EXCLUSIVE: John MacArthur Shamed, Excommunicated Mother for Refusing to Take Back Child Abuser

By Julie Roys
John MacArthur Grace Community Church
John MacArthur publicly shaming Eileen Gray at Grace Community Church on Aug. 18, 2002, for not taking back her husband, David Gray, who had reportedly confessed to abusing his children. (Source: Exclusive video obtained by The Roys Report)

On August 18, 2002, prominent radio pastor and author, John MacArthur, took time during an evening service to address a grave matter at his 8,000-member Grace Community Church (GCC) in Sun Valley, California.

A woman at GCC was living in sin, MacArthur alleged. And though shaming her publicly was “sad,” MacArthur said it was necessary to maintain fidelity to God and His Word.

So, as men were distributing the elements for communion, MacArthur stated: “I want to mention a sad situation, a person who is unwilling to repent. And the church bears responsibility before God to be the instrument of discipline. . . . This is what the Lord wants. He wants discipline . . . to be put out of the church, to be publicly shamed, to be put away from fellowship. In this case it applies to Eileen Gray.”

According to MacArthur, Gray’s sin was that she had decided “to leave her husband, to grant no grace at all, to take the children, to go away, to forsake him.” This, MacArthur emphasized, meant rejecting “all the instruction and counsel of the elders, all instruction from the Word of God.”

MacArthur then encouraged the church to pray for Eileen and to “treat her as an unbeliever—for all we know, she may be.”

Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “The Lord Is My Courage” by K.J. Ramsey to donate, click here.

David Gray Grace Community Church
David Gray’s 1998 GCC photo

He also urged the church to pray for her husband, David Gray, who taught music and Bible to children at Grace Community Church (GCC) from 1994 to 2001. “Pray for David, for the sympathy and compassion and the lovingkindness of God to be his portion.”

MacArthur then invited the church to sing, “Amazing Grace.”

Today, David Gray is serving 21 years to life in a California prison for his 2005 convictions for aggravated child molestation, corporal injury to a child, and child abuse.

But at the time of Eileen’s shaming, Eileen had not yet reported her husband’s physical and mental abuse to police. (She was not yet aware of his sexual abuse.) 

Instead, she had reported the abuse to elders and pastors at GCC.

Eileen also had not left her husband. In August 2002, Eileen was still living with her children in the Grays’ home about 1.5 miles from the church.

Eileen had, however, filed legal separation and restraining orders against David due to his repeated abuse of her and her children, as well as his alleged stalking and threats to kill them and himself. At the time of the shaming, Eileen had obtained a court order requiring that David’s visits with the children be monitored and restricting him from coming within 100 yards of Eileen.

As Eileen explained in an exclusive interview with The Roys Report, she went to GCC elders, hoping they would protect her and her children and get David professional help.

Instead, she says the church subjected her to spiritually abusive counseling and used church discipline to try and coerce her to take David back into the family’s home.

John MacArthur shames Eileen Gray on August 18, 2002:

 

Eileen said Carey Hardy, a former GCC associate pastor and personal assistant to John MacArthur, told her she needed to model for her children how to “suffer for Jesus” by enduring David’s abuse.

The Roys Report repeatedly reached out to MacArthur and Hardy, who’s now senior pastor of Twin City Bible Church, for comment but they did not respond.

When Eileen refused to take David back, GCC sent her multiple letters over several months in 2001-2002, which she recently provided to The Roys Report. The letters threaten Eileen with church discipline if she fails to comply with the elders’ request to drop the protective order against David and take him back.

When the letters failed to change Eileen’s stance, John MacArthur publicly shamed Eileen twice—once in May 2002 and again in August 2002.

Eileen told The Roys Report that MacArthur never spoke with her before, during, or after the shamings.

In the months between her shamings, GCC members and staff repeatedly harassed and visited Eileen at home, urging her to obey the elders, according to Eileen and dozens of pages of court documents obtained by The Roys Report.

For all this time, Eileen has remained silent about her ordeal out of concern for her minor children. She added that she feared backlash from Christians in her community, who revere MacArthur and GCC.

But now, Eileen’s children are adults. And for the sake of vulnerable women and children at GCC—and at the many churches and institutions influenced by MacArthur—she’s speaking now.

David Gray Grace Community Church
David Gray with students at Grace Community Church in the early 2000s. (Source: online)

Despite being mandated by California law to report child abuse, GCC never reported David Gray’s abuse to authorities, according to Nancy Nelson, a retired Los Angeles Police Department Detective (LAPD) who investigated David Gray’s case. Nelson told The Roys Report that Eileen Gray reported David Gray’s abuse to LAPD in 2003, leading to David’s trial and conviction in 2005.

In 2004, two staff pastors at GCC were written up by LAPD for their alleged mishandling of David Gray’s abuse.  

Carey Hardy was charged with two misdemeanors—failing to report child abuse and intimidating a witness—Eileen Gray. The other pastor, Bill Shannon, who currently leads GCC’s biblical counseling ministry, was not charged but ordered to appear at a city attorney hearing.

Court records show Hardy’s case was “dismissed or not prosecuted” in February 2005.

The reason Hardy’s case was dismissed is not clear.

Al Mohler
Dr. Albert Mohler

However, Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Seminary and current WORLD Magazine opinion editor, confirmed to The Roys Report that he wrote a paper for Hardy’s defense in 2004 at GCC’s request. The paper argued that Hardy should be exempt from reporting Gray’s abuse based on religious freedom—an argument Mohler said he would not make today.

“Daddy hurt me”

Eileen says David Gray emotionally and physically abused her and her children for years. But she didn’t realize the severity of his child abuse until May 10, 2001. That’s when Eileen woke up early in the morning to muffled cries and yelling, according to a transcript of Eileen’s testimony at David’s trial obtained by The Roys Report.

