John MacArthur (American pastor)

  (Redirected from John F. MacArthur)

John Fullerton MacArthur Jr. (born June 19, 1939) is an American Reformed Baptist pastor and author known for his internationally syndicated Christian teaching radio and television program Grace to You.[1] He has been the pastor of Grace Community Church, a non-denominational church in Sun Valley, California since February 9, 1969.[2] He is currently the chancellor emeritus of The Master's University in Santa Clarita and The Master's Seminary.

John MacArthur
John F. MacArthur Jr..JPG
MacArthur in 2013
John Fullerton MacArthur Jr.

(1939-06-19) June 19, 1939 (age 83)
Alma mater
  • Pastor
  • televangelist
  • author
Patricia MacArthur
(m. 1963)
RelativesSee MacArthur family
ReligionChristianity (Reformed Baptist)
Congregations served
Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California

MacArthur is a strong proponent of expository preaching, and has been acknowledged by Christianity Today as one of the most influential preachers of his time.[3] MacArthur has written or edited more than 150 books, most notably the MacArthur Study Bible, which has sold more than one million copies, receiving a Gold Medallion Book Award.[4]

Early life and schoolingEdit

The grandson of Canadian Anglican minister Harry MacArthur (died 1950) and son of Baptist radio preacher Jack MacArthur (born in Calgary, Canada)[5] and Irene Dockendorf, MacArthur was born in Los Angeles.[6] He claims to be a fifth cousin of US Army general Douglas MacArthur.[7] MacArthur followed in his father's footsteps to enroll at the fundamentalist Bob Jones College from 1957 to 1959. In 1960, after a year off, he was accepted to the Free Methodist Church’s Los Angeles Pacific College, where in his senior year he observed two games of football, going on field once for one play (see 1962 yearbook statistics).[8] In 1963, he was granted a Masters of Divinity from the Bible Institute of Los Angeles's new Talbot Theological Seminary, in La Mirada, California, with honors. MacArthur was also given honoraria from Talbot Theological Seminary (Doctor of Divinity, 1977) and from Grace Graduate School (1976).[9]


While at Bob Jones University in South Carolina, MacArthur’s father recruited him to the Voice of Calvary singing quartet, often broadcast on Christian radio in Southern California. From 1964 to 1966, MacArthur was hired by his father as associate pastor at the Harry MacArthur Memorial Bible Church (now Calvary Bible Church in Burbank, California), which his father Jack had planted and named after his own father.[10] From 1966 to 1969, MacArthur was hired as the faculty representative for Talbot Theological Seminary. On February 9, 1969, he was hired as the third and youngest pastor at the nondenominational Grace Community Church of Sun Valley, California.[11]

MacArthur's daily radio and television program, Grace to You, now broadcast throughout much of the world, was created by the Grace media team to publicize audio cassettes of sermons; in 1977, it was first broadcast in Baltimore, Maryland.[12] In 1985, MacArthur was made President of Los Angeles Baptist College, now The Master's University, a four-year Christian liberal-arts college.[13] In 1986, he was made President of the new Master's Seminary.[14]

Nearly 43 years after beginning in the pulpit of Grace Community, MacArthur completed one of his own life goals,[2] that of preaching through the entire New Testament less the ending of Mark on June 5, 2011.[15][16]

Theological positionsEdit

Authority of scriptureEdit

Central to MacArthur's theology is a very high view of scripture (the 66 books of the Bible).[17] He believes that scripture is inerrant and infallible because it is "the Word of God" and that God cannot lie.[17] Furthermore, he believes that we are obliged to render full submission to scripture above all else and that "[t]o mishandle the Word of God is to misrepresent the One who wrote it. To reject its claims is to call Him a liar. To ignore its message is to snub that which the Holy Spirit inspired."[17]


MacArthur is a cessationist, holding that the "sign gifts" (such as prophecy) described in the Bible were temporarily granted to the apostles to authenticate the origin and truth of the scriptures, and that at the close of the Apostolic Age these gifts had served their purpose and ceased to be granted.[18] He is one of the most prominent voices in American Christianity against the continuationist beliefs of Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Movement, which assert that God continues to confer sign gifts today. MacArthur has written three books on the subject. In October 2013, his church hosted a conference called "Strange Fire" to mark the launch of a book of the same name.[19] The event featured a number of speakers who argued for cessationist theology and strongly critiqued the Charismatic Movement.[20][21]

