John MacArthur’s Unanswerable Questions?
This is probably the most profound and “spiritual” (and most hilarious) thing one of the most distinguished and high-profile preachers of our day has said this century. (Read here.)
John MacArthur said the following when a little kid asked him one of the most important questions there is to be asked, and for that matter, ought to be asked by every sound thinking adult who knows how to use his brains effectively.
[A very young Child]: I listened to your sermon last Sunday, and I was wondering, why didn’t God choose everybody to be saved? [Tom’s comment: “Kids seem to listen more intently to sermons than adults.”)
Kids always ask those questions. Adults don’t ask them because they’ve learned there’s no answer.
Why didn’t God choose everyone to be saved? You know something, honey? I don’t know. I don’t know. But, I’ll give you a basic answer, Ok? And the basic answer–and I hope you can understand this–the basic answer is: because He got more glory for his own name by doing it the way He did it. God does what He does for His glory. And somehow, in some way, God is glorified in what He did, and that’s why He did it.
Let me tell you something else: does God ever make a mistake? Is God ever wrong? Is God loving? He is. So, whatever He does fits into his character somehow. And if it’s hard for us to understand, that’s not God’s problem; whose problem is that? That’s our problem, isn’t it? Because we just don’t have the ability to understand that.
So there are some questions you just can’t answer–that’s one of them. Ok? Thank you, honey.
Okey Dokey! Now, that’s what I call a dumb and a stupid answer. First he tells us, “adults don’t ask them [those kind of questions] because they’ve learned there’s no answer” and then he ventures to answer the little kid.
If there are no final answers to the little girl’s question, then the answer John MacArthur gave her cannot be a believable answer but instead a believable lie. How can you say there are no answers and then provide an answer? That’s just plain silly. It is downright dishonesty. He even tells her “and I hope you can understand this.”
What??? He hopes a little girl can understand what adults do not understand because they’ve learned that they CANNOT POSSIBLY understand or know how to answer them, and because he himself doesn’t know what the answers are? Duh!!! Now that’s what I call TOTAL DEPRAVITY (TOTAL INABILITY).
But wait, the hilarious part is still to come. He says: “You know something honey? I don’t know.” And then he repeats: “I don’t know.” This is what I call DOUBLE JEOPARDY.” And here’s the punch line. He tells her: “But I’ll give you a basic answer.”
One of the meanings of “basic” given by any good dictionary is that of being the “base” or “fundamental” foundation of something bigger or larger. He was actually telling the little girl: “I don’t know, I don’t know. But I’ll give you a fundamental basis on which you can build your own conjectures.”
And then he bursts out with pride and self-confident conviction that he knows the answer (having first told us that adults do not know the answers) by telling her: “because He got more glory for His own name by doing it the way He did it. God does what He does for His glory.”
If I’d been that little girl I would have said to him: “Sir, you say that you don’t know the answers because you’re a grown man. But, how come you know that the damnation of billions of people to hell, even before the foundation of the earth, just because God did not elect them unto salvation, pleases Him and gives Him more glory?
Doesn’t the Lord of glory say that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked and that it is his will that everyone should be saved? He’s been an adult since time immemorial and HE knows all the answers, doesn’t He?”
John MacArthur: Prince of Preachers?
This is the kind of garbage our modern-day Princes of Preachers teach our children in Sunday schools and in seminaries and their parents happily pay for their garbage. What did Jesus Christ say?
“And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)
Why must he be cast into the sea? Well, I don’t know, I don’t know. But what I do know is that it gives God more glory. NO! The correct answer is: Because the depths of the sea is a metaphor of how completely God casts a repentant sinner’s sins away from Him. In other words he must be cast into the sea where God casts all the sins. (Micah 7:19)
What’s the moral of the story? Beware what you tell your little kids. It may just be the ultimate thing that decides where God is going to cast you.
Well, at least there’s one good thing we can say about John MacArthur’s non-answerable answer. He’s a real gentleman. He ends off by saying: “Thank you, honey.” First he sells her a bunch of garbage and then he thanks HER? Now that’s what I call real gentlemanly deception.
One last thought. If you adults do not know how to answer your little kids’ questions, just tell them. ‘I don’t know, I don’t know honey, but what I do know is that it gives God more glory. Hallelujah! AMEN!!!’ Or you may do even better than that. Listen to your kids when you do not know the answers.
And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? (Matthew 21:16)
Sorry, but bear with me when I present you with one more last thought. John MacArthur made a very important statement when he told the little girl:
Let me tell you something else: does God ever make a mistake? Is God ever wrong? Is God loving? He is. So, whatever He does fits into His character somehow. And if it’s hard for us to understand, that’s not God’s problem; whose problem is that? That’s our problem, isn’t it? Because we just don’t have the ability to understand that.
One of the strangest things about Calvinism (and there are many enigmatic things about it) is that they can tell you exactly in minor detail everything about God’s sovereignty. Please don’t get me wrong. God is absolutely sovereign and He may and also often does exactly as He pleases.
