MacArthur is Wrong – Exposing the Truth!
(I have written a post “MacArthur is Wrong!” that summarises much of what is written in this document. You may access this condensed version at “MacArthur is Wrong!“)
It is apparent that MacArthur, along with other calvinist “teachers”, may be guilty of intending to deliberately distort the truth of the Bible and thus knowingly teach doctrines designed to deceive. This posting seeks to document such deception. It involves the misuse of alleged “scholarship” in order to confuse those who may think that MacArthur just cannot be wrong, and therefore believe everything he says. Calvinists like MacArthur apparently have a great need to somehow “prove” that God’s foreknowledge is predetermined by God, thus allowing the false doctrines of unconditional election and limited atonement to appear to have Biblical doctrine status. For, a foreknowledge independent of predetermination would greatly support the free will choices of mankind, something that calvinists like MacArthur refuse to accept, even though the Bible teaches such free will consistently.
I have documented below the misuse of a little-known Greek rule called the Granville Sharp rule, by which calvinists such as MacArthur seek quite falsely to “prove” that foreknowledge equates to (means the same as; is a synonym of) predestination (or fore-ordination). The fact that the Granville Sharp rule cannot prove such is in itself the evidence needed to prove in turn that calvinists deliberately misuse and misquote facts in order to prop up their false doctrines. Any who may think I am being judgmental in this matter, please do yourself a favour and test all things mentioned here as to whether or not they are true. Do not just believe without question any teacher, even one who is acknowledged by his followers as “a widely respected theologian worldwide“. Please do what the Bible says and test (prove) all things, hold fast to that which is right, and rightly divide the word of truth. Christians, learn to think for yourselves and thus learn the truth for yourselves, untainted by selfish people who only seek their own glory in their own usually self-proclaimed “scholarship”. Do you seek the truth of all things, or do you sit back and let others determine what truth you should seek?
MacArthur has been set up on a pedestal by many who appear to believe that he cannot be wrong in any matter Scriptural. Like the Pope whose ex officio sayings were considered to be the very words of Christ, MacArthur’s teachings just cannot be wrong, according to so many of his besotted followers. They may not love MacArthur but they certainly are in love with his teachings. If you don’t believe me, just try to accuse their beloved master of the crime of making a Scriptural mistake, and all of a sudden you are overwhelmed by acrimonious cries denouncing your Biblical knowledge and more. To them, MacArthur is so biblical he cannot be wrong, and anyone who says otherwise is likely to be cast as something not far short of the village idiot, or even denounced as non-spiritual (that is, not one of the elect as they presumably believe they are). I wonder if they know anything about Calvin’s teaching on temporary faith; he said it was given as an inferior operation of the Spirit; he also taught that some who might even believe they were of the elect would one day be dumped by the God they served and end up in hell, because they weren’t actually on the list of the elect in the first place! (If you don’t believe this, read The Institutes of the Christian Religion Book 3 Chapter 2 Section 11.)
We have a lack of fundamentalist teaching in our local churches, with very few being willing to stay true to the full teachings of the Bible itself. Far too many churches are doing their own thing as regards the word of God, twisting it every which way to suit whatever doctrine they would like to live with.(This was made clear in an email I received defending MacArthur’s use of the Granville Sharp rule: I’m thinking perhaps the rule itself can be interpreted in a way to suit one’s belief in whatever point one is trying to get across.) The big danger is that genuine fundamentalists, choosing to be strong on Biblical truth, may be led astray by confident claims of a “better, more sovereign” way (that is, calvinist or reformed), without firstly testing all things Scriptural as commanded in the Bible.
One local, originally fundamentalist church has gone this way. Of course, they had to have their rock music band with noise so loud that the few remaining in the congregation could stop singing and no-one would notice any difference. This church has been unduly influenced by a nearby hyper-calvinist church (which, judging by its doctrinal statement, is a clone or franchise of MacArthur’s church in California). This friendly neighbourhood calvinist church began using the fundamentalist church property for meetings a few years back, and has been since described on their website as a like-minded sister church (that is, like-minded concerning the hyper-calvinist beliefs of the hyper-calvinist church).
