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Opinion: An Open Letter to John MacArthur

By Julie Roys
John MacArthur shame shaming excommunicate
Author and radio evangelist John MacArthur is senior pastor of Grace Community Church and chancellor of The Master's University and Seminary in southern California. (Video screengrab / Vimeo)

Dear John MacArthur,

I recently read your open letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom, excoriating him for his upside-down morality and failure to protect the vulnerable.

I resonate with much of what you wrote. As you rightly state, Scripture teaches the “chief duty” of civic leaders is “to reward those who do well and punish evildoers.” And I agree that Governor Newsom has not only failed in this regard but has routinely turned this duty “on its head, rewarding evildoers and punishing the righteous.”

I also share your outrage that Newsom twisted the words of Jesus from Mark 12:31 in a campaign to support abortion. Civic leaders should be protecting the unborn, but Newsom has promoted their slaughter and blasphemed God in the process.

Yet, I am stunned to read these words from you—someone who has likewise failed to protect the most vulnerable and has instead protected those who have harmed them. And you are not a civic leader; you are a pastor, and biblically held to a higher standard.

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You sided with child-abuser David Gray when his wife brought allegations against him. And even after Gray was convicted of sexually abusing his children, your church supported his in-prison “ministry.” An endorsement, reportedly by you, appeared in Gray’s newsletter in 2012, which you have never refuted.

John MacArthur Eileen Gray
John MacArthur publicly shames Eileen Gray at Grace Community Church on Aug. 18, 2002.

Meanwhile, you punished Gray’s wife, Eileen, excommunicating and publicly shaming her for refusing your unholy pressure to allow David back into the family’s home.

Many have sought to defend you, saying you were ignorant of David Gray’s abuse, but that seems impossible.

David Gray confessed he abused his kids in counseling with Carey Hardy, an elder at Grace Community Church (GCC), prior to Eileen’s 2002 excommunication. Gray even handed Hardy a hand-written “list of sins” during counseling and admitted he used a “belt & rod way too harshly—brutally” on a child; “tied up” and “locked up” the child; and was not always “adequately dressed” in the child’s presence.

Plus, Hardy confirms in a declaration given to a Los Angeles court that  the church knew about Eileen’s allegations of abuse and the restraining order she’d obtained for her and her children’s protection.

Yet, you and the other GCC elders urged Eileen in multiple letters to remove the restraining order. And Hardy told Eileen in counseling to “submit to (David Gray), even in spite of his admitted abuse of her and their children,” according to a court declaration supplied by an outside pastor.

What you did to Eileen Gray and her children was despicable.

And yet, you have not repented of any of it—nor apologized to Eileen for the irreparable harm you caused her and her family.

How can you possibly stand in judgment of Gavin Newsom or anyone else for a “war on children” when you punished a mother for refusing to allow an abuser back into her home?

There may be a war on children being perpetrated by those outside the church. But there’s also a war being perpetrated by those inside the church. And sadly, you have enabled it.

Before pointing a finger at others, you would do well to examine yourself. As Romans 2 states, “You have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

But there’s more than the David Gray debacle.

You similarly covered for Paul Guay, another pedophile.

According to an eyewitness, Guay confessed to you that he had sexually abused his own daughter, Wendy Guay.

I have published documents supporting this allegation, including a handwritten letter by you to Wendy in which you state that you and Paul Guay “talked at length about the situation”; you urge Wendy to forgive her father; and you confirm that Paul Guay will remain “a faithful part of our staff.”

guay macarthur letter
Letter from John MacArthur to Wendy Guay – August 29, 1979

For three years after his reported confession, Paul Guay remained a pastor at GCC.

And decades later, when Wendy asked you for help exposing her father to the church he was pastoring, you responded in an email: “I’m not sure why all this has become an obsession for you after so many years, but neither myself nor anyone at Grace can do anything more than encourage you that we conducted ourselves with biblical integrity.”

As a shepherd, your job was to protect the sheep. But you allowed a wolf into the pen and ignored the bleating of the most vulnerable. Your cruel and dismissive response devastated Wendy Guay—and permitted her pedophile father to continue pastoring for another nine years.

