Recently, I have been dealing with an issue with a fellow Christian labeling John MacArthur as a "False Teacher". He claims that MacArthur is false for two reasons: 1) Because MacArthur is a Calvinist 2) MacArthur is a cessationalist. This dangerous mindset is possibly prevalent in Christendom, rooted in ignorance and is typically never dealt with.
Many Scriptures were quoted when the charge was made against MacArthur and it was stated that, in so many words, that if MacArthur is teaching or preaching something that differs from their view of God's Word, then he is false. It was further stated that if we are going to "weigh" and label the "Health, Wealth and Prosperity Gospel" folks as false teachers, then we must slap MacArthur with the same label.
Although I would agree that I can Biblically build a case against Calvinism, the irony is that Calvinists could Biblically build a case against Arminianism. Don't believe I could? Click HERE!! Cessationalists can also make a pretty strong case for their view of the Scriptures on the matter.
The bigger question at hand is whether or not MacArthur's view makes him a false teacher. Furthermore, can we lump MacArthur in with those that are truly "false teachers"?
Let me provide some examples:
A church is having a general business meeting and one of the items on the agenda is the appointing of a woman as a deacon. Upon a women being elected, a man stands up during the meeting and yells, "Heresy!" He begins to explain that we must use the Word of God as our "plumb line" and to appoint a woman as a deacon would be contradictory to the Bible. As he is being escorted out of the church, he exclaims, "Look at the Biblical qualifications for deacons in 1 Timothy 4. Jesus authored the Bible if you believe in the Trinity! Jesus quoted from the Bible. If they're preaching a different Jesus then...you all do believe in the Trinity don't you?" The man is quickly whisked away.
Two Christians are discussing Wayne Grudem's Post-Tribulation view according to the Scriptures. One of the Christians agrees with Grudem, but the other is a staunch Pre-Tribulationalist and accuses Grudem of being a false teacher. The Pre-Trib Christian begins to quote Scriptures and says that if the Bible says it, then we are going against God to have a different view. The Post-Trib Christian begins to quote Scripture to defend his position. MORE?
A conference is being held on young earth Creation by the Answers In Genesis organization. The speaker declares, "We hold firm to the Scriptures and they say that the earth was created in six literal days (yom)." A person in the crowd shouts, "False teacher! False teacher! The Bible clearly states that with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." The embarrassed speaker is frazzled and attempts to continue with his presentation as the man who opposed him stomps out of the auditorium.
An Amish man visiting a local church asks a Christian why the women do not have their head covered when praying because the Bible clearly states that, "But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head; for she is one and the same with her whose head is shaved.”
A woman is channel surfing with her television remote and comes across a preacher that is telling people to give their money to him if they want to financially prosper. Luke 6:38 is quoted...although in its context it is talking about forgiveness and mercy. The woman continues to watch. In the next segment, a woman sits down at a table with a man and they begin to converse about how Jesus is NOT the only begotten Son of God, we are "little gods", Jesus will physically appear in various churches, etc. Click HERE to watch some actual examples!
I just listed five different examples of disagreement. And trust me, I could list MANY more! The first four may be matters of heated disagreement, BUT none of those items are in disagreement with the fundamental core foundations of what makes us Christians. In each scenario, one could stand and say, "Well, brother, this is what the Word of God says and if you are not abiding by the Word of God, you are false!!"
The fifth, however, is a different matter. The fifth are matters of salvation. Listen to what the Scriptures have to say about one area...the "Health, Wealth (Prosperity Gospel)".
When it comes to utilizing the Gospel for gain, the Bible is very clear about this as being "false".
"If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness."
[1 Timothy 6:3-11]
Can we call people "False Teachers"? Yes, we can because the Bible spells it out for us.
However, we need to be very careful on how we compare. Stating that MacArthur is a false teacher is a very dangerous matter. You will be hard-pressed to find a statement from MacArthur that would stray from the core, fundamental teachings of the "church". Even more difficult, would be to find a statement from MacArthur that would cause people to stray or "fall away" from the Lord.
Speaking in tongues is not a matter of salvation. Believing that God is able to "keep" a sinner from falling and that he will, in fact, persevere to the end is not false...it's simply a different perspective. Ironically, it's a perspective that has been the prevalent view of the "church" throughout history. Once again, I challenge you to look to the passages provided HERE to see how one might draw the conclusion for not losing one's salvation.
If MacArthur is a false teacher, then by default, we would have to classify Augustine, Martin Luther (the "father" of Protestantism, who believed one could not lose his salvation), John Calvin, A. W. Pink, Jonathan Edwards ("Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"), George Whitefield, John Bunyan ("The Pilgrim's Progress") and C.H. Spurgeon, who was known as the "Prince of Preachers", also as false teachers. If you research these men, although we may disagree with some of their "non-damnable" teachings, you will find that God used them in a mighty, mighty way to advance His Kingdom.
Are you prepared to call these men "False Teachers"??
This mindset is damaging and dangerous to the unity of the Body of Christ. Beware!