John MacArthur Comments on Transition to Chancellor of The Master’s University

Out today:

Statement from John MacArthur
October 22, 2018

For 33 years, since 1985, I have had the rare and enriching privilege of serving The Master’s University and Seminary as president.

I originally signed up for 5 years, thinking I would be able — along with my pastoral ministry at Grace Community Church — to help strengthen the University and Seminary. I underestimated the hold that educating young Christians for gospel influence on the world would have on me.

Class after class, year after year, as new students arrived, I found it impossible to let go of the opportunity to educate their minds and hearts to take the Light of God’s truth into this dark world. So, I have stayed and loved every day of my service.

However, with the growth of the University and Seminary, demanding more leadership now and in the future, the time has come for me to transition to the position of Chancellor of the University and President of the Seminary.

The transition will provide for a new president for the university. This will occur over the next 18 months.

I rejoice in the 91-year impact of this institution, because of its faithfulness to the Bible, to the glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and His beloved church.

I am confident of the continuing influence of these schools for the kingdom of our Lord and I look forward to continuing to serve The Master’s University and Seminary in the years ahead.

In 2020, John MacArthur Will Become Chancellor of The Master’s University

Yesterday, The Master’s University released this statement to faculty.

October 19, 2018
Press Release
The Master’s University and Seminary
***************
Since 1986, The Master’s University and Seminary has been a beacon of Christian education preparing men and women for gospel ministry and professions around the world. Over the last three decades, TMUS has trained and sent out over 8,500 graduates to proclaim the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These graduates have established other global training centers which have resulted in another 5,500 graduates trained for ministry and deployed around the world. For 33 years God has blessed this institution through the leadership and efforts of our President, Dr. John MacArthur.

Today, the President and Board of Directors determined that over the coming months, The Master’s University and Seminary will enter a period of transition. In May 2020, Dr. John MacArthur will continue his involvement in the institution by becoming Chancellor of The Master’s University. At the Seminary, he will continue in his role as President. During this transition period, the future relationship of the two schools will be clearly identified. Moving into the future, TMU and TMS remain firmly committed to the authority of Scripture, the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the mission of training men and women for kingdom work.

The Board of Directors is extremely grateful for the leadership that Dr. John MacArthur has provided for this institution over the past 33 years and is eager for his influence to continue impacting both organizations after this transition is finalized. We understand that this announcement may prompt questions, and it is our intention to address those questions in forthcoming communications as this process unfolds.

There will be staff meetings at both TMU and TMS in the coming week week that will answer any questions the staff or students may have related to this announcement.

Thank you for your continued prayers and partnership with the ministry of TMUS.

For the Master,
The Board of Directors

For reasons I don’t understand, TMU’s board refers to Rev. MacArthur as “Dr” even though MacArthur doesn’t have an earned doctorate and as far as I know doesn’t have an honorary doctorate from TMU.

Using “Dr” when only having an honorary degree isn’t considered acceptable in most academic institutions I have surveyed (see link for more information).

The Master’s University Board Responds to Accreditation Charges

On the school website, the board of The Master’s University responded to the probation imposed by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The letter was sent to faculty and staff this morning by John Stead, the provost of the college.

You can read the letter. Here is the closing:

In addition, since receiving the report, the full Board has met on three separate occasions to discuss the findings and requirements in the Final Commission Letter and to develop a definitive action plan. As a result of many hours of discussion and planning, including the tireless work of smaller groups and committees, we have made significant progress.

Working with the administration, faculty, and staff, we have created a comprehensive plan—a thorough set of specific action steps to address every concern WSCUC has raised. To ensure that these steps are implemented, we have assigned all of them to specific staff or members of the Board. We have also laid out a clear timeline in order to demonstrate to the Commission that we are making real progress toward meeting or exceeding their recommendations. The Board will thoroughly assess our institutional progress in implementing this plan at our October
meeting.

