MacArthur Makes it Hard for Children to Be Saved
By David J. Stewart | January 2008 | Updated May 2018
"There is no such thing as a childhood conversion." —Dr. John MacArthur (see below)
Mark 10:13-14, “And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”
Jesus was MUCH DISPLEASED when His disciples forbade children to come unto Him. The Bible teaches that young children can be saved. Whereas the Bible says that adults must become as little children to enter into the Kingdom of God, Dr. John MacArthur says that little children must become adults. MacArthur’s views on child salvation are directly related to his false understanding of Lordship Salvation.
On September 25, 1990 at the Calvary Baptist Church in Brewer, Maine (Pastor Larry Pawson), Dr. MacArthur was involved in a question and answer session which was publicly taped. During that session he said the following about child salvation:"Now let me say this and I don’t want you to panic when I say it. Saving faith is an ADULT ISSUE. Saving faith is an ADULT EXPERIENCE. Salvation is an ADULT EXPERIENCE. Am I saying that a child cannot be saved? I’m saying that salvation is a conscious turning from sin to follow Jesus Christ with an understanding of something of the sinfulness of sin, its consequences and something of who Jesus Christ is, what He has provided and that I’m committing my life to Him. At what point can a child understand that?... I tell parents that salvation is an adult decision... There is no illustration in Scripture of childhood salvation. There is none. People want to throw the Philippian jailer and his household; well that’s talking about his servants so there is no reference there about his children. So there is no such thing as a childhood conversion."
MacArthur is saying that if a child is to be saved he must understand as an adult, make an adult decision and have an adult experience. The Lord Jesus taught that to be saved adults must become as little children (Matthew 18:3); MacArthur teaches that to be saved children must become as adults.
How does this relate to His teaching on Lordship? If salvation is by simple childlike faith in the Savior, then child salvation is no problem. On the other hand, if salvation involves obedience to Christ’s commands, surrendering to Christ’s Lordship, fulfilling the demands of discipleship, commitment of one’s life to the Saviour, et cetera, then salvation has become a very involved and complicated thing that would not at all be simple for a child to do.
If we complicate the Gospel with all kinds of Lordship requirements, then we have indeed made it very, very, difficult for children (and for adults)! If we proclaim the Gospel message that salvation is simply BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH (based upon the Person and work of Christ on the cross, and not based upon sinful man’s fragile commitment), then this is a message that can be gladly received by people of all ages. Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith.
In an Article by John MacArthur titled "Age of Accountability," he states:
"With this in mind, I believe that it is absolutely essential, all along the way with children, that every time they desire to make a commitment to Jesus Christ, at whatever age, you (as someone giving spiritual oversight to them) encourage them to do that."
SOURCE: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/4836 (Grace To You)
Here again we see Mr. MacArthur's heresy of Lordship Salvation, teaching that a child cannot be saved unless they are old enough to understand what it means to make a commitment to Christ. MacArthur goes 100% contrary to the Word of God. Jesus said in Matthew 18:3, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”
Concerning Timothy, the Apostle Paul states in 2nd Timothy 3:15, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Timothy had known the Word of God since childhood. A small child who understands that he has sinned against God, and BELIEVES that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for his sins and is risen, is saved! Salvation has nothing to do with making a commitment or persevering in a holy life.
Again, If we complicate the Gospel with all kinds of
Lordship requirements, then we have indeed made it very, very, difficult for
children (and for adults)! Salvation does not require human effort. God does
the saving... ALL OF IT!
MacArthur Corrupts the True Meaning of Matthew 19:16-22
Matthew 19:16-22, “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”
In this passage, we read about a rich young man who asked Jesus how to have eternal life? When the young man bragged about keeping all of God's Law (which shows that he was self-righteousness), Jesus pointed out that he was covetous (which is a violation of the 10th Commandment in Exodus 20:17). Jesus used the Law the way it was intended to be used, i.e., to show us our sinfulness and need for a Savior. Romans 3:19, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” Jesus simply pointed out to that young man that he was not righteous in God's eyes.
To understand the issue of Lordship Salvation, realize that THEY ARE ALL CALVINISTS!!! John Calvin (1509-1564) taught a heresy called the PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS, which taught that if a person is truly saved they will continue in holy living, surrendering their life to Christ, and departing from sin and the world; thus, this becomes a REQUIREMENT to be saved in Calvinism. This is EXACTLY what Lordship Salvation teaches today (it is Calvinism). It is a false gospel.
Respectfully, John MacArthur, Billy Graham, Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort all pervert this passage to mean that Jesus was giving a plan of salvation. Jesus WASN'T giving this young man a plan of salvation; but rather, the Lord was simply showing him that his self-righteousness was flawed and unacceptable to God. Since the young man was trying to keep the Ten Commandments to merit eternal life, Jesus pointed out to him that he had missed the command prohibiting covetousness.
I used to wonder why Jesus didn't just come right out and tell him, “Hey, just believe on me and forget trying to earn Heaven.” I once had a staunch Roman Catholic neighbour, whom I witnessed to at least three dozen times over 5-years. He absolutely would not let go of the Catholic idea that he needed to love others, do good and be a good person to merit Heaven. My words continually fell on deaf ears, because he was hellbent on works-salvation as taught by his satanic Catholic priest. Jesus said in Mark 7:9, “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”
Now I understand why Jesus told the rich young ruler what he did. You see, a man is not ready to be saved until he figures out on his own that he cannot save himself. You can explain the plain words of the Gospel to someone all day long, but they still won't get saved. This my friend is why repentance is necessary. Biblical repentance is a change of mind—a change of mind about what you think you must do to get to Heaven, to what God says you must do to get to Heaven. My former Catholic neighbour has never repented of his dead works. Likewise, the rich young ruler needed to repent of his sin of dead works (Hebrews 6:1). Ray Comfort is correct that the law of God is necessary for salvation to happen, because no one ever got saved who didn't know that he is a sinner. Sadly, Mr. Comfort effectively teaches that keeping the law is necessary to be saved.
The Apostle Paul taught the same truth in Romans 2:13, because the Jews thought they could be saved by keeping the Law. No one can be saved by keeping the Law (Romans 3:20). We need Christ's righteousness, which MacArthur doesn't teach (Matthew 6:33; Romans 4:5-6; Romans 10:3-4; 2nd Corinthians 5:21).
The rich young man in the Bible was covetous. According to MacArthur, that young man would have been saved if he'd denied himself, let go of his pride, pushed aside his selfish ambitions, given up his covetousness and given his life to Christ. John MacArthur is teaching lies of the Devil. Billy Graham teaches that the rich young man counted the cost, but wasn't willing to pay the price to be saved. That's a false plan of salvation. Christ paid the price of our sins, which was His precious blood (1st Peter 1:18-19).
At 4:31 in the preceding video, Dr. MacArthur states concerning the young rich man:
“He is a classic illustration of someone who will not deny himself. He wanted to hold onto his own will. He wanted to hold onto his own pride. He wanted to hold onto his own money. He wanted to hold onto his own ambition, his own sovereignty if you will, in his own life. The competing issues are these, very simple...
The Gospel says, 'give your life to Christ and He rules' and if you're not willing to do that it's because you want to keep the rule of your own life. The rich young man wanted his own life for himself. He wanted to control his own life. He had his choice: sins, he had his choice, religion, and he wanted to hang onto control. It's that simple. Coming to Christ means you give up the control of your life, and you yield it to Christ. That's what kept him from salvation, he was unwilling to do that.”
Ladies and gentlemen, that is Catholic theology and damnable heresy!!! MacArthur said: “Coming to Christ means you give up the control of your life, and you yield it to Christ. That's what kept him from salvation, he was unwilling to do that.” The reason why the rich young man didn't get saved was NOT because he refused to yield to Christ, nor because he was unwilling to give up control of his life; the reason why he didn't get saved is because he was self-righteousness.
Notice what the self-righteous young man asked Jesus in Matthew 19:16...
“...Good Master, what good thing SHALL I DO, that I may have eternal life?”
The young man didn't ask how he could get to Heaven. No, rather, he asked what THING I NEED TO DO. Jesus knew the young man's heart. The young man was self-righteousness. Jesus used the Law to show the young man his wickedness. There was nothing he could do in his own self-righteousness to have eternal life. He needed Jesus as his Savior. Romans 3:19 and Galatians 3:24 plainly teach that the Law's purpose is only to show us our guilt of sin and need for a Savior.
John MacArthur requires people to fulfil the Law as a prerequisite to faith in Christ, which is the heresy of works salvation. That is exactly what Kirk Cameron, Ray Comfort, Billy Graham and John MacArthur are teaching. It's utter heresy!
They all teach that the rich young man should have forsaken his covetousness to be saved.
In sharp contrast, Romans 4:5-6 proclaims, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.”
Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort are going to be damned because they are following the false gospel of John MacArthur. The Bible plainly teaches that false prophets would go through pains to avoid being detected. Satan is subtle. 2nd Peter 2:1, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who PRIVILY shall bring in damnable heresies...”The word “privily” here means “taking pains to avoid being observed; to lead aside.” This is the nature of false prophets. They are used by Satan to mislead people, going through pains to avoid being detected.
Carefully notice that the false prophets in Matthew 7:21-23 were SINCERE; but they were sincerely WRONG. Proverb 16:25, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Lordship Salvationists all pervert the Gospel message, requiring sinners to stop living in their sins to be saved. Moody Bible Institute and many other theological schools have been caught up into MacArthur's doctrines of devils...
1st Timothy 4:1, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;1Tm:4:1: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and DOCTRINES OF DEVILS.”
Lordship Salvation is a backdoor approach to Works Salvation. Instead of requiring people to do good works to be saved as the Catholic Church does, Lordship Salvationists require people to stop living in sin to be saved. The result is the same—self righteousness. The perverted doctrine of Lordship Salvation is the primary ecumenical bridge now being used to merge Catholics with apostate Evangelicals.
The Confusing World of Dr. John MacArthur
“Now you say,
'Brother Hyles, you make an issue.' You dead sure better know I'll make an
—BATTLE OF THE AGES (MP3, Dr. Jack Hyles, “The King James Bible crowd is going to come out on top!”)
There Is Only One Mediator For Man (by Pastor Bob Gray Sr.)
The Five Dangers Of Calvinism | MP3 (Pastor Ralph “Yankee” Arnold)
Souls Are Dying!
Precious Christian Testimonies
How Permanent Is Your Salvation?
(an excellent MP3 sermon by Pastor Hank Lindstrom, 1940-2008)
of the child of God is that he loves everybody!”
(a quote from Pastor Jack Hyles' classic MP3 sermon, “FORGIVENESS”)
Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness!