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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125 thoughts on “Opinion: An Open Letter to John MacArthur”

  1. Bravo Julie!! I have a huge problem with John MacArthur and have for years. I am not surprised by his blindness to his own sin. His preaching is strident and accusatory. He appears to have grace only for those he deems worthy. He condemns quickly and thoroughly. It’s terribly ironic to me that his radio program is called “GRACE to you when he seemingly lacks that in his ministry.

    1. Julie, this is a magnificent open letter. And the tone of grace even comes through in the much needed confrontation and list of “crimes” . . . In my opinion, that’s what he has committed as a Pastor. Praying, that at his age, he would have even an inkling of conviction. May the Lord speak to him in such a way that gets his attention.

      Thank you, Julie, for your courage, your voice, and your heart for calling the church to correctly represent Christ.

  2. Outstanding letter Julie, bravo!! I hope he truly repents of his own errors and publicly apologies to his congregation from the pulpit and to those he has harmed.

  3. Bravo for saying what needs to be said.

    Sadly, I suspect your post will fall on deaf ears (or eyes, as the case may be). In his staunch support of patriarchy, JMac has repeatedly made clear that he does not consider women people he needs to listen to, let alone heed.

    1. I support ‘patriarchy’ too; but not the distortions of MacArthur. The patriarchs set the scene for the nation of Israel which brought the Messiah. Now as ‘patriarch’ of my family, I am there to shepherd, serve, care for, not frustrate my children and all in submission to my wife (yes husbands and wives submit to each other).

  4. Oh, yes….there is no sparing of the rod – for this spoiled, self-righteous, ego-inflated reprobate child.. nor should there be!! (1Cor5.12,13)

    But to keep it all real – I would like then to see Julie’s specific charges against Gavin Newsom – a SECULAR governor of ALL the citizens of the great state of California – as opposed to a representative of the Kingdom of God. She would do well to provide as opposed to glittering generalities – which begin to look more as slander – regarding which we are called to put aside.

    And to keep it real, I financially support Julie’s ministry – but we cannot countenance unfounded statements because mere sentiment.

    Thanks,
    Greg

    1. Hi Greg,

      I don’t expose the specific evils of Gavin Newsom because I focus on exposing corruption and abuse within the church. There are plenty of outlets exposing the evils of secular leaders. But I believe judgment begins with the house of God. (1 Peter 4:17) And as is, I only have the bandwidth to investigate a small fraction of the churches/Christian orgs/leaders I hear about. But by God’s grace, I’m trying to be faithful to do what I can.

      Blessings…

  5. Thank you, Julie, for finding and being bold enough to share the truth. I grew up deeply entrenched in evangelical Christianity (my dad was a Church of the Nazarene pastor) and then married a pastor of an independent Baptist Church (of whom I am now divorced). I left the church and could not even read my Bible for a long time. You speaking the truth of the limited humanity of church leaders has given me the validation and then healing I needed to reconnect with God and the truth that Jesus taught. THANK YOU!

    1. Mellisa Fernandez

      Hello Amy. I’m so glad you found your way back to God. I went through abuse & then a public shunning. I’m thankful I never lost fellowship with God (I sure didn’t like Christians though!). It is a process and it is painful. God isn’t on Team Abuser but sometimes it feels that way. **hug**

  6. David Jankowski

    Julie, how many times are you going to publicly castigate John MacArthur for past sins? Until he confesses? MacArthur was responding with an interpretation of wife/husband issues the same way that millions of pastors did, and still do today. I learned long ago that that approach was very unhealthy for everyone concerned. So, MacArthur was ministering under the old approach that he truly thought was right. Maybe he still does. However, in a sense, you are doing what MacArthur also did on many occasions as you say nasty (and probably true) things about him. You give him faint praise by acknowledging that he’s done a lot of good work. That’s an understatement; he’s made amazing contributions to the evangelical world. I’ve not been a big fan of MacArthur over the years because he too often has said nasty things against fellow leaders. At one time, he opposed Billy Graham because Graham had non-Christians on his platform. At the same time, I do acknowledge all that he’s done over his lifetime. Was all Calvin’s work spoiled because he approved the burning of Servetus? I hope not because he had, and continues, to influence millions of Christians positively.

