Home > Brandenburg, Evangelism, The Gospel, Truth > Is John MacArthur Off on the Blood? If So, How Far Off?

Is John MacArthur Off on the Blood? If So, How Far Off?

August 18, 2009

I recently listened to this audio (below on an embedded youtube clip) in which Phil Johnson throws John MacArthur the ultimate softball in order to clear up the false assumptions made about his doctrinal stance on the blood of Christ.  I have often defended MacArthur in the past on this issue.  I read the original criticism of him by Bob Jones University in their former Faith for the Family.  I knew what he said in his Hebrews commentary.  I always hoped for the best.  Love does hope all things.

The attack on MacArthur, that he says is untrue on this audio, is that he denies the blood of Christ.   Is that true?  Does MacArthur deny the blood?  Well, it depends on what you mean by “deny the blood.”  He doesn’t deny that Jesus bled when He died.  He doesn’t reject that Jesus bled a whole lot.  In other words, MacArthur doesn’t take the R. B. Thieme position that Jesus barely shed any blood on the cross.

However, when I listened to this audio clip, I had a sick feeling in my stomach.  Here was the perfect opportunity for John MacArthur to clear up his blood position and I think that is exactly what he did.  As much as any time I’ve heard him, he communicates his position.  You can tell it bothers him that he has been attacked on this.  I want you to listen before you read what I write below the clip.  You make your own evaluation.   Then read what I wrote.  You will be welcome to comment and even defend MacArthur if you think that what he says is defensible.

John MacArthur is a very careful expositor.  There’s a lot you can learn if you read his commentaries.  He’s a great example for diligence in the study of scripture.  And then he takes this type of position, among several others, that belie the scriptural evidence.  And what does his position on this really mean to the nature of the gospel?  Does it change it?

Johnson poses the situation that people have said that MacArthur denies that it was necessary for Jesus to shed His blood.  Then he asks the question, “Could you tell us one more time your view on the necessity of Christ’s blood?”  MacArthur starts by saying that he has been completely misrepresented.  Well, he isn’t going to be misrepresented here.  He’s on tape and he has been set up perfectly to clear up all twisting of what he believes.  His first doctrinal statement is tell-tale.  Listen to what he says and doesn’t say.  It’s clear even by how he enunciates the words.  Remember that we are talking about the necessity of Christ’s blood.  And John MacArthur’s answer:

Of course I believe Christ had to die.

But that wasn’t the question.  The question was about His blood, not His death.  But John MacArthur far understates the necessity of Christ’s blood with His answer.  He misses what scripture teaches on the blood of Christ.

After a little more personal material, MacArthur says:

Jesus died on the cross because that was what God predetermined He would do.

OK, we all agree with that, but he still hasn’t said anything about the blood.  God predetermined that Jesus would died.  Yes.  But what about the blood?

After alluding to the text of John 3 with the lifting up of Jesus as the serpent and then referring to John 6 about Jesus drawing men to Himself, he comments:

I think the image of a bloody death is all over the Old Testament.

So there we get his first mention of blood and he uses it as an adjective for death.  Bloody death.  If you try to find that language in the Bible, “bloody death,” you won’t find it.  But he is setting up his view and he will be very plain with it.  He goes on, “Every animal that was sacrificed was a blood bath.”  So he’s still not really talking about the blood of Christ, but the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament.  He continues, “Priests were butchers who stood ankle deep in blood. . . .  The temple was a slaughterhouse.”   And then concluding that point, he says, “The image of that was to depict a violent death.”

John MacArthur teaches that the emphasis of the blood of the Old Testament sacrifice was to show how violent the death was.  Where do we get that instruction anywhere in the Bible?  I don’t know of any place.  The word (or forms of it) “violent” is found in the Old Testament many times, but it is never applied to the blood of the animals or of the Savior.

Finally, he makes the connection between the Old Testament imagery and Jesus, when he explains:

On the cross of Christ you have the Passover Lamb dying a bloody, violent death.  It’s necessitated.  It’s all the imagery of the Old Testament that directs itself toward that.

So if you can follow him, he’s saying that the necessity of the blood of Christ was to fulfill the imagery in the Old Testament sacrificial system of a bloody, violent death.  He never, ever says “the blood of Christ.”  It’s a bloody death.  The Bible never says “bloody death,” but it does say “blood of Christ” (4 times), “blood of Jesus” (3 times),  and “blood of the Lord” (1 time).   Then he makes this astounding statement:

Having said that, you must stop short of saying that we are saved by the blood of Jesus.

Why?  Why would anyone stop short of that?  Isn’t that what these verses say?

Romans 3:24-26, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

Romans 5:9, “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

Ephesians 1:7, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”

Ephesians 2:13, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

Hebrews 10:19, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,”

1 Peter 1:18-19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

You want to give someone the benefit of the doubt, but I don’t get why MacArthur would say that we “must stop short of saying that we are saved by the blood of Jesus,” when the Bible says that we are saved by the blood of Jesus.  Well, he explains why it is that he says this:

In the sense that there is some efficacy in the fluid that poured out of His body.

He goes on:

I have tried to make that distinction—that when the New Testament refers to salvation by His blood that it is not talking about salvation by His fluid.  It uses blood as a metaphor or a synonym for death because it conveys the violence of it. . . . We don’t want to get caught into this bizarre notion that somehow in the actual fluid that came out of the body of Jesus that there is saving power or saving efficacy.

After explaining that, MacArthur goes on to give an example of something people have said about Jesus’ blood that is beyond and different than what he said in this above paragraph, in order to somehow color what someone would believe if he said that there was saving power in the actual blood of Jesus.  MacArthur then makes another important statement:

When the New Testament is talking about the blood of Christ it is talking about the death of Christ, but it uses blood because that is a metaphor that speaks of the violence of his death.

Where does MacArthur get this?  I don’t know.  It isn’t in the Bible.  When we see the blood of Jesus in the New Testament, we are not looking at a metaphor or synonym or metonym or euphemism for Jesus’ death, all words that MacArthur uses to describe what the blood of Christ is all about.  For one, the New Testament separates the death and the blood as two aspects of His sacrifice that were distinct and both individually necessary in Colossians 1:20-22:

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

In those verses you see “the blood of his cross” doing something and “the body of his flesh through death” doing something.  Both were needed.  Second, you get the two separate elements in the Lord’s Table—the bread and the cup.  The bread symbolizes the death in His body and the cup portrays the sacrifice in His shed blood.  So MacArthur is wrong in taking away this New Testament emphasis.

