is in His sovereign hands. I am at peace with this doctrine. I believe the scripture bears this out , NOT any gnostic teachings, of which there is never a man that stands for basing ALL that we believe on the WRITTEN WORD. I am sure , that as a human being , JM has on occasion altered his point of view as he further studied the scriptures between the ages of sy 25 and 65, that would be expected, we GROW in our knowledge and understanding. I have a witness in myself that he preaches the Word, i know the Word and would know if he was deviating from it, and again as i stated in another post, NOBODY is infallable , only God.There are true men of God with sincere hearts such as Appolos in the book of Acts whom Priscilla and Aquilla(?) toook aside and explained the Word more fully to him who by the way was said to be “mighty in the scriptures” and then there are false teachers, flat out liars such as Eric if i may say so , decievers and decieved. Jm does not fit in that category. You can’t possibly listen to his exposition of the Word of God and attribute to him any sinister motive! I relly don’t know what else to say in his defense.I feel that he has SO MUCH truth of the Word of God to edify the body of Christ , in a dark world of false teachers that i was stunned to see his name on the blog, i nearly sucked all the air out of the room!lol!By the way , as a side note off the topic at hand, (i may have to reread the post if i didn’t respond to something and post again), do you know that THE Billy Graham does not hold to the truth that Jesus is the only way? I was Shocked!! And i might add, it caused me much disillusionment. Wow! gotta go, be back

Burning Lamp

Sylesa, did you read the info I sent on LS? I totally agree that there should be fruit in
the life of a true Christian. However, saying that, I know from personal experience that
not everyone has the opportunity to grow as a believer and be discipled. That fruit may
not be manifested until a later time. Yes, the heart’s desires are changed and that should
be evident. However, the evidence of fruit will vary from believer to believer.

The problem I have with LS is that this doctrine teaches that a person to be saved must
acknowledge Jesus as LORD of their life FROM THE MOMENT OF CONVERSION. He confuses conversion (justification) with sanctification.
This is subtle, so you really need to focus on this. But it is CRITICAL.

Lordship Salvation is a lie. A changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance; and not a part of the ROOT of saving faith.

Sylesa, I exhort you to please READ and examine this issue.

Dr. MacArthur’s position on Lordship Salvation has been made very clear in his published book, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JESUS. He has also made statements in some of his other published writings and tapes that relate to this subject, some of which are quoted below:
“The Greek word translated ‘belief’ is not referring merely to intellectual attainment or mental acquiescence but a wholehearted acceptance of everything that is implied in the claims of Christ. You need to believe that Jesus is God and that He died for your sins, committing your whole life to Him in sacrifice and serving Him as Lord.” (Assurance of Victory–1 John 5, Moody Press, p.12).
“Submission to the will of God, to Christ’s lordship, and to the guiding of the Spirit is an essential, not an optional, part of saving faith” (EPHESIANS, p. 249).
“Saving faith is a placing of oneself totally in submission to the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1-8, p. 205).
Sylesa, please pay special attention to the following:
Dr. MacArthur tends to confuse repentance with the fruits of repentance, and to confuse faith with that which faith ought to produce. He confuses saving faith (which takes place in a moment of time–Rom. 13:11; Eph. 1:13) with discipleship (which is a lifelong process). As Miles Stanford has said, “Lordship salvation is not the childlike faith of John 3:16. It rightly insists upon repentance but wrongly includes a change of behavior IN ORDER TO BE SAVED. No one questions that there must be a sincere change of mind, a turning from oneself to the Saviour, but Lordship advocates attempt to make behavior and fruit essential ingredients of, rather than evidence of, saving faith” (Miles Stanford, in his review of The Gospel According to Jesus).
Notice that MacArthur’s emphasis is upon WHAT MAN DOES (turning from sin, following Christ) rather than upon WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE. His emphasis is upon MAN’S COMMITMENT, rather than upon the Person and work of Christ and the response of faith to that Person and to His work. His emphasis is upon DO, but a true gospel message should emphasize DONE (John 19:30). It is not our COMMITMENT that saves us; it is CHRIST who saves us. Following Christ is a result of salvation, not a condition of salvation. Before we FOLLOW CHRIST in discipleship we must COME TO CHRIST for salvation. Before we COME AFTER CHRIST (Luke 9:23) we must COME UNTO CHRIST (Matthew 11:28). The term “BELIEVE” does not mean “turn from sin and follow Christ.” It means “trust fully, rely upon, resting one’s whole weight upon the WORTH, WORD and WORK of Jesus Christ.” We must not re-define saving faith to make it some kind of a “work-requirement” for salvation. Justification is for the person who “worketh not, but believeth” (Rom. 4:5).
PLEASE read more at this link from where these excerpts were taken – after you have done that, please come back and we can discuss some more:

Burning Lamp

Sylesa, if would be helpful and your posts would be much easier to read if you would divide up into paragraphs. Okee Dokee?

You obviously have not read the links provided and are a JMA fan. I feel I have presented adequate documentation of his false teaching of Lordship Salvation and his mixed messages on TULIP.

You said:

personally believe that Jesus died for the whole world(I differ with JM on that fine point).

Dear sister, you consider this a FINE POINT? Puleeeeze! Just a minor little detail? Oh my!!

It is clear that you are firm in your defense of JMA. I leave it between you and God. It is important who we decide to trust. Personally I don’t trust any living man except f(of course) my husband and my pastor whom I can eyeball and hold accountable. In this day and age there are none with public ministries with the possible exception of Roger Oakland who I would even support. And those who mix truth and error are the most dangerous.

JMA is a friend of Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron’s Way of the Master ministry which is confrontational and has not followup – why? Because it is Calvinist in theology. I saw JMA appear with Kirk Cameron on the ministry program.

But there is no convincing you at this point. No hard feelings – just concerns for you.

Grace and peace to you!


Burning Lamp, thank you so much for your post. I very much appreciate the diologue even if we don’t agree.Sometimes the point and counterpoint is how i process things. I am not sure what teaching it is but i think that JM has stated that a person does not have to be willing to surrender all to Christ in order to be saved, he said that he believed that Christ works that in our heart after we are saved. I will post the link when i find it. You have given me much to think about. I don’t know if i am misunderstanding his take on Lordship salvation or you are. I really need to find that teaching and i need to search these things out.I appreciate your comments. I pray all the time that the lord would keep me from deception. I ask him to keep me from decieving my own heart and to be kept from being decieved by others. Thank you so much for all your input. We are living in dark days as far as true teachers go. I am afraid to let my gaurd down and ever slip into easy believism , however i don’t want to be in error the other direction either. I will search these things out. It is 3:10 am , i am not usually up at this hour so i think that i will thoughtfully reread the post tomorrow and search into things. God Bless. Thank you Burning Lamp


hello deborah, please don’t misunderstand what i was saying, I BELIEVE THAT THE LIFE IS IN THE BLOOD AND THAT WITHOUT THE SHEDDING OF BLOOD THERE IS NO REMISSION OF SIN.I BELIEVE THAT THE BLOOD OF CHRIST WAS PRECIOUS AND ABSOLUTELY NESASARY TO BE SHED FOR OUR SALVATION. I think that all that JM was saying was that it was not a magical quality in the blood, what made Christs blood more valuable than any other blood was that it was from the PERFECT LAMB OF GOD < THE SINLESS SON OF GOD< THE ONLY PERFECT SACRIFICE. Why do you think that i spoke evil?I sure didn't mean to say anything evil. I never really even gave thought to such distinctions. I was only trying to state what it was that JM was trying to say. I have not given the thought to make such distinctions as JM has done, just trying to explain what he was trying to say. As for the correctness of JM's statement or explanation to correct it later, i have not truly thought in such distinctions . I look at it that Christ was the ONLY perfect sacrifice because He was the perfect sinless Son of God and that without the shedding of blood ther is no remission of sins. And Jesus shed His blood for us. I never thought in any distinction. As for Augustine and Calvin, were not both of them converted later in life to CHRISTIANITY? I don't know much about either of them, will have to look into their lives. But still, just because JM quotes some of ther writings and admires some things about them , assuming it is After their conversion, how does that reflect on him ? Short of Jm advocating any evil that they may have done. I could quote somebody that i had nothing in common with because i mite agree with something that they said. Even right now, i quote JM but do NOT believe in limited atonement.Neither do I personally give thought to making distinctions (the human aspect of His physical blood and all the chemical components of it vs. the fact of it coming from the Sinless Son of God. In my view, HE IS GOD IN THE FLESH WHO SHED HIS BLOOD FOR THE SINS OF THE WORLD. thats ALL i know for sure! As to any eternal judgement of what JM said or meant, that's up to God.I don't think that Jm meant to denograte the blood of the New Covenant thru Christ because in his teachings he is always preaching Christ and His blood shed for our sins and His PERFECT sacrifice. This is a fact, I could post hundreds of links on this blog proving that that is a common topic of Jm. That is why i find it hard to believe(even tho i myself don't make such distinctions) that JM meant anything blasphemous against the blood of Christ. I truly don't think he meant to denigrate the blood of Christ. If JM did, then God knows. I can only go by how i see the emphasis JM places on the blood of Christ in his teachings, PLAINLY stating that without it we would have no right standing before God. Are you saying that if a person comes to Christ and does not think in thes distinctives that they are lost due to not making these distinctives in their understanding? Or even in their thinking to begin with for that matter!? I highly doubt that most people who hear the gospel sit around pondering this and a thousand other things that unless it was put out there it would not be natural to their thought process. Great knowledge into every hair splitting distinctive is not necasary i don't think , at least not in a great many cases. The simple truth is this and it is non-negotiable and that is "we are sinners and unable to be or do anything to save ourselves and Jesus is the sinless perfect sacrifice for our sins, the Lamb of God , He fulfilled all the types and shadows of the old covenant. He was both God and man. Only thru Him can any of us have acess to God.Only the sinless son of Gods shed blood could be the payment for the sins of the world. I know this no matter what JM or an angel from heaven had to say. thank you for your post. I will and do check things out. do NOT think that i am discounting what you or Burning Lamp has to say.


Burning Lamp, John Macarthur is doing a Lordship salvation series right now on Grace To You. I am going to listen to him very carefully. You have raised some questions in my mind and i want to make sure that i am not misunderstanding JM/or in error in my own thinking. You made a point of subtelty of fruit vs. root and JM at times does seem to have those confused and at other times he doesn’t. I want to let you know that i appreciate your post and AM currently since then, looking into the distinctives of his teachings on this topic. What a coincidence that he is starting a new series on this exact topic. Thank you again Burning Lamp.

Jeff - child of the Sovereign God

Dear Deborah and Burning Lamp,
Please answer the following questions:
1 – Is God Sovereign?
2 – If so…How Sovereign is He?
3 – Who made you, et al?>
4 – What does the Bible say is the beginning of wisdom?
5 – Is Christ our gift, or are we Christ’s gift from the Father?
6 – Why was the acronym TULIP even developed (historically)?
7 – How many times is “free will” used in scripture to describe the work of salvation?
8 – How many passages in scripture speak of being “chosen”, “called”, “elected” as a part of the process of salvation?
9 – What, in light of your insistence that we choose God (as opposed to the reverse), do you do with John 6, when Christ says to the 12 after His teachings have caused many of His “disciples” to reject Him, “And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that NO ONE can come to me unless it is granted to him by the Father”?

You speak with such pride and arrogance (as one who cannot save yourself), that YOU chose the Creator…you are so convinced b/c to believe otherwise will mean that you are completely at the mercy of our Sovereign God, that you have no control, that the very beat of your heart is dependent on Him. If you truly believe in a Sovereign God, I think you might change your tone about “reformed theology”.

No disrespect intended, but your god is very small, if he is not completely sovereign.

