AN EARTHQUAKE REDEMPTION – Part 1
One of the most poignant and beautiful passages in Scripture, despite the devastating earthquake that shook the prison where Paul and Silas had been incarcerated for their witness of the Gospel of redemption through Jesus Christ, is in Acts 16.
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30).
It was no ordinary earthquake. It shook the foundations of the prison so that not only the prison doors were slammed open, but even the chains that shackled the prisoners to their cells were miraculously loosened.
It is not an understatement to say that Calvinism in general needs to be shaken to its roots by an “earthquake” to break loose the chains (of TULIP) to which many people have been shackled for so many years.
However, it was not the earthquake itself that drove the jailer to contemplate suicide. Roman authorities charged prison keepers to make sure their prisoners were kept under lock and key, under threat of death if they failed to do so.
Failure on the part of the jailer led to execution, not by a quick death, but by the slow and very painful death of a cross. It was probably the thought of being crucified that prompted him to take his own life. It was not uncommon for Greeks and Romans to take their own lives when faced with danger.
Nevertheless, there is something more deeply spiritual in the jailer’s attempt to commit suicide. Satan is a liar and a murderer from the very beginning (John 8:44), and will do everything in his power to kill a sinner in the event to prevent him, or her from hearing the Gospel and being saved.
The jailer must have thought,
“Oh dear, all the prisoners have escaped and I will have to face the wrath of Rome. I simply don’t have the guts to hang on a cross for hours on end. I have witnessed the agony, fear and excruciating pain criminals go through, while hanging on a cross many times. I prefer to take my own life which is quick and painless.”
It was Paul’s loud and piercing cry, “Do thyself no harm: for we are all here,” that brought the jailer to his senses, and saved his natural life. However, this was not Paul’s main concern.
The jailer desperately needed to be saved spiritually. Notice that the jailer himself realized that he had to be saved and instantly asked, “What must I do to be saved?” With someone like Paul in jail, you can be sure that the jailer heard the Gospel on several occasions. Even his, and Silas’s songs were penetrating Gospel sermons.
A DANGEROUS OXYMORON – “IRRESISTIBLE GRACE”
The entire scene in Acts 16 was so intensely dramatic that no one ventured to enter into a philosophical or religious discourse on the nature of the atonement, least of all on why Jesus died only for the elect, or why his death on the cross was an actual and a specific one and not just a potential and general one, as John MacArthur pointed out in an interview during the Shepherd’s Conference in 2010.
In no instance during their entire dialogue did Paul or Silas relish the thought that the jailer might not be a predestined and elect person. Paul immediately went to the very heart of the main requirement for salvation, and that is, FAITH.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house,” was Paul’s resounding clarion of redemption, and he said it with so much conviction that he even declared that the jailer’s entire household would also be saved – if, they believed and NOT, if, they were the elect chosen of God before the foundation of the world.
None of them even thought of asking the jailer to remove the top part of his soldier’s uniform, so that they could see whether he had an “E” painted on his back, as Charles Spurgeon and John MacArthur would have liked it, to make sure whether he was and elect person or not.
According to Charles Spurgeon and his alleged 21st Century successor, an “E,” would have been solid proof that the jailer was indeed an elect person, which in turn would have given Paul and Silas the go-ahead to preach the Gospel to him, knowing in no uncertain terms that they would be successful because the elect cannot resist God’s grace.
The elect do not have the freewill nor the capacity to say, “no thank you” and to reject God’s salvation. They must of necessity receive God’s irresistible and sovereign grace. Any shape or form of resistance to God’s grace on the part of the elect, would have destroyed God sovereignty.
The term, “irresistible grace,” is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, that cannot be reconciled with the “T” in the acronym, ‘TULIP,” which stands for “Total Depravity.”
If, as the Calvinists assert, Total Depravity” renders the elect completely incapable to respond to the Gospel because it equals a kind of rigor mortis death, like that of Lazarus, they are totally inept to respond positively or negatively to God’s irresistible grace. A corpse cannot say “yes” or “no” to irresistible grace. And that is precisely why it is called irresistible grace.
The phrase “irresistible grace” implies that the person to whom grace is extended must of necessity be able to “resist” God’s grace. If that hadn’t been so, the word “irresistible” could not have had any right to existence, simply because the negative or positive meaning of a word cannot exist without its positive or negative counterpart. It’s like light and darkness.
