On January 6th, The Roys Report published the article, In Wake of Classmate’s Death, Master’s Seminary Student Accuses School of Flagrantly Violating Its Own COVID-19 Protocols. In that article, I shared my experience as a student at The Master’s Seminary (TMS), and how I was ridiculed by both students and professors for simply trying to follow the school’s published health guidelines.
Many have wondered how TMS would respond to my statements—or if the school would respond at all. I’ve received countless messages to this effect: Has the TMS administration reached out to you? What’s been the official response to your story? Has TMS released a statement or made institutional adjustments? Are they even aware of the article?
Hopefully I can shed some light on how events have unfolded since my story was made public. I would also like to explain my reasoning for speaking out.
To begin, the administration at TMS was quickly made aware of The Roys Report article. I know because a TMS administrator called a pastor I know to discuss the article within an hour of the article’s publication.
The article then began circulating around TMS, as at least a dozen current seminary students reacted to the article both publicly and privately.
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Though many of the public posts attacked both Julie Roys and me, I received three emails that were supportive. Two were from fellow TMS students. Shockingly, one was from a leader at Grace Community Church, who’s very well respected there.
The seminary, one the other hand, hasn’t responded at all—at least, not to me.
However, shortly after Julie’s article was released, the entire Master of Divinity program was inexplicably moved online for the month of January. If this move was taken as a step toward institutional correction, this was not announced to the students.
Unfortunately, even this significant adjustment didn’t translate to a school-wide reformation.
Just one week after the article’s publication, TMS held two in-person Doctor of Ministry courses—despite moving their M.Div. program online.
Photos from these two classes have been circulating on social media, showing students more distanced than they were in seminary classes I took this fall. Still, students are closer than six feet apart and no one is wearing masks. These pictures are so precarious that some have suggested they must have been taken pre-pandemic.
So, as it stands, TMS has quietly moved to virtual classes—but only for its master’s degree program.
There’s been a notable lack of transparency that plagues both Grace Community Church and her seminary. As of now, no statement has been released regarding COVID-19 cases on campus, nor has the tragic passing of a TMS student been officially acknowledged as being COVID related.
Perhaps the seminary took January off to prepare sweeping campus reforms. But why no acknowledgement of past missteps? And why continue the Doctor of Ministry courses in-person without implementing protocols?
Even more perplexing, TMS has announced that on-campus instruction will resume on February 2nd. COVID-19 heath mandates were not mentioned in the email sent to students.
The seminary has also removed information regarding COVID-19 protocols from its webpage, although an outdated FAQ can still be accessed via a direct link.
As of January 22nd, TMS has announced a memorial service for the student who tragically died from COVID-19 on January 4th. He had contracted the virus in mid-December and suffered for weeks before passing away. This memorial service is set to take place on the Grace Community Church (GCC) campus, with all current seminary students invited, and no announced health protocols being implemented.
The campus-wide email indicated that there will be no public reception following the service, but failed to elaborate on the late student’s cause of death.
The flippancy regarding the pandemic doesn’t end there.
On January 29th, an email was sent to TMS students and leaders regarding the upcoming Shepherds’ Conference, a gathering of thousands of pastors from around the world on March 3-5 on the GCC campus.
This email announced to current seminary students that they’d spend two Thursdays in February rehearsing for the “Shepherds’ Conference choir.”
Enrolled TMS students have traditionally been required to attend the conference and participate in the choir. An email sent from the student services coordinator to all students and leaders stated, “All on-campus TMS students will be rehearsing for the upcoming 2021 Shepherds’ Conference choir.”
On January 30, this email was followed up with another message from the student services coordinator, apparently in response to backlash from the first correspondence. This email stated that involvement in the Shepherds’ Conference choir is voluntary.
Despite this subsequent email being labeled as a “clarification,” it is far from clear in the first correspondence that choir participation was anything but mandatory. Even so, I doubt students will dare to miss rehearsals or the Shepherds’ Conference itself. Considering the climate of fear, intimidation and bullying I faced for merely following institutional and governmental health mandates, it seems unlikely.
With January being the deadliest month for COVID-19, the decision to assemble a choir twice in February is incomprehensible. This brings me to why I publicly shared my experience at TMS.
A comment left by the user “Rapid Roy” to the Jan. 6 Roys Report article summarizes my convictions well.
Although my story may appear shocking to some—being ridiculed for obeying health protocols and marginalized for my convictions—my desire was never to get an apology from TMS. I simply wanted to bring institutional issues to the school’s awareness so they could repent.
As I relayed to Julie Roys, my experience with TMS Dean of Faculty Nathan Busenitz was indeed a positive one. When I shared my concerns in November, he was apologetic, sympathetic, and compassionate, especially regarding my personal experience with abusive TMS faculty members. He’s aware there are significant issues at The Master’s Seminary, but feels his hands are tied because of GCC Pastor John MacArthur’s stance on COVID-19.
Even so, the bigger problem stands unanswered and unacknowledged. Institutional denial, deception, and dishonesty remain. As “Rapid Roy” stated, the underlying problem is character.
The Master’s Seminary is wittingly subverting its own COVID-19 mandates. The school is absolutely conscious that authorities could legally shut them down for flagrant violations of Los Angeles Department of Public Health guidelines.
Ultimately, institutions are comprised of people, and people make mistakes. We all sin and fall short of God’s glory. In this instance, the Seminary’s administration has indeed fallen short by resisting governing authorities (cf. Rom. 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13).
Even if you believe a seminary is somehow protected by the First Amendment, TMS is actively violating its own established rules. Health mandates and guidelines were posted on TMS’ website and emailed to students, yet disobeyed and ridiculed by faculty members.
How is this in accord with Biblical precepts of honesty, integrity, and truth (Proverbs 11:3; 1 Peter 3:10-12; Colossians 3:9, et. al.)?
Yes, we all sin. But what does it say about a Christian institution when it refuses to acknowledge missteps, doesn’t repent from wrongs, and buries its head into the sands of obduracy?
TMS has been aware of its institutional inconsistency for months. Although the school continues to deny COVID, TMS has never once denied the validity of my concerns.
Yet there’s no accountability, no repentance, no reform.
Is there still time for the Seminary to change? Yes, of course! God is gracious.
But one student has already died from COVID-19 and others are presumably sick. So what will it take? When will those who have been misled receive an apology?
The road to repentance certainly doesn’t involve hosting a potential super-spreader event like the Shepherds’ Conference on campus.
While some students have reached out acknowledging the validity of my grievances, others have stated that I’m attacking the church and seminary and suggested praying for my salvation. Apparently, salvation is now faith plus unquestioning loyalty to Grace Community Church. This is the insanity perpetuated by the actions of recalcitrant and unrepentant leaders.
On The Master’s Seminary’s private Yammer social media page, one student comments on my choice to go public with my story. This post was “liked” by several other current students.
I await an official statement from The Master’s Seminary. I also pray for the health of all my former classmates. May God protect them.
Austin Doucette works as a Student Ministries leader at Cornerstone Moorpark in California. He graduated from The Master’s University with a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies. He also was an M.Div. Student at The Master’s Seminary but is continuing his studies elsewhere.
89 thoughts on “OPINION: The Master’s Seminary—COVID-19 Denial, Dishonesty, and Deception”
If you look just at their fruits and deeds (not theology–but theology doesn’t save, anyway), the JMA & family organization/enterprise equals or beats the Hinn family mafia on just about every count… a gigantic bilking entity set on fleecing every last cent out of its faithful, outright scamming/theft by Mark Dearest as set up by daddy, who then looks the other way, nepotism with his family on the board, rape cover-ups, institutionalized propagandizing and outright lying about COVID (and I recall it’s his side of the spectrum that rails against “fake news”), allowing his own elderly parishioners to die of the virus, the encouragement of demigod status and virtual deification by his fans, etc. (This isn’t even mentioning the “everyday” offenses like the hauteur, judgmental attitude and pride, dictatorial control he has over his organization, etc.)
John Mac may not be an outright sexual predator the way Ravi Zac was, as far as we know, but if not being an outright sex pervert is the only standard you need to be a Christian leader, that’s a pretty low bar.
Brian Patrick while I think the COVID situation could have been handled better, certainly more grace, you sound more like one of those Westbrook baptist people, full of a lot of anger and hatred.
The only Westboro-like conduct that I see is out of MacArthur. No, he doesn’t say he’s glad gays are going to hell (as far as I know) but his smug and downright dictatorial preachings of extreme Calvinism*, and insistence on total loyalty, that focus on glory for himself and his family sure come close.
*I have no problem with Reformed theology. Many good friends of mine have been or leaned Calvinist and I love TGC which is moderately Reformed on most issues.
You love TGC and that says it all.
So, you’re not bothered by these circumstances, then, Sheri? You’re ok with them?
Thank you. Honestly been questioning a lot of things. I try to understand how so many are still blind to the fact that they perpetuate baseless conspiracies about the health protocols at the expense of the physical health of others during this serious health crisis. Unfortunately the Covid toll looks like:
V. Dyachenko (reported from ShepCon)
A. Kolomiytsev (reported from ShepCon)
J. Schubert (SP’s friend from previous report)
TMS student/GCC member (from report)
H.Z.N. (Initials of Grace member who passed at the beginning of this year from Covid likely from an outbreak from one of their ministries)
And likely more… I don’t understand the insistence for the politically motivated, QAnon inspired, protest of health protocols and the silence/attempts to seemingly hide these deaths and sickness. What about their families and loved ones? I understand MacArthur has done good in the past but there seems to be a persecution complex at GCC where seemingly everything is persecution
I don’t think this situation is too complicated to understand. In fact, it’s quite simple at its core. John MacArthur is the ultimate authority at GCC, TMS, etc… and is free from accountability. In cultures like this, every decision made by inferiors must appear to be unquestionably loyal to MacArthur. The only attitude toward the leader these types of cultures have the capacity for is unquestioning loyalty and uncritical support. The culture is a product of the combination of the organizational structure, the leader’s personality, and the willingness of followers to go along with it. Unfortunately, followers tend to view criticism of the culture as a criticism of their deepest identity. Theologically, I think it’s a product of the human desire to reject God as king and find a substitute to replace him.
And Austin, thanks for bravely speaking out – everything you wrote is well-reasoned and supported by the facts.
Paul K, yes. What I was trying to say was it’s frustrating how so many still aspire to the misinformation and conspiracies about this pandemic, although it’s not a mystery as to why because MacArthur and leadership clearly have spread QAnon conspiracies about it and are seemingly militant in making sure things line up to their false narrative of unjust persecution in this particular scenario (defying health protocols).
I am in LA and they have without a doubt had several Covid deaths these last few months and unfortunately try to hide this information as much as possible. They may vaguely acknowledge the passing but will absolutely not mention Covid, especially not to the congregation and absolutely not to the public. Same goes with positive Covid cases and outbreaks. They don’t think people deserve to know
This letter has me so bothered but not one bit surprised. Again, hubris in the Evangelical Industrial Complex. These institutions built by and for men, will collapse in the next 10 to 20 years and God will do something new and in line with His Word. David Platt did an excellent series in Sept – Oct out of I Peter on Biblical obedience to those in authority. Here is one major hypocrisy (yes, we are all hypocrites to some degree) with the whole thing, MacArthur wants to be known and projects himself as being “so Biblical.” I don’t get it. Just don’t get it. His behavior with COVID and the regulations is anything but Biblical. Just wondering if Joni and Ken Tada still attend GCC.
A friend of mine who knows Joni says she was a member of GCC but hasn’t been for 8-10 years.
Thank you, Julie. That is good to hear.
Regarding, “A photograph showing Dr. Joel Beeke address his Doctor of Ministry class … This photograph was taken on January 11, 2021”
For whatever it’s worth, per the metadata from same photo posted on Dr. Beeke’s personal blog, the photo was actually taken on Saturday, January 9 around 2:34 PST.
Date/Time Original : 2021:01:09 14:34:54.549-08:00
I am aware of COVID affecting someone connected to their undergraduate program but appears to have recovered. The real problem with this illness is that it simply isn’t going to be overcome by any sort of fixed protocol because it doesn’t behave in any sort of fixed fashion. I think the only prudent thing most people can do is monitor their own immune system, shore it up, and be fastidious about keeping themselves and their environment relatively clean. Believers need to be stewards of themselves and not succumb to the idea of what the world expects for them to do. At 68, I have had to override the advice of doctors more than once or I would have died or remain unable to work. Don’t be wise in your own ignorance or conceit.
There’s a difference between saying “screw this–nobody’s telling my church what to do, people here are choosing to take a risk, we are all adults here, I had COVID and beat it, so what” and conducting a massive campaign of subversion, obfuscation, and outright lying. MacArthur did the latter. If JMA did the former I might not agree with the decision but I would respect him for having the gumption to do it. I have no respect for liars–particularly liars who hide behind God.
For what its worth….if its Dr. Joel Beeke that is teaching at TMS…a lot of conservative reformed Christians routinely overlook the fact that he is not biblically qualified for leadership by their own standard as he is divorced and remarried.
Good catch on Joel Beeke, thanks. But when has the MacArthur organization ever been consistent?
“Apparently, salvation is now faith plus unquestioning loyalty to Grace Community Church. This is the insanity perpetuated by the actions of recalcitrant and unrepentant leaders.”
Really? When you resort to statements like that, any thought of taking you seriously is immediately dismissed.
He’s describing what his experience has been like. What do object to with that statement?
Because everyone, even some unbelievers, know that John MacArthur is and has always been emphatic that salvation is Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone. To suggest otherwise is ABSURD. That is why he has no credibility. He has stated the absurd to try to embellish his point. He sounds like a soft 20-something snowflake to be honest.
“Because everyone, even some unbelievers, know that John MacArthur is and has always been emphatic that salvation is Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone. To suggest otherwise is ABSURD.”
Steve, since I know that you know that every cult that is at all derived from Christianity (Mormonism, JWism, Adventism, etc.) professes “salvation in Jesus” also (and then in the fine print tells you the “real way” to it), I am going to dismiss you wholly as being disingenuous. Even “some unbelievers” to use your phrase know that, as most people assume/treat the above groups as “Christian”. Therefore you will not be getting further responses from me. I can have a debate about MacArthur; I won’t humor frank dishonesty.
Steve M, I’m guessing you don’t do well with subtlety and nuance.
All christian leaders sign on to salvation is in Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone — in theory. They would cease to be christian leaders if they did otherwise.
In practice, it’s different. There is so much language and communication inferring and insinuating that if you don’t abide by this or that ‘rule’ then you’re viewed with suspicion. Your faith and christian status are questioned. You are prayed for with grave facial expressions, tone of voice, and deep sighs — the message is not lost on the others in the prayer meeting. Among other ways you are portrayed.
There are so many tertiary doctrines and rules that have come onto the scene and are campaigned for in christian culture. the reality is that in practice, too many sectors of evangelicalism equate one’s legitimacy as a christian with crossing all the T’s and dotting all the i’s.
I’ve read John Piper use language that more or less equates complementarianism with the gospel — the outcome of which is that those who don’t demonstrate gender roles in public are viewed as not ‘real christians’, dangerous, or at least as ‘inferior christians’ to be avoided.
A christian talmud has been instituted. Sometimes this is weaponized, and used to discredit if not silence a powerful christian’s adversaries.
Austin is describing the real-life experiences of this.
A thought-provoking and discerning post, @Scottie.
“salvation is Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone”. Why do you have a problem with that? What do you need to add to your salvation?
Not exactly. JMac espouses Lordship Salvation. Yes, it is all about Jesus. But more specifically it is about making Jesus Lord. Here is the important nuance . You must be demonstrating that Jesus is Lord of your life. Well, you can imagine what this can turn into? We all have different standards and convictions. Can any of us say we make Jesus Lord of our life every hour of every day ? It’s quite a standard, right? It may not be about working your way to heaven but when you’re constantly having to prove that you’re redeemed, the burden isn’t much different .
@Gonzo – not here to particularly argue regarding JMac. However our pattern of life is important. It indicates whether we have the real thing. I would encourage you to reread the first couple of chapters of 1 John. “If we say we have no sin, we are liars….” and so we have the privilege of confessing our sins and be cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). However, if we say we have fellowship with God but walk in darkness (continual pattern) we are lying and the truth isn’t in us (1 John 6, etc). So we live out our faith, not to be saved or keep ourselves saved, but to demonstrate that we truly have been saved. I write that because last year I recall an individual in a tv program make the statement that they were a Christian, but living in open sin, but it was OK, they were going to just be forgiven. So, we seek to live for him, though not perfectly, but our pattern of life is following Jesus. God’s best to you in your spiritual journey!
It’s unfortunate that you find it that easy to dismiss someone’s experience. The heart seems to be sadness over the blatant desire to conceal and gaslight. It appears the authors intent is for reconciliation and transparency. When an institution that is biblically called to be “above reproach” does the opposite it is disheartening. I’d implore you to not immediately dismiss an article because you don’t favor the structure of two sentences. This goes for both sides of the aisle. Living in an echo chamber isn’t good for any opinion or thought.
“Really? When you resort to statements like that, any thought of taking you seriously is immediately dismissed.”
Yes, much in the way that I immediately dismiss paid shills for online reputation-management firms and members of GCC’s spin team!
Professing Christians that don’t repent? It is a common problem everywhere. They all talk a good line about repenting when you sin, but few do it and so remain as they were – natural men. It is interesting that Joel Beeke was teaching there. I tried to reach him on the very same issue a while back regarding his relationship NAPARC members and all he did was ignore me. They generally don’t care if people repent or not.
Best wishes, Austin. I hope you can withstand the fallout from your public writing about this. Because with TMU, open discourse sure isn’t encouraged, which is sad when I consider that education should involve discussion and exchange of ideas.
I don’t think following health guidelines, wearing masks, and having remote teaching should be a controversy (or at least respecting people who are trying to protect themselves and their families) but this is a political and tribal issue for them that is being presented as Biblical and oddly some sort of demonstration of faith.
Indeed, there are valid differences of opinion about COVID the best/necessary ways to limit its spread, but this article does an excellent job of bringing the focus back to honesty and character, which with relation to his own recent illness and the reason for his absence from GCC, as well as other details mentioned in the article, MacArthur and others at GCC and TMC are sorely lacking in. Bullying and godless mocking have no place when people are asking honest questions for thoughtful discussion.
Austin, thanks for bravely speaking out. While some have verbally and quietly supported you, I pray you are able to deal with the abuse already received and that’s sure to come. Please seek counsel and wisdom from some trusted leaders outside TMS and GCC. You seem to be a strong person confident in your faith. But if not already at this point, you may need to consider leaving the school before things ratchet up on you. I encourage you to read Scot McKnight’s book A Church Called TOV and Wade Mullens’ book Something’s Not Right as they will help you navigate.
Praying all the best for you.
Stay strong Austin. I am praying for your continued strength as you stand.
A former co-worker of mine lost SIX relatives to COVID-19.
Maybe some will begin to believe this is REAL when we begin to pick up the dead off the streets…
The headline reads: Opinion. This is what one man thinks. There are others who would speak strongly against Austin’s perspective. No one forced Austin to attend the Masters Seminary. If he did not like what was going on – Leave and do so quietly.
Douglas, It appears from the bio that Austin already left. Wondering why you believe that he needs to “do so quietly”?
What’s your point, Douglas?
“… silence like a cancer grows…” Sound of Silence; Paul Simon (Simon & Garfunkel)
Why would he need to leave quietly?
Why would he need to leave quietly?
I think that a noisy, public departure is far preferable, if a persistent pattern of disobedience to the governing authorities has indeed become entrenched in a professedly Christian organization during a public health crisis.
I recommend a detailed, thorough and prayerful course of study on 1 Peter 2:13-17 and Romans 13:1-5 for all those Christians in California who continue to declare publicly that they will not comply with Governor Newsom’s will.
And why should these disobedient, alleged disciples do as they are told? Because their boss, the Lord requires it – FOR HIS OWN SAKE.
BTW, your attitude of ‘Nobody forced him to go there, etc. etc.’? is not only embarrassing (for you), but it misses the point. The point is that having gone there in good faith, Austin states that he found himself in a pride-filled, contumacious, disobedient and therefore sub-Christian environment, which presented a potential danger to life.
Should this indeed be the case, then Austin has done well to expose it. “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” (Luke 12:2)
I’m really interested to know why, so many Christians turn off their brains and really believe that the man in the pulpit is the final and last authority for themselves and then if you don’t fall in line with the man in the pulpit you are a heretic. The Bible I read says many things about asking God for wisdom, common sense, and sound judgment. Certainly, I can only speak for myself but just because the man in the pulpit is a “good” preacher and people are getting saved, and the spirit is moving, etc. etc. etc. in no way implies that the congregation should blindly obey and pledge their undying loyalty to him. As far as I’m aware, that kind of frame of mind is idolatry. There is a person I know who came out of the James McDonald/HBC train wreck that told me that before he could be hired into ministry at HBC, he had to sign a document pledging unquestioning loyalty to the senior pastor, James McDonald. And because he didn’t know any better at first, he signed it. But within only a few months, it became abundantly apparent to him why he was required to sign this document. The real James McDonald, the one we only saw in the pulpit for an hour and 1/2 on a weekend, came out in spades. This person was traumatized beyond anything he ever experienced, especially since this terrible behavior came from a church and specifically from a tyrant of a pastor named James McDonald. This loyalty document was a control device that required the person who signed it to never even think of questioning James McDonald about anything, thus giving him a free hand to do and say whatever he wanted. If there was one person who signed this document, I can only imagine all of the dozens and dozens of church workers at HBC who signed the same thing. This is what I mean when I say, brothers and sisters in Christ, do not shut off your brains when it comes to anything that can profoundly impact your life. This is what the people in Germany did prior to World War II. They listened to the man in the pulpit and pledged their blind, unwavering, robotic, loyalty to him, you know, the little man with his hair combed to the side with that little mustache. Wake up brothers and sisters! The man in the pulpit is not your authority or your boss. If you disagree with something or see something that gives you pause, do not be afraid to address it with the church leaders and/or pastor of your particular congregation. And after you have prayed and fasted and looked into God’s word, make your decision on what you want to do based on first honoring the Lord with your decision and then, without fear, put your decision into practice. John MacArthur and his gang of thugs should be arrested for endangering the public’s health.
Not sure what the truth is but here’s another perspective.
https://youtu.be/y6k7KY-90qM also on ministry watch Julie does an interview
I am a bit concerned as I have listened to both and hearing the story. I loved the unraveling of Harvest and Moody. But listening to these I am concerned. My concern is and I was thinking about the role of the Church and its bigger the John or Julie. But it’s not. It deeply depends on the context of how a story is approached. I’m sure the request for information of The Church of Jesus Christ are necessary needed to the government or outside sources. I spent about 10 hrs on the phone with people who are affiliated with both ministries, watched sermons, interviews, read articles and most importantly went to the Bible. Which informs me the most. I hope and pray on both sides that the Bible is your grid for everything. From the crazy messages from Brian Patrick who called me John MacArthur’s puppet. Where as he basically claimed he was her puppet which is so not needed. By what standard do we use to approach life, stories and disagreements. I confess I lost my way during this pandemic at times and put my faith in my rational intuition and not through the lens of God’s Word. Not accusing anyone of anything but I am concerned. God Bless!
Dang… you need to start charging me rent. Seriously.