MacArthur argues that modern "visions, revelations, voices from heaven...dreams, speaking in tongues, prophecies, out-of-body experiences, trip to heaven, anointings, miracles – all false, all lies, all deceptions – attributed falsely to the Holy Spirit." He has remarked that "[t]he Charismatic movement has stolen the Holy Spirit and created a golden calf, and they're dancing around the golden calf as if it were the Holy Spirit."[22][23]


In 1983, MacArthur first published his belief in the doctrine of "incarnational sonship." In 1989, after some criticism, he defended his views in a plenary session of the annual convention of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America (IFCA). A decade later, he announced he had retracted this view via an article from Grace to You.[24]


MacArthur has stated that he opposes both "male chauvinist and feminist views."[25] He has a complementarian view on gender roles and considers that the Bible forbids women to preach to men or to exercise authority over men in churches, and he believes that the Biblical roles of elder and pastor are restricted to men. To this end he cites the biblical passage of 1 Timothy 2:11-12.[26][27][28]

New Covenant theologyEdit

MacArthur describes himself as a "leaky dispensationalist."[29] MacArthur holds to the Progressive dispensationalist school of premillennialism, a pre-tribulational Rapture of the Church, and a literal Millennium. Thus on one hand, he teaches a completely restored Israel shall inherit physical ownership of the earth. On the other hand, instructors and writers on his staff publish position papers that the divine covenants and divine laws of the Old Testament do not apply to the church, but rather that “New Covenant Theology” is correct that the church, from the spiritual New Jerusalem, must support the exclusive rule of Israel over the globe.[30][31][32]

Lordship of ChristEdit

MacArthur believes "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). This submission to Jesus as Lord when converting to faith in Jesus Christ became known to Arminians as the “Lordship salvation controversy” in the 1980s. MacArthur argues that confessing Jesus Christ as Lord is a necessary component of free grace theology. He states, "You must receive Jesus Christ for who He is, both Lord and Savior, to be truly saved (Peter 2:20)."[33] Regarding eternal security, he states, "It should never be presented merely as a matter of being once saved, always saved—with no regard for what you believe or do. The writer of Hebrews 12:14 states frankly that only those who continue living holy lives will enter the Lord's presence." These views raised controversy within American evangelicalism and were challenged in print by non-lordship dispensationalist theologians Charles Ryrie and Zane C. Hodges, who argued that MacArthur's ministry was teaching a form of works-based salvation. MacArthur denied the charge, as attested on two tapes recorded in 1989 when he was asked to “reason together with the IFCA man.”[34]

Young Earth creationismEdit

MacArthur advocates Young Earth creationism in his book The Battle For the Beginning (2001), and in his sermons.[35] Speaking about evolutionary theory, he writes that Christians "ought to expose such lies for what they are and oppose them vigorously." He argues that "the battle for the beginning is ultimately a battle between two mutually exclusive faiths – faith in Scripture versus faith in anti-theistic hypotheses. It is not really a battle between science and the Bible."[36]


MacArthur has been involved in controversy regarding his remarks on certain topics. He is an outspoken critic of same-sex marriage, the ordination of women, the Roman Catholic Church, and the social justice movement.[37] He has delivered multiple sermons where he discusses these issues.[38]

For example, with respect to sexual orientation, he asserted that "no one is gay" as "God didn't hardwire anybody"[39] to be gay any more than he "hardwires" individuals to be adulterers or bank robbers.[40] MacArthur compared the assertion that sexual orientation is a born trait to a hypothetical bank robber's protestation, "I keep robbing banks, but I'm a robber. I'm a bank robber. What am I gonna do? I'm a bank robber."[40]

In 2012, at The Shepherd's Conference (an annual pastor's conference), MacArthur was participating in a word association questionnaire where the moderator gave him the name "Steven Furtick." MacArthur proceeded to argue that Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church, was "unqualified."[41] Furtick responded to this comment in his 2016 book Unqualified: How God Uses Broken People to Do Big Things.

