An open appeal to John MacArthur to reverse his decision...

We all were shocked by John MacArthur's announced promotion of the NIV2011. Gobsmacked.

Here is a man who has spent his life working his rod and staff in protection of the flock of God. Then this.

John's not been afraid to beat off wolves from the inside. His Gospel According to Jesus was a wonderful encouragment in defending the Gospel of grace against Dallas Theological Seminary and Grace Theological Seminary men who thought they must deny Christ as Lord to embrace Him as Savior. And like many of you, I praised God for the man as I read that book.

It was no aberration, as I'm sure Iain Murray makes clear through his autobiography of John recently released. And there's that, also: likely the man David and I have benefitted from more across our life's work than any other--Iain Murray--showed his commendation of John by giving himself to John's biography. Honestly, there could be little higher commendation for us this side of Heaven than Iain choosing to do this work.

Feminists aren't on the inside of John's world and church so why has he gone and made common cause with them at this late date? Has he grown weary? Has he changed his mind...

on sex-neutered Bible translation? Does he want to make nice as he ages?

Right there I'm sure many find themselves angry, again. How dare I accuse John of growing weary? Of changing his minnd? The very idea of John deciding to change course and "make nice" is ludicrous. John is not interested in making nice. His only commitment is fighting the good fight and finishing the course in a way that pleases his Master.

Alright then, why? Why has John allowed his name to be used to promote a Bible that systematically repudiates the Fatherhood of God writ large over man? Why has he decided to sell a Bible that deletes the name "adam" God gave the race? Why is he promoting a Bible that obscures the federal headship of Adam over that race? That hides the wonderful truth of Scripture that all die in that "one man" Adam? We didn't die in both Adam and Eve, nor did we die in that first eater of the fruit, Eve.

When we stop to count the doctrines attacked by the systematic destruction of the Holy Spirit's name for the race used throughout Sacred Scripture, we pinch ourselves and ask, again, why would John do such a thing? What is his motivation? Is he really so naive as to think calling the NIV2011 the "MacArthur Study Bible" is not misleading of the sheep who look to him for safe pasture? Can he be oblivious to the power of marketing and sales? To the ignorance of consumers--"Well, John MacArthur's name is on it so it must be OK."

Actually, this is what I think and I'd be happy for someone to prove me wrong. Deep down inside where a man ruminates over such decisions and makes them, John came to the conclusion that neutering the sex markings of Scripture is no big deal. He concluded that the doctrine of God's name for the race is fine to leave behind because no other doctrine hangs on it. And added to these conclusions, he felt it important that his life's work residing in his notes have the broadest possible distribution, even at the expense of endorsing what he sees as only a slightly imperfect Bible translation. As he's pointed out justifying his decision, all Bible translations are slightly imperfect.

Anyhow, we're left with the fact of John's name and work promoting an ideological attack upon the Word and Words of God and it's left us flabbergasted. We've loved John and trusted his work. We've commended his work to many. I'll never forget listening to his sermons on Timothy back in my first pastorate out of seminary. What strength those sermons gave me for my work! I've been grateful for them (and him) throughout my ministry. How many times I've recollected them and been strengthened to do what's right.

Others may be so close to John that they don't feel able to question his decision or to ask him to reverse it. Being Presbyterians, David and I have that freedom.

John, for the sake of the Gospel according to Jesus Christ, reverse this decision. God will give you the distribution of your study notes that He wants without you promoting an ideological feminist abuse of His Word. Go for depth and leave the breadth to Him.

Write Zondervan and Nelson and tell them you've changed your mind. Please, dear brother. It's not a matter of picking sides between conservatives and liberals. It's a matter of obeying the God Who warns us:

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18, 19)

In my own MacArthur Study Bible fifteen years old, now, I find your comment on this text above:

These are not the first such warnings (cf. Deut. 4:2, 12:32; Prov. 30:6; Jer. 26:2). These warnings against altering the biblical text represent the close of the NT canon. Anyone who tampers with the truth by attempting to falsify, mitigate, alter, or misinterpret it will incur the judgments described in these verses.