Eileen testified that she went to the living room of the family’s home, where she found David holding a belt and one of her children crying with disheveled hair. When confronted, David told Eileen that God had made him the authority and that his child “needs more pain,” Eileen testified.

Following the incident, this child walked with a limp, became very withdrawn, and began pulling hair out, according to Eileen’s testimony. Eileen added that when she asked her child what happened, her child simply said, “Daddy hurt me.”

But about a month later, this child told Eileen that David had repeatedly hit the child in the head with a toy and kicked the child, Eileen testified. Eileen added that the child said David had also put a sleeping bag over the child’s head. The battered child, and the Gray’s other children who witnessed the incident, claimed that their daddy was trying to kill them, Eileen testified.

The day after learning these details, Eileen found a lawyer and filed a legal separation and restraining order against David.

Eileen testified that she then met with GCC Pastor Bill Shannon and another GCC leader and told them about her husband’s abuse.

Bill Shannon Grace Community Church
Bill Shannon (Source: Grace Community Church)

Eileen told The Roys Report that in this first meeting, Shannon did not offer to help. Instead, he accused Eileen of sinning by going to the law against a brother, Eileen said. Shannon added that the protective order violated 1 Corinthians 7:10, which instructs women not to separate from their husbands, Eileen testified.

However, two days after that meeting, Shannon met privately with David, and then the church arranged for Eileen to stay with a church family until the protective order went into effect. Eileen testified in court that as a condition of receiving this help from GCC, the church required her and David to attend marriage counseling with Carey Hardy.

Hardy has an M.Div. from The Master’s Seminary but no professional counseling credentials.

During the first counseling session, which included Shannon and Hardy, David admitted he kicked one of the couple’s children and tried to suffocate the child, Eileen testified. She added that David said it all happened “so fast,” and he didn’t know it was wrong in the moment.

In subsequent counseling sessions, David presented Hardy with a handwritten, four-page list of “sins” against Eileen and his children, Eileen said. On one of these pages obtained by The Roys Report, David admits he used a “belt & rod way too harshly—brutally” on a child. He also says he “tied up” and “locked up” the child and was not always “adequately dressed” in the child’s presence.

Carey Hardy
Carey Hardy (Source: Twin City Bible Church)

According to Eileen, Hardy refused to take or read David’s list.

The Roys Report reached out to Shannon and Hardy, specifically asking about these events, but they did not respond.

However, in an official court declaration in 2002 concerning Eileen’s legal separation from David Gray, Hardy stated: “I am of the opinion that Eileen simply doesn’t like David . . . and is using what she alleges to have happened with the children as leverage to put David out of their lives.”

Hardy accused Eileen in the declaration of having “a tendency to exaggerate” and exercising “faulty logic and irrational thinking.”

In contrast, Hardy said David Gray was “fairly laid back” and that after several monitored visits between David and his children, “our church concluded that monitors were not necessary.”

Nevertheless, in the summer of 2001, GCC decided not to renew David’s teaching contract with the church.

David Gray Grace Community Church
David Gray conducts a children’s choir and orchestra at Grace Community Church in early 2000s.

Eileen stated in an official court reply to Hardy’s declaration that Hardy and Shannon met with her to announce their decision to end David’s employment.

At that meeting, Shannon suggested sending David to Los Angeles Unified School District, Eileen testified. She added that when she objected because David was a child abuser, Shannon replied that since a “child abuse index” hadn’t been filed, David could still get a job teaching. Eileen testified that Shannon also stated that L.A. Unified never calls the church for a reference.

David Gray was hired by L.A. Unified School District in September 2001 and taught music to elementary school-aged children there until his arrest in 2004, according to a LAPD press release.

“Suffer like Jesus”

In her testimony at David Gray’s trial, Eileen stated that she repeatedly asked GCC to provide professional counseling for her and David. She testified she was told by GCC leaders that professional counseling is “worldly” and wrong.

Hardy counseled Eileen to forgive David “even if he wasn’t repentant,” Eileen testified. “He would teach me over and over ‘the threefold promise of forgiveness’ . . .” she stated, “where you act as though it never happened, and you never bring it up again, and you never tell anyone about it.”

Grace Community Church
Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA

This threefold promise is explained in detail in a booklet on forgiveness by John MacArthur, which is sold by MacArthur’s broadcast ministry, Grace to You.

Eileen also testified that Hardy urged her to allow David back into the family’s home and to model for the children how to “suffer for Jesus” by enduring David’s abuse. Eileen stated that she was willing to endure the abuse herself but was not willing to allow her children to be abused, so she refused.

With permission from all parties involved, Eileen recorded her counseling sessions with Hardy. Eileen shared the recordings with the pastor who officiated her wedding to David, Alvin B. Barber, Jr.—former pastor of Sunrise Bible Fellowship in Northern California. (Barber passed away in 2008.)

In a written declaration to a California Superior Court, Barber corroborated Eileen’s account.

“I have listened to one of the counseling sessions on tape between Carey Hardy, David, and Eileen and found that Eileen was being told to just accept her husband as he was and submit to him, even in spite of his admitted abuse of her and their children,” Barber wrote. “Thankfully Eileen has chosen the legal protection of herself and her children over the obvious intimidation and questionable counsel of Carey Hardy and Grace Community Church.”

In November 2001, Eileen wrote GCC and requested that the church remove her from its membership.

GCC denied Eileen’s request.

Letters, harassment, and stalking

On November 27, 2001, Carey Hardy sent Eileen a letter on behalf of GCC’s elders.

The elders “don’t automatically remove someone from membership when we believe that we have a responsibility to help that individual resolve issues in his/her life,” the letter stated. “In this situation, we definitely do believe that we should maintain our role in helping you and David reconcile. For that reason we are leaving your membership status intact.”

The letter adds “there are no longer sufficient reasons for the two of you to stay apart” and urges Eileen to “forgive David, allow him to move back home, and once again follow his leadership as Scripture teaches.”