Paul Guay’s church, which failed to remove Guay after Wendy and other victims reported his abuse, has since repented of their abysmal response. But you have failed to even acknowledge the part you played, let alone repent.

What’s worse, you claimed you were being persecuted, and had the gall to suggest God would judge your accusers.

“Never take your own revenge, beloved,” you stated from your bully pulpit shortly after I published Wendy’s story. “(B)ut leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine. I will repay, says the Lord.’” 

John MacArthur, you have publicly called Governor Newsom to repent. But you’ve seemingly ignored a long list of your own transgressions.

Besides how you treated Eileen Gray and Wendy Guay, you have:

  • Defended slavery, stating that “it’s a little strange that we have such an aversion to slavery” and adding that “working for a gentle, caring, loving master was the best of all possible worlds. If you had the right master, everything was taken care of.”
  • Told Beth Moore to “go home.” Such condescending behavior towards another person is never justified, regardless of theological differences.
  • Inflated your credentials. You do not have an earned doctorate, so using the title on a ministry website is deceptive.
  • Embellished a story about your involvement with Black leaders when Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated. There are key differences between the story you’ve repeatedly told and the story told by eyewitnesses. This isn’t “misremembering”; it’s misrepresenting.
  • Enriched yourself with ministry dollars. You took at least three ministry salaries from 2005 to 2015. I don’t know how much you earned for pastoring GCC during that time. But I know that in addition to your church salary, you earned $3.2 million during those years. Now, your ministries keep all your salaries secret. If your salaries are justified, then why not fully disclose them?
  • Accused me of publishing “falsehoods” about the December 2020 COVID outbreak at GCC when you were the one who failed to reveal the truth and warn your congregation. My reporting was accurate. Congregants died. And you were absent from your pulpit during that time because you had COVID, not merely because you needed “rest.”

In addition to these transgressions of your own, you’ve overlooked and tacitly supported the bullying behavior of GCC elder and Grace to You Executive Director Phil Johnson.

His twitter account is a steady stream of insults and condescension that in no way reflects the fruit of the Spirit. But his decision last year to dox me and then defend his behavior truly crossed a line. Yet you said nothing.

You also are platforming John Street, head of the graduate counseling program at The Master’s University, who instructs Christian wives to endure abuse by their husbands as a missionary endures persecution.

Because of this teaching, countless women and children have been put in harm’s way. Yet, the teaching remains online—even after I and others called it out.

You wrote to Governor Newsom that his soul “lies in grave eternal peril.” But have you considered the peril facing yours? You, too, have allowed the people entrusted to your care to be harmed. And you, too, will give an account to God.

John MacArthur, you have preached the Word of God—and for that, you should be commended. Yet, Scripture says that even if we speak with the “tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, we are a ringing gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Cor. 13:1)

Similarly, Jesus warned that in heaven, “many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’” (Matt. 7:21-23)

I do not presume to know the condition of your soul. But I do know that you have grievously wronged people I have grown to care for deeply. And I pray—for your sake and for the sake of the many wounded souls I have interviewed—that you change course and make things right.

May God have mercy on all of us.

For His glory,

Julie Roys

Julie Roys is a veteran investigative reporter and founder of The Roys Report. Before that, she hosted a national talk show on the Moody Radio Network, called Up for Debate. She’s also worked as a TV reporter for a CBS affiliate, a newswriter for WGN-TV and Fox News Chicago, and has published articles in numerous periodicals.



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132 Responses

  1. Curious: does Julie Roys pay Google to have her letter sit at the top of the JM news feed, or is that the in-kind contribution of a comrade? She doesn’t have the visibility to warrant it. One thing I refuse to believe is that it’s an accident of “the algorithm”.

    1. She doesn’t need to pay anyone anything.
      She has nothing to gain. She just wants the truth told about all of the abuse in Johns church. And hoping that John and the elders of his church will come clean and repent publicly, you know like John shamed Eileen publicly, he owes her and her children a huge apology.

      1. Good for you, Julie Roys. John McArthur has reigned as the de facto pope of conservative evangelicalism for decades, unquestioned both in his theology and his conduct.

        His defenders’ rabid responses to legitimate questions and reporting would be called cult-like if only his camp happened to be smaller !