It is our hope that our resolute response will allay concerns among our University and Seminary family. We recognize the crucial importance of this issue to all our students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, and ministry support partners.

My reaction is that keeping the plan private appears to cut the faculty out of the process. While it may be typical at small schools not to involve or inform faculty, that seems to be part of what the WASC report raised as a concern. I don’t know how hearing that a plan is in the works but not knowing any of the specifics could allay concerns.

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Santa Clarita Signal Calls for Changes at The Master’s University

Recently, John MacArthur’s The Master’s University was put on probationary status by The Western Association of Schools and Colleges – the regional group which accredits TMU.  Among other concerns, WASC cited a “climate of fear, intimidation, bullying, and uncertainty among significant numbers of faculty and staff” at the Santa Clarita, CA school.

Now the Santa Clarita newspaper –The Signal — is calling for changes at the school. In an editorial published last Sunday, the editorial board summarized the WASC report and called on the school to take the recommendations seriously. However, the editorial board opined that “there are hints surfacing that indicate those at the top are playing the role of victim” and added:

For example, TMU President John MacArthur, reportedly speaking before a group of Master’s Seminary students last weekend, portrayed the sanctions as an attack on the university and on him personally.

“These are the best of times for us, and we know that because the enemy is working so hard,” he told the group, according to a recording posted online. In the recording, the speaker characterizes it as “a rather orchestrated attack, if not by any human source, then certainly by Satan himself. There was an attack directly on me. And it came in all kinds of forms.”

The op-ed concludes with this admonition:

It’s going to take some major changes to restore faith in TMU and its leadership. Hopefully the right people are willing to look in the mirror and see that TMU’s problems are not the work of the devil, but of human beings.

The Two Faces of TMU

There is a contradiction between MacArthur’s story and what has been told to the press. In a Christian Post article on the subject, the TMU spokesman never refers to Satan. Yet, to his students, MacArthur downplayed the charges and blamed the Prince of Darkness. In light of these mixed messages, it is understandable that the outside observers would question TMU’s leadership.

 

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About The Master’s University #1 Right Choice Ranking

Yesterday, Dee Parsons from Wartburg Watch tweeted a question about the The Master’s University’s claim that the school was ranked as a #1 “right choice” school by the Wall Street Journal. Here’s what The Master’s University said about their rating by the WSJ in 2016.

In the September 29 edition of The Wall Street Journal, The Master’s University was ranked #1 for being the “right choice” of institutions rated among the nation’s 4,000 colleges and universities.

Congratulations to President John MacArthur and the faculty and staff of The Master’s University for your exemplary work. And to the students and their families, congratulations on choosing TMU and making the “right choice.”

In 2017, TMU proclaimed:

the Wall Street Journal recently recognized TMU as #1 Right Choice University amongst all U.S. colleges/universities for the 2nd year in a row

In Medium, TMU wrote this:

The Wall Street Journal has ranked TMU number 1 in the country for two years in a row as the top “right choice” university.

Indeed the WSJ did mention TMU in 2016 and 2017 but the ranking was more of a rating by the students. WSJ asked 100,000 students a series of questions about their college including “if you could start over, would you still choose this college?” On that question, TMU students gave their school ratings higher than students at any other school. Lancaster (PA) Bible College ranked second on that question. LBC’s write up about the survey more clearly explains the significance of the rating.

The Wall Street Journal surveyed students and asked them a series of questions to determine each institutions ranking. For the Right Choice category, students were asked, “If you could start over, would you still choose this college?” LBC earned a score of 9.46 out of 10.

The WSJ articles are behind a paywall but the 2017 article on the college rankings described the category as students’ response to being asked “if they would choose their school again.” According to the WSJ,

The Master‘s University, a small Christian liberal-arts school in Santa Clarita, Calif., topped all comers in that category, despite not cracking the top 500 schools in the overall ranking.