It also states, “It is now time to trust God to use your marriage to David to make you more like Christ. This is a more significant level of trust than simply trusting God to change your husband. . . . It’s a crossroads related to your own relationship with the Lord, a crossroads in your relationship to your husband, and a crossroads related to your role as a mother.”

A letter from GCC on March 13, 2002 threatens Eileen with church discipline if she doesn’t change course.

“Since you are refusing to forgive David and allow him to return home where he can put biblical change into action, we are left with nothing to conclude but that you want something else besides what Scripture teaches,” the letter states.

“. . . Though you are ignoring the shepherding role in your life that God requires from our church, we must still choose to follow the mandate of Matthew 18, verse 17, if you persist in preventing the restoration of your family.”

Matthew 18:17 says that if someone refuses to repent of his sin, the sin should be told to the church and the person treated like “a pagan or tax collector.”

The letter from GCC also states that it “has become obvious . . . that David is not a ‘mental case’” and “doesn’t need a ‘psychological evaluation.’ He is a sinner who can, by God’s grace, change and grow.”

During the time she was receiving these letters from GCC, Eileen said David repeatedly threatened to kill her and her children and to take his own life.

David also stalked Eileen at home on numerous occasions between July 2001 and May 2002 in violation of his restraining order, according to court declarations by Eileen’s neighbors, Carlos Tobar and Wilbur Rodriguez.

Eileen said she also received pressure by GCC members to obey GCC’s elders.

On April 25, 2002, Eileen said she received a surprise, late-night visit from a couple at GCC—George Bonsangue, who was a student at The Master’s Seminary, and his wife, Priscilla.

Priscilla & George Bonsangue
Priscilla & George Bonsangue in 2019 (Source: Facebook)

In an account for David Gray’s trial, Eileen wrote that Bonsangue and his wife entered her home at 10:15 p.m. and told her she was “in sin” because she had separated from her husband and had left the church without the elders’ permission. When Eileen told the couple about David’s abuse, Bonsangue and his wife reportedly offered to take Eileen’s children so Eileen could “obey the biblical mandates for marriage,” Eileen wrote.

She added that when she refused their offer, George Bonsangue became “angrier” and the couple left her home around midnight.

The Roys Report spoke with Priscilla and George Bonsangue, who’s currently pastoring Grace Baptist Church in Wilmington, California.

The couple confirmed they went to Eileen’s house late one night in April 2002.

“We just wanted to help (David and Eileen) reconcile,” Priscilla said. She added that she had babysat the Gray’s children and never saw anything that made her suspicious of David. “I wondered if . . . she imagined (the abuse) or was just making things up, or just mad at him.”

The Bonsangues said they don’t remember offering to take Eileen’s kids or mentioning anything about Eileen fulfilling “the biblical mandates for marriage.” Priscilla said it was just “an understood thing” that Priscilla was willing to babysit, if needed.

Five days after the Bonsangues’ 2002 visit, GCC sent another letter to Eileen.

“You have yet to provide any biblical justification for your anger towards your husband,” the letter stated, “and you still reject the counsel of the elders and others who are concerned for your well-being.”

“. . . If you desire to meet with us to express your willingness to repent, we stand ready to help. If we don’t hear from you in this regard, however, we must proceed with the Lord’s instructions and convey your sin to the church at the next communion service on Sunday May 19, 2002.”

On that date, John MacArthur reportedly shamed Eileen in front of his congregation for the first time.

The next morning, Eileen said a mother of one of David’s students at GCC came to her house upset because MacArthur had reportedly stated that “death may follow” Eileen’s shaming.

At the time, Eileen was being treated for cancer.

Eileen said the woman was “shocked” by MacArthur’s statements and didn’t agree with them.

Over the next three months, the pressure and harassment from GCC members and staff intensified, according to Eileen and a declaration by Eileen’s neighbor.

On May 21, 2002—two days after the shaming—David came to Eileen’s house with two men in a blue Honda, Wilbur Rodriguez wrote in his declaration.

According to Eileen, Carlos Tobar, who also witnessed the incident, recorded the Honda’s license plate number, which was registered to a car driven by Hardy’s personal assistant at GCC. Eileen said she called the assistant soon afterwards, and he admitted to watching her house with David.

The Roys Report tried to locate the assistant for comment but was unsuccessful.

About a week after the shaming, Eileen said a close friend—affectionately called “Aunt Donna” by her children—came to her home. The friend had been given a key to Eileen’s house, but reportedly returned the key and told Eileen she wouldn’t be back.

“She told me to obey the elders,” Eileen told The Roys Report. “It was heartbreaking. All of it’s heartbreaking. She was the last person I thought would say, ‘I don’t even care.’ . . . She didn’t say that but that was her demeanor.”

Eileen said many other GCC members delivered a similar message, either by letter or in person.

In a handwritten letter dated June 5, 2002, obtained by The Roys Report, the wife of a current professor at The Master’s Seminary wrote: “I know it must be very difficult to do what the elders at Grace Community Church ask you to do, and I pray that you will joyfully submit to their leadership . . . It is what the Bible asks of you, Eileen.”

The woman also urged Eileen to reunite with her husband and submit to him, stating, “Even if David is sinning or is not a believer, this is still your spiritual duty.”

On August 8, 2002, Eileen received another letter from GCC.

“(I)n spite of the failures on David’s part as a husband and a father, it has become increasingly apparent that the greatest reason for the turmoil in the lives of your children, in the life of your husband, and in your own life is your refusal to forgive David, to support him in his attempts to change his thinking and behavior, and to reconcile with him.”

The letter states, “(T)he elders have concluded that you have no genuine desire to see your family restored.” It adds that GCC would announce publicly at an upcoming service that Eileen was being been removed from fellowship.

The evening of August 18, 2002, MacArthur preached a sermon with dire warnings about the severity of God’s discipline. The sermon is still posted online.