Save one last sentence, these words above are the conclusion of your study notes for Scripture. Listen to them, dear brother.

Your own MacArthur Study Bible will tamper with the truth by falsifying, mitigating, and altering the very text of Scripture. And while you didn't do the translation yourself, you will be selling the translation with your own name and work.

Don't do it. We love you and want to see you end well. We appeal to you as a father.

A faithful shepherd doesn't mislead God's sheep.


I hope Mr. MacArthur actually sees this. Should readers re-post this wherever possible?

Sure, do as you think best, dear brother.


Dear Tim,

Thank you. This is my hope also. Money talk aside. The decision to link the MSB to the latest NIV Bible is a very bad decision and as you say, does not hold consistent with John MacArthur's years of unflinching faithfulness.

Through the years I have rejoiced when seeing John on Larry King Live, knowing that he would tell the truth regardless of what it meant when others wilted under the pressure.

As we draw nearer to the end of our race and ministry, we want to declare even more loudly and boldly don't we? Our later days are days where we want to hold firm, not give way. What a snare this is and how frequently we see it that men do this toward the end. May God grant that John not do so.

I do not know anyone at GTY personally but I can only assume that the decision to link arms with Zondervan flowed from the desire to get more people in contact with John's thoughts on the Scriptures. We must remember that the product here is not the Bible alone but the "John MacAruther Study Bible". Even so, no fallible man's thoughts on the Bible are important enough to promote this unfaithful, dangerous translation of the Bible. Not even Luther's or Calvin's.

May God grant John and those at GTY to turn back from this association with the NIV. I am sure that they will be glad they did and so will the Church of God.

Love, Gary

It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.
- Syme, character in the novel 1984


Amen Tim, this post really hits the heart of the matter.

I hope someone will post it to John MacArthur as I'm not sure he reads blogs.

On a related note, just this morning I read a shockingly candid statement in the Preface to Bakers 3rd Edition of the English translation of the Apostolic Fathers that reveals the aggressive agenda of gender neutering that is sweeping across the church:

"various strategies were used to avoid inclusive use of masculine pronouns wherever possible"


The NIV2010 is just a reflection of what is happening all around. I expect it to get even worse in the next revision.

I think one problem is that many conservatives do not actually see the issue seriously enough. The guys at Team Pyro, despite much of their good work, tend to be pretty quiet when it comes to the encroachment of feminism in our society. I'm not sure they see eye to eye with you on it, so perhaps they do not really feel the NIV 2010 is that bad. I'm not sure if this is a reflection on John MacArthur though.

Perhaps it is worth blogging through Grudem/Poythress' book or something to help educate your readers better. Michael Marlowe of also has some excellent articles on the subject.

Coming soon to Amazon:

Announcing the New and Improved

John MacArthur 'Preacher Girl' Study Bible™

"You've Come a Long Way, Baby!"

I started thinking that scrapping the NIV MSB is impossible. After all, a business deal has been finalized. It's been announced all over. It's a done deal.

But I had to reprove my faithless mind and believe Jesus when He said that with men this impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Not only could John MacArthur change his mind on this MSB, he could even denounce the 2011 NIV. May God get all the glory when the 2011 NIV go the way of the TNIV.

This should have been your first post brother...

May it find good soil.

Al sends

My dear brother, Bill Mouser, couldn't get his comment to "take," so here it is. Which is to say Fr. Bill Mouser wrote the following:

"We all were shocked by John MacArthur's announced promotion of the NIV2010. Gobsmacked."

Then, dear brothers, you are in a tiny minority of Christian leaders. Not only does the gobsmacked minority not include John MacArthur, but also does not include his chief lietenant at GTY (Phil Johnson), who by his own testimony here and at his blog explains why he contends for linking MacArthur's work with the NIV2010 ~against~ John MacArthur's original inclination against such a move.