In 2019, at the Truth Matters Conference, during another word association questionnaire, MacArthur was given the prompt "Beth Moore." MacArthur responded, "Go home." Reiterating his stance on 1 Timothy 2:12, he went on to say, "There is no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher. Period. Paragraph. End of Discussion."[42] Moore responded to this stance by stating on her Twitter account, "I did not surrender to a calling of man when I was 18 years old. I surrendered to a calling of God. It never occurs to me for a second to not fulfill it. I will follow Jesus - and Jesus alone - all the way home. And I will see His beautiful face and proclaim, Worthy is the Lamb!"[43]

Since 2019, there have been questions about MacArthur's assertion that he was with Black civil rights leaders the night Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and that he visited the site of the assassination only hours after, as his story and those of others who were allegedly present do not entirely match.[44] For example, while MacArthur has stated that he was with Charles Evers in the latter's office when the two learned of King's assassination, Evers has said that he did not know Macarthur, that Macarthur was “lying,” and that he himself was driving when he learned of the assassination.[45][46]

In 2020 and 2021, during the COVID-19 global crisis, MacArthur contravened orders from Los Angeles County public health officials regarding services at Grace Community Church, and insisted that no one from the church had become seriously ill, despite reports to the contrary.[47] His major contention was that there was no justification for closing down churches over a disease with 94% survival rate according to misinterpreted data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).[48][49] He stated that there was a deadlier virus killing people—the virus of sin—leading many to eternal death. Los Angeles County sued the church over its refusal to close down, and the church counter-sued, claiming that the County was violating rights to freedom of religion.[49] Eventually the lawsuits were settled out of court with the County and State paying $400,000 each to Grace Community Church. In August 2021, MacArthur told congregants that "many people" had contracted COVID-19 while it "went through" the church in December 2020 and January 2021, including both he and his wife.[50][51]

In a 2021 sermon, MacArthur stated that true democracy and freedom of religion are against Scriptural teaching.[52][53][54] In another sermon, MacArthur spoke of a book publisher which declared that the Biden administration would support religious freedom. MacArthur, in turn, stated that lobbying for religious freedom was advocating for the worship of a false god which is antithetical to one of the Protestant five solae: Solus Christus. During a sermon on John 14:6, he stated, "I don’t even support religious freedom. Religious freedom is what sends people to Hell. To say I support religious freedom is to say I support idolatry. It’s to say I support lies. I support Hell. I support the kingdom of darkness. You can’t say that. No Christian with half a brain would say ‘we support religious freedom.’ We support the truth!"[52][53][55] MacArthur came under renewed criticism from prominent Christian sources when the videos of the sermons came to attention in 2022.[55]

In early 2022, a former vice president of The Master's University and The Master's Seminary accused MacArthur of plagiarism for a change in the attribution of a chapter in a published book from his own name to MacArthur's,[56] though publisher Harper Collins had no explanation for the "editorial mistake."[57]

Beginning in March 2022, long time MacArthur critic Julie Roys reported on multiple accusations that MacArthur covered up and failed to report sexual abuses of minors, including by a former pastor of Grace Community Church, as required by law. In one case, Grace Community Church funded the legal defense of a staff member, who was later sentenced to 21 years for sexual assault of his adopted children. In a church service, Macarthur excommunicated the wife, who reported the crimes to authorities; the wife fled the state with her family.[58] [59] [60] [61]

MacArthur has also been accused of promoting a white supremacist interpretation of the Curse of Ham and justifying slavery and racial segregation. [62]

Personal lifeEdit

MacArthur is married to his wife, Patricia.[63] They have four children, fifteen grandchildren, and had two great-grandsons by 2017.[64]

Selected publicationsEdit

  • Twelve Extraordinary Women: God Shaped Women of the Bible, and What He Wants to Do with You by John F. MacArthur (October 5, 2008)
  • Twelve Ordinary Men: How the Master Shaped His Disciples for Greatness, and What He Wants to Do with You by John F. MacArthur (May 8, 2006)
  • One Perfect Life: The Complete Story of the Lord Jesus by John F. MacArthur (March 4, 2013)
  • Anxious for Nothing: God's Cure for the Cares of Your Soul (John Macarthur Study) by MacArthur, Jr., John (February 1, 2012)
  • Safe in the Arms of God: Truth from Heaven About the Death of a Child by John F. MacArthur (July 8, 2003)
  • Saved Without A Doubt: Being Sure of Your Salvation (John MacArthur Study) by MacArthur, Jr., John (January 1, 2010)
  • The Charismatics: A Doctrinal Perspective Hardback (1978)
  • Fundamentals of the Faith: 13 Lessons to Grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Jesus Christ by John MacArthur (February 24, 2009)
  • The Charismatic Softback (1978)
  • Gospel According to Jesus (1989) ISBN 0-310-28651-4
  • Charismatic Chaos (1993) ISBN 0-310-57572-9
  • Our Sufficiency in Christ (1998) ISBN 1-58134-013-3
  • Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World (2001) ISBN 1-58134-288-8
  • Think Biblically!: Recovering a Christian Worldview (2003) ISBN 1-58134-412-0
  • Fool's Gold?: Discerning Truth in an Age of Error (2005) ISBN 1-58134-726-X
  • The Jesus You Can't Ignore: What You Must Learn from the Bold Confrontations of Christ (2009) ISBN 1-4002-0206-X
  • Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship (2013) ISBN 978-1-4002-0517-2
  • Right Thinking in a Church Gone Astray: Finding Our Way Back to Biblical Truth (2017)
  • The Gospel According to Paul: Embracing the Good News at the Heart of Paul's Teachings (2017)
  • Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth (2017)
  • None Other: Discovering the God of the Bible (2017)
  • Worship: The Ultimate Priority (2012)
  • Parables (2015)


