In a comment reminiscent of his “Go home” quip to Beth Moore, John MacArthur recently told a female YouTuber critical of Calvinism “to keep her thoughts to herself” and instead listen to him.
MacArthur made his comments during an interview posted to YouTube with Josh Buice, founder and president of G3 Ministries. Though MacArthur doesn’t mention the name of the woman he’s addressing, it appears he’s referring to Alana Lagares, a popular YouTuber who’s discussed her journey away from Calvinism on her channel.
Calvinism is a theological system based on the teachings of Reformer John Calvin that emphasizes the sovereignty of God, depravity of mankind, and the doctrine of predestination. The opposite system, called Arminianism, is based on the teachings of Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius and emphasizes mankind’s free will.
After discussing how he’s refined and tested his understanding of Calvinism over decades of study and exposition, MacArthur stated:
I was looking at the Internet the other day, and some wistful girl said, ‘How I became a Calvinist and left Calvinism.’ Well, the sophomoric comment like that from somebody, who should keep her thoughts to herself because she has no idea what she’s talking about, is to be measured against someone who for 50 years, has taken every text of the Bible and, and put doctrine into that text and see if it survives. And I can say that it has.
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“I think my jaw dropped and I was just like, ‘Hector!’ and I got like my husband. ‘You need to see this! Can this possibly be me?’” she said.
Lagares added that she’s been listening to MacArthur for 21 years and is “very, very fond of him” and has a “sisterly in Christ affection for the man. . . .
“But when I separate that, and hear the words that he’s saying, I’m like, ‘Man, that’s rude. That’s proud. That’s like, totally disregarding a fellow sister in the Lord—her thoughts, her findings, the way the Lord’s working in her life, and kind of just like taking away all credibility, so no one will go listen to her. ‘Shut her up. Silence her. She is beneath me,’ you know?”
In his podcast, Flowers questioned whether MacArthur would have made the same comments he made about Lagares to a man. He also questioned whether MacArthur would have said the same things had Lagares been coming out of Arminianism into Calvinism.
“I think the obvious answer, probably to both those questions is probably no,” Flowers said.
Flowers also criticized MacArthur for urging Lagares to do the opposite of what the apostle Paul commended the Bereans for doing in Acts 17. The passage says Paul commended the Bereans for searching the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true.
“So, I would just say to you, Elena . . . you’re being noble minded, by going to the Scripture and holding up what MacArthur has been teaching and what he has taught up next to the Scriptures, and then coming to a conclusion.”
Flowers added, “The priesthood of every believer says that you have every right to go to the throne room, to study the Scriptures for yourself, and not to make the mistakes that we saw the Catholic Church make during the time of the Reformation of ultimately saying, ‘We are the authorities. We tell you what the Bible says. You don’t even need to read the Bible for yourselves because we will tell you what it says.’”
Lagare noted that when she supported Calvinist teachings on her channel, no one seemed to have a problem with her discussing theology. But since she’s started questioning Calvinism, she’s been subject to harsh criticism and the suggestion that as a woman, she shouldn’t teach.
“My Channel’s never been an issue until I started to talk about Calvinism,” Lagare said. “And then all of a sudden, ‘Repent! You’re taking the teacher role. You need to de-platform. You’re in grave danger’—all this stuff. And it’s only because . . . it’s speaking against what you what you believe.”
Lagare said the experience has been “very hard,” even though she’s also heard from many people who have expressed how her critiques of Calvinism have helped them come to similar convictions.
“But man, it’s just a long, difficult road,” she said. “And so, the gaslighting—it’s still there, even though I’m not necessarily in contact with people. It’s just like in my brain, you know, the old messages are still there. So, it’s just hard to know, like, ‘Lord help me just listen to you,’ you know. And what I keep coming back to is, stories are powerful. . . . And my main message is what you just said, go to the Scriptures. Go to the Scriptures.”