Too Late for Grace, part 2: a Brief Review of the Christianity Today Article

Modern Day Zorro
9 min readFeb 24, 2023
So many of these statements did not age well.

Grace Community Church Rejected Elder’s Calls to ‘Do Justice’ in Abuse Case

The elders had publicly disciplined a woman for refusing to take back her husband. As it turned out, the woman’s fears proved true, and her husband went to prison for child molestation and abuse. The church never retracted its discipline or apologized in the 20 years since.

That’s true. When the Roys Report published the story of Eileen Gray last year, Grace Community Church and the elders sounded the shofar to any MacArthurite Youtube channel to malign the writer, and even going so far as to congratulate the elder board on applying “biblical principles” and “doing the best they could with the information they had”. That was the narrative to push. People who had never stepped foot onto Roscoe Blvd., let alone been west of Barstow, were now the experts for all things John MacArthur. Truly bizarre.

Readers on both sides who expected an answer, or a defense were met with sardonic barbs and silence. The Elders had spoken. They had nothing to say, then spent the next 10 months talking about it. Like the worst version of “We Don’t Talk about Bruno” ever penned.

As a lawyer and one of four officers on the elder board at Grace Community Church (GCC), Cho was asked to study the case. He tried to convince the church’s leaders to reconsider and at least privately make it right. He said pastor John MacArthur told him to “forget it.” When Cho continued to call the elders to “do justice” on the woman’s behalf, he said he was asked to walk back his conclusions or resign.

It’s been 10 months since Cho left Grace Community Church, and he has not been able to forget the woman, Eileen Gray, whose experience was described in detail last March in Julie Roys’s news outlet, The Roys Report.

It would take a bit long to explain the different tiers on the Elder Board, but needless to say that the way that Hohn is being portrayed by BTWN News’ Tim Hurd, and others, is quite inaccurate. He wasn’t “just an attorney”. No, he was a friend of Phil Johnson, a contributor on Johnson’s blog Pyromaniacs, and a frequent speaker at Gracelife and the Shepherds’ Conference. It also sounds like he spent his formative spiritual years serving at Grace Community Church, rising to the position of Secretary. I am not sure where people are getting the impression that Hohn Cho was not asked to review the Gray case for the Elder Board when Phil Johnson’s response at the time stated it.

Credit: Tim Frisch, the “Frisch Perspective”

The response from Grace Community Church was a response, non-response, which was presented by Jon Harris of the Youtube channel “Conversations that Matter”, retweeted by KDubtru (also a Youtuber), which was also shared by Tim Frisch of the “Frisch Perspective” Youtube Channel and made the rounds to the rest of the Mac Pack. So many Youtubers, I know. It is exhausting.

Hohn Cho Appeals to the Elders

No, he couldn’t “forget it.”

The more he learned, the more people he talked with, the more the injustice weighed on his conscience and the more concerned he grew about the church’s biblical counseling around abuse.

As Cho wrote in a 20-page memo to top leaders at Grace Community Church last March, “I genuinely believe it would be wrong to do nothing. At the end of the day, I know what I know. I cannot ‘un-know’ it, and I am in fact accountable before God for this knowledge, and if you have labored mightily to read this far, you are now accountable before God for it as well.”

Astonishing to think that Cho was only asking, imploring these men to make things right, if just privately to Ms. Gray, but he was told to “Forget It.” They knew Cho’s character, his past work…but did they really expect him to say, “yup, read it. Nothing to see. All good, John.” Like at the end of The Bourne Identity where they announce to the committee that Treadstone is all but complete. On to “Black Briar”. (Cue Moby)

Equally so, as they misjudged Cho’s conclusions on the matter, he did seem to know how it all might go down and seemed prepared to walk. I might be wrong, I just got the impression from the CT story and the many timely appeals to the elders after his departure that this was the stand he would take. If memory serves, the whole thing went down at the monthly Elders’ meeting, then the session went from public to private, noise and yelling, and then a resignation email from Hohn Cho hastily written from the lobby of TMS.

I remember at the time, it sent shock waves through the Twitterverse. MacArthurites were telling us that it had nothing with the Roys Report or Eileen Gray. Beautiful, the gaslight always is.

God’s Timing and Providence

“In God’s providence, he kept placing reminders in front of me, completely unbidden. When my wife and I were asked by a friend to pray for a woman my wife happened to know, she reached out in concern, and we were horrified to discover the same awful patterns of counseling were still happening at GCC,” Cho told CT.

“This is when I sadly came to believe beyond any personal doubt that GCC congregants who we still love could effectively be playing Russian roulette if they ever needed counseling at GCC, especially anything involving the care of women or children. I knew I could not pass by silently on the other side of the road, that I needed to help this woman and to call out a warning, or else the blood of the people would be on my head.”

