John MacArthur Doesn’t Know Any Evangelical Churches Which Disrespect Minorities

Possibly in response to reaction to his remarks to seminary students last week, John MacArthur took a more conciliatory tone in his most recent blog post on social justice. Published Monday August 27, MacArthur said, “I do not relish controversy, and I particularly dislike engaging in polemical battles with other evangelical Christians.” However, he defended his stance on social justice saying, “But as my previous posts in this series demonstrate, when the gospel is under attack from within the visible church, such controversy is necessary.”

About racism, MacArthur wrote:

Racism is a stain on American history that has left shame, injustice, and horrible violence in its wake. The institution of slavery and a costly civil war left a deep racial divide and bred bitter resentment on every side. No sensible person would suggest that all the vestiges of those evils were totally erased by the civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century. Civil rights legislation now guards the legal principle of equal rights for all Americans, but no law can change the heart of someone who is filled with prejudice or bitterness.

In the next passage, he seems to move from understanding the ravages of racism in our history to not understanding it.

As Christians we know that the human heart is evil, so undoubtedly there are still people who secretly harbor animosity against ethnicities other than their own. But any open expression of acrimony, ill will, or deliberate antagonism across ethnic lines will be scorned and emphatically rejected across the whole spectrum of mainstream American life today.

Of course, people everywhere still tend to be oblivious to or inconsiderate of customs, traditions, community values, and ethnic differences outside their own culture. Culture clash is a universal problem, not a uniquely American quandary—and it’s not necessarily an expression of ethnic hostility. But Americans’ contempt for racial bigotry is now so acute that even accidental cultural or ethnic insensitivity is regularly met with the same resentment as blind, angry racism—and even a simple social gaffe is likely to be treated the same as bigotry. There are people—increasing numbers of them—so obsessed with this issue that they seem able to find proof of racism in practically everything that is said or done by anyone who doesn’t share their worldview.

I understand when fallen, worldly people filled with resentment lash out at others that way. I don’t understand why Bible-believing Christians would take up that cause. I thought the evangelical church was living out true unity in Christ without regard for race. That has certainly been my experience in every church I’ve ever been part of, and it’s also what I have seen in the wider evangelical world. I don’t know of any authentically evangelical church where people would be excluded or even disrespected because of their ethnicity or skin color. Just last Sunday night—as we do every month—we received about a hundred new members into Grace Church. It was another testimony to God’s love crossing all ethnic lines, as the group was composed of Hispanics, Filipinos, Chinese, Ugandans, Nigerians, Mongolians, Koreans, Ukrainians, Armenians, Lithuanians, Russians, Austrians, people of Arabic descent, as well as black and white Americans.

It seems to me that there are many minority brothers and sisters who have been crying out in the church hoping that establishment white preachers will listen to the disrespect and exclusion that they experience. MacArthur says in this paragraph that he doesn’t know any “authentically evangelical church” where this is happening. One of his alums, Terrance Jones, wrote a response to one of his blog posts recently. I wonder if he read it.

When he says those who seek racial reconciliation are a disaster for the gospel, I suspect they feel disrespected. Perhaps, white pastors who dismiss minority voices should listen first and speak later, much later.

Furthermore, look and listen to the culture. We have a president who has hosted 100 evangelical big names last night who early in his term said there were “very fine people” among neo-Nazi demonstrators. That same president prefers immigrants from white Norway versus black and brown “s***hole countries.” These same evangelical leaders give this president the highest praise.

When evangelical leaders are silent when the president or other elected leaders divide us through their racism or xenophobia, somebody must come along side them. Social justice minded Christians have done so. What good does MacArthur’s criticism do?

MacArthur finishes his post by criticizing apologies to groups for past wrongs.

So by this view of “social justice,” a person’s skin color might automatically require a public expression of repentance—not merely for the evils of whatever culture his ancestors were part of, but also for specific crimes he cannot possibly have been guilty of.

There’s nothing remotely “just” about that idea, and certainly nothing related to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The answer to every evil in every heart is not repentance for what someone else may have done, but repentance for our own sins, including hatred, anger, bitterness, or any other sinful attitude or behavior.

When it comes to personal salvation, of course individual repentance is necessary. However, no social justice advocate I know ever promoted public repentance as a way to salvation. This is a straw man.

Taking it a bit further, the value of representatives of government or of a church saying we were wrong is symbolic and can be healing. Individual leaders took actions on behalf of organizations or nations. Leaders today should lead those organizations and nations and say those actions were wrong. For instance, I am a supporter of the Native American Apology Resolution.  Conservative Christian Sam Brownback pushed it through Congress when he was a Senator and it was signed by Barack Obama (even though it was never really publicized well).

