Scooby Doo. Life was Simple Then.

“Keep Your Mouth Shut. You Don’t Know the Whole Story” — How 1200 Extraordinary Men and Women Changed the World from the Comfort of Their Homes as Major News Outlets, Blogs Continued their Courtship with the Rich, Powerful and Reformed; Welcome to the New World

Summary:

— God chose the Internet and the advent of Social Media to give voice to victims, witnesses and other concerned Christians to put forth what they knew and expose the hypocrisy of the Christian elite.

— Unfortunately, Social Media has also meant the rise of shills and trolls and detractors. On the plus side, the mean streets of Twitter is shone brighter by the light produced by these brave men and women whom God is calling for such a time as this.

— Dear Reader, this is your daily Reminder: They don’t win.

In better blogs, especially health ones, they provide a small summary of what the article is about which I appreciate. We also realize that you have many ungodly blogs from the even more ungodly bloggers (10 million strong and growing, try not to sing) to pick from and you’ve chosen to read our humble one. Just so you think that we only write about Grace Community Church, I am working on a wonderful diatribe…article about the recent video by the Babylon Bee called, “I Wish We All Could Leave California” where they lampoon drug addiction and dance in front of a green screen as B-roll of homeless camps on Skid Row go by. I mean, this IS Modern Day Zorro. If you’re going to make light of California, there will be consequences and since the pen is mightier than the sword, I can’t wait to discuss a media outlet, a proper ungodly blog who has chosen to play the harlot and yuck it up with the vilest rich men and preaching elite and still had the time to laugh and mock people who are literally in the gutter while they are in warm, safe homes surrounded by the Mandalorian posters and Betty Boop clocks. Folks, these are Calvinists. This is the very type of believer that my friends and I used to be and I repent of that foolishness everyday. But I digress…

We’re not cool

You’re not cool if you explain the joke and since we are not cool, I’ll explain that the title is a mash-up of John MacArthur’s many book titles. I was years old when I learned that he hadn’t written a one. It was also the least bit jarring when I read in the Los Angeles Times that not only had he not written the MacArthur Study Bible, but that he had never learned how to type or use a typewriter. You see, back in the day, typing was a requirement. We’d have typing classes and it was to prepare us for college and later, the working world, but since John MacArthur went to a small, newly co-ed, women’s college in East Los Angeles and since he was a self-proclaimed jock, there was no time to sit around and learn a useful skill when you are sitting around waiting for USC, the Cleveland Browns, and NASA to call you up. (Oh, didn’t you know that Grace to You and Grace Community Church have ties to NASA? Whether you think that’s a good or bad thing, look it up. I was surprised, too.)

The quote is taken from a recording, a 52 minute one, of the Chapel at the Master’s Seminary following the news of the probation. I remember when a friend sent me a few articles regarding The Master’s University and Seminary being put on probation and the chatter surrounding the matter. That’s one thing MacArthur hates: gossip? idle hands? No. A coup? Not quite.

Exposure.

Credit: Wartburg Watch, http://thewartburgwatch.com/2018/08/24/john-macarthurs-son-in-laws-alleged-compensation-for-video-production-and-macarthurs-alleged-comments-during-a-meeting-with-seminary-students/

The previous image were transcribed excerpts from that Chapel recording. Whoever recorded this, whatever hapless seminary student did, you are a legend, a scholar and a gentleman. Good on you, sir. It would take too long to rehash this place in time, but needless to say that the WASC report was a voluminous, well-documented and thorough indictment on the toxic culture that only a few really knew about. If you ever had a spare hour, it would illuminate a lot of the blowback at that time against the leadership at the school, against John MacArthur. The purpose for bringing this up now is that John’s sentiment, “You didn’t have any right to find out about anything…the ordeal would have been a minor detail if it weren’t for the internet (cue Scooby Doo image)” can apply to 2018 and every year going forward as more and more people took to the internet to tell their story, or share others. Ruh-roh.