Since then they have had a largely calvinist diet, judging from the books they have been studying, both in church and in Bible studies. MacArthur’s book (Fundamentals of the Faith) appears to be a must-read-and-study item, and apparently this has been reinforced by the pastor of the hyper-calvinist church who has had regular input into their teaching. Now the inevitable has happened, that the fundamentalist church is now being drawn into accepting calvinist beliefs, not because they are Scriptural, but because they are taught by a “revered” calvinist teacher, in this case, MacArthur. Of course, MacArthur doesn’t attend their church (hasn’t ever to my knowledge, anyway), but his teachings have filled their church through his teaching materials, and the teaching materials of other calvinists (such as Todd Friel and that mystical New Age “teacher” Gary Thomas).
Now it is difficult or even impossible to discuss anything Scriptural with such people because MacArthur’s teachings are believed to be above reproach. Once they have come under MacArthur’s influence, they will defend most things by claiming that MacArthur teaches it, and therefore others cannot (or should not) argue with him. Apparently to such people MacArthur just cannot be wrong.
Recently I was given a quote from MacArthur’s Study Bible in support of calvinist teachings. Despite the fact that the source of the quote was not acknowledged (and that the quote was incomplete!), I had previously known that it was from study notes on Romans 8:29.
(cf. Acts 2:23—an inviolable rule of Greek grammar, called the Granville Sharp rule, equates [pre]determination and “foreknowledge”; see notes on 1 Pet. 1:1–2, and cf. with Rom. 1:20—the term must be interpreted the same in both verses).
So, let’s look at Romans 8:29 – For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
You see, MacArthur, like any strict calvinist, appears unable to accept that “foreknow” actually has anything to do with God knowing the future! It is also apparent that he won’t accept the clear teaching in 1 Peter 1:2 which says that God used His foreknowledge to choose His elect.
1 Peter 1:2a – Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father
Of course, that word “foreknowledge” is the Greek word prognosis which literally means God using His knowledge of the future to determine those whom He would record in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 17:8), that is, the elect or chosen of God. For further information on the foreknowledge of God, please go to The Foreknowledge of Sovereign God.
But the Biblical use of foreknowledge uses man’s free will choice to accept the free gift of salvation offered in Christ, something calvinists refuse to accept (clearly by their free will too, no doubt). Therefore calvinists won’t accept that God uses foreknowledge to determine His elect (because calvinists deny man any option of free will to accept the salvation of Christ). Thus, they have to teach that foreknowledge means something else, in fact, anything else other than its proper meaning. However, because foreknowledge does mean simply the perfect knowledge that God has of the future, calvinists have to muddy the waters somewhat. So, if they can find some reasoning (however spurious) that sounds intellectual enough, then they’ll use it. It doesn’t matter if it is correct or not; the requirement is to at least introduce sufficient confusion to create some doubt in the minds of those Christians who haven’t the desire to waste time and energy testing all things for themselves.
Please note that the quote above from MacArthur’s Study Bible mentioned the Granville Sharp rule which he claims is “an inviolable rule of Greek grammar” which “equates [pre]determination and “foreknowledge” and that “the term must be interpreted the same in both verses”.
So what is the Granville Sharp rule?
Granville Sharp (1735 – 1813) was an abolitionist (that is, against the slave trade). He was also a strong Trinitarian, that is, he believed very strongly in the Trinity of God, and thus opposed Unitarians (those who believed that only the Father was God and that Jesus was a lesser being created by God). A number of controversial verses (including Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:12; 1 Timothy 5:21; Ephesians 5:5) were interpreted either to mean that Jesus was God, or that He wasn’t God, depending upon how you interpreted the Greek grammar. And that, in turn, depended upon which side of the fence you were on, either Trinitarian or Unitarian. So, he formulated the following rule in support of Trinitarianism: (Note that it applies to “the same person”.)
“When the copulative kai connects two nouns of the same case, if the article ho, or any of its cases (te, to), precedes the first of the said nouns or participles, and is not repeated before the second noun or participle, the latter always relates to the same person that is expressed or described by the first noun or participle.”
