John MacArthur's Deadly Gospel

By David J. Stewart | December 2009 | Updated September 2017

Acts 20:29-30, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”

Dr. John MacArthur is heard all over the radio worldwide and is the longtime pastor of the Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. I heard a really great series on what's wrong with Speaking In Tongues by Dr. MacArthur. He's certainly a gifted speaker and a zealous teacher of what he believes to be the truth. I do admire a man who diligently preaches what he believes to be true, even if he is wrong. I enjoy listening to John MacArthur on most subjects, but cringe when he teaches heresy about salvation and Christ's blood.

I've often heard MacArthur make the true statement, “The Bible is often falling apart of the man who isn't.” Despite many of his accurate and helpful Biblical studies that MacArthur presents, he is spiritually perverse and dangerous concerning salvation and the blood of Christ. If a man gets the first shirt button wrong, then all the other buttons are going to be wrong too. For this principle reason I warn people not to support John MacArthur, nor invite him to preach behind any pulpit in America. I am shocked how many naive and careless pastors welcome MacArthur, because the man clearly teaches the demonic doctrine of Lordship Salvation.

MacArthur also treads underfoot the necessity and efficacy (power) of the literal, physical, precious, blood of Jesus Christ! Literally, MacArthur teaches that Jesus' physical blood soaked into the dirt at Calvary and stayed there, having no significance of itself. That's blasphemy and a deadly teaching, because without the blood applied to the mercy seat in the Old Testament, the sins of the people weren't atoned for. If the blood hadn't been applied to the home's doorpost in Egypt, the firstborn died. Likewise, if Christ's literal, liquid, precious, blood hadn't been sprinkled upon the heavenly Mercy Seat to appease the wrath of Father against man's sin, our sins couldn't have been washed away.

The following video is 100% conclusive proof that John MacArthur, Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort are all false teachers. They are all so subtle, corrupting the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ...

At 4:51 in the video, MacArthur dangerously states:

“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.”

SOURCE: (4:51 in the video)

Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort are devout disciples of John MacArthur. The Apostle Paul warned of such perverted wolves...

Acts 20:29-31, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”

John MacArthur is a dynamic, charming and suave teacher, which has deceived millions of people to foolishly follow him. MacArthur is one of the wolves that the Bible warns us about, who teaches perverse things. The preceding video horribly perverts the meaning of two key passages of Scripture: Matthew 19:16-22 and Matthew 16:23-25.

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.

John MacArthur, Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort all pervert this passage to mean that Jesus was giving a plan of salvation. Jesus WASN'T giving that young man a plan of salvation; but rather, was simply showing him that his self-righteousness was flawed and unacceptable to God. 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.

At 4:31 in the following 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.”

SOURCE: (4:31 in the video)

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 and John MacArthur are teaching...

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.

Contrary to MacArthur's claim, Pastor Charles H. Spurgeon DIDN'T believe nor teach Lordship Salvation.

Matthew 16:23-25

Matthew 16:23-25, “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

Likewise, Kirk Cameron and John MacArthur pervert Matthew 16:23-25. This is one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted Scripture passages in the Bible. Does a person have to deny them self to be saved?

Jesus was speaking to His disciples, not unsaved men. Jesus rebuked Peter in verse 23 for being carnally-minded. It is unscholarly and dangerous to interpret any Scripture without taking into consideration all other Scriptures. The correct way to interpret the Bible is by comparing Scripture-with-Scripture, which is not difficult to do if you study the Bible as 2nd Timothy 2:15 commands. In John 5:39 Jesus said, SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES!

Genesis 15:6; Isaiah 64:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; Romans 10:3-4; Romans 4:5-6; John 3:16 (and hundreds of other Scriptures) all teach that salvation is without works of self-righteousness. We are saved solely by HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS (Matthew 6:33). We are saved by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, because of the precious, literal, blood that He gave to pay our sin debt. Jesus died, was buried and rose again. Jesus appeared in the presence of the Father in Heaven on our behalf, applying His physical blood to the heavenly Mercy Seat (Hebrews 9:12,24).

In view of so many plain statements throughout the Word of God that salvation is solely of the Lord, it is evil for anyone to teach that a sinner must give up anything to be saved. Salvation is receiving, not giving. Eternal life is a free gift (Romans 5:15), freely offered (Romans 10:13) and freely received (Revelation 22:17). There is much corrupting of the Scriptures today. Salvation is without works of self-righteousness.