KC, The youtube video you referenced is a juvenile, uninformed, ignorant attack video, resorting mostly to vague generalizations and godless name-calling, even hate speech like “Nazi,” rather than facts. Although it doesn’t merit serious consideration, it does serve as an example of the kind of nonsense that is out there. Allowing the link to remain here shows the strength of The Roys Report, unlike MacArthur and his henchmen, who try to bully away and squash any dissenters.
The video is factually wrong in saying Julie goes after “anyone with an XY chromosome” or “any male Christian leader.” Rather, her work exposes the lying, abusive, money-grubbing, crony-promoting, etc. ways of some, regardless of their chromosomes. Godly men have nothing to fear, and are regularly featured in Julie’s work.
When the video does try to be scientific towards the end, it references outdated, woefully-gathered data from Wuhan, China (always a trusted source for unbiased reporting, right?) to try to support the claims that it is extremely rare to be asymptomatic with COVID, and that asymptomatic people can’t spread COVID. If you believe this, I have some prime swampland you may be interested in.
Ha – that pretend “exclusive news and information” video from Protestia? Its other equally atrocious site, Pulpit & Pen, is run by unabashed GCC/JM fans who don’t attend the church. For a “Christian” web site, the writers are quite bitter and nasty.
Nothing there to take seriously. Set that sucker in the dumpster.
I am an insider…attending the Seminary. I write here under anonymity as there is such a bullying atmosphere at TMS. All that has been written about the Seminary and their faults are so true. No one can speak out against anything without immediately being cut-off and dismissed. I have several friends who are no longer students at TMS based on the lack of grace given and the bullying of the professors and others from Grace Church. It is a sad situation. It seems that MacArthur in his later years has become political and has lost control of what is happening around him. Or maybe he is in full support of the bullying. I would never speak up about what I really think, or my experience in the Seminary. It would get me immediately dismissed and the penalty would be a loss of credibility by those who would discredit me in order to gain the upper hand. I wish those of you reading all of this would realize that there is a huge problem at TMS. And Grace Community Church. There is a lack of integrity. There is tremendous deception and complete disregard for all that is honesty. And the Shepherds’ Conference will go on without any blip on the screen as they have to continue to prop up their kingdom and get the money from the attendees and the Shep Shoppe in order to keep it all going. They will boast of their courage and stand against the government and they will applaud MacArthur. But as an insider, we are not applauding and I think the angels of heaven are not applauding either. Tears should fall for all that this organization has done. I am one who has been deeply affected by the bullying, the authoritarian attitudes and cavalier attitudes of the professors and pastors. May God have mercy on them all.
Would it not be possible for you to transfer over with your credits to Talbot or Fuller or the like? I’m sure you’ve thought this over a million times. I believe everything you say, but if TMS is as toxic and cultist a microcosm as you express, then shouldn’t you vote with your feet and leave? Maybe you’ve weighed all the pros and cons and you can’t. Good luck.
JP, so sorry you have to post this under a pseudonym out of fear. I pray that God gives you courage to stand for what is right and that you find great peace in spite of what may lie ahead. While you are likely fearful of ramifications of more abuse and bullying, I wish you would speak out in detail about the things you’ve seen and experienced. It could be cathartic for you and might prompt others to speak out. You should consult with some trusted believers outside of TMS/GCC and it might even be helpful to connect with a professional counselor as it’s likely this is affecting you more than you can imagine. And as Brian says, get out before things get worse.
If everyone keeps marching along without question, more stand to be hurt in the long run. This is probably just the tip of a deep iceberg. May God bring grace to the hurting and justice to the systems and people creating such pain.
Sorry to hear that. There are other schools you can transfer your credits to. You can study fully online. It does no good for you to stay there. Go where they “walk the talk”.
I am so concerned with this. Is this TRUTH or SPECULATION? The following quotes and comments are concerning. This blames leadership for keeping the ministry open. Using speculation and creating a huge problem. If one loves the local church this shouldn’t be happening. We have an oppressive government. Slamming and entire ministry.
The idea of one who loves a quarrel loves sin. Proverbs warns about loving quarrels. This is wrong. It seems that there is more fear of COVID-19 than the God of Covid-19.
John MacArthur has gone through the courts and won. Also, not one biblical shepherd would report to the county about the health or requests of the congregation. That’s a slippery slope. This system that the government has gone over the line. Yes Master’s Seminary/GCC is aware of what the government has tried to do. Shut them down. GCC won in court. MacArthur has said, “Take me, Lock me up.” Doesn’t sound like a man who is afraid of the government.
This is so sad. The speculation of Brian Patrick, who despises John MacArthur. He has in many occasions acted in form of the written word of sin and divisiveness. I will continue to call out his attacks. Not sure if he is truly saved, been hurt by someone badly or maybe mentally ill. In other articles he has and I assume will continue to double talk and lacks humility to agree or disagree as believers do. Instead he will try to bully or say ungodly things about anyone who doesn’t agree with him. The next two statements portray that narrative.
“If you look just at their fruits and deeds (not theology–but theology doesn’t save, anyway”
—- He has repeated this statement before. Theology does save. The study of Gods. Yes it does. Jesus died to absorb the wrath of God (that’s Theology, Christology and Bibliology). Jesus said no man comes to the Father but by Me. That’s a beautiful picture of Theology. That saves. Not some miracle plan to make you happy or your life better. Theology is so humbling!
“John Mac may not be an outright sexual predator the way Ravi Zac was, as far as we know, but if not being an outright sex pervert is the only standard you need to be a Christian leader, that’s a pretty low bar.”
——You mind as well as accuse someone of sexual immorality. So easily words are said or in this case typed.
” I don’t get it. Just don’t get it. His behavior with COVID and the regulations is anything but Biblical. Just wondering if Joni and Ken Tada still attend GCC.”
——-Meg, where in the Bible teaches that His (John MacArthur) attitude to the world’s view of this is unbiblical?
“ Bullying and godless mocking have no place when people are asking honest questions for thoughtful discussion.”