    1. Wow old approach huh. Using your logic I guess burning those witches at stake makes perfect sense to you since it was an old approach of the time. He’s just a typical malignant narcissist American evangelical and no where except in America is his damnation approach and fear approach tolerated.

    2. David,
      Actually, for the most part all of Calvin’s work is suspect to the very fact that any right theology that he may have had was destroyed by his wrong living. Orthopraxy and Orthodoxy must align for anyone to have a truly credible witness. They are both, MacArthur and Calvin are akin to Pharisees.

    3. Yes, David as much as it takes. Let’s see: John was for slavery, he protects pedos and yes CALIVINS work should be spoiled and ignored for burning of Servetus. And the innocent woman of Salem. Big John teaches that some are born, and God has ordained they will go to hell. Really, what kind of psycho god brings future cannon fodder into this world. Its big johns’ teachings. I have yet to hear other pastors concur with his views. Hes a self-loving greedy old fool needing to go the way of the dinosaurs. In politics and the pulpit, we have to many old bitter people that are past their prime and need to go away and take their greed and bitterness with them. You talk about all he has done. What about the collateral damage of people turning their backs on God because of his teachings and Copelands and other ilk. Like Amy Simler, I too ran from the Church when I was bombarded with the thought that TITHES it’s all about TITHES or God will get you, as they sit in their mansion and remind us God must love us best. While in the cities they preach, people are hungry and sick and live-in the streets. AMERICAN Christianity is a whole separate world from the rest of the Christians. Self-love is what evangelical and the rocks and roll “Christian musicians and rappers” operate off of. Just watch the dove awards. A celebration of “aren’t we sooooooooo Godly”.

    4. Carolyn McLaren

      David,
      I am quoting David French (The French Press)…”When I wrote about Ravi Zacharias, I observed that no degree of greatness can overcome lawlessness.” God will never overlook the lawlessness of John MacArthur simply because he “continues to influence millions of Christians positively.” One can teach and write all they want in the name of Jesus and not know him at all. I’m afraid John MacArthur will be getting the millstone for what he has done in wicked complicity unless there is true repentance.

  7. Cynthia Norbeck

    Julie,

    I once heard the following advice. Where I heard it, I no longer recall. It has often helped me to think very hard before writing or saying anything. It is particularly relevant when one feels the urge to accuse others:

    1) Does it need to be said?
    2) Does it need to be said now?
    3) Does it need to be said now by me?

    Comparing a Christian with someone who rejects Christ (Newsom) in a public forum is probably not the wisest choice. Perhaps you can explain why you did it. I am curious.

    1. I would say she wrote the letter because
      1) It needed to be said
      2) It needed to be said now
      3) It needed to be said by someone with a credible voice and a large enough voice to be heard.

    2. I agree with Mike Bulkley. Julie has done the research on John MacArthur’s past behaviors and has a Christian news platform,so she appears to be a great person to point out JMac’s blantant hypocrisy. So, it absolutely needed to be said, and responding to JMac’s letter to Newsom was an opportune time to say it.

    3. “Comparing a Christian with someone who rejects Christ (Newsom) in a public forum is probably not the wisest choice. Perhaps you can explain why you did it. I am curious.”

      If you read this letter, she’s already answered this question. Perhaps a re-read would be helpful.

    4. Cynthia, Julie is simply warning the flock, like a Christian is supposed to do.
      And hopefully John sees this and apologizes to Eileen, and Wendy, and all of the other women and children that have been abused by his church.
      John needs to publicly apologise to Eileen, like he publicly shamed her, and until then he has no true repentance and brokenness.

  8. Julie–you seriously need to stop with this so-called “ministry” of yours. You have zero grace and you sow public discord among the body of Christ. It’s sickening.

    1. oh Adam you have repeatedly attacked Julie for bringing the truth out on the ilk within the body of Christ. What secrets do you hide?

    2. Adam,
      What basis would you use for her having to ‘stop’ her ‘so-called’ ministry of hers? That you don’t like what she says, or you simply don’t like seeing people you revere exposed as frauds?