“But he’s been a faithful preacher for 52 years.”

Riccardi, Josh Buice and other SBC faithful quote MacArthur, so why not we?

Now, don’t get me wrong. The criticisms of nepotism, financial mismanagement, covering up of sexual and homosexual sin (that’s for another blog) and of abuse and abusive elders, etc., are not just resident at Grace Community Church and within the Southern Baptist Convention. We know that these problems can occur in small churches, Protestant or otherwise. No matter if you have 50 elders or 5, the church’s unwillingness to call these pastors and leaders to repentance and expose their sin to the censure of the world and the Romans 1, God-appointed authorities will continue as the church is filled with mere professing Christians. That was the sad conclusion that me and other friends looked on as the remnant of the Grace Church attendees and members (you recall how useless membership at Grace was) refused to acknowledge, or even investigate the Gray incident, the Mahoney claims, or even acknowledge that a pandemic was a pandemic.

That was certainly a turning point for us. Throughout March and April of this year, the Roys Report interviewed Eileen Gray and so many others affected by the cruelty and abandonment of their church and its elders. If you think those stories are isolated events and merely in the past, think again. Dear Reader, tell me, what is the missing element in the Gray incident of 2001–2003 respectfully? The church was kept in the dark. Leadership (or what accounted for it at the time) was too busy harassing a poor woman back to her hometown up North while we contentedly stayed in Sun Valley singing the same three hymns that Clayton Erb would pick out.

In 2001, there was very little of what passed for Social Media. Just some very ungodly bloggers, like Phil Johnson’s Pyromaniacs and John “smack your wife” Piper’s Desiring God Ministries (remind me to tell you the time I had lunch with a then unknown John Piper), and folks like the Bible Bulletin Board which was the clearinghouse and audio altar to John MacArthur. The Internet then was a desolate wasteland. No BTWN, no MDZ. No Babylon Bee. No Twitter. Now, I realize that the thought of Twitter brings a blizzard cold breeze down your neck as thoughts of endless bickering, backbiting, Trump-bashing and praising, pious preachers picking verses and Puritan quotes, and Owen “they come in pints?” Strachan. On second thought, it is all those things and so much more. For the costly sum of a balmy Summer’s day that would be best spent at a park, you can lock swords with a guy who has a Chewbacca avatar named “Reformed Chewie” whose sardonic flair and edgy slights will make you wonder why you ever considered yourself a Calvinist (and gave up drinking beer). Or how about the many Master’s Seminary students who have me blocked prematurely. Be true to your school, boys. The same who walk down Roscoe stepping over homeless drunks so they’ll get to their 7am Homiletics class with Lawson, then scamper away to get the catered lunch from Stonefire Grill, as a family of five who haven’t eaten in days walk by in 105 degree heat. Oh, tell me more about how you’re going to change the world for Christ!

How It Was, How It Is Going: Plot Twist, You are Zorro

Dear WCT, thank you for making it weird. Gone, but never forgotten. A good time was certainly had by all. If you don’t know, the Hunter Crowder/Jarran Sarrainsbury feud of 2021 was the black box, if you will, the genesis of the demise of this Twitter oddity. This bastard child that we grew to love which grew into a large community of believers who would daily call out the Tom Bucks, Owen Strachans, Josh Buice, G3-loving MacArthurites, and every tier of Evangelical’s The Blacklist. The porch pirates of Christian joy. The ambitious and privileged and some just plain racist and Reformed.