——Who has done this? Does the writer have concrete evidence whether John MacArthur or Staff at GCC or TMS have bullied him? Or is there that fear of coming out with the information the real issue.
“I don’t think following health guidelines, wearing masks, and having remote teaching should be a controversy (or at least respecting people who are trying to protect themselves ”
——-Agreed. However no one is forcing them to not to follow health guidelines. It’s entirely possible to be remote.
“ It’s unfortunate that you find it that easy to dismiss someone’s experience. The heart seems to be sadness over the blatant desire to conceal and gaslight. It appears the authors intent is for reconciliation and transparency.”
——-Really? If that’s the author’s intent. Would this pass the Peacemakers standards according to the Bible? Love covers a multitude of sins.
I just listened to Julie on an interviewed on the Ministry Watch Podcast. She has yet another financial story coming l. It makes me sad to listen to her tone. It’s like she’s excited to unveil this story. There is something that she is upset about. Her tone and tenor are different than the Harvest/MacDonald story.
In the larger scope of TMS and GCC story is this is an opinion stuff. The pressure to shepherd the flock of Jesus Christ. Are we promoting sincere Truth or just a scoop? We are all students. Yet in the article and many of these responses. I have read and seen. I Timothy 1:3-4 is what is happening here. “ As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which PROMOTES ENDLESS SPECULATION rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith (ESV).
This what is happening here. We are all far from perfect but we are not using the opportunity to build the church but looking for anything wrong we can. Why? It feeds the flesh!!!
“I just listened to Julie on an interviewed on the Ministry Watch Podcast. She has yet another financial story coming l. It makes me sad to listen to her tone.”
Does the snowflake need his bottle, or his pacifier this time?
Dude she seems joyful in her tone! Disturbing. It’s unbiblical
good grief, kc. do you really want to start a ‘biblical’ duel?
I imagine she’s rejoicing in the truth. it’s biblical.
I would love to have a Biblical duel. Especially if it has Christ as the goal and not tearing down on either side, Scottie.”
I would love to see the response handled Biblically. My doubts are not because of who the charges are against. My doubts are how the sun is being dealt with! Especially since the author hopes, (“ Is there still time for the Seminary to change? Yes, of course! God is gracious.” ) for change. The other comments have linked the church and the seminary together. Since there is a belief this is happening. Then the Bible is clear on resolution. God could wipe out john macarthur and his leaders in the blink of an eye! Anonymous posts and writing an article about this ministry in this fashion is not the Biblical way. I pray that a rising would happen from the students, congregation and other believers to love this ministry enough to practice Biblical restoration.
Scottie, it is interesting you used “she is rejoicing in the truth”. I Corinthians 13:4-7, uses that phrase. Notice the context of that statement. It does not rejoice in wrong doing. “Truth” in that context
“ Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does NOT REJOICE IN WRONGDOING, but REJOICES with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, ENDURES all things.”.
-I Corinthians 13:4-7
Scottie your “she’s rejoicing in the truth . It’s biblical” – I beg to differ. If there is sin… then, it does not rejoice in wrongdoing according to the text.
“Peter said it this way, “ Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, SINCE LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SIN.”
—I Peter 4:8
The most loving thing to do is seek Biblical Restoration and allow love to cover a multitude of our sins. God is love and love is God. It is a tautology.
“as far as the east is from the west,
so far does HE REMOVES our transgressions from us.”
“ For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE.”
To remove our sins and remembering them no more. Amazing that a sinner like me. Has that Truth to download into my heart
What do we do with that TRUTH?
“ Therefore be IMITATORS OF GOD as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God…… Let there be no filthiness nor FOOLISH TALK nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”
—Ephesians 5:1, 4
What do we do? Imitating the King of kings. Walk (literally means our pattern of life) in love ( as described in above verses) which gives and is a fragrant offering. Amazing
GPS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION?
“ If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, BETWEEN YOU AND HIM ALONE. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But iIF HE DOES NOT LISTEN, TAKE ONE OR TWO OTHERS along with you, that EVERY CHARGE may be ESTABLISHED BY THE EVIDENCE of TWO or THREE WITNESSES. If he REFUSES TO LISTEN to them, TELL IT TO THE CHURCH. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, IT WILL BE DONE for them by MY FATHER IN HEAVEN. For where TWO OR THREE are GATHERED IN MY NAME there AM I AMONG THEM.”
– Matthew 15:18-20
“ Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, FORGIVING ONE ANOTHER as GODi in CHRIST FORGAVE you.” Ephesians 4:32
The heart of Jesus is to see His children love and forgive as He did. We are to imitate God. Not John MacArthur, Julie Roys, Austin Doucette, you or me. The direction of this love and forgiveness have it’s GPS in Matthew 18:15-20..
“AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE SETS THE ALTITUDE FOR LIVING’
I am not saying this in a sarcastic way. But, SCOTTIE how would you duel those texts in light of the situation? I would love to know. God bless!
KC, you say “…that His (John MacArthur) attitude…”. Christians I know only capitalize the pronoun in a case like this when referring to God. Your rant is consistent with an unholy reverence for MacArthur.
Evidence of bullying has been given in the form of multiple first-hand accounts and examples.
then list them. Take it to the church follow the Bible. My bad on the His error. So let me be CRYSTAL CLEAR. JOHN MACARTHUR IS NOT A DEITY. NOR DOES HE DESERVE OUR REVERENCE! Micaiah, the bigger picture is that this avenue is unbiblical because there is a biblical pattern to resolve issues. The issue is God’s word is not the paradigm for resolving this issue. It has nothing to do with john macarthur.
KC, the information you quoted …well, for one, GCC didn’t really win in court. A ruling was given recently in a local court. Apparently, in a nutshell, LA County can impose restrictions on churches, if its measures are stronger than the state’s.
By the way, JM has flat-out lied in the pulpit on several occasions. But he’s neither corrected himself nor taken responsibility for his sin.
What lies? I’m really curious?