In short, we could never have known the meaning of “irresistible” if the word “resistible” was nonexistent, and vice versa. It is the reciprocal opposite meanings of these words that gives them credence, and make them comprehensible. Consequently, it also means that man is capable of doing either the one or the other. Again, this implies man’s capability to choose.
The word “darkness” would have been a complete misnomer without its counterpart “light.” Darkness is merely the lack of light, and so too, in similar vein, “irresistible” is merely the opposite of “resistible.” Hence the clear notion that coming to, or staying away from the light, is a free choice, and not an irresistible and forceful coercion.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:19-21).
Anyone who interprets “love” to be an emotion void of free-will and choice must have his head examined. But then again, that’s precisely how Calvinists see love. To them, it represents a kind of stone-age bully, who clubs a woman over the head, drags her unconscious body to his den, applies stone age smelling salts, and then says to her, “You have absolutely no capacity to resist my love for you, and you must love me whether you like it or not.”
It follows that both these terms, “resistible” and “irresistible,” firmly and unquestionably imply choice, and choice, on the other hand, implies free-will, which Calvinists ignore like a rotten, stinking corpse, because it allegedly gives the sinner power to activate his or her own salvation, and accordingly diminishes the sovereignty of God.
What, utter nonsense. Do they really think Paul said to the jailer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you and your entire household shall be saved,” if he thought their faith UNTO salvation would demean God’s sovereignty? What, utter, nonsense.
Or perhaps Calvinists would rather have wanted Paul to say to the jailor, “I cannot ask you to believe or to put your faith in Jesus Christ, because that would make you the activator of your salvation. You are not supposed to believe of your own accord in order to be saved, according to the illustrious scholar, John MacArthur.”
In the Calvinistic vernacular, the word “irresistible” does not relate to choice or free-will, but to a rotten dead corpse that needs to be made alive irresistibly by God’s grace, and then given faith as a gift, so that the regenerated corpse may believe the Gospel. It is the very opposite of biblical salvation and an affront to God’s grace, and his sovereignty.
It would have been far better if the Calvinists removed the “I,” in “TULIP” and replaced it with an “E” to convey the thought of “Enforced grace.” That would have enhanced God’s sovereignty more effective than “irresistible grace” because He alone can enforce his grace, if that, had been the way He wanted to extend his grace.
THE AFTERMATH OF AN EARTHQUAKE – “WHAT MUST I DO?”
As I explained earlier, the intense dramatic situation that followed the earthquake did not provide an opportunity to engage in a profound religious discourse with the jailer. He asked a simple question and Paul needed to answer it as quick and as effective as he could, because the jailer was on the verge of taking his own life, and accordingly land up in a far worse jail – an eternity in hell.
So, let us first examine the jailer’s question, “What must I do to be saved?” Willful ignorance of his words, “What must, I, do,” with an emphasis on the “I,” will evidently lead to a vacuous discussion, and and argument that would benefit no one. Nonetheless, we dare not ignore the “I” in his question because that, and that alone motivated Paul to provide him with the answer he needed to hear.
Paul never once ventured to clarify the alleged paradox between the command to go into all the world and preach the Gospel and the nature of the atonement, as MacArthur defines it.
To Paul, there was no such thing as an exclusionary gospel that only benefited the so-called elect, because it allegedly pleased God to save some and damn the rest.
Faith, and faith alone in Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross was his magna carte of salvation. Hence his magnanimous answer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16: 31), when the jailer asked, “What must, I do to be saved?”
Did Paul and Silas preach the Gospel to them because they knew in advance that they were God’s elect? (Acts 16:32). Hardly, because Paul and Silas knew that God wanted “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4). Aha! Not so fast . . . Wait a sec.
Our dear friend and great scholar, James White, has already explained in painful detail what these words mean, in the context of the command to pray for all men, including kings and all those that are in authority. According to White, the “all” in verse 4, does not include all men without exception; it simply means that God wants all kinds of men, including kings, queens, presidents and all those in authority, to be saved.
Why do Calvinists link electoral regeneration to a hierarchy of men and women who are in authority, as if that is a primary factor in their effort to validate their doctrine of election, whilst God clearly and unequivocally states that with Him “there is no respect of persons?” (Romans 2:11).
We are all equal before God, which makes all people, including kings and queens and people in authority, equally needful of salvation. That is all this verse wants to bring across to our understanding and nothing else.
