John MacArthur’s Protestant False Gospel Made Easy: Christians Are Unholy
In an article titled, “Whatever Happened to the fear of the Lord?” (http://www.gty.org/Blog/B160810 August 10, 2016), Pastor John MacArthur, without question the most notable evangelical of our day, states that “Christians” are unholy. Of course, the difficulty is in the utter simplicity of the issue.
Protestants believe that conversion is only a declaration by God as opposed to a holy state of being. Their definition of the new birth follows: one is gifted with the ability to see our sinfulness as set against God’s holiness. In contrast, the Bible emphasizes an effort to be more like God because we are also holy. True Christians sin because they are weak, not because they are still unholy and only changed positionally. Salvation is a state of being, not a mere legal declaration.
Protestants like MacArthur get tripped up on the law. They believe perfect law-keeping brings about eternal life / righteousness / justification / holiness. Supposedly, Jesus came to pay the penalty for our sins, and to live a perfect law-keeping life that can be imputed to us by faith. But the law cannot give life regardless of who keeps it. All sin is imputed to the law so Jesus could end it, and all of the sin imputed to it.
The true Christian is justified by new birth, not the law. Our focus is to fulfill the law by loving God and others with all of our heart, soul, and mind. Our focus is to use our temples to offer holy sacrifices to God through obedience to His word. All of the sin offerings were ended on the cross; our focus is the love offerings. In contrast MacArthur states:
When we see God as holy, our instant and only reaction is to see ourselves as unholy. Between God’s holiness and humanity’s unholiness is a gulf. And until a person understands the holiness of God, that person can never know the depth of his or her own sin. We ought to be shaken to our roots when we see ourselves against the backdrop of God’s holiness. If we are not deeply pained about our sin, we do not understand God’s holiness at all.
Without such a vision of God’s holiness, true worship is not possible. Real worship is not giddy. It does not rush into God’s presence unprepared and insensitive to His majesty. It is not shallow, superficial, or flippant. Worship is life lived in the presence of an infinitely righteous and omnipresent God by one utterly aware of His holiness and consequently overwhelmed with his own unholiness.
Note that MacArthur only sees one distinction between the “born again” and humanity in general: an ability to see the depths of our sin. And, the sole focus of “worship” is also our own sinfulness. This puts MacArthur squarely in the same camp as those who published the “Cross Chart” that illustrates progressive justification.
So-called saints primarily focus on one thing: a deeper and deeper realization of our own sin. Obviously, any notion that we have any goodness at all would diminish the cross by raising the downward trajectory of the bottom line.
The apostle Peter and Jude both wrote that we are holy. Who is John MacArthur? Jude also wrote that the Lord will return to execute judgement on the unholy…those that the Protestants identify with.
It’s not complicated; if you are unholy you are unsaved.