Over twenty-five years ago, while I was in seminary, I wrote a paper on the blood of Christ which was something very close to John MacArthur's view. I got the paper back and a "B+" was on the front. As I read the grading, it looked like I got the grade because the teacher didn't agree with the position, so I went in, argued a little, and got an "A-". I say all that to say that I haven't had a bias in this. I just want to believe and represent the truth.
Fast forward a few years, when I'm pastoring and preaching, and I am rethinking the whole issue, not because of anything that I heard in fundamentalism. I was disconnected from fundamentalism by then. Because of preaching and teaching through books of the Bible, I tweaked my view to what I'll talk about later in this post.
I write, however, mainly because of something I read by Mike Harding in a discussion about fundamentalism. I don't enter into reading those discussions looking for something wrong. I actually think I'm going to agree with people and then certain statements are made. Harding writes:
The Divine Blood theory is heterodoxy because it denies the true humanity of Christ which by implication nullifies the true nature of the substitutionary, various sacrifice of Christ.
Wow. Heterodoxy. I've been studying the Bible for years and it is such a curious, odd statement to me. I don't see how believing in "divine blood" denies the true humanity of Christ. I believe in the true humanity of Christ. I believe he was 100% human. And then it "nullifies the true nature of the substitutionary, various (sic, he meant "vicarious," I'm sure) sacrifice of Christ." Wow again. I don't see that being able to be proven. I believe Jesus had human blood, but there was something to His blood, as part of the hypostatic union, that was also divine, so His blood was both human and divine, like His Person. Among other things, Acts 20:28 convinced me of this. Then Harding writes this:
For the most part the same people who misunderstood the blood issue are the people who misunderstand the translation issue. It's hard to fix stupid. [Since this post was written, this last sentence has been erased. Harding writes: "I have asked Aaron Blumer to remove my sarcastic note on this issue in my previous post. It was unnecessarily pejorative and a poor attempt at humor."]
It's hard to fix stupid. Wow. Wow. Wow. Someone who takes the same view of the text and the blood as I do is John Owen. Identical. So John Owen was heterodox and stupid. This is how you win over the other side, is by calling the people who take the position "heterodox and stupid." Personally, I believe that my position is the historic position on both counts. John Owen wouldn't be the only person though that is "stupid," however, on the blood of Christ.
Louis Sperry Chafer, who would have a little different soteriology, was also stupid. He believed in divine blood. So did John Flavel. Samuel Rutherford. Robert Traill. Samuel Eyles Pierce. A. W. Pink. John Bunyan (and here). Thomas Brooks. James Ussher. John Newton. Thomas Watson. John Owen (and here).
It's hard to fix stupid. There we go fundamentalists.
Try to find "human blood" in the history of Christian theology, as if there were some rich history to this doctrine, the orthodox and smart, brainy, doctrine. Genius. You won't find it. You find John Flavel write:
The Satisfaction of Christ is the procuring Cause of our Remission. . . . No other price could purchase this Privilege, Micah vi. 6, 7. not Rivers of Oil, or of human blood.
Do you think that John Flavel denied the humanity of Jesus? The first I saw of "human blood" being an emphasis was John Gill, and only one reference, one reference in hundreds of years that I ever saw. And when I read the one mention of Gill, I don't believe he was making a point about human versus divine, but human versus animal. In other words, the blood of animals couldn't save. And you still don't get "human blood" mentioned, that I know of, except that once, until the late 20th century. As far as I read, you don't get this human blood idea or at least emphasis until around the time of John MacArthur. This isn't historical doctrine. You don't hear "human blood." After MacArthur, you start hearing, "human blood," "human blood," and "human blood," and now suddenly you're even stupid if you believe in "divine blood."
In the late 20th century, strawmen begin appearing about the blood of Jesus. They sound like they are mimicing each other. "Jesus' blood did not possess a mystical, magical quality." What? What false doctrine is that combating? Mystical and magical? How could anyone agree with His blood being mystical and magical? Before you would read, "Jesus' blood," or "His blood." But now you read "Jesus' human blood," language that never appeared in the entire history of theology. Who started this?
You do get identical language from R. B. Thieme as that which MacArthur uses. I'm not saying that's where MacArthur got it, but he didn't get it from church history. I'd be happy to see where. The only place, besides Gill, that I could see the idea that Jesus' blood was human, that idea, and perhaps we're saying "merely human" was in a booklet called "The Kingdom Is at Hand," published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (the Jehovah's Witnesses) in 1944. They are comfortable with that teaching. No evangelical was saying that. No fundamentalist was saying that before 1980.
I believe that the accurate position is that Jesus' blood was both human and divine by means of the hypostatic union. I don't know how it is divine, but it has some quality that makes it divine in addition to being fully human. I go into great detail in a previous post at another location (pt. 1, pt. 2).
Isaac Watts wrote this verse of one of his hymns, stupid as he may be:
No more let human blood be spilt---
Vain sacrifice for human guilt!
But to each conscience be applied
The blood that flow'd from Jesus' side.
But Mike Harding says you are too stupid to fix if you believe that Jesus' blood isn't merely human. What do you think?