Thabiti Anyabwile and TGC Have Lost Their Way, Racial Relations Suffer a Setback

By | April 9, 2018

“We Await Repentance for Assassinating Dr. King”

“My white neighbors and Christian brethren can start by at least saying their parents and grandparents and this country are complicit in murdering a man who only preached love and justice.”

“I’m saying the entire society killed Dr. King.”

“The Civil Rights leaders standing on the balcony on that dark day pointed not only to Ray and the area where the shot was fired, but figuratively pointed to the entire country in its sinister hatred and racism.”

“I don’t need all white people to feel guilty about the 1950s and 60s—especially those who weren’t even alive.”

-Thabiti Anyabwile, from his article:
“We Await Repentance for Assassinating Dr. King”


Whether intentionally or not, Thabiti Anyabwile delivered a below-the-belt shot to white, American Christians with his article of April 4, 2018, found on the Gospel Coalition website. With his broad-brush statements quoted above Pastor Anyabwile has done a good job of destroying gospel coalitions, increasing racial vitriol and incriminating all of white America for the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Although Pastor Anyabwile did find it in his heart to excuse the whites who were not yet born during the 1950s and 60s from having to feel guilty, since I was 10-years-old at the time Dr. King was assassinated I am not one of the fortunate ones who escaped the ire of Pastor Anyabwile. He is waiting for me to “at least” admit I, my parents, and my grandparents are complicit in murdering Dr. King. (What is the “most” I could do is left unsaid.)

While I am unsure who the “we” is in Pastor Anyabwile’s title “We Await Repentance for Assassinating Dr. King,” I will only say that Pastor Anyabwile will be waiting a long time for me to repent of an act that neither I, my parents, or my grandparents committed. Further, I reject Pastor Anyabwile’s contention that I am complicit in the murder of Dr. King. I subscribe to the following quote by President Ronald Reagan:

“We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”

Take a look at the photo below. I count twelve whites marching with Dr. King. There were many whites who supported Dr. King’s efforts and believed strongly in his dream of racial equality and an end to racism. Would Pastor Anyabwile have us believe all these individuals were complicit in Dr. King’s murder?

Dr. James White has recently responded to Pastor Anyabwile’s article, as well as other similar comments made by speakers at the ERLC sponsored “MLK50” conference on his “Dividing Line” podcast. His response is lengthy and thorough and I agreed with his critique. If you have forty-five minutes you can watch the video here. Alternately, you may listen to a brief highlight I have recorded from the program below.



Dr. White, in his broadcast, mentioned an article which I found to be great. (To put it in the common vernacular, the author “nailed it.”) Written by Joshua Sommer and titled “Thabiti and TGC: A Response,” Mr. Sommer states:

Thabiti recently wrote two articles. The first article is about white people and their responsibility in the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The second article is a follow-up to the first, as a result of blow back.

…If you thought his words in the first article were rather odd and even unbiblical, the second article might have you scratching your head even more. Thabiti realized people were upset because of his first article. Who wouldn’t be? (He just called a bunch of people’s loved ones criminals). But he doesn’t acknowledge any of this in his follow-up article. Instead, he paints those upset people as people responding solely to the more reasonable things he said in his first article. The problem, however, is the majority of people responding to his article were responding to the paragraphs quoted above.

…The first words of his follow-up do not even begin to fathom the depths of the wounds he’s opened in the minds of some. He has only deepened the chasm of division and has given racial reconciliation a poor prognosis.

…Demonstrably, this does not get at the heart of Thabiti’s issue in his previous article. He did not address the most inflammatory part of his piece, namely, that white Christians need to recognize the sins of their parents and grandparents. And, by the way, he assumes this based on people’s skin color (last I checked, this is textbook racism at work). As I mentioned above, hasty generalizations will get us nowhere. And here, Thabiti has wounded the discussion, and the people on the “other side,” more than he’s helped fix or reconcile anything.

…Again, Thabiti is inaccurately characterizing his own article. No one is angry because he said there was racism in the 1950s and 60s. Everyone knows that. No one is denying that it was a racist behind the assassination of MLK. No one is denying the various supremacy groups during that time and before. Rather, people are upset that he has mischaracