Excellent article. Where honestly to begin?
1) Murray allegedly did not write MacArthur's biography, so they got a ghost writer for an autobiographer? Appears that way.
2) Take every biographical detail of John's life, from him or someone else, into consideration and lightly because by the power of the Internet and bloggers, the truth about any given matter may just be a few keystrokes away.
a) John's school LA Pacific College (now defunct, but absorbed into Azusa College), Jack MacArthur received his doctorate from there. They call Jack MacArthur, "Dr. Jack MacArthur", but he, too, never earned a doctorate. The school itself was bizarre. Very small, Methodist. John played football, but not well. (He would use football metaphors throughout his whole preaching life, even going to the point of saying that he turned down an NFL career for the ministry, which has been debunked more times than I can find.)
b) John's claims of receiving the Highest Honors at Talbot. No. His thesis was, however, on Judas. Yes, Judas. Considering how little is known of the man, you can bet most of the substance of that work must be quite well made up. It is housed at Talbot Seminary and TMU if anyone wants to go see it, post it and share it with the world.
d) Writing the MacArthur Study Bible.
There are several conflicting reports that MacArthur gives about his process in writing. During the Shepherds Conference on two occasions, he corrected Phil Johnson and said that he "edited" all of his commentaries.
Then, later, he discuss how he single-handedly wrote the MacArthur Study Bible:
30 years of information
3 years to compile it all together, that last year 7-14 hour days where he claims he did not prepare a single sermon and an entire year after to rest from the whole experience. I kid you not.
*Let's be perfectly clear here. John MacArthur has never used a computer. He handwrites everything. Long-handed.
What he has described would take 30 years, locked away in a cabin in the woods only to emerge with possibly...Psalms, and parts of Matthew, Luke and John, but the whole Bible? Really.
It's the stuff they eat up, and let's face it, so did I. So did a lot of people. We wouldn't have known anything unless people started asking questions, inquiring.
It is inexcusable that the largely, professing Christian world does not really seem fazed by the possibility that their idols don't really write their own stuff. My working conclusion is that those who actually do read the books they write, will care. The others, and even those who still attend Grace, who have dozens of John's books have not read them, have not the intellect to read them and say, "this is really the worst rubbish I've ever read" because they have nothing else to compare it to.
Christian books, conventions, leaders, "influencers" and megachurches are here to stay just as long as the masses clamor for less accountability (you can hide in a big church) as they cower under the umbrella, the shelter that these institutions provide. They will think that they are different than Copeland, Hinn, and Falwell, but really it's far more seductive as it deceives you in thinking that your Coservative-ness, your verse-by-verse view of the world is the right way, not to win souls (those heathen? You mean...Democrats? lol Libs?), but to insulate and congregate under one banner, never to question the current narrative.
Also, having spent a minute in higher academic circles...the idea of plagiarism was a career-ending prospect. It doesn't seem like the everyday evangelical understands the concept on the face of it. Perhaps if they did, more people would be quite outraged. Regardless, we need a stronger word than "plagiarism" for what this really is. Theft, just straight up theft, I suppose.
I have also been told that John's sermons were written for him throughout the 70s, 80s into the 90s. Perhaps one day we can have that confirmed.
I know that some will say that John's books were taken directly from his sermons which means that:
1) If I were to take a book from 1996, I could find several sermons which pre-date the book and contain the ENTIRE book's subject matter, with very little "editing".
2) And Julie Roys' article on this nailed the concept: if he didn't write it, then...the millions in royalties would be well earned?
God only knows.