Because you are gobsmacked (and I was too!), you ask "Why? Why, why, why?" It's a dangerous question to ask, because that question more than any other goes straight to motive, a thing exceedingly difficult to nail down.

When asking this question, one is usually left to speculation alone, and -- here's where I think you made a strategic error -- you opined on a financial motive. Such a motive has theoretical possibility, maybe even circumstantial plausibility given the realities doing Christian ministry in a modern economy. But, whether or not you meant to posit venality on John MacArthur's part, venality is what everyone heard (including the gobsmacked). John's defenders, energized by justifiable outrage that such a motive on John's part was a factor, leapt to his defense, and I'd wager you pretty much lost all your readers as far as the point you are seeking to make (all over again) in this blog post.

After impugning John MacArthur's character (whether you actually did this or not is virtually irrelevant; it's what almost everyone -- including most likely John himself if he's privy to all this! -- has heard), do you think a revised appeal for him to reverse his decision will be received?

Nevertheless, your revised appeal has this going for it -- it puts a finger on the real reason for going forward with so unnatural a union as John MacArthur's study notes and the NIV2010. You nailed it when you wrote this:

"Actually, this is what I think and I'd be happy for someone to prove me wrong. Deep down inside where a man ruminates over such decisions and makes them, John came to the conclusion that neutering the sex markings of Scripture is no big deal. He concluded that the doctrine of God's name for the race is fine to leave behind because no other doctrine hangs on it."


And this is the very thing both you and I and a few others over the past 20 years have run into over and over and over again, particularly within the ranks of "complementarians."

How often have you heard complementarian pastors, seminary professors, and mission executives -- complementarians, mind you -- say something like this: "The feminists do have a point in their favor, and we must take care to listen to their grievances and to address them." How often have such complementarian ~leaders~ taken those who champion patriarchy to task, warning them that they must take elaborate care to avoid falling into abusive attitudes and actions toward women in the church?

As for foundational Christian doctrine -- i.e. the incarnation, the Trinity, the economy of salvation, not to mention the more obvious doctrines of male headship in marriage, family, church, and society; the real versus the merely metaphorical Fatherhood of God; the ordination of women as elders and deacons -- when I've tried to argue that religious feminism undercuts and degrades all of these doctrines, those to whom I've made this case face-to-face quickly get glazed eyes, nervous twitching of the fingers,
irresistable urges to change the subject to ... well, to anything else. I'm a well-meaning crank to such people. So are both of you. And these are supposed to be our friends, our comrades in the Gospel.

" ... neutering the sex markings of Scripture is no big deal."

There is the rationale for pairing the work of a complementarian like John MacArthur with an English translation like the NIV2010. And, so long as John MacArthur, and Phil Johnson, and others at GTY think this, no appeal will avail. Your appeal won't be considered any longer than it takes to recognize it as one more crank complaint from johnny-one-note Christian pastors.

>>This should have been your first post brother...

Actually, it found it's mark. Quite telling, I thought. May God use this one, also.

>>johnny-one-note Christian pastors.

When his people complained about his frequent preaching against fornication, Spurgeon said, "When you stop doing it, I'll stop preaching against it."

When Evangelicals stop getting rich off their writing and speaking enterprises, I'll stop warning against it. When homeschooling mothers start honoring and obeying their husbands, I'll stop preaching submission. When I stop being proud, I'll stop confessing my sin.



Well, since I've never gotten rich -- not even made a living! -- from speaking or writing, I'l keep on tooting my one note, or at least this anti-religious-feminist note, as long as I have breath to blow the horn.

Thanks for the help with posting. I think, sometimes, that Typepad and my word processor just don't get along.

Fr. Bill,
What would it take to get you and Barbara up to Bloomington for the next ClearNote Fellowship conference? I would really like to meet you.