Grace and peace to you.


why have you not approved my comments yet that i posted yesterday?i see new material , but i made a very valid response to burning lamp and you have not posted it:)

Thank you Jeff:)


Deborah, the Word has already been translated for us. We have the Word in our language now , and sinse language is meant to be understood , and it surely is understood in the passage that Jeff has brought to your attention. You have actually helped make Jeff and my point:)

Burning Lamp

Jeff, since you addressed this to me as well as Debs, I concur with all of her answers to your questions.

The only thing that I might add is the TULIP was designed by Satan himself to undermine the Gospel of Christ. It is devious, diabolical and one of the greatest deceptions because it mixes truth with error. It is a stronghold that has captured the hearts and minds of many – not questioning anyone’s salvation, but it is a huge hindrance to the Great Commission given by our Lord. He said to go out into ALL the world, which indicates the broadness of His command. Yes, the road is narrow, but the invitation is to ALL.

God did not create hell for those he did not choose, he created it for Satan and his angels who by their free will rebelled against Him and CHOSE their destiny.

If God had not given man FREE WILL, Adam and Eve would not have sinned and there would not have been a need for the Law and Christ’s atonement to fulfill it.

My heart goes out to all who are held captive by this unbiblical doctrine – and sadly it inevitably breeds pride which makes it hard to overcome. I pray you will humble yourself and fall on your knees before God and stop idolizing TULIP and Calvinist/Reformed beliefs because that is exactly what it is.


I want to comment on the video of Paul Washer… although I have not watched it entirely, because I just cannot listen to this perverted message.
Already in the beginning of the video there is a lie… When Washer cites Gen 6:5 … he just conveniently withholds the info that there WAS somebody who was righteous in Gods eyes… Noah namely: Gen 6:9; 7:1 (I guess they have a convenient explanation for Noah too)

Paul Washer preaches Calvinism and not the gospel in this clip. Every Bible verse he gives is selected to the purpose to prove his idol – Calvinism.

There are young people in his audience, who, having turned to Christ for salvation, are now being encouraged to bow down before the calvinistic Moloch, who has eaten up Christ, his mercy, his grace and love …and perverted the message of the gospel, to feed the empty vanity of the calvinistic “Grand Sovereign”!!

Somehow my stomach gets upset when I listen to this… :((((
I hope the young man/reporter, mentioned at the beginning of the clip, was not persuaded by Washers false presentation.

Sometimes I think that the calvinists preach about themselves when they speak of total depravity – it seems even the grace of God is not sufficient enough for them because they are soooo eeeeviiil they don’t want it! So they march in the same crowd with Hitler (a catholic, great admirer of the pope) and – yes, Calvin, who tortured and murdered dozens of people AFTER he got saved!

Sorry, just a little sarcasm on their behalf… they obviously do not know what they are doing/preaching!


Some sarcastic additions to my previous post:

Washer is commiting idolatry when he, with a trembling voice, preaches a Christ, who has died only for the sake of randomly selected, totaly deprived people! (the elect)!

Yes, totaly deprived they seem to be! Calvin ahead of them!

No amount of grace, no amount of Bible exegesis, etc.., was enough for him to stop him from killing people, even children and youth!

Burning Lamp

Marusa, you are so right. Washer appeals to those who are weary of weak-kneed preaching, and it tends to cloud their judgment as to what Washer really stands for.

And you brought out a salient point I have not heard before. That Calvinism is an idol – it is based in an elitist pride that God hates. Granted those who trumpet the T.U.L.I.P probably do so in ignorance, but the result is the same. Most wil defend it as if it the alpha and omega of biblical truth when it is a lie from the pit of hell.


Burning Lamp

sometimes I get carried away… Had some expirience with pride, how it ruins everything. I think that pride, judgementality and arrogance are often not recognized as sin with many christians. May have been a problem with Calvin too.
Not that I am perfect, but the selfrighteusness of Calvin probably completely clouded his eyes. It can be dangerous if you try to be too much of a good guy by you own power and understanding

Yes, TULIP is a lie and appeals to selfish desires (power, prestige, favor). And even worse – it can feed sadistic impulses. It is not the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x