1997, Recognize anyone?
October 2, 1951: Billy Graham, left, Jack MacArthur, center, meets with 400 ministers in LA; the O.G. Shepherds’ Conference

Billy, Jack and John: A Look Back at the ‘ol Wider Mercy Doctrine, the Distraction It Was and the Roles We Play

Modern Day Zorro
4 min readNov 15, 2022


It is assumed that you have a passing familiarity with the people in these photos. It is OK if you don’t. Who they are is a bit meaningless for my general purpose. The Cast List changes so often that it’s hard to keep track. I speak in theatre terms because it reminds me of the hypocrites in the New Testament world. “Scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites” — they unto whom the most criticism and cursing by Jesus Christ Himself was reserved.

In 1997, Billy Graham was on the Robert Schuller program, “Hour of Power”, and did indeed utter many extra-and-anti-biblical things that seemed quite outside the theological framework we had heard from him. It sent shock waves through the Interwebs and every small town preacher, Calvinist teacher, and ungodly blogger got online to expose Graham’s teachings.

Credit: Doctrinal Malamute

John MacArthur’s Response: “Disastrous Belief”

On this, I certainly cannot agree more with those pastors who exposed this interview…at the time. It was an interview in 1997 of one man’s heretical beliefs, but mark me, Dear Reader, you can search for the Billy Graham/Schuller interview and find all manner of articles, blog entries and Youtube videos about it still being written today. You can find numerous sermons that MacArthur devoted at the GCC pulpit and beyond to this very interview for years afterwards.

Now, this story illustrates the problem that we have seen over and over again in Big Eva: 1) A controversy is introduced, 2) a small group of renegade pastors lead the charge against it, 3) Partnership and ministries are enriched, 4) yet, privately, they continue to minister together. Some sort of TheoBro Code. We see it today with Owen Strachan, G3, Shepherds’ Conference, Together for the…Cheddar conferences, books, forwards, positions, ministries.

So, in this scenario, that one 1997 interview has provided for the past 25 years the sermon filler and blog prompts to keep the machine going.

Wait, did Billy Graham mean what he said and wasn’t John MacArthur right in correcting him?

I don’t see how that’s relevant then or now. MacArthur will avoid speaking about the abused in his own church which a pastor would do, so what he chooses to focus on is merely a means to run out the clock.

#4-John MacArthur continued to minister with Billy Graham for decades after that interview

And the Itinerary for the Cove in 2008,

Also, introducing the book, “Slave” to Rev. Dallas Wilson, Episcopalian minister in Charleston, SC at the 2009 Cove Conference by the BGEA; interview January 2011 by Phil Johnson

Like a lot of former Grace Community Church members, I have a lot of stuff: old bulletins, autographed books and several MacArthur Study Bibles. A lot of Piper (never read because they are, and he is, insufferable) and far too many language books. You will never convince me that MacArthur spent those 16 units of Greek from Bob Jones to Los Angeles Pacific College and had the school not burn down, perhaps that could have been verified. (If anyone from BJU has information about classes in 1959 and Advanced Greek, I’d be very much interested.) MacArthur in an interview with Steadfast Bibles had stated that he studies out of the original languages and that the NASB was the most accurate. Ironically, he was selling the NASB Preacher’s Bible at the time, so he had a financial interest in showcasing his scholastic prowess and the NASB’s “rich”ness.

Also, if you never attended GCC and in looking at the last 2 years, you wouldn’t know how little time John actually spent at his own pulpit and would believe that for all the “Church is Essential” hash-tagging that John never missed a Sunday. No, John routinely took “writing vacations” (often we were told this when we showed up and saw Tom Pennington or Carey Hardy’s name in the bulletin) and apparently that was code for preaching in Texas, Spain, Italy, North and South Carolina and the world over.

So much travel, yet still being paid 3 full-time salaries. I quite envy the hustle, but not the lies.

PS — Q and A’s and interviews are not “church”. I’ve always wanted to write that.



Modern Day Zorro

Ungodly Blogger by Night, Corporate Stooge By Day. Former GCC Member. Articles, usually light-hearted with a musical component. Stories of abuse and corruption.