John MacArthur on Duck Dynasty and Theology

I have written on Duck Dynasty and baptism a few times on this blog (see below). I have even stood with Phil Robertson when he made his remarks about Christianity and homosexuality. In one sense, I am glad the Robertson’s are open about their faith, mention Jesus, etc. On the other hand, I am skeptical about their views on the necessity of baptism for salvation.

In the video below, Todd Friel asks John MacArthur his thoughts on Duck Dynasty and their (church’s) view on baptism and salvation. Todd and I shared concerns about this topic a few months ago when I was visiting his studio. Apparently MacArthur also shares our concerns that this is a gospel issue.

Below are my Duck Dynasty posts which show that I have defended them while having major disagreements over baptism.

Here I blog…

p.s. A friend sent me a video of Phil Robertson baptizing a man. It certainly seems he states that the point of being born again happens during the baptism.

tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , in apologetics,Christianity,faith,Gospel,theology

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 mattsvo March 22, 2014 at 12:37 am


Serious question, do you think the Robertsons are born again Christians?

2 Mark Lamprecht March 22, 2014 at 11:59 am


That is a good question considering their position on baptism. If I understand the material I’ve documented from both their evangelism training and sermons, I might give the following answer that their Elder Mike Kellett gave to Todd Friel and to my friend Josh Buice on the phone.

My answer is, as Kellett’s was: I leave that up to God.

In the same manner in which they might evangelize Baptists like you and I, to get properly re-baptized for salvation, I would ask them to repent of holding their baptism as the salvific act.

Do you think the gospel is being offered when one is told they must be baptized and “consciously take your sins down” in order “to make your salvation sure” so that Jesus’ “blood can do its work” in order to be born again? If that is not a gospel you would personally preach, teach, or accept should those that offer such a gospel be promoted and endeared as faithful representatives of Christendom today?

3 Lynn April 15, 2014 at 3:10 pm

Mt 28:19,20 the great commission, baptism is how disciples are made
Acts 2:38 baptism is where God’ remits sins
Mk 16:16 baptism saves
1 Pet 3:21 baptism saves
Acts 2:41 one has not accepted the gospel until he has been baptized
Col 2:12-14 God cuts away the body of sin in baptism
Rom 6:3-6 one walks in newness of life after he is baptized
Gal 3:27 one is put in Christ at the point of baptism

….and people cannot see the necessity of baptism????

4 Jennifer May 20, 2014 at 7:22 pm

First of all someone who claims to understand biblical theology should know that Christ’s Church is not a denomination – so I would not put my faith in the hands of a man who claims to understand Christ’s Church and does not understand the plan of salvation. Lynn ( in the above comments) listed a few scriptures that states baptism is essential so….. No “church” added this to the Bible- apparently it is God’s written scripture. Second of all Christ’s Church does not have any other doctrine but the Bible. Who defined baptism as a work?? James 2:24 says that by work a man is justified and not by faith only. Third – I would gladly work for The Lord but I know that I am not perfect and work alone does not save. The Bible list many things that save us Jesus – Matt 1:21, Gospel – 1 Cor 15:1-4, Grace – Eph 2:8-10, Mercy – Titus 3:5, Baptism – 1 Pet 3:21, Faith – Romans 5:1 etc. Please read the whole book of Acts because it is how God established the Church and notice how many times baptism was used to save. Don’t misunderstand – to have salvation we must do it all ….. Faith, baptism, pray, trust in grace, study, work, love, etc…… Reach out to a Church of Christ Romans 16:16 to study with someone and find salvation.