In a related article, the WSJ said,

The survey also asked students three questions that weren’t taken into consideration in the rankings, including whether students would choose their school again. Highest marks again went to schools with a religious affiliation, including The Master’s University in Santa Clara, Calif., Lancaster Bible College and Brigham Young, Hawaii.

Obviously, TMU’s students believe they made the right choice, so I don’t mean to take anything away from TMU. However, there is a difference between WSJ ranking a school and students rating a school via a survey. When TMU portrays an average score on a student rating as a merit-based ranking by the WSJ, there is potential for their audience to be misled.

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John MacArthur: Victims are Everywhere

Last Sunday, John MacArthur preached on social justice at his church. This is an extension of his recent blog posts which have ignited passionate responses from opponents and supporters alike.

In his Sunday sermon, MacArthur repeated many of the statements and themes from his blog posts. In this post, I want to touch on his definition of social justice and victimization.

Social Justice

MacArthur says

Social justice is a term that describes the idea that everyone has the right to equal upward mobility – everybody in a society: equal upward mobility, equal social privilege, equal finances or equal resources. And if you don’t have those rights and you don’t have those opportunities the society is, by nature, unjust.

Earlier in the sermon he claims social justice is a “part of classic socialism.” I can’t say with certainty but I doubt many social justice evangelicals mean this when they advocate for social justice. I know I don’t.

I will acknowledge that I haven’t seen a consistent definition of social justice. However, this simply doesn’t look right to me. Discussion about economic policy is a distraction here. Most justice minded Christians who are bothered by MacArthur’s views aren’t socialists. They simply believe Christians should advocate for what’s right when the status quo is unjust and wrong.

Victims are Everywhere

Rev. MacArthur doesn’t speak well of victims, except when he does. In a 2016 tweet, he seemed to call for social justice for a young girl in his congregation.

MacArthur called on people to sign a Change.org petition targeting 13 government officials in an effort to get a just result for a young child. I don’t know enough about the situation to give an opinion but I can understand why someone would advocate for this child to stay with the foster family. In my opinion, creating and signing a petition to attempt to bring awareness to a wrong is a great thing to do.

In contrast, in his sermon, he seems to mock people who have truly been harmed.

So we have a growing category of victims of all kinds of microaggressions. And these are the people that are demanding social justice, and by that they mean they want to stop being oppressed by all the oppressors in society. And the more victim categories someone is in, the more empowered that person is, the more important that person is, the more truthful that person is, the more authoritative that person is. If you’re in multiple groups this is a new idea called “intersectionality.” All the segments of victimization come together for you, and your multiple victim status makes you the most authoritative person, the one to be listened to. But if you are not in any victim group, you have nothing to say, “Shut up, and sit down.” That’s where we are. We have an ever-increasing belligerent mass of victims who are defining their lives by what other people have done to them.

At one point, he inexplicably highlights the #metoo movement.

All who die under the judgment of God die for their own sin and not somebody else’s. That is clear and unambiguous. But it is human nature to fight against it to say, “I’m a good person. I’m a good person. There’s just bad people around me who have done bad things to me,” sometimes two hundred years ago, sometimes two generations ago. Sometimes it’s just part of the dominate male chauvinistic culture. Or sometimes it’s just homophobia.

“All this has been done to me.” And so, hashtag, “Me too. I’m a victim.” “Me too, me too. I was abused, I was abused, I was abused.” “Somebody offended me. Somebody made a micro-aggression against me.”

So I’m a victim of certain regional attitudes or gender attitudes, or sexual preference attitudes, or hate speech, or economics, or education. I’m just a victim of intersecting prejudice and oppression, and I’m victim.” I’ve go so many categories I ought to be given a medal of honor for all my categories of victimization.

