The Master's Seminary

In Wake of Classmate’s Death, Master’s Seminary Student Accuses School of Flagrantly Violating Its Own COVID-19 Protocols

By Julie Roys

A student at The Master’s Seminary, which meets on the campus of John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church, says the school is flagrantly violating its own COVID-19 guidelines and mocking compliant students.

Now a Master’s seminary student has died after contracting COVID.

The deceased student, whose name is being withheld at his family’s request, is a man in his sixties who had come to The Master’s Seminary (TMS) in August to pursue a Master of Divinity. The man died on Monday morning.

According to the man’s daughter, her father had been “very healthy,” but was hospitalized in mid-December after contracting COVID-19 and pneumonia. She said she believed her father didn’t actually die from COVID-19, but from pneumonia.

However, according to Paula Cannon, a virology professor at the USC Keck School of Medicine, the man’s pneumonia was almost certainly a consequence of COVID-19. So, the man may have died of pneumonia, but it was likely “caused by the assault to his lungs and body of having a serious COVID infection.”

Austin Doucette, a TMS student who’s upset by the seminary’s alleged failure to follow public health guidelines, called the man’s passing a “tragic and unnecessary loss.”

Doucette believes the deceased man likely contracted COVID at either Grace Community Church, where the man had been attending, or TMS.

Grace, a megachurch with about 7,000 congregants, has openly defied public health orders by meeting indoors and not socially distancing or wearing masks.

TMS, on the other hand, has published a list of COVID-19 protocols the seminary claims to be following.

However, Doucette said very few TMS students wear masks or social distance. He  added that some professors, especially those who are on staff at GCC, openly ridicule COVID guidelines and deride those who follow them.

I emailed TMS President Sam Horn for comment about the TMS student’s passing and Doucette’s allegations, but Horn did not respond. I also emailed TMS Dean of Faculty Nathan Busenitz, who’s also an elder/pastor at Grace Community Church (GCC), but he did not respond either.

The seminary has not announced the student’s death on its website or social media.

However, the man’s home church posted on its marquee Monday: “A good and faithful servant. We will miss you –.”

The Master's University Student Died

Doucette said the deceased student was a “wonderful, godly man who was constantly praying for others.”

He added that he hasn’t received any announcement from TMS about the student’s passing. Instead, he found out the man’s death when a fellow student posted about it on a seminary social media account and requested prayer for the man’s family.

The Master's Seminary Student Died

Violating & Mocking Precautions

For months, Doucette said he has been disturbed that TMS has not been following its own COVID protocols.

According to TMS’s published list, these include classroom setups “arranged to maintain appropriate physical distancing” and requiring students to bring “a cloth face covering or otherwise approved facemask with them to campus.”

The list also encourages professors “to remind their students of these protocols.” And when meeting with students in person, faculty are supposed “to do so outside, and to maintain proper physical distancing.”

Yet Doucette said he sometimes is the only student in classes of 30 students who wears a mask. And though he said some TMS professors follow guidelines and are respectful, others are not.

“I noticed that—especially professors who have roles at Grace or are elders at Grace—they were not only flippant, but they would talk about how these restrictions are ridiculous,” Doucette said. “They would make fun of social distancing and masking.”

Doucette sent The Roys Report a picture he took before the beginning of a TMS class on August 15, showing only two students in the foreground who were wearing a mask. Others were sitting unmasked close together and one had a mask dangling from his ear.

The Master's University Class
A class at The Master’s Seminary on August 15, 2020.

Doucette also sent a clip from a lecture that was streamed online and a classmate had recorded. In it, Mark Zhakevich, a professor at TMS and pastor at GCC, says, “Are you all, um, enforcing social distancing?” and the class laughs.

According to Doucette, that’s how protocols like social distancing are treated by some TMS professors: they’re jokes.

I reached out to Zhakevich for comment, but he did not respond.

Doucette said the most egregious incident he witnessed was in his TMS discipleship group, which was led by GCC Pastor Tom Patton.

In an October 25, 2020, letter to TMS Dean Nathan Busenitz, Doucette describes the incident:

In my discipleship group, I’m the only one who wears a mask—we meet with a large group of guys in a very small office. I wear my mask in submission to the school and government—and because I help take care of my sickly grandparents. Yet during my last discipleship meeting, all the men began bagging on masks. My discipleship leader suggested they don’t work and actually make you sicker. He made fun of people who wear them while driving. Another student said he hates wearing them and is so glad the school doesn’t require it. “How can anyone be comfortable wearing those things?” Then my leader talked about how COVID isn’t actually that bad, pointing to Trump’s quick recovery. He insinuated that TMS’s decision to tell a student (who was missing from our group) to not attend class (because he was in contact with someone who tested positive) was a bad one. As they were saying these things and laughing—I felt completely shamed.