There's something really encouraging and strengthening about a joyful hoary-headed warrior. Fight on, father!


"What would it take to get you and Barbara up to Bloomington for the next ClearNote Fellowship conference?"

Planning, and nothing else that has an earlier claim on my attention and attendance. I see the date for this year's conference is ... well, ending today! So, I'll need to learn when the conference for 2013 is scheduled, I suppose.

That's the pastors' conference, but the conference for everybody is scheduled for July 6-8 of this year. Do come.

Fr Bill,

Come July, I'll make the trek if you do.


The decision by John MacArthur clearly demonstrates that he and his close associates believe that MacArthur's Study Notes will correct any errors of the NIV translation. The Study Notes would overrule an erroneous translation and aid the Holy Spirit in teaching the truth. It is the Word of God that is quick and active, not anyone's study notes. The Bible instructs us to meditate on the Word of God, not study notes written by a flawed person. If the Word of God is deliberately tampered with, the Truth is tampered with. Is the unction of the Spirit applied to such a situation? One may conclude from MacArthur's reasoning that his study notes appended to the New World Translation would turn Jehovah's Witnesses to the Truth.

Nothing new under the sun... I call them scripture wars.

Is Martin Luther guilty in light of Rev.22:18f ? He did "adds to"

"Dr. Emser, one of the most learned opponents of the Reformation, singled out in Luther's New Testament several hundred linguistic blunders and heretical falsifications. (35) Many of them were silently corrected in later editions. He published, by order of Duke George of Saxony, a new translation (1527) for the purpose of correcting the errors of 'Luther and other heretics.' (36)
The charge that Luther adapted the translation to his theological opinions has become traditional in the Roman Church, and is repeated again and again by her controversialists and historians. (37)
The same objection has been raised against the Authorized English Version. (38)
In both cases, the charge has some foundation, but no more than the counter-charge which may be brought against Roman Catholic Versions.
The most important example of dogmatic influence in Luther's version is the famous interpolation of the word alone in Rom. 3:28 (allein durch den Glauben), by which he intended to emphasize his solifidian doctrine of justification, on the plea that the German idiom required the insertion for the sake of clearness. (39) But he thereby brought Paul into direct verbal conflict with James, who says (James 2:24), 'by works a man is justified, and not only by faith' ('nicht durch den Glauben allein'). It is well known that Luther deemed it impossible to harmonize the two apostles in this article, and characterized the Epistle of James as an 'epistle of straw,' because it had no evangelical character ('keine evangelische Art')."

Furthermore Zondervan and Nelson have no particular commitment to the Truth. Their publications list promotes anything and anyone that may turn a dollar. The Banner of Truth for instance, had to fill a gap these now mega conglomerates would not contemplate. The comments of the publishers only serve to market a product which will produce profits. Theirs is not a ministry. John MacArthur is now entrenched in that mindset.
John MacArthur is only a faithful servant if he remains faithful to the Truth. To claim that all translations are slightly imperfect overlooks the reality that, unless he can claim direct revelation, his study notes must be more than slightly imperfect. This would make the combination as published terribly hazardous to readers and may induce an idolatrous status for John MacArthur and his insights. We must have a faithful translation, not John MacArthur. We must have a work of the Holy Spirit, not the adulation of John MacArthur and his efforts. Like all the great men of God he only remains great as he honours God and His Word in word and deed. John MacArthur has betrayed the trust by allowing greater honour and effect to his flawed study notes and the machinations of publishers. John MacArthur's status is only due to a gift given by God and the indolence and stupidity of a large part of the flock! Only as he rightly divides the Word we may and perhaps should thank God for John Macarthur's ministry. If the Word cannot be relied on what is John MacArthur rightly dividing? Suggest that if his notes are that great, perhaps a accurate translation based on them would bring greater honour. If the Word of God is slightly imperfect - just fix the slight imperfections and forget the study notes. To espouse the new combination is a grievous error.

