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Grace to You, Phil Johnson’s rebuttal


Phil Johnson’s new article October 30th, 2013 (defending MacArthur speaking on the Mark of the Beast) speaks for itself.                                                   

Or does it? You determine…

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I guess we all have to determine if you believe you can take the mark willingly, worship the beast, and still be forgiven.

Yes…I know people can make mistakes, and usually when one does, as a teacher, they keep short accounts hopefully, and right the wrong.

But really, this is the least of MacArthur’s doctrinal errors, please see John MacArthur’s explanation of the only way to be saved here >>>>>

If you think you can repent unto salvation, no need to read further, then you and Phil and John MacArthur agree.

SEE HERE WHAT JOHN MACARTHUR SAYS YOU MUST DO TO BE SAVED.

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Phil calls this “intense controversy” and those who brought out what they believe to be a faulty teaching into the open? Gossip-mongers, melodramatic”, “provocative”, etc.  Phil says they were “angry people”…“demanding explanations”“demanding retractions”“consuming bandwidth”“wasting ink” (not exact wording or order.) 

My observation: What I actually seemed to see in great unanimity was your fan base coming out to vigorously defend you.  Many attacked others for “jumping to conclusions”.  They cited the age of the Q & A being from the 80’s and you had “since corrected it”.   I read your follow up Q & A from 1993 was equally ambiguous to me (but I’m no scholar I’ve been told).  :)

By the way, I’d like to ask out of curiosity why no newer explanation on your site regarding that subject in Revelation 16 in the last 20 years?

A search for that Scripture led to just 6 articles all in the same year for Revelation 13.

Meanwhile a search for Revelation 13 (the first mention of the mark), and Revelation 14 (more consequences for those who take the mark of the beast) have articles as recently as 2012 and 13.  Only six articles that come up in the Scripture search?  All in 1994 on this ‘controversial subject’?  (Or maybe this is just a coincidence, who knows?)

Revelation 16 – only the year 1994

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Revelation 13, as new as 2012

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Revelation 14, as new as 2013

Perhaps one person really did say the following, I don’t know, maybe this is not a red herring as it seems, but even so, obviously, the majority of the people desired a plain straightforward answer.

GTY: Phil says one person said, “I saw pastor John on a YouTube video saying the way to be saved in the Tribulation is to take the mark of the Beast.”

Smart.  Give the wildest exaggeration. Mischaracterize your opposition.  Call them names.  Be melodramatic yourself as you tell your story.  Then tell people the point of what he said, and the point of Scripture and conclude with what should be clear in biblical text (assuming one would agree with JMac, otherwise I am assuming we don’t understand clear biblical text) Oh, and then reinforce it with the words, “and I think would be affirmed by all sides”. (So those who don’t agree, must be the minority.  That is one area I agree with you on Phil, there are a ‘few’ of us.)

In my estimation this is what lay people call a “set-up” Phil.  Your M.O.? Either agree with me, or you don’t understand the Bible.  It’s manipulation and not worthy of a man called pastor.

GTY: Phil continues:If someone…imagines he was saying it’s no great sin to receive the mark of the Beast, listen again; that grossly twists what he actually said.”

What??? Who is twisting whose words here?  How does he know someone is imagining MacArthur saying, “it’s no great sin to receive the mark”?   I don’t think that was actually the crux of the problem Phil.  We weren’t classifying how great the sins Phil.  “Just the facts ma’am, just the facts,” as Sgt. Friday used to say.

The issue MOST people had (whether fans of John or not), was simply whether or not John MacArthur was saying you could take the mark of the beast and BECOME saved after repenting (changing their mind) about taking the mark. 

To steal a little of Phil’s jargon…THE SHORT ANSWER IS YES! (according to MacArthur)

John MacArthur says these people who have taken the mark, could still somehow repent (change their mind) and be saved… but “what saith the Scripture”?  (That would be my preference, and I’d suggest to people that they not think of men above that which is written.)

…that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. 1 Cor 4:6b

Anyone can ‘repent’ and ‘change their mind’ about any subject, including doing something good, they can repent and do evil.  Repenting does not get anyone saved, they must believe on Jesus Christ as their Savior.  I do not see the offer on the table for those who have taken the mark.  Nor do I see the offer on the table for demons that believe (famous verse they use from James 2 to accuse believers of not being saved).

