Screenshot grab: GTY podcast, April 19, 2020 “Thinking Biblically about Covid”

Forgetting John MacArthur: On Lies and Legacy; Confessions of a (Former) MacArthurite

Modern Day Zorro


It has been a minute, Dear Reader, since I have written anything substantial and I thought that since this is usually the time of year where everyone is remembering all the highs and lows of the year, perhaps remembering loved ones we have lost along the way, I could not help but think about all the things that we cannot forget, what we must remember.

John MacArthur could not preach for the Christmas Eve service today. I cannot tell you what the reasons were, but it was told to me that he would not preach a week or two ago and normally when I hear information like this, it makes sense that a man of his age and current medical condition would take the occasional break. What makes this absence different is that the elders are at it again, spinning stories of “other engagements” and “work matters”, which no one believes because…it’s Christmas. No pastor misses the opportunity to preach a nice Christmas sermon for 4,000 adoring congregants, and overflow. That’s peak giving.

If you recall on January 1st of this year, John took ill while he was preaching and Mike Riccardi had to take over for the second service. Grace leadership assured everyone that MacArthur was fine and resting at home, but when he didn’t show on the successive Sundays, and as everyone looked to the pastor of the day/announcement giver for reasons of where their pastor was, it was vague, and as time went on, they just dropped the charade completely. Speculation again arose.

Unless you were on Twitter, you would not know that John MacArthur had been in the hospital for over a month in January and underwent a surgical procedure on his heart. Fox News and a few other outlets “miraculously” had the information on the ailing Shepherd, but that too, was merely a re-telling of the lies that the elders were also told to repeat.

MacArthurites, so quick to correct anyone that didn’t believe the official story, were humiliated when March rolled around and MacArthur admitted that not only had he suffered a terrible fall at home, but that he was in the hospital in January. Good on him for making it to the Shepherds’ Conference at all, but that closing sermon on Zechariah just demonstrated on every level that Grace/Church has always just been about John. Not even illness, injury could soften this old preacher’s heart as he promoted a book that bears his name, which he had no hand in, but certainly makes bank on. Go onto the campus of GCC, and they will not allow you to forget who this has all been about. Go to the MacArthur Center (1 of 2) and watch the looped video presentation of the life and legacy of Dr. John MacArthur, where the podcast is recorded and the events, slightly embellished in the retelling, are featured about the Greatest Expositor who ever lived. Then, find your way to the Grace Book Shack where you can buy just about every book that MacArthur ever “wrote”, alongside the stacks of MacArthur Study Bibles. A throne of lies indeed.

Will the Shepherds’ Conference leadership do next year what they did this year?

ShepCon 2024 has been sold out for some time. This year the elders did their best to lie, misdirect, and promote ShepCon 2023, even to the point of posting a “proof of life” photo on Twitter with him and Patricia in February, which looking back, was not a good choice as both of them were ailing and snow is difficult to maneuver through for healthy people. A small aside that I had no other place to share, but at Shepherd’s Conference, John said that he fell moving a piece of furniture for Patricia, which was not true.

So, though John did make it to the last days of this year’s ShepCon, he could not attend the TMS graduation. More and more of the things that he can and cannot attend are on the rise, but clearly the leadership are getting their instructions to say that John is “busy” or had “prior appointments” when he cannot make things that he would not have missed for anything, like Christmas service. I never understood the lying. It is not only sin, but it is petty as hell.

Like last year, if John cannot attend ShepCon, will they cancel it when and if a surge of refund requests come flooding in? Shepherds’ Conference is growing decidedly more in line with the Moscovite crew, but after kicking G3/Josh Buice to the curb, which notables will fill those shoes? What did Lawson say “5,000”? I’ll not miss Lawson’s total oblivion for how hated and cringe those statements were to most, even the ones in attendance could not clap to something so ridiculous. Proving that even in the darkest places, there is some sense.

ShepCon 2023: Austin Duncan, pictured (left) and John MacArthur

A Thrill of Hope, Though Dashed

I had hope. Through all of this I had hope that John would repent. Because my faith is in the love of God, I know that it can be extended far past anything I can imagine. I have seen folks older than John trust the Savior for the first time and give their lives within days of their passing. But hope is a finite resource, and mine has run out.

It began with Eileen Gray. That was a dividing line of sorts in the timeline where we learned so much of what occurred in those years from the victim herself and the wonderful work that the Lord drew her to, and the clarity that she brought on the ways in which families were treated, processed, disposed of at Grace Community Church. Then, as the Roys Report produced many more firsthand accounts of neglect and church abuse, some which pre-dated the Gray story, it became clear that the Gray family was one of so many who had been treated and mishandled by the Grace crew.

There is a long list of known stories, and an infinitely longer list of unknown ones, but they all rather begin and end the same way: silence, efforts to silence and intimidate, and distraction, all in the service of keeping John’s 20, 30, 40, and 50+ year record of Faithful preaching intact.

An army of Youtubers tried (and failed), bloggers fell by the wayside, and as the attendance at Grace continues to plummet, my attention is drawn to the small band of people gladly calling out and exposing the last remnants of the Old Empire, the one built on intimidation, egomania, extra-biblical Church administration and scandal. Cults, basically.

There will never be a shortage of “ditch diggers” and pew fillers (just at church to hear “the Man” and go home), but that is not church. For a church so well-verse-by-versed on Ecclesiology, John did not teach his people well, because although Church is Essential, it is the people. Remove the pastor and the elders, do you still have church? Definitely. Remove love, charity, and service of the poor and needy, do you still have church? Certainly, not.

Service is essential to the life of the Church. Grace failed.

Evangelism is essential to the life of the Church. Non-existent at Grace.

Preaching of the Gospel is essential to the life of the Church. C’mon.

So, this is Christmas…

If it started with Eileen Gray, then it was re-generated with the departure of Hohn Cho. Here you had the disagreement at the elders’ meeting, which started as an open door one, then soon escalated to a closed one. Then, everyone recalling Phil Johnson’s statements that he had a “friend” who was an elder looking into the matter to essentially shut up the readers of the Roys Report and many Grace members who wanted to know what GCC’s response would be to such “allegations”.

Months went by in 2022 and no response was forthcoming. So, when the Christianity Today article regarding Cho’s exit surfaced, it was informative to say the least. Some details were surprising, including other victims who sought Cho for help and who also had been neglected by the Church, and of course, most notably John’s response to Cho’s entreating to the elder board to “do justice”, even pursuing the elders individually months after,

— “forget it”.

Forgetting John MacArthur

By all appearances, I was a MacArthurite, but even on a level that most like Tim Hurd of BTWN, or Brylan Riggs, and all the attendees and tourists who walk around the Grace campus in awe could only imagine. I attended Grace Community Church in 4 decades, used to record the services when it was on TV (before the world of Livestream), and defended John to the well-meaning frenemies I found in Charismatics and non-Calvinists. I would talk and try to reason to the protestors on Roscoe and invite them in.

But as wrong as they were, it didn’t make John MacArthur right. Just because you have critics, it doesn’t mean that God didn’t raise them up to take you down a peg or two. Now I’m the one on Roscoe (in spirit) begging anyone who will listen to find a church, any church, but the one who will devour your soul, keep you in continuous theological stagnation that is verse-by-verse preaching, take your money to fund real estate purchases and elders’ homes and line the pockets of pedophiles (allegedly), and ultimately, work at convincing you that your mere presence there, your proximity to the place will give you a “divine immunity” against a global virus, which of course does not exist, but that you have been given the opportunity to worship at the




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.