MacArthur uses the tone of his voice to mock the other position that is not his own.  He talks in a condescending way about the blood being “fluid,” that salvation isn’t in the “fluid.”  This is a strawman.  Jesus’ blood isn’t just “fluid.”  There is something more to Jesus’ blood than just the human.  There is a Divine quality to the blood of Jesus that cleanses, something that MacArthur just ignores.  And is not willing to believe that there is anything to Acts 20:28:

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

At the end of the verse, it says, “with his own blood.” What is the antecedent of “his?”  Yes, it is “God.”  So Acts 20:28 says “God’s own blood.”  One of the great mysteries of scripture is the hypostatic union.  Jesus is fully human and fully Divine.  There was something Divine to the blood of Christ, which is why the blood can cleanse.  Yes, the blood itself.  And you say, “How?”  I don’t know, but it does cleanse.  This is where MacArthur goes wrong.  He’s sort of like the Jehovah’s Witnesses on the Trinity on this.  They don’t get how Jesus could be man and God, so they reject His Deity.  MacArthur doesn’t see how the blood of Christ could cleanse everyone, so he just denies that it does anything of itself.  It is only by Jesus’ death, according to MacArthur, that people are saved.  But what about these verses?

1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Revelation 1:5, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,”

Hebrews 9:14, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

We never hear about the cleansing of His death, do we?  Why?  Because the blood of Christ is what does the cleansing.

MacArthur goes to more strawmen, “It wouldn’t have done any good if He had just bled and then lived.”  He says this with a kind of tone of disdain as if there were all sorts of people saying this, when I haven’t heard anyone in my life or have read anyone who has claimed that Jesus bled and lived.  Really?!?!  Who are we arguing about here?!?!

Then MacArthur gets angry at the idea that Jesus could die in a way in which He would not bleed.  And then he again explains that this would be preposterous because then Jesus wouldn’t fulfill the depictions in the Old Testament.  And that’s the extent of MacArthur’s answer here.

Johnson tries to help, it seems, by asking MacArthur about those times that the New Testament talks about the cleansing of Jesus’ blood, but MacArthur gets it wrong again and even more so.  He says that those are the times that the New Testament is talking about Jesus’ death.  This is classic circular reasoning.  If you go look at the passages to see if they mention Jesus’ death, you won’t find it in 1 John 1:7 and Revelation 1:5.  So why are they talking about His death?  Well, because blood means death.  This is also begging the question.

To cap it all off, MacArthur makes this point, like this is a major point.  “Jesus didn’t bleed to death.”  That seems to contradict what he said earlier when he said that the shedding of the blood showed that Jesus’ life was leaving His body.  So when He bled enough, wouldn’t that mean that He had died?  But no, MacArthur says that Jesus died by asphyxiation.  How do we know that?  Because that’s how the thieves died and how history shows other crucified ones died.  But is that how the Bible says Jesus died?  No!  It says that He gave up His own spirit.  And when he gets to the very end he admonishes, “You just want to be biblical about it!”  Right!  I agree!  Let’s be biblical about it.  Or in this case, let’s not follow what John MacArthur says about the blood of Christ.  He’s wrong.

I’m asking you the reader.  What does this message do to the nature of the gospel?  Does it change it?  How far does changing scriptural truth about the blood alter the gospel itself?  Is Jesus’ blood important enough for us to take a stand in separation over this understatement or even misstatement by MacArthur?

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  1. August 19, 2009 at 5:42 am

    If someone doesn’t believe that the BLOOD of Christ saves them from sin, can they truly be saved, a Christian, a child of God?

    BTW great article, had similiar discussion with OMAR GOSH many years ago on the FFF, pretty much came to the same conclusion on the stance that you identified

  2. August 19, 2009 at 6:02 am

    I really appreciated the way you handled this article, Brother Kent. I have thought for some time that there is a certain “scholarly” arrogance that comes from John MacArthur on certain issues. This is one of them.

    I also defended him to the chagrin of many of my friends when he initially made these statements, but it appears that he believes his interpretation is right, and everyone who opposes that position is either ignorant or argumentative.

    I probably appreciate the commentaries, writings, and teaching of John MacArthur more than most IFB types today, but he is just wrong in his representation of the importance of the blood.

    Once again, thanks for the good handling of this situation.

  3. Bobby
    August 19, 2009 at 7:16 am

    All I could think is that I hope no-one was smoking in the studio with all those straw men being set up. Unbelievable.

  4. Philip Clark
    August 19, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Well done! I have been preaching this for years and people still refuse to believe the heresy that Mr. MacArthur has been teaching. Livng so close in southern California, I have dealt with it many times. I have also read his letters to pastors trying to defuse the bomb but again the lies came out.

  5. August 19, 2009 at 9:51 am

    I notice that nobody is bothering to answer the question you asked:

    What does this message do to the nature of the gospel? Does it change it? How far does changing scriptural truth about the blood alter the gospel itself? Is Jesus’ blood important enough for us to take a stand in separation over this understatement or even misstatement by MacArthur?

    I found MacArthur’s statements about lordship salvation to be a disturbing distortion of the gospel message. But I really don’t see the issue regarding “blood”. MacArthur clearly agrees that 1) Christ needed to be killed in the traditional sacrificial (bloody) way in order to serve as a propitiation for our sins. And he also claims 2) that the fluid itself contained no magic powers.

    Since you would undoubtedly agree with both of those points, it’s really hard to see what your complaint is? What specifically, beyond points 1 and 2, would you want him to say — and more importantly, WHY would your additional context be indispensible for the gospel’s saving efficacy?

    • Angel Diaz
      April 24, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      Joshua Allen: The blood [fluid] of Christ does not contain any “magic” powers, but it definitely has “saving power.”

      • Angel Diaz
        April 24, 2015 at 5:27 pm

        MacArthur days things about the blood that ate logical, but the problem is that he also omits or flatly denies certain things that Scripture states about the blood [fluid] of Christ. Get a concordance and look up all the references concerning the blood of Christ, and you will notice that in some of them you cannot substitute the “blood of Christ” for the “death of Christ.” Some you can but others are referring to the actual blood [fluid].

  6. August 19, 2009 at 9:56 am

    The problem with MacArthur is sometimes he comes out with clear statements about the blood. For example, here is a passage from his commentary on Eph. 2:13 (I’m preaching through Ephesians right now on Wednesday nights):
    “And the only solution for divisions among men is the removal of sin, which Jesus Christ accomplished by the shedding of His own blood. Those who trust in His atoning work are freed from sin now in their new nature and will be practically and permanently freed from sin in their new bodies when they meet the Lord. The cleansing value of the blood of Christ immediately washes away the penalty of sin and ultimately washes away even its presence.”
    John MacArthur, Ephesians, Includes Indexes. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996, c1986), 75.
    Notice he reverts to “atoning work,” but at the beginning and end of this quote are clear statements of the blood’s efficacy. Those who defend him will point to this type of statement.