  1. ^ "'Grace to You' Television Program with John MacArthur Launches in Major U.S. Markets". Christian News Wire. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Theology and Ministry: An Interview with John MacArthur". January 16, 2011. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  3. ^ "The Top 25 Most Influential Preachers". Christianity Today. 2006. Archived from the original on February 1, 2006. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
  4. ^ "1998 Gold Medallion Book Awards Winners". Retrieved March 6, 2008.
  5. ^ "Voice of Calvary Legacy - The Legacy - Page 3".
  6. ^ MacArthur, John F. (February 9, 2004). "John MacArthur's Life Testimony" (Interview). Interviewed by Phil Johnson. Retrieved February 6, 2019. I was born down in Los Angeles at St. Vincent's Hospital, which is still operating.
  7. ^ "When should a Christian fight for his country? - John MacArthur". Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  8. ^ "Bible Questions and Answers, Part 47". Grace to You.
  9. ^ Demy, Timothy J.; Shockley, Paul R. (September 21, 2017). Evangelical America: An Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Religious Culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 265. ISBN 9781610697743. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  10. ^ "Voice of Calvary Legacy - The Legacy - Page 3".
  11. ^ "John F. MacArthur - The Master's Seminary". Archived from the original on August 22, 2014.
  12. ^ "What's the history of Grace to You?". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved September 22, 2009.
  13. ^ Dart, John (April 9, 1985). "MacArthur Appointed Baptist College Gets New President, Name". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 25, 2009.
  14. ^ "History | The Master's Seminary". Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  15. ^ "A Historic Moment". June 16, 2011. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  16. ^ |john Macarthur - YouTube
  17. ^ a b c "Why Does Sola Scriptura Still Matter?". Grace to You. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  18. ^ MacArthur, John. "The Temporary Sign Gifts, Part 3". Grace to You. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  19. ^ "Truth Matters 2013: Strange Fire". Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  20. ^ Menzie, Nicola (October 17, 2013). "'Strange Fire' Conference: John MacArthur Calls Out Charismatic Movement as 'Unfaithful'". The Christian Post. The Christian Post. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  21. ^ MacArthu, John. "The Temporary Sign Gifts, Part 3". Grace to You. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  22. ^ "The Modern Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit". YouTube. Archived from the original on May 2, 2012.
  23. ^ MacArthur, John (October 23, 2011). "The Modern Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit". Grace to You. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  24. ^ MacArthur, John. "Reexamining the Eternal Sonship of Christ". Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  25. ^ "The Loving Husband: A Portrait of Christ". Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  26. ^ Grace to You. "God's High Call for Women".
  27. ^ Grace to You. "Should Women Teach in Church?".
  28. ^ Grace to You. "Can Women Exercise Authority in the Church?".
  29. ^ MacArthur, John. "What is dispensationalism? And what is your position, from Scripture, on the subject?".
  30. ^ Mayhue, Richard. "New Covenant Theology and Futuristic Premillennialism". Archived from the original on September 20, 2017.
  31. ^ Vlach, Michael. "New Covenant Theology Compared With Covenantalism". Archived from the original on September 20, 2017.
  32. ^ MacArthur, John. "Why Every Calvinist Should Be a Premillennialist, Part 1".
  33. ^ MacArthur, John (1994). The Gospel According to Jesus. ISBN 0-310-39491-0.
  34. ^ "I.F.C.A. Meeting (6-26-89), Part 1". Grace to You.
  35. ^ John MacArthur (2001), The Battle For The Beginning, Nelson, archived from the original on July 6, 2011, retrieved May 18, 2011