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

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Image: The Master’s University, by Lukasinla [GFDL ( or CC BY 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons 

134 thoughts on “John MacArthur Doesn’t Know Any Evangelical Churches Which Disrespect Minorities”

  1. “John MacArthur Doesn’t Know Any Evangelical Churches Which Disrespect Minorities” They generally do it in the voting booth…

  2. As a white Christian very close with the black community, my observation is that racial equality and white privilege are subjects that rarely if ever enter the mind of white Christians. I’d venture to say that most whites are oblivious to white privilege and could not define or recognize it if they were asked to. This is one reason why Christian churches should engage in fighting racial injustice–so at least Christians will recognize it when they see it. Being white means never having to think about race. It means being able to correctly assume that wherever they go to eat, to work, to play, to vacation, their race will never be a problem. Most whites have no comprehension that everyone except white people have to think about these things every single day. This is why JM can say he has never seen an openly biased white church–because like most whites, he is wearing the white glasses of oblivion that would not see bias if it slapped them in the face.

    1. I was going to ask you what specifically you meant by ‘white privilege’,although I see you have highlighted what you believe it to be.

      And it has elements of truth in it ,but attempts to portray ‘whites’ as uniquely racist,that’s just not true,any minority ethnicity will experience some form of racism from another majority ethnic group.
      North America and Europe being at the forefront of attempting to address the historic racial mistreatment of black peoples ancestors.

      Where as in south America, for example Mexico where institutional racism towards black people is openly (people of colour).

      In fact I’m always amazed that the U.S is uniquely held up as the main protagonist in the slavery of Africans,it took around 200’000 of the 12.8 million African slaves from the transatlantic slave trade and slavery was abolished within 78 years of the founding of the U.S.A ,over 500’000 people dying in the war to end it.

      Whereas the Spanish(Those ‘people of colour’,Spain technically part of Africa) Portuguese and French received over 10.7 million slaves.

      Next stop,the Islamic slave trade,still occurring today,mandated by the un-abrogatable ‘final prophesy’.

      If your going to base your comments on racist divisive lazy vague stereotypes, you can at least be consistent.

        1. That was essentially your response. But hey, you’ve heard it a ‘gazillion’ times so you must be right.

    2. Oh yeah,just seen some FBI crime statistics for 2016,black males despite them only representing 6% of the population committed much MUCH more hate crimes(3x more) than whites and have way more hate groups assigned to them by the SPLC.

      Your claims are the absurd parroting of some ‘liberal’/leftist racist cult that bears no resemblance to reality.

  3. Why not an article on Mormonism and racism?

    2 NEPHI 5:21

    And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

    1. If you want to learn about racism in the Mormon church, may I suggest the Mormon Stories podcast? It probably has… gosh, at /least/ 20 hours of interviews with historians (both Mormon and non-Mormon) & ordinary Mormons on this exact subject.

      The guy who runs it was excommunicated from the church because he wouldn’t stop criticizing it, but much of the content was produced when he still desperately wanted to believe; and whether you’re listening to a pre- or post-excommunication episode, you’ll get a host who knows his stuff, is scrupulously fair, and asks the right questions.

      I highly recommend it.

      1. WhatUP doesn’t care about racism in the Mormon Church. That comment was his sardonic way of saying that he thinks Warren is overly critical of the Christian Church. His really big concern is figuring out how he can upvote his own comments more than once 😉

        1. Haha! I figured, but I know a bunch about Mormon history and culture, and I’m a big enough nerd to seize *any* excuse to go “Well, friend, that’s a /fascinating/ subject — let me tell you where you can go to learn more about it.”

        2. Haha! I figured, but I know a bunch about Mormon history and culture, and I’m a big enough nerd to seize *any* excuse to go “Well, friend, that’s a /fascinating/ subject — let me tell you where you can go to learn more about it.”

  4. I can’t wait to read what MacArthur has to say about the movement to rectify the mistreatment and minimization of women (and children) in evangelical churches. Oh wait – he’s not going to address it??

    1. ROTFL! He’ll never address it. Women and children are just above inanimate objects in the world of John MacArthur and his buddies.

    2. How about in MacArthur’s own university, just for starters?

      And then there’s Driscoll the Despicable:

      And let’s not forget Sovereign Grace Ministries (or whatever they’re calling themselves now):

      That’s just scratching the surface. There are many other examples.

  5. MacArthur might benefit from meeting with the Rev. Dr. William Barber III , who makes an excellent argument for saying that America is in the middle of, and must go through a “Second Reconstruction”. This idea makes even more sense when one reads the defensive rationalizing mush written by John MacArthur.

  6. John MacArthur’s commentary is further evidence that a Master’s Degree in Divinity from 1963 does not qualify him to speak with authority about race relations, past or present. He does not know enough to comprehend just how much he does not know or understand.

  7. Wow, it appears MacArthur has no sense of the history of racism that occured after the Civil War, and thru every decade of our history since. If public repentance and restitution are not the biblical pattern of the Gospel in the Early Church, what is?? I kind of respect him for his stance against the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ and ‘Charismatic’ excesses, but he losses me with his ‘Anti-Social Gospel’ stance. If ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you’, isn’t the root of Jesus’ practical way of expressing Our Father’s Love publicly to the society we live in … then what the heck is it? Sounds like a social gospel to me. A ‘Gospel” without social consequences was one of the root maintainers of slavery … it’s really pretty simple to figure out that a significant portion of Evangelical Christians have harbored racial hatred decade after decade thru the Great Depression, New Deal, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights era, and Obama’s presidency, culminating in the strong ‘white supremacy’ vote for Trump. That’s no accident and he (Trump) only half-heartedly repudiates them. If every Christian who claims to be ‘not a racist’, really wasn’t … most of America’s racial problem would’ve been over long ago … but it isn’t, not by a long shot. Praying that will change during my lifetime, I’m 62, might not happen.

    1. He is quite the hypocrite when it comes to the “Prosperity Gospel.” His estimated net worth is over $12 mil. so he is raking in more Mammon than most of the “Prosperity Gospel” preachers. He has paid many millions to his son-in-law and his school is on probation because of nepotism. He is making more Mammon then many of those with the Charismatic excesses, which do exist. The existence of those excesses do not negate the fact that the Holy Spirit owns all of the Spiritual Gifts. I think his highest crime has been telling the Holy Spirit where He can shove His gifts just because other men who are just as greedy and fake as MacArthur are pretending to have gifts that they do not actually have. The proof is not in what a man says but what he does. Jesus told us to judge by fruit, not by how much we like the message. I find very few Christians willing to obey Jesus in this way. We will put up with all kinds of evil in our beloved New Pharisees and Scribes as long as they keep telling us what we want to hear.

  8. “I thought the evangelical church was living out true unity in Christ without regard for race.”

    I imagine it’s easy to think that – and to see yourself as being gracious and ‘inclusive’ – when you are a member of the group which actually holds power in the church. I do wonder if MacArthur would hold to that thinking if he was part of an “evangelical church” where 1) his ethnic group was in the minority, and 2) he was just a regular pew-sitter, without status or recognition in that place.

  9. He had me with “authentically evangelical church.” Any evangelical church that embarrasses him is not longer “authentic” because he says it’s not?

  10. I attend a church of several hundred in a large, multicultural city on the West Coast. We (most of us) are working hard on reaching our neighbors, who are mostly Latino, East Indian and Chinese. We get the occasional African-American family as well. I have been horrified to see our white (still the majority) members shifting to other pews when these folks have sat down. I couldn’t believe it, and it makes me so angry I could just pop. It was addressed in a recent sermon, so I am hopeful there will be changed hearts. Our leadership is very proactive about the changing demographics of our neighborhood, but many of the older Anglo members are not. It makes me very sad.

    1. Yeah, it struck me when reading the article that just because a church doesn’t officially condone racism, doesn’t mean there isn’t a sizeable proportion of racists (overt or otherwise) in the congregation.

      Overt racism isn’t nearly the problem it used to be decades ago (well, before Trump anyway), but minorities continue to suffer from the kinds of conscious and subconscious bias that make their lives more difficult — getting bank loans, finding rented accommodation, having the police called on them, unequal justice at all levels of the criminal justice system, and so on. There is no reason for churches of any kind to stop speaking out on these issues, whether or not their own church has them.

      1. Do you think their astronomically high violent crime and murder rates they commit in relation to their representation in the populace has anything to do with some of the claims you made?

  11. I spent two years working for the Navajo Tribe, helping to set up a health care followup system for elderly Navajos throughout the reservation. My husband worked as a physician at the Gallup Indian Medical Center. Thank you for supporting the Native American Apology Resolution. I left the reservation with a hole in my heart since those I worked with shared their thoughts on being Navajo in a culture that has largely forgotten why there are reservations. Thank you for not forgetting.

    1. Do you believe ‘first nation’ Europeans should have autonomy over their nations,who enters their borders,which cultures and religions are practiced and established within them?

        1. It wasn’t my point,although Europeans granted them that autonomy concerning the land they have.

          My point was why do ‘liberals’ object to Europeans in Europe having the same autonomy?

          ” Being white means never having to think about race. It means being able to correctly assume that wherever they go to eat, to work, to play, to vacation, their race will never be a problem.”


          In 2013, of the approximately 660,000 crimes of interracial violence that involved blacks and whites, blacks were the perpetrators 85 percent of the time. This meant a black person was 27 times more likely to attack a white person than vice versa.

        2. I notice you constantly upvote’liberal’ comments on another Disqus site,but never comment,well here’s your opportunity,and your mia,you really can’t survive outside your natural habitat ..a whining’liberal’/leftist echo chamber, can you.

          1. It’s noticeable that you ‘joined’ Disqus on Aug. 28, 2018, have written 81 comments and have no recommends. Your avatar says “Ban Islam”. Islam is not a problem. You are a pesky problem – like a mosquito.

            Be kind: “Ban Bing bing bong”

          2. ‘Islam isn’t a problem’…bwwwhahaaalol…did you really just write that? so other than every mainstream sect of Islam promoting a codified doctrine endorsed by it’s final ‘prophet’ to kill(murder) all apostates from it ..oh and the 35’000 terror attacks motivated by it since 9/11 which cloistered ‘liberal’ ivory tower is it not a problem?

            P.s I don’t gauge the authenticity of what I write by the approval of others

        3. Yep, didn’t think you would fancy showing up in person to defend your absurdly hypocritical opinions.

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