Sam Horn The Master's University and Seminary
Dr. Sam Horn who just resigned as president of The Master's University and Seminary

Sam Horn Resigns as President of The Master’s University and Seminary, Capping Three Years of Tumult

By Julie Roys

Dr. Sam Horn has resigned as president of The Master’s University and Seminary (TMUS), the school and university associated with John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church.

According to the school’s website, Horn submitted his resignation on Friday, but the change was not announced until Monday.

Horn’s resignation caps three years of tumult and transition at TMUS, after the school was placed on probation in 2018 by its accrediting body, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

As part of the effort to comply with WSCUC, MacArthur stepped down as TMUS president—a position he had held for four decades—and moved into the role of chancellor emeritus. Taking MacArthur’s place on an interim basis was Dr. John Stead, who was replaced less than a year ago by Horn.

Sometime over the past year, WSCUC lifted its probation on TMUS.

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TMUS did not give a reason for Horn’s resignation, but merely stated that the “board is grateful for several important institutional milestones that were reached this past year.” These milestones include the school’s reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic and reaffirmation of accreditation by WSCUC.

“This past year has been one of the most challenging years in higher education and we are grateful for our entire leadership team during this unprecedented time,” TMUS stated. “In the coming days, the Board of Directors will appoint an interim president and begin the process of looking for the next president.”

In 2020, TMUS received $4.35 million in federal Paycheck Protection Program loan funds.

This past January, a student at The Master’s Seminary died after contracting COVID-19. According to a former student at TMUS, the school flagrantly violated COVID-19 guidelines and mocked students who complied with them.

TMUS has not responded to numerous requests for comment concerning its handling of COVID.

Of the five reasons cited by WSCUC in 2018 for placing TMUS on probation, four related to MacArthur’s former role as president of TMUS.

In its report, WSCUC stated that the TMUS board lacked independence because many of the board members were employed by TMUS or another organization MacArthur heads.

WSCUC also found the management of TMUS was characterized by “a climate of fear, intimidation, bullying, and uncertainty.” And it found conflicts of interest with MacArthur’s son-in-law “supervising a contract from which he benefits, as well as institutional aid that exceeds typical aid awards being awarded to friends and relatives.”

Additionally, WSCUC found that MacArthur operating as CEO of the school was not in compliance with accrediting standards and required that the school name a full-time administrator as CEO for reaccreditation.

Horn formerly was the executive vice president for enrollment and ministerial advancement at Bob Jones University. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Bible and a PhD in New Testament Interpretation from Bob Jones. He also has a DMin in expository preaching from The Master’s Seminary.

When Horn was hired, the board of directors at TMUS, which unanimously approved Horn’s hiring, described Horn as “a Master’s man” and said it was “convinced that God has brought us the right leader to guide these schools into the future.”

The board added it was grateful “Dr. MacArthur will remain Chancellor Emeritus, providing the extraordinary spiritual wisdom that has served us so well for nearly four decades.”


The Roys Report has just received audio of the announcement of Dr. Horn’s resignation given in the chapel at The Master’s University (TMU) today. In the announcement, Abner Chou, John F. MacArthur endowed fellow, implies that Horn resigned because of complaints that Horn was “quick tempered or pugnacious,” and therefore, disqualified from service as an elder. Chou states:

You might remember 1 Peter 5, it says we don’t Lord it over others. And we don’t exercise authority in a way that’s quick tempered or pugnacious. You might remember that from Titus chapter one, verse seven. That is God’s Word. Those qualifications are non-negotiable. We understand that. You can’t bend on those things. We can’t accept when people do. Those qualifications—TMU takes them very seriously, because we recognize that they lie at the core of our credibility as spiritual leaders.

Sadly, in recent weeks, significant concerns from multiple sources—faculty, staff, and students—were raised about the nature of Dr. Horn’s leadership along the lines that I just mentioned, and strictly along those lines. Does this make sense to everybody? Do not read anything beyond it—just the things that I just listed.

