John MacArthur

MacArthur and "the Blood" Controversy

The “blood controversy” involving John MacArthur and Bob Jones, Jr. is infamous within Baptist fundamentalism. It is a sad event. Even now, there are some fundamentalists who wrongly believe MacArthur is a “heretic” because of this unfortunate slander from Jones. Phil Johnson wrote a letter clarifying the issue 19 years ago, and explained:1

The controversy was originally ignited by a supposed “news” item written by Bob Jones, Jr. in the April 1986 issue of Faith For The Family (a Bob Jones University-sponsored magazine). Jones quoted some remarks MacArthur had originally made in a live Q&A session at Grace Community Church sometime in the early 1970s. MacArthur’s comments had been transcribed and published in the May 1976 issue of the Grace Church newsletter “Grace Today.” The Jones article cited the comments without any documentation, and without noting that they were from a ten-year-old source.

In the BJU article, Jones quoted MacArthur as saying, “It is not His bleeding that saved me, but His dying.” Jones then cited Hebrews 9:22 (“without shedding of blood is no remission”) and intoned, “MacArthur’s position is heresy.”

Johnson continued:2

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"Appearing on stage with MacArthur, [Al Mohler, Mark Dever, and Ligon Duncan] were asked about the apparent rare point of disagreement in matters of public theology at the conference sponsored by Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where MacArthur is pastor/teacher." - BNG

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