LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Gospel According To Jesus

I was talking with a free grace sister in Christ on another blog and found that she had read, and did not like, MacArthur's "The Gospel According To Jesus". During the discussion I asked her what theological system she subscribed to while reading that book. She gave her response and I noted: Interesting what you said..."I went to a Bible College for 2 years that was dispensational in it's teaching...I then attended a very good grace oriented Bible Church at that time.... Also,"Then he (MacArthur, during a radio broadcast) named some men who were wrong on the gospel. Two of those men were Charles Ryrie and Lewis Sperry Chafer."

And I went on: that gives me a feel for what brand of dispensationalism you were involved in. Whatever system we subscribe to puts us on a trajectory that determines what books and authors will either resonate with us or repulse us.

MacArthur came upon the basis for "TGATJ" while studying for an exegetical presentation in the Gospel of Matthew to present to the congregation. He determined not to follow dispensational presuppositions or any other presuppositions in the course of that study. Just a plain reading of the Word. This is why his "Lordship" findings rub classic dispensationalist's the wrong way; because they DO approach these things through presuppostional readings of the Word.


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Blogger Lou Martuneac said...


Two points to raise-

1) Dispensationalism: I am a classic Dispensationalist. The IFCA questioned JM on several concerns that had with his new LS interpretation of the Gospel when TGATJ was published in 1988. One area they tried to get to the root of was whether or not he was dispensational. Why? JM claimed to be dispensational, but TGATJ was/is heavily peppered with supporting quotes from non-dispensational, Calvinistic writers.

The IFCA moderator asked JM, “Alright, we'll move on to the next category of dispensationalism. And here's first question. In view of some statements that seem to cast doubt on your position of being a dispensationalist, please clarify what your true position is. Are you mixing reform covenant views with dispensationalism? Elaborate your views by reviewing the number and characteristics of dispensation.”

JM claimed to be, “a very historic dispensationalist.”

Then the moderator asked, “This will be the final question on dispensationalism. It has to do with your book, The Gospel According to Jesus. The question states, ‘It's heavily footnoted with reform theologians as well as including two prefaces by reformed men. Could you find no one from the dispensational pre-mil, pre-trib position to write support for your views’?”
JM replied, “I'm sure we could. The publisher made the choices.”

Are we to believe that MacArthur had no influence or control over who would be chosen to appear in the foreword?

JM claimed to be Dispensational, which was highly suspect then just as it is today.

IMO, your claim that JM, “determined not to follow dispensational presuppositions or any other presuppositions in the course of that study” is dubious at best.


*Point #2 to follow.

October 02, 2008 8:49 AM

Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

2) As for Lordship Salvation: Those of us who reject LS do so primarily because it is a man centered, works based message that frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).

At my blog you participated in my thread on Summary of LS From a Single Page. That article proved from JM’s TGATJ that he is teaching that the reception of eternal life, to be born again, is conditioned on the lost man’s upfront commitment to the “good works” expected of a mature born again Christian.

MacArthur's teaching that James 4:7-10 is, “One of the most comprehensive invitations to salvation in all the epistles comes in James 4:7-10... The invitation in 4:7-10 is directed at those who are not saved...

JM’s remarks (p. 250 3rd ed.) confirm beyond any doubt that LS is a commitment to works FOR salvation message. That is wrong no matter where any one is on the debate between Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology.


October 02, 2008 8:51 AM

Blogger Celestial Fundie said...

We all bring presuppositions to the study of theology.

Systems like Dispensationalism and Calvinism are theological frameworks that provide a model for how we understand particular Biblical teachings. If we find that our model causes us some problems, we have to consider changing our model.

Some of the biggest critics of Zane Hodges and Joseph Dillow have been Dispensationalists like George Zeller. Exteme Dispensationalism often proves a hindrance to helping people to understand accountability and discipleship teaching.

Every Blessing in Christ


October 02, 2008 9:31 AM

Blogger mark pierson said...

MacArthur said at the outset in "TGATJ" that he did not care if the book upset dispensational charts. He thru presuppositions to the wind and studied the Gospel of Matthew and looked at the material that was before him there. The fact that he came down on the the same side as many Reformed writers is merely incidental, and not his original intent.

Once again your claim that L/S is man centered is baseless. It shows that you have no understanding of the reformed position. I would guess that that blindness has something to do with being classic dispensational.


