Preaching Articles

John MacArthur feels the same tensions we do—and still preaches with authority.

John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, president of The Master’s College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry. Since completing his first best-selling book The Gospel According to Jesus in 1988, John has written nearly 400 books and study guides, including Our Sufficiency in ChristStrange FireAshamed of the GospelThe Murder of JesusA Tale of Two SonsTwelve Ordinary MenThe Truth WarThe Jesus You Can’t IgnoreSlaveOne Perfect Lifeand The MacArthur New Testament Commentary series. The MacArthur Study Bible, the cornerstone resource of his ministry, is available in English (NKJNAS and ESV) and eight other languagesJohn and his wife, Patricia, live in Southern California and have four married children.

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Rodney Shanner

commented on Jan 8, 2015

It is unfortunate that Mr. MacArthur does not correctly interpret Romans 9. Judgment Day will reveal how many people rejected Christianity because they were presented a God that damns people prior to any real choice on their part. Jacob and Esau are used to represent two types of people in general, not specifically. One represents those who choose to believe; the other represents those who choose not to believe. God does not choose for us, He gives each of us that option. It is a real option. Otherwise, personhood has no meaning and God is made a monster. Just as Abraham is used as a type for the faithful in chapter 4, Jacob and Esau represent types, but not to be understood as specifically accepted or rejected by God. Mr. MacArthur needs to study Arminius' writings on this subject.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jan 8, 2015

Calvinism is a damnable doctrine. While I don't agree with Arminius on some of his beliefs like losing your salvation, he is closer to the truth than Calvin. My goodness, just read about Calvin's life! That should be enough to cause you to rethink what he teaches! Actually though, all you have to do is read the Bible, that rejects his teachings. A good book on the subject of Calvinism is "What Love Is This; Calvinism's Misrepresentation Of God" by Dave Hunt. Calvinist exalt God's sovereignty above His love and every other attribute!

Markyle Corbilla

commented on Jan 8, 2015

Amen Dennis. Another good book is "Chosen But Free" by Norman Geisler.

Markyle Corbilla

commented on Jan 8, 2015

I agree Rodney. The only thing that I would not agree with you is the "Arminius" part. Your thoughts are direct from the Bible and there is no need to attribute them to Arminius. Clearly, Mr. MacArthur could not present the Good News. He mentioned the words "tension and pain" many times in one paragraph. There is no tension or pain in presenting the Gospel - if you are not a Calvinist. The Gospel is so plain, clear and simple but Calvinism made it so complicated. Calvinism is the most "self-contradicting" doctrine I have ever encountered. Here are some of their worst contradictions: 1) Calvinists claim that they believe that man is going to hell because of sin, yet they believe that man was condemned to hell before man was ever created, before man committed any sin and worst of all, without regard to any sin that man will commit in the future. 2) Calvinist claim to believe in both God's sovereignty and human responsibility; how is that possible if God condemned the non-elect to hell even before he was ever created? 3) Some Calvinists claim that they are "mild" and do not believe in "double predestination," this is a contradiction in itself. If a person is not chosen for heaven, where else will he go other than hell??? 4) Calvinists claim they portray a God who is loving and merciful. How can a loving and merciful God condemn billions of people to hell before He even created them?? In fact, many Calvinists teach (or imply) that God condemned billions to hell at His pleasure?? Isnt that cruel? That is not the God of the Bible. 5) Calvinists claim that they are passionate soul winners. How could they preach the Good News? If you believe that God does not love the world, the Jesus did not die for everyone, that God does not desire to save all men, that the eternal destiny of men is already sealed before they were even born and nothing can be done about it - what Good News are they going to preach? 6) Calvinists claim that regeneration must come first before man can repent and believe. Gal 3:26, John 1:12 and Eph 1:13 clearly teach that faith comes before regeneration. Then all Calvinists (without fail) turn around and claim, that regeneration, repentance and faith happen at the same time! Contradiction!