    Though MacArthur may make strong, accurate statements on the blood in some contexts, He really doesn’t mean blood. Lots of false teaching circulates under orthodox terms. In this case, even if MacArthur boldly affirmed the necessity of Christ’s blood; what he is really affirming is the necessity of Christ’s bloody death. He redefines blood to mean bloody death. For example (also from his commentary on Ephesians: “Shedding of blood is a metonym for death, which is the penalty and the price of sin. Christ’s own death, by the shedding of His blood, was the substitute for our death.”
    John MacArthur, Ephesians, Includes Indexes. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996, c1986), 21.

    Is this accurate? no. Does it mean that he is lost? no. There is definitely confusion about exactly how God purchased our redemption, but there is still dependence on God’s work through Christ to save us.

  7. August 19, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Thanks for the comments. They were interesting. All 6 so far. There was a lot more I could have written on this. I was attempting to keep it to just the presentation on the audio in which MacArthur is purposefully “clearing up” his position. It does help, as Jack, you alluded to, to interpret MacArthur in his commentaries where he sounds “right.” I’m going to only say something to Joshua’s comment because he asks some questions and I want to share my thoughts on those. I did laugh at Bobby’s studio comment. Good to see you Phil Clark.

    OK, Joshua, first, the magical power to the fluid. What is blood? Isn’t it fluid? And does blood have power? It is fluid and it does have power. I’ve said that it doesn’t cleanse like soap and water, but it still cleanses. It washes. That sounds like the characteristics of fluid, washing. I don’t have to understand that any more than I have to understand how spirit beings fight each other, like they do in Daniel. Something is happening that I can’t totally comprehend, but that doesn’t mean that I deny it. MacArthur ridicules it. MacArthur agrees that Jesus didn’t just need to die; He needed to bleed, but He removes what scripture says about what the blood does. I included those verses saying what it does. Nothing tells us that blood is a metonym in these cases.

    Joshua, you ask: “What specifically, beyond points 1 and 2, would you want him to say — and more importantly, WHY would your additional context be indispensible for the gospel’s saving efficacy?”

    In these questions, you are having me answer my questions. 🙂 I’m fine answering my own questions, but I wanted to see someone else give it a shot first. You say his position on the blood doesn’t change anything. So does Jack. I will answer this later. Thanks.

  8. August 19, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Just to clarify: I didn’t mean that MacArthur’s position doesn’t matter. It is incorrect. God has clearly indicated the power of Christ’s blood many times in the Scripture. I just don’t think this error will keep him from heaven.

  9. August 19, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Jack, I’m fine with your comment, but I want us to explore that. You’re saying that it matters but not in a salvific way. Could we just leave the blood out of the gospel presentation? Is it a non-essential to the gospel? Why is it non-essential? Is someone safe related to eternity, believing what MacArthur does on the blood?

  10. August 19, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Well, I will look forward to reading your comments on this. You have probably thought about it more than I have. I can think of several salvation sermons in Acts with no specific mention of the blood (only the crucifixion or only the resurrection). I’m not trying to say Christ’s blood isn’t essential (it is cleanses all sin!), but Peter & Paul didn’t always discuss it when presenting the gospel. I’ll interact with your next post on this subject.

  11. August 19, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Kent,

    Thanks for this informative post. Do you think there is any validity to the view that Christ being our propitiation is actually wearing His blood in His garments as he bears the scars?

  12. August 19, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Thanks, Kent. Regarding the comment about “fluid”, I guess I misinterpreted your position. I’m really intrigued, since it never crossed my mind that someone would consider the fluid itself to be imbued with “magical” powers. I figured MacArthur was ridiculing the idea as a strawman; not because anyone seriously holds that position.

    BTW, I am by no means an expert on theology, so I am not trying to convince anyone — and in fact am looking forward to being educated. My uneducated presumption went something like this: when the patriarchs would sacrifice a fattened calf, and receive some favor from God, the blood of the calf was not in itself imbued with any power. However, the blood needed to be spilled in a certain way, since it was what God demanded. The spilling of the blood in a specific way was an act of obedience and sign of submission to God’s law, and the sacrifice would not be pleasing if it did not follow the prescribed rules for spilling of blood and etc. So the blood could certainly not be dispensed with. And more than being simply symbolic, the exact mechanism required of blood sacrifices may have had some deeper mystical significance. However, the blood itself was not magical — one couldn’t (for example) extract some blood from a fattened calf and sprinkle around the altar to have the same effect.

  13. August 19, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    (And FWIW, I think the blood matters in a salvific way — I just don’t think that MacArthur is rejecting that fact. He is simply saying that the “blood” was part and parcel with the “sacrifice”, and neither would stand without the other.)

  14. August 19, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Joshua,

    It is true that the blood of calves, etc. couldn’t remit sin. They are never said to wash away sin, which the blood of Christ is said to do. The OT sacrifices are shadows of the reality of Christ, but Christ’s sacrifice is better, which is a large part of the book of Hebrews. There are differences between those sacrifices and His. MacArthur would say that the corpuscles etc. don’t do anything. I think this is his straw man. And saying “fluid” makes it a straw man too. However, to say that the blood cleanses, that isn’t a straw man, and it doesn’t read like a metonym or metaphor either. I’ll talk more about this later, but I’ll wait to hear what others say first.

    Don,

    What passage gives you this picture you are portraying? Thanks for your comment.

  15. August 20, 2009 at 5:42 am

    Kent:

    I know it’s theory but… Hebrews 10:1 tells us that the Tabernacle and Temple were shadows of the true. 1 John 2:2 tells us that Christ is our propitiation. Then Rev. 19:13 tells us that before the battle ensues, He already has his vesture dipped in blood. Whose blood would it be? Does it stand to reason that if He already bears the scars, He might also carry His blood in his robes?

  16. August 20, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Brother Don,

    I believe the blood in Rev 19:13 is the blood of the Lord’s enemies. This refers to the prophecy of Isa 63:1-4. This is what is meant by verse 15:

    (Revelation 19:15) “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”

    If the blood is anywhere, it is on the mercy seat in Heaven. As the mercy seat in the Temple was a shadow of the real in Heaven. It is the blood that God sees and shows mercy.

    Just my thoughts….

  17. August 20, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Art:

    Thanks for pointing out the prophecy in Isaiah. It seems to be a parallel passage referring to the very same event. Although there is a difference between the dipping of his vesture in Revelation and the staining and sprinkling of the vesture in Isaiah. In any case it does literally say that He will color His robes with blood.