“(S)ometimes the punishment can be so severe that the person dies,” MacArthur stated in the sermon. “In the Corinthian church, there were some people who were weak and some were sick and some were dead because their sins were manifest at the Lord’s Table, remember that?”

Then, before administering communion and shaming Eileen, MacArthur urged his listeners to confess their sins so they “won’t suffer the discipline.”

Excerpt of MacArthur’s Aug. 18, 2002, sermon before Eileen’s shaming:

Eileen, who attended the service, said she felt comforted by Jesus throughout the entire ordeal.

“He bore the shaming with me,” she said. “I felt I wasn’t alone. And I felt very triumphant because (MacArthur) lies. The whole thing was lies.”

A few weeks later, a Los Angeles court granted Eileen a legal separation from David Gray. With her husband’s consent, she moved 500 miles away from GCC to her hometown and a church that welcomed her into fellowship.

The next year, Eileen learned that David had not only physically, emotionally, and verbally abused her children, but had sexually abused them, as well. She then reported her husband’s abuse to LAPD.

Even then, GCC did not defend and support Eileen, but instead rallied behind her husband.

The Roys Report describes the rest of Eileen’s story in a follow-up article. Click here to read.

Correction: The original version of this article stated that Shannon and Hardy were arrested for failing to report child abuse and intimidating a witness. The LAPD report obtained by TRR says the two were “cleared by arrest,” which means they were either arrested, ordered to appear at a city hearing, or ordered to appear at a court hearing. Shannon was ordered to appear at a city hearing, but not charged. Hardy was charged and ordered to appear in court.

GCC Letters to Eileen Gray:

GCC Letters to Eileen Gray_Redacted

John MacArthur shames Eileen Gray on August 18, 2002 (with Spanish subtitles)

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263 thoughts on “EXCLUSIVE: John MacArthur Shamed, Excommunicated Mother for Refusing to Take Back Child Abuser”

  1. Don’t think for a moment that there’s no connection between deterministic Calvinism and GCC’s actions. The determinist believes God decrees all things–a patently unbiblical doctrine–and therefore whatever abuses are occurring have already gotten the nod from heaven. That being the case, the victim needs to get with the program and endure the suffering gladly. Same for the kids. This sad story is a reminder that doctrinal error has consequences. And what shame has been brought on the name of Christ!

    1. Shawn, i agree wholeheartedly. I heard Calvinist James White say some time ago that God does not just allow little children to be raped, but He decrees it for His glory. These men are beyond sick! Finally, MacArthur’s heretical, self-righteous, and legalistic lordship salvation theology, makes his elders and followers into a bunch of fruit inspecting Pharisees, so it’s not surprising that they questioned Eileen’s salvation and treated her in such a disgusting and shabby way when she would not submit to their unbiblical and horrendous “counseling”.

      1. Richard Bryant

        Completely agree MacArthur is wrong in this. However, James White has never said that. Nor does the Bible on and that, God literally has rape punishable by death in the Old Testament law. Please don’t make lies about the Bible.

        1. Melissa Schubert

          Yes, James White has said that – research it and you will find – just as John Piper has said as well, very openly

          1. Daniel, it happened. The audio was actually played in a debate he had Bob Enyart. You can find it on a page called “God is Open.” The debate happened in 2014. Linking other websites is usually frowned upon in a comment section.

    2. Neil Cameron (One Salient Oversight)

      I’m a Calvinist and believe in determinism. At the same time I believe that all mankind has sinned.

      To say that Calvinists believe that God approves of his people sinning is an incorrect assumption. We are still responsible for our sin.

      (note: I am not defending Macarthur or GCC by saying this)

      1. Many anti Calvinists don’t even knowand understand what we believe. You think God was taken by surprise by what happened to this woman? No! Yet he cannot be blamed. He knows all things before it happens and chooses to allow or disallow. That is determinism in a way.

    3. Kevin Van Dyck

      You nailed it, Shawn. And isn’t it interesting how these determinists are so selective about it? In this case, for example, they might say the abusive/poisonous relationship was God’s will, without even considering the possibility that it was God‘s will for her to stand up and protect her kids.

      For that matter, couldn’t it have been God’s will for that church to come to the defense of her and her children (making this a massive moral failure on the part of the church)?

    4. Shawn please don’t misportray Calvinism to explain what happened at GCC. Stuff like this has unfortunately happened across all denominations. And reformed doctrine in no way condones or encourages it.

      When one says God decrees something, it simply means He allowed it to happen. If He could have stopped it but didn’t, then He decided it should happen for some greater plan or purpose (for example, the death of Jesus on the cross). And, most importantly, God is with us in our suffering.

      If you take the (unbiblical) approach that God couldn’t have stopped it, then we’re not talking about God anymore because the God of the Bible can do whatever He wants.

      Not looking to start a theological argument here, but just pointing out that what happened at GCC was sin and not a result of determinist doctrine. It was the result of prideful, controlling men who believed a liar over a victim and didn’t do the work to find out the truth and protect her like they were called by God to do.

  2. What sickens me is throughout the counseling by Carey and Shannon or even the Bosangue’s, no one was even concerned with the children’s welfare. Never mind if they were being physically beaten and emotionally abused, the game plan was for Eileen to take back the husband and buy GCC time to get rid of David and until they send him to a public school. They couldn’t care less about Eileen or her children but only book royalties. Bad news affects book sales and donations.

    With all the doctrines in his head and his claim that he bleeds biblene, JM’s heart was proven callous and cruel. He claims to be a pastor first, but didnt even spend a few minutes to speak to Eileen let alone to pray with her and the children. Instead, he chose to shame her to protect David. Protecting David protects GCC which protects JM. JM played God by pronouncing judgment that Eileen may not even a believer. Where was Christ, love, grace, compassion, gentleness in their counseling and shaming of Eileen who was proven to be innocent by the law of the land which I might add did a better job is seeking out the truth and meted justice. Biblical doctrines nor biblene didn’t reach JM’s heart only his pocket. .