Markyle Corbilla

commented on Jan 8, 2015

When accused of presenting a cruel God, most, if not all, Calvinists reply: "God is loving and merciful for choosing some out a world of people who are all going to hell." This again is one of the many contradictions of Calvinists. When God elected, He did so before the foundation of the world - during which time, there was no sin, hence, nobody was on his way to hell. Even worse for Calvinists, they do not even believe that God looked into the future and saw man's sin. To them, man's actions, whether good or evil, was a factor to God's election. Clearly, Calvinists contradicted themselves here. Again, there is no basis for them to claim that "the God they portray is loving and merciful, because He chose from among a world of people who are all going to hell" because they know that nobody committed any sin before the foundation of the world and there was nobody on his way to hell before the foundation of the world. Bottom line, Calvinists portray a cruel God.

Markyle Corbilla

commented on Jan 8, 2015

Correction. Sentence 6 should read: to Calvinists, "man's actions, whether good or evil, are not factor to God's election."

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jan 8, 2015

Amen Markyle, Calvinism's God is cruel!

Truly Israel

commented on Jan 9, 2015

God chose me. John McArthur has a good theme. No one is perfect. First guy I heard on the radio. Then I was saved. God is good.

Markyle Corbilla

commented on Jan 13, 2015

Hi Truly Israel, the issue is not against John MacArthur. The issue is the erroneous teaching of Calvinists on predestination. Calvinism sounds good to those who claim they are chosen. How about the ones who were not chosen? This is the serious problem of Calvinism that focused only on the sovereignty of God, ignoring that God is love, merciful and impartial. According to Calvinism, God predestined some for salvation. Though Calvinists would not admit it, follows that many are not chosen for salvation and therefore predestined to hell. This teaching is not biblical and is against the very nature of God. This teaching is contradictory to many other teachings of the bible, such as human responsibility (John 3:16,18); Christ's plan to save sinners (1 Tim 1:15 - all are sinners); Christ's offer for all to come to him (Matt 11:28); the meaning of "whoever"; the meaning of Heb. 11:6 "without faith, it is impossible to please God"; Rom 6:23 (instead of going to hell due to sin, according to Calvinism, billions of men were condemned to hell by God even before they committed any sin and without regard to their future sin" and according to them, God condemned the non-elect according to His pleasure.

Joel Pierce

commented on Jan 13, 2015

Truly Israel, you are correct God DID choose you and all of his Elect. Read John 6

Joel Pierce

commented on Jan 13, 2015

Read "The Potters Freedom" by James which which is an excellent response to Norman Geisler's "Chosen But Free"