    As for the mercy seat, the only pieces of furniture I see mentioned in heaven are the throne of God and the golden altar. That altar seems to be an altar of incense, not an altar of sacrifice. So, I believe that Jesus IS our mercy seat. As He sits on the right hand of God. I know it is conjecture, and even maybe a stretch to say it, but I have thought that He also carried the blood.

    Anyway, we’ll be finding out soon!

  18. August 20, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Pastor Brandenburg,

    Does MacArthur’s position fit into Hebrews 10:29? I’d like to think not. I don’t think this is apostasy, maybe it’s just bad theology. I think that redefining the blood of Christ to mean “death” is bad theology. Therefore I wouldn’t subscribe to JMack’s hematology. I wouldn’t fellowship with JMack for other reasons and this one just adds to it.

    I believe that the blood of Christ (both fluid and life – which btw the blood represents life) is effecacious for Salvation through the eternal Spirit according to Heb. 9:14.

    I certainly look forward to your follow up article on this.

  19. August 20, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    OK, if you are not talking about fluids, then fine — MacArthur’s point is a straw man, and you completely agree with MacArthur on that point. I’m glad, because frankly the idea of “magic fluid” sounded dangerously close to idolatry to me.

    But it’s equally a straw man to say that MacArthur is redefining blood to mean only death. He clearly wasn’t saying that. In fact, he went to great pains to say that it wasn’t about blood “…in the sense that there is some efficacy in the fluid that poured out of His body”. In order to set up your own straw man, you chopped him off if mid-sentence, put a period in the middle of his sentence to divorce it from his carefully-crafted disclaimer, and inserted 291 words of rebuttal against this newly-created sentence he didn’t even make. If it were fair play to splice together segments of your sentences and rebut them, I’m sure someone could make you look apostate, too.

    Any reasonable person viewing that clip would come to the conclusion that MacArthur is arguing that the blood and death are inseparable. That’s the point of his silly metaphor about extracting blood, the “straw man” about fluids, and so on. Since you also seem to agree that Christ’s blood would have been pointless in separation from His atoning sacrifice, I don’t see what the problem is (yet).

    You may feel that he evaded the question, or that he answered a question that wasn’t asked, or that he set up silly strawmen; but I don’t see how you can say that what he said was wrong, without altering what he said and setting up other straw men.

    • August 21, 2009 at 11:38 am

      Joshua,

      MacArthur says “blood means death.” If you didn’t get that from what he said, it would seem that you might not be trying to get what he said. In the first answer, when Phil asks him about the “blood of Christ,” MacArthur says “of course I believed Jesus died.” He doesn’t mention the blood. Later he says bloody death. I know he believes Jesus bled, but he believes it is a synonym for death. He thinks it was necessary to fulfill a type. I said all that though.

      I don’t have a reason to misrepresent him and I posted the audio. When someone is talking, it’s kind of hard to figure out where the periods go, but someone can listen to the audio if they think I’m misrepresenting his punctuation. I thought it was a period based on the pause.

      I do believe that blood and death go together, but I was very clear that they go separately. I’ll be coming with a follow up to this. Men through history have said something different than what MacArthur teaches.

      I do believe he was wrong. The blood is more than what he said. He is limiting what the blood does and therefore changing what it does.

      I do believe there is efficacy in the fluid that poured out of His body. I think saying “fluid” is the strawman, because “fluid” isn’t in the Bible. His blood could “pour” and “sprinkle.” What does that sound like to you? What pours and sprinkles?

  20. Lurker
    August 20, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Calling the blood of Christ “magic fluid” is a straw man and a slur wrapped up in the one. Magic implies occult power.

    But it is very very clear from Scripture, as shown in all those verses above, that the very blood of Christ IS powerful. In the words of the old hymn: there is power in the blood. The shed blood of Jesus Christ at Calvary does all the things those verses above say.

    MacArthur denies this. He is of the Reformed tradition, and in true Reformed fashion he starts to allegorize his way into false teaching. Whether or not this false belief and teaching has excluded him from everlasting life we will know one day.

  21. August 22, 2009 at 8:07 am

    OK, thanks Kent. I’ll look forward to hearing more. Again, I have no way of knowing if MacArthur secretly believes that the death would have been sufficient without the blood. But he certainly didn’t *say* that in this passage — in fact, quite the opposite. He was very, very calculating in the video posted, and stuck mostly to straw men. So it’s impossible to infer a “death necessary, blood not” position without taking him out of context (in this particular case).

    Lurker, you may be right about him harboring some unstated beliefs as part of his “reformed tradition”. He certainly seemed to be dancing around and trying to avoid being pinned down to an explicit statement about the blood. I would love to know more about what this means, since I’m hopelessly ignorant about all of the various factions and agendas within Christianity. Lacking context, I have no other option but to take him at face value, and unfortunately he never said that the death was sufficient without the blood.

    • August 22, 2009 at 9:27 am

      Joshua,

      I don’t think that I said that MacArthur didn’t or doesn’t believe that death was sufficient without His bleeding a lot. It’s just that he makes it only a fulfillment of OT types, versus the blood actually doing anything itself separately from death. I do agree that he said the opposite of blood wasn’t necessary. He says it is necessary, again, to fulfill the OT pictures.

      I am glad you’re commenting here. I hope I don’t sound disparaging to you personally, because I’m not attempting that.

  22. dt
    August 22, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Ken, reference to ‘blood’ rather than the word ‘death’ throughout the New Testament is to make reference to the type of death Jesus had which was a ‘sacrificial’ death, which itself is founded in the Covenant of Redemption. I.e., it is ‘covenantal’ language. By the way, neither MacArthur nor you seem to see this. MacArthur is quasi-Reformed in his theology, but understanding of Federal Theology does not define John MacArthur. As for yourself, obviously you are not used to thinking in covenantal terms.

  23. August 22, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    DT,

    We are grammatical and historical, that is, literal in our interpretation. But I don’t think this subject will be affected by being either covenant or dispensational in approach. You did get me thinking though, because it does seem that MacArthur sees this from a perspective of Old Testament priority.

  24. August 23, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Kent,

    I definitely don’t feel personally disparaged. and in fact I wanted to apologize for the disrespectful tone of my earlier post. I appreciate your patience, and I learn a lot from reading this blog (and the comments).

  25. Jerry Bouey
    September 2, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Wow, he sure missed the boat! Jesus did not just die a violent death – the Scriptures teach that He must shed His blood as an offering for sin. Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22; 1 John 2:1-2. For it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul.

    Jesus did not die of asphyxiation – He died at His own timing and will by giving up the ghost. If He died because He could no longer breathe, that doesn’t explain Jesus’ ability to cry out with a loud voice as Luke 23:46 states.

