of not caring for his congregation, because he insists on having in-person worship services at Grace Community Church
in the midst of California's COVID "crisis."
That false accusation is easily refuted.
I first posted this story here over three years ago:
Those who know John only from a distance know him as a Bible teacher, either through sermons or his books. It will doubtless be the legacy for which history recognizes him in future decades.
But that picture of him, while accurate, will be incomplete.
John MacArthur is an exemplary pastor in a way you wouldn’t guess from a distance. He is remarkably faithful to his flock.
His worldwide prominence has not made him aloof.
To the contrary.
He makes hospital visits. He officiates funerals. He gives private counsel. He makes calls to those in distress. He shares financially with those in need.
I testify as a direct eyewitness to it all.
In fact, the routine while I was at GCC for nearly 20 years was invariably this.
John was the first one on the scene in a time of need. He had often come and gone before another elder or pastor arrived for their time of ministry.
One such occasion was November 17, 2008. Bill Merrill, the 49-year old vice president for development and general counsel with The Master’s College, had a massive heart attack and was pronounced dead at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital a short time later.
Bill was a close friend. I still miss him.
When I arrived at the hospital, John was already there with Bill's wife and others. He was just leaving with them.
You might think John was headed home, having done his duty.
You’d be mistaken.
John spent *several* hours late into the night with Bill's shocked and grieving family at their home.
My wife and I were there. I saw it first hand.
John was a comforting but not dominating presence during that time. He spoke kindly to Bill's bewildered children. He interacted calmly and sympathetically with all the guests.
John wasn’t posing for publicity that night.
No news media or cameras were there.
It’s just who John is.
A few days later, John conducted the funeral.
You’d think he was finished and moved on.
You’d be mistaken because you don’t know John MacArthur the pastor.
In the days that followed, he often reached out to Bill's family. In the midst of all his other responsibilities, John faithfully ministered to those heartbroken lambs for months before they eventually re-located out of southern California to move on with their lives.
That story is only one insight into his overall pastoral care.
If you do the math, there are at least 500,000 other pastoral stories left untold in this life.
They reflect the unassuming interaction of a pastor with his large flock of over 50 years.
So who loves whom here?
Friends, let’s flash forward to today.
John MacArthur has been the pastor of GCC longer than most of his critics (and many of his fellow elders) have even been alive.
No one on earth loves those people more than he.
Most of John’s critics have never even been to GCC, let alone shared in the ministry for a single day.
While others stand apart from John, John is standing tall among his flock as their shepherd.
Who loves whom here?
After His resurrection, Jesus Christ told Peter to "Tend My lambs" (John 21:15).
John MacArthur has been doing exactly that, at one church, in one location, for over 51 years.
Who loves whom here?
No wonder his congregation at GCC wants to be with him in-person every chance they can.
He's forgotten more about pastoral love than many lesser pastors practice in a lifetime.
Today’s critics only embarrass themselves for suggesting anything to the contrary.