Of course, there are those (including those of Unitarian belief, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses) who maintain that this was merely a rule of convenience to “prove” them wrong, claiming that it proved nothing. However, whether the rule is an actual rule or just the application of common sense grammar in certain grammatical situations is irrelevant; it does agree with common sense interpretation of the Bible verses for which Granville Sharp claimed it. (That is, those that dealt with the deity of Christ.)
Greek scholars generally consider Acts 2:23 to be a non-genuine application of this rule. Strictly speaking, that is indeed so, as the rule does apply to persons rather than things. However, I personally do consider it to be allowable in this case, if properly applied, even though the original rule was formulated to deal with verses on the deity of Christ.
Trinitarian A. Bowser states it more simply: (Note again that it applies to “the same person”.)
“When the copulative `and’ connects two nouns of the same case, if the article precedes the first noun and is not repeated before the second noun, the latter always refers to the same person that is expressed or described by the first noun.”
(What Every Jehovah’s Witness Should Know, Arthur M. Bowser)
“Basically, Granville Sharp’s rule states that when you have two nouns, which are not proper names (such as Cephas, or Paul, or Timothy), which are describing a person, and the two nouns are connected by the word ‘and,’ and the first noun has the article (‘the’) while the second does not, both nouns are referring to the same person.” – James White (calvinist) (Note once again it applies to “the same person”.)
“The basic formula (in the Greek word order) may be seen in this manner:
- Article (ho) + noun1 + and (kai) + noun2
Granville Sharp’s rule says that since the definite article (ho, or its variant) precedes only the first noun and not both, then the reference is to one person — this being the case in the verses quoted above.” (referring to Titus 2:13 & 2 Peter 1:1)
Note that all the statements of this rule relate the nouns to the same person, not thing.
The rule was applied in order to establish the deity of Christ (His Godhood) and was associated with those verses that were being interpreted in two ways.
Eg Titus 2:13 – Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Take the phrase “the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”. Unitarians (such as Jehovah’s Witnesses) teach that “the great God” and “our Saviour Jesus Christ” are two separate persons. But, if the Granville Sharp rule is applied, we get the following:
the (definite article tou) great God (1st noun) and (copulative kai) our Saviour Jesus Christ (2nd noun).
The rule then establishes that “the great God” and “our Saviour Jesus Christ” refer to the one and same person, thus supporting the Trinity of God. But while the two nouns apply to the same person, the two nouns themselves are not equivalent.
This same rule may then be applied to other relevant verses with similar construction, where the two nouns still refer to the same person.
Acts 2:23 – Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
where “determinate counsel” and “foreknowledge” are the two nouns with the definite article before the first noun (but not the second noun) and both joined by the copulative kai (= “and”).
Of course, the original rule only dealt with those verses demonstrating the Godhood of Jesus Christ, but many scholars have accepted the rule’s extended application to verses such as Acts 2:23. However, some eminent scholars still dispute whether or not Acts 2:23 is actually a bona fides application of the Granville Sharp rule. But, for the sake of discussion in this article, I’ll accept that the rule may apply to Acts 2:23.
Because “foreknowledge” refers to “God”, then, by the Granville Sharp rule, “determinate counsel” must also refer to “God”. But it cannot demonstrate that the two terms themselves are equated (or have the same or similar meaning).
Thus, if the Granville Sharp rule is correctly applied to Acts 2:23, then both “determinate counsel” and “foreknowledge” must apply to “God”. The rule never equates the terms, but instead requires that they both refer to the same person, in this case, God.
MacArthur misquotes this rule in the following from his commentary on Romans (Romans 8:29) :- (Note that MacArthur uses “plan” as a synonym for “determinate counsel”)
“Both words include the idea of willful intention. “Foreknowledge” is from the noun form of the verb translated foreknew in our text. According to what Greek scholars refer to as Granville Sharp’s rule, if two nouns of the same case (in this instance, “plan” and “foreknowledge”) are connected by kai (“and”) and have the definite article (the) before the first noun but not before the second, the nouns refer to the same thing (H.E. Dana and Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament [New York: Macmillan, 1927], p. 147). In other words, Peter equates God’s predetermined plan, or foreordination, and His foreknowledge.” (Note that MacArthur has changed “the same person” to “the same thing”.)