  26. SEM
    November 8, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Thank you for this, and the many comments. I have prayed for help to understand this latest false teaching of MacArthur’s.

    When, oh when, is he going to be brought to task by some sort of council by sound men of God. That way we will all know where we stand with his confused teachings.

  27. derek
    December 12, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/blood.htm after you get through his sidekicks whining you can see his actual words on the subject.

    John 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

    He defines “touch” as “cling to”.
    He teaches that is was finished on the cross even though Christ had not yet died when He said that or resurected or ascended or enterer holy of holies with His blood.

    It is easy to find such…just ask them: Where is Jesus’ blood right now?

  28. Shelly
    February 16, 2010 at 12:20 am

    John MacArthur & Pretrib Rapture

    Who knows, maybe John (Reformedispy) MacArthur is right and the greatest Greek scholars (Google “Famous Rapture Watchers”), who uniformly said that Rev. 3:10 means PRESERVATION THROUGH, were wrong. But John has a conflict. On the one hand, since he knows that all Christian theology and organized churches before 1830 believed the church would be on earth during the tribulation, he would like to be seen as one who stands with the great Reformers. On the other hand, if John has a warehouse of unsold pretrib rapture material, and if he wants to have “security” for his retirement years and hopes that the big California quake won’t louse up his plans, he has a decided conflict of interest. Maybe the Lord will have to help strip off the layers of his seared conscience which have grown for years in order to please his parents and his supporters – who knows? One thing is for sure: pretrib is truly a house of cards and is so fragile that if a person removes just one card from the TOP of the pile, the whole thing can collapse. Which is why pretrib teachers don’t dare to even suggest they could be wrong on even one little subpoint! Don’t you feel sorry for the straitjacket they are in? While you’re mulling all this over, Google “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty” for a rare behind-the-scenes look at the same 180-year-old fantasy.

  29. shane
    March 25, 2010 at 3:40 am

    If I understand correctly, Thieme also taught the ‘blood equals death’ idea.
    When I have read various positions about this from within the Thieme camp (and MacArthur?), there seems to be a lack of discussion about what occured after His death i.e. the high priest act of presenting blood in the holiest of all (and the OT/NT parallels – with Christ’s act in the ‘true’ temple of heaven).
    Hebrews explains this very clearly.

    As mentioned above, there is also the covenent ceremonial aspect to the blood.

  30. B
    October 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I found this response from John explaining what he ment.

    See here: http://www.gty.org/resources/Print/Sermons/80-44

    The answer is at the bottom of the page. This comes from his website, so I don’t think he’s being misrepresented.

    • B
      October 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm

      *meant

  31. ken krug
    October 28, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Am I too simple? When I heard of JMAC;s ”heresy” on the blood, I went to the Scripture (KJV) I read that His blood and death had different purposes. In death, Jesus took our penalty Romans 6:23,Heb 2:9. His blood purchased our redemption 1 Peter 1:18-19. Let me know if you find this consistent in the NT. BTW, I wouldn’t dare refer to my Saviors’ blood as a mere”bodily fluid”. I guess you need to be really educated to be that disrespectful.

    Great forum/tone except for the mocking ”shelly” post.

    ”B” thanks for the web link. It was telling.

  32. Reb
    December 4, 2012 at 9:01 am

    I appreciate your article very much. I think all your points are fair and it is an excellent way to expose this false teaching, by quoting his words sentence by sentence. MacArthur is confusing Christians on the importance of Jesus literal blood, he is simply confusing. I do not even see the point of debating this topic like he did. Nobody ever thought Jesus blood had any other “magical” values other than washing people s sins, and that is biblical to think. How it does it, like you said as well, I do not know? Do we have to understand it? Do we understand the Trinity? or many other biblical doctrines? I so fully agree with you when you say that he is trying to make Jesus blood unimportant or change the meaning because he does not understand it. Is that a biblical thing to do, to dismiss something because you do not understand it? But MacArthur preaches even worse heresy when he says that we are not saved by faith alone but by obedience to God s word as well. What about the robber on the cross, how obedient or holy was he and yet he was promised heaven. I believe Macarthur is preaching some other gospel, no matter how “biblical” and “orthodox” he might seem when reading and hearing his sermons on other things, these two teachings, on Jesus blood and on what exactly saves us, is fundamental to Christianity and because of that I think his heresy is not superficial but goes deep. It is a different gospel…Galatians comes to mind…Jesus blood shed literally cleanses our sins and not just his death, his death and his blood both save us, no other blood…ever…. could have done the same, so jesus blood is precious before and after it was shed. But it is only through the shedding of his blood that our sins could have been washed, just like Bible teaches and it was happening through the whole of the Old Testament, blood was sprinkled on Israelites, physical blood of animals and sprinkled blood of the lambs in the night of Passover was the picture of what was to come – Jesus! The sole purpose of Macarthur teaching is to confuse and to obscure clear Biblical teaching. I do not see any point in it other than that. Thanks for the article.

    • ken krug
      December 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm

      Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2012 15:01:56 +0000 To: krug1459@hotmail.com

  33. Angel Diaz
    February 6, 2013 at 2:01 am

    Great forum! I just want to say that Kent’s observation and responses are great. So is everybody’s responses. For whatever is worth, but I think one can not really nail down MacArthur in what he teaches till you ask, “What happened to Jesus’ Blood after it was shed?” He says that the blood was soaked up into the ground. You see, he is orthodox when He says that Christ had to die and die the death by shedding blood. After this he does not have anything to stand on. Since he believes that the purpose of the blood is just a symbol or type of death, the blood has no real significance after Jesus died. He does not believe that the literal blood of Christ was APPLIED! Folks, this is the essence and crux of the whole matter. Sacrificial blood in the Old Testament was not only shed but APPLIED. The Sacrifice was not only to die and blood had to be shed, but the blood had to be APPLIED! Whether it was the first Passover when God instructed the people through Moses to slay the lamb and APPLIED the blood to the door posts and lintel, or after the Sacrificial system was instituted and once a year the lamb was slain, blood collected and APPLIED on the mercy seat. The reason there is power in the Blood [God’s Power and not magic as MacArthur sneers] is because the Blood exists in the heavenlies. Christ, our High Priest carried it there!

    • ken krug
      February 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm

      Great points. I wish to be careful not to sound mocking, but is it possible that MacArthur might not believe in a literal heavenly mercy seat? If the earthly tabernacle is made after the pattern of the heavenly, then what would be applied to the heavenly mercy seat if not the literal blood of Christ? Would he advocate some type of spiritual/mystical blood? Or that no blood needs to be applied to the heavenly? Does anyone know his position?