These concerns were brought to the attention of senior administration of both TMU and TMS. They were shared with human resources, as well as the board of directors. Having been notified that these concerns have been raised, Dr. Horn determined that the best course of action was to submit his resignation, which he did last week.

Below is audio of Chou’s announcement to TMU students:



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94 thoughts on “Sam Horn Resigns as President of The Master’s University and Seminary, Capping Three Years of Tumult”

  1. These milestones include the school’s reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic and killing some of the students…

    1. Not sure where you are getting you info, but there have been no student deaths at the school? Also, many other institutions have opened and the school is following the same state mandated protocols.

      1. One Salient Oversight

        A link to information about student deaths is in the article itself.

        You may wish to read the article before commenting.

  2. MacArthur “stepped down” and took on the role of chancellor emeritus. So he basically still ran the place, but with a different title. Does the board think we’re idiots that we can’t figure that out? What a complete sham and disgrace this whole organization is!

    1. MacArthur has no legitimate power on the campus anymore. No need to overreact, the board has been responding very justly. Also, MacArthur is just about never on campus and its usually to visit with a donor if the donor is lucky. He has many many other things to do than sit in some random office doing nothing at the school

      1. AD INFO, as long as people like you defend GCC/TMUS/GTY and gaslight people by categorizing their comments as overreacting; you allow a toxic organization like this to continue to spiritually abuse and disillusion many people and give Christianity a bad name. That’s all I have to say.

      2. Stephen former TMS student

        When he was president he was hardly on the TMS campus. Not sure how that would be an accurate representation of the power he wields over the organization. Seems like more of a logical fallacy to me. Not there = No power however previously Not there = all power

        If he has no power better evidence is needed. Just want to point that out.

      3. So if MacArthur is hardly ever on campus, does that not lend credence to Julie’s other articles questioning him receiving a full time salary from TMUS? This is just an observation.

  3. Never been a John MacArthur fan or fan of any mega-type church. As for accreditation I never supported a need for accreditation anyway. The Accreditation agency might be a good source of independent accountability. However. Often they can and are managed by those who may not be Christian. Which in turn makes it as though a non or at worst a anti-Christian organization is operating the affairs of a Christian School. Which in turns negates the ministry of that Christian School. Maybe not put so much emphasis on accreditation other than by simply practicing the standards that are in scripture?

    1. WASC accreditation is completely voluntary. If TMUS feels that it is no longer beneficial, there is little holding them back from leaving the accrediting organization. Little except, perhaps, that many governmental financial aid packages (aka student tuition dollars) can only be used at a regionally accredited institution.

      The accrediting body is also careful to ensure that the team of people doing the actual review are from similar institutions. Community college representatives are not, for example, going to review a Ph.D. granting institution, and vice versa. If you look at the group who did the “boots on the ground” review when TMUS was put on probation, you will note that they all come from other Christian, graduate-degree-granting institutions.

      And if you look at the standards that the accrediting body is asking their voluntary members to voluntarily hold to, you will be hard pressed to find something that goes against “Christian” standards. Most of them loosely fall under the umbrella of “don’t make promises you can’t keep” and “show that you’re making a good-faith effort at self-review.” Hardly problematic.

        1. On the contrary, TMUS has undergone a systematic retooling of the offices where there were issues. Not problematic at all as the school is taking steps to deal with the concerns addressed in the WASC report.