For one thing, the two nouns of the same case (“determinate counsel” and “foreknowledge”) should refer to the same person (not “thing”) under the Granville Sharp rule, and, in this case, that means “God”. Even if they referred to the same thing as MacArthur says, then it still would not equate the two nouns but merely have them both refer to the same one thing (if not a person). However, the rule always requires that it refer to the same person. In either case, there is absolutely no justification for teaching that the two nouns become the same or similar in meaning! This is totally illogical thinking! (And, a seemingly deliberate attempt to misuse the Granville Sharp rule!)
Note also that MacArthur has misquoted from his reference above (A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament – H E Dana & Julius R Mantey) which actually says “person” and not “thing”:
“The following rule by Granville Sharp of a century back still proves to be true: “When the copulative kai connects two nouns of the same case, if the article ho or any of its cases precedes the first of the said nouns or participles, and is not repeated before the second noun or participle, the latter always relates to the same person that is expressed or described by the first noun or participle; i.e., it denotes a farther description of the first-named person.”” (P 147) (underline emphasis mine)
MacArthur says that the nouns refer to “the same thing“, whereas his “quoted” reference says that “the latter always relates to the same person”. Note that even the reference MacArthur uses states that the rule applies to a “person”, so why has MacArthur changed “person” to “thing”?
It is apparent that MacArthur has misused the Granville Sharp rule in his notes on Romans 8:29 to “establish” an untruth, one that “equates [pre]determination (= KJV “determinate counsel”) and foreknowledge”. That is, MacArthur is trying to establish that God’s foreknowledge is the same as God’s determinate counsel. If he can equate the two terms, then he can declare that God’s foreknowledge is basically predetermined, or fore-ordained, and thus cannot be understood as God using His perfect knowledge of future events for His sovereign purposes. This teaching from MacArthur, if true, would destroy the idea of God using foreknowledge to determine the future free will salvation choices of mankind, since MacArthur would have then established that such knowledge of said free will choices would already be known beforehand because of God’s determinate counsel! (That is, God’s foreknowledge would become the equivalent of God’s determinate counsel.) And, thus, free will choices become irrelevant because God has already pre-ordained them from the beginning! And that would make the use of foreknowledge irrelevant for determining the future, according to calvinist teaching.
Calvin stated this very point in his Institutes (prescience = foreknowledge):
If God merely foresaw human events, and did not also arrange and dispose of them at his pleasure, there might be room for agitating the question, how far his foreknowledge amounts to necessity; but since he foresees the things which are to happen, simply because he has decreed that they are so to happen, it is vain to debate about prescience, while it is clear that all events take place by his sovereign appointment.
(Institutes of the Christian Religion Bk 3, Ch 23, Section 6)
That is, if all things take place by God’s sovereign appointment, then God foresees (or foreknows) all things merely because He has already decreed that they are to happen!
But MacArthur (along with Calvin) is wrong, and consequently his efforts to prove that God’s foreknowledge is predetermined are invalid. The two terms (“determinate counsel” and “foreknowledge”) are separate and different from each other in meaning. The Granville Sharp rule cannot prove otherwise! Thus, by MacArthur being caught out on this one, he has effectively proven that which he has desperately tried to disprove, that God does indeed use His foreknowledge to perfectly know all future events from the beginning.
If the Granville Sharp rule were to be applied as per MacArthur’s teaching, then a phrase such as “the grace and mercy of God” would have to mean that “grace” and “mercy” are equated, that is, they are equivalent terms. Yet grace does not equate to mercy, but, correctly interpreted, they would both refer to God. That is, they are both of God and not just the term in that phrase that is closest to “God”. Would MacArthur claim that grace and mercy are equivalent terms if such a phrase were to be found in the Greek?