All that I described that Twitter could be, it was, but then in 2020, it changed. There was <<checks notes>> a pandemic. The world was in a panic. Lockdowns were imminent. Even the Master’s University and Seminary cut the semester short in March of that year. It really was unlike anything we had ever seen. Then the lying began. In the April 19th, 2020, interview with John MacArthur, John stated the following:

Now, giving John a little slack, we were only one month into the “pandemic” and his opinions during that interview were well-reasoned and rational, but then months later, a memo went out from the desk of Michael Mahoney (which I have been looking for for ages and can’t find), which basically stated that John was tired of speaking to an empty auditorium and a few of the Sundays, they just streamed old sermons as Live, I kid you not. The memo went out explaining that John wanted people to come back despite the Public Health Order requiring indoor services to cease. This would be c. April-June 2020. I recall watching the services and noticing that the cameras would make sure to never go below the steps and survey the crowd. You could hear that there were many people there, not the full 3,200, but still more than was allowed in an indoor setting.

Twitter came alive as churches divided over whether or not to take Covid seriously, to do Livestream, to mask up or not, to social distance or not. Wherever you stood on the issue, you have to admit that there wasn’t enough information or experience to take a hardline stance either way.

Unless you’re Grace Community.

April 2020 JMac: We don’t want to hurt anyone.

August 2020 JMac: Open your churches and if you don’t, you’re not a legitimate church (paraphrasing, too tired to care about the complete wording); later, James Coates would echo the same sentiment in interviews proving there is a shared narrative and deviation means spiritual and career isolation

So, one by one these tired wretches walked the Twitter streets and found a makeshift community of fellow believers. Xanadu, but without the roller skates. Who am I kidding? Of course there were roller skates. Apologies. Former Grace Church members, and newly fired and ousted members, and those whose churches seemed to have also taken their marching orders from John MacArthur, having left after decades. Thousands at least claimed that their church, too, had gone the way of John MacArthur and Grace Community Church in supporting Trump, thinking Covid was a hoax and not a pandemic, and ultimately, mocking those who wore masks or chose to get vaccinated. This was a time of suffering all around and people chose to be unkind, unloving, and perhaps people were seeing this for the first time and finding that all roads do indeed lead to good ‘ol Panorama City.

When the Roys Report interviewed Eileen Gray, that was a leveling up I had never seen before. There really was nowhere to hide on the issue, you were either in agreement with Phil Johnson, John MacArthur, Protestia, and Tim Hurd and 20 other small-time Youtubers who made timelines and played legal sleuth to a gullible audience or you investigated the matter yourself and concluded that John MacArthur and the other elders (whose names were changed to protect the innocent) at the time pursued, harassed a family in favor of protecting a child molestor. They can all say, including Tim Hurd and Protestia, that David Gray was not known at the time to be hurting the children; however, we now know different as Grace Day School was a harbor for at least three pedophiles as tweets of those who witnessed inappropriate behavior later confirmed and that the elders at the time presided over the day-to-day of the school.

On a personal note, once I read about the abuse, the patterns of abuse during the decades I was there, I felt nothing but grief. Though I knew nothing about it and could do nothing about it, I would have left had I known. I think many would have, but we were never given the chance. The gatekeepers did a good job at quelling the gossip or dissemination of any information. You will own nothing and be happy. You will know nothing and be content.

People on Twitter would always say, “but he’s been a faithful pastor for over 50 years” and there was no comeback to that really. A person’s opinion about John when so little was known about these incidents seemed OK. I mean, there were many theological missteps that John espoused and I found to be quite troubling, but if someone appreciated his ministry, I thought nothing of it. What a difference two years makes. What a difference that ungodly bloggers make!

Now when people say, “but he has been a faithful preacher for over 50 years,” I can say, “how long of a ministry would someone have if they were found to be supporting a convicted child molestor? Not once, but multiple times. Had we known then, what we know now, I would say that it would have torn the church apart and perhaps would have decimated the numbers (yes, I know that decimate means 10%, but I’m using the meaning in common parlance to mean, zilch, nada). I would have joined that crazy Fish guy protesting near the wash. Something.”

Let’s just say, God has chosen to increase the knowledge to fight the power for such a time as this. The GIF throwing, and jokes aside, there is a heart and love for Truth on the mean streets of Twitter that you’d never know existed if you hadn’t been there. I salute all of you blessed weirdos.