Joel Pierce

commented on Jan 13, 2015

Woops I meant "The Potters Freedom" by James White

Delwyn Campbell

commented on Oct 6, 2019

You are ALL wrong. Read the Book of Concord to learn what the Bible says, and quit putting words in God's mouth. [II. Concerning Original Sin] [1] Furthermore, it is taught among us that since the fall of Adam, all human beings who are born in the natural way are conceived and born in sin. This means that from birth they are full of evil lust and inclination and cannot by nature possess true fear of God and true faith in God. [2] Moreover, this same innate disease and original sin is truly sin and condemns to God’s eternal wrath all who are not in turn born anew through baptism and the Holy Spirit. [3] Rejected, then, are the Pelagians and others who do not regard original sin as sin in order to make human nature righteous through natural powers, thus insulting the suffering and merit of Christ. [III. Concerning the Son of God] [1] Likewise, it is taught that God the Son became a human being, born of the pure Virgin Mary, [2] and that the two natures, the divine and the human, are so inseparably united in one person that there is one Christ. He is true God and true human being who truly [3] “was born, suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried” in order both to be a sacrifice not only for original sin but also for all other sins and to conciliate God’s wrath. [4] Moreover, the same Christ “descended into hell, truly rose from the dead on the third day, ascended into heaven, is sitting at the right hand of God” in order to rule and reign forever over all creatures, [5] so that through the Holy Spirit he may make holy, purify, strengthen, and comfort all who believe in him, also distribute to them life and various gifts and benefits, [6] and shield and protect them against the devil and sin. Finally, the same Lord Christ “will come” in full view of all “to judge the living and the dead …,” according to the Apostles’ Creed. Rejected are all heresies that are opposed to this article.42 [IV. Concerning Justification] [1] Furthermore, it is taught that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God through our merit, work, or satisfactions, but that we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God out of grace for Christ’s sake through faith [2] when we believe that Christ has suffered for us and that for his sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us. [3] For God will regard and reckon this faith as righteousness in his sight, as St. Paul says in Romans 3[:21–26*] and 4[:5*]. [V. Concerning the Office of Preaching] [1] To obtain such faith God instituted the office of preaching, giving the gospel and the sacraments. [2] Through these, as through means, he gives the Holy Spirit who produces faith, where and when he wills, in those who hear the gospel. [3] It teaches that we have a gracious God, not through our merit but through Christ’s merit, when we so believe. [4] Condemned are the Anabaptists and others who teach that we obtain the Holy Spirit without the external49 word of the gospel through our own preparation, thoughts, and works. [VI. Concerning the New Obedience] [1] It is also taught that such faith should yield good fruit and good works and that a person must do such good works as God has commanded for God’s sake but not place trust in them as if thereby to earn grace before God. [2] For we receive forgiveness of sin and righteousness through faith in Christ, as Christ himself says [Luke 17:10*]: “When you have done all [things] …, say, ‘We are worthless slaves.’ ” [3] The Fathers also teach the same thing. For Ambrose says: “It is determined by God that whoever believes in Christ shall be saved and have forgiveness of sins, not through works but through faith alone, without merit.” Robert Kolb, Timothy J. Wengert, and Charles P. Arand, The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000), 36–40. Smalcald Articles [1:] Concerning Sin [1] Here we must confess (as St. Paul says in Rom. 5[:12*]) that sin comes from that one human being, Adam, through whose disobedience all people became sinners and subject to death and the devil. This is called the original sin,74 or the chief sin. [2] The fruits of this sin are the subsequent evil works, which are forbidden in the Ten Commandments, such as unbelief, false belief, idolatry, being without the fear of God, presumption, despair, blindness, and, in short, not knowing or honoring God. Beyond that, there is lying, swearing [falsely] by God’s name, not praying or calling on God’s name, neglect of God’s Word, being disobedient to parents, murdering, behaving promiscuously, stealing, deceiving, etc. [3] This inherited sin has caused such a deep, evil corruption of nature that reason does not comprehend it; rather, it must be believed on the basis of the revelation in the Scriptures (Ps. 51[:5*] and Rom. 5[:12*]; Exod. 33[:20*]; Gen. 3[:6ff*.]). Therefore, the scholastic theologians have taught pure error and blindness against this article: [4] 1. That after the fall of Adam the natural powers of the human being have remained whole and uncorrupted, and that each human being possesses by nature sound reason and a good will, as the philosophers teach. [5] 2. That the human being has a free will, either to do good and reject evil or to reject good and do evil. [6] 3. That the human being is able, by using natural powers, to keep and carry out every command of God. [7] 4. That human beings are able, using natural powers, to love God above all things and their neighbors as themselves. [8] 5. That if human beings do as much as is in their power, then God will certainly give grace to them. [9] 6. That if someone wants to go to the sacrament, it is not necessary to have a proper intention to do good, but it is enough for that person not to have an evil intention to commit sin, because human nature is so completely good and the sacrament is so powerful. [10] 7. That there is no basis in Scripture that the Holy Spirit with his grace is necessary for performing a good work. [11] These and many similar things have arisen from a lack of understanding and ignorance about both sin and Christ our Savior. We cannot tolerate these purely pagan teachings, because, if these teachings were right, then Christ has died in vain. For there would be no defect or sin in humankind for which he had to die—or else he would have died only for the body and not for the soul, because the soul would be healthy and only the body would be subject to death. Robert Kolb, Timothy J. Wengert, and Charles P. Arand, The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000), 310–311.

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