Just reading the post by JP makes me want to respond. I am as well a TMS student who is shocked by the deception, dishonesty and bullying of this educational organization. It is horrific. I wish all of us who have been affected could speak up or join together to bring light to the toxic atmosphere going on in this place. I agree with JP that those in charge will always discredit anyone who disagrees. That is how they maintain control. They are power hungry bullies. I can’t speak up as I am about to graduate and don’t want to lose 4 years of my investment. But I will get my diploma and move on and keep away from all of this. I have been affected as well. And who knows how many other students? I am so tired of their tactics and their keeping the narrative that all is well. ALL IS NOT WELL IN THIS PLACE. Please someone listen! Please someone do something about MacArthur and his thugs. That is the only way I can describe them. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I don’t know how else to verbalize what I have experienced. I guess they are used to being able to manipulate people to think how they want them to think. I refuse to be one more. I am sad that I as well have to maintain anonymity. But I have too much to lose and the power of these men will make sure I never see the light of day again. Maybe someday something will stop them from all of this. But with an evangelical community that loves their celebrities and gives them complete authority to do what they want, I don’t have much hope. This whole thing is so sad, but as one on the inside and having experienced first hand all of their bullying, I can tell you that it is real and this place needs to be held accountable.
JR, it pains me greatly to read your post but glad that you can clearly articulate these concerns. It’s going to take people from the inside to bring the stories to the light. Perhaps a site could be created as a repository where people could begin to share their stories. The elders/leaders of TMS/GCC are likely all handpicked by JMAC and are beholden and loyal to him as their very livelihoods and reputations are intertwined with his. They’ve already made it clear that they are not accountable to anyone outside their own systems. It’s probably a top down, pyramidal leadership system with a lack of checks and balances. They may only act if there is a groundswell of confirmable concerns and issues that come to light putting their systems in danger of financial collapse or if enough of them get godly conviction to act.
JR, unless MacArthur or other leaders have committed a crime, I’m afraid there really isn’t much legal authorities can do. Also, since MacArthur is the ultimate authority over his organizations, the other leaders in the organization can’t hold him accountable.
However, MacArthur is nothing without his followers. As more information about MacArthur comes to light, his followers will have to decide whether or not they want to continue to support him. I’m afraid he’ll always have a large number of followers, but as more and more truth comes to light more and more people will avoid him. I think this is as much as we can hope for. It may not be dramatic, but it is significant. In time, if enrollment diminishes at TMS, it will have to change and/or will have much less influence.
I think for survivors it’s good to begin the process of learning about what makes a healthy church culture. It’s also good to criticize and identify what’s unhealthy, but it’s much more life-giving if some of that anger fuels a pursuit of what’s good.
To those who are staying on campus this month. This is a good time to practice difficult decision-making and bear the blowback you will receive when you listen to your conscience and the Word. During practice and the conference you can decide you are not feeling well and you need to rest. Sometimes we need psychological rest.
This is really really really sad.! I’ve been involved with 3 Bible colleges, 4 churches and the military. This whole thing is full of speculation and nothing concrete. Hebrews 13:17. Help me out here… Are we believers in Jesus Christ or worried about what man may or may not do? If it’s that bad, I actually agree with BRIAN PATRICK in 1 thing. TRANSFER! However if you are going to stay and you really believe in the power of the Bible. Even more important, the God of the Bible. Then, the Bible has a prescription/description of what to do in conflict. Mati18:15-20..Did you who are afraid follow God’s word (Not John MacArthur/GCC) in a conflict? This isn’t a passage that give a recommendation, but a pattern of resolution in conflict. It’s in that pattern where resolution comes.
“ Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses” (1 Tim. 5:19).
Was this passage followed by those who have been intimidated? Our feelings/emotions are important. But the truth of the Word of Jesus Christ will eclipse every emotion that we struggle with. If MacArthur and the GCC are ignoring their sin. God’s will definitely deal with them. JR, if you are aware of sin within the Body of Christ and do nothing besides an anonymous post… Why do you not trust in the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS?
It’s hard but I had to make a tough stand in the church I served at. A fellow Pastor was living in sin. I had to expose it. I just bought a house and had my second child (EVEN THOUGH BRIAN PATRICK CALLED ME A FAT 300 LBS, POT HEAD, IDOLATROUS PERSON AND SAID HE WOULD SMACK ME AROUND ON THIS SIGHT. I didn’t agree with his perspective. Had three believers with over 100 hrs of Biblical wisdom said the very thing Brian was doing the very thing he was taking a stand against) and took a doctrinal stand and relational difficulties with the senior pastor. He had conflict and he refused to resolve the conflict and work on relationships. It took a lot of sleepless nights and painful patience. I ended up leaving the church with a clean conscience. However, within 1 week. My house sold and God opened a ministry and situation that I couldn’t have dreamed of.
There has been times when He made me wait. But, I believe Philippians 1:6, He began a Great work, and He will bring it to completion! Amen!?!? Either His Word and Promises are true or He is a liar. If the ultimate goal is reconciliation… then let’s do it!!!
I would love to discuss with anyone what the Text actually says and different ways or hermeneutical construct of why your convictions are important. Yet my prayer is this is a platform for those who are “IN CHRIST”. My challenge to those who are struggling at Master’s… To take God at His word. He may be using you to bring a revival to that seminary and turn hearts back to the Will of Jesus via the Word of Jesus.
I could never go to The Master’s Seminary because I would have to agree with their doctrinal statement. My disagreements are not on a GOSPEL level. I have a profoundly different views on dispensationalism, eschatology, Spiritual Gifts, Israel and the church ( how they are connected or disconnected) and with his study Bible (Study Notes that try to elucidate the text have a good idea, but I want to see the text on my own and for my own eyes!:)
With everything on this article… HOW CAN WE GLORIFY GOD AND SHOW THE WORLD THAT HIS FOLLOWERS WILL DO ANYTHING TO EDIFY THE BODY OF CHRIST? OR, JULIE WHAT IS YOUR GOAL? HOW DO YOU RECONCILE YOUR AIM?
1 Timothy 1:4-5-
“ 4. nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.