    These men denied Eileen and her children protection, love and truth under the church.

    The millstone is waiting gentlemen.

  3. Mark Zimmerman

    Another horrific example of how MacArthur, Inc. has heaped much shame on itself in countless ways for decades up to the present. Many so-called leaders there have disqualified themselves from ministry repeatedly, starting with MacArthur.

  4. John B Chisham

    This is indeed a sad story.

    I think it is amazing that you heap judgment, there are two sides to every story. And though the conviction on child abuse proves that there was something happening on the husbands side, these were all after the fact. A conviction does not necessarily mean guilt. I find it amazing that despite all of the accusations from the wife in the state of California that the husband had a restraining order, but no arrest. That means that there was no evidence that this was actually happening.

    So, if the church shoulders blame, the state must also shoulder blame. Obviously, there was not enough evidence.

    The wife at the time deserved church discipline. It was clear she was refusing their counsel. It was also clear that they had no idea of the extent of the husband’s abuse.

    1. I find this comment unpersuasive in its reasoning and amazing in its callousness. It’s not at all clear to many of us that the wife deserved church discipline

    2. “The wife at the time deserved church discipline. It was clear she was refusing their counsel. It was also clear that they had no idea of the extent of the husband’s abuse.”

      Allow me to excerpt part of the story for you:

      “In subsequent counseling sessions, David presented Hardy with a handwritten, four-page list of “sins” against Eileen and his children, Eileen said. On one of these pages obtained by The Roys Report, David admits he used a “belt & rod way too harshly—brutally” on a child. He also says he “tied up” and “locked up” the child and was not always “adequately dressed” in the child’s presence.

      According to Eileen, Hardy refused to take or read David’s list.”

    3. You obviously didn’t read the entire article. It stated that the wife did not go to the authorities initially, but only to her church leadership.

      It also stated that the husband actually listed ALL of the sins he had committed against his wife and children and tried to give it to the staff pastor who was counseling them, but the pastor refused to take it.

      It states that his wife recorded sessions of their various meetings with pastoral staff, and one of them has the husband admitting to the abuse.

      Even she did not know about the sexual abuse of the children when she was being spiritually ABUSED by her church leadership, and some congregants.

      SO THEY KNEW!!!!

    4. “A conviction does not necessarily mean guilt.” Well, actually, legally, yeah – that’s exactly what it means. Hence the jury declaring a person guilty. But I’m guessing you mean that he may have been wrongfully convicted. In which case, I point you to the reproduction of the list where he admitted to what he did.

      “[T]he husband had a restraining order, but no arrest. That means that there was no evidence that this was actually happening.” Um, no. That’s only evidence that you have no idea what you’re talking about, when it comes to legal process. Also, he was arrested. And convicted. And sent to jail, where he still sits.

      “The wife at the time deserved church discipline. It was clear she was refusing their counsel.” Yes, she was refusing their counsel, which was to accept back into her home – and more to the point, in proximity to her children – the man who had, by his own admission, physically abused the children. Just because he appeared contrite. I don’t care how contrite a person is, or who they are, if they abuse my kids, they’ll never again be allowed near them.

      If a church’s scriptural interpretation is so myopically rigid that it militates telling a woman that she must allow a man who’s an admitted child abuser back into her home and with her kids, or else she’s in sin, that pretty much tells you all you need to know about their theology. That’s not a church that deserves respect, or to be heeded. The elders need to repent of making an idol out of their biblical interpretation, rather than worshipping the God who wrote the Bible.

    5. Melissa Schubert

      Mr. Chisham – you must not have read the article carefully to come to that conclusion. It makes no sense. I think many would advise you to read it again carefully.

    6. Carolyn ScottH

      Did you just read the first sentence to a few paragraphs but not read the whole article? 1. she WAS right to leave him. 2. They were given the opportunity to reply to the reporter and chose not to – that is often the response when you know you’re wrong, not when you’re in the right.

  5. Not sure where this comes from, but can guess why. Nice of you to try to destroy Pastor MacArthur and the work Grace Community Church is doing, and then ask for thoughtful respectful dialogue. Oh, I see the author is a woman too. Interesting.

    1. What department of the grace community cult do yuh work in? Paid well? Good benefits? Yeah I guessed that. Evangelicals that make excuses for godless behavior are the reason church attendance is down. He is evil.

      1. Gary. Lordship Salvation is to the cult of Mormonism, what sugar Pepsi is to Diet Pepsi. Similar taste, just not Utah. Johnny MacArthur is LDS cult control, California style. In the end, it’s all about crazy making.

      1. Your right Loren. I have disinterest in watching bully’s destroy the church by there godless behavior and people instead of leaving make excuses. So yes please note my disdain for the Pharisees of today.

    2. Danielle Downing

      “I see the author is a woman” what does that mean??? Maybe if more men would actually treat women like the weaker vessel and protect them and listen to them there wouldnt be a need for a Julie Roys Report! Im going to assume then that since you dont think a woman should be writing this that you are going to step up as a man to defend the weak and seek justice so that the women dont have to!! That would be great! To have a man stand up to seek justice and repentance in his God given role as leader, protector! A man taking Christ’s example of braiding his own whip and turning over the tables!! I would love a man to do that so us women can go on raising our children and teaching women to love their husbands! I do also find it interesting when the whole covid thing happened, JM had an attorney a big time attorney publically represent his interest and to seek justice, but he shamed this women publically for getting representation for her interest (kids safety) and seeking justice!

    3. Oh, I see the author is a woman too. Interesting.

      Paulie, what exactly are you saying?

      Please explain why that is so interesting to you?

    4. You won’t get much respect with comments and statements such as these. Pastor MacArthur is not a god, he is a man. And by many credible accounts, a deeply flawed one at that. One who has used his position and authority in a thoroughly reckless and irresponsible manner.

      And why the author’s gender is noteworthy to you is something that escapes me.