        1. Jesus said you will know who Mine are by the fruit they bear! It is clear to a righteous soul who a child of the devil is. It is better to stay out of devil’s ( church ) too !

        2. I wonder if they all defend each other is because they all fear the dirt they have on each other. Like DC politicians .

    2. It could be that her post is generating a lot of views which must be devstating to those who believe that MacArthur is above reproach

    3. Well she is getting the visibility now. But the best part of all of this is John Macarthur is getting publicity for his atrocities. Deal with it David.

    4. You can’t pay Google to influence the algorithm. You can pay SEO (search engine optimization) companies who will advise you on how to work the algorithm to your own advantage, but beyond the basics (keywords, SSL, no HTML errors, well designed page, etc.) their advice can be somewhat dubious. You can always pay Google to place an ad above the search results, of course, but that’s not what’s happening here.

      Julie’s site is only top in the News category — it’s not on the front page of the main Google site — and given her site is actually one of the most prominent sites for news about evangelical Christianity, it makes perfect sense that she’s the top result where John MacArthur is concerned.

      No amount of sour grapes or dark mutterings about conspiracy changes that basic fact.

    5. Actually David,

      It’s simple. Whatever provides the most hits brings more revenue for Google. It’s a numbers game.

    6. Or is it part of your job to cover for this man? The more I delve into JM the more detestable he becomes.

  2. MacArthur’s decades of outrageous public, unrepentant lies about his supposed football greatness is another item for which he and others who have covered for him will be held accountable, if not in this life by his sycophant elders/toadies, then in the one to come.

    1. And his biggest lie that will damn millions of his followers to hell, is that you can still repent after taking the mark of the beast, his followers actually believe him, over scripture.

  3. Succinct and clear.
    The man is a fraud and shyster. A wolf in sheep’s clothing.
    He “knows the truth” intellectually, but is remarkably inoculated against honest self-examination.
    I commend you Julie Roys for speaking the truth to power.

  4. I read all the comments about John MacArthur, and I did not know most of the allegations, but I will research; all I know is that all I’ve heard and read from him in the exegesis of the Word are straight on.

  5. Obviously John MacArthur has done some bad things in his life, but if he says the sun is hot I’m not going to say he’s wrong. He’s right that about Gavin Newsom’s behavior. Newsom claims to be a Catholic. The Catholic church doesn’t support abortion.

  6. Other ministries unwittingly also find ways to diminish themselves and their calling by association with John MacArthur.

    Several years ago during a Q & A component of their annual Ligonier Ministries national conference, President Chris Larson winsomely reminded their perennial guest speaker John MacArthur that Ligonier Ministries founder the late R.C. Sproul would call him Boris (Yeltsin). MacArthur smiled and spoke in acknowledgement. The two men found the reminiscence amusing.

    If a Christian leader reminds people who are both inside and outside the Church to be more of a godless loveless Russian dictator than Christ, the matter is not material for humor in the Body of Christ. Rather, it should give us much pause.

    Julie outlined the representative details why.

  7. I just wish Ms Roys could move on from this perceived hurt and stop slandering Pastor John MacArthur’s good name. With the information GCC had at the time, they did what they knew to be best, and it was scriptural. When more information came out, they took different action. There are two sides to this story. This is dragging up old damage that seems to affect Ms Roys and maybe therapy could help her? I am praying for her healing and her peace of mind.

    1. Speaking truth about the ungodly behavior of church leaders so that others can take warning and the leaders themselves can perhaps come to repentance is not slander, but rather what Christians are called to do. Giving a voice to those who have been negatively affected and suffered under the likes of MacArthur makes this work especially noble.

      Additionally, MacArthur’s need for apology and repentance concerns much more than the gross mishandling by himself and GCC of cases of abuse. Some of these items are also mentioned here. He and his cronies at GCC and The Master’s Seminary have not taken different action in many ways, but instead remain entrenched in their ungodly behavior that is the opposite of the gospel of Christ.

    2. “This is dragging up old damage that seems to affect Ms Roys and maybe therapy could help her? I am praying for her healing and her peace of mind.”

      Survivors see right through this nonsense.