    3. Cynthia Norbeck

      Adam,

      I just realized you are actually correct. Paul warns all of us about unwholesome talk coming out of our mouths…
      I think it’s time for me to shake the dust off of my feet and stop coming to this site.
      Bye, Julie. And thanks, Adam. Sowing discord is one of Satan’s skills. I no longer wish to participate.

      1. Cynthia, even though I disagree with almost everything you post, I hope you don’t leave the site. You give me a lot of insight into how the right-wingers in our country think. Of course your bantering with Marin Heiskell, with whom I almost always agree, would be greatly missed by all. Please reconsider.

    4. Terence Emmanuel

      We don’t have to agree with everything Julie does but the truth is more could be said about John McArthur. He also made comments that were borderline. Jesus would have never talked the way he did about Beth Moore or Russel Moore just because they don’t share the same views.

    5. Perhaps what Julie is doing is exposing leaders in the church who have not been good expressions of God’s grace or protecting their members.

  9. Outstanding Julie and bravo. BUT as I have stated in other posts. I will never blame the pastors or staff for what they do. they are just being themselves. I do blame the congregations thru foolishness or fear that stick around. To many fear the pastor’s vs reading the word and have confidence in any discernment god gives them. To many uses scripture to put fear in themselves when they believe God will get you if you challenge any pastor. Once I challenged a Prosperity gospel preacher over the life of luxury vs Jesus humble life and he said I will not mock God. I said I’m mocking you and you aint God. His anger (righteous wrath he said) was very entertaining. I’ve learned the more angerly you spew your words the more likely you’re hiding your own doubts.

  10. You have written an outstanding letter to John MacArthur! It is essential for everyone to know the Truth! Thank you very much!

  11. Richard and Diane Schroder

    Thank you Julie and your staff. My wife and I have supported the Grace family of ministries since 1997. No longer because of these terrible and other revelations and first hand feedback by family members who were at Grace. We ended all of our financial support progressively since 2021 and altogether early this summer. We feel stabbed in the heart by our church and John MacArthur and the entire leadership of Grace Church and GTY.

  12. Julie you are a true heroine! Thank you for being such an eloquent, gracious yet fearsome and true voice for those who have been so traumatized we have temporarily lost ours. You are spot on about John MacArthur. Sadly he had way too long to spawn a whole mess of men just like him. His arrogance is relentless and his attitude totally unrepentant. He ceased being a mouthpiece for the true biblical God long ago. And true undershepherd he is not.

  13. Randall Allison

    Thank you for speaking up and speaking out. You have laid out a fact filled case that speaks prophetically, not only to the particular abusive behavior and patterns of covering up sin connected to JM and those he enabled, but in a way that we should hope resonates throughout the church in America. May God’s grace and healing touch the lives of all those who have suffered under such ungodly and destructive leadership.

  14. Charles Johnson

    I see He has an Honorary Degree, I checked his web site and could not see it referring to him as Doctor, maybe I missed it.

  15. Paul said, “When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.”

    Nathan said to David, “You are the man!”

    They both repented.

    These “celebrity” Christians have avoided accountability to their detriment personally, BUT also to the witness of the Church- which belongs to Christ.

    Rahab, Deborah, Anna, Mary Madelyn… ordinary women, extraordinary accomplishments.

    Don’t grow weary Julie. Stay strong and courageous, please.

  16. Sadly, John’s ego will preclude him from repenting. I hope I am wrong, but his past behavior says differently.

  17. Dear Julie,

    This whole open letter to Newsome is all just a virtue signal on JM’s part. Everyone is talking about it like it was is such a noble and brave thing for him to do. He is simply gaining more honor for himself amongst the evangelical tube-feeders who think he is a god. Apparently his appetite for honor amongst men is never satisfied. That’s good enough for him.

    I know why you wrote your letter, Julie, but believing that JM lives his life before God rather than before men is nothing more than wishful thinking. I think Jesus tell us to die to self, not promote it.

    And secondly, JM didn’t write the letter from his heart to Newsom because he cares about Newsom or the people in California. He wrote it for publicity–period. JM knows Newsom is no God fearer and is not in the least bit interested in biblical truth or what JM tell’s him his role should be in the light of scripture.