5.The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
Which verse of the two verses above best describe all of our AIM?
Actually you are wrong.. It’s unbiblical to rejoice in wrong doing. I Corinthians 13:4-7.
KC, you boast of this massive resume and all your life’s service and experience (very humble and Christlike of you!), yet you have time to write multiple novels daily hollering and blubbering against anyone who questions your god in any way–and, naturally, you aren’t even willing to use your real name. Nothing suspicious at all eh?
Do you want me to do a poll here of how many people here think you are 100% lying about everything?
Actually though, I think you determined my identity, found pictures of me online, and now are in love with me. That’s the only explanation I have for your obsession.
Hebrews 13:17 has been twisted into an authoritarian club to beat people into blindly obeying their leaders… some English translations are more authoritarian than others… that is not what was intended by Hebr. 13:17… what is commonly translated as “obey” in this verse is more accurately “be persuaded by” and this is the only time the Greek word is translated as “obey” in the NT…
so why “obey” in Hebr 13:17, when there is another Greek word for “obey” that is used elsewhere…
and what has been tx as “your leaders” is not specifically someone w a title or position, but those who are more spiritually mature than you that you look up to, they have more experience in the faith, that how they live is an example for you to follow, not blind obedience to their decisions… those are just 2 of the 6 or 7 ways this verse has been twisted into an authoritarian club to control the masses…
Brian nope but you lied to me again. Promised you would never respond to me again. You can take a poll it’s not about me. It’s about the Bible. It’s about being Biblical. I’m still waiting to see the evidence of unbiblical actions. So far, all I have seen is sources who refuse to give clear evidence and or clear Biblical Reconciliation since that’s the hope. Speculation of John having COVID-19. Unnamed sources and that the leaders are worried they are going to be shut down. When I have heard take us to jail for proclaiming the gospel with my own ears. Both statements can not be true. Enjoy doing a worthless poll. I’m not here to put a smile on anyone’s face. I just hope the Spirit of God will use the Word of God to help this conflict to be Biblically resolved
That is calvinism for you. Prideful, hardened, unbiblical man made nonsense.
Worshipping men (creation “John Mac”) instead of the Creator.
Believe there is no freewill and God causes everything that happens, yet finds fault with what God causes other people to do and say.
Calvinism? The only JC in the Bible is not John Calvin but Jesus Christ.
As full of it as KC is, let’s not go overboard by attacking an entire school of Christian thought based on the misdeeds of a few. Calvinism is a vicinity on the evangelical spectrum with a ton of variation within it, not a specific denomination. The Reformed school of thought ranges from deranged individuals like the folks at Pulpit and Pen to wonderful pastors like Keller.
I have known wonderful Calvinist brothers and sisters and those who I would not voluntarily like to see or speak to again in my life, much the way I have met both kinds of Arminian/Nazarene-leaning believers.
Brian Patrick, all you do is generalize and name call. In all your disagreements you call people names instead of debate biblically. Is there not room for a variety of opinion. It is too bad that men and women from different ends of the “evangelical spectrum” can not get together. Discuss what the Bible really teaches.Passionately share ideas. Agree and disagree. But calling me a 300lbs, weed smoking, idolatrous, full of it and etc. Bashing Is your mode of operation.
“ I have known wonderful Calvinist brothers and sisters and those who I would not voluntarily like to see or speak to again in my life, much the way I have met both kinds of Arminian/Nazarene-leaning believers.”
Do you know enough theology to be heretical? The many insults that you say about people all the time reveals your heart. I’m still waiting for your “POLL”. With actually a Biblical perspective and not Brian Patrick. I have never no will ever read John Calvin. However the reason these doctrines originally were written was due to Jacob Arminius. Arminianism had 5 points of theology that they deviated from others. However, those who viewed scripture as did Calvin wrote a 5 point response. There were great contributions to the doctrine of Soteriology and Sanctification. But didn’t help Ecclesiology. That’s a flaw from the reformation. So, today the ecclesiastical exhortations of how Bible -believing followers of Christ treat one another is down the drain. Church history is not a hermeneutic nor are the present issues like this one a hermeneutic. But as I have asked repeatedly and maybe I’m doing a poor job at it. All I ask over and over. What does the scripture say vs the continued slamming of people? Or resolving issues? Paul saw the same issues and he warned Timothy as well as us about this problem.
“ Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus.”
—-2 Timothy 2:15-17
That’s what you do when you name call or categorize people? Practice worldly ways to resolve issues instead of the Biblical way. It takes less work to name call or out someone in a box. I have zero hate for disagreements, but I pray we all at least use the passage above to resolve name calling or this issue related to TMS/GCC and these students.
KC and Brian Patrick can you take your discussion off-line? Maybe exchange numbers? Email? Using the comment section to have an argument is not helpful for the rest of us. You are distracting all of the rest of us from what is this article and what it exposes. The audacity of MacArthur and his organization to intimidate, be dishonest, full of deception and denial. Let’s all get back to what is most important. Students that can’t even speak out for fear of reprisal. How sad. Thanks KC and Brian for not hijacking the comment section with your personal arguments against each other. Let’s all get back to holding MacArthur and his organization accountable. This is what that organization hopes for…anything that will distract from what is really happening. And to the students of TMS who are writing in, thank you for taking the time to respond. It is very helpful yet very sad to see what it is like on the inside. Very sad.
GM, I will stop but can anyone give any actual Biblical sins and or plain evidence evidence ?
Also hypocritical to ask us to stop the conflict. When a charge against someone we have condemned this ministry without actual evidence and real facts. Just a bunch of feelings and anonymous sources who won’t take a true stand for truth. They are afraid of being asked to leave the TMS organization. Bible College has its standards and structure for a reason. At the time it may feel uncomfortable and over the top. However, through wisdom and experience in life the things that are tough make sense. As for Brian I apologize. He made if very personal by accusing and threatening me and others. So I put a line out there and he couldn’t resist. I shouldn’t enjoy exposing those things that’s not love.
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