    2. Dirk, I’ve been in higher education for 30 years and accreditation serves many purposes. First and foremost is quality control. Most non-accredited universities lack strong academic reputations. Accrediting bodies do not dictate university goals, mission, vision, or standards. But they do check to see if those goals are being met. They do this by examining curriculum, interviewing students, faculty, and administration, and looking at assessment data to see if standards are set and if data exists to document students meeting those standards. Where Master’s got dinged was by the regional accrediting body which is considered primary accreditation. Many professional programs like medicine, nursing, business, education, counseling, allied health professions like physical therapy, etc also have secondary accreditation. You likely would not want any of those professionals working with you unless they graduated from an accredited university and in fact these people couldn’t get licensed without it. Second, accreditors look at organizational structure and functioning. This is where Master’s got dinged the biggest a few years ago. The accreditors found evidence of nepotism and strong armed leadership – never healthy for any organization. Third, regional accreditation allows students to access federal financial aid to pay for tuition and other expenses. Without this access, many students could not afford to go to school and the school could not afford to keep the doors open. While it’s clear that MacArthur publicly declared the accreditors as an attack of Satan when they got the recent warning, he knows they couldn’t pay the bills without federal financial aid. Complain about government but turn around and take their money. Reminds me when GCC took PPP dollars early in the pandemic but then railed against the government when they couldn’t hold public services. I saw the accrediting team members list from their last visit and it included members from other, quality Christian universities. This was no case of a government agency coming in to shut down a Christian institution as MacArthur would like us to believe. They just didn’t meet standards for basic higher education functioning. The ministry of the school was only in danger because they were running a loose ship and got caught red handed. While scripture certainly contains standards for moral functioning and church polity, they don’t offer much detail about how to run an institution of higher education.

      Finally, for a university president to resign less than a year into the job raises all kinds of red flags and there is much more to this story than we know yet.

  4. Sam Horn has to resign because, according to the statement, he is disqualified as an elder because he is quick tempered and pugnacious….and yet, Phil Johnson remains employed. “Rules for thee, but not for me.” SMH.

    1. TMUS and GCC are not run by the same Board. Therefore, how could they be held to the same standards and regulations?

      1. AD INFO, are you suggesting that because Phil Johnson is not a part of TMUS that the biblical standards mentioned by Abner Chou in the chapel this morning which formed the basis of Sam Horn’s “resignation” shouldn’t apply to Phil as well? Give me a break!

      2. Because according the Scriptures, which supposedly a sock puppet such as yourself, Phil Johnson, and JM follow, there are Biblical qualifications for elders. Unless of course don’t you think that those Biblical qualifications apply Phil Johnson and JM. In which case, your hypocrisy and Kool-Aid Drinking cult devotion is noted

    1. Something that I have not seen here, but about which I wonder … is the John McArthur Charitable Trust. We have been long-time supporters of Grace To You. And when we started to get notices about the Trust and invitations to give, etc.
      I started looking to see who is on the Board of Trustees. I am sure the information is available, but I have not been able to find it anywhere.
      I have a reluctance to even post this comment. The teachings of John MacArthur have been very helpful to me over many, many years. But being so much in the dark about who is going to decide where the money gets distributed is unacceptable to me.
      Not willing to beat on John, or Phil; that would be thoroughly un-Christian and non-Scriptural.
      What say you?

  5. Jonathan Asbun

    Galatians 5:15
    But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
    It is sad to see how many Christians appear to celebrate the faults of others instead of lamenting them.
    I don’t like MacArthur, never had. But celebrating “turmoil” on a Christian college. Using the death of a student, etc. to mock and attack a fellow believer seems more like the way of the world than that of the Kingdom. To be clear, I am not referring to the article itself (although I might have some issues with it), but to the comments in this section.

    1. I don’t see any words of celebration. The only person I see on the attack is you.
      Why you wanna make trouble where there is none?

  6. Wow, they (Master’s college) are trying to pin this on Dr. Horn? But really, MacArthur wanted him gone, because he made the college follow Covid rules, which MacArthur liked to downplay, as if us Christians cannot be harmed by it. Instead of being the beacon of light for the world to see how we handle this crisis, Grace church resembled the little boy who took his ball home after he didn’t win the game. It’s unfortunate Abner Chou said anything about his resignation, that’s a private matter, but it seems their intent is to disparage Dr Horn’s name instead. What a glorious representation of Christ’s love, it’s finest.

    1. No one is pinning anything on Dr.Horn? Whats your source beyond speculation that MacArthur wanted him gone? The Abner Chou comment was intended to keep the students informed. The recording seems to be from a student in the chapel.

      1. “Ad Info,” your uninformed propaganda ads throughout these comments might have a slightly higher chance of succeeding if they were directed to a more gullible audience.

        In the audio, Chou admonishes the students not to share what was said. What’s to hide?