I reached out to Pastor Patton for comment about the incident, but he did not respond.

However, Doucette said he met with Busenitz on November 12 to discuss his concerns.

(Doucette said the two also discussed issues Doucette had with a professor over a theological position.)

According to Doucette, Busenitz responded compassionately to his concerns, but said TMS was “between a rock and a hard place” because of the position GCC had taken on COVID.

MacArthur is pastor at GCC and also serves as chancellor emeritus at TMS. Earlier this year, MacArthur praised his congregation for meeting in-person and for “not distancing” and “not wearing masks.” MacArthur also has stated that “there is no pandemic.”

According to Doucette, Busenitz told him that TMS was leaving it up to students to decide if they want to follow the school’s protocols or not.

Yet Doucette added that Busenitz was disturbed by the incident with Pastor Patton and said he would talk with Patton about it.

Ten days later, Doucette followed up with Busenitz via email. Busentiz responded that he would be happy to set up a meeting between Doucette, himself, and the professor with whom Doucette had a theological dispute. Doucette responded immediately with his availability.

For six weeks, Busenitz did not respond.

However, on Sunday afternoon, I sent Busenitz an email requesting comment about concerns Doucette had shared with me concerning TMS’s handling of COVID and the incident with Patton.

Busenitz did not respond to my email.

But first thing Monday morning, Busenitz sent an email to Doucette, thanking him for his patience and offering to arrange a time for Doucette and him to meet with Pastor Patton.

Hope for Change

Doucette, who’s a graduate of The Master’s University and was attending TMS on a near full-ride scholarship, says he’s withdrawn from the seminary in large part because of its handling of COVID.

He said he’s going public with his concerns now because he cares deeply for the TMS student body and those at GCC.

“Students at The Masters Seminary and congregants at Grace—they’re mimicking the rhetoric from the pulpit,” he said. “And they’re believing that the pandemic isn’t real, and that they should rebel against the governing authorities. And I think now more than ever, we’re seeing the repercussions of that, with students and members of the church becoming sick and deathly ill.”

Similarly, Dr. Cannon urged institutions like TMS and GCC to adopt precautions like social distancing and wearing masks, comparing their effectiveness to that of wearing seatbelts.

“Seatbelts don’t stop people dying in car crashes,” she said. “But we all understand that seatbelts save lives. Masks and social distancing are the seatbelt that we have in this pandemic.”

The daughter of the victim confirmed that her father had contracted COVID-19 at the same time as another TMS student and GCC congregant who’s a very good friend of his.

Her father had posted on a social media network on December 15 that both he and the other student were “laid up with the Covid nemesis.”

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH), there are eight staff at The Master’s University and Seminary that have COVID-19, as well as 14 students.

(TMS and The Master’s University meet at separate locations separated by 15 miles. I contacted the county, asking for a breakdown of how many staff and students at each location have COVID, but no one responded.)

A DPH spokesperson told The Roys Report that four employees of GCC and one congregant tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of October. However, according to the county’s website, no cases have been reported since then.

A GCC leader told me in mid-December that many at the church had COVID-19, but the church is pressuring them not to report to the health department for fear of being shut down.

Similarly, Doucette said he’s experienced “a culture of fear and intimidation” at TMS that keeps people quiet.

“I know students who are disturbed by what they see as far as guidelines not being followed, but they don’t want to be put on a list,” Doucette said. “That’s what I’ve been told by several different people—that you’ll get put on a list. And then you’re known as someone who spoke out, or someone who is not going with the flow.”

The same GCC leader who spoke with me earlier told me last week that he knew of a GCC member who had recently died of COVID (not a TMS student), two who were “deathly ill,” and multiple GCC staff who were sick.  

Also, MacArthur was scheduled to preach the past two Sundays at GCC, but other preachers have filled in for him both times.

GCC has not explained MacArthur’s absence, other than Pastor Patton’s statement last Sunday that the time off gives MacArthur “a little bit more time to rest and prepare Shepherd’s Conference.”

(Shepherd’s Conference is March 3-5 at GCC. Last year, two elderly men who attended Shepherd’s Conference tested positive for COVID-19 shortly afterwards and died.)

