DR. MACARTHUR AND THE BLOOD OF GOD

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
 

A sermon preached on Saturday Evening, July 23, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28).


Dr. John MacArthur made the following statement concerning this verse:

Paul believed so strongly in the unity of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ that he could speak of Christ's death as shedding the blood of God - who has no body and hence no blood (The MacArthur Study Bible, note on Acts 20:28).

This line of reasoning can open the door to serious error concerning the Trinity and the incarnation. It can lead a person to say, "Deity has no blood." Dr. MacArthur's statement that "Godůhas no body and hence no blood" calls into question whether the Apostle Paul was right or not in Acts 20:28. Is Dr. MacArthur saying that the Apostle Paul was wrong to believe "so strongly in the unity of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ"? When he says that "Godůhas no body and hence no blood" he seems to question Paul's belief in the deity of Christ. I for one think it is MacArthur who is wrong, not the Apostle Paul! MacArthur's statement can lead to a very serious error, known as Nestorianism, which arose in the fifth century.

[Nestorius] denied the real union of the divine and human natures in Christ, affirming or implying a twofold personality in Christůso the union of the two natures was somewhat analogous to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This endangered the true deity of Christů (H. C. Thiessen, Ph.D., Introductory Lectures on Systematic Theology, Eerdmans, 1949, p. 285).

Nestorianism was condemned in the Synod of Ephesus in AD 431. Augustus Strong gives the orthodox view, held by mainstream Christians since the fifth century. Strong says,

The orthodox doctrine (promulgated at Chalcedon, 451) holds that in the one person Jesus Christ there are two natures, a human nature and a divine nature, each in its completeness and integrity, and that these two natures are organically and indissolubly united, yet so that no third nature is formed thereby. In brief, to use the antiquated dictum, orthodox doctrine forbids us either to divide the person or to confound the natures (Augustus H. Strong, D.D., Systematic Theology, Judson Press, 1985 reprint, p. 673).

Protestants and Baptists (like Strong) have always held this to be the Biblical position, agreeing with Chalcedon rather than the Nestorian heresy.
 

To put it simply, Jesus was fully God and fully man in the hypostatical union, and we must not "divide the person." MacArthur's statement can lead to a denial of this historical Bible doctrine.
 

We do not have time to go into all the Scriptures which teach that Jesus is God, the Second Person of the Trinity, but let us look at one verse. Please stand and turn to Colossians 2:9. Let us read it aloud.

"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily"
    (Colossians 2:9).

You may be seated.
 

That makes it clear that Jesus is fully God, the Second Person of the Trinity. To say, as Dr. MacArthur said, "Godůhas no body and hence no blood" is to "divide the person." This can open the door to the ancient heresy of Nestorianism.
 

We must stand firmly by what the Apostle Paul said,

"Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28).

Our forefathers fought for the deity of Christ in the fundamentalist/modernist controversy of the early twentieth century. Let us not give up their faith in the full deity of Jesus Christ!

"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily"
    (Colossians 2:9).

Dr. John R. Rice was a well-trained and intelligent man. He attended Decatur Baptist College, Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Seminary and the University of Chicago. He was the author of more than two hundred books. Dr. Rice said,

Yes, Jesus is God! I believe the honest, inquiring heart will find abundant evidence of that factůOne who is wrong in the Bible doctrine of Christ, including His deity, His atoning blood - such a one "hath not God." He is not saved, is not a Christian, is not going to Heavenů Believers accept the authority of the Bible, the deity of Jesus Christ, and the gospel of salvation through His blood. Unbelievers do not believe in the deity of Christ (John R. Rice, D.D., Litt.D., Is Jesus God?, Sword of the Lord, 1948, pp. 7, 32, 169).

"The church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28).

Unlike Dr. MacArthur, Dr. John Gill, the classical Reformed Baptist commentator, gave the correct meaning of the verse when he said,

Which being the blood not only of a pure and innocent man, but of one that is truly and properly God as well as man, was a sufficient ransom-price to redeem the church and people of God from sin, the law, its curse and condemnation; so that this is no inconsiderable proof of the true and proper deity of Christů Christ being God, was able to make such a purchase, and he has actually made it (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the New Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume II, p. 341).

Dr. Gill was right. The Blood of Jesus is the Blood of God!

"The church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28).

Dr. MacArthur himself, in another place in The MacArthur Study Bible, teaches correctly that Jesus is God, the Second Person of the Trinity. He says, "In the incarnation (God becoming man) Christ surrendered only the prerogatives of deity but nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or kind. In His incarnation [Christ] became the God-man" (The MacArthur Study Bible, p. 2192). Which is it? Is it "God - who has no body and hence no blood"? Or is it "the God-man"? It can't be both. Which one does Dr. MacArthur believe? These two notes in his study Bible show that Dr. MacArthur's theology is very fuzzy on this subject.  Is it the Blood of the Man who was God? Or is it just the blood of a man?  Does God have no blood, as Dr. MacArthur said in his note on Acts 20:28 - or is Jesus Christ God, who indeed had Blood?  Dr. MacArthur's back and forth position on this subject shows, at the very least, that his theology is extremely immature.  Thousands of people have been confused by these notes in his study Bible and elsewhere in his writings.  In the note on Acts 20:28 he gives the heresy of Nestorianism.  But in his theological statement at the end of his study Bible, he gives the correct doctrine of Chalcedon.  Is he a heretic, or is he orthodox?  You can't tell for sure by looking at his notes.  In a day of declension in Bible doctrine, this should not be left in a fuzzy state by Dr. MacArthur.  He should either take a Nestorian stand, and defend it, or a Chalcedonian stand, and defend it.  Taking both stands will only confuse those who study his notes.
 

But the Bible itself is very clear.  The Blood that Christ gave was "his own blood", the Blood of God incarnate! No other blood could cleanse you from sin! "Emmanuel" means "God with us." That is the name of Christ, given in Isaiah 7:14. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. Notice how that great old hymn says that Blood was "drawn from Emmanuel's veins," Blood drawn from the veins of Emmanuel - God with us! Stand and sing the first verse of "There Is a Fountain" from memory.

There is a fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Emmanuel's veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains;
Lose all their guilty stains, Lose all their guilty stains,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains.
   ("There Is a Fountain" by William Cowper, 1731-1800).

"Emmanuel" means "God with us." It speaks of Jesus, the Second Person of the Godhead. It is Emmanuel's Blood, the Blood of God with us, alone that can cleanse you from sin and "purchase" you from condemnation and Hell, for all time and for all eternity! Come to Christ! Be washed clean from sin by the Blood of God the Son, fully man and fully God! No other blood can cleanse you!

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

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