  7. On the Other Hand

    When a longtime dictator president moves on to Chancellor, it’s not unusual for the next president to have a short tenure. I’m betting that Dr. Horn realized that he was hired as a rubber stamp so that Dr. MacArthur could continue to run the school from behind the scenes–and get that accreditation. He no doubt saw the board of MacArthur supporters and family and knew there was no way he could fight this, and resigned. He also likely had a non-disclosure agreement in his contract. I’ll be curious to see if we hear any more on this from Dr. Horn.

    This is another instance of hardball business model leadership being imported in Evangelical churches at great cost to integrity. A great reflection on the subject:

  8. Personnel matters should be kept confidential. Those comments, said in that space, were defaming. Shame on Chou.

    “…to keep the students informed.” Ah, yes…but when students questioned MacArthur about the accreditation probation, he told students that it was not their business.
    Right. Got it. Keeping the students informed.

    You nailed it, Peter. Hypocrisy.

  9. I have known Sam Horn for over 35 years and observed his life and ministry up close and from a distance. If this accusation were not so repugnant it would be laughable. He is a leader, not a yes man. But an angry abusive authoritarian – not the Sam I know. I believe thousands who know him well would confirm.

    1. Thank you for sharing. I have only known Dr. Horn a short time, and he is one of the most impressive men I have met. I had high hopes when he was brought in to straighten out my alma maters, both TMU and TMS, which staff members there have privately acknowledged were in very bad shape. What a sad turn of events. May the Lord bless Sam Horn and protect him from anything false said or implied about him.

    2. I confirm what Peter and Dean Taylor have said, I also know Dr Horn from his time at BJU and he was never “quick tempered”.. this is all so fishy.

    3. I have known the Horn family for over two decades, and I have been a student and personally discipled by Dr. Horn. As you said, Dean, I cannot begin to imagine that these descriptions fit the same Sam Horn that many of us know. Dr. Horn’s presence at TMS has given me great optimism for the future of that seminary, even throughout a tumultuous and divisive time. I admit that I do not have any insider knowledge of this recent turn of events, but it’s hard not to put two and two together and imagine that the increasingly politically-charged and divisive tone coming from many in the MacArthur constituency is in some way related. Again, those who know Sam Horn know him to be a servant leader, committed to life-touching-life discipleship. I am truly blessed to have been influenced by his leadership.

  10. Pugnacious? Really? You don’t know Sam Horn then. He is far from that. But if you are the newly appointed President of the TMUS and the former President wants to take over the Seminary and split from the University, then you have to be taken out. Sam probably talked about how that would not be wise and wanted to keep both institutions connected. That was interpreted as pugnacious. It is laughable. But when you have a former President who doesn’t want to give up power in the Seminary, Horn had no chance of succeeding. And to silence him they discredit him. And pugnacious? Their very own Phil Johnson is pugnacious on steroids and they keep him? Truly the highest degree of hypocrisy. And MacArthur’s inner circle at the Seminary labeled Horn as “not my President”…wow may God bring judgment on these men who only know how to destroy. So very sad.

  11. Abner Chou is an ingrown Master’s educational program product. From the GCC website: “Dr. Chou holds degrees from The Master’s University (B.A.) and The Master’s Seminary (M.Div., Th.M., Th.D.)” Note in the audio he calls MacArthur “Dr.,” although the highest earned degree MacArthur holds is an M.Div..

  12. Thats the Modus Operandi of JM, when a staff does not please the cult leader by following him to the letter and/or something bad happens under his watch in this case a student died of covid, thats how JM cleans the trail of evidence pointing to him. Otherwise when investigators eventually descend on Horn, he might be forced to divulge information under oath that might expose JM’s lackadaisical attitude to the pandemic. Thats the same thing they did with Rick Holland the school chaplain then when a TMU student was raped by a TMS student. Rick is now far away somewhere deep in Kansas where investigators would have a hard time getting to him.

    Smearing a man’s good name in order to protect one’s own ambition is appalling. Abner Chou shame on you for being JM’s lap dog.