A similar construction may be found in Hebrews 12:2 – Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; (Greek ton [the] tes pisteos [of faith] archegon [author] kai [and] teleoten [finisher]
That is, “the author and finisher of faith” where “author” and “finisher” are two same case nouns (both accusative masculine singular), where ton is a form of the definite article, and where kai is the copulative “and” (conjunction). If MacArthur were to be right, then both “author” and “finisher” would have to be equated, that is, equivalent terms. In other words, to be consistent, MacArthur would have to teach that “author” is the same or similar in meaning to “finisher”! So, if these nouns cannot be equated here, then neither should they (that is, “determinate counsel” and “foreknowledge”) be equated in Acts 2:23.
Of course, both nouns here appear to refer to a thing (faith) which according to MacArthur should be quite acceptable! However, it would be more correct for both nouns of the same case (“author” and “finisher”) to refer to the person of Jesus, making it acceptable to the Granville Sharp rule, which requires that the nouns refer to a person, not a thing. Thus, Jesus is not only the author of (our) faith; He is, by this rule, the finisher of (our) faith as well.
Please consider carefully what has been said in the light of what the Bible teaches and understand that MacArthur has misused the Granville Sharp rule. He has incorrectly stated the rule such that Acts 2:23 has been misinterpreted to mean something quite different from the truth, either through lack of understanding or even perhaps a deliberate attempt to mislead God’s people. He has also misquoted a Greek Grammar reference seemingly in a deliberate effort to support his already flimsy argument.
Thus, MacArthur’s efforts to make “determinate counsel” and “foreknowledge” equivalent terms are incorrect and non-scriptural, and for whatever reason he has done this, he has established himself to be somewhat non-biblical in his teaching in this matter. If he has to resort to this to demonstrate something, then the truth is probably other than that which he seeks to teach here.
If MacArthur is not able to teach clearly and correctly on this, especially when he claims to be a teacher of the Bible, then there are likely to be other occasions when he makes mistakes. His mistake, as demonstrated above, concerning the Granville Sharp rule, should be unacceptable for an educated person, and seems to be somewhat uneducated instead. It is likely to be deliberate attempt to mislead God’s people. It does seem interesting that a person of allegedly such learning might make such a fundamental error in interpretation. Could this, perhaps, be how MacArthur might call himself a fundamentalist?
Further research on this matter has uncovered a far greater depth of either incompetence or deliberate deception among calvinist teachers, many of whom are revered by their followers who cannot accept that such “great men of the Bible” could ever be wrong.
I have already quoted from MacArthur’s Study Bible concerning the Granville Sharp rule from his notes on Romans 8:29, where he equates [pre]determination and foreknowledge. Because the term “equates” means some form of equality of meaning, thus MacArthur is saying that the foreknowledge of God involves at least some significant measure of predetermination. And, it appears to be a necessity for him to have the Granville Sharp rule to support this interpretation. However, he has misused and misapplied the Granville Sharp rule in order to twist its meaning to establish his doctrinal heresy. Put simply, MacArthur cannot in any way justify the use of the Granville Sharp rule to establish from Acts 2:23 that the foreknowledge of God is predetermined in any way at all! So, in the absence of any evidence to demonstrate that God’s foreknowledge is predetermined, the conclusion can only be that God’s foreknowledge is not dependent in any way upon His predeterminate counsel; rather, if anything, Acts 2:23 actually appears to demonstrate that if any relationship exists between these attributes of God, then His predeterminate counsel could be dependent in some way upon His foreknowledge! Trust calvinists to take a truth, and then turn it around backwards, and then declare that corruption to be the truth.
In much the same way, calvinists love to say that we do not believe in order that we might be saved; we are saved in order that we might believe – just another true doctrine turned backwards into a heresy. Or that a man is not regenerated because he has first believed in Christ, but he believes in Christ because he has been regenerated. Over and over we find calvinism taking Biblical truths and turning them backwards into a heresy.
