Paul's Passing Thoughts

John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church: Their Blatant False Statement of Faith

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 15, 2016

While doing some research this morning, I ended up on a website I have never visited before; John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church located in Sun Valley, California. Out of curiosity, I clicked on their statement of faith page. Let’s take a look. My comments are italicized.

The Gospel

What It Means to Be a Christian

Being a Christian is more than identifying yourself with a particular religion or affirming a certain value system. Being a Christian means you have embraced what the Bible says about God, mankind, and salvation. Consider the following truths found in the Bible.

Um, correction. While they would encourage “Christians” to read the Bible for themselves they continually claim to be the final authority on its interpretation. Hence, this statement is disingenuous; one does not embrace an individual understanding of the Bible, but ultimately must obey the dictates of “godly men who God has placed as an authority over your soul.”

God Is Sovereign Creator

Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him. The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore, He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.

Again, this statement is fraught with deliberate misinformation. As an introductory statement to those considering membership, the GCC “Gospel of Sovereignty” is deliberately nuanced in order to not be rejected out of hand by potential members. On the one hand, we are created to enjoy endless fellowship with God and everyone owes Him allegiance, obedience, and worship, but on the other hand, God Himself selects who will do that. That is left out of the statement. Instead, the idea of God’s creative purpose and what man owes God is left open-ended to allow people to assume free choice in following God accordingly. The title, “God is Sovereign Creator” should be “God is Sovereign Savior” which is a major theme of GCC ministry. This is deliberate deception.   

God Is Holy

God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3); therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13). God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, You shall be holy, for I am holy.

According to GCC Reformed soteriology, “holiness” is defined by perfect law-keeping and not the new birth. This is the Achilles’ heel of their false gospel. True Christians are holy because they are reborn of God’s seed and His seed is in them (1John, chapter 3). A call to holiness is a call to love God and others according to the Bible and apart from its former condemnation. According to Reformed soteriology, the Spirit only has one use of the law; to condemn, and Jesus continues to protect us against that one use. True soteriology teaches the Spirit’s twofold use of the law; to condemn, and to sanctify (Romans 8:2 and John 17:17).

Mankind Is Sinful

According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: There is no man who does not sin (1 Kings 8:46). That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own (Romans 3:10-12).

Yes, many who read this will assume this statement only regards the unregenerate, but note the specific grammar carefully; this statement includes “believers” as well, and that’s just good old fashioned Reformed soteriology… “Christians” remain “sinners” who can do no good work. There is no new birth demarcation between the Spirit’s two uses of the law. “Christians” are therefore still under law (Romans 6:14) and our love must be a continued imputation of Christ’s perfect law-keeping in order to keep us saved. That is NOT… “justification APART from the law.”

Sin Demands a Penalty

God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences.

Of course, it can’t because “Christians” are still under the law and not under love (under grace). Instead of failing to love God and others as His literal children, our “present sin” still condemns us according to the Spirit’s one use of the law. We must then continue to appropriate Christ’s perfect law-keeping to keep ourselves saved. And of course, and plainly stated by John Calvin and Martin Luther, that continued imputation can only be found in the Protestant church. Again, the careful wording of this statement is deliberately deceptive and plays on the assumptions of dumbed-down churchians.  

Jesus Is Lord and Savior

Romans 10:9 says, If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior who paid the penalty and died for sinners (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, and Christ’s perfect life satisfied the demands of God’s holiness (2 Corinthians 5:21), thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26).

Christ’s perfect life satisfied the demands of God’s holiness” is the smoking gun. This is a false gospel. Christ came to end the law in regard to its condemnation, and fulfill it in those who are born again via “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). True Christians are no longer under the law of sin and death and the condemnation of it; our works are love according to the Spirit’s second use of the law to sanctify, not works that attempt to justify. Justification is a finished work that is by the new birth, not perfect law-keeping.

Shockingly, even respected Reformed teachers like RC Sproul claim that Jesus gained His own righteousness through perfect law-keeping so that it can be continually imputed to us by a continued return to the same gospel that originally saved us. “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” Sound familiar? Again, this paragraph in their statement allows people to assume that our repentance unto salvation is a onetime finished work by us. No, a “lifestyle of repentance” (Paul David Tripp) must keep us saved and that can only be found via obedience to the “godly men” of the Protestant institutional church.      

The Character of Saving Faith

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin (Luke 13:3, 5; 1 Thessalonians 1:9), pursue Christ (Matthew 11: 28-30; John 17:3), and obey Him (1 John 2:3). It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin.” Got it? “True faith” is “always” with the same repentance that saved us. Any questions? Sin is sin, under grace is a mere imputation of Christ’s loving acts to the believer and appropriated by an ongoing “lifestyle of repentance” and “living by the gospel” or “living by faith alone.” We must continue to “pursue Christ.” Ever wonder why there is a lack of love in the church? Because Jesus loves in our place lest it be justifying ourselves. The obedience that is really being spoken of here is obedience to the “godly men” of the institutional church to keep one’s salvation.

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9 Responses

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  1. Andy Young, PPT contributing editor said, on December 15, 2016 at 10:09 AM

    “According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: There is no man who does not sin”

    What is deceptive about this statement is that it ostensibly makes “sin” a function of man’s depravity. So what they are really saying is that eveyone “sins” because they are “depraved”. But this is nothing more than a false premise regarding man existentially. “Sin” is an entity that seeks to control by using the law to entice man. Man is not condemned because he “sins” or because he is “depraved”. Man is condemned because he is under law, whether that be his own conscious knowledge of God’s law as revealed in scripture, or the very law written on the heart of every human ever born.