  13. Earl Nutz (retired teacher)

    Sam has been a friend for at least 35 years. Sam Schnaiter and I had the task of directing Sam’s dissertation research at Bob Jones University. To use the term pugnacious regarding Sam in a negative way is misleading. Sam has always been a determined man, and in this case determined to help Masters regain its accreditation standing and live by the coved-19 laws of the state. As I understand it Sam did help the University regain its accreditation.

  14. I find the statement made to the TMU chapel disturbing. In such a case, the only thing I would think would be proper is to read the person’s letter of resignation. But to make a unclear “editorial statement” that essentially assassinates a person’s character seems really odd. But par for the course lately…

  15. ok lets see, at last tally JM has failed the ff: being above reproach, his children not open to charge of insubordination or debauchery, arrogant, greedy for gain. For Phil, its arrogant or pugnacious, violent, quick tempered. all the reasons for them to step down and be disqualified.
    JM’s definition of above reproach, is even the unbelieving public can accuse you of any wrong doing. Thats glaringly the public’s opinion.

    yet, for the false accusation they laid on a good man like Dr. Horn, he still has the integrity to voluntarily resign. while the other two would refuse.

  16. Ad Info
    Advertising. The techniques and practices used to bring products, services, opinions, or causes to public notice for the purpose of persuading the public to respond in a certain way toward what is advertised.

    Information. knowledge communicated or received concerning a particular fact or circumstance; news:

    What’s in a name? Everything.
    Adam Alter

    1. Ad Info is one of those internet trolls from the PR and damage control firm that GCC, TMUS, and GTY hired. But like most hired trolls, his information is sorely lacking.

  17. I do not know John MacArthur. Although I have known Dr. Sam Horn for over a 1/4 of a century. The information that was given to me is that the narrative from the Sam Horn article. Especially the comments, are not accurate to the narratives that have been expressed. Not sure it was a good fit for one who is even further to the right of J-Mac.

  18. I have known Sam Horn for more than 30 years. I have attended churches he has pastored, traveled to Israel with him, had him as a guest in my home and watched his leadership help multiple institutions. In every case, Sam has been the epitome of a servant leader. During his brief stint at Master’s the school got off probation academically, operated successfully and thoughtfully worked through Covid crisis while also increasing enrollment.
    Anyone who knows Sam knows the criticisms cited in chapel are unfounded. I would be very surprised if any of the complaints were investigated. I seriously doubt Sam was given an opportunity to hear from these individuals. And I heard nothing from chapel about the board exercising Matthew 18 principles in dealing with these allegations. And, I doubt the board gave Sam any opportunity to cure whatever complaints they had against him.
    If my assumptions are right, then I can only ask, who did wrong in this situation? And why?

  19. Something smells rotten. The announcement describing the character and behavior of Dr. Horn as “pugnacious” is not the Dr. Horn I know. We are all capable of gross errors of conduct, but Dr. Horn would not have been in multiple senior leadership positions in several organizations if that was his character. While possible, it isn’t likely that Dr. Horn developed a pugnacious character all in the matter of a year.

    At the same time, I do know the culture of the JM world has been called into question well before Dr. Horn was even interviewed about going there. This situation smacks of the bullying and intimidation culture JM-world has been accused of before. There was no need, in any way, whatsoever for TMS to describe Dr. Horn in that manner. They could’ve just as well described the situation as a “conflict of vision” or something to that effect as opposed to using borderline libel terminology. Even if their accusations against Dr. Horn around were valid, there was still no need for TMS to make their announcement in that manner.

    The culture of the JM orbit remains in question, even more so after this situation.

      1. As an alumnus of TMU and longtime supporter, I am shocked. Is this audio real? How can Abner publicly defame Dr. Horn in chapel? Where is the Matthew 18 approach on this? How can TMU act like a church with its bylaws and at the same time not follow biblical church discipline? Who in the world would want to take over at TMU after this debacle? I feel so badly for Dr. Horn and his family to be put through the ringer like this – move across the country, lead through a mess and a catastrophe, and decide resignation was the only option. Someone tell me the audio isn’t real.