I have reached out to the church multiple times, asking about the alleged new outbreak, but GCC has not responded.

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discussion

49 thoughts on “In Wake of Classmate’s Death, Master’s Seminary Student Accuses School of Flagrantly Violating Its Own COVID-19 Protocols”

  1. Julie, your reporting is so needed right now. Disgusted by the reports, but hopeful that the unfruitful works of darkness will be exposed and eventually reformed. Do let us know if MacArthur has COVID… Seriously though, he has it, doesn’t he?

  2. Personally, I’ve wondered if MacArthur also has COViD, or if he is being kept away from the church so he doesn’t contract it because of active cases in the church/seminary. i’m not a medical genius, but if you have a seminary meeting in the same building as the church, how can you neglect good public health policies, and not expect to find COVID in the church? I’m not sure what’s worse-the rhetoric from the pulpit or the lying. When people are dying as a result, I’m surprised that there isn’t been a lawsuit yet.

    it can be a lonely world when you tell an elder that you’re going to stay home from church because of a)local health mandates about large gatherings of any kind, or b) suddenly being ghosted by your own church. I explained to an elder why I don’t attend, and it’s almost like I don’t exist anymore. And, we do have people with COVID in the church. Now is not a good time to change churches, but it may happen after the pandemic calms down.

    1. We know he’s sick with something, because people at GCC know he is ill. Since they aren’t telling anyone what his illness is, it makes sense to me that it’s Covid and they want to keep JM from being ridiculed because of his ridicule of health precautions.

    2. Hi Linn, I am in the exact same boat! But I am switching churches. I was actually told by my best friend at my church that I am “out of sight, out of mind”. My church has just had its 3rd covid death that is simply unacceptable to me.

  3. People have been dying in the thousands from normal seasonal flu every year and no one batted an eye. Mo lockdown, no masks, no quarantine, no fear. All of a sudden everyone is gripped by fear and growing increasingly anxious by the day, largely due to media.

    The “death” numbers the CDC and states are giving “due” to covid are incorrect. They are far less. California has over 40,000,000 people but only “27,000” have died (exaggerated count) over a period of 12-13 months. The hysteria surrounding this virus is unbelievable and unfortunately seemingly intelligent Christians fall for it as well.

    It seems that Christians would rather live lives that are safe and restricted and less free than to breathe the air of liberty. So sad and pathetic.

    1. G7; you are the one who is sad and pathetic. How do you know the numbers from the CDC are incorrect? Where’s your source? Exaggerated count? You, and people of like mind are the reason the pandemic continues rather than slowing down. Do us all a favor. Post your nonsense someplace else, and leave room for those who are not infected with SFB.

      1. Sams
        “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers.”
        Socrates
        Inspired and infallible? No
        Usually accurate? Seems to be

        1. Steve M; you’re another one that just doesn’t get it. And who says I lost the debate? What debate? Just responding to someone who thinks this Covid virus situation is some kind of big funny joke. Well it isn’t. People like John MacArthur and his church governess board of thugs, who use bullying and intimidation, as a means of “shepherding” their flock and those of like mind who simply refuse to look at this virus situation as the serious threat it is to the health and safety of not only the citizens of our own country but those throughout our world are not repeat not using mature sound judgment or common sense and that comes down to selfishness and arrogance and dare I say it willful ignorance. It never even came to my mind that I would see Christians turn off their brains and be led around by people who have no expertise in the arena of medicine, disease, and public health issues. What does Proverbs say; “although you pound a fool on his head with a club over and over again, yet his foolishness does not leave him”. SFB syndrome abounds. Enough said.

    2. G7, in my opinion you are a person who has responded with good sense! Totally agree with all that you said. Thank you.