Et tu, Youtube?

If you think Twitter got weird, my friends…Youtube takes the cake. I used to tell my friends, every day I make two mistakes — I read Youtube comments and respond to Youtube comments. As people dread Twitter, I dread Youtube. Every manner of “Christian” is present and the tribalism, barbarism of the Calvinist camp is simply toxic. Nowhere else was that present, but on the Bible Thumping Wingnut Network, and the host Tim Hurd.

In the words of Servus Christi, BTWN is basically, “a John MacAthur legal update channel” who found a certain amount of fame giving updates supplied by Phil Johnson on Grace Community Church’s legal fights against the County. I still have the hundreds of email notifications from Youtube of Hurd’s kind audience telling me that I am “working with Satan, who is the Father of Lies” and all kinds of curses, long, and poorly grammared diatribes deserving of anyone who dare speak against Grace Church, and their brave pastor. My comments were so benign. “Actually, Tim, I believe that there are more than just three reported cases to the LADPH, but that they have to differentiate between those that are reported from the school and those from the church, and those that are employees. We’ll see in time just how accurate those are”.

I’m a monster, I know.

Another Youtube Channel was called, The Frisch Perspective, where a soft-spoken, goggle-eyed fellow who was clearly a big fan of John MacArthur would also speak on the situation at Grace church to a far smaller audience. His videos were a bit long. I prefer a produced, scripted video of 3 minutes over a rambling one of 16 minutes all day long. When he had a video on the Roys Report, former Grace elder Steve Camp, commented on the channel and surprisingly chided the man for his assumptions. Frisch during Covid had blocked my user name routinely as I came in with facts that countered his. I would have thought that respectful disagreement among believers was allowed, but I was sorely mistaken.

And still there are others: ReformedWiki, Polite Leader, Conversations that Matter (Jonny Harris’ channel), and of course, Protestia (See Servus Christi’s most recent 8-hour long video for more on the subject) and Wretched, whose comments have been off for many months and whose viewership has taken a nosedive and seen better days.

You can spot them. Some have learned that if you just make short videos of John’s sermons, you can make $, get a small following. There is a ready audience and “cult” following quick to the trough.

There Must Be 50 Ways to Leave Your Toxic Church

Not a week goes by that I don’t get a DM, or email, tweet about how they left Grace in 2020, 2021, but that they’re worried about their parents, friends. They, too, had read the Roys Report, my articles and just talked to Grace friends who remained and cannot fathom why so much was kept from the congregation. I’ll agree and lament that the years I wasted (now, not all of them, but many. Too many.) at this church has been eye-opening. I know of many who went from Grace to another Grace Advanced church, or one that was pastored by TMS grads, receiving the same treatment on a smaller scale. No congregational input, covering of sin of key people and rich families, nepotism. Abuse.

There are literally thousands out there who have receipts, who on a whim could launch their own ministry, their own ungodly blog, or if the Lord tarry, proceed with litigation. We have been fortunate enough to be the sounding board for many who have told us their stories, kept those stories confident, prayed for them and others out there who have been harmed and struggling by Grace Church.

I remember one time Phil Johnson saying that people on Twitter just wanted to see Grace Church fall, want nothing more than to see it crumble and that was the motivation behind the negative comments. And that echoed with John MacArthur’s sentiment during that Chapel recording that this (the WASC report, which was as bland and administrative a duty as they were given) was an “orchestrated attack” by Satan…against John. Later, John would also say that Grace Community church was the most persecuted church in America as 4 In and Out trucks and masked employees were flipping burgers and handing out Voss water and Cake Monkey cupcakes. But for the Grace of God, go I…

To have the perspective that anything negative, even by God-appointed authorities, is an attack of Satan kinda flies in the face of the Calvnistic bent to treat everything as appointed by God, don’t you think? If Benny Hinn had said that, Justin Peters would have made a video of how crazy the things that come out of Christian mouths. If Joel Osteen or Rick Warren had said it, Wretched’s Todd Friel and Phil Johnson would have made a video about, “what should we do with Rick Warren and his paranoia?”