Everybody’s offended me, people I don’t know. Dead people have offended me, living people have offended me. You offend me. I’m a victim of past injustice and inequity. and present rejection, discrimination, offense. And most of you don’t even know how much you offend me, it’s unconscious. And by the way, if you’re not a victim, then you’re a part of the oppressor group. You must repent. I’m not surprised that exists in the culture, because that’s what Adam said. I mean, that’s how fallen people react. They don’t take responsibility, they just blame somebody else; and they’re perfectly happy to blame God.

When MacArthur makes light of the suffering of real people, it makes his assurances of concern for them ring hollow. Also in this sermon,  he said:

That is not to say that we’re not to love people and live justly, and care for them, and minister to the people who have been treated unfairly and unkindly and mercilessly; we are as Christians. Of course, we are. We are to be known by our love, love to one another and love to the whole world. And we are to be as Christ was to them, caring for them, meeting their needs, ministering to them, loving them. That is a result of salvation. The question is, “Is the social gospel a part of the saving gospel, or is caring for people a result of the gospel?”

I submit you can’t minister to people who have been treated unfairly if, at the same time, you dismiss them or make light of their situation. Part of living justly and treating people fairly is taking them seriously. Ridiculing, belittling, and minimizing the reality of their situation and status in society does not communicate love and concern.

In fact, there is no real conflict between the actual gospel and social justice. African-American pastor Terrance Jones certainly doesn’t believe there is. He attended The Master’s Seminary and is candid about what he experienced at the school. I will leave it to readers to determine the meaning of what Jones shared in his most recent post:

Placement is a unique hallmark of The Master’s Seminary. Not only do they train you to be a pastor, they also serve as a bridge between graduates and churches/ministries around the world. Churches can upload their information and available positions, while students can upload their résumé as they near graduation. When I was a student, the seminary boasted of having a 90% placement rate. This meant that within 6 months of graduating a student could expect to find a staff position within a church/ministry somewhere or enroll in another degree program. What wasn’t discussed with African American students was that we were a part of the 10% that could not be placed in a ministry position. I put my head together with faculty and admissions staff members to figure out the numbers. We determined that by the time I graduated in 2011 the school had only facilitated the placement of approximately 3 African American students in 25 years. According to people connected to TMS since 2011, not much has changed.

The rationale given to me as to why this problem existed was, “black churches don’t want sound doctrine.” What??? Black people do not have a monopoly on bad theology. I can think of several heretics of different ethnicities.

What is it that is keeping those placement rates depressed? Is it the gospel? Surely not! What else could it be?*

After all of this, let me advocate for intentional efforts to right wrongs when we see them. This shouldn’t be controversial or require a dissertation to justify it. When we see a wrong, we need to speak out about it, even if that wrong is being perpetrated or overlooked by people in our tribe, political or religious. Where we disagree about what’s wrong, let’s talk about it like we’re in this together, because whatever you think about the afterlife, we are here now.

*I asked Terrance Jones about how many black students attended the seminary during that time frame and he said about 50. He had reliable information that none had been placed from 2015-2018. Of course, if the school has an official statement on the subject, I would be happy to include it here.

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John MacArthur on Intersectionality and Social Justice

On Wednesday, school president John MacArthur welcomed seminary students to The Master’s Seminary. After he discussed the recent accreditation probation (more on that in this and future posts), he was asked about his recent blog posts about social justice. I have most of the audio of his answer and a transcript of all of it. In it, he goes beyond his recent blog posts to discuss why he believes a focus on social justice is a threat to the gospel. The transcript begins just below and a link to the audio follows the transcript.

Question:
I’ve been keeping up with your blog posts on Grace to You. You’ve been talking about social justice is an issue now. You said Wednesday you’re going to mention what the hindrances to the gospel were entitled with. Do you mind giving us a sneak peak today?

John MacArthur:
Well, that wouldn’t be fair. I’m not going to say … I wrote that already, but … Let me just give it to you in simple form. Obviously, social justice, which means equity in social treatment, right? Social justice means equity in how you’re treated socially. It’s not legal justice. I mean, we believe that all people should have legal justice, justice under the law. That’s never going to happen, either. You got people in prison who didn’t do something they were sentenced to prison for. You’ve got a lot of people who’ve been treated wrongly, even under the law.