      Julie, I’m curious about a couple of things. Do you personally believe this lockdown is good or justified? Do you personally believe that people at John MacArthurs church should be reporting themselves to the CDC? Have you personally researched the MRNA ivaccine? Are you familiar with the patent recently filed by Microsoft that ends in the numbers 060606 and that this is a vaccine delivery system that is tied to cryptocurrency? I learned of this and did my own research and it is true. I myself appreciate reporting of truth however in my opinion there is a lot more going on in the world that can and will affect the church beside the constant reporting of MacArthurs church regarding COVID and the whole Ravi situation. I quit sending my small donation to RZIM. When they change the name and leadership I may consider supporting again. I can decide that without all the hoopla. As far as MacDonald, I can see what he is about. Personally for me, I am 61 with a compromised immune system. If the Lord takes me home with COVID I would rather die free in America and have my neighbors and families live on in freedom and be able to go to work and have their children go to school and vacation and go to church without a stupid mask that doesn’t even work and the government telling me how close I can get to someone. Because one thing is for sure, barring the return of Jesus before my physical death is that I am going to die. I just don’t know how or when. What is all this hysteria in the church about COVID. The CDC reports and posts the death numbers. Where did the flu and pneumonia numbers go? What about the population increase numbers and deaths by suicide factored in? The population does fluctuate. I was a career flight attendant before retiring. I flew countless of hours and and worked flights during several health concerns over the past years from other countries. The only folks before COVID that were walking the airport terminals all masked up were the Chinese people. Where did this virus originate? China. This is bizarre that the world is locked down under this control. There is something very nefarious and evil behind all this. How about some reporting on that? Folks, Gateway Pundit is a great news source. Right side broadcasting and OAN news. Is everyone still watching mainstream media with all the lies?

    3. G7 – I’m genuinely curious if your response is authentic or if you are just looking for a negative response.

      This COVID stuff is pretty real and if it’s “the government” taking away your rights, then several countries are in on it too. My friends in the UK tell me how they are isolated in the homes most of the time. I have personally (I mean first hand) spoken with medical workers who explain how they work 12-16 hour shifts in a hospital with absolutely no beds, particularly ICU beds.

      I guess this answers two questions for me. Before COVID, I wandered who is gullible enough to purchase “Survival Buckets” from the likes of Jim Baker. Watching the COVID debate I wander who could possibly believe this is over-hyped and big government wants to just intrude on religious rights? Reading the various comments on the debate, the answer jumps off the page.

      I’m convinced those that choose to believe they are being persecuted will not be persuaded to see things differently no matter what facts they are presented with. Sadly, I’m also convinced they aren’t likely to care much about those who are impacted by COVID just as long as they get to meet at their church and the leader of that church is held in high esteem. It’s sad to see such a disconnect between the two worlds. Hopefully things change.

  4. G7
    i guess you don’t live in my part of California, where the ICU beds are full and if you catch something else you may not be seen by a doctor. All elective surgeries have been suspended in my county for a month. My niece, who is a frontline worker as an LVN, is just getting over COVID, and we are hoping she won’t pass it on to her senior parents, both of whom have serious health conditions.

  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfkPvlAUW8E

    STOMACH FLU not COViD (approx. 5 minutes 30 seconds)

    Love what Steve Lawson said at the end of this video. I couldn’t agree more.
    We should be honoring him instead of condemning him.

    I praise God for such a faithful servant of the Lord as John MacArthur (as well as Steve Lawson).
    Jesus was hated, misunderstood, and betrayed. The prophets in the Bible were hated, killed and mocked. John MacArthur is in good company.

    For what are you accusing him of? What sin?
    MASKS: This is not a sin issue folks. This is a preference issue. Masks are not a law. It is only a guideline. It is not a mandate. Government should never ever be enforcing such a thing. Yet should we be surprised? We live in strange times.

    Though you may agree with masks and social distancing, we should not beat up other believers that do not agree with it. I have been in many stores where people are harshly mistreated because they accidentally forgot their mask. You would have thought a person committed a crime because of the hatred and rage towards them. Yes, that is expected in the world. But this should not be the case with the Church.

    TMS and GCC have stood firm on God’s Word and gathered. The body of Christ can not live on an island. He created the body of Christ to gather, minister to and serve one another. Is this happening in most churches in America? Probably not.

    How can we be Christ’s ambassadors to a dying world when we can’t even love one another?

    Many have died in 2020 WITHOUT COViD and WITHOUT CHRIST.
    We will all die. Yet the question is “Are you in Christ?”

    We need to come in repentance for how the Church has strayed far from Christ and His Word.

    “No wound? No scar?
    Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
    And piercèd are the feet that follow Me.
    But thine are whole; can he have followed far
    Who hast no wound or scar?”
    Amy Carmichael

    1. It is a insult to Jesus to compare these ignorant and foolish followers of the heretic John Calvin to Him.

      These calvinists like John and Lawson know nothing about suffering. You Americans seem to think anything and everything that disturbs your normal church going routine is persecution.
      You have no idea about what it is to rally be persecuted.

      Stop bowing down to these men.