The reason why we are exhorted to pray for kings and queens and people in authority, is not because God wants all kinds of people to be saved, but because it is his will that no one, including kings and queens and people in authority, should perish.
What Paul wished to communicate, is that we should pray for Queen Elizabeth, King Noor, President Barak Obama and the new President elect, Donald Trump, President Zuma and President Mugabe, as well as for kings and queens in Islamic countries, because God wants all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
The truth of God’s salvific work on the cross is not limited to the elect, but is meant to be imparted to all men, including kings and queens and men in diverse positions of authority, because God wants all men to be saved.
Throughout biblical history there has always been an impression that the poor, the base, the marginalized and the have-nots would inherit the Kingdom of God and not the rich the have-it-alls, and those in authority. (Matthew 5:3; Luke 14:13-14).
A case in point is the modern-day Emergent Church who believes and openly proclaims that the poor, the destitute and the marginalized are the kingdom-people of God. (a.k.a. the narrative of Lazarus in Luke 16), and that your pecuniary care and compassion for the poor is the sign that you are a true follower of Christ.
JOHN MACARTHUR AND RICK HOLLAND INTERVIEW A JAILER
Let us for a moment imagine it was John MacArthur and his interviewer, Rick Holland, who’d been incarcerated for their faith and not Paul and Silas. What would they have said to the jailer when he drew his sword to commit suicide?
Jailer: Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Rick Holland to MacArthur: Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. What should we say to him? Should we tell him that God loves him and that Jesus Christ did not die for him?
MacArthur to Rick Holland: I think we have to be careful what we say.
MacArthur to jailer: Well son, we are commanded to go into all the world and to preach the Gospel to every creature, and that’s what we are doing right now because that’s what the Scriptures say. So please listen very carefully to what I have to say to you. There is a paradoxical tension between this command and the nature of the atonement.
There’s a tension between that, and the doctrine of divine election and predestination. Any tension you feel in those areas, I feel. I feel the same tension. I ask the same question. However, I am happy to concede that God can resolve things that I can’t.
I shouldn’t expect of you, and you shouldn’t expect of me to unscrew the inscrutable. You really don’t think I am going to solve all the vast theological dilemmas that have existed since the Scriptures were penned.
Rick Holland: Actually some people do . . . [like Paul and Silas, and Jesus Christ who promised, “You shall know the Truth and the Truth will make you free. (John 8:32].
MacArthur to jailer: The best answer to your question [“What must I do to be saved?”] is, Brother, I feel your pain. That is the best answer to your question.
Jailer to MacArthur: You feel my pain? Really? Jesus Christ refused to die for me on the cross and to bear the pains of my sins in his body, but, YOU? YOU? . . . YOU DO? How magnanimously sweet of you. Thank you so much!
While MacArthur is still expressing his compassionate feeling of pain for the jailer, he promptly falls on his sword and kills himself, while thinking that God loves him so much that Jesus Christ decided not to die for him on the cross, and because John MacArthur compassionately felt his pain.
Wholly unbiblical? YES!
A lie from the pit of hell? YES!
A ploy of the devil to keep sinners from finding salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ? You said it!
A false doctrine? Absolutely!
May God have mercy on the pitiful souls of John MacArthur and Rick Holland, before it is too late. The best answer I can give you, is that the jailer is in heaven this very moment because it was Paul and Silas who presented him with the Gospel (Good News) and not John MacArthur and Rick Holland, who espouse a paradoxical gospel, split in two with good news and bad news, depending on whether you are and elect person, or not.
HOW TO TELL PEOPLE WHO ARE DRENCHED IN GOD’S LOVE TO GO TO HELL
Let us now look more closely at MacArthur’s answer to the question, “How do we tell people God loves them and that Jesus did not die for them?”
“Well, you tell them whatever the Bible tells you to tell them, and the Bible tells you to go into all the world and to preach the Gospel to every creature, and that’s what we do because that’s what the Scripture says.”
Well, at least, MacArthur got the first part right, but the second part of his answer “ . . . and that’s what we do . . .” is woefully wrong. He is not, I repeat NOT, preaching the Gospel, (Good News), but another Gospel of another Jesus and another spirit. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).
As we have already seen, Paul did not preach the Gospel MacArthur preaches, and we all know, or rather, we ought to know, what Paul said about those who do not preach the Gospel he himself preached.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9).
These words from the mouth of MacArthur fits Paul’s indictment in Galatians 1:8-9 to the very letter.
