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John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching

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John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www.middletownb...

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John MacArthur's One Nature Position

1) John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching The IFCA doctrinal statement very clearly affirms that the believer has TWO NATURES, a new nature and an old nature: "We believe that every saved person possesses two natures, with provision made for victory of the new nature over the old nature through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit; and, that all claims to the eradication of the old nature in this life are unscriptural." (Section 1, Article 8) Now let us see what Dr. MacArthur teaches regarding the two natures of the believer:

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John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www.middletownb...

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HIS DENIAL OF THE TWO NATURES (HIS ONE NATURE POSITION): "I believe it is a serious misunderstanding to think of the believer as having both an old and new nature. Believers do not have dual personalities...there is no such thing as an old nature in the believer" (Freedom From Sin--ROMANS 6-7, Moody Press, pp. 31-32). Question: Does this mean that he believes that the IFCA statement of faith (Section 1, Article 8) reflects a "serious misunderstanding"? And if so, how could he sign it and be in hearty agreement? "Salvation is not a matter of improvement or perfection of what has previously existed. It is total transformation...At the new birth a person becomes `a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have
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. He has but one nature.com/articles/dgicxa9i come' (2 Cor. not a spiritual schizophrenic. He has residing sin but no longer reigning sin. the new nature in Christ. they do not coexist. a totally new creation.. 5:17).John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www. It is not a remaining old nature but the remaining garment of sinful flesh that causes Christians to sin. The old self dies and the new self lives.. He is no longer the old man corrupted but is now the new man created in righteousness and holiness..readability. The transformed person is a completely new `I..The new nature is not added to the old nature but replaces it. then." (The MacArthur New Testament 4 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 .middletownb. awaiting full salvation.The believer as a total person is transformed but not yet wholly perfect.' Biblical terminology.. http://www. does not say that a Christian has two different natures. It is not simply that he receives something new but that he becomes someone new. The Christian is a single new person.

. http://www. holy. "Explaining the reality that the believer has only one new nature is not simply playing a psychological word game.. 52).com/articles/dgicxa9i Commentary-EPHESIANS. 164) "The biggest difficulty in believing that sin is a vanquished foe is the constant conflict believers have with sin. and 5 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 . "The believer does not have two competing natures. p. `I'm really wonderful.John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www.readability.middletownb. It isn't saying to yourself. p. the old and the new. When you destroy people's convenient theological categories by teaching what God really says--that there is only one nature in the believer--many don't know how to respond" (Freedom From Sin. but one new nature that is still incarcerated in unredeemed flesh" [Study Bible Note under Romans 6:6].

but when we sin it is contrary to our nature..Christians sin because of the vestiges of sinful flesh. p. 52). We do not have a dual personality! Assuming the dual nature of the believer could easily lead 6 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 .John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www.com/articles/dgicxa9i righteous'. "Nor is Paul describing a dualistic. it's a serious misunderstanding to think of yourself as having both an old and new nature... and our response is to believe that to be true" (Freedom From Sin. The point is that God's Word teaches that sin's power is broken in the life of the believer. not because they have the same old active sinful nature. not because we have two dispositions—one sinful and one not" (Faith Works.readability. Certainly we sin.. schizophrenic Christian. p. "If you are a Christian. 116).middletownb. http://www. until you finally convince yourself of something that isn't true.

http://www. "The Good Natured Believer" which 7 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 . 31. "I know of a pastor who counsels premarital couples to take a shower together.. He believes the old nature is going to sin anyway. how can we possibly serve sin? Those who hold the view that sees a dual nature in the believer could easily attempt to excuse all kinds of sins by blaming them on the old nature" (Freedom From Sin. it is simply a manifestation of our old nature.. and this same illustration was used in his article. saying that when we sin.readability. But according to the Apostle Paul. p. p.middletownb. With that in mind. the believer's old nature is dead and buried.John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www. 18). March/April 1990. so there's nothing believers can do about it. He tells them not to worry about sin.com/articles/dgicxa9i one to excuse all kinds of sins by blaming them on the old nature" ("The Good Natured Believer" by John MacArthur in The Masterpiece magazine.