So, having demonstrated beyond any doubt that MacArthur’s use of the Granville Sharp rule is invalid, I did some further research on MacArthur’s use of this rule. We may read in “The Progress of Salvation” (Scripture: Romans 8:29-30) Code: 90-181 (from MacArthur’s Grace to You website; without any apparent acknowledgment on the website of who wrote it, I assume it was MacArthur)
Acts 2:23 says that Christ went to the cross, listen to this, “By the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.” That’s a very important verse, Acts 2:23. Counsel is boulē. It’s used in classical Greek for convened councils making decisions. This is a decision for a pre-decided course of action. The determinate counsel of God means God determined the course of action. Determinate is a perfect participle, it speaks of a completed action with continuing results. Literally the word is horizō, from which we get “horizon,” which speaks of the boundaries or limits that are marked out. God, then, pre-decided a course of action and marked off the boundaries of that action. This is determinate counsel and foreknowledge. Foreknowledge means in that passage — by virtue of an old Greek rule that some of you know, the Granville Sharp rule — foreknowledge in the passage Acts 2:23 means the same thing. So foreknowledge means determinate counsel. That passage is very important in coming to that conviction. Foreknowledge doesn’t just mean God knows what’s going to happen. It is… It is predeterminate counsel. It is a pre-decided course of action with the boundaries and limits marked out, That equals foreknowledge. (My emphasis above)
In another document from MacArthur’s website he says
So a clear line of demarcation was predetermined and pre-decided in the counsel of God based on His foreknowledge, which must include His foreordination. In fact, I think it’s Dr. Wuest who says this is where one of the sort of traditional Greek language rules comes into play, what’s known as Granville Sharp’s law, that two nouns in the same case connected by kai, first with an article and second without, must, therefore, refer to the same thing. And so we could say that “foreknowledge” and “determinate counsel” mean the same thing.
(“The Ultimate Security of Our Salvation” Romans 8:29-30 Code: 45-66)
So “refer to the same thing” then becomes “mean the same thing”? Absolute rubbish! It is the height of illogical debate to say that two items that refer to the same thing must therefore mean the same thing!! I could say, for example, that the knife and fork both refer to the same setting at the table, yet it is sheer idiocy to assume that “knife” and “fork” then mean the same thing, that is, that they are synonyms! If you don’t understand this, just try holding some meat with your knife and then cut it with your fork!
Also note that the Granville Sharp rule always specifies referring to “the same person”, not to “the same thing”! (Please do your research and see that I’m right!) MacArthur also says that “we could say that” the two terms mean the same thing. Sounds a bit vague to me! (Probably on purpose, too.) I guess “we could say that” could “prove” lots of calvinist doctrines!
Talking of synonyms and the Granville Sharp rule, here’s another calvinist explanation using (misusing!) that rule.
Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, … Acts 2:23
Here, determined purpose and foreknowledge are linked by a Greek grammatical form called the Granville-Sharp Rule. This makes the two nouns synonymous. It is used for emphasis, like saying right and good or evil and bad.
(“Does Foreknowledge Explain Election?” by Roger Smalling).
That means that every time (in the Greek) two nouns of the same case joined by kai and with the definite article before the first noun must then mean the two nouns are synonymous! How ridiculous! That would make “Author” and “Finisher” in Hebrews 12:2 synonyms, yet the first term means one who goes ahead (as Captain) and the second term means the one who perfects. Are we to believe that every time we have, in the Greek, the pattern “the (noun) and (noun)”, the two nouns have to be synonyms. And this Roger Smalling claims to be a teacher!? (He must be a calvinist!!)
Note well that MacArthur’s website actually says that “foreknowledge means predeterminate counsel”, and “that ‘foreknowledge’ and ‘determinate counsel’ mean the same thing”. How much more clearly can it be said? And yet he cannot, no matter how hard he tries to say it, demonstrate it in any way through the Granville Sharp rule! So, if MacArthur desires to show that God’s foreknowledge is predetermined in any way, he’ll have to find another way to do it! I don’t think he can, which would mean that by the need to misuse the Granville Sharp rule, MacArthur has demonstrated that his interpretation is actually untenable. He has grasped at straws, or grasped at the wind in order to prop up a false doctrine. Now the truth is out; so how will MacArthur talk his way out of this one?!
In that same document above “The Progress of Salvation” it (probably by MacArthur; on his website) also teaches:
It is a predetermined, foreordained, foreseen love relationship born in the eternal purpose of God. …..