“Any tension you have between that and the nature of the atonement . . . any tension you have between that and the doctrine of divine election and predestination . . . any tension you feel in those areas, I feel. I ask the same question. I don’t have some kind of quick answer to the question.”
MacArthur seems to be saying.
“If I, the great MacArthur who is often called the 21st Century Charles Spurgeon, feel the tension between the command to go into all the world, and to preach the Gospel to every creature, and the nature of the atonement, that is, the doctrine of divine election and predestination, then you too shouldn’t be too concerned about it. Just accept my words at face value and you will be fine.”
MacArthur’s most ridiculous statement in the entire interview was when he said, “The best answer to this question is, ‘Brother, I feel your pain.’” What on earth is this man saying? Is he so thick-skinned that he cannot see what he is saying? Since when can a reprobate person, who is dead in sins and transgressions experience pain and the pangs of remorse and regret for not being able to respond positively to the Gospel message?
Having reminded ourselves of man’s total inability, which Calvinists define as Total Depravity, we are constrained to regard MacArthur’s compassionate remark, “Brother, I feel your pain” as the most stupendously hypocritical in the annals of church history. MacArthur may as well have visited the nearest morgue to his church and opened every single casket so that the corpses may hear him more clearly, as he shouts, “Brothers and sisters, I feel your pain.”
MacArthur and his compatriots may argue that he did not refer to a feeling of pain for the reprobate, but the pain (compassion, pity and pathos) his elect brothers and sisters feel for the reprobate in the light of the nature of the atonement, a.k.a. election and predestination. This too, I may add, is contrary to the will of God whose pleasure it was to consign the reprobate to hell, even before the foundation of the world.
MacArthur’s feeling of pain for the reprobate does not say much for his feigned allegiance to the absolute sovereignty of God. If God says, you shall have no pity or show any remorse for the wicked, you dare not say, “Brother, I feel your pain.”
BROTHER PAUL’S PAIN FOR HIS ELECT BRETHREN
May I remind you, that Paul of Tarsus felt pain, compassion, pity and pathos for his brethren the Jews, who are called the children of the kingdom, (Matthew 8 verses 11 and 12), but most of them are going to be cast into hell for their rejection of their Messiah. Was Paul acting within the will of God?
Paul’s concern for his fellow countrymen, the Jews, was genuine and not just a sham statement like that of MacArthur. I have often wondered why Paul desired to be accursed, and separated from the eternal presence of God for the sake of his reprobate brethren. (Romans 9: 1-3), whilst he allegedly knew they were the accursed of God, (doomed to a predestined eternal destruction in hell), even before the foundation of the world, and simply because it was God’s good pleasure to do so.
As such, Paul was in direct conflict with God’s sovereign will and decree and, quite frankly, guilty of downright disobedience. On the other hand, it may be that he was completely ignorant of this doctrine which the Calvinists claim to have come directly from him.
Hadn’t he been so oblivious of God’s sovereign decree to damn all the reprobate, simply because it was God’s good pleasure, he would probably never have had any desire for His “reprobate” brethren to be saved. He would have relished in God’s decree to send them to hell, because it is his good pleasure.
And so too, MacArthur’s heart should be filled with elated joy that God has decreed all the reprobate to be damned to hell, and not with pangs of painful feelings, because that would be the proof that MacArthur is in total agreement with God’s desire and good pleasure to send the totally depraved reprobate to hell.
To be in harmony with God’s sovereign will, you should also be in sync with his feelings for the reprobate, which, in accordance with Calvinist doctrine, are feelings of pleasure, joy and delight because it is his sovereign will to send them to hell. Those whose feelings are not in sync with God’s feelings are not honoring their duty to remain in God’s sovereign will for the reprobate.
The Canons of Dordt, the First Head of Doctrine, Article 15 states:
“What peculiarly tends to illustrate and recommend to us the eternal and unmerited grace of election, is the express testimony of sacred Scripture, that not all, but some only are elected, while others are passed by in the eternal decree; whom God, out of his sovereign, most just, and irreprehensible and unchangeable good pleasure, hath decreed to leave in the common misery into which they have willfully plunged themselves, and not to bestow upon them saving faith and the grace of conversion. But permitting them in his just judgment to follow their own ways, at last for the declaration of his justice, to condemn and punish them forever, not only on account of their unbelief, but also for all their other sins. And this is the decree of reprobation which by no means makes God the author of sins (the very thought of which is blasphemy), but declares him to be an awful, irreprehensible, and righteous judge and avenger thereof.”