But social justice means social equity, making sure everybody gets the social equity. That’s never going to happen in a fallen world, in the best of circumstances. But that is not the church’s concern. Let me tell you what the problem is. The mindset of social justice is that certain people are victims. You will notice what’s called intersectionality. There’s an overlapping victimization pattern coming now. You can see it all in bold relief at the recent Southern Baptist convention.

The LGBTQ people are abused, and abused people, their abused category. So they are victims of discrimination. Women are victims of discrimination. You even have Thabiti Anyabwile, my friend, writing an article apologizing to Beth Moore, for I don’t know what. For being part of the male conspiracy against women, because women have been collectively abused. They’re also victims.

Then you have the racial minority issue, where they have been also victims. When you bring those together, you come up with this new concept of intersectionality, so that it would play out like this. If you are a woman, you’re a part of a victim class. If you’re a black woman, you’re doubly part of the victim class. If you’re a homosexual or lesbian black woman, you are the most empowered human being in this culture. You have moral authority, because you’re in multiple victim classes. So that’s what’s going on.

You see, all those … You got homosexuals, women, men, racial issues, ethnic groups, all mingled together, and now the Southern Baptist convention is apologizing to all of the victims. This I think is a complete disaster for the gospel, because the gospel says you are not a victim. You are a perpetrator of sin and rebellion against God. If you recategorize all those people as victims, you cut them off at the start with the gospel.

Most of these people talking about social justice are concerned about it at the back end of the gospel. You know, are you really a believer if you don’t care about that? Well, of course we care about that. But when you turn people into victims … I talked about the higher rate of abortion among black women in New York City. 75 percent of babies are killed in the womb. I was just afraid, because that was not something that … That was not the biggest issue. That is a big issue. That is murder.

Fornication is sin. Adultery is sin. Homosexuality is sin. Stealing is sin. Lying is sin. Cheating is sin. But if I turn all these people into victims, I’ve cut them off from the essential necessity in the gospel, and that is full culpability for your own sin. So I’m asking these people all the time, why aren’t you preaching against sin, regardless of who they are? Men, women, homosexual identity people, or ethnic groups, whatever they are.

I was thinking about 2 Corinthians, 5:16. Paul says, “We no longer see any man in the flesh. We don’t even see Christ in the flesh.” I don’t see people in the flesh. I see them with the eyes of God. If I stop at their flesh, and get stuck, at that point, I have missed the whole point of the gospel. That what concerns me about the Martin Luther King elevation. The man denied the authority of scripture, denied the trinity, denied the deity of Jesus Christ, denied the gospel, and lived an immoral life. How does he become heroic? Only if you look at him in the flesh.

God doesn’t see him in the flesh. God sees him in his heart attitude toward Him. We went and … people who say they’re evangelicals get completely consumed with the flesh, and with what’s happening in the physical world, and then make those people feel like they’re all victims. This is no good service to them. Are there inequities? You bet. I wrote about them in that first blog. I’ve seen it.

Read the book, The Blood Land. Between Russia and Germany prior to World War II, as many as 15 million people were killed. None of them in a military uniform. None of them in a war. They were just massacred. 15 million people. That takes a lot of work to kill 15 million people, one at a time. Are there atrocities in the world? You bet. Stalin kills 50 million. Hitler kills 6 million Jews. 2,000 Nigerians are slaughtered in the last week.
This is a tough place to live. Sin has consequence. It has social consequence. It has deadly consequence. I’m not denying the curse of Adam. I’m not denying that the sins of the fathers are visited upon the third and fourth generation. This is a sinful generation right here. Sinful fathers in this generation are going to make life really difficult for the next three, four generations. But nobody ever went to hell for the sin of Adam. Nobody ever went to hell for the sins of the fathers. They go because they believe not in Christ, and because they haven’t confronted their own sin in an honest way.