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  2. Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on December 15, 2016 at 10:55 AM

    Right, remove law and you remove sin. But, only the new birth removes sin which necessarily invokes love for God’s word. God’s children fail to love, but failure to love perfectly does not condemn them. Another sign of the new birth is a “willing spirit” though the flesh is weak.

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  3. Susan said, on December 15, 2016 at 11:01 AM

    It is so very subtle and so very deceptive. Truth mixed with untruth. Isn’t that the gig from the Garden of Eden itself? “The good folks”, meaning the laity, fill in what is not said (i.e., what is left unstated) by the clergy with assumptions that make it appear to be “more in keeping with what the Bible says.” Alternatively, their eyes glaze over with an utter lack of comprehension at what is, in truth, double-speak. But ain’t it grand — we have such profound words from a well-respected church, pastor and teacher of the gospel. Ain’t it grand!

    I am so very glad that I have come out from among them. God has been most merciful. I have come to the conclusion that Protestantism, itself, is riddled with and rotted to the very core with false teaching/ heresy. Thank you for what you do on this website. I am not alone in my assessment/ understandings. Thank you.

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  4. John said, on December 15, 2016 at 1:19 PM

    You guys have said it all so eloquently, but allow me one thing: MacArthur is one of the most dangerous wolves (in my opinion) who has ever lied, deceived, bamboozled, led astray, excluded true seekers of the Lord, while at the same time raking it in in the name that’s above all names. No, not that of Calvin (peace be upon him), but in the name of Jesus (the Prince of Peace).

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  5. Susan said, on December 20, 2016 at 7:02 PM

    Oh my goodness, John. That is advice that will get a woman and her children killed. Is it only a problem if the woman ends up in the ICU fighting for her life or if the woman and her kids are killed in a murderous/ drunken rage? It isn’t just a matter of “wrong doctrine” on theological topics. This is life or death. And these aren’t “isolated” cases. What in the world is wrong with these pastors? Do they learn nothing in seminary or in life?

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    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on December 20, 2016 at 9:47 PM

      No. They are isolated from real life…that’s for sure. I complained about that for 30 years while I was in the institutional church.

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  6. Susan said, on December 21, 2016 at 3:18 PM

    Paul, if you are doing research, you might want to check out http://www.pccmonroe.org/2013/04.26.htm It is a blog by Ralph Ovadal who is pastor at Pilgrims Covenant Church. He calls out John MacArthur and the Master’s College and Seminary and Regeneration Camp (a summer camp for teens). The pictures are worth a thousand words. The article gave me a whole new vantage point with respect to the Grace to You website, John MacArthur’s church and all who are associated with it. I truly believe the Lord is grieved by these things!

    It seems the institution has become the priority over honoring God and caring for the people of God. At one local church, there was a situation where a married man was stalking, menacing, and harassing a single mom and her children. She tried to ignore, minimize and dismiss the behavior in the face of rapid escalation on his part. She thought that if she ignored it, then it would go away. Not! Literally bone chilling, blood run cold terror. The pastor of the church wanted to sweep it all under the rug — surely it was all a misunderstanding between the woman and this man (a fellow parishioner). The chief of police said that situation was going to be the city’s next multiple homicide/ rape scenario — kids included. It was the secular authorities (police and prosecutor) who did the right thing and stopped the behavior in its tracks. Criminal prosecution, mental health exam, no trespass, probation (because he was a first time offender), monitoring, the whole nine yards.

    At another local church, the powers that be thought it was a great idea to hire a convicted sex offender as the youth pastor. They knew his history and they kept it quiet. One of the parents found out and confronted the church leadership. They told her it was all confidential. They couldn’t and wouldn’t give her any details. Trust us. You know, because “forgiven” and because “Christian.” She was told that if she said anything to anyone else at the church, then SHE would be the one gossiping and creating a scandal and being a disruption in the church. She pulled her kids out of the youth program and left that church immediately. Should she have alerted the other parents? If it had been me, I would have distributed the public record of the conviction to any and every parent I knew. Scandal be damned! These men would put all of those beautiful and innocent children at risk and in harms way! Don’t they fear a lawsuit? If it had been me and if I remained quiet, I don’t think I could have lived with myself. I certainly would not want to have to give account about it to the Lord.

    I feel as if I am so very negative about the church — maybe too negative. I I imagine there are some really wonderful churches out there. I find it hard to believe this is what Christ intended the Christian religion to become. As I see it, the various Protestant churches really are collapsing from the inside out. I am done.

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    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on December 21, 2016 at 4:10 PM

      “It seems the institution has become the priority over honoring God and caring for the people of God.” Salvation by institutional church membership has been Protestant orthodoxy from the beginning. As a longtime pastor in the institutional church, I saw it firsthand though evangelicals deny it intellectually. The fellowship of God’s people was NEVER intended to be institutionalized. James Vernon McGee once predicted that God’s people will return to home fellowships and he is right, they will, and it is beginning to happen. For a history on how we got from home fellowships to institutions, go here: http://truthaboutnewcalvinism.weebly.com/vol-2015-issue-4.html and here: http://truthaboutnewcalvinism.weebly.com/vol-2015-issue-5.html

      “Don’t they fear a lawsuit?” NO. The authorities see it as a hot potato and remember county prosecutors are elected.

      “I imagine there are some really wonderful churches out there.” Nope; it’s all a big fat lie. Institutions necessarily require authority, and the combining of authority and faith by definition is a cult. There is no way around this.

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