After reading your ‘explanation’, it is clear me, you are NOT recanting. ‘Short answer’, is YES, John MacArthur believes you can take the mark, and STILL be saved.

I am providing the link for GTY’s “Unforgivable” blog, so no one might suggest I took this out of context.

http://www.gty.org/blog/B131030

JOHN MACARTHUR (L)                     PHIL JOHNSON (R)

 PJJM

So now the damage control continues since GTY isn’t recanting.. 

Phil Johnson tells us the ‘point’ of this teaching, but I will put one of the last first.  It is the way to ‘cut to the chase’ with MacArthur’s teachings.  Go to the end to see his summation, then start from the beginning to see how he arrived there and brought his audience to the same spot.  The teachers there have a way to herd some sheep into a tighter and tighter circle until they are bleating in agreement:

GTY:  Any sin that is repented of is forgivable.”   

(How do you change your mind about a permanent mark? Does it come off with rubbing alcohol?  Forgive the pun, but how do you?)

GTY: “Though there is a stern warning against taking the mark of the Beast …. the sin is not categorically said to be unpardonable.

GTY:  “..the point John MacArthur was making is about the extremes to which God’s grace will reach in order to seek and save a sinner.

GTY:  The point of the severe language … is to make clear what an utterly reprehensible sin it will be to swear an oath of willful loyalty to Antichrist.”

(Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the ‘point’ was to warn people if they took the mark of the beast, they would be tormented forever and ever…)

There is a BUT…

GTY:  “ Clearly, receiving the mark is a sin that will send those who commit it to hell.  BUT the Bible also says, Do not be deceived… (Phil quotes 1 Cor 6:9-10 on who will not inherit the kingdom). He continues, “In short, all sin carries the threat of eternal doom…”

(It’s just a threat?)

There is a CAVEAT…

GTY:  “On the other hand, only one very specific sin is ever said to be unforgivable. Any sin that is repented of is forgivable.”

You catch that?  So taking the mark is FORGIVABLE in cased anyone missed the three times he basically said it.

There is an improperly divided comparison below: (imho)

GTY:  “After saying, “Whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven,” Jesus famously forgave Peter, who denied Him before men.”

(I could be wrong here but I don’t remember a famous forgiveness and repentance scene.  Was not Peter already clean?)

So the ‘deceived’ will be able to repent? (2 Thess 2:9-12 comes to mind)

…even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

GTY: Speaking of the Pharisees unforgivable sin: “They were not deceived; they knew full well what they were doing. That’s why their sin was unpardonable.”

HERE IT COMES..

GTY: will take the mark of the Beast because they are deceived. 

GTY: Scripture does not say that they are thereby automatically hardened forever against repentance.

GTY:: “That is not the point of the strong warnings”, 

(Phil once again informs us). He finishes with the Bible verse, suggesting they can still ‘call on Him’. (Ps 86:5)

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NOTE:  I see nowhere in Revelation, where you can repent and believe.  I see those who have taken the mark not changing their minds about worshiping devils and idols, (Rev 9) or of their murders, sorceries, fornication, thefts, or blasphemy of His name, and because of their pain, they would not give God the glory (Rev 16).  But they will.  They will all bow on their knees and their tongues will confess Jesus Christ is Lord, before they are cast into that lake of fire.  I see no offer of salvation or deliverance, or eternal life to those who have taken the mark, quite the contrary:

And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.  Rev 14:9-11

Sounds like a promise to me.

Regarding those who were ‘deceived’? (Phil alludes to this word as if because they did not do it ‘willingly’ like the Pharisees, it is different…btw, I thought doctrines of grace didn’t allow for true free will)


And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.  Rev. 19:20-21

Sounds like God delivered on His promise. 

I could be wrong myself (of course), so anyone who knows me, knows I want all people to obey His Word and “prove all things and hold fast to that which is good-1 Thess 5:21 (His Word is truth), and search the Scriptures to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11), don’t just take men’s word for it…

More Articles on John MacArthur:

REVIEW ON MACARTHUR’S BOOK “SLAVE

REBUTTAL TO MACARTHUR ON PREDESTINATION

MACARTHUR’S ‘ONLY ROAD TO HEAVEN’

MACARTHUR’S “HARD TO BELIEVE

MACARTHUR’S DISCIPLESHIP GOSPEL

A SATIRE ON WHETHER YOU ARE A LORDSHIP SALVATIONIST

LORDSHIP’S ‘TURN FROM SIN’ FOR SALVATION