    5. GCC’s work? What work? JM seems to have behaved exactly like Calvin against Servetus. That alone is enough for me to question Calvin, his motives and his ideas. Calvinism: what you get when a Stoic reads Paul.

  6. I have been blessed and mentored by much of JM”s teaching on Biblical truths. However, this situation is very troubling and from reading the evidence presented here, I am of the opinion that JM was seriously and unwisely, if not unbiblical, advised by Elders at GCC. My wife was a Director of Women’s Ministry at our former church (we moved out of state and she retired) for over 20 years, and in her role counseled many women in challenging marriages. What was often disappointing and concerning, was the lack of understanding or willingness to deeply investigate serious claims of husbands abusive behavior. Too often churches (my opinion) will delegate responsibility and wisdom to pursue what the real truth actually is in abusive claim either for the sake of legalism, or a desire to pass on taking the harder road to honestly and wisely assess the matter. In this case I would have counseled JM if he were to make a public statement to first meet with Eileen (along with a mature and wise advocate for her) to get first hand understanding of her situation. The fact David was convicted proves much. Praying for all involved to be humbled, repentant, and teachable of God’s revealing purpose in this terrible situation.

  7. Let me say that I am no supporter of John MacArthur. I think he’s a lover of money and power, and while most of what he preaches is true, his actions often don’t line up with his words. But I also know we’re only hearing one side of the story here. No doubt there was sin involved here, but at least some of this would fall under “hindsight is 20/20.” Let’s not forget this wisdom from Proverbs:

    Proverbs 18:13 – “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”

    Proverbs 18:17 – “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”

    Otherwise, we’re just like the rest of this generation which makes rash judgments based on partial data found in the media.

    1. Mark Gunderson

      But this is the other side of the story. The first side was shared in the video, and in those letters.

    2. Any decent person would be falling over themselves to apologize for defending a child molester once the truth is out. In this case, the silence is deafening.

    3. The man is in PRISON. How much of his side do you need to hear? This thinking is what is wrong with the church and why so many are leaving it.

    4. The husband admitted in written form that he was guilty of child abuse and hinted at worse sins. Did you read the article?

    5. Tony Nazarowski

      How does ANY sin on behalf of the wife/mother have ANYTHING to do with the harm to the children? They deserve to be protected no matter what?

  8. Alfredo Velasco

    I’m not surprised how McArthur dealt with Eileen. My constant impression whenever I hear John Mcarthur on radio, is he sounds angry, vindictive and judgmental. There was not a bit of love and compassion from his speaking. But you listen to Charles Swindoll and you immediately sense his love and compassion in proclaiming the word of God. McArthur also talks like he has a monopoly of Biblical truth.

  9. Julie, when you described MacArthur’s threefold recipe for forgiveness, I immediately recognized it as having come from Jay Adams, the Father of Nouthetic Counseling (later rebranded as “Biblical Counseling”). Jay Adams himself wrote at length about how to protect pedophiles in the church (he called it counseling them). I wrote about this in a three-part series, here: https://heresthejoy.com/2021/01/how-jay-adams-would-counsel-a-pedophile/ It is truly appalling, but I see that the GCC elders, along with MacArthur, obediently followed Jay Adams’ outline.

    1. Rebecca, your article clearly demonstrates you know what you’re talking about. It’s sad enough what happened here with GCC. To see that it’s more systemic among bible-based churches is tragic. Your message needs to be shouted on the rooftops to all who follow this counseling model.

  10. My goodness, why didn’t the church just drag Eileen up to the stage, put her head in the stocks with her hands dangling out so she could watch the rest of the church sit down to the Lord’s supper? Is that really what the scripture instructs the church to do, in essence? And why did she stay there until she was thrown out? Perhaps it was a symptom of how long it can take an abused person to see what’s happening to them. I hope Eileen has been able to find peace in a church who could love her as she needed to be loved.

    1. Valerie Campbell

      Eileen did write a letter to withdraw her membership. GCC wrote back that they were refusing to let her voluntarily withdraw it!

  11. Lorenzo Provagna

    There should be [. . . ] picketing outside of this “church”. As a Bible believing christian who graduated from Moody Bible institute, reading this has disgusted me. It is high time that there be accountability within church leadership. Every single elder that had anything to do with this should be publicly shamed, as well as counseled. The pastor should resign because he so clearly lacks any social intelligence to even meet with lady he is publicly shaming.

    1. Public repentance for the mishandling of this situation along with a public apology is sorely needed in this case .

  12. After rereading and looking up the information provided the story is compelling. I still will not go along with the negative view of the church as only Eileen’s input was used. The church not responding to your questions would appear to be keep confidentiality. This has as way of appearing condemning even though there a whole other side of the story missing.

    1. Lisa O’Donnell

      I believe, in the law, “no comment” would be seen as an attempt to not further incriminate themselves.
      Evidence in a criminal trial, enough to gain a conviction, says quite a lot to me, and one should remember that he was convicted in 2005, not “a good while later.”
      Choosing not to view GCC askance after something like this is the same as not looking askance at the Roman Catholic molestation cases.

      1. @ LISA O’DONNELL

        “I believe, in the law, “no comment” would be seen as an attempt to not further incriminate themselves.”

        That’s only partially true from the standpoint of legal actions. If you’ve been arrested you have the right to remain silent. Exercising that right can’t be used as proof of guilt. You might be referring to people invoking their 5th amendment right against self-incrimination. Invoking that right also cannot be used as an indicator of guilt. I say all this purely for the sake of clarity.

    2. The church not responding to your questions would appear to be keep confidentiality.

      If GCC wanted to do the right thing, and keep it confidential, they could have privately apologized to her years ago.

      It doesn’t look like they saw fit to do that.

    3. Gordon Hackman

      If they were trying to keep confidentiality, they could have replied and said that in the interest of protecting confidentiality they were unable to share specific information. Instead, the chose not to reply at all.