I am very happy to concede that the Canons of Dordt is in direct conflict with the will of God, who says,
Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11).
As seen from the infamous words in the Canons of Dordt, it is not only God’s good pleasure to send the non-elect reprobate to hell; it is his unchangeable good pleasure because, in the words of MacArthur, “He gets the same glory from judgment as He gets from salvation.”
Assuming that the Canons of Dordt has the authority to override God’s will In which case, John MacArthur is in direct conflict with God’s sovereign will who refuses to feel any pain or remorse for sending the reprobate to hell, whilst MacArthur tearfully and compassionately says, “Brother, I feel your pain.”
We should bear in mind that Paul vigorously and single-mindedly expressed the desire to imitate His Master in all things, and declared that he, together with all Christians throughout the ages, “have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2: 16). It simply means, they ought to think and act upon the same principles of love, compassion, longsuffering and graciousness that Christ fostered in His own heart when He was on earth.
If, Paul and his brethren throughout the ages truly “have the mind of Christ,” they too should delight themselves in the sovereignly decreed damnation of the reprobate, and cheerfully obey, and support God in His divinely ordained ruling to damn all the reprobate, with much glee and with pleasure, and not make believe that he feels any pain because God sends the reprobate to hell.
Did Paul disobey God’s sovereign decree to pleasurably damn all the reprobate to hell when he expressed the profound wish to be damned himself so that, if it were possible, all his reprobate brethren could be saved?
One may conclude that Paul was a superb example of a sovereignly elected person who, for the sake of the non-elect, passionately desired that he himself could become a non-elect, so that the sovereignly decreed non-elect could become the elect and accordingly be saved.
His desire to be accursed (anathematized) from the presence of God for all eternity on behalf, and instead of his brethren, the Jews, does not say much for his respect of God’s sovereignty, does it?
Similarly, Moses begged God to blot his name out of his book for the sake of his eternally and sovereignly decreed reprobate brethren (Exodus 32: 31- 32). The contention, of course, may be that neither Paul nor Moses referred to the children of the flesh (unsaved or non-elect) but the children of the promise whom God had elected unto salvation before the foundation of the earth.
That would turn an oxymoron into an even sillier “oxymoronic” conclusion, for why would the elect want to be eternally accursed on behalf of the elect, while they knew that the elect were sovereignly elected unto salvation before the foundation of the world, and that they would all unreservedly be saved because if they weren’t . . . God would be a dismal failure.
Why would anyone want to go to hell for the sake of those who had been elected to go to heaven before the foundation of the earth? Both these scenarios— to be accursed for the non-elect, or the elect — are, to say the least, an absolute absurdity.
It proves beyond any doubt that Calvinism in its essence is an exceptionally crude doctrine, to such an extent that not even Charles Spurgeon’s successor, John MacArthur, is able to disentangle the extreme difficulties ensconced in its poisonous bosom, when he says with much aplomb,
“Any tension you feel in those areas, I feel. I feel the same tension. I ask the same question. However, I am happy to concede that God can resolve things that I can’t. I shouldn’t expect of you and you shouldn’t expect of me to unscrew the inscrutable. You really don’t think I am going to solve all the vast theological dilemmas that have existed since the Scriptures were penned.”
I don’t even know how my own spiritual life works. I don’t! Look! Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, . . .” He didn’t know either. (once again “holy “laughter from the audience).
MacArthur is being far less honest than usual because that was not what Paul said. These are Paul’s exact words,
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20).
Paul merely describes how the carnal life is constantly at war with the spiritual, and why it is so crucial to die to the desires of the flesh so that thee life of Chris may reign supreme. The only way to live a victorious life over the flesh is “to reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:11), because we have already been crucified with Christ. (Romans 6:1-4).
Therefore, it is a choice each and every Christian needs to make, to either live in the flesh or the spirit. Paul had the same dilemma when he said,
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:18-25).
And so, with a swift twist of the tongue, John MacArthur manages to cover-up the glorious Gospel of salvation of Jesus Christ in a mist of Calvinistic jargon, that is going to send many people to hell.
There is, of course, a slight possibility that Paul’s mind was severely beaten-up while he was in jail with Silas and lost his ability to distinguish between the elect and the non-elect, and cheerfully offered to be cast into hell for the sake of his elect brethren so that they may go to heaven and not to hell.