"Salvation is a spiritual union with Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection that can also be described as the death of the `old self' and the resurrection of the `new self.readability.' This union and new identity clearly means that salvation 8 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 . 18).middletownb. This is a very unfair representation of those who hold to the two natures of the believer.. Those who hold to the two nature position would condemn the above pastor just as strongly as Dr.com/articles/dgicxa9i appeared in The Masterpiece. p. March/April 1990. Note: This quote implies that those who teach that a believer possesses both an old and new nature (as the IFCA doctrinal statement clearly states) will be prone to easily excuse all kinds of sins. even as the pastor in the wicked illustration above. MacArthur does. http://www..' who now walks in `newness of life.John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www.

43). It is not addition of a new self to an old self. The new nature. 177) "Paul declares `I have been crucified with Christ. 9 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 . In Christ." (EPHESIANS.. p. p. the old self no longer exists (compare 2 Cor. describes a regenerate man who lives a life of righteousness and holiness that is honoring to God" (Freedom From Sin. my old `I' is dead and no longer exists" (Romans 1-8. however..com/articles/dgicxa9i is transformation.readability. Moody Press. "According to Romans 6.middletownb. who exists solely in a state of habitual sinfulness. 323). our old nature is dead and buried" ("The Good Natured Believer". "But according to the Apostle Paul. http://www. 5:17). the old nature represents a person before salvation.John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www. p.'--that is. The Masterpiece.

But this quote does point out MacArthur's dilemma. http://www..I'm not convinced there are two natures.has been crucified and is now dead.readability. as MacArthur teaches.. p. 10 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 .John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www. 51). 325). Moody Press. but our old nature still does. "Our old self.middletownb.9 mean our new nature can't sin. Such a statement seems to imply that the source of sin is to be found in the new nature. "Some believe 1 John 3:6. 18).com/articles/dgicxa9i March/April 1990. p. as we shall see later... and therefore cannot dictate to us anymore" (Romans 1-8.. p. But those verses say nothing about the old and new natures. This is not what MacArthur teaches. I think you have one new nature that has the possibility of sinning" (Marks of a True Believer--1 John 2:18-4:21. If the believer does not have an old nature..

I think you just have one new one that has the possibility of sinning. but sin must come from some other source. the old nature is destroyed" (Your Completeness in Christ.com/articles/dgicxa9i then the source of sin cannot be the old nature. I gave up a long time ago.readability.I'm not even convinced you have two natures.. http://www...middletownb. The old man is done away. "I have had a terrible time trying to figure out which is my old man and which is my new man.John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www. Later we consider closely MacArthur's teaching as to where sin in the believer comes from. p.. 11 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 . "Paul is saying in Romans: 'Look. 1975).. You can't split yourself up into little pieces. I'm just me! I know one thing--when I sin I'm involved.In the new man and in the new nature there is the capacity for sin" (Tape GC 2111 on 1 John 3:4-10..

. and done away with.middletownb. our old life has been condemned. "The dualistic view that a Christian has two natures uses unbiblical terminology and can lead to perception that is extremely 12 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 .. "As Christians. p..readability. 96). 149). MacArthur teaches that when a person becomes a Christian "God takes away the old nature" and gives the believer a new nature (Your Completeness in Christ-Colossians 1:24-2:23. being "dead to sin" means that "I no longer possess a sin nature" (Freedom From Sin. According to Dr. http://www.the old self is gone" (Colossians and Philemon. The old life is gone. ". p.John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www.. p. MacArthur.com/articles/dgicxa9i 100). 50). crucified." (Tape GC 2147).

John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www. 325). although trust in Christ brings the believer a new nature. 334). and that the Christian life is essentially a battle between his two resident natures" (Romans 13 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 .com/articles/dgicxa9i destructive of holy living" (Romans 1-8. p. the old nature remains fully operative.. "True believers have already been removed from the presence and control of the old sinful self" (Romans 1-8. p..middletownb. "No matter how radical our outer transformation at the time of salvation may have been for the better. 323-324). "That view of salvation [a view which MacArthur claims is a false view] often includes the idea that.readability. p. Moody Press. http://www. it is difficult to comprehend that we no longer have the fallen sin nature and that our new nature is actually divine" (Romans 1-8.

just as previously there was one lost person" (Romans 1-8. and yet this one saved person has two natures. There is just one saved person. MacArthur seems to be implying that is there are two natures then there must be two persons.com/articles/dgicxa9i 1-8.. http://www. 344). the human and the divine. 386). "He [Paul in Romans 7] was certainly not teaching that a Christian has two natures or two personalities. p.middletownb. p..John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www. p.readability. The Lord Jesus Christ was one Person and yet He had two natures. [Note: We would agree that there is just one saved person. 334) "A person cannot have two different and opposing natures at the same time" (Romans 1-8. and this is not true] "The relation of the old self and the new 14 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 .