5 child of god May 22, 2014 at 11:41 pm

Christ was nailed to the cross. Listen to his words. Mark 16:15-16

6 William Pritchett July 18, 2014 at 2:07 am

I was born into a devout Baptist family nearly 68 years ago and until 2011 I wasn’t saved and I trusted Christ in the offices of a Baptist preacher of a large Baptist Church and over 3 years later on May 18th, 2014 I went to Whites Ferry Road Church to hear Phil Robertson teach his Bible Class. Between the time I went into the aforementioned Baptist preachers offices and the time I went to hear Phil teach I was never baptized, yet the preacher said from the pulpit on several occasions that baptism wasn’t necessary to be saved, just trusting Him as Savior was all it takes. Because I wasn’t sure of the baptist preachers word is why I went there that day to talk with Phil about baptism.
I fell under the Holy Spirit in the Bible Class, went up and shared that with Phil and following the main worship service Phil baptized me in front of hundreds of witnesses, maybe thousands on Live Stream. To Phil baptism sealed and finished the Salvation experience.
We back up to 2000 years ago and John the Baptist was baptizing all who trusted in Christ and immediately following asking Christ to save them. I see absolutely nothing wrong with following up with baptism. I have talked on line with many faiths and most laugh or scoff at the word’s “born-again”, yet this is biblical. I trusted Jesus by Faith that Jesus is who He says He is! That Jesus shed His precious blood for me that all I had to do was Believe that He is the Christ slain on the Cross 2000 years ago and rose from the grave and ascended to His Father and now sits on His Father’s right hand interceeding for all His followers to His Father Creator of the Universe and all within it, and I know that when Jesus returns that all who Believe in Him will be caught up with Him in the clouds.
Here’s what I know, that say you trusted Christ and like myself baptized following Church and as Phil says to complete your Salvation in Christ, but say….in that couple hours you died, I have no doubt that you would be in the presence of the Lord Jesus. Some say you wouldn’t that your Salvation was not complete, but I suppose being brought up in the Baptist religion it was drilled in my head that all you had to do to be saved was “Believe in Jesus and Trust Him to Save you!
Personally I believe there is too many people with too many ideas regarding follow-up baptism.
I have no doubt that I was saved the second that I came under comviction of the Holy Spirit in Phil’s Bible Class and Baptism completed my Salvation experience the same as it completed everyone in the time of Christ when John the Baptist was baptizing all in the River Jordan.

7 Blake Duckworth September 23, 2014 at 9:31 am


[[[[ Mt 28:19,20 the great commission, baptism is how disciples are made
Acts 2:38 baptism is where God’ remits sins
Mk 16:16 baptism saves
1 Pet 3:21 baptism saves
Acts 2:41 one has not accepted the gospel until he has been baptized
Col 2:12-14 God cuts away the body of sin in baptism
Rom 6:3-6 one walks in newness of life after he is baptized
Gal 3:27 one is put in Christ at the point of baptism
….and people cannot see the necessity of baptism???? ]]]]]

Matthew 28:19-20 I can agree with that I suppose
Acts 2:38 was to Jews not to gentiles

Mark 16:16 was spirit baptism, water was never mentioned, the signs that followed were speaking in tongues,
drink poison and it hurts you not, bit by snake and it hurts you not. no reference to water found in Mark 16:16

1 Peter 3:21 was to Israel once again, if you read the opening of 1 Peter it is “to the strangers scattered” strangers refers to the 12 tribes scattered amongst the nations. The word used for “strangers” in the Greek is παρεπίδημος (parepidēmos)
parepidēmos appears only three times in the new testament 1x strangers, 2x pilgrim. All three instances of usage are for Hebrew Israelites and not gentiles

Acts 2:41 was to the Jews same as Acts 2:38 it’s the exact same chapter and referring to the exact same baptism which was not for the gentiles but for Israel, this is where the church of Christ and Pentecostalism gets it’s broken theology and that is ripping verses about Jews out of context and pretending that it was actually gentiles in Acts chapter 2

colossians 2 was spirit baptism and not water

Colossians 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

In colossians 2:11 and 12, baptism is likened onto circumcision, many people state that water baptism is the circumcision of colossians 2:11 and 12, verse 12 does state we’re buried with him in baptism, however what baptism is Paul speaking of ? Is it water or spirit this circumcision which is baptism ?

We find the answer by following the rules of Isaiah 28:10

Romans 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Circumcision is of the heart and in the spirit, so as we can see Paul was referring to spirit baptism in Colossians and not water baptism.

