John F. MacArthur
John Fullerton MacArthur, Jr. (born June 19, 1939) is a United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

 writer and minister
Minister of religion
In Christian churches, a minister is someone who is authorized by a church or religious organization to perform functions such as teaching of beliefs; leading services such as weddings, baptisms or funerals; or otherwise providing spiritual guidance to the community...

 noted for his internationally known and broadcast radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 program titled Grace to You. MacArthur is a popular author and conference speaker and has served as the pastor
The word pastor usually refers to an ordained leader of a Christian congregation. When used as an ecclesiastical styling or title, this role may be abbreviated to "Pr." or often "Ps"....

-teacher of Grace Community Church
Grace Community Church (California)
Grace Community Church is a non-denominational, evangelical megachurch located in Sun Valley, California. John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of the congregation, founded in 1956...

 in Sun Valley, California since February 9th, 1969, and as the president of The Master's College (and the related The Master's Seminary) in Santa Clarita, California
Santa Clarita, California
Santa Clarita is the fourth largest city in Los Angeles County, California, United States and the twenty-fourth largest city in the state of California. The 2010 US Census reported the city's population grew 16.7% from the year 2000 to 176,320 residents. It is located about northwest of downtown...


Theologically, MacArthur is considered a Dispensationalist and Calvinist, and a strong proponent of expository preaching
Expository preaching
Expository preaching is a form of preaching that throws light upon the meaning of a particular text or passage of Scripture. As "throwing light," this term is more general than exegesis, which is used for more technical and grammatical exposition, a careful drawing out of the exact meaning of a...

. He has been acknowledged by Christianity Today
Christianity Today
Christianity Today is an Evangelical Christian periodical based in Carol Stream, Illinois. It is the flagship publication of its parent company Christianity Today International, claiming circulation figures of 140,000 and readership of 290,000...

as one of the most influential preachers of his time, and was a frequent guest on the Larry King Live
Larry King Live
Larry King Live is an American talk show hosted by Larry King on CNN from 1985 to 2010. It was CNN's most watched and longest-running program, with over one million viewers nightly....

 TV talk show as a representative of an evangelical Christian perspective.

MacArthur has authored or edited more than 150 books, most notably the MacArthur Study Bible
MacArthur Study Bible
The MacArthur Study Bible, first issued in 1997 by Word Publishing , is a study Bible edited by evangelical Bible expositor John F. MacArthur with introductions and notes pertaining to verses in all the books of the Bible...

, which has sold more than 1 million copies and received a Gold Medallion Book Award
Gold Medallion Book Award
The Christian Book Award is an annual award given by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association to honor Christian content in several categories, including Bibles, Fiction, Children, Inspiration, Bible Reference, and Non-Fiction. Winners are announced each year at the industry's Executive...

. Other best-selling books include his MacArthur New Testament Commentary Series (more than 1 million copies), Twelve Ordinary Men, (more than 500,000 copies), and the children's book A Faith to Grow On, which garnered an ECPA Christian Book Award.


The son of Jack MacArthur (an accomplished preacher
Preacher is a term for someone who preaches sermons or gives homilies. A preacher is distinct from a theologian by focusing on the communication rather than the development of doctrine. Others see preaching and theology as being intertwined...

 in his own right), and fifth cousin of U.S. General Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

, John MacArthur attended Bob Jones University
Bob Jones University
Bob Jones University is a private, for-profit, non-denominational Protestant university in Greenville, South Carolina.The university was founded in 1927 by Bob Jones, Sr. , an evangelist and contemporary of Billy Sunday...

 before transferring to Los Angeles Pacific College (now Azusa Pacific University
Azusa Pacific University
Azusa Pacific University is a private, inter-denominational, evangelical Christian university located near Los Angeles in suburban Azusa, California. It was founded in 1899, with classes opening on March 3, 1900 in Whittier, California. It began offering degrees in 1939...

). He later obtained his Masters of Divinity from Biola University
Biola University
Biola University is a private, evangelical Christian, liberal arts university located near Los Angeles. Biola's main campus is in La Mirada in Los Angeles County, California. In addition, the university has several satellite campuses in Chino Hills, Inglewood, San Diego, and Laguna Hills.-...

's Talbot Theological Seminary, in La Mirada, California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. He graduated with honors. From 1964 to 1966, he served as an associate pastor at Calvary Bible Church, in Burbank, California and, from 1966 to 1969, as a faculty representative for Talbot Theological Seminary. Then, in 1969, he became the third pastor in the then-short history of the nondenominational Grace Community Church of Sun Valley, California
Grace Community Church (California)
Grace Community Church is a non-denominational, evangelical megachurch located in Sun Valley, California. John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of the congregation, founded in 1956...