  6. I believe as adults that we govern our behavior. If someone is older and has a secondary condition, then it may be wise for them to stay home. If a business wants to stay open and practice social distancing, then it should be able to stay open. When the California government shuts down small businesses while allowing large corporate entities to remain open, there is a bigger issue here. Only 2 years ago there was a bug that overwhelmed peoples immunity. Many died. We have reason to be suspect of the statistics as we can no longer trust the media. It is easy to lie and manipulate numbers. What is the use if the government shuts down peoples ability to work and provide for their family? I sincerely see a society taken in by fear and the media are large perpetrators. We are adults and shutting businesses down are not the answer. We are experiencing a sort of “soft totalitarianism” and the government lockdown is for our own “safety and protection.” That is how a government slowly gains power over it’s citizens. I do not advocate how The Mac has been careless and I am not a science denier, but when we read statistics we need to be aware of the strong temptation to manipulate data. Is 1 hospital over it’s 15% capacity? Is it a city, county or different sites? You will not see any explanations. I had a friend who was a nurse and he caught Covid, so I know that 1st Responders are at risk.

    I am not being flippant about this man’s death-it is horrible. And I pray for his family. Some places are definitely hit harder than others. When the Covid-19 first appeared, no one knew what was going on. But I am deeply concerned that governments are overreaching their powers and shutting down peoples lives.
    WE ARE ADULTS AND WE DO NOT NEED A GOVERNMENT AND MEDIA TO DICTATE OUR LIVES.
    Our leaders do not follow their own rules.

    1. Vance – You don’t need government stats to find out the precautions (masks+social distancing) are necessary. Ask a front line medical worker and the will tell you first hand they are overwhelmed.

      1. All you deniers should be made to assist at the overwhelmed ER’s…put ur mask 9n…u have to wear shoes and shirts in all stores..so why such resistance to a mask …why do u think doctors and nurses wear them w/o a pandemic raging around….because they prevent spreading whatever faces them….you non maskers are one dellusional bunch…mask up folks…be smart…ur last dying breathe will be…hey i thought it wasnt real doc

  7. Julie, You repeatedly in your articles say, “I reached out to them and they did not respond.” My question is a sincere one: How much time did you give them? Are they suppose to drop everything and respond to every request they get from you so you can then proceed to rip them to shreds? Lets be fair and objective.

    1. In violation of my New Year’s resolution to not answer questions that are already answered in my articles… I reached out to Busenitz on Sunday (as well as Zhakevich), so 3 days.

      I also reached out to GCC about the outbreak nearly three weeks ago. I reached out to Sam Horn more than 24 hours before publishing. And, I reached out to L.A. DPH on Saturday.

      I hope that meets with your approval.

    2. Julie, I so appreciate your heart that you desire to expose truth when it comes to habitual sin. Yet there is a fine line between exposing habitual sin and stirring up and producing strife in matters that should not be. We need to be careful not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought….thinking that everyone owes us an explanation for every concern we may have. Is the news we are reporting sounding more like CNN or a Biblical perspective? If we can’t quote chapter and verse, we need to be very careful in these matters. There are many around the world who are concerned about the same matters that John MacArthur is concerned about. The media has distorted the truth. But as believers, we need to be very careful that we don’t fall into the same pattern. The way that you are reporting on godly men like MacArthur….my question would be…..do you desire for others to do the same to you?

      “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3

  8. Registered Nurse in Illinois

    COVID-19 is real, it is a pandemic, and real people are dying. Others with COVID-19 will suffer from health issues for the rest of their lives. Each of us has the ability and responsibility to care for the health of others at this important moment in time. Do you care more about your personal liberty than the life and health of others? Then go ahead, skip the mask.

    1. So much political misinformation and mocking going on amongst Conservative “Christians” at the expense of lives and the families of loved ones

    2. Registered Nurse – Thank you. Thank You so much for putting yourself at risk so that the rest of us can have a chance at staying healthy.

      I’m sorry that you have to witness so many asserting their “so called” rights at your expense. It has to be frustrating.

    3. RN, thank you for your response. As a frontline health care worker myself, i couldn’t agree more.

      Jesus taught us to love others. He gave up his rights, to serve sinners. He gave up his life, to save sinners. As Christians, we should not be prioritizing the question: how can I protect MY right to do what I want? But rather: how can I act in a way that reflects HIS loving, selfless character?