    4. In situations of abuse, there are NEVER “two sides to the story.” Not two valid sides, anyway, because the abuser’s perspective is abjectly wrong and sinful, based in power, control, entitlement, and self-justification that leaves no room for the headship of Christ in the abuser’s life. In no context ever is abuse justified, and those who do not bind this evil have blood all over their hands.

      It is ignorant “blame the victim” and “Well, we haven’t heard the other side of the story even though the evidence is clear” rhetoric like this—that which is not based in Scriptural truth, legal protocol, moral logic, or well-documented expert scientific understanding of how abusers and abusive systems work—that perpetuates abuse.

      Your paradigm articulated here contributes to (read: FEEDS, CONDONES, NURTURES, SMOOTHES THE WAY FOR) egregious stories like this to occur unstopped in the Bride of Christ to His very daughters and their helpless children.

      The lack of human compassion and pursuit of what is righteous that your thinking demonstrates is abysmal, and the reality of your callous belief system should break our hearts just as it breaks the heart of Jesus.

    5. Hey Paulie. Don’t tell me let me guess. You are a graduate of the Catholic association of protect and hide pedohiles in various churches. Right or wrong?if I’m accused of a crime I don’t get to run to the church leaders and go boo hoo 😢 and get protected while my accusers get slammed.

    6. Paulie Frisch,

      There were members of the church who testified to David Gray’s good character at his trial, as shown in the transcript from the appellate court (the link is in the article). Julie Roys has provided letters from the church to Eileen Gray. We have heard from the church years ago, in the video provided as John MacArthur excommunicated Eileen Gray for failing to reconcile with her husband, before David Gray’s molesting of the children became known. There isn’t a “whole other side of the story missing”.

      I am wondering if Grace Community Church’s marriage counselors still handle abuse cases in the same way.
      I am wondering if Eileen Gray will ever hear an apology from John MacArthur and the marriage counselors who misapplied the Bible in such a terrible way and in a way that doesn’t glorify God at all.

      Repenting and asking forgiveness of someone one has wronged, should be something that Christians are capable of doing. Even John MacArthur and the elders of the church at that time.

    7. Margaret Oldenburg

      You still do not comprehend well. It was not just Eileen’s input that was used. David HIMSELF WROTE the list of abuses he did to his children.

      I love John and his ministry BUT he screwed this up and needs to personally address this and apologize.

  13. EILEEN is a FREAKING HERO!!!!

    John MacArthur and those involved need to immediately respond to this story. If they don’t get on their knees and apologize and beg for mercy and forgiveness (I’m not exaggerating)…then they ought to be chased out of the pulpit. LITERALLY.

    DISGUSTING. CRUEL. HEARTLESS. INCREDIBLY EGOTISTICAL and driven by the LUST for power and control.

    God bless this BRAVE woman.

    Let me tell you one thing, folks. YOU BELONG TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, and HIM alone. When churches bring up this “spiritual authority” garbage talk from their garbage mouths…hit the road, Skippies. Hit. The. Road. Pure manipulation. Same thing with membership. You don’t have to sign up for ANYTHING, folks…and if the church rejects that and pressures you…make sure you shake the dust off your shoes when you’re walking out the door and NEVER look back.

    Absolutely DISGUSTED by this story. Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner…

    1. I’ll be honest. My first thought, as I began reading the story, was “man, this was 20 yrs ago.” But, the more I read…

      It simply demands a response from MacArthur. Zero wiggling. A direct response.

      Eileen…you faced the worst that the church has to offer. All parties involved allowed their true colors to be shown.

      MAN oh MAN do you have MARVELOUS colors, Eileen.

    2. Dean,

      I couldn’t agree more! This situation begs….DEMANDS… justice and repentance on the part of MacArthur and GCC! Publicly, sine the shamed Eileen publicly.

  14. The old saying, “there are two sides to every story”, is why I will refrain from jumping on the bandwagon. Even our criminal law system has a prosecution and a defense, so both sides can be represented, and a wise judgement can be rendered. It would have been prudent to make an attempt to try and get both sides for unbiased reporting.

    1. Yolanda. Reread the story. It clearly states that RoysReport reached out numerous times for a response.

      I don’t always agree with the Roys Report, more than most here actually…but this one makes me personally want to chase MacArthur out of his throne and tar and feather him on Daystar. Anyone want to come with??? (that would be called sarcasm)

      This story DEMANDS a response from MacArthur. A sincere and worldwide apology from the heart, at minimum.

      And a playbook, from here on out, in how he would do this different.

    2. Two sides? David Gray told church leaders he kicked one child and tried to suffocate another. Here is David Gray’s hand written confession of his child abuse that Grace Community Church refused to act on. Please tell us what their side could be?

      Notice the words and phrases:

      “used belt and rod way too harshly-brutally- too long, too hard Wrong places- head, legs, feet, hands. Knee on back”
      “Disciplined in closet- left her there”
      “Threatened to get rid of her, take her away, w juvenile jail, sleep in garage, unadopt her”
      “tied up”
      “locked up”
      Not always “adequately dressed in front of her”
      “Dragged once to discipline”

      https://acrobat.adobe.com/link/review?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:e4d2ffc0-adc9-3fc8-98e0-91c88cb1055d#pageNum=1

      1. Margaret Oldenburg

        Thank you Greg for printing out all of his atrocities against his own children. Shame on the church for defending that horrible behavior against his own children.

        MacArthur owes a public and private apology to Eileen and her children.

  15. As a two-time graduate of Wheaton College (BA and MA), the depths of depravity evidence by Grace Community Church is depressing, appalling, and utterly sinful. I applaud Eileen for her stance and hope that she can find a Christian community of faith where she is valued as God values her.

