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Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace discuss John MacArthur and the Five Points of Calvinism in the Theology forums; I had read here on the forum not long ago that there was a question as to whether or not John MacArthur was a five ...

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    pastorway is offline. Inactive User
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    John MacArthur and the Five Points of Calvinism

    I had read here on the forum not long ago that there was a question as to whether or not John MacArthur was a five point Calvinist. Some believe that he is only a four pointer. However, now we have a definite answer to the question from MacArthur himself!

    [quote:9bcfc9ffd5]From the Afterward of the newly revised book [i:9bcfc9ffd5]The Five Points of Calvinism - Defined, Defended and Documented[/i:9bcfc9ffd5].

    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[/quote:9bcfc9ffd5]
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    king of fools's Avatar
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    The confusion might come from the tape-ministry of MacArthur himself. I have heard radio broadcasts from him in the last 3 years where he has been critical of Reformed folk who hold to the doctrine of limited atonement. It would appear (I suppose) that he has then changed his opinion on this topic then.
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    Joshua is offline. _
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    Steve, can you tell me which sermons? I'm interested in hearing them...
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    ReformedWretch's Avatar
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    [quote:88386de25c]
    he has been critical of Reformed folk who hold to the doctrine of limited atonement.
    [/quote:88386de25c]

    Yes, I've heard that too, but recently he does seem to have shifted his views and accepted it. I don't begrudge him as that was the ONE step I struggled with the most as well.

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    I am not certain what the message was about or when it aired, but it was at least 3 years ago that I heard it. He was discussing John 3:16. "For God so loved the world..." and made a specific point of saying that the world was everyone who ever lived, not just different types of people groups like the Reformed folk believe.

    That's a rough paraphrase of what he taught.

    Here is someone else's interpretation of what MacArthur said.

    http://www.monergism.com/thethreshol.../world316.html
    Steve
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    Scott Bushey's Avatar
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    Phillip,
    In no way intending to slander Dr. MacArthur, I believe it is the way JM defines limited atonement. John never (that I can remember) redefined the term itself "Limited Atonement", It was how he defined what the term meant.

    For instance:
    Taken from Tony Cappocia's site Bible Bulletin Board:

    "I believe that the death of Christ was efficacious for the entire world. But I believe the death of Christ has to be appropriated. Now, I think that's answering your question more than dealing with the text of 1 Samuel, but let me go a step further. Historically, there have been some who have said that because Christ died for our sins and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world, 1 John 2. That's very hard to deny that, a limited atonement view finds it's waterloo at 1 John 2. So if Christ died for our sins and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world, then that has been done.

    Now some have gone so far as to say, therefore, everyone's sins in the entire world have already been atoned for and forgiven. All we have to do is simply take the gift or appropriate it. Now I wouldn't go that far, I would say that the penalty has been paid but it is only applied through personal faith. And I think what you have then is that Christ has prepared a salvation for every person in the world if every person in the world accepts it. Now, if they don't then it is not efficacious.

    Now if you go back into the Old Testament what He is saying there is that the house of Eli, that is the role of the priest, the function of the priest, the exaltation, the lifting up, the righteousness of that house shall not exist again. I don't think that in anyway reflects upon an inability of Christ's death to cover their sin, nor do I think it reflects on the fact that Christ didn't die for them. I think that simply what you have there is a statement by God that because of evil and sin that house is removed permanently from any place of divine purpose or sanctification, and the house will not be purged or its iniquity purged, so that it can never again take the role of the priest. So you're talking about a priesthood in Samuel, you're talking about salvation in general in the New Testament doctrine of Christ atonement."


    ~Then on the other hand, we have John stating this:

    "Could you please explain Biblically for whom Christ died? And also, whether all of them that He died for will be saved?

    Answer

    The answer is, in terms of Scripture, is that Christ died for the world--the Scripture talks about the world. But I think that the way you have to define that is to define it as humanity--human kind. The question is, "Whose sins, within humanity, did He actually atone for?" Right? "Whose sins did He actually pay the price for?" "Whose sins did He actually expiate?" "Whose punishment did he actually bear, and thus eliminate them from ever being judged?" And the answer is, "Only those who believe."