    So why waste the ink and paper? The only explanation is the gaining of the spotlight, which he surely accomplished.

    Joy

  18. Julie, that letter was amazing. Reminds me of the line from the old tv show Dragnet, “just the facts, ma’am”, and that’s exactly what you wrote.

  19. While not a truth based on God’s Word , the adage that “ actions speak louder than words” is certainly a truth comes to the forefront here. Don’t shoot the messenger, Julie is simply relaying the obvious truth. Julie is not the only one who wrote of the great evils put upon children by David Gray & Paul Guay. When Jesus spoke the words the “Truth would set me free”, it has become literal in my life. So when peoples actions don’t jive with their words, it sets me free to see they aren’t being truthful and should not be trusted.
    Stay on that narrow path Julie, we support you.

  20. Terence Emmanuel

    The letter addressed to the governor of California was self serving. Truth is we can’t really expect anything godly from the world. Great job Julie, i believe change will happen soon.

  21. Kathleen S. LaRoche

    Bravo, Julie!!! May the Lord sustain you against the attacks which I see in the comments are already beginning to come. I had never seen the clip of MacArthur’s view on slavery. I’ve been walking around talking to the Lord trying to even process that. Did the Lord not free the Israelites from the Egyptians? Did Jesus not come to free Israel from the heavy burden of the legalistic leadership of His day? Did He not say in Isaiah 61 that He came to set the captives free? Did He not come to free us from the slavery of sin? Do we not serve Him VOLUNTARILY as bond servants? Has he not said in 1 Corinthians 1:21 through Paul, “if you can gain your freedom, do so”? No wonder MacArthur doesn’t get it about abuse in families. It appears that MacArthur is living in some kind of a La La Land that is out of touch with the depravity of human oppression and depth of human suffering. Our God is a God of justice, a God of the Spirit and of the heart. Something is radically and grievously wrong with MacArthur’s perceptions.

    1. Kathleen, John wrote a book a few years back titled, Slave.
      And he has a new legacy study Bible, where he uses the word slave, in place of servant.

      1. Laurel,

        I credit the teaching of John MacArthur with creating in me a desire to be a “slave” to Christ. I have every book ever written by him including Slave. I recall him saying the publisher feared the title would be too provocative, too offensive. It is. However, he persisted.

        As you said, other words can be used. The title of the book is just another act in a long list of actions that imply John MacArthur can be indifferent to others.

        1. Well I hope you detractors all got your say in about John McArthur’s shortcomings. Stone throwers galore. Does that feel good?Judges everywhere, ready to send him and his soul up the river.
          Perhaps he has faltered. Perhaps it was the people around him who faltered. Did these victims sue him or the church if the facts are beyond dispute? Did they reach a private settlement no one can speak about?
          I know about abusers and how the church is terrified at dealing with them. It is a problem multiplied across the land. Satan delights at anything to keep the gospel from being boldly preached.
          But John has single handedly had more positive influence on me and likely the rest of the world than anyone alive.
          In context, the slave reference is simple truth. His recent anti-government statements have likely got the DOJ looking at how to silence him. Wouldn’t you detractors just love to see that. Serves him right, huh? Be very cautious. Seek the truth and encourage repentance where required, but none of us knows the truth. Every one gets their day in court and their side heard…unless in this Forum, your John McArthur. This is National Enquirer level gossip because all the facts are not public.

        2. Did you know that he has also said on more than one occasion, that you can still repent, after you take the mark of the beast?

        3. Debra, my KJV bible has it correctly, do you believe that you were a slave to sin, or a servant to sin?
          I know I was a servant to sin. Before we are saved we love our sins, we aren’t enslaved to them,and that is what Johns changing the word servant to sin to slave to sin, does, it says that we are enslaved to them.
          And Jesus came to set us free, that does Not sound like we are slaves to me. He says that we are his Brothers and he even calls us friends, not slaves.
          We love serving Jesus, a slave has no choice.
          And there is a huge difference.
          John couldn’t even get Revelation 14:9-11 correct, and you love his books?

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