In 1st Corinthians 3:1, Paul refers to the believers at the church of Corinth as “babes in Christ” and “carnal.” They obviously hadn't denied themselves. They were more than just covetous. They were suing each other (6:6). They were coming to the Lord's Supper drunk (11:21). They were divided amongst each other in quarrels (1:12). Fornication was openly allowed in the church (5:1). They even ate meats offered to idols (8:4). According to the Lordship Salvation crowd, there's no way these rascals could be saved; but the Apostle Paul called them BABES IN CHRIST.

John MacArthur completely ignores 90% of the Bible to teach his heresies. The Bible is filled with examples of believers who sinned, lived in sin and ran from God. It's not just a matter of semantics.

1st Timothy 4:2, “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.”

An Every Word Bible

I am dismayed when I hear professed Christians say that the Bible is not something we should fight over. What? If God is going to judge us for the very words we speak (Matthew 12:36), then don't you think that the Words He speaks are equally important? Yes, of course! Everything that we believe as Christians hinge upon EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDETH OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD (Matthew 4:4). Therefore, I need an every word Bible. God only wrote one Book. There are literally hundreds of English translations, which vary widely in their content, meaning and doctrine. This is why I defend, love and promote only the King James Bible. All other English translations on the market today are corrupt! It does matter, very much, that we have the right message, from a trustworthy Bible.

Praise God for the inspired and trustworthy King James Bible!

There is Only One Gospel

Ray Comfort once kindly wrote to me, attempting to convince me that our doctrinal differences are a mere matter of semantics (i.e., wording the same belief differently). I told him that we do not agree at all on the issue of salvation, because he believes that a person cannot be saved and deliberately continue in sin; but I do believe that, because that is what the Word of God says. Eternal life is the gift of God (Romans 5:15; 6:23), having nothing to do with man's willingness to cease from committing sins (Romans 4:5-6). God makes the changes in a believer's heart.

The difference is much more than mere semantics, it is night and day...

  1. FREE GRACE GIFT - I believe that one's salvation is solely based in Christ's righteousness and has absolutely nothing to do with one's desire to depart from sin. “The Gospel” is defined as three things: Christ died on the cross for our sins; He was buried; And then Jesus resurrected on the third day (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). Romans 4:5-6 plainly teaches that salvation is without works of self-righteousness, and that we are saved by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. Salvation is of the Lord. A changed life is the FRUIT of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and not a part of the ROOT of saving faith. A person gives up their sins because they ARE a Christian, and not to BECOME a Christian, nor to PROVE they are a Christian. The changed life comes AFTER a person is saved, as a person grows in the milk of the Word (1st Peter 2:2). A changed life is NOT a sign of salvation. Unsaved people can also change their life.
  2. LORDSHIP SALVATION - Ray Comfort on the other hand, believes that a person must stop deliberately committing sin to be saved. Mr. Comfort teaches that those who profess faith in Christ, but still continue in sin, are not saved because they have never given up their sins, which he teaches is necessary for salvation. Ray Comfort teaches that a changed life is part of the ROOT of saving faith. According to Mr. Comfort, a person must give up their sins to BECOME a Christian. In this false plan of salvation, a sinner must change their life in order to be saved. That is partial faith in Christ plus human effort for salvation.

Do you see the drastic difference between the two different plans of salvation? The latter is damnable heresy.

Ray Comfort is sincere, unquestionably; but he is doctrinally messed up from following John MacArthur. Biblically, a person who continues in sin may still be saved. We don't know. Unsaved people can reform and clean up their lives of sin. Jesus called the apostle Peter “Satan” in Matthew 16:23, but we know Peter was not the Devil. Peter was thinking like the Devil. That's what 1st John 3:8 means when it says “he that committeth sin is of the Devil.” It doesn't mean you are not saved, it means that you are doing what Satan does when you sin. If a person is still living in sin, they could be immature or backslidden as a believer. It doesn't mean that they are not saved. If a person is truly not saved, it's only because they never genuinely believed on the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:21; John 6:40).