      • Angel Diaz
        February 6, 2013 at 5:26 pm

        Ken, I have found that MacArthur speaks out of both sides of his mouth. In his earlier years he believed that Christ’s ministry of High Priest was a literal ongoing work. Now, it is all symbolic. Let me give you the references. On track recording 80-44 [a compilations of excerpts entitled “The Blood of Christ” taken from his different messages. This he put together once he got in trouble for his big mouth. With it he attempts to prove he is still sound in his teaching]. Notice in the first excerpt he believes it is literal. Then the other two following he claims it is all symbolic.

        In April of 1972 while teaching from chapter 4 of the book of Hebrews, I dealt with the subject again of Christ’s blood. Our Lord’s work on the cross was the fulfillment of the type in the Old Testament when the High Priest entered into the Holy of Holies to sprinkle blood on the Mercy Seat. The ascended resurrected Christ carried Himself past the two outer heavens into the abode of God and when He got there He sprinkled His blood on that divine, eternal, heavenly Mercy Seat…and you know what? God said, “I am satisfied forever.”

        Two months later in November of 1972, I talked more about the sealing of the New Covenant in Christ’s blood. The context of that message was Hebrews 10 verses 32 to 39.
        Keep in mind that when I talk about Christ sprinkling His blood on the Mercy Seat, I’m not saying He literally sprinkled His physical blood on some physical object in the heavenlies. I believe the writer is speaking in a symbolic sense. It is an illustration which pictures the atoning effect of Christ’s death on the cross. His death was foreshadowed in the action of the High Priest sprinkling blood on the Mercy Seat in the Old Testament era. Christ offered Himself to the Father as a sacrifice for sin. In that sense, He fulfilled the picture of the sprinkling of blood on the Mercy Seat.

        In 1987 at a Good Friday communion service, I discussed the blood of Christ at length, and here’s an excerpt from that sermon. The Scripture says He entered into heaven through His blood. And what it means is He went there through His death, having pleased God and by means of and because of His death as man, He was accepted by God as the perfect sacrifice. He does not, nor ever has sprinkled blood on some heavenly Mercy Seat, He is the hilasterion, He is the Mercy Seat Himself blood stained by reason of His sacrificial death on the cross.

        If you noticed, he first said that Christ literally entered the third heaven with His own Blood and sprinkled the heavenly Mercy Seat. Now, he is saying that Christ did not enter Heaven WITH His blood but through His death [blood] and He did not sprinkle any Heavenly Mercy Seat because He Himself is the Mercy Seat.

  34. Stephen
    June 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    This is a very good reason why scripture tells us in Titus 3 to dismiss foolish controversies. There is nothing that John is saying that is different from what you’re saying. Jesus also said, “unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you.” Where is this physical flesh of Jesus that I must eat? Where is this physical blood that I must drink? It’s not on earth. So how are we to consume it? We consume it metaphorically in the Lord’s supper, and in the reading of his word (flesh), and by taking up our cross (blood) and following him. This controversy is mindless and it only seems it is a cover to attack John on his Lordship Salvation stance.

  35. June 23, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Stephen,

    I don’t know you, but you’re wrong on this one. This is not a foolish controversy. The church historically said the blood itself does something and John MacArthur contradicts that. Does that matter? It’s in the Bible. The blood itself actually cleanses sin. Why not accept that by faith? It’s not an accurate parallel with “drink my blood.” I think you’ve got that one wrong too. In John 6, when Jesus said that, He wasn’t talking about the Lord’s Supper. We don’t eat Christ’s flesh, even metaphorically, at the Lord’s Supper. All of this matters though.

    It’s definitely not about the Lordship Salvation stance, because i agree with His Lordship position, so what you are writing there is a lie, if that matters to you. Here you are writing about foolish controversies and then you tell that kind of lie. That’s kind of controversial, isn’t it?

  36. ken krug
    July 5, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Have you been hacked?

    Date: Fri, 5 Jul 2013 01:58:04 +0000
    To: krug1459@hotmail.com

  37. Scott
    August 11, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Thank you Stephen for putting this into perspective for many of these people whom have a personal vendetta against John. Like many hard lined fundlementalists who have a small minded approach in their personal study of Gods Word they often use what the Bible says and not what it teaches to draw a line in the sand so they can self promote and attack other Christians seeking to fulfill Gods plan in their lives. Frankly it gets old. The scripture says Jesus gave his blood to redeem us, but it also says he gave his soul, his life and Himself. Which would be more important? The answer is none of the above, the entire act that the Father had predetermined is what ultimately fulfilled our redemption by Christ’s sacrifice. Please listen to the John’s series “richer than you think” and message #4, “redemption through his blood” to clarify what everyone who like to put things into Johns mouth about his view on Christs blood and end this mess once and for all. Instead of attacking great leaders of the faith lets build each other up to war against evil so we can continue to fulfill the great commission.

    Scott

    • ken krug
      August 15, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      Scott,

      Disrespect of others is not a fruit of the Spirit, I think it might even be a work of the flesh.
      Your words reveal that you are truly a disciple of John MacArthur. You vilify, demean, and mock those whom you disagree with. Even in this recording,JMac uses this tactic. He didn’t always act this way. If I recall correctly, back in the late 70s, when I first listened to him, and greatly appreciated him(I still have dozens upon dozens of his books and tapes), he spoke with a measure of humility in that he recognized that he was not the source of all truth. He had room to learn and admitted that he wasn’t sure on some things. Now, he, like you, attacks those in disagreement with him by using terms like bizarre, imaginary, magical, and a greater vocabulary than I have to belittle his opposition. He, like you, seems to infer that anyone who disagrees with him(you) is either a moron or evil.
      John Piper was accurate in his commentary that those who are drawn to the Calvinist doctrines unfortunately tend toward cruelty. I know of an entire church that has gone from warm and friendly to cruel and exclusive since they embraced the teachings of JMac.This is one of the sad changes that I have observed in JMac over the years. However, I’m far more grieved over his changing the Gospel in the mid eighties(Ryrie and Hodges both wrote rebuttals to JMacs new gospel) By the way, JMacs early teaching was excellent. I truly miss the old JMac.
      He now stands as a warning to me that anyone can fall from the truth of the gospel.

      Jack(Kent), if you think that I’m out of line, I’m open to your advice.

      Ken

  38. Mike
  39. March 10, 2015 at 11:07 am

    I have followed McArthurs deliberate heresy on the blood since his first heretical utterings I ran across = Personhood of Christ prior to his incarnation which he recanted ! Amazing a 4th generation Pastor would not recognize that truth his own father preached eloquently on ! – The blood was his next error – Lordship Salvation whose title supposes truth but Johns application and implications are far from it and heresy ! Straw men by the dozen – half truths by the truckload ! Half truths are Satans truths never Gods ways ! McArthurs words lack integrity – they are one thing one day and another the next ! For a laugh see the text of his backtracking to his own conference of churches he was brought before decades back – Lucy you got a lot of Splainin’ to do – so he just misdirected that whole
    conversation just as clumsily !

  40. Matthias
    June 19, 2015 at 5:56 am

    Okay you guys. Please quit this nonsense.
    First of all, I am not a disciple of Dr. John MacArthur (JM). But calling him a heretic is nonsensical. You completely misquote his words, misinterpret them and misdefine his exact meaning.
    My own point of view on the matter is this: Jesus Christ was betrayed, denounced, captured, humiliated, tortured & crusified all according to history and old prophesy. He was punished, his blood was shed, he died and rose again, all to complete the work of saving those who love Him. When he was still teaching, a woman once just reached out to touch his cloak, just so she could be healed. You could argue that touching Jesus’ body, blood or cloak is of importance. But Jesus himself said to the woman: because of your faith, you will be wholesome again. So her touching the cloak is of importance. But not because the cloak is important. Jesus as a man was normal, standard, a carpenter, he wore clothes like anyone and everyone.
    Jesus’ actual blood, the hemoglobin, was never collected, to be used as a measure to conquer sin. His violent sacrifice and resurrection is the actual measure, with which Jesus actually conquered sin and death. Does the actual hemoglobin from Jesus’ body have any significance? Yes, blood needs to flow to pay for transgression. This was the case with sacrifice in the Temple, it was the case with Jesus and is the case for every sinner. So the importance of His blood is that, it signifies the bloody punishment on Jesus body, without which the prophesy wouldn’t be complete. So yes, it is very important.
    To make a simple example: say I am a driver in a car and need to travel from point A to point B. Everyone knows the general build of a car. It has a chassis, an engine, four wheels, it needs gas to work and a driver to function. What is happening here is that JM is just saying that all these parts are needed for me to travel from A to B. JM tries to explain that some people tend to concentrate only on the fact that the car has four wheels, while everyone needs to know that you also need gas and a driver etc. JM is NOT saying the wheels are not important. He is just saying: yes the wheels are indeed very important, but without the gas you won’t propel forward and without a driver you can’t steer.
    JM actually tells us the blood is of significance. He just doesn’t feel the need to discuss the blood specifically. He emphasizes greatly that the work of the Lord is in the broader resurrection (including His blood and its meanings) and the christian’s need to follow Jesus.
    In fact, you guys keep pointing out the fact that the blood is important, while claiming that JM dismisses this blood as inconsequential and that he is thus a heretic and will probably go to hell. (??)
    And this is the truth upside down. For the people that say: BLOOD = IMPORTANT. John MacArthur agrees!! He agrees, he agrees, he agrees!! Somewhere along the way, John said: blood is important, ‘but don’t concentrate on the blood alone’, concentrate on everything pertaining to His Great Sacrifice. Somewhere in time, a few hotheaded fools, took this out of context and only interpreted him saying: “blood? insignificant! disregard!” If this was the actual case, I would wholeheartedly agree with you calling him a heretic or something along those lines. But the very thing that you hold so dearly, is not dismissed by JM. Just try to actually listen to him saying his things. You also cannot read the Bible without proper context. Maybe try to listen to his next sentence when you’re listening to a sermon of him.
    And actually, “His Blood that set us free”, “being washed clean”, this is christian jargon. I use it every day myself. It is also in the bible. But “washed clean” is also used in combination with “being set free”, “healed”, “having everlasting life”, “God calling you His child”, “being elect”, “being forgiven”, “baptized in the Holy Spirit”, “being really aware of sin”, “asking Jesus into your heart” – these things are not completely the same of course, but they all pertain to one thing: Jesus’ Sacrifice and our embrace of that fact. Don’t be hung up on one word, especially if it’s clear that you are not even truly in disagreement.
    And please do some soul searching before calling JM a heretic. He is just a guy, I know this. He is also a sinner that makes mistakes. Yes teachers are held accountable more than us mere laymen. But he is not disregarding Jesus’ blood.

    And for the people among you hung up on Lordship Salvation. LS states that being christian is self evident, meaning it will show. So, true conversion; followed by forgiveness; becoming elect; bearing fruit. The fruit will be different for everyone: some will just stay off the crack, others will change the whole world. It is not the other way around, meaning that works will earn you the everlasting life.
    A lot of people agree that a true christian will change for the better after conversion. If you believe this, you already are a proponent for LS, even if you’re hesitant to acknowledge or see this yourself. Because after all difficult theological discussions, that is all it means. A new christian will be better than himself. It’s not for people to judge. LS is NOT about earning your keep. It’s about, after conversion, because of a purer, truer heart, you will change for the better. Even if it’s very slow. Even if you fall back, after all, we’re all sinners. Even if it’s small. The reverse is also true. No change in your heart, probably means no conversion.
    Only a handful of people manage to have dynamite conversions and are used to do great things and touch millions of people. Most of us will just manage to stay loyal to our wifes for a change a teach our children meaningful things about God. But this is LS. This is the fruit. LORDSHIP SALVATION IS NOT EARNING YOUR KEEP!

    AND THE BLOOD IS SIGNIFICANT. EVEN JOHN MACARTHUR SAYS SO!

    • papadeocho
      June 19, 2015 at 7:47 am

      Kent was careful to let JM speak for himself. I nowhere found ”interpretation” of what JM said, Please back up your accusation that JM has been misquoted. The issue is not that JM says the blood is nothing, though he comes close with his dismissive ”bodily fluid”, The issue is that he says the blood is less and/or different than what Scripture says it is(”precious blood”). No man has authority to do that. Take your bible and see if you can replace blood with death or death with blood (or ”bloody death”) and have it come out true and sensible. That would seem to me to be ”NONSENSE” but when you redefine words it has to work or your redefining is in error. Am I misinterpreting JM since he says that blood means death or bloody death? Is that a misquote? BTW, JM did not originate this. See the teaching of R. B . Thieme on the blood.
      If you are not a JM disciple, your spirit displays the marks. Your opening paragraph of attacks is a mark of a JM disciple, not a disciple of Christ

      Re: LS: God gives Eternal life if you promise(commit to) current and/or future obedience. Lk 9:24. it is not belief alone that saves, it must be combined with commitment.