This connects with Romans 6 buried in baptism which is a reference to spirit baptism of Colossians 2:12. first and foremost
Jesus Christ was never buried he was entombed, so this kills the idea that we’re buried in a grave just as Christ was buried in a hole in the ground with dirt shoveled on top of him, church of christ and Pentecostalism teaches the apostles dug a hole in the ground and then picked up shovels and covered him with dirt and this is a down right lie by Pentecostals and the COC because Jesus was entombed which destroys the whole lie of “we are buried in water baptism just as Jesus was buried in dirt argument ! ”

Galatians 3:27 was also spirit baptism

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

How is one baptized into Christ ?

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body

It is the spirit that places us into Christ and not water baptism. I am of the opinion that water baptism has now been done away with, and one should avoid it altogether, it was no different than speaking in tongues, healing etc. it was there when the church first began and was carried over from Judaism which was Jewish water ritual, it then ceased along with tongues and miracles of healings, however people didn’t understand the difference between spirit baptism and water and that is why we still have water baptism, however water baptism is no longer valid today in 2014 !

8 J.P. Crowder November 6, 2014 at 5:59 am

The most important question any unsaved person can possibly ask:

“What must I do to be saved?”

This is a question asked by those who are sincerely desire to know the will of God. The Bible records instances where this very question was asked and answered, so it is to the scriptures that we go for the answer to this most important of all questions.

It might surprise some to learn that in the record of scripture, the question is “answered” before it is asked. The Old Testament prophet Joel, looking to a future that is later fulfilled in the New Testament, wrote this:

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered.“

There are honest differences of opinion about when certain Old Testament prophecies have been or will be fulfilled, but there is no doubt about the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. The scriptures themselves tell us with great specificity just when and under what circumstances “[w]hosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered.”

In his sermon on the Day of Pentecost following the resurrection of Jesus, Peter, an inspired apostle of Jesus Christ, quotes Joel’s prophetic statement (Acts 2:16,-21) Peter expressly introduces and directly quotes from the words of Joel., concluding with the statement that, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

That statement having been made, it becomes of the utmost importance for the lost sinner to understand just what it means for one to “call upon the name of the Lord”.

It can not mean simply crying out, “Lord, Lord.” for Jesus Himself said, “Not every one who saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of ‘my Father which is in heaven.”

It becomes imperative for the lost sinner to know and to do the will of God–to “call upon the name of the Lord” in the manner in which the Lord, through His word, calls upon him to act.

In that 2nd chapter of Acts, where Peter recites the prophecy of Joel, he continues his sermon to a conclusion that strikes anguish into the hearts of his audience, for he pronounces this fearsome indictment:

22-23—“Ye man of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”

36. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ

YOU KILLED THE SON OF GOD! You therefore stand before God in a lost state. Confronted with this condemnation, it is no surprise that Peter’s hearers should cry out in anguish, “Men and brethren, what shall we do”.

And there can be no question what these condemned sinners meant by that question. They are “pricked in their hearts” and they plead, in great anguish of spirit, Men and brethren, what shall we do”.

What shall we do to escape the condemnation that we have brought upon ourselves? What shall we do to be saved?

Asked another way, in light of that prophecy of Joel, they might well have asked, “’HOW may we “call upon the name of the Lord’”

Before finishing the story of what happened on that occasion, let us turn to the story of another New Testament figure, his lost state, and his ultimate salvation.

I refer to the Apostle Paul, that one-time No. 1 Public Enemy of Christianity who became the most successful evangelist of the First Century.

Paul describes his hot pursuit of Christians in Acts 22:4:

“And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.”

You know the story of Paul. Then known as Saul, he was on his way to Damascus to arrest Christians and drag them back to Jerusalem for trial and punishment. You also know how the story of Paul is sometimes described as his being “saved on the road to Damascus.” But if you read the SCRIPTURAL account of Paul’s salvation, you will discover that on that road to Damascus, he did not do that which was necessary in order to be saved. Remember Amos’ prophecy and Peter’s recitation of it, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Paul discovered on that Damascus road that he was guilty of a very serious thing–namely the persecution of the Son of God. It was there that Jesus asked of Saul this disturbing question, “Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?”