Ray Comfort goes astray in his theology. To teach that giving up one's sins is mandatory for salvation is a false gospel of self-righteousness, which excludes everyone who is not willing to stop living in sin. Jesus said in John 6:37 that He would not turn away anyone who came to Him for salvation, and that includes the vilest sinner who isn't ready to give up his sins yet. All God requires is that a person acknowledge their guilt of sin (Romans 3:19), and believe on the Lord to be forgiven (Acts 10:43; Romans 10:13). Acts 16:30-31, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” That's the way to be saved, i.e., to believe on Jesus as the Christ.

Ray Comfort is an extremely popular evangelist, with his ministries THE WAY OF THE MASTER and LIVING WATERS. Unfortunately, Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron teach the heresy of Lordship Salvation...

“Merely being sorry for your sins, or confessing them to God won't help you. You must turn from sin (repent).”


Heresy! That is self-righteousness! Adding even the slightest work of self-righteousness to the Gospel corrupts it into a false way, a false plan, a road to damnation.

There are hundreds of perversions of the Gospel nowadays. Every believer needs to be a watchman, a pit bull guard dog, that shines the Light of God's Word upon the darkness. That's the only way to expose the darkness, i.e., by shining the Lamp of God's Word upon it. Salvation is simple—we are SINNERS and Jesus is the SAVIOR.

If a person must forsake their sinful habits to be saved, then salvation is extremely complicated. The hypocrisy of Ray Comfort's and John MacArthur's Lordship Salvation heresy is that NO ONE can give up all their sins. 1st John 1:10 says that we are calling God a liar if we say we are without sin. Only Jesus is completely without sin (1st Peter 2:22).

John MacArthur's False Plan of Salvation

Pastor John MacArthur of the Grace Community Church has authored a heretical book titled, “HARD TO BELIEVE” in which he errantly teaches...

"Salvation isn't the result of an intellectual exercise. It comes from a life lived in obedience and service to Christ as revealed in the Scripture; it's the fruit of actions, not intentions. There's no room for passive spectators: words without actions are empty and futile...The life we live, not the words we speak, determines our eternal destiny" (Hard to Believe, p. 93). [emphasis added]

Ladies and gentlemen, what you have just read is works salvation. Now in fairness to Dr. MacArthur, who is a gifted teacher (but bad Bible student), he has attributed the previous quote to a publishing error and has updated the quote. Here is the new updated quote...

Don’t believe anyone who says it’s easy to become a Christian. Salvation for sinners cost God His own Son; it cost God’s Son His life, and it’ll cost you the same thing. Salvation isn’t gained by reciting mere words. Saving faith transforms the heart, and that in turn transforms behavior. Faith’s fruit is seen in actions, not intentions. There’s no room for passive spectators: words without actions are empty and futile. Remember that what John saw in his vision of judgment was a Book of Life, not a book of Words or Book of Intellectual Musings. The life we live, not the words we speak, reveals whether our faith is authentic. [emphasis added]

SOURCE: Dr. John MacArthur, Grace To You, an updated quote from his book 'Hard To Believe', page 93.

At a glance, the preceding quote sounds impressive. It certainly seems proper to authenticate one's profession of faith with a life of good works. It appeals to our sinful human nature to attempt to please God by our own self-righteousness. The true nature of MacArthur's deadly teaching becomes more apparent when you only consider the first two lines of his quote...

“Don’t believe anyone who says it’s easy to become a Christian. Salvation for sinners cost God His own Son; it cost God’s Son His life, and it’ll cost you the same thing...”

Is that Biblical? No, it is not. MacArthur foolishly teaches that it is hard to become a Christian, because he says it will cost you your life of worldliness, sinful bad habits and selfish ambitions to make your faith valid. Clearly he does not believe that faith alone in Christ is enough to be saved. MacArthur deceitful says that mere words won't save, which is true if they are insincere words; however, the thief on the cross was saved immediately when he spoke the words, “Remember me” to Jesus (Luke 23:42). We are saved solely by faith in Christ, which may or may not be expressed by words. Words are not required to be saved. We are saved the moment we believe in our heart that Jesus is the Christ Who died FOR OUR SINS on the cross and rose (1st Corinthians 15:1-4).

The Devil is so subtle. False prophets know that adding works to salvation is blatant heresy, a lie. So what they do is instead say that you're saved by grace through faith, but your faith is not valid unless there are works to make that faith credible (or to authenticate it). This is a backdoor approach to a works-based salvation.