So all this talk is simply looking at people on a fleshly level, and that’s the wrong look. That’s why it’s not a gospel reality, because it stops the gospel dead in its tracks at the start. You are not a victim. You are a perpetrator of sin against God, and in all.

The Bible warns, and I’ll get into this Sunday morning, but if you’re a watchman, and you don’t warn, the blood of those people is on your hands. If these people have a message, the message ought to be forget the history, forget the past, forget what went wrong, forget a fallen world … You better deal with your sin. That’s gospel. Turning people into victims is not gospel.

That just confuses everything, because all among us, let’s be honest … You’re letting them blame God. This is not new. Adam, what did he say? The woman … He didn’t blame me. He went to sleep single. He did not pick Eve. She showed up, by the creative power of God. I’m in the mess I’m in because of you. That’s where it has to go. Then you have to convince some person that there’s a good, gracious, loving God in heaven, who has turned you into a victim.

How in the world can reformed people believe this when they believe that God is sovereign over absolutely everything, and never does evil? This so confounds the gospel at its basic premise of the personal, individual sinfulness of every person. I’m going to preach on Ezekiel 18 eventually, once I get all this going.

God says, “Every soul is mine.” Wow. “Every person is mine. I’m behind your life. I have directed that life, and I hold you completely responsibility to repent.” That’s the message of the gospel. That’s the message that must be preached. That’s the message that Ezekiel preaches in chapter 18, and at the end he says, “Forget about blaming somebody else, and repent.” Great gospel chapter.

This sounds, especially in the beginning, like Jordan Peterson’s discussion of intersectionality (about 3:40 into this video).

It is hard for me to see how it can be wrong to strive for equal social treatment for all. One may advocate for traditional Christian redemption and for equal social treatment at the same time without doing violence to either one. Where Christians have failed to treat others the way we want to be treated, remorse and apologies are in order. I learned that in kindergarten (well preschool, because I was evicted from preschool since I hadn’t learned that yet). Being honest about historical facts (e.g., native Americans and the trail of tears, or slavery or the captivity of Japanese) doesn’t compromise the gospel.

Audio of MacArthur’s answer on social justice.

MacArthur’s blog where you can follow his thoughts on Social Justice.

A critical response to MacArthur’s series on Social Justice posted Wednesday by TMUS alum Terrance Jones.

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The Master’s University Placed on Probation by Regional Accrediting Organization

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges has placed The Master’s University on probation, citing a “climate of fear, intimidation, bullying, and uncertainty among significant numbers of faculty and staff” among many other concerns.  Grace to You preacher John MacArthur is also the current president of TMU.

Read the letter outlining the action steps required for TMU

The school must address issues in four broad areas to maintain accreditation. These concerns include board independence, personnel and management practice, operational integrity and leadership. Specifically, the action letter from the WASC says “The institution does not meet the WSCUC requirement for governing board independence since many members of the Board are employed by the institution or another organization for which the president has authority.” When board members report to the president in another capacity, they cannot truly supervise the president or carry out their fiduciary responsibility as board members.

Of particular concern is a finding of conflict of interest involving president’s son-in-law Kory Welch who functions as an administrator. According to the action letter, this individual oversees contracts which have gone to friends and relatives.

There is also mixing of staff and payments between MacArthur’s ministry Grace to You and TMU. For instance, on the 2015 990 form for Grace to You, MacArthur’s son-in-law Kory Welch’s businesses were awarded nearly $790,000 for contract work.

According to the report, the conflict of interest had been known for six months without any action. This was not acceptable to the accrediting commission and they recommended the school seek legal counsel to “insure resolution of all reported conflicts of interest.” (p. 44 of the report)

The school has two years to remedy these matters. The WASC will send a team back to the school in November of this year to check on progress.

TMU Action Letter

TMU Accreditation Report

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