      On another note, for those who minimize concerns about COVID, I’m guessing you have never been in a hospital department that is truly overwhelmed. I have. I worked in a SoCal hospital that regularly went on ‘divert’ status because it was filled to overflowing, even pre-Covid. I recall patients lining the halls on gurneys and chairs when we ran out of rooms for them. Doubling up patients in tiny rooms that were supposed to be singles. And literally running from patient to patient working as fast as I could. If you really want to wait hours and hours to be seen as a patient, if you’re ok with hanging out on a hard chair or gurney in the hallway fir hours with zero privacy, and receiving care from people who haven’t slept in 24 hours and are running as fast as they can, then sure, skip the precautions. However, If you want there to be a bed available when your child gets appendicitis, or your loved one has a heart attack; and well rested workers who can provide appropriate care; then I would suggest doing whatever you can to decrease transmission of COVID. Less COVID = fewer patients = fewer deaths= more hospital resources available for everyone else who needs them. Not complicated.

      1. Why are hospitals in California taking away beds? Why aren’t they setting up alternative sites (tents)…for overflow? Why isn’t Newsom using the Hospital ships for overflow? Why are nurses swamped all the time when there are alternatives? Just asking.

        1. I haven’t heard anything about California taking away beds, I only know of places adding beds wherever they can. And setting up tents outside to deal with the overflow. I don’t know anything about the use or non-use of hospital ships but it seems they would be welcome now.

          I think a fundamental issue that many Americans (at least those who grew up after the Depression and WWII) don’t understand, is that resources are still, in fact, limited. There are only so many nurses, doctors, beds, drugs, ventilators, etc. When everyone is swamped, there literally are no alternatives. At least not great ones.

          I have worked in under-resourced areas most of my career, rural and urban, stateside and overseas.
          When you run out of ideal resources (first line drugs, adequate numbers of appropriately trained health care professionals, etc.) , the alternative is that you do the best you can with what you have. I have had to train bystanders with no health care experience to help me with acute patient care on the spot. I’ve given people suboptimal medications with significant risk of side effects to save their lives, because we didn’t have what they needed ,and something was better than nothing. I’ve pulled 36 hour shifts. I’ve done procedures I never learned how to do in school, but had to figure out on the spot in order to save a life or limb. I’ve had to treat patients outside a healthcare facility when we ran out of space indoors. I’ve also attempted to give ICU-level care in a clinic setting when I couldn’t get people transported to an appropriate facility because of weather. And I’ve watched people die who might not have died had they been in an area with better resources. That’s what happens when limited resources run low. My experiences are not unique among health care professionals. We probably should talk about this a lot more.

          I’m not sure that California’s experience shows that masks don’t work. My local area had a surge of COVID cases in November and since then, I have noticed many more people wearing masks in public. Our numbers have since decreased significantly . It’s hard to tell what works and what doesn’t with certainty unless someone is spying on everyone continuously to see what they’re actually doing. I think it is wise to take reasonable precautions, whatever those prec autions may be, if we want to not run out of resources

    4. If masks work, then why are California’s numbers increasing? Don’t tell me it non-compliance, because other states with high compliance are also seeing case numbers increasing. Masks are not working.

  9. Props to Austin Doucette for speaking up. There will likely be backlash from Grace Community Church and TMU and he may have to dissociate from past friends/acquaintances simply because he spoke out about a very real pandemic. It’s unfortunate but not necessarily a bad thing

  10. Different day, same old story. A white-washed septic tank tells his disciples what to think and they run around being obedient to a Son of the Devil. They accuse Julie of evil, when they are the ones who have no fear of the real God. They have much fear of their God: JMac. Any doubt that I have had the GCC is no church but just a extreme cult of personality is gone over the past few months.

    Yet the true God is on His throne healthy as ever as the false one is home sick with an undisclosed illness. This is the crux of this matter and why people are defending the indefensible. “So God has taken the lives of our cult members because we are worshiping a different God who is merely mortal, so what? We will defy this God until we are all dead!” There is nothing Christ-like in that attitude. And who cares about the politics of men? We will not be facing them on judgment day which is coming to all of us….

  11. You can believe that COVID-19 is real and that masks and lock downs are in infective at the same time. We could probably show more grace to those who believe in the masks, especially in the body of Christ and those in turn need to allow those of us who are skeptical the same grace.

  12. Covid is rampant in Southern California as I believe the virus has mutated to become more contagious. This is why you’re seeing this now as opposed to months ago.

    A person’s view of Covid will depend on their own experiences. If you or anyone you know haven’t had it, or if you did but just had mild symptoms, you will buy the “no pandemic” statement. You will agree with the one side that says this is just a regular flu. You will scoff at masks and social distancing and declare anyone who disagrees with you as unchristian or a leftist. You will claim that this only affects the elderly or people with other illnesses as a way to blame the sick. You will see that this is just a ploy to bring communism into the US (never mind that this is happening globally).