In the same sermon, John could say that Satan is attacking Grace church in the form of the articles by the Los Angeles Times, from other Christian media outlets, from that “busybody” Julie Roys, and others, and then admonish everyone to “count it all joy”. I’m not sure which it is. For a church that told churches to “Preach the Word. Open Your Doors”, many of the sermons in 2020 and 2021 were one long gripe session over who was persecuting John, from within and without.

It literally went:

— Mark MacArthur’s firm being investigated and charged by the SEC? John: “They’re all lies. There’s nothing to it.”

— Jane’s story, the abuse and subsequent cover-up by TMS leaders, Rick Holland and Joe Keller. John, during the Chapel, stated, “police said there was nothing to it”. This is a big lie. John MacArthur’s office was next door to Rick Holland and Holland would go back and forth from yelling at Jane, conferring with John and then telling her that she need to be restored, go to church and sit with her rapist.

— Church members leave, many get very ill from Covid. John’s direction to Clayton Erb, or the music director at the time was to remove any instance of praying for someone with Covid in the Choir.

— December 8th, 2020: 15 employees out of the 115 in attendance at the Staff Christmas banquet get Covid.

Tom Patton, first Sunday’s absence, “our pastor is resting”.

Tom Patton, second Sunday’s absence, “our pastor is resting and preparing for Shepherd’s conference” (It was three months away at the time).

MacArthur family friends: “He has a stomach flu” to Josh Buice on Facebook

Protestia and BTWN: “It’s NOT Covid.”

Steve Lawson, “He’s an Atlas. He’ll outlive us all”. Blocks me for saying that John has Covid and that he was “lying to you all” when he posted, more than likely his assistant, a picture of John MacArthur speaking to the D.Min. students Orientation on January 11, 2020, when he was not present at that event but back in Dallas. The ease at which these guys lie is breath-taking.

Twitter Friends: He got Covid at the Christmas service. He said he “got winded walking up the stairs”. We should be praying for him, the congregation should know. Why lie about this? I’ll never understand that place.

Also, another friend, “I’m getting tired of this”.

Amen.

“Happy Doing What We’re Doing”

Forget everything. Forget the hypocrisy, the lies, and the false narrative, even these last two years and how we were treated. I realize that mentioning the Holy Spirit doesn’t go too far with a crowd that has been reared under Cessationism’s cruel tutelage, but consider that God is doing an amazing work. I’m not a Calvinist, but I know that the pages of Scripture put forth the Sovereignty of God, the Depravity of Man.

When you consider that the words of Paul were written in chains from the darkness of a Roman jail, from the perspective of one suffering real persecution, we are admonished to “rejoice in the Lord always”. It is easy to get bogged down by the upcoming economic downturn, the increase in crime, the unsettling tone of modern day Christianity where the loudest, most sardonic seem to get away with so much. Article after article, story after story of decades-long abuse tolerated and covered up makes the average Christian never want to darken the door way of another church. I get that.

I cannot in good conscience tell people how to weather these storms, but to bring them back to Christ and His Word. It’s all I have; it’s all you’ll need. And yes, they don’t win. As you’re struggling with bills, kids, illness and hear of these large payouts and severance packages, NDAs and backroom deals, publishing royalties, rest…in good conscience. There is a reckoning that we will all be judged for what we do, what we say, and let God sort out the rest. Live in happy rejoicing that your ordinary life is precious to God Almighty. How you have been given riches unknown by a Heavenly Father who loves you. I tell myself this as much as I tell it to you.

Now…ladies and gentlemen, Let Us Pray

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Modern Day Zorro

Modern Day Zorro

173 Followers

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