Tim, I'm reminded of a certain product of Master's Seminary, and I conclude that casting too wide a net results in one losing track of the details. Whatever the motive, fidelity escapes.

Even if a contract has been signed, the author can decide not to write the book if he returns the "advance" on royalties. He is legally bound, but publishers customarily do not require any more than a return of the advance. With a big-budget book like this, the publisher might not be so forgiving, but the author can still breach the contract if he pays the publisher damages to compensate for lost profits. That would be worth it in this case (especially if pastor MacArthur really doesn't care in the slightest about money).

Tim, as I understand it Dr. MacArthur's notes would not change in this edition and I wonder how the notes will help challenge the textual corruption if they do not address the issue in his already existing notes. Can you look at the existing notes for some of the passages you have pointed to in earlier posts and see how he deals with those texts? Would his notes address the malformation of the TNIV?

Thanks and God bless,

al sends

Dear Al,

Time constraints won't allow me to do this. Sorry. Maybe someone else can check on it.



I've just given a cursory glance to some of the verses in the previous post in relation to the notes in the MSB NKJV and have a feeling that Zondervan didn't have any problems accepting them "as is" to go alongside their new translation.

As time permits I will post some of the individual notes alongside the verses.



Might I suggest that you compile a few and then send them to Tim so that he could post them in a new post. Perhaps we can get verification on whether or not the notes will go "as is" into the new translation.

al sends

We sent a letter to John last year in regards to his NIV references in his books that he has written, listing our concerns and asking him why? Why use the NIV?(As well has other preachers and people of influence among the church) He did not reply! neither did 99% of the other's. The one that did reply, through his staff stated " X does not think the the KJ is any more anointed, than any other translation..." WHAT?  I pray for John, and hope the Lord opens his eyes, but I "will not listen to John's words, again" he has been deceived if he considers that his words are greater than our Lords...The evidence of the corruption of these translations, as overwhelming. There is nothing, that justifies putting ones name or endorsement to it...  Please repent John, and stand away from this position... 

I wrote a letter to John MacArthur in Dec. of 2011 in regards to my concerns over this translation. My letter was based on months of research and not just sent on a whim. I have read most of MacArthurs books and found much good information in them (although I found him to be too wordy in many) I mainly wanted to know why so many noted christian authors quoted the NIV when its content was lacking to say the least. I didn't understand how any true believer could edify this translation, I sincerely wanted to know the answer to my questions. John MacArthur never took time to respond to my plea and now I understand why I was ignored.

I think you are making a big mistake in doing this NIV study bible John MacArthur. It will be interesting to know how you explain Isaiah 14:12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! And 2 Peter1:19 And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Rev 2:28 I will also give him the morning star.Rev 22:16 "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." Quoted from the NIV: in your notes. Just exactly which morning star is to rise in our hearts? The one from Isaiah who laid low the nations and was cast down to earth? (My Bible Uses Lucifer in this verse) Or the one in Revelation? Jesus! How can the morning star be Lucifer and Jesus? 

Perhaps you will do well to add study notes to another popular Bible Zondervan/Harper Collins publishes and owns the copyright to The Satanic Bible. 

No one can serve two masters John MacArthur I am praying that you see the light and change your mind about doing this. If not I have to question which master you have chosen to serve?

I won't be expecting a response to this comment, I am no longer a voice in the wilderness seeking your wisdom, I no longer believe you have any scholarly advice worth listening to. It's so sad...I thought you were a Truth Warrior! You will be in my prayers.


A concerned believer...God Bless

Since this post continues to be read (including just now), it's worth noting that John's response to this appeal was his right hand man, Phil Johnson, removing Baylyblog from Pyromaniacs' links. Very clear response and very sad.

Having reviewed the Pyro lads blog roll there isn't one left on there that I read with any regularity.  Doug Wilson comes the closest but I don't read him all that much these days either.  But my wife reads Nancy's blog regularly, that comes close.