    I was a Covid denier until I caught it (like I said, it’s rampant right now in Southern California). I have had moderate symptoms. Never hospitalized fortunately but I continue to have lung issues. I am younger and have no preexisting conditions. I have no idea where I caught it but because masks don’t always work it could have been anywhere.

    Do I think lockdowns and church closures should continue? No Do I see how the response to the virus has been politically motivated? Yes.. But I still think there could be a happy medium with recognizing that some people for no good reason will catch this and have serious complications. Doing so is not “having fear” or “not trusting the Lord”. Do you know how tough it is to attend a “Macarthur-loving” church and have Covid? I do because I attend one where, like GCC, no one wears masks or social distances and those that do are shamed. People have practically gloated to me that they haven’t caught it because they take lots of Vitamin D and have good immune systems, and have actually asked me what I have taken and maybe where I messed up. They shame me at a time when I need prayer and support.

    I believe there is a HUGE need at Grace to deny the virus as a way to support what Macarthur has said about there not being a pandemic. This is why he can claim no one in the church has been sick because people are too shamed and fearful to admit the truth. It’s too bad that there couldn’t be a middle ground where the Covid-sick receive help and prayer and support while at the same time the church stands firm on its right to remain open.

    1. I also wanted to say that if you have a chance to be in any medical place you get a VERY different view of Covid. I have family that are in the trenches as nurses in the hospitals now and the dire situation is not a hoax or fake. People really are suffering and dying of Covid, and not just in numbers of “regular flu”.

    2. Thank you so much for sharing all this! I think you have a great perspective. The Church should ALWAYS be a safe place for people to receive prayer and support. We bring people into the presence of Jesus Christ and follow His leading.

  13. I come from a communist country. The authorities over there were asking the pastors to report things to them every week. They said that they need to know what was going on in the Churches so they can protect the society from dangers coming from some people who are unruly and need to be supervised. Some of the pastors did, some didn’t. Those who didn’t were persecuted not only by the government, but also by the pastors who were compliant. They all invoked the argument that we have to be in submission to the authorities… They also claimed that the pastors who refused compliance were endangering the wellbeing of their parishioners… History is repeating itself… But now the reason invoked is the medical wellbeing of people. Over there was the social wellbeing…
    I am amazed how many Christians here believe all the propaganda offered by the politicians and are ready to do whatever the government is asking for, even if those things are working to destroy the Churches!
    If that student who was complaining, would follow the rules that he thinks are protecting him, he would be safe! Why is he trying to force others to follow some rules that he thinks are for the benefit of others? If he keeps his mask on and keep the distance, he has no reason to be afraid of anything. If that is not enough, then keeping the masks on and keeping the distance is not working… Why force it on people?
    If I don’t like the procedures of a Church or of an institution, I can leave… I can refuse to attend… I can protect myself the way i want. I have no right to impose rules on others…
    This reporting on Christians who chose to attend Church or Seminary as being rule breakers is not what the Lord wants from us! We should all come together to protect our Constitutional right to assemble and to organize our worship services the way we understand the Bible, not the way authorities want us to do it.
    I would be pleased to read over here articles that encourage Christians to stand for our freedom in Christ, the freedom our forefathers paid with their life for!

    1. I have been involved in Eastern Europe for about 35 years. The last 20 years living in Eastern Europe. Something about your post does not seem authentic. What communist country do you come from and what time frame? I can see no similarities between contemporary America and the former Communist bloc. So I will be interested in your reply.

      1. I come from Romania. My father was a pastor there for about 40 years. Do you think you know a society better just because you spent some time there as a visitor, being treated with gloves, better than somebody who was born there, lived there, has been persecuted there, and knows intimately what was going on there?
        And what is it that does not seem authentic to you? Is it so hard to recognize that Marxists and communists, no matter where they are active, have the same ideology and purpose to bring the Churches to ruin? Your involvement with Eastern Europe was very superficial, and your understanding of communism is so defective. It is being played before your eyes by members of Congress, by so many politicians, but you are unable to identify it. Daniel Chiu

      2. I’ve heard many Eastern Europeans who live here and missionaries who went to the USSR say that this reminds them of Communism. Greg Koukl wrote something about this recently. What part of Eastern Europe were you in? Berlin Wall fell in ’89 meaning that you experienced the end of it as a visitor.