  16. an apology in private ? nonsense ! she was publicly humiliated, falsely accused, rendered an unbeliever and they will apologize in private ? I don’t think so. I also don’t think they ever will. Macarthurites are always right because they have been approved by God ! They believe that Macarthur is God’s gift to the modern church. There are no two sides to the story, that argument has long passed when the courts ruled and threw David in prison. Their silence is one of arrogance and denial.

    folks, you all have to realize this has nothing to do with doctrine, family, counseling or even the church. It is simply purely about MONEY MONEY MONEY. JM was protecting his reputation of having a stellar biblical leadership in the church deceptively led by independent biblical elders and staffs. Whenever that establishment is threatened, his income is on the line.

    If people find our that David Gray was an abusive husband and father while employed by GCC, this will be a great scandal that will rock his establishment and wealth order. So, JM and his cohorts went straight for the jugular to silence the victim.

    what JM and his men did to Eileen is sickening, despicable, reprehensible.

    Thank you Julie for excellent journalism.

  17. It is very telling how GCC claims Julie Roys is the issue and not the issues Julie Roys is reporting on that they refuse to deal with publicly. Watch in the coming days the nonsense that comes from Phil Johnson regarding this malfeasance.

  18. It seems that MacArthur and GCC were only following what he had been preaching:

    John MacArthur from “Answering Key Questions About the Family:

    Scripture does not automatically permit divorce in the case of a physically abusive husband….My advice to women who are in danger of physical injury from their husbands is first of all to try to defuse the situation. Be careful not to provoke any circumstances that will make your husband become violent. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath.”

    …If you are not truly in any physical danger, but are merely a weary wife who is fed up with a cantankerous or disagreeable husband — even if he is an unbeliever who is hostile to the things of God — God’s desire is that you stay and pray and sanctify that husband by your presence as a beloved child of God (1 Corinthians 7:10-16). The Lord will protect you and teach you in the midst of the difficult time.

    Of course, pray for your husband, submit to him in every way you can, encourage him to seek advice and counsel from other biblically-knowledgeable men — and do everything you can to heal the problems that cause him to be angry or abusive.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20170612040534/https://www.gty.org/library/articles/451018/answering-key-questions-about-the-family

    I’m sure Eileen heard these words a lot: “defuse,” ” be careful,” “do not provoke,” “submit.”

    1. This is horrendously bad advice. Such advice only encourages abusive men. John MacArthur has shown through his actions that he is thoroughly unfit to lead a bible believing Church assembly of any size.

    2. JM’s expertise in dealing with abuse is about as impressive as his medical expertise in mitigating pandemics.

    3. Greg Culcross,
      Fully agree that a wife should submit to her husband’s leadership but never to abuse. Thanks for the link. It also includes the following:

      “This is certainly not to suggest women are to blame when their husbands become violent . . . If a violence-prone husband becomes agitated and abusive, the wife should remove herself from danger, by leaving the home if necessary.”

      Perhaps GCC was not following its own advice in this situation?

    4. “and do everything you can to heal the problems that cause him to be angry or abusive.”

      I guess this means make yourself responsible someone else’s sin. Funny how that’s never worked out in my marriage.

  19. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler;
    1 Peter 4:15

    This is the scripture I received from a pedophile in response to my thoughts and feelings that resulted from my public shaming and subsequent shunning for speaking out to the authorities and I need to say, only the authorities. I did not spread stories in any way.
    They do not answer to Jesus in his church, they answer to whoever was assigned to them as their “spiritual covering”.

  20. The kindness and protection from her neighbours really stood out in stark contrast to how she was being treated by the church leadership and many church members. Thank goodness for great people and great neighbours.

  21. Proverbs 18:13 – “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”

    Proverbs 18:17 – “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”

    applies to the church also
    there appears to be cognitive bias on the part of the church
    Second those who go to the church for help and getting abused by the church in turn
    is a common complaint

    1. I am a retired Baptist pastor with degrees from two evangelical seminaries. What John MacArthur and the church did to that woman is appalling, insensitive and sinful. They are the ones who should be “shamed” and rebuked. Little wonder that those who desperately need to respond to our Savior’s offer of forgiveness, abundant and eternal life want nothing to do with us.

  22. I have never trusted John MacArthur or his ministry since 1979 when a children’s group of several churches met to do games and the leader of the children’s group allowed this churches referees almost all this church’s. Consequently most prizes went to this churches kids. Children’s ministry lost several churches and leaders.
    Also several instances of suicide and other abuse in counseling from this church and school. I have no respect for this man or his church.

  23. Tony Nazarowski

    Independent of what MacArthur, and his elders, believe about judgement when we die, they have to confront the uncomfortable truth that a woman and her children suffered preventable harm under their watch. I can’t imagine years later all involved rest with a clear conscience.
    I can’t get my head around any words, and certainly not any biblical references, that excuse anything other than ruthless advocacy for women and children.
    Seeing the debate about anything other than proving shelter and safety of women and children is quite sad.

  24. William Forbes

    I am grateful to all those involved who have exposed this severe case of spiritual and psychological abuse. You are courageous! Perhaps, in a follow up, a guest scholar could post on the characteristics of a cult? And a second post on the characteristcs of spiritual abuse? Countless Christians are in these situations but do not recognize it because it is not as severe. In this story, the wife stayed longer than she would ever now because she is far wiser to what abuse of this nature looks like.

  25. Robert Rudisill

    I, as a believer, am sorry for Eileen and her children going thru this.
    All who are reading and talking about this story Should Take The Time to BE A BERAN and read completely thru MacArthur’s sermon. Get your bible out ,have it open and ready on the section of “Justification”.
    MacArthur actually says, “God applied the sacrifice of the Blood of Christ to pentient sinners before He (Christ) died.”
    Completely, biblically incorrect. A lie. Zero scriptural proof. In fact, that’s why YHVH made the Mosaic Torah, with it’s sacrificial system and Sabbaths. Blood sacrifice, to place blood between our sin and God’s Holiness has been required since the Garden.
    When the first blood sacrifice was made by God, HIMSELF, slaying the animals to make clothes out of their skins to hide their nakedness.

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