“How did you go bankrupt? Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

You are probably aware of the serious controversy that is presently revolving around John Mac Arthur and Grace Community Church. This is but one of several controversies that involve Mac Arthur.  Interestingly, one of the other recent contentious issues has been about Mac Arthur’s comments about Beth Moore.   They are both connected![1] 

I would argue that the cause of both controversies is ideological!

Some ministry leaders and pastors are ideologues — that is, it is an ideology that drives their outlook and comments.  It is no different from the political world.  The reason some political figures take the road they are on, and/or refuse to change course, is because an ideology controls what they see and how they think.  While “the average working man or woman” knows how crazy it is to be doing this-or-that, the ideology controls the decisions being made, even to “crazy.”

Likewise, men like John Mac Arthur hold to an ideology that controls what they see and think.  In this case it is complementarianism. . . . 

Generally, “Complementarianism is the theological view that although men and women are created equal in their being and personhood, they are created to complement each other via different roles and responsibilities as manifested in marriage, family life, religious leadership, and elsewhere.” [2]

Mac Arthur sees life through that set of glasses and therefore implies that Beth Moore should “go home.” The words “go home” suggest a more harsh directive than merely returning to your home — The woman’s place is in the home, not in seminars and speaking venues where the Bible is taught.  Men teach the Bible! Period. Stop. End of Sentence.

My point is not to debate “complementarian” vs. “egalitarian,” or to argue for any position along the continuum.  Rather, it is to point out that this is what happens when an ideology colors how you see and think. 

When an ideology so rules what one sees and thinks, even the most offensive actions are not seen for what they are!  The ideology naturally and obviously results in both “Go home,” as well as the most recent repulsive revelation relating to marital counseling — and no surprise, specifically to the wife and mother! [3]

How? Ideology! Merely read the advice given to the wife and mother in an abusive family situation, and you will understand the authoritative and influential sway of ideological thinking . . .  (and it gets even sadder! [5])

Even when such family counseling violates what “the average Christian man or woman” realizes as wrong — if not outrageous — for the ideologue, there is no pause or compunction about walking onto that road.  “You said what to that wife and mother!”  — is the average Christian’s response! And I would suggest that” the common man or woman’s response” will severely damage Mac Arthur’s ministry in the end!

When a system of thought, a particular doctrinal position, and/or the preeminence of a particular biblical truth blinds — ideological choices and decisions rule the day. The ideology is in control, and it controls the way one sees and thinks — and what one says and how one preaches.  It affects one’s hermeneutics,  homiletics, and pragmatics — one’s interpretation of Scripture, what is preached in the pulpit, and how that works itself out in life.  [4]

At times, we are confused about how someone could say or do what they have said or done in a ministry or a local church. The answer may be more simple than we understand — It is ideologically driven! A system of thought, an ideology, a theological dogma is driving the car. That ideology controls the conversation among the passengers and what roads are taken in a ministry — and even who we are willing to run over on the road.

While the outrage may seem sudden, it was actually gradually heading that way for years!

“How did you go bankrupt?”
Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

P.S.  Even Sadder! [5]

  1. “Friel [the moderator at the 2019 GCC conference] explained that he would say a word and then let each of them give a one word or short answer response to that word. MacArthur joked that he felt like he was being set up before giving his answer to Friel’s first word “Beth Moore.” The well-respected pastor responded, “Go home.” A chorus of laughter and gasps filled the room. . . .

    MacArthur then said he would like to add one more thing to his comment regarding Beth Moore, comparing her to a Home Shopping Network jewelry salesperson.

    “Just because you have the skill to sell jewelry on the tv sales channel doesn’t mean you should be preaching,” MacArthur said. “There are people who have certain hawking skills—natural abilities to sell—they have energy and personality and all of that—umm, that doesn’t qualify you to preach.”
    “Dr. MacArthur, Beth Moore?”
    “How many words do I get?” MacArthur asked.
    “Go home. There is no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher – period, paragraph, end of discussion,”


Link: Beth Moore:

I’m going to tell y’all a story because I think this is important and enough time is gone by that I hope it will be obvious it’s not meant to be self-serving. After a certain public mockery at a pastors conference, I was literally heartsick for the ones who had done it. I thought how miserable they must be for having ridiculed a sister in Christ publicly like that. I knew what I was going to say when they contacted me because it would have been completely sincere: I was going to say I knew what it was like to let your mouth get away from you & I forgive you without hesitation. But that contact never came. It baffled me and made me sad because I believed them to be people of spiritual integrity even if I did not see eye to eye with them. That they felt no need to apologize was more worrisome to me than the ridicule.

Y’all, this isn’t a game. These things matter to the Lord. We are followers of Jesus. Not one of us is exempt from conviction of sin and the responsibility and right, thank God, by the blood of Christ and power of his cross, to repent. We need an awakening of integrity. I need one.

2. https://www.christianity.com/wiki/christian-terms/what-are-complementarianism-and-egalitarianism-what-s-the-difference.html

3.  Julie Roys: John MacArthur Shamed, Excommunicated Mother for Refusing to Take Back Child Abuser

4. “Theological Ideology” produces John Mac Arthurs and John Pipers.  It also creates a “Piped Piper” — complete with followers who see what the Bible supposedly teaches through his “theological ideological eyes!”  Interesting, both John Piper and John Mac Arthur are embroiled in serious controversies, if not scandals, because of ideological positions which have led to it!  With Piper, and sadly many others, it is Calvinism or “New/ Neo Calvinism” that is driving the car.



Roys Report: Perhaps one of the saddest dynamics operating was as was stated in one of the 1000’s of tweets — Where were God’s people who stood up and spoke up? — “So all 8,000 people at GCC did nothing to help her?”

3 thoughts on ““How did you go bankrupt? Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

  1. To operate on that level as a “Christian?” organization is really on the level of a trinket and t-shirt sale in a gas station parking lot…(in nice suits though)…Too harsh Ted?


    1. I think what Mac Arthur did was terrible…..your comment is soft compared to the response by so many who expect more grace… ….. “Grace to you” but apparently not to his members!

      Liked by 1 person

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