      3. My wife is from an EE country that was communist until 1991 and has commented often this year that Americans are foolish to so quickly and easily yield the rights and privileges that protect individual liberty and dignity. Why question LOGOSLIFEBLOG’s “authenticity” without explaining why, yet expect readers to accept yours?

        And you see no similarities? The differences may still be greater, but the number of similarities has increased enough in the last 50 years, and the momentum has increased so much in the last two years, that I think a return to a free society would have to be described as a miraculous act of God. We are not even sure at this point if American citizenship is more valuable than that of her birth country. Retirement in other countries is starting to look more desirable as this culture devolves.

    2. I want to frame this outside of Covid-19: We understand that GCC/TMS has published rules for their campus. Doucette in good faith endeavors to follow those rules with the expectation that GCC/TMS leadership will actually enforce them. In reality, the exact opposite is happening: published rules are not enforced and not only that, those that ask questions and/or try to obey the rules are mocked. You can argue whether or not Covid is real or whether or not masks work, but the underlying problem here is not Covid, it is CHARACTER.

      GCC/TMS leadership says one thing and does another. I’ve seen this in other evangelical contexts – the institutional arrogance is astounding. When JMac or Phil Johnson start talking, all I hear is “We know we are right, no one who disagrees with us can possibly be right, and if you don’t believe like we do, well, you probably aren’t saved anyway”

      Now, back to Covid-19: If GCC/TMS thinks Covid is bunk, then why have any Covid rules at all? Be truthful and consistent (either for or against the disease protocols), let the chips fall where they may, and let good people decide if they want to attend or not.

  14. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.
    For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.
    Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.
    Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” (1 Pe 2:13-17)

    Too many people posting on this site are in flagrant disobedience to the Word, with regard to Covid precautions.

    The Apostle Peter counsels us to submit to the governing authorities FOR THE LORD’S SAKE.

    The Lord is never pleased by rebelliousness. It is a sign of poor, immature discipleship.

  15. Thank you Rapid Roy and Althea! Right on the mark, Humbly submitting to God‘s commands and growing in character. Thank you so much Julie for trying to live in grace and Truth. The reality can be ugly but God can redeem. Shows us our need for the true God and not idols.

    1. This refrain that we have to submit to the authorities was overplayed by the communist authorities in Romania, where I lived for many years. I have to ask those who are enamored by this refrain: Do you know anything about: “we have to obey God rather than men?” Or this verse is not part of your theology? Do you know anything important from Christian history, for instance that John Bunyan spent 13 years in prison because he refused the license that would give him the right to preach, issued by the authorities that were requesting every preacher to have one? Why didn’t he submit to the request made by the authorities? Was he disobeying God? No, he was doing exactly what God asked us to do, to honor Him above the abusive authorities that interfere with worship!
      I don’t see anyone here condemning the Marxist preachers that have infiltrated the leadership of Southern Baptist Convention, promoting the fake Social Justice Gospel (Marxism in disguise), but I see many flocking to condemn a preacher who is bold enough to refuse to bow down to a government that is trampling on a freedom guaranteed by the Constitution!
      Go ahead guys, bow down to the idol of “obeying the authorities” until nothing sound is left in the Churches. This is just the beginning! Soon you are going to be collaborators of these abusive authorities and complicit in the persecution of those who stand the ground! Daniel Chiu

      1. Nothing sound is left in the churches already, hence the slavishness towards the magistrate. Americans, including American Christians, are ready to be slaves.

  16. Julie, Thank you again for this eye opening article. It is very sad and sobering. I am appalled that after this death that TMS continues to not take COVID more seriously. Pictures of Doctors of Ministry students in class this week that lecturers Steve Lawson and Joel Beeke posted on their Instagram accounts continue to show me that TMS has a complete disregard for COVID protocol and ones fellow man. Not one person was masked in the pictures and get the feel that they are proud of that. You have to wonder if students were pressured to not mask. Is it going to take more deaths for their eyes to open up?

  17. Who will hold John MacArthur and GCC and TMS accountable. And Phil Johnson calls everyone who disagrees with him a liar. What amazing Christian character. So bad. No one ever holds these guys accountable. They have power and pride that keeps it all going. And MacArthur definitely has Covid. Insiders all say that. But it will never be made public. The result of pride. A death of a TMS student doesn’t even wake them up. HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE JULIE!!!!! Get ABC 7 (the local news station) to cover this. THIS IS SERIOUS! THEY ARE LIABLE FOR THE DEATH OF A STUDENT AND WILL COVER IT UP!!!

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