    So Christ actually paid the penalty; suffered the wrath of God; expiated sin, and was a perfect and satisfactory atonement for the sins of all of who would ever believe. Some people want to say that He actually paid the penalty for the sins of all who ever lived. We have some problems with that. We have a number of passages in the New Testament that indicate that He died for His own, He purchased His own, with His own blood He purchased the Church. Those kinds of statements, I think, take the humanity, or the world and narrow it down more specifically to who it is, it is referring to. So in the end, if He died and paid the actual penalty for the sins of all people who ever lived, then Hell would be double jeopardy. Then how could you send people to Hell when their sins have been paid for? So you can't really have a complete expiation of the sins of everybody, or you are going to end up as a Universalist. So in reality Christ actually expiated the sins of those who believe.

    Now in the end, of course, as you study the elective and unfolding purposes of the decree of God, it is clear that those who believe, believe because they were chosen before the foundation of the world. Their names were written in the Lamb's Book of Life and the Spirit of God came and regenerated them by the sovereign purposes of God."


    it's a little confusing to say the least............

    [Edited on 6-21-2004 by Scott Bushey]
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    [quote:ead2191c71][i:ead2191c71]Originally posted by Scott Bushey[/i:ead2191c71]
    For instance:
    Taken from Tony Cappocia's site Bible Bulletin Board:

    "I believe that the death of Christ was efficacious for the entire world. [/quote:ead2191c71]

    Surely this was a slip of the tongue compared to the rest of his statements saying "sufficient for all, efficient for only the elect."??!!!??!

    I hope so...:no:
    Josh
    CCRPC, RPCGA

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    Bladestunner316's Avatar
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    Im just going to sauy I appreciate and am glad to have John MacArthur as a brother in Christ.

    And Im glad to see that he from what I understand has transitioned into 'limited atonement' the biblical doctrine on Gods determing of the outpouring of his eternal grace.

    blade
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    Scott Bushey's Avatar
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    Nathan,
    If you will look closer at my post, you will see that MacArthurs position [i:04fa231dba]is not[/i:04fa231dba] as lucid as you may think. Even though he says:
    "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). "

    MacArthur doesn't limit the atonement in this statement.
    Scott Bushey
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    raderag is offline. Puritanboard Sophomore
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    [quote:99d0a716b6][i:99d0a716b6]Originally posted by Scott Bushey[/i:99d0a716b6]
    Nathan,
    If you will look closer at my post, you will see that MacArthurs position [i:99d0a716b6]is not[/i:99d0a716b6] as lucid as you may think. Even though he says:
    "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). "

    MacArthur doesn't limit the atonement in this statement. [/quote:99d0a716b6]

    Scott, for what theological reason, other than correcting the Arminian heresy, must one be so explicit on limited atonement? Especailly considering that MacArthur's audience is mostly laypeople. I am not sure that I see the contention here.

    [Edited on 6-21-2004 by raderag]
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    Me Died Blue's Avatar
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    Because it's at the very center of our faith. Everything flows from the Cross, and without a solid theology of the Cross, our understanding of everything else will clutter as well. And without a firm, explicit, clear understanding of limited atonement, people will unintentionally and subtly cheapen the value and nature of the Cross in their own minds.

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    raderag is offline. Puritanboard Sophomore
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    [quote:74b42b16a7][i:74b42b16a7]Originally posted by Me Died Blue[/i:74b42b16a7]
    Because it's at the very center of our faith. Everything flows from the Cross, and without a solid theology of the Cross, our understanding of everything else will clutter as well. And without a firm, explicit, clear understanding of limited atonement, people will unintentionally and subtly cheapen the value and nature of the Cross in their own minds.