For this story, CT spoke with eight women who recounted how they and others at Grace Community Church had been counseled to avoid reporting their husbands and fathers to authorities, to accept their apologies, and to continue to submit to them.

Dear Reader: Just because you are no longer at Grace Community Church doesn’t mean that you can no longer minister, trust me. Unfortunately, what Mr. Cho discovered were that these patterns of abusive counseling methods which has its roots at The Master’s University and Seminary. With Dr. Street and company, to a lesser extent with Wayne Mack. The fact that 8 women could be interviewed only tells me that there are so many more there who have endured, continue to subject themselves to this most ungodly cadre of counselors, and perhaps see no other way out. When you consider the abuse which occurs on the campus of the Master’s University, and occurred at Grace Day School, you start to see the overall influence of MacArthur at every stage of life (I won’t get into the Ezzo years, but if you know you know).

While still on the board last March, Cho emphasized the urgency of correcting the record. The elders had called out sin where there was none, he insisted. If they had learned that they’d disciplined a man wrongly accused of adultery, wouldn’t they want to make that right, even if they found out 20 years later?

According to Cho, who served as the board secretary and was responsible for taking notes, MacArthur replied during the March meeting that the comparison didn’t apply to Eileen Gray. The pastor brought up again claims of her “bizarre behavior” and wasn’t inclined to reconsider her discipline.

After that, Cho said, he was told by elder board chair Chris Hamilton that he would need to “walk back” his findings about the church’s mistakes if he wanted to remain an elder. (Hamilton did not respond to requests for comment.) Cho and his wife resigned their membership the next day.

This is where it gets a little confusing. Only a small handful of Elders on the board in 2022 were directly involved with the Gray discipline case. Bob King, for instance, now an elder at Santa Clarita’s Crossroads Community Church where Todd Smith is the head pastor. I have had several Twitter conversations with Smith regarding the Gray case and his associations with TMUS and Grace Community Church, most notably that many of his leaders had direct involvement in the case. He concluded that his admiration for his elders was unwavering and that he gladly stood with them. He stated that that was all he had to say on the matter.

So, you have some elders who had said that they knew very little about the case, but trusted in the findings of the leader presenting it (in this case, Carey Hardy). Then, they will say that it is by unanimous decision that someone is ex-communicated, but then others will testify that elders will go along with what John wants so it doesn’t really matter the details. And you have MacArthur talking about Eileen’s “bizarre behavior” (if lying about a football career, and being at MLK’s assassination site, and stating that you single-handedly wrote the 25,000 notes to a Bible that bears your name is “normal”, then…OK.) Yet, Eileen confirmed that MacArthur never spoke to her. Make that make sense. He ex-communicates a woman (twice) based upon the recommendation of Bill Shannon, Phil Johnson, and Carey Hardy, but doesn’t speak to her, yet…that’s “Biblical”? Book, Chapter, Verse indeed.

In the words of Saiko Woods, “don’t get it twisted”. John wanted her gone, the elders knew that, voted, and that was that. On to Black Briar.

Ms. Gray said that she could endure the shaming because God was with her. 21 years in the making, he’s still with her.

“Trust Me, I’m an Elder”-

Last year, when he questioned the decision to discipline Eileen Gray, he said fellow elders suggested they just trust the previous leaders who affirmed it. Cho countered that Scripture commands us to trust the Lord and examine everything (1 Thess. 5:21).

I had to read this three times. This is the most ridiculous sentiment, the stupidest conclusion. I don’t know how these men sleep at night or function at all. So, Elder, the Gray case was mishandled and “mistakes were made” and you admit that things would have gone a different way knowing what they know now, but hey, it wasn’t “on my watch”?

Is that how you read it? Does no one take responsibility for anything at this church? Let me break this down, there are past wrongs and present wrongs. Yet, instead of addressing Eileen and Wendy et al., you’re going to say nothing, knowing that there are families you can help now but because (in the words of Nathan Busenitz’ email re: TMS and Covid) your “hands are tied because of John”, you’re absolved from what exactly?

I’ll admit that at this point in the court of public opinion, there isn’t anything you all can do at this point that would look authentic, but for the sake of conscience (and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit)…this is telling to say the least. Satan doesn’t need to attack this church, they apparently do the job spectacularly on their own. #ChurchisEssentiallyBroken

I’m going to conclude this post here. The article as you can see wraps it all together, including a statement from Eileen Gray and Hohn Cho which gives the impression that God has used this situation for His glory then as He will in the future. But for John whose story is coming to a close I can only say that as the most influential pastor “since the Apostolic Age” (as Justin Peters spoke of him), a tarnished legacy of spiritual intimidation and partiality may be what remains.

Part 3-I’m sorry…last I checked, there were 40 Elders. Barratry at work, lads.



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.