And then, MacArthur audaciously tries to qualify and afford his own particular divinely inspired MacArthian, and authoritative stamp of approval, by saying the following,
“I am however, happy to concede that God can resolve things that I can’t.”
I can’t help but think how those who approved his statement with “divine” laughter, may be in hell one day because they believed his devilry, and angrily blame him for their eternal damnation in hell.
“When you assured us that you are happy to concede that God can resolve the tension between the command to go into all the world and to preach the Gospel, and the nature of atonement, we believed you, And now . . . look at us . . . we are all in hell here with you. You . . . you are to blame for our eternal punishment. It reminds us of what Jesus once said, ‘But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.’”
If we were to look for an appropriate reason for MacArthur’s inappropriate statement, “ . . . Really, I don’t expect of you, and you shouldn’t expect of me to unscrew the inscrutable. You really don’t think that I am going to solve all the vast theological dilemmas that existed since the Scriptures were penned,” we must look for it in his disrespect for God’s indescribably powerful light. Why do I say this? Let us turn to one of the best-known passages in Scripture.
For God so loved the reprobate, that He sent his Son so that He may, irreparably, send them all to hell. (John MacArthur 3:16).
Rick Holland to John MacArthur. “Oh dear, oh dear. Mack, I must admit, I cannot find this verse in the Bible
MacArthur to Rick.Take off your dark glasses, old boy, and you will see that God is able to resolve things that we can’t.
Rick pages through the Bible and eventually comes upon the verse where it actually says how God resolved mankind’s problem of sin
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:16-21).
SALVIFIC LIGHT AND LOVE
It would be of no avail to emphasize the need for faith as the only requirement for salvation, because Calvinists have concocted a doctrine that also evinces faith for the regeneration of the elect, albeit a faith they themselves cannot initiate of their own accord, but allegedly receive it as a gift from God, subsequent to Him having sovereignly regenerated them first, and that, without faith.
Consequently, we will have to set aside “faith” as a requirement for salvation and for the purpose of this dissertation rather focus on the words “light” and love” in the above quoted section.
If, as Calvinists assert, man is totally depraved, (completely dead in sins and transgressions and therefore unable to respond whatsoever to any of God’s requirements for salvation), of which faith is the main prerequisite, we should postulate that man is equally unable to love or hate the other things God requires for salvation, such as coming to the light or rejecting it.
Note that salvation and damnation are depicted by light and darkness respectively in the quoted passage above, and, of course, a person’s response to the light and darkness in love or hatred.
This proves, beyond any doubt, that unregenerate man is not a corpse devoid of a free-will to choose between light and darkness. He can either love light and hate darkness, or love darkness and hate light, and consequently, either come to the light to have his sins reproved, or reject it and refuse to come to it so that his sins may be reproved.
Man can either love God’s light and bring his hell-deserving evil deeds to the light in order to be reproved (forgiven), or he can choose to love darkness in order to hide, (not bring to the light, or confess) his hell-deserving evil deeds.
An Old Testament parallel is in Numbers 21, verses 4 to 9. Here, God sets before the Israelite, who had sinned against Him, a choice in the form of a serpent on a pole, to either look upon it and be saved or to look away from it (reject it), and not to be saved.
The choice was theirs, and not a God-ordained choice to force those whom He had not chosen unto salvation, to look away, and to force those whom He had chosen unto salvation, to look upon the serpent.
Confusion, and the strategy to make it as difficult as possible for sinners to understand a most simple Gospel, one that even a child can understand, is obviously a ploy of the angel of light, and his ministers of unrighteousness, to hide and not bring to light the truth of the way of salvation.
And then, they have the temerity to say,
“I shouldn’t expect of you and you shouldn’t expect of me to unscrew the inscrutable. You really don’t think I am going to solve all the vast theological dilemmas that have existed since the Scriptures were penned.”
Contrary to this garbage, God says, “Simply look upon, (believe), on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Or, look away (do not bring your sins to Gods light) and be damned for an eternity in hell.
Another person, who sports a temerity larger than life, is MacArthur’s interviewer, Rick Holland,, who playfully said, “Actually, some people do think they can unscrew the inscrutable.” MacArthur immediately took advantage of his cue and continued to expand on his unbiblical hidden, (occult-like), knowledge of the Scriptures.
