March 13, 2017

John MacArthur Requested to, and Resigns from the IFCA

February 23, 2017
Statement Re: John MacArthurs IFCA International Membership

In John MacArthur’s recently published book Biblical Doctrine, his position regarding the nature and extent of the Atonement is clearly presented in the section entitled “The Extent of the Atonement” (pages 543-565). This section confirms that he changed from the position he held at the time of his admission into IFCA membership in 1980.

Dr. Les Lofquist, Executive Director IFCA
The specific change is regarding how to understand the following language in the IFCA Doctrinal Statement: “We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for all mankind as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice” (IFCA Constitution, Article IV, Section 1.3.b). During several previous meetings and correspondence over the last ten years, I clarified with Dr. MacArthur how the words “for all mankind have been historically understood within the Fellowship of IFCA International. The IFCA Board of Directors also provided clarification to Dr. MacArthur in 2009 by correspondence and in a subsequent meeting IFCA Board President Jerry Smith and I had with Dr. MacArthur in his office in California.

Understanding the historical context of the words in the IFCA International Doctrinal Statement, and in comparison to the book Biblical Doctrine, yesterday 
I respectfully requested that Dr. MacArthur withdraw as an individual member of IFCA International, which today he has done.
This action is necessary to comply with the IFCA International Constitution which reads: “Each and every person, church, or organization, in order to become or remain a member of IFCA International, shall be required to subscribe to the following articles of faith” (Article IV. Section 1. Articles of Biblical Faith); and “In subscribing to these articles of faith, we by no means set aside, or undervalue, any of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments; but we deem the knowledge, belief and acceptance of the truth as set forth in our doctrinal statement, to be essential to sound faith and fruitful practice, and therefore requisite for Christian fellowship in IFCA International” (Article IV. Section 3. Covenant of Faith); and the IFCA International By-Laws: The following are specific causes for rejection of applicants for membership…doctrinal and constitutional disagreement.” (Article II. Section 6.b).

With mutual respect, we both simply acknowledge our doctrinal difference regarding the nature and extent of the Atonement and that this difference causes John MacArthur to be in doctrinal and constitutional disagreement with IFCA International in this matter. 

We want it to be known that this action is taken in a spirit of humility and with gratitude for Dr. MacArthur’s global ministry of expositional Bible teaching. While we graciously differ on this point of doctrine, we remain friends and rejoice in our common passion to serve God in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Les Lofquist                                                               
IFCA International Executive Director                                  
Grandville, Michigan

I’m happy to withdraw from the IFCA with nothing but gratitude for the fellowship I have enjoyed through the decades. I am grateful for the exemplary faithfulness of the men who stand for the truth without compromise and have been willing to include me.  My confidence in those strong men who love the truth, written and incarnate, will continue to make them my friends.”
Dr. John MacArthur 
Related Reading:


  1. It seemed years ago that young Believers would be quoting John MacArthur with zeal to argue for his doctrine. This just doesn't seem to be the case any longer, which is good news.

    How long was Dr. MacArthur a member of IFCA?

    While it is good to see them eventually take a stand on the full completed work of the Christ on the cross I would prefer them to stand for the entire Gospel.

    1. Kevl: MacArthur's membership in and/or doctrinal issues with the IFCA date back to his original edition of The Gospel According to Jesus. See the two IFCA links at the end of the article.

  2. Yeah, I agree with Kevl. Too bad they didn't ask him to leave based on his lordship gospel years ago.

    1. Jim: Fwiw, shortly after MacArthur's 1st ed. of the TGATJ the IFCA leadership struggled with the LS teaching by MacArthur. Nothing came of it. The result was a large number of preachers leaviing the IFCA. This was, if memory serves, 1989


  3. Can anyone provide a specific phrase in John MacArthur's book that differs from the IFCA International Doctrinal Statement? I'm assuming it's MacArthur's Calvinist view on limited atonement, correct?

    1. From the IFCA letter above in citing MacArthur's book and their own doctrinal statement it seems pretty clear the divide was over Calvinism's Limited Atonement. And, of course, MacArthur willingly resigned over what the letter presented to him stated.

  4. For further study on Calvinism, Reformed Theology, I heartily recommend Bro. George Zeller's The Dangers of Reformed Theology.

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you, many have found it informative and helpful.

  6. I'm surprised, because i remember reading an article in the IFCA magazine two or three years ago on the extent of the atonement that addressed Hypothetical Universalism ('unlimited' atonement) vs Particular Redemption ('limited' atonement). That article stated that the IFCA's position was that both positions were to be embraced - ie it was not a doctrine to separate over. Indeed, the article pointed out that many of the IFCA founders were Particular Redemptionists.

    Did something change?