  20. The manner in which Abner Chou conducted himself in this message is reprehensible. And he’s a senior person in the Bible Department of TMU. It seriously makes me wonder if Dr. Chou has familiarity with the Ninth Commandment.

    First, I seriously question the veracity of the allegations and even wonder if anything remotely comparable to Matthew 18 was followed. But that said…

    Second, it’s a total disgrace that TMU conducts itself in a manner regarding personnel matters that are so lacking in wisdom, compassion and Christian charity. I was in management of a secular corporation for many years and I don’t know of even secular organizations that disparage and slander and gossip about departed leaders (or any person who’s left the organization for that matter). Yet Dr. Horn is publicly defamed. Someone may question my use of the term “public” but this message was clearly made to some form of audience. I’m sorry but you can’t get students to sign NDA’s (non disclosure agreements)…not that such gag orders are ethical…and now this infamous diatribe by Dr. Chou is floating freely.

    There are several comments associated with this post that affirm Dr. Horn’s character and leadership style. Yet we are to believe he somehow morphed into a domineering, pugnacious, prideful man? That’s a tough one for me to buy. Sorry but it lacks plausibility.

    And now you’ve got a Christian university and seminary where…

    1. Several board chairs resigned in a matter of days a few years ago

    2. The new President lasts less than a year

    3. Four board members resign last week.

    If that doesn’t pique the interest and concern of WASC I would be surprised. If anything this constellation of tragic events affirms the culture of “fear, intimidation and bullying” that WASC cited earlier when probation was imposed.

    Just a hypothetical…what if the allegations regarding Dr. Horn were to pale in comparison to outbursts and bullying by a former leader who’s suffered no discipline but basks in the accolades of his unsuspecting public following. Would that be consistent with the non-negotiable standards cited so sanctimoniously by Dr. Chou? Or would that be the epitome of hypocrisy.

    This is symptomatic of spiritual decline if I’ve ever seen it. Truly saddening.

      1. Resignations have been reported by another blogger (ModernDayZorro) and affirmed by others who comment there. Previous reports from this blogger have shown credibility. I have no idea who/what MDZ has as sources but recent reports have been consistent with what has subsequently come to light. Infallible? No. Reasonable to take seriously? IMO yes.

        I’m disheartened by what I see happening at these schools.

  21. Assuming that Die-hard Macarthurite Abner Chou did this despicable act of slandering a good man independent of Big Mac’s instruction. It would sure prove to everyone especially his die-hard Macarthurites the true character of Big Mac if he doesn’t fire AC for disqualifying himself not only as en elder but an officer in TMU. I’d be pleasantly surprise if Dr Horn is not gagged with an NDA. Since only Big Mac gets to decide who stays and who is fired, Abner’s actions are well Big Mac’s. Simply put, Abner is just Big Mac’s alter ego.

  22. As supporters of both BJU and TMU, our family is heartbroken and embarrassed in hearing Dr. Chou’s announcement. It is our understanding that Master’s is trying to protect Dr. Horn and his family by not commenting further on the situation. If that is the case and if they truly loved Sam and his family, they would not have issued such a slanderous statement in chapel, which they know is a very public event for the campus community often with visitors present. They must have surely known that this information would be passed on to parents, family members, friends, and church leaders back home. This was not church discipline though they made it out to be with no option for restoration. This to me is cult like behavior.

    The decision seemed to be made in extreme haste. Sam felt called by God as he moved his family cross country to take the presidency at Master’s. He appeared to be completely satisfied and thriving at his former position at BJU. He didn’t have to come, but he made a tremendous sacrifice in the move out west believing that he could make a difference for the Kingdom. His leadership helped Master’s get off probation and navigate opening through a pandemic that would have cost the organization millions in lost revenue. His reward was to be publicly humiliated is not just. I believe that Dr. Chou, the board of directors, and Pastor MacArthur should immediately offer a public apology to Dr. Horn and his family. It is the right thing to do. I can not see the Lord continuing to bless Master’s if they continue in this type of unrepentant behavior.

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