Now. Let me pause here just a moment and give everyone a solid rule of thumb about that kind of stuff you may find on the internet. IF the person making such-and-such a wild-eyed, crackpot claim is anonymous and when pressed, refuses to tell you who he is or where he goes to church (if at all), you can confidently concluded that 10 times out of 10, the person is probably a wacko and can be safely ignored.
I have a sneaking suspicion that this particular individual is more than likely Bob Johnson, or perhaps a minion of his, who was notorious for standing out in front of Grace Church warning us how Al Mohler was a Jesuit, U.N. spy who was sent to infiltrate the church to usher in the new world order. I document my dealings with Bob HERE.
(Amusingly, on the “rebuttal” to Phil’s article posted at GTY [I’ll get to that in a moment] our anonymous champion of orthodoxy points out how Phil wrote it, not John. As if that is some sort of smoking gun signal of dastardly deeds at work. All the while remaining anonymous. He even misspelled John’s last name, so kudos for maintaining that unhinged stereotype we have all come to love about those kind of folks. But I digress.)
At any rate, the person could be just some tin-foil hat style KJVO loon for all I know. Whatever the case, going into the Strange Fire conference, I was seeing talk about the video on Facebook and figured I’d get questions about it.
And sure enough, on the last day of the conference, I had a long discussion with some precious folks about the video that led us into some terrific fellowship. If anything else, I have to say the one good thing about that video was the fact that I met some wonderful people who are now some acquaintances on Facebook who I look forward to fellowshipping with in person in the future.
When I spoke with Phil about the video, he said we’d revisit it sometime after the conference. Well, it just so happens the Monday morning following Strange Fire, John came out to GTY to do some recording and we all had a chance to bring up the video with him. His first response was, “Oh yeah. Someone asked me about that after one of the sessions.” We asked him how he would respond now and whether or not his view had changed since he had preached through the book of Revelation, and to my surprise, he basically affirmed what he said in that Q&A some 30-plus years ago.
That being, that during the seven year tribulation, when people are deceived by the Antichrist to take his mark in order to survive in his “society” (Revelation 13:16,17), but then later, upon hearing the Gospel preaching of the 144,00 and the call of repentance as heralded by the three angels (Revelation 14:1-13), many of those people who took the mark can and do repent and follow Christ, and thus are saved. By the way, a lot of this assumes the “mark” is some physical thing a person can take to himself. Say for example, a microchip or a barcoded tattoo.
So in John’s view, the taking of the mark during the tribulation is not a final, absolute certainty of damnation that seals and fixes the eternal destination of the person. In fact, if one were to read Revelation 15:2, the idea of victory over the mark of the Beast is clearly implied, And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.
Couldn’t that “victory” spoken about be those who may take the mark, repent upon hearing the Gospel, and will then be saved? And, according to the verse, it seems to suggest that they are executed for their actions of rejecting the mark thus becoming martyrs. So the idea of what John is saying is not far-fetched and without warrant from the biblical text as those wack-a-doodles suggest in their video when they write OUTRAGEOUS! It certainly exposes the fact that they are merely haters and haven’t even thought through what is being taught in Revelation.
Well, once John gave his affirmation, Phil wrote up a response affirming what he originally stated and explaining his view a bit more and providing an “official” statement to all those folks out there wondering what he thinks about that video.
Okay, so with that being said. Where do you go from here?
Granted, there are a number of folks out there who are still uncertain what to think about John’s view. You’re sitting at your desk, you have your finger under your chin while you stare out your window thinking to yourself, “Hmmm…. I don’t know? That sounds kinda weird?”
Now I certainly can’t make any appeal to the makers of that video. Those are individuals who are the modern day equivalent of Ishmael with their hand against every man (Genesis 16:12). They live in a fever swamp of conspiracy and foggy theology where no rational thought can even dare bubble up to the surface. There will always be people who are so OCDed against John MacArthur like Bob Johnson and fake pastor-teacher, Joel Taylor, that anything he will say or do will be declared heretical. Those people cannot be reached.
Now for the rest of you all out there who have actually benefited from John’s preaching over the years, are you prepared to throw John’s ministry under the bus because of an idiot video on Youtube and conclude all of that blessing you experienced was a sham? Really?
Think about it: John has had 50 years of solid, Bible teaching ministry that has reached around the globe. I’ve met people from the farthest reaches in the world who testify how they were in a rural rice patty in Vietnam or some tundra landscape in northern Russia listening to John MacArthur tapes on a walkman or Grace to You on a handheld radio and it was in those circumstances God brought them to salvation by the preaching of the Gospel and the consistent teaching of God’s word.
His study Bible has been translated into Arabic, the only genuine Study Bible to have been so; and the Chinese version is coming sometime in the next year. John was the guy on Larry King Live who irritated to no end Deep-pockets Chopra when he told him there was only one way to God through Jesus Christ alone and that the NT was originally written in Greek, not Aramaic.
So along comes a crank with a Youtube video that says that everything John has ever done or ever preached over the last four decades is totally worthless, just because he has an out the ordinary view on a speculative understanding of the mark of the Beast.
It is at this point where people need to stop and determine if they are going to dismiss such moon-battery. Seriously. Please don’t join the Ernest T. Bass’s of the internet with hurling rocks through church windows.