      1. What can bring healing is through, acknowment of the wrong doing… there were children involved too! What you expect to just have them brush it under the carpet, for the sake of protecting PJM, plus it’s not just the family in question, it affects all of us who have been affected by their behaviour, a massive betrayal. I think it is outrageous that you and others should surgest Julie gets therapy. Down right rude. She is putting herself out there to inform to protect others. We need to pray for wisdom for you.

  8. Thank you for your reporting! So much misbehavior/corruption in the church! (I’ve experienced it myself, although on a much smaller scale). Would be helpful at some point to know about churches who are doing it right! I’m not affiliated with the churches or persons mentioned here but unfortunately this type of sin seems to spread like a stain throughout the church at large.

  9. I’m pretty much done with this evangelical agenda Christianism.
    I lately discovered pastor Gene Kim from real bible believers network on YouTube and it has been so different and doctrinally sound. I would encourage others to take a look at this ministry.

    1. All John MacArthur had to say to Eileen Gray and her children is “I blew it. I apologize. I acted based on the information I had at that time. Please forgive me.”

      That meekness —eighth of the nine Fruit of the Spirit— would have been a powerful witness to Gray, his congregation and the Body of Christ.

      Had I been a Grace Community Church member I would have advised MacArthur to publicly or privately wash her feet, and if she consented, wash the feet of her children.

      Oh man —the optics of such an influential evangelical leader of his stature serving her and serving her children waters my eyes.

      Instead there’s a hurting mother and her hurting children excommunicated from Grace Community Church who are physically, emotionally and spiritually putting their lives back together. (Thank the LORD Eileen Taylor is ministering to inmates and law enforcement at the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office, TRR on February 16, 2023.)

      That act of meekness would have given MacArthur the moral authority to rightly confront and challenge Gov. Gavin Newsom. (I have firsthand knowledge and have brought forth information that leadership at his California Department of Public Health has committed crimes against humanity for withholding injury-sparing and life-saving information from 40 million Californians.)

      Dear Julie Roys, you are a courageous Woman of God! Your impeccable journalistic coverage of this story, the Naghmeh Panahi/Saeed Abedini and IHOPKC 30-plus stories has earned my personal and professional respect. I appreciate your self-reflection and your self-criticism demonstrated during your Dr. David Pooler podcast. I now donate to The Roys Report. I encourage others to do so as well.

  10. In reading any article by somebody professing to be a Christian, I always try and imagine reading the article as if Jesus Christ himself had written it.

    In that light, I see very little in the way of forgiveness and turning the other cheek in this article. Particularly towards the alleged abusers.

    Julie closes with “may God have mercy on us all” – but how much does she actually mean that? I don’t feel much mercy or forgiveness in the tone of the rest of the article. I feel a lot of judgment and shaming of alleged sinners, but very little compassion and understanding.

    I would ask Julie Roys one very simple question: How do you think Jesus would respond to an abusive husband who repented and tried to change – do you think Jesus would advise the wife and children to leave for their own safety?

    This isn’t to trap you. Maybe I’m missing something here. I’m genuinely curious, because I don’t see how you square your apparent position on this issue and the teachings of forgiveness spoken by Jesus.

    1. Hi Paul,

      Scripture is clear that God is ready and willing to forgive any sinner who repents. And my deep desire is to see those who have so grievously harmed others fully own and confess their sin and seek reconciliation, if possible.
      However, in the case of David Gray, he never admitted his sin. To this day, despite being convicted in a court of law, he still denies he sexually abused his kids. And in the case of John MacArthur and GCC, they have not admitted or confessed their sin either, let alone sought to make things right with those they harmed.

      The Bible says if we confess our sin, God is faithful and will forgive. But it strongly warns those who won’t repent hat judgment awaits. I hope John MacArthur and the other abusers mentioned in this letter repent before they meet their Maker. I truly do.

      1. Julie I was happy to read this article and commend you for writing the truth in love. The comments that suggest otherwise come from JM protectors. I don’t really care one iota about JM preachings or books because there is no Christian love evidenced. I too hope he and others like him will humble themselves and repent as we all should do regularly. All of us. My husband always says, no one cares what you think until they know that you care. I am learning that JM and those like him only care about their platforms and pious behaviors. We all know what comes before a fall.
        Great article!

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