    In Christ, [/quote:74b42b16a7]

    Can you show me where the idea of limited atonement was important to the Gospel in the Church before Dordt? I am not asking a rhetorical question, but would really like to know. I have read a fair amount of pre-Dordt theology, and can find very little on the matter. Clearly, the debate existed, but I don't see the idea of limited atonement as an essential Gospel teaching until after the Remonstrance heresy.
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    pastorway is offline. Inactive User
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    [quote:16a25a65e4]From the Afterward of the newly revised book [i:16a25a65e4]The Five Points of Calvinism - Defined, Defended and Documented[/i:16a25a65e4].

    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, [b:16a25a65e4]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.[/b:16a25a65e4]

    Those are [b:16a25a65e4]the five points of Calvinism. I believe them not because of their historical pedigree, but because that is what Scripture teaches[/b:16a25a65e4].

    John F. MacArthur[/quote:16a25a65e4]

    Well, since this is BRAND NEW and he obviously knows what the FIVE POINTS of CALVINISM are....for him to say here that the FIVE POINTS are what the Bible teaches, they ARE the GOSPEL.....seems to me he is a five pointer......

    Phillip

    [Edited on 6-21-04 by pastorway]
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    When all souls are saved and all mourners comforted we may venture to discuss recondite theories, but not while graveyards are filling with those who know not God. -- CH Spurgeon

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    Luke 18:27[/b]

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    Bladestunner316's Avatar
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    no worries scott I see what you are saying

    blade
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    To me, the question is a bit academic unless the Canons of Dordt themselves are examined in this case. If one wants to narrowly call themselves a Calvinist, then it would be good to address the 5 points that Dordt outlined.

    I say that, because we do not define what those 5 points are. They have already been defined. If we want to loosely associate with them, we may under our definition. It is in this way, many have claimed to the 5 points who do not properly understand and agree with everything contained in them. Such is the case with many today. They claim something they really have not studied.

    It is one thing to say that we believe in justification by faith alone. The Scripture defines that. But when we say we believe in limited atonement, there is a particular definition of those two words that go beyond chapter and verse into a developed theology. As a covenant theologian, I always am ready to admit that.

    It is one thing to say that it is biblical to believe in limited atonement. It is quite another to show from the Scriptures exactly what Dordt (and Calvin) was getting at. I think this allows people to have titles they have defined themselves. But the much more acurate picture is a label by which others have defined us. In this way, would Dordt claim that we are Remonstrants? Calvinists? Would they call us Biblicists?

    I think too often we claim the title ourselves without really knowing all that goes along with it because the definitions have changed. The danger in this, is that the books we read from a few centuries ago do not know our change of definition. We therefore grasp ahold of something, either a buzzword or a title, without knowing full well what it is. We may see an author telling us we are one thing, but that one thing is how we have defined it, and not how the author used it.

    Let's say for instance, John MacArthur writes a book and uses the term "used car salesman" as a euphemism for someone who is not completely honest with those to whom he speaks. In 400 years, the people of that time have redefined what a used car salesman is and it is not a derogatory term. Now we have theologians who look back to MacArthur and skim over his books so that they get the basic grasp, however, they do not look in the dictionary he's using. All of the sudden, we have men coming out of the woodwork who claim to be used car salesmen for Christ.

    This is simplistic and perhaps I am reaching too far. But I get that distinct feeling when we start to label ourselves. We rarely call ourselves what we have not already defined, but as far as Calvinism goes, that definition means something different now. For one, it no longer encompasses the Sacraments. It has been boiled down to Dordt's 5 points. Believe me, we'll find a way to boil it down further than that. It is in our nature to do so.

    I would be curious to see a commentary from each of us on the Canons. I would be most curious to see our modern scholars do this as well. Do you think John MacArthur would measure up? I really don't think he has the time to do this. But I really don't know that he would even if he did.

    I have seen alot of what he has written. I have his study Bible. I know that he has said that he does not have the time to go back and fix everything he's written. But, if he cannot, there will be a whole bunch of people in the future that will be real confused as to where he stood on this issue and a few others.

    In Christ,

    KC
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