What an indictment! The voice of the Son of God Himself, in those few words, telling Saul that he had it all wrong, so terribly wrong that his actions amounted to the persecution of the Son of God: “I am Jesus of Nazareth whom thou persecutest.”

Remember back at Pentecost, where those convicted sinners pleaded, Men and brethren, what shall we do.” Paul asks essentially the same question: “What shall I do, Lord?”

That question, “What must I do to be saved,” is–unfortunately–answered by many today in ways that do not agree with the answers provided in the Word of God.

Those who would tell us that Paul was saved on the road to Damascus, are telling us that he was saved before he did that which the scriptures tell us one must do to be saved–that he was saved before he called upon the name of the Lord. WHEN did Paul “call upon the name of the Lord“? Let us see what the scriptures say: Acts 22:16:

And now why tarryest thou? Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling upon the name of the Lord.”

Paul’s “calling on the name of the Lord” was thus a thing he did in connection with his baptism. Today, all too often, a truncated false gospel is taught that denies even that baptism is for remission of sins or essential for salvation.

But when Paul went to Damascus to find out what to do to be saved (Jesus: “It shall be told thee what thou must do.”), he was told to “Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling upon the name of the Lord.”

If Ananias had taught what many today teach, he would have explained to Paul that since Paul already had “believed”, he was therefore in a saved state, but if he was in a saved state, he was nevertheless still in a sinful state, since he was told to “Arise…wash away thy sins., calling….” He might have been told to say a “sinner’s prayer” but nowhere in scripture do we find lost sinners being told to recite such a prayer as is so often and erroneously urged upon lost persons as a supposed element of their salvation.

Let’s go back to Pentecost.

When those Pentecostians asked “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”, they were not told to say a prayer of any kind. Peter admonished them to “Repent and be baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins….” They already believed. They believed Peter when he told them that they had crucified the Savior and were in great anguish of spirit for their great sin and guilt. They accepted that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, but that was not sufficient for their salvation for, having thus believed, they still asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” And we know what they were told to do. And it was no different from what the Lord required of Saul. And no different from what is required today of those who believe on Jesus as the Son of God and who are willing to confess that belief before man and to repent of their sins and to be baptized in His name for remission of sins.

9 J.P. Crowder November 6, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Blake Duckworth, above submits this notion:

“Acts 2:41 was to the Jews same as Acts 2:38 it’s the exact same chapter and referring to the exact same baptism which was not for the gentiles but for Israel, this is where the church of Christ and Pentecostalism gets it’s broken theology and that is ripping verses about Jews out of context and pretending that it was actually gentiles in Acts chapter 2.”

Blake Duckworth needs to read just a little bit further on in the book of Acts. In chapter 10 is the well-known account of the conversion of the Cornelius, a GENTILE. Peter preached to Cornelius and others gathered with him and concluded with THIS question: “Can anyone forbid water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” He then “COMMANDED THEM TO BE BAPTIZED in the name of Jesus Christ.” Additional accounts of conversion in the book of Acts indisputably involve the water baptism of Gentiles. Were Paul and Silas and Barnabas invoking some kind of “broken theology” when they baptized Gentiles?

Blake Duckworth and others who denigrate New Testament water baptism need to worry less about such things as others allegedly “ripping verses about Jews out of context” and worry more about learning what God, in His inspired word, actually teaches concerning Christian baptism.

10 Lynn March 30, 2015 at 12:58 pm

To Blake Duckworth

Acts 2:38 is to both Jews and Gentiles…it was to the Jews and those afar off (Gentiles). Peter said in Acts 15:11 that Jews and Gentiles are saved in “like manner”. That “like manner” way both are saved is by water baptism, as Peter commanded the Jews water baptism in Acts 2, Peter in like manner commanded the Gentiles to be water baptized in Acts 10:47,48.