AN EARTH SHATTERING STATEMENT – “JESUS DIED FOR SOMEBODY”
And then . . . And . . . THEN! . . . the 21st Century Charles Spurgeon, John Mac Arthur, says one of the daffiest things ever to be conceived in the mind of homo sapiens. He said:
“I do not believe Jesus died for nobody. I believe he died for somebody.”
Jesus would have been a deranged idiot, if He decided to die the most excruciating painful death on a cross for nobody, let alone to be forsaken by his Father and cry out in agony, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?.” It’s like saying, “I believe both teams are going to play in order to win.” Have you ever heard of a team playing any kind of sport with an intent to lose? You must be kidding.
Unless, their is a hidden, or occult message in MacArthur’s words, “I do not believe Jesus died for nobody. I believe he died for somebody.” that we need to encode in order to understand him. Could it be that the “NOBODY” to whom he refers are the reprobate, and the “SOMEBODY” are the elect?
This is the kind of garbage Satan manages to inspire, so-called men of God who follow in Charles Spurgion’s footsteps, to say, when they have thrown the Gospel, the one that Jesus, his disciples, and Paul preached, out the window. They are not even aware of the idiotic things they say, and what it really sounds like, especially when a bunch of dumb so-called “sheep” approve their statements with “holy” laughter.
Any religion, spiritual path, institution or church who have no qualms about inconsistencies, irrationals, and discrepancies in their hierarchical structures and doctrines, and are happy to concede that the god they worship and serve, can resolve them all without blinking as much as an eye, cannot, I repeat, CANNOT, be trusted.
In fact, if these above-mentioned traits are tolerated without being questioned, it inevitably leads to a situation where its adherents are taught to passively submit completely to their teaching and the god or gods they adore and worship.
They are commanded to check their minds at the door, simply because they don’t have a free-will, and because it allegedly is the right thing to do when you desire to obey a rigidly sovereign god, albeit a sovereignty that has absolutely no compassion or love for all people alike.
Those of you who have a knack to read between the lines must have noticed that I mentioned three main attributes that are prevalent in both Calvinism and Islam – and that is, “complete submission,” “absence of a free-will,” and a warped idea of “sovereignty.”
Both these religions sport these attributes and are happy to concede that it does not bother them in the very least to allow these attributes to “enhance” their religions. In fact, their is no difference between John Calvin and modern-day ISIS who both silenced their religious opponents with execution, either by fire or by beheading.
Having heard John MacArthur trying to rationalize these inconsistencies, irrationals, and discrepancies in his own religion, let us now continue to look at a few more that emerged during the interview. At one stage, John MacArthur says,
“I am not here to give you an answer, but I will tell you this, 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 on the eternal, sovereign, electing purpose of God. I believe his atonement was an actual one, not a potential one. I don’t think it was a general one; I think it was a specific one. I think it was a real death for sin.”
Although MacArthur’s statement, “It was a real death for sin,” is correct, his application of Romans 6:10 is completely wrong, especially in the light of other passages in Scripture which every serious Bible student must take into account in order to come to a biblical conclusion, and not a self-made or self-induced one.
We may easily say that Romans 6:10 is the most concise summary of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It conveys all the necessary ingredients of God’s redemptive plan for the whole of mankind and not only a select few. It conveys the necessity of . . .
1) the righteous (just) dying for the unrighteous (unjust). (1 Peter 3:18).
2) A sinless victim dying unto sin on the behalf of guilty sinners. (Romans 6:10).
Now, if I were to ask you to whom the above two verses refer, what would your answer be? Do they refer to the whole of mankind or just a select few, and how would you corroborate your answer? If MacArthur genuinely believes that Jesus’ death was a real one for sin, he dare not believe that Jesus loves all people but only died for the elect.
But wait a sec. . . . didn’t he say there are tensions in the Gospel of Christ which we cannot resolve, and, therefore, must be left in the hands of God to resolve these seemingly difficult contradictions, irrationals, discrepancies and inconsistencies? What on earth is so difficult to understand about “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
ROBBING GOD OF HIS GLORY
Consistent contradictions without compunction, is one of the Calvinists most deadly compulsions. They are apt to say one thing and then say a next thing which acidly nullifies what they said in the first place. Here’s an example.
You may recall that MacArthur said, “The best answer to your question, is, ‘Brother I feel your pain.‘” A wee bit later he said that the electoral damnation of the reprobate gives God glory. He is robbing God of his “glory” when he feels pain for God’s decreed damnation of the reprobate.
See here: AN EARTHQUAKE REDEMPTION – Part 2