. p. replaced by the new self" (Colossians and Philemon. "Just as it is impossible to be in Adam and in Christ at the same time. There is no support for such a spiritual half-breed in Scripture" (Colossians and Philemon. Salvation thus becomes addition. "To argue that believers have both an old and a new self is to argue in effect that the believer's soul is half regenerate and half unregenerate. 5:17 and Rom. however. 149). is not precisely consistent with biblical teaching.John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www. Many hold that at salvation believers receive a new self but also keep the old self.middletownb.readability. 148). not transformation. p.. 6:6] Salvation is transformation—the old self is gone. At salvation the old self was done away with..com/articles/dgicxa9i self has been much disputed.. so also it is 15 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 .Such a view. [He then cites 2 Cor. http://www.

not merely the same old creatures with a new side to our personalities" (The Vanishing Conscience.. The person we were before we trusted Christ is no more. 16 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 . It is not half a dual temperament unique to Christians. It is not the dark side of a Jekyll-Hyde disposition. We are new creations.middletownb. who we were when we were IN ADAM.John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www. transformed. Our nature is changed. It is simply who we used to be before we were born again.readability. p. 149). Word Publishing. "Scripture does not support a dualistic view. It is not an `old nature' that battles with our new nature for control of our wills. Romans 6:6 clearly says that our old self was crucified with Christ. "The OLD SELF refers to the unregenerate nature. 218-219. 1994).. http://www.com/articles/dgicxa9i impossible to be or to have an old and new self" (Colossians and Philemon. p.

are equal but opposite realities that operate in every believer.com/articles/dgicxa9i The old self is no more.readability. Scofield believed all Christians have two active natures--the old or Adamic nature.. p.John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www. It has been crucified. laid aside" (The Vanishing Conscience. The old Adamic nature--with its love for sin. and the divine nature received through the new birth.. it is helpful to examine what is being taught. its thoroughgoing depravity. 137).middletownb. http://www. These. all its evil propensities and its inability to love God or 17 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 . MacArthur Labels the Scofield/Dispensational View of the Two Natures as Erroneous: "I oppose the two-nature dualism that was popularized by The Scofield Reference Bible. he taught. Since this is probably the predominant view in American evangelicalism today. put off.

Therefore. according to this view. The new divine nature is given only to believers. http://www.middletownb.John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www. 217). Here are a few of his statements which have already been cited above along with the year when the statement was made: In 1975 he said. It is a kind of spiritual schizophrenia" (The Vanishing Conscience.. it competes with the old nature for control of the will. "I'm not even convinced 18 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 . godly nature as well.com/articles/dgicxa9i do good--is still alive and powerful.. p. every Christian still has the old sinful nature to contend with--but now has a new.readability. but once implanted within. Summary of MacArthur's denial of the two natures: As time passes MacArthur seems to become more dogmatic in his assertion that the believer has only one nature.

March/April 1990 he said. does not say that a Christian has two different natures. I think you just have one new one that has the possibility of sinning" (Tape GC 2111).middletownb.. the new nature in Christ" (Ephesians. pp. p. In his book published in 1986 he said.readability. then.. "Biblical terminology.com/articles/dgicxa9i you have two natures.there is no such thing as an old nature in the believer" (Freedom From Sin. "it's a serious misunderstanding to think of yourself as having both an old 19 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 .. 31-32). He has but one nature. http://www. 164).John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www. In his book published in 1987 he said.. "I believe it is a serious misunderstanding to think of the believer as having both an old and new nature. In his magazine article.

com/articles/dgicxa9i and new nature" (The Masterpiece..readability.. p. "The Good Natured Believer. 324.. 18. and the article is entitled.middletownb.a person cannot have two different and opposing natures at the same time" (Romans 1-8... p... In his major commentary in 1991 he said. 323. 149).. 334). ".we no longer have the fallen sin nature. "The dualistic view that a Christian has two natures uses unbiblical terminology and can lead to perception that is extremely destructive of holy living. 20 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 .so also is it impossible to be or to have an old and new self" (Colossians and Philemon..John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www.. pp." Even this title reflects his one nature position). In another major commentary in 1992 he said. http://www.