The baptism of Mk 16:16 is water baptism of Christ’s great commission. In that commission, Mt 28:19,20 Christ commanded His disciples to go, teach and baptize. Disciples..humans can water baptize as the Phillip water baptized the eunuch and humans cannot baptized with the Holy Spirit, only the Lord can do that. Again, Acts 15:11 Jews and Gentiles are saved the same way and neither were ever commanded to be “spirit baptized” to be saved, but commanded to be water baptized to be saved.

1 Pet 3:21 is water baptism saves, it saves ANYONE, Jew or Gentile.

Col 2:12 is water baptism in which one is buried in a watery from which one is risen. It is in water baptism where God does the spiritual circumcision in cutting away the body of sin whereby one becomes a spiritual Jew Paul speaks about in Rom 2:28,29,

in Rom 6:4 as in Col 2:12, this verse also speaks of water baptism where one is “buried” in a watery grave and ‘raised up from” that watery grave.

Note: in this baptism in Rom 6:3-7 is where one becomes “dead” and one must be dead to be “freed from sin” verse 7.
Verse 17,18 that obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine then they be came” freed from sin”

Verse 7———–dead>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>freed from sin
Verse 17,18—obey form of doctrine>>>>>>>>>>>>freed from sin

Since there is just one way to be saved/freed from sin, then there is a definite connection between being “dead” of verse 7 and obeying from the heart in verse 18. Water baptism was that form of doctrine they obeyed from the heart that made them “dead” >>>freed from sin. Men are commanded to be water baptized and that is what the Romans obeyed from the heart. No one was commanded to be “spirit baptized” so that cannot be obeyed.

Gal 3:27 would also be the one baptism of Eph 4:5 water baptism of the great commission that had human administrators. The Greek baptizo literally means an immersion or dipped in water and proper exegesis requires a word taken literally unless something in the context shows it is being used figuratively, Nothing in Gal 3:27 or Mk 16:16 or Rom 6:4 show that baptizo is being used figuratively as ins somekind of spirit baptism, so it must be understood literally as immersion, dipped in water.

Jn 3:5—————Spirit++++++++++++water>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>in the kingdom
1Cor12:13———Spirit++++++++++++baptized>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>in the body

Comparing these 2 born again verses, it becomes plain to me “water baptized” is what is under consideration. Eph 2:26 and Tts 3:5 are 2 more born again verses where Paul speaks about a laver of water, Eph 5:26 and laver of regeneration Tts 3:5. This laver, basin, container of water does away with the idea that baptism is 100% spirit.

11 Mike February 1, 2017 at 11:34 pm

MacArthur and others says “Believe Saved, Baptize. Catholics says one is to be Baptized , Saved and someday Believe . Jesus said ,”Believe Baptized, Saved. Mark 16: 15 16. In the Garden of Eden, Satan added one word to a clear commandment. That one word brought the curse of death on all men Romans 5:12 . Perhaps this is the reason why Jesus said ” Man should not live by bread alone but out of every WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God .” Maybe we should listen to what Jesus said and not Men.

12 Cynthia Alston March 14, 2021 at 11:10 pm

I watched the John MacArthur/Wretched discussion of the Robertsons years ago and commented. I just noted that comments have since been disabled. Up until viewing that conversation, I had considerable respect for MacArthur, but I was literally nauseated by the condescension and “holier than thou” attitude displayed by him and his panel. I truly think they should be ashamed. I can’t imagine anyone being drawn to Christ by such a discussion.

It was heartwarming to me to recently hear Billy Graham say something like what I wrote in my original comment; only God knows the exact moment when a soul is saved.

In my experience, children and new Christians really “get” this issue because they are simply drawn to all the examples of conversion in the Word without being tainted by all the doctrinal squabbles and arrogance.

13 Cynthia Alston March 15, 2021 at 6:03 pm

Also, in response to “Blake Duckworth” above, I have been a Bible student and member of the C of C for 50 years. I have also been to the Garden Tomb area of Jerusalem. Never once have I heard the apostles with shovels and dirt story until just now. Please get your facts straight. The devil is certainly alive and well.


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