However, when his love crosses the mind, as it had the little girl’s, they don’t have a clue what it means. They immediately plead “MYSTERY” when God’s love and him being the essence of love is brought to the fore. It is glaringly evident that the little girl who must have been told that God IS love and that it is his will that no one should perish but that all should have eternal life, could not and probably would not allow her to be convinced that this wonderful God who IS love would only choose some to an eternal destiny in heaven with Him.
But let us first turn our attention to God’s sovereignty. As I said, God is absolutely sovereign and He always does as He pleases. Nevertheless, are there any examples in Scripture where He allowed man, who is but dust and ashes, to sway his sovereign decisions? Yep, there are several and they all have something in common.
They all pertain to the salvation of man. When God wanted to wipe out the entire nation of Israel due of their abominable idolatry in the Sinai desert, He allowed Moses to plead in their behalf. Listen to this:
They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.
And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?
Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.
And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people. (Exodus 32:8-14).
Another good example is Nineveh. God decided to destroy the entire city and commanded Jonah to preach to them fire and brimstone and the destruction of them all unless they repented. If God had chosen to save only the elect in the city, He would never have made the sovereign decision to destroy the entire city. Surely, He would have said to Himself: “There are a number of the elect in the city whom I have chosen unto salvation before the foundation of the world.
I can therefore only destroy the non-elect whom I have chosen not to love.” Calvinists would probably say: “No! the entire city’s inhabitants were the elect. Had that been the case, why did God sovereignly decide to destroy the elect when they were in the line for eternal bliss in heaven at any rate? That’s ridiculous.
Those people were all lost and on their way to an eternal hell and desperately needed to hear, understand and respond in faith to the Gospel so that they may be saved. And praise be to God, they all did exactly just that
As I’ve already said. Calvinists know everything about God’s sovereignty but very little if anything about His AWESOME love.
should rather have answered the little girl as he had done others so many times in the past.
“The best answer to this question is: ‘Honey, I feel your pain.’ That is the best answer to that question. I’m not here to give you an answer but I will tell you this (Here we go again. He knows exactly how to answer the unanswerable questions). I do not believe that Jesus died for nobody.
I believe He died for somebody and I believe He died specifically for those who would believe in Him and those who believe in Him are those who are regenerated by the Holy Spirit based upon the eternal sovereign electing purpose of God.
I believe the atonement was an actual one, not a potential one. I don’t believe it was a general one; it was a specific one. It was a real death for sin. The issue here is the nature of the atonement. Forget the dilemma. You are going to have the dilemma no matter what you do.
The dilemma is, why didn’t He send everyone to heaven? The dilemma is why is there a hell and why are people going there? That is a legitimately difficult question to ask and the only answer I can give you is that if God purposed to do that, Romans 9, who is there to question his purpose?
If He gets glory from judgment the way He gets glory from salvation who are we to question that? The other issue is nobody goes to hell for any other reason than that they are guilty of sin and unbelief ; now this I don’t know but there are a lot of things I don’t know. I said it so many times. I don’t even know how my spiritual life works.”
John MacArthur should rather remain silent.
If MacArthur doesn’t know how his spiritual life works, especially when it pertains to questions regarding salvation and sanctification, isn’t it better that he rather kept his mouth shut tight, so tight that it wouldn’t be possible for him to open it again? I’ll tell why I say so. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12:36). If you don’t know, shut up because the words you utter whilst you should rather have kept quiet may judge you in the Day of Judgment.
Besides the point that MacArthur admits that he does not know the answers and yet always proceeds to give answers, he often falls flat on his face over his own answers. Consider for instance the following:
I believe the atonement was an actual one, not a potential one. I don’t believe it was a general one; it was a specific one. It was a real death for sin.
Indeed, Mr MacArthur, it was an actual atonement for SIN. Okey dokey, now this poses a real problem for Mr MacArthur. If Jesus’ death on the cross was an actual one for sin, as he himself admitted, then He must have died for everyone and not only for the elect. simply because all have sinned (Romans 3:23), unless, of course, only the elect have sinned which is preposterous to even contemplate.
If Jesus’ atonement on the cross was an actual one for sin then every single sinner may claim that Jesus died for him or her specifically and therefore has an equal opportunity with every other sinner to be saved by merely putting their trust in Jesus Christ and by appropriating by faith his death on the cross for their sins.
The God of the Bible is not a God of confusion. Satan is the god of confusion and I’m convinced that it is he who makes men who ought to know everything pertaining to salvation and sanctification to say “I don’t know.” Was God lying when He said:
The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, . . . (Deuteronomy 29:29)
Are the doctrines of salvation and sanctification secret things or have they been revealed to us so that we may fully understand it? Jesus said:
Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. (John 18:20).
Was Jesus lying when He said:
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)
Having listened to John MacArthur’s plea that he does not know the answers with regard to questions relating to salvation and sanctification, I can only repeat what Jesus said to Nicodemus.
“Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? (John 3:10)
John MacArthur’s unanswerable question has now been answered.