Two questions for Calvinists
 that support John MacArthur's view of Judas Iscariot

By Sonny Hernandez

In a sermon titled “The Master's Men Part 5: Judas Iscariot,”[1] John MacArthur taught that Jesus loved Judas Iscariot. Read the sermon manuscript and you will see that MacArthur said, “But Jesus loved him [Judas]…,” and “He [Christ] was showing love to him [Judas],” and argued that Jesus’ actions towards Judas were “…an act of love.” Personally, I reject these despicable and unbiblical notions, and if you disagree, respectfully, let’s see how you respond to two questions below to see if you are biblically faithful, or just a fan boy, so to speak.

First Question

Despite MacArthur’s love language and teachings about Jesus having loved Judas, where does the Bible explicitly say that Christ loved Judas?

There are no verses in the Bible which teach that Christ loved Judas. During His incarnate ministry, Christ said that it would have “been good for that man [Judas] if he had not been born” (Matthew 26:24), and He also referred to Judas as “a devil” (John 6:70), but never said that He loved Judas. Interestingly, MacArthur teaches that Jesus loved Judas, but Jesus called Judas “the son of perdition” (John 17:12).

Teachers like MacArthur often fail to explain how God can love and hate reprobates simultaneously. The Bible teaches that God “hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psalm 5:5), and “the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth” (Psalm 11:5). Arguing that God can love and hate reprobates simultaneously violates the laws of logic. Logic is not a standard that exists apart from God, but is an expression of His infinite, eternal, and immutable character. And logic is not contradicting, because God is not contradicting. Put another way—logic exists—because God exists.

Second Question

Where does the Bible teach that Christ tried to save Judas?

MacArthur teaches that Jesus pleaded with Judas and tried to save him. In an article titled “Unmasking the Betrayer,”[2] MacArthur said, “…Jesus gave him warnings and pleas to bring him to repentance and salvation. And at every point he turned it down. We see that clearly in John 13.”

God ordained Judas for eternal destruction; thus, it is absurd to argue that Christ had pleaded with Judas to be saved. Several hundred years before his birth, the Bible teaches that Judas would be the one who would betray Christ (Psalms 41:9, 55:12-14, 20-21; Zechariah 11:12-13). According to MacArthur, Jesus was trying to save Judas, but according to the Bible, God the Father ordained Judas for perdition, and God the Son reaffirmed this, “…and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12, emphasis mine).

MacArthur taught that Jesus tried to save Judas, but “at every point he turned it down. We see that clearly in John 13.” This implies that Christ failed, and Judas could have chosen to be saved and not betray Christ. MacArthur’s imbecilic argument should be rejected based on the following:

First, the Bible never teaches that Jesus tried to save Judas, and Christ never fails to save all for whom He died. In John 19:30, Christ said, “it is finished.” The Greek word Τετέλεσται (“it is finished”) is in the perfect tense, which indicates that the action was accomplished or completed, once and for all.

Second, the Bible never maintains that Christ loved or tried to save Judas, and it is impossible to argue that Christ was offering salvation to Judas, if He never purchased salvation for him. The Bible teaches that Christ died for the elect (John 10:11), not the goats (John 10:26). Therefore, if the Bible teaches that the gospel is Christ’s substitutionary death and perfect obedience that is imputed to God’s elect, arguing that Christ tried to save Judas—despite the fact that His Father ordained his perdition and Christ never died and shed His blood for him—is tantamount to saying that Jesus was offering a different gospel to Judas.

Moreover, implying that Judas could have chosen to be saved, and not betray Christ, blatantly ignores the fact that several hundred years before his birth, the Old Testament prophesied (Psalms 41:9, 55:12-14, 20-21; Zechariah 11:12-13) that Judas would be the one to betray Christ. Jesus reaffirmed this in John 13:26. This means that it is literally impossible for Judas to have chosen not to be the one who would betray Christ.

Lastly, to argue that Judas had turned down Jesus’ pleas of salvation, MacArthur referenced John 13. This is a horrible interpretation of this text. A simple review of John 13 reveals that Jesus never offered Judas salvation, and He knew Judas would betray him (v. 26). Jesus knew, because He is God the Son and is thereby all-knowing, and because His Word teaches that Judas would be the one to betray Him, as previously discussed. Yes, Judas rejected Christ, because God ordained that he would deny Christ, not because Judas turned down Jesus’s offer of salvation. Closing

Regardless of what MacArthur thinks, the Bible does not teach that Christ loved and tried to save Judas. The Bible teaches that Christ loved and died for His elect (Ephesians 5:25), not for reprobates. This means that Judas was not loved by Christ, because God ordained his perdition, and Christ never died for him. Thus, Christians need to examine what MacArthur teaches and compare it with the Bible, then remind themselves about Romans 3:4, “…let God be true, but every man a liar” (emphasis mine).

[1] MacArthur, J. (1981, May 31). The Master's Men Part 5: Judas Iscariot. Retrieved October 30, 2020, from https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/2276/the-masters-men-part-5-judas-iscariot

[2] MacArthur, J. (2016, August 18). Unmasking the Betrayer. Retrieved October 30, 2020, from https://www.gty.org/library/articles/P26/unmasking-the-betrayer

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The opinions expressed here are solely those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of any government, military, or religious organization.

Sonny Hernandez