  36. ^ "How Important Is Genesis 1-3?". Grace to you official website. August 27, 2009. Archived from the original on December 25, 2014. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
  37. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Social Justice and the Gospel, Part 1". YouTube.
  38. ^ "Social Injustice and the Gospel". Grace to You.
  39. ^ Hartropp, Joseph (June 29, 2017). "Megapastor John MacArthur says 'no one is gay', compares homosexuality to adultery". Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  40. ^ a b Hartropp, Joseph. "Megapastor John MacArthur says 'no one is gay', compares homosexuality to adultery". Retrieved March 11, 2022.
  41. ^ Buttel, Cameron (May 9, 2016). "Unqualified, Not Unworthy". Grace To You. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  42. ^ MacArthur, John. "Go Home Beth Moore". YouTube. Archived from the original on October 30, 2019. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  43. ^ Moore, Beth. "Tweet from October 21, 2019".
  44. ^ "Is John MacArthur's Story about Martin Luther King Jr.'s Assassination True?". March 5, 2021.
  45. ^ "Exclusive: Iconic civil rights leader tells Pastor John MacArthur to stop lying". February 4, 2019.
  46. ^ "Is John MacArthur's Story about Martin Luther King Jr.'s Assassination True?". March 5, 2021.
  47. ^ Cosgrove, Jaclyn (November 8, 2020). "L.A. megachurch pastor mocks pandemic health orders, even as church members fall ill". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 30, 2021.
  48. ^ "Fact Check-CDC comorbidity figures presented in sermon do not undermine deadliness of COVID-19". Reuters. July 6, 2021. Retrieved March 11, 2022.
  49. ^ a b "L.A. megachurch pastor mocks pandemic health orders, even as church members fall ill". Los Angeles Times. November 9, 2020. Retrieved March 11, 2022.
  50. ^ Cosgrove, Jaclyn (August 27, 2021). "L.A. County could pay $400,000 settlement to church that fought COVID-19 mandates". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 30, 2021.
  51. ^ "John MacArthur and Grace Community Church win $800,000 settlement from California and L.A. County". September 2021.
  52. ^ a b Wingfield, Mark (February 1, 2021). "Neither democracy nor religious freedom are biblical concepts, John MacArthur declares – Baptist News Global". Baptist News Global. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  53. ^ a b Kristian, Bonnie (March 29, 2021). "Is Religious Liberty Really a Dance With the Devil?". Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  54. ^ "Uh, John MacArthur Is Urging His Church to Stop Supporting Religious Freedom". RELEVANT. March 5, 2021. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  55. ^ a b Foley, Ryan; Reporter, Christian Post (January 14, 2022). "Christian conservatives respond to John MacArthur comparing 'religious freedom' to 'idolatry'". The Christian Post. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  56. ^ "Former Master's Seminary VP Accuses John MacArthur of Plagiarism". February 7, 2022.
  57. ^ "Harper Collins Apologizes for 'Editorial Mistake' in Alleged MacArthur Plagiarism Controversy". March 12, 2022.
  58. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: MacArthur Shamed, Excommunicated Wife of Child Abuser". March 8, 2022.
  59. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: John MacArthur's Church Supported Convicted Child Abuser & Pedophile, Records Show". March 17, 2022.
  60. ^ "John MacArthur Covered up Pastor's Sexual Abuse, Witnesses Say". April 19, 2022.
  61. ^ "John MacArthur's Church Failed to Report Kidnapper & Child Molester for Two Years". April 23, 2022.
  62. ^ "What has John MacArthur actually said about race, slavery and the Curse of Ham?". June 20, 2022.
  63. ^ "Questions and Answers -- Patricia MacArthur". Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  64. ^ "John MacArthur". Retrieved August 10, 2017.

Further readingEdit

  • Jones, Karen (November–December 2009). "John MacArthur: Unleashing God's Truth—One Verse at a Time". Bible Study Magazine. 2 (1): 10–14.
  • John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock, Iain H. Murray
  • Seven Leaders: Pastors and Teachers, by Iain H. Murray
  • John MacArthur: An Insider's Tribute, by Don Green

External linksEdit