.." "The old nature is destroyed" (see documentation above) So MacArthur is 21 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 . Romans 7).. MacArthur makes it very clear that the "eradication of the believer's sin nature" is not a Biblical doctrine (see Freedom From Sin. "Some theologians would tell us you get to the point where your sin nature is eradicated. 17).It has never been eradicated" (Tape GC 45-53.com/articles/dgicxa9i MACARTHUR'S SEEMINGLY CONTRADICTORY STATEMENTS CONCERNING ERADICATION AND THE OLD NATURE: Dr." "I no longer possess a sin nature." "The old self no longer exists." "God takes away the old nature." "There is only one nature in the believer.readability. http://www. p.middletownb. And yet in the quotes cited above MacArthur says the following: "There is no such thing as an old nature in the believer..John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www.

com/articles/dgicxa9i saying that there is no such thing as an old nature in the believer.. If it is not eradicated then it must still be there.John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www. and yet it has not been eradicated! These statements are contradictory.readability. it has been destroyed.. But if the old nature has been crucified and 22 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 .. When a person is saved God redeems the soul but not the body. but how can it still be there if it does not exist? How can it still be there if the believer no longer possesses it? How can it be "destroyed" and yet not eradicated? (Note: As we will see later. The source of sin in the believer is not the old nature which he no longer possesses. just a new nature.middletownb. what MacArthur really seems to be teaching is this: The believer does not have an old nature. But the believer still has sin.it does not exist. http://www.. but the source of sin is the believer's unredeemed body where sin resides.

"The passage [Romans 7] is obviously a poignant 23 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 . p. and so he teaches against the idea of sin being eradicated. http://www..com/articles/dgicxa9i destroyed and "put off" as MacArthur teaches..middletownb.readability.John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www. 344). On the one hand MacArthur says. then how can he say that it has not been eradicated? Probably MacArthur is here guarding against the false teaching of sinless perfection (which he does not teach). "A person cannot have two different and opposing natures at the same time" (Romans 1-8. but in the same book he says. He recognizes that sin is still present in the believer and he doesn't want anyone to think that this sin principle is no longer there. But let it be said again that MacArthur strongly teaches that the old nature in the believer has been put off and does not exist ).

How can there be such a conflict without two different and opposing natures? On the one hand MacArthur teaches that the old self.393). "The Christian can say that a new man has already arisen in him. but elsewhere in the same book he says. and a corpse. 378). p. Has it ceased to exist or not? On the one hand MacArthur teaches that "the old self has been made a corpse. p." is "dead and no longer exists" (Romans 1-8.. The conflict is real and it is intense" (p. the "old I. has in it no remaining vestige of life" (Romans 1-8.middletownb. one part of him pulling one direction and another part pulling the opposite.. 323). by definition.com/articles/dgicxa9i account of a person's inner conflict with himself.John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www.readability. but in the same 24 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 . http://www. but he also must confess that the sinful part [sic] his old man has not yet ceased to be" (p. 318).

. how can the believed be clothed in him? If the old self is a corpse and has no life at all.com/articles/dgicxa9i book he says this: "because the believer is still clothed in the old self. he shares in His death and resurrection and becomes a different person. They therefore believe your new nature is added to your old nature. http://www.. and you spend the rest of your life in a war zone" (Freedom From Sin.Those who 25 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 . 51). If the old self has ceased to exist.middletownb. NOT AN ADDITION: "Christians are often taught that salvation is merely addition.. 412). "A believer is a new creation in Christ..John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www. p.readability. how can it cause the believer to resist God's will? MACARTHUR'S TEACHING THAT SALVATION IS A TRANSFORMATION.When a person comes to Christ.. not transformation.. he sometimes resists God's will" (p.

. he is a new creation. but transformation of the old to the new self. 'If any man be in Christ. 33). "Second Corinthians 5:17 says. 168).readability. p.John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www. "God has changed our nature" (Freedom From Sin. "The renewal of the mind in salvation brings not simply a renovation of character..The old man has ceased to exist" (Freedom From Sin. 21-22) "Salvation brings about a radical change in the nature of the believer.com/articles/dgicxa9i simply add Christ to their sinful life-styles are not saved at all" (Freedom From Sin.' That's why I'm 26 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 . "Salvation begins with the creative act of God in totally remaking the believer's nature" (Freedom From Sin. pp.. 69)..middletownb. the old self no longer exists" [Study Bible Note under Ephesians 4:24]. http://www. p. p. In Christ.

