4 Questions Worth Asking John Mac Arthur


Of course, there will be no response from John Mac Arthur — at least at this time. Maybe later, subtly and covertly, he will justify and excuse what was done, at a time “foggily removed” from this terrible failure of grace — after people forget “Grace to You,” but not to her.” [1]

Too often, “Going Dark” is not an example of genuine godliness, but is merely a cloak of humility and/or suffering for Jesus. After all, what does a man like John Mac Arthur say to make such actions and words palatable to anyone who listens to what happened, other than a sincere apology. 

Most realize that an apology is not going to happen. Not because it is not in order; it is! Even his supporters can only say — “It is terrible (BUT we all make mistakes).” [2] “It was years ago!” [3]

Most sincere people realize that “Going Dark” is a strategy, not spirituality. Few are deceived as to what is happening. It is not an example of “powering under,” but a subtle way to “power over” brothers and sisters in Christ. . . . . and those who “Go Dark” are not “just like Jesus.” It is the world, not our Lord, no matter how much it is justified using a biblical proof text – i.e. “He opened not His mouth.”


Some Questions Worth Asking:

#1) Why broach an issue of “church discipline” before communion, as God’s people seek to prepare their hearts for one of the most meaningful sacraments of the body of Christ.

#2) Why go public? Why not call an all-church membership meeting to deal with such issues? Is church discipline a public or membership polity concern? Surely there were many who were present who had no awareness or involvement, maybe even those who knew not Christ as their Saviour.

#3) Why publicly include ANY of the sorted details? If you were going to speak publicly about the matter, would it have been sufficient to indicate that Elieen Gray has been removed from the church’s membership in very general terms?

4) Why by-pass the biblical standards? If Matthew 18 is the primary passage that is being used to define the practice of church discipline, follow what it states. . . . 

“tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican”

√ tell it unto the church

You are to inform the church, the local body of believers, not the public. Church discipline is an internal matter. It is just as one would do were a pastor called out for wrong-doing or dismissal. It is called the Royal Law – James 2:8

√ but if he/she neglect to hear the church

“The church” is to be brought into the matter and allowed to come to a consensus. “The church” means precisely that, “the church.” It is not the pastor or deacons, but “the church” is the final arbiter.

The Scriptures do not teach that there is an individual or a group of individuals who speak on behalf of the uniformed church, but it is the church that hears the matter and is then heard. 

The addressing of an issue by “one or two” allows any leadership to move an issue forward, on to “the church.”

“The church” hears the matter, fully and fairly, and comes to a joint decision and communicates that decision to the offender. 

“The church” is given the opportunity to hear the offender and the offended before making a decision, just as the original one, and then one or two more, were given the opportunity,

“The church” not only communicates that joint decision, but allows an opportunity for that individual to hear or not hear their conclusion — “if he/she neglect to hear the church.” 


Why bypass biblical instruction? There are reasons for by-passing the stated procedures; it is called control!

There is no reason not to follow what the Scriptures clearly outline as the steps for church discipline.

It is often argued that many churches do not engage in church discipline as they ought.  It may be equally argued that when churches do engage in church discipline, they woefully fail at following the biblical guidelines!  They use Matthew 18 as a weapon to control or silence what has actually taken place. 

Typically, the method is to skirt around the guidelines, while maintaining a semblance of biblical obedience.

One of the methods is to propagate the idea that an individual or a group of individuals can replace “the church” and/or speak for “the church.”  “The church” is now the Sr. Pastor, or the deacons/elders.  That avoids having “the church” hear the details or facts of a situation.  It avoids having the whole truth heard.  It avoids questions and questioning the given answers.  It is sinful manipulation. [4] [5]



  1. The theme of Mac Arthur’s Shepherds’ Conference, March 2022, was “Unashamed.” I imagine the public shaming Elieen Gray before serving the Lord’s Supper is an example of that theme.
  2. Yes, we all do make mistakes in ministry, but we do not all “Go Dark” when called to account. Some have the godliness and self-dignity to apologize and to show some moral courage to admit wrong-doing. That is what differentiates the genuine and the disingenuous, the mature and self-serving.
  3. Yep, just like President Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, et al. — until it is your family, loved one, daughter, mother, sister . . . . . .
  4.  Those who change church policies, the church’s constitution, rewrite the by-laws, and/or just change historical & biblical practice regarding church discipline, to increase control, ought not to be given the respect as shepherds, pastors, or deacons. “They care not for the flock,” they care for themselves!
  5. Oh, after those questions, could you also tell us why you need 3 million dolllar homes?

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