His daily radio program, Grace to You, which is now broadcast throughout much of the world, began as an audio recording ministry to provide cassettes of his sermons to church members who were unable to attend. They were first broadcast in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1977.

In 1985, MacArthur became the president of The Master's College (formerly Los Angeles Baptist College), an accredited, four-year, liberal arts
Liberal arts
The term liberal arts refers to those subjects which in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free citizen to study. Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic were the core liberal arts. In medieval times these subjects were extended to include mathematics, geometry, music and astronomy...

A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

A college is an educational institution or a constituent part of an educational institution. Usage varies in English-speaking nations...

; and, in 1986, he founded The Master's Seminary. MacArthur also received an honorary doctorate
Doctor of Divinity
Doctor of Divinity is an advanced academic degree in divinity. Historically, it identified one who had been licensed by a university to teach Christian theology or related religious subjects....

 from Talbot Theological Seminary
Talbot School of Theology
Talbot School of Theology is a non-denominational, conservative evangelical Christian theological seminary located near Los Angeles. Talbot is one of the seven schools that comprise Biola University, located in La Mirada, California.-History:...

 and an honorary doctorate
Doctor of Letters
Doctor of Letters is a university academic degree, often a higher doctorate which is frequently awarded as an honorary degree in recognition of outstanding scholarship or other merits.-Commonwealth:...

 from Grace Graduate School.

Nearly 43 years after beginning in the pulpit of Grace Community, MacArthur completed his own life goal of preaching through the entire New Testament on June 5th, 2011, at the end of his projected target window, stated the previous January, to finish "some time in the summer." During the same interview, MacArthur projected he would complete his commentary series within another five years, some 35 years after beginning.

Biblical Fundamentalism

Upon his appointment as president of The Master's College in 1985, the Los Angeles Times noted that "MacArthur has been among the leading fundamentalist ministers insistent on the preaching and teaching of an 'inerrant
Biblical inerrancy
Biblical inerrancy is the doctrinal position that the Bible is accurate and totally free of error, that "Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact." Some equate inerrancy with infallibility; others do not.Conservative Christians generally believe that...

' Bible, devoid of mistakes or untrue statements, within conservative Protestant circles."


MacArthur advocates Young Earth Creationism
Young Earth creationism
Young Earth creationism is the religious belief that Heavens, Earth, and all life on Earth were created by direct acts of the Abrahamic God during a relatively short period, sometime between 5,700 and 10,000 years ago...

 in his book, The Battle For the Beginning (2001), and in his sermons. Speaking about evolution, he writes that Christians "ought to expose such lies for what they are and oppose them vigorously."


MacArthur describes himself as a "leaky dispensationalist." While he holds to a premillennial
Premillennialism in Christian end-times theology is the belief that Jesus will literally and physically be on the earth for his millennial reign, at his second coming. The doctrine is called premillennialism because it holds that Jesus’ physical return to earth will occur prior to the inauguration...

 and pre-tribulational rapture
The rapture is a reference to the "being caught up" referred to in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, when the "dead in Christ" and "we who are alive and remain" will be caught up in the clouds to meet "the Lord"....

 of the church and fulfillment of all the covenant promises made to the Jews at the end of the tribulation, he rejects some of the classic dispensational ideas, such as the Law having no application to the church. Dispensationalism has been a frequent source of controversy; critics claim that MacArthur's deviation from Reformed eschatology has led to an inconsistent Calvinism or self-contradiction suggesting two people groups of God, two roads to salvation, and the so-called, "Great parenthesis."


MacArthur is a key person in the debate over "Lordship salvation
Lordship salvation
The "lordship salvation" controversy is a theological dispute regarding key soteriological questions within Protestantism, involving some non-denominational and Evangelical churches in North America since the 1980's...

" in the 1980s, arguing against, "Free Grace theology
Free Grace theology
Free Grace theology is a soteriological view within Protestantism teaching that everyone receives eternal life the moment they believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. "Lord" refers to the belief that Jesus is the Son of God and therefore able to be their "Savior"...