For example, you go back in the book of Genesis and it says, “Cain knew his wife.” Now that means more than he knew who she was, or where she was, or what she was like because it follows it by saying, “Cain knew his wife and she bore a son.” The word “know” is used sort of like a euphemism in Scripture to express the most intimate expressions of love. …..
The concept of knowing then carries that beautiful, intimate love that brings two together. It has the idea of caring for someone. In Hosea, for example, 13:5, “I knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought.”
Now that word “knew” (“know”) used above is the Hebrew word yada, which means “to know”:
1a1) to know
1a1a) to know, learn to know
1a1b) to perceive
1a1c) to perceive and see, find out and discern
1a1d) to discriminate, distinguish
1a1e) to know by experience
1a1f) to recognise, admit, acknowledge, confess
1a1g) to consider
1a2) to know, be acquainted with
1a3) to know (a person carnally)
1a4) to know how, be skilful in
1a5) to have knowledge, be wise
Note that the word used for “know” or “knew” does not carry any idea of caring for in an intimate way. The same applies to the use of that word in Hosea 13:5.
Hosea 13:5 – I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.
If there is any idea of intimacy, it has to be contained in the context of the verse; the word itself cannot in any way convey a sense of intimacy, other than sexual relations.
And talking of sexual relations, the same word yada is used in the following verses. Clearly they do not carry any idea of express(ing) the most intimate expressions of love.
Genesis 19:4-9 – 4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, [even] the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: 5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know (yada) them. 6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known (yada) man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as [is] good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. 9 And they said, Stand back. And they said [again], This one [fellow] came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, [even] Lot, and came near to break the door.
The men of Sodom were homosexuals and wanted to have sex with the men that Lot had in his house (who were angels). The Sodomites had no desire for a most intimate expression of love; they just wanted to have sex with them. And, this is the same word yada that is used above to try and demonstrate that It is a predetermined, foreordained, foreseen love relationship born in the eternal purpose of God. But, the men of Sodom clearly had no thought of establishing such a love relationship! They just wanted sex, to use and then dispose of, probably. As in the following:
Judges 19:20-30 – 20 And the old man said, Peace [be] with thee; howsoever [let] all thy wants [lie] upon me; only lodge not in the street. 21 So he brought him into his house, and gave provender unto the asses: and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink. 22 [Now] as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, [and] beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know (yada) him. 23 And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, [nay], I pray you, do not [so] wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly. 24 Behold, [here is] my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing. 25 But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew (yada) her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go. 26 Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord [was], till it was light. 27 And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down [at] the door of the house, and her hands [were] upon the threshold. 28 And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going. But none answered. Then the man took her [up] upon an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place. 29 And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, [together] with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel. 30 And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider of it, take advice, and speak [your minds].
Try and tell me that this is an example of a predetermined, foreordained, foreseen love relationship! How does this word here mean The concept of knowing then carries that beautiful, intimate love that brings two together. It has the idea of caring for someone.(?) How is it express(ing) the most intimate expressions of love?
It appears that either MacArthur doesn’t understand the subject matter that he is discussing, or else deliberately trying to deceive genuine truth-seekers. If MacArthur is the great Biblical teacher that so many of his followers claim, then why does he make such elementary errors in interpretation such as the ones exposed above? If you are one of those who think that MacArthur cannot do or say anything wrong scripturally, then consider the above. If he is as perfect as so many appear to believe, then why has he made such basic errors of interpretation as demonstrated above?
If, after reading this, you still think MacArthur is completely Biblical in all his teachings, then you need to do some serious research to determine whether in fact you might actually be considering MacArthur to be an authority superior to even the Bible! No-one but God may dictate what is and what isn’t truth, and for that we must go to the Bible, not man-made doctrines (commandments) that are made to appear like the doctrines of God.
Matthew 15:9 – But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.
(I have written a post “MacArthur is Wrong!” that summarises much of what is written in this document. You may access this condensed version at “MacArthur is Wrong!“)
For information demonstrating MacArthur’s incorrect use of Hebrew Parallelism to support the false doctrines of calvinism, please follow this link: MacArthur is Wrong – Again!
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