John Macarthur's Heretical Teaching Regarding the Blood of Christ

For more than 30 years John Macarthur has been consistent in teaching that there is no saving power in the blood of Jesus Christ.  In 1976, John Macarthur said in an article he wrote entitled, "Not His Bleeding But His Dying": 

"It was His death that was efficacious...not His blood...Christ did not bleed to death. The shedding of blood has nothing to do with bleeding...it simply means death...violent sacrificial death...Nothing in His human blood saves..." (John Macarthur and the Blood of Christ). (The 3 dots between phrases is how Macarthur was quoted and it doesn't represent something I left out.)  

In a letter dated August 29, 1986 Macarthur said, "The blood of Christ is precious-but as precious as it is, His physical blood could not save." (John Macarthur and the Blood of Christ).

Hebrews 9:13-14 states, "For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" In The Macarthur Study Bible (copyright 2006), John Macarthur states in his notes regarding God's use of the word "blood" in this verse that "blood is used as a substitute word for death." According to Strong's Concordance, the Greek word for blood in this verse is "haima" which means "blood" and does not mean death.  

In the YouTube video below entitled, "John MacArthur Defends Himself on the Blood of Christ," John Macarthur, being interviewed by Phil Johnson, the Executive Director of Grace To You, in an attempt to defend himself against charges of heresy regarding his views on the blood of Christ, makes the following heretical statements: 

"You have to stop short of saying 'We are saved by the blood of Jesus,' in the sense that there is some efficacy in the fluid that poured out of His body." 

"We don't want to get caught into this bizarre notion that somehow in the actual fluid that came out of the body of Jesus there is saving power or saving efficacy." 

"There is nothing in the fluid in His body that in any way in itself could save us."  

"When the New Testament refers to salvation by His blood, it is not talking about salvation by His fluid; it uses blood as a metaphor or a synonym for death because it conveys the violence of it." 

"Blood is a euphemism for His death."  

John MacArthur Defends Himself on the Blood of Christ

In quotations below is an excerpt from the article entitled "Another Look at Macarthur and the Blood of Christ" by Pastor E.L.Bynum. 

"Contrary to what MacArthur's says, the Bible does place strong emphasis on the saving power of the blood of Christ.

"His blood was shed for the remission of sins. When Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper, He took the cup which contained the fruit or juice of the vine and said, 'For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.' (Matt. 26:28). Of course, the fruit of the vine did not turn into the blood of Christ, but it symbolized something that was real, and that was the blood of Christ. Christ's blood was shed for the remission of sins. 

"We have been purchased by His blood. When Paul was speaking to the elders of the Church at Ephesus, he told them 'to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.' (Acts 20:28). 

"Redemption and remission of sins cannot be apart from FAITH IN HIS BLOOD." (Rom. 3:24,25). 

"We are justified by His blood. 'Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.' (Rom. 5:9). We gladly affirm that 'Christ died for us' as we are told in v.8, but by so doing we will never, never play down the value of His blood. The Bible places great emphasis on both the death of Christ, and the shed blood of Christ. Why should anyone try to play down either His death, or His shed blood?? 

"We have redemption through His blood. 'In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sin, according to the riches of his grace.' (Eph. 1:7) 'In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.' (Col. 1:14). There is no redemption for the sinner, and there is no forgiveness of sins apart from the shed blood of Christ. 

"We have peace through His blood. 'And having made peace through the blood of his cross.' (Col. 1:20) 

"We are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (See Eph. 2:12). 

"By His own blood He entered into the holy place. 'Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.' (Heb. 9:12) On the day of atonement, the high priest took the blood of a bullock into the holy place and sprinkled it on the mercy seat for his own sins. Then he took the blood of a goat into that same place and sprinkled it on the mercy seat for the sins of the people. (See Lev. 16). Jesus did not do that. He entered into the holy place in heaven, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood. It was done once, not every year, or perpetually! 

"Our sins are purged, and remitted by the blood of Christ. 'Without shedding of blood is no remission.' (Heb. 9:22). 

"We are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. Peter, by divine inspiration tells us that we are 'redeemed..with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.' (I Pet. 1:18,19) . 

"Our sins are cleansed by the blood of Christ. 'The blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth us from all sin.' (I John 1:7). 

"We are washed from our sins by His blood. 'Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.' (Rev. 1:5). MacArthur says that 'washed' should be 'delivered.' We don't buy that, but even if it were so, we would still be 'delivered from our sins in this own blood.' 

"We are redeemed to God by His blood. (See Rev. 5:9) 

"Tribulation saints will wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. (See Rev. 7:14). 

"Will You Believe MacArthur, Or The Bible? 

"In light of the above Scriptures, as well as many others, I am amazed that any man would have the audacity to say, 'It was His death that was efficacious...not His blood.' Who is he to say, 'Nothing in His human blood saves?'"


Meeting on the campus of Bob Jones University on August 4-8, 1986, the World Congress of Fundamentalists wanting "to distance themselves from the false teaching of John Macarthur" passed a resolution on the blood of Christ which can be read below.  In the assessment of Pastor Bynum, the timing of this resolution was a reaction to John Macarthur's heretical stance. 

"While MacArthur's name is not mentioned in the Bible Study or in the Resolution, there is no doubt in my mind as to why they are speaking out at this very time. While MacArthur is trying to make out like fundamental leaders are in agreement with him on the blood, we venture to say that there are many fundamental pastors who are deeply disturbed over his stand. We believe that there are many who want to distance themselves from the false teaching of John MacArthur." (3). 

Regarding the Position of the World Congress of Fundamentalists on the Blood of Christ 

Whereas the physical body of Christ in the Holy Scriptures means the real, literal body of God the Son incarnate; so also in the Holy Scriptures when the Blood of Christ is mentioned, it is the real, literal Blood which was poured out from that same body and which accomplished our redemption. 

The Bible reveals the mysteries of our redemption. In that revelation a divine principle is revealed, illustrated, and enforced. That principle is "..Without shedding of blood is no remission"(Heb. 9:22). 

Sin can only be atoned for and cleansed from the heart of the sinner by the precious Blood of God's appointed Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ must die once for all, but His death must be by literal blood-shedding; and the Blood shed becomes the all-sufficient merit by which sin's guilt-power, and ultimately its very present, are destroyed. 

The Holy Scriptures nowhere separate the voluntary death of Christ from the sacrificial shedding of His sinless Blood, but rather links them inextricably in one inseparable act. 

The Bible Reveals: 

1. That the precious Blood is incorruptible. It cannot be anything else because of its intrinsic purity. I Peter 1:18,19: "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold...But with the precious blood of Christ.." 

2. That the precious blood is indestructible. It cannot be anything else because of its permanence. The Blood is eternally preserved in Heaven. Hebrews 12:24: "And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel." 

3. That the precious Blood is invaluable. It cannot be anything else because of its parentage. It is the Blood of God incarnate. Leviticus 17:11: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood..." Acts 20:28: "...the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." 

4. That the precious Blood is indispensable. It cannot be anything else because of its power. No sinner can be saved without washing in the Blood of the Lamb. Revelations 7:14: "..these are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." 

Therefore, this Congress: 

1. Reaffirms its adherence to the Scriptural teaching on this subject; 

2. Rejects every attempt either to deny the literalness of the Blood or to minimize its efficacy and the necessity of its shedding in Christ's death on the cross. Such denial is a dangerous and devilish deception

3. Calls upon Fundamentalist preachers and God's saints everywhere to proclaim anew the saving efficacy of the shed Blood of Christ in His death on the cross, and to alert the Church in regard to all heretical teaching on this vital truthever remembering that we overcome the devil himself by the Blood of the Lamb. Revelation 12:11: "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony..."
But once and for all time Jesus Christ was/is the Lamb of God whose blood atones for sin. Why would anyone try to downplay the shed blood of Jesus Christ? What would be the motivation for this? In stating that there is no saving power in the blood of Jesus Christ, John Macarthur is believing in a false Christ.  

Apostle Paul commanded Christians to separate from those who teach heresy. “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” (Titus 3:10-11) 

“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (II John 1:9-11)