." He states, "you must receive Jesus Christ for who He is, both Lord and Savior, to be truly saved (II Peter 2:20)." Regarding eternal security, he states, "It should never be presented merely as a matter of being once saved, always saved--with no regard for what you believe or do. The writer of Hebrews 12:14 states frankly that only those who continue living holy lives will enter the Lord's presence." MacArthur's views raised controversy within American, conservative evangelicalism and were challenged in print by non-lordship dispensationalist theologians, Charles Ryrie and Zane C. Hodges
Zane C. Hodges
Zane Clark Hodges was an American pastor, seminary professor, and Bible scholar. He was reared in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and came to Dallas, Texas in 1954 after receiving a bachelor's degree from Wheaton College. He received master of theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1958...

, who argued that MacArthur was teaching a form of works-based salvation.

In December 1989, the Bible Broadcasting Network
Bible Broadcasting Network
The Bible Broadcasting Network is a listener-supported global Christian radio network staffed and headquartered in Charlotte, NC. The programming consists of 50% outside ministries, 30% music and 20% BBN produced programs...

 terminated MacArthur's "Grace to You" program. In explaining that step, BBN president Lowell Davey referred to MacArthur's teachings on the blood of Christ, "Lordship Salvation," and, "Hyper-Calvinism
Hyper-Calvinism is a pejorative term referring to a denial of the free offer of the gospel and duty-faith. The term "Hyper-Calvinism" is used in the writings of Iain Murray, Curt Daniel, Peter Toon and others who seek to defend the free offer of the gospel as well as duty faith.The controversy over...

." Davey called these teachings "confusing." In a letter dated January 15, 1990, Davey cited a, "....drift by Dr. MacArthur to a theological position that we could not adhere to," and said that MacArthur's sermon series on the theology of election "....convinced us that the direction of 'Grace to You' was toward Hyper-Calvinism...." MacArthur preaches "Salvation" by election of God's sovereignty. However, the term "Hyper-Calvinism" is used by some to denote 5-point Calvinism or even any strong defense of Calvinism, rather than the historical "Hyper-Calvinism" position that only the "Elect
Predestination, in theology is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God. John Calvin interpreted biblical predestination to mean that God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others...

" may be offered the Gospel. This position does not seem to accurately reflect MacArthur's position in his sermons. The controversy concerning the efficacy of the Christ's blood stems from MacArthur's statement that it is not the literal liquid blood of Christ that saves, but his sacrificial death on the Cross
The Cross
The Cross were a side project of Queen's Roger Taylor that existed from 1987 to 1993 and released three albums. Although the drummer in Queen, Taylor fronted The Cross as rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist. On its debut release, the classic rock band incorporated dance influences which they...

, a view that he espoused in an article titled, "Not His Bleeding, but His Dying," published in the May 1976 issue of the Grace to You family paper that is distributed to his church. MacArthur himself, though, later clarified what was stated of him in the article, noting his position concerning Christ's blood and death in atonement, mentioning that the efficacy of Christ's blood is not some particular physical property of the blood itself, but the fact that He shed blood in dying, and his affirmation that Christ's blood in death was necessary to satisfy God's holy requirement for atonement.


In 1983, MacArthur first published his belief in the doctrine of "incarnational sonship
Incarnation (Christianity)
The Incarnation in traditional Christianity is the belief that Jesus Christ the second person of the Trinity, also known as God the Son or the Logos , "became flesh" by being conceived in the womb of a woman, the Virgin Mary, also known as the Theotokos .The Incarnation is a fundamental theological...

." In 1989, after some criticism, he defended his views in a plenary session of the annual convention of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America
Independent Fundamental Churches of America
The Independent Fundamental Churches of America was founded in Cicero, Illinois in 1930. The name was officially changed to IFCA International in 1996. It is an association of nearly 1000 independent Protestant churches located largely in the United States and up to three times that number of...

. Subsequently, MacArthur has written that he has reversed this position and no longer regards Christ's sonship as a role he assumed in his incarnation.

Spiritual gifts

MacArthur is a cessationist, arguing that Charismatic
Charismatic movement
The term charismatic movement is used in varying senses to describe 20th century developments in various Christian denominations. It describes an ongoing international, cross-denominational/non-denominational Christian movement in which individual, historically mainstream congregations adopt...

 and Pentecostal
Pentecostalism is a diverse and complex movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism in the Holy Spirit, has an eschatological focus, and is an experiential religion. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek...

 theology and their practice regarding the "gifts of the Spirit" (healing
Physiological healing is the restoration of damaged living tissue, organs and biological system to normal function. It is the process by which the cells in the body regenerate and repair to reduce the size of a damaged or necrotic area....