      Free grace: God gives EL to all who believe Jn 5:24. regardless of future obedience .Only the first soil was lost according to Scripture. Obedience is the fruit of gratitude for salvation 2Cor 5:14-15

      • Matthias
        June 19, 2015 at 9:05 am

        Come on dude. Did you even read my stuff? With misquoting I mean that it is very clear that the proper context is disregarded. Anyone can take a short statement of about five sentences and take half a sentence and twist it into the proper tool to attack.
        i agree of the use of the blood. Yet MacArthur never said otherwise. If you even try to listen to this radio fragment without bias, this is VERY clear. Maybe one could argue, that MacArthur uses too many big words, or tough phrases and that this makes people lose track. And I am not implying you are dumb. If anything he agrees with the importance of the meaning of the blood. He only points out Jesus’ sacrifice as a whole is what we should talk about. And saying “bodily fluid” isn’t dismissive. He is pointing out it’s one of the integral parts, that without Jesus’ death, the blood wouldn’t mean anything and vice versa, according to prophesy.
        And JM never states that blood means death or anything like that. This is just close-mindedness on your part. And no, the bible never replaces blood with death. Because it is also not just His death that saves. It’s blood + death for sin + resurrection = overcoming sin and saving God’s children. Historically God demanded a violent death on the sacrificial animals, following very precise rules. Jesus’ death is both an explicit symbol of this bloody sacrifice and the mother of all sacrifices in itself. For this the blood was not just needed, it was demanded, by God Himself. Which makes the blood a symbol for fulfilled vengeance, an explicit act that buys free everyone that humbly asks to be freed! Important indeed. MacArthur even says as much. But people get hung up by the blood and see it for the complected work in itself. And it depends on how you tell the story, to make it important or not. Jesus sacrificed Himself, His blood washes us clean. But “The Blood” is also official christian jargon for the completed work. What JM points out that we are not physically washed by blood, but spiritually.
        I, for example, never saw Jesus, I never touched Him, I never heard His Voice. Not literally. But I saw Jesus, He touched me and I heard His Voice. Spiritually. You know of what I speak. Christian vernacular is full of words that mean specific things and have broader meanings. JM just asks to emphasize the broader meaning. Being saved by Christ by His blood literally spilled, symbolically and actually washing our sins away, is not about hemoglobin. It’s about the sacrificial blood.
        I’m certain, if you would talk to a unbeliever, and he asks you: “so you know Jesus right, did you ever actually see Him with your own eyes?” You would explain that you did meet him spiritually and that that is enough.

        “If you are not a JM disciple, your spirit displays the marks. Your opening paragraph of attacks is a mark of a JM disciple, not a disciple of Christ.” This is an especially interesting quote from your statement. No I am not his disciple. My spirit bears the marks? Of not being a follower of Christ? Who are you to say these things to another christian, that in fact doesn’t disagree with you theologically? You clearly made up your mind about JM and that he is a false teacher. You should do some soul searching my friend and pray. Because, the things people say are fundamental and hugely important in doctrine are just that: important. I agree, But the things people say JM proclaims are simply not true.

        It really is like this: using an example here; let’s just say that on a certain road, to reach a certain building you need to always turn right. You shouldn’t turn left, because you would drive into the lake. So all drivers warn others, that they should really watch the road and always turn right.
        This road is the discussion we’re in. You and I are two of the people that says you should turn right. JM says this: make sure you do not turn left and apply breakage at the turn in the road. In stead of just seeing he says the exact same thing, but probably different, you mock him for using the word ‘left’, or not using the word ‘right’ and his nonsense about using the brake.

        Because this is indeed an important point, I am inclined to also mistrust anyone that denies half of the sound doctrines. But that’s just it! JM doesn’t deny anything or adds anything. Just put your mistrust aside for 5 minutes and really listen. Try to not be so biased.

        And dude. When labeling everyone a non-christian (including me, who puts all his trust in the Lord) automatically, when it SEEMS they are in the opposite camp, you might not be one yourself. I am not concluding or ending with the statement that you are not! Please understand what I write. But it is not up to you to judge those who have yet to come before God’s Throne. And I find that a true christian would treat another one with kindness and hospitality. In stead of concluding with “non-christian”, after just reading a few lines of text from my hand. I hope you agree.

      • papadeocho
        June 19, 2015 at 8:48 pm

        For someone who is concerned that JM is not ”misquoted”( I think you really mean misunderstood since you produced no misquote) you don’t seem to be equally concerned with what I explicitly said. Please show me where I said you are not a Christian or was that an interpretation on your part? Let me rephrase it this way, what you wrote appears to me to be the un-Christlike traits of other JM disciples that I have interacted with(I used to be one). Combativeness with an accompanying disrespect is by my observation and experience, typical of, but not exclusive to JM defenders.Does that say you are not a Christian? If from my interaction with Calvinists, I observe condescension and arrogance, does that mean I am saying they are not Christians? I just see a pattern.(which John Piper, himself a Calvinist, seems to publicly agree with me on).

        Back to the subject.
        Now, unless I can’t understand English, JM did indeed redefine blood from the natural meaning to his words ”violent, bloody death”. As one who has slaughtered a goat in the biblical manner, it is not ”violent”. The animal is calm and goes to sleep as its’ blood drains from a discreet slitting of the throat. Violence in slaughter ruins the meat.
        The Bible uses blood as the payment/money of account to pay for our sin. I think that is why Peter explicitly stated that: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
        19 But with the precious blood(not death) of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Please note that the purity of the character of Christ made his blood redemptive as did the physical purity of the lamb. The blood of an impure sacrifice was not redemptive.

        The death of Jesus for us was substitutionary, in our place. We deserved death for our sin, not bleeding. This is not interchangeable with blood. If JM did not say that blood wasn’t just blood, that it represented violent death, or something similar, then my memory has failed.
        Different purposes, different results. His blood purchased our redemption, He died for us taking our penalty. The wages of sin is not blood, neither is death comparable to silver and gold.

        Deuteronomy 4:2
        Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

        I have no authority to give a private interpretation and neither does JM. The reason he has invited controversy is he’s gone novel with his interpretations. if I want novel and false interpretations, i’ll read The Message or God Wins. JM can well teach sound doctrine without cutting new trails where no man has gone before. I grieve over him because of how much he meant to me as a young believer. It was his early teaching(which I still have) that prepared me to recognize his errors today.

        O the po’ ignorant souls who believe blood means blood because that is what it seems to plainly read in the Bible (without enlightenment from JM or RB Thieme).

  41. David Emme
    June 19, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    My question if I could ask Dr MacArthur(whom I do hold in high esteem and have learned much from him) is if the blood is representative of the totality of his death-then what does the wine represent and what does the bread represent in the last supper? Is the wine now a representative of a representative concept? A symbol of the symbolic? Did Christ intend three symbols of one element to show his death(blood, wine, and bread)?

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