October 02, 2008 11:04 AM

Blogger Lou Martuneac said...


I would then be a facade for MacArthur to claim, if he stills does, to being a Dispensationalist; right?

I do understand the circle logic of 5 point Calvinism, its rationalistic fatalism and its extra-biblical presuppositions that lead to the works based message of Lordship Salvation as defined by John MacArthur.

As for Hodges, Wilkin and Dillow- they are heretics of the first order from their reductionist extremes (the "Crossless" gospel) at the far opposite end of the theogical pendulum swing from Lordship Salvation.



October 02, 2008 11:19 AM

Blogger Celestial Fundie said...

Mark, I agree with you that Classic Dispensationalism can cause confusion when it comes to understading the Gospel of Matthew.

I mean the tendency to say that kingdom teaching has nothing to do with Christians. Applying it all to Israel.

In a way, I would say that the Reformed approach has something in common with Classic Dispensationalism- both refuse to accept that the warning passages in the gospels are directed at born-again Christians.

God Bless


October 02, 2008 11:21 AM

Blogger mark pierson said...

Please do not forget that there are many dispensationalists out there who hold MacArthur's book up as a much needed piece of literature in the near ninety year old debate. This debate started with Chafer's "He That Is Spiritual" which was answered by Warfield's review of that work. It has continued in the decades since. Look at William MacDonald's single volume commentary on the Bible. He is VERY dispensational - Plymouth Brethren, I believe - yet he is VERY "lordship". In fact, the whole "Pulpit Magazine" staff (remember them?) is dispensationalist.


October 02, 2008 11:35 AM

Blogger Lou Martuneac said...


You wrote, "Please do not forget that there are many dispensationalists out there who hold MacArthur's book up as a much needed piece of literature in the near ninety year old debate."

It does not matter who supports MacArthur's
LS interpretation of the Gospel, or were they are in regard to dispensationalism.

LS is a false gospel. LS demands a promise/commitment from a lost man to perform works in exchange for the gift of eternal life.

That is a man centered, works based, false interpretation gospel! LS is false through extra-biblical additions to the content of saving faith. While LS adds, the Hodges/Wilkin Crossless/Deityless gospel corrupts through their reductionist assaults on the Person, sacrificial death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Hodges view that the lost can be saved apart from knowing, understanding or believing in the deity, death and/or resurrection of Christ is an extremist error by subtraction from the necessary content of saving faith. I trust we are clear in that.

And for the record, and as I believe you are well aware, the debate for me is not over what should follow a genuine conversion. A genuine conversion should result in some level of genuine results.

LS is in error in that it demands a commitment from a lost man to perform the genuine results of conversion FOR conversion, to be born again.

LS, as MacArthur defines it, places demands on the lost FOR salvation (to become a Christian) that the Bible does NOT.


October 02, 2008 12:45 PM

Blogger mark pierson said...

I work second shift and must get ready to go there now. The Lord willing I shall get back with a response tomorrow.

Have a great day!

October 02, 2008 1:10 PM

Blogger mark pierson said...


Let's look at Acts 26:15-20, Paul before King Agrippa. In verse 18 we see all that Christ accomplished for the believer: Because of what He had accomplished Paul was to be used of God amongst the Gentiles to " open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins...". The Work of Christ on the cross made all these things a reality for those who heard Paul's message of repentance, and turning to God, and of doing works befitting repentance. In essence Paul was being used to communicate Christ's accomplishments to the hearers, and God the Holy Spirit was there to take that message of Paul into the hearts of the Gentiles, tranforming them into new creations.

October 02, 2008 9:04 PM

Blogger mark pierson said...

Minutes before I was to leave for work today I received word that my dad was rushed to emergency. He is pretty sick - pnemonia (sp?). I just got home from being with him in the hospital. I shall go back to visit with him tomorrow before work leaving very little time for blogging. I hope you'll understand if I'm not around to answer comments tomorrow. I'll leave comments on. Please conduct yourselves in a Christian way.


October 02, 2008 9:11 PM

Blogger Gayla said...

Mark, how is your dad?

October 03, 2008 10:14 AM

Blogger mark pierson said...

I'll be leaving shortly to see him at the hospital. I'll gain more information to share then. Thanks for asking, true friend.

October 03, 2008 10:50 AM


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