, miracle
A miracle often denotes an event attributed to divine intervention. Alternatively, it may be an event attributed to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Others suggest that a god may work with the laws...

s, Speaking in Tongues, etc.) are not for these times. Rich Nathan
Rich Nathan
Rich Nathan has been the senior Pastor of the Vineyard Church of Columbus since 1987. Nathan came to believe in Jesus at the age of 18. Prior to pastoring, he was an assistant professor of business law at The Ohio State University for five years. He has a Bachelor's degrees in history and...

, pastor of Vineyard Church of Columbus published "A Response to Charismatic Chaos" in 1993.


He is also an advocate of Nouthetic Counseling
Nouthetic Counseling
Biblical counseling Biblical counseling Biblical counseling (also known as nouthetic counseling from the Greek word noutheteo ("to admonish or warn.") is a form of Christian counseling that aims to use devotional instructions in the Bible to treat psychological problems. It treats psychological...

, which stresses the Bible as a sufficient tool for counseling people with mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. MacArthur rejects psychological theories and techniques, considering psychology and psychiatry
Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders. These mental disorders include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities...

 as contrary to the Bible. In Our Sufficiency in Christ: Three deadly influences that undermine your spiritual life MacArthur criticises "so-called Christian psychologists and psychiatrists who testified that the Bible alone does not contain sufficient help to meet people's deepest personal and emotional needs," and he claims "Such a thing as a 'psychological problem' unrelated to spiritual or physical causes is nonexistent." Concerning people who consult secular mental health professionals, MacArthur opines "Scripture hasn't failed them—they've failed Scripture."

MacArthur has argued that "True psychology (i.e. "the study of the soul") can be done only by Christians, since only Christians have the resources for understanding and transforming the soul. The secular discipline of psychology is based on godless assumptions and evolutionary foundations and is capable of dealing with people only superficially and only on the temporal level... Psychology is no more a science than the atheistic evolutionary theory upon which it is based. Like theistic evolution, Christian psychology is an attempt to harmonize two inherently contradictory systems of thought. Modern psychology and the Bible cannot be blended without serious compromise to or utter abandonment of the principle of Scripture's sufficiency.... "

His stance has caused several controversies, the most notable of which was the first time an employee of an evangelical church had ever been sued for malpractice.

Other Christian movements and other religions

His writings are critical of other modern Christian movements such as those who run "seeker-friendly" church services such as Robert Schuller, Bill Hybels
Bill Hybels
William Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, one of the most attended churches in North America, with an average attendance of nearly 24,000 as of 2011...

, and Rick Warren
Rick Warren
Richard Duane "Rick" Warren is an American evangelical Christian minister and author. He is the founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church, an evangelical megachurch located in Lake Forest, California, currently the eighth-largest church in the United States...


Taking a strong stand against popular mega-church pastor Joel Osteen
Joel Osteen
Joel Scott Osteen is an American author, televangelist, and the senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. His ministry reaches over seven million broadcast media viewers weekly in over 100 nations around the world.-Biography:...

, Pastor MacArthur has spoken of him as a quasi-pantheist
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

 and proclaimed his teachings to be Satanic.

He has also taught that Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 is "a Satanic religious system that wants to engulf the earth."

He also has stated that Billy Graham
Billy Graham
William Franklin "Billy" Graham, Jr. is an American evangelical Christian evangelist. As of April 25, 2010, when he met with Barack Obama, Graham has spent personal time with twelve United States Presidents dating back to Harry S. Truman, and is number seven on Gallup's list of admired people for...

 is a false teacher who believes in the catholic teaching.

He has also stated that the "theology of Islam is false," and that Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

 is the "wrong god." Although he is a proponent of Christian abstinence from alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

, he does not teach it is necessarily sinful. (See Christianity and alcohol.)

Selected publications

  • Gospel According to Jesus (1989) ISBN 0310286514
  • Charismatic Chaos‎ (1993) ISBN 0310575729
  • Our Sufficiency in Christ (‎1998) ISBN 1581340133
  • Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World‎ (2001) ISBN 1581342888
  • Think Biblically!: Recovering a Christian Worldview (2003) ISBN 1581344120
  • Fool's Gold?: Discerning Truth in an Age of Error‎ (2005) ISBN 158134726X
  • Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible, and What He Wants to Do with You (2008) ISBN 1400280281
  • The Jesus You Can't Ignore: What You Must Learn from the Bold Confrontations of Christ (2009) ISBN 140020206X

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.