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In the first edition of Hard to Believe, John MacArthur said some things that sounded like works salvation. What does he really believe and teach on this issue?

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A significant error was inadvertently introduced into the first edition of Hard to Believe, just before it went to press, which contradicted the message of the book by suggesting that salvation is the fruit of godly living. John MacArthur did not see the final manuscript revision before it went to press, and would never have approved such a statement. (You can read the original retraction here, and you can read the account of how the error came about here.)

John MacArthur has always believed and taught that salvation is wholly by the grace of God, which is a free gift that comes to the sinner only through faith in Jesus Christ. You can read or listen to John MacArthur’s position on salvation in his series The Doctrines of Grace (available for free on our website, click here).

John MacArthur has never believed or taught that salvation is based on human works. However, some of John’s detractors have tried to associate his teaching—what they have called “lordship salvation”—with the heretical position of works salvation. If you have questions about what John has taught about lordship salvation, you’ll find the following articles helpful and clarifying:

  • An Introduction to Lordship Salvation (click here)
  • Clarifying the Lordship Debate, Part 1 (click here)
  • Clarifying the Lordship Debate, Part 2 (click here)
  • A 15-Year Retrospective on the Lordship Controversy (click here)

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