1 John 3:4-10.. You don't keep the old man and have a new man added to it. http://www. p.John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www.I don't feel comfortable about the idea of an old man and a new man.readability. "(quotes 2 Cor. pp. I don't see it as an addition.. "If. 1975. 5:17) He is re-created.middletownb. 219). I see it as a new life" (Marks of a True Believer. it cannot be defective.com/articles/dgicxa9i not comfortable about the old man/new man concept. I see it as a total new life" (Tape GC 2111. 62-63)..salvation is truly a work of God.. Side 2). (that) you just keep the lousy old man and get a new man added to it. but a whole different one" (The Vanishing Conscience. "We have a new heart--not an added one.. I don't see this as an addition. It cannot fail to impact an 27 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 .. all new! It isn't just the addition of a new thing to the old thing.

Remember. It cannot leave his desires unchanged or his conduct unaltered. A new creature may or may not act as a new creature.middletownb. It is the work of God and will continue steadfastly from its inception to ultimate perfection (Philippians 1:6)" (Gospel According to Jesus. http://www. it does not speak of the believer's actual condition. and yet he also had to tell them in his first epistle that they were carnal. Note: MacArthur key proof text that salvation is transformation is 2 Corinthians 5:17.readability..com/articles/dgicxa9i individual's behavior..John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www. and they walked as men! We should also note that in the Bible 28 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 . p. Paul told the Corinthians that they were new creatures. This verse speaks of our position in Christ. We are new creatures in Christ. 74). It cannot result is a fruitless life.

3:18). transformed by the renewing of our minds and as we behold the glory of Christ in the Word of God we are constantly being changed from one stage of glory to the next. We are to be constantly. seems to be speaking of a sudden and complete transformation that happens the moment a person is saved.middletownb..John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www.com/articles/dgicxa9i the term transformation (metamorphoomai) is used twice of the believer (Romans 12:2 and 2 Cor. on the other hand. but of a gradual transformation which is to be taking place throughout the Christian life. These verses speak not of a total transformation at the point of justification.readability. In both places the term is used of the progressive and gradual change into Christ-likeness which takes place throughout the Christian life.. http://www. day by day. 29 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 . MacArthur.

C. regeneration has transformed the old nature into something good.Sproul defines REGENERATION as a change in a person's nature.C.All who are regenerated are changed.com/articles/dgicxa9i This kind of teaching seems common among Reformed men. Dispensationalists have taught that REGENERATION is the impartation of 30 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 . Faith Alone. Sproul.The believer is a changed person... According to this view...John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www.readability. R. by the efficacious work of the Holy Spirit.middletownb... already begun" (R. Here are his words: "Regeneration is a vital change in a person's nature. Reformed theology views regeneration as the immediate supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that effects the change of the soul's disposition... He is still a sinner but is in process of spiritual reversal that has. http://www. pages 111. For example.26).

not because his old nature has been improved or reformed or transformed.The believer. and a new nature. received through the new birth..John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www.com/articles/dgicxa9i a new nature but not the transformation of the old nature. http://www.. which is the nature of God Himself. which is wholly and hopelessly bad.. but this is because he possesses Christ. received by natural birth. It is true that the believer is a changed person..middletownb. while still having his old 31 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 . Scofield said it this way: The Scriptures teach that every regenerate person is the possessor of two natures: one. and therefore wholly good.readability..

unchanged and unchangeable..I. chapter on "The Believer's Two Natures").middletownb. John MacArthur's One Nature Position .com/articles/dgicxa9i nature. (C. not a mere transformation—the bringing in a new thing. not the change of an old. Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth.. has received a new nature which `after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.readability.John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www.Sunday School & Bible Studies 32 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 .' It will be seen that regeneration is a creation.Index Home Page . Scofield. http://www.

.Doctrinal Studies Christian Home & Family Dispensationalism .John MacArthur's One Nature Teaching — www..htm 33 of 33 28/03/2013 23:04 .Missions & Evangelism .Studies on Biblical Separation Original URL: http://www.middletownb.Problems with Reformed Theology The Local Church .com/articles/dgicxa9i . http://www.middletownbiblechurch.Help for the Seeking Heart Salvation .Christian Life .org/doctrine/1natjm01.Bible Study .Prophecy .readability.

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