John MacArthur stated in the video: 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 rich young man was self-righteousness, as is John MacArthur and Kirk Cameron. They think that they are saved because they are trying not to commit sin. They are not saved.

Anyone who thinks abstaining from sin is a part of their salvation is not saved. Read what Ray Comfort says about Luke 8:13 and how he totally perverts it's meaning. Read how Ray Comfort completely perverts the meaning of Matthew 7:22-23.

MacArthur, Comfort and Cameron base their heresies on a handful of pet Scriptures which they have utterly corrupted; when they ought to consider the whole Word of God. Romans 4:5-6 expose all of these men as evildoers for teaching a false Gospel of works salvation. These men are woefully ignorant of the Bible and twist it to their own destruction as 2nd Peter 3:16 warns. They need to be exposed, because they are leading millions of naive people into Hell.

The message which these men are teaching is in the same boat as Roman Catholicism—both groups are teaching that faith in Christ is insufficient to save if not accompanied by works. MacArthur is extremely deceitful, because he teaches that salvation is solely by God's grace through faith; while simultaneously also teaching that a person MUST stop living in sin to be saved. It can't be both ways. Salvation is either by grace or works (Romans 11:6). There's NOT two Gospels.

Although it is true that love for sin prevents men from coming to the Lord to be saved; it is only because they WON'T come, not that they CAN'T come. John 5:40, “And ye WILL NOT come to me, that ye might have life.” Jesus didn't say that anyone couldn't come; but rather, that they won't come. John 3:20 tells us that those who do evil hate the Light, neither will they come to the Light, lest their deeds should be reproved. The sin-loving world doesn't want anything to do with Jesus Christ, nor His inspired Word.

This is why 1st John 2:15-17 warns against loving the sinful world. A sinner doesn't have to give up the world to be saved; but their love for the world will cause them to reject the Savior and go to Hell. MacArthur, Comfort and Cameron have it all backwards. They teach that a sinner must give up the sinful world to be saved, based upon their faulty misunderstanding of the Scriptures; but the truth is that Jesus paid it all, and we don't have to give up anything to be saved. There's 2 types of religions in the world: DO and DONE. You either believe that you must DO self-righteous works to get to Heaven; or else you simply believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ, because His work of redemption is DONE.

MacArthur clearly states at 5:00 in his video that the reason why the rich young man didn't get saved was because “he wanted his own life for himself.” MacArthur perverts Matthew 16:25 in an attempt to support his heresy. Tragically, MacArthur totally IGNORES the rest of the Bible. It is a false Gospel. Biblical salvation is solely obtained by believing on Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, to forgive one's sins. Acts 10:43, “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.”

"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." —Jude 1:3

Pastor Charles Spurgeon On Repentance

       Some Bible teachers like John MacArthur and Ray Comfort have attempted to misquote Charles Spurgeon to support their Lordship Salvation heresy; but they need to keep reading Spurgeon's sermons, because Charles Spurgeon clearly DIDN'T believe in giving up sins to be saved...

"You must not expect that you will be perfect in "repentance" before you are saved. No Christian can be perfect. "Repentance" is a grace. Some people preach it as a condition of salvation. Condition of nonsense! There are no conditions of salvation. God gives the salvation himself..." —Pastor Charles Spurgeon

SOURCE: Charles Spurgeon, sermon: REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE, [ (from a sermon preached at the New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, on September 23, 1855)]

Clearly, Charles Haddon Spurgeon DIDN'T believe that forsaking one's sins, or grieving, or feeling sorrow, or being willing to turn from them, was necessary to be saved. Rather, Spurgeon believed that they were evidences of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Spurgeon did in fact teach, as have other great men of God, that a sinner ought to turn from his or her sins as a faithful Christian; but this is after-the-fact, and not a requirement for salvation itself. Spurgeon plainly taught “there are no conditions of salvation,” which is what the Bible teaches. We are sinners and Jesus is the Savior!

Was Charles Spurgeon A Heretic On Salvation?

Pastor John MacArthur Teaches Works Salvation!

John 6:40—The Will of God and Salvation

Opponents of Lordship Salvation

“But to Him That Worketh Not”

Repent! Repent! Repent!

How Permanent Is Your Salvation?
(an excellent MP3 sermon by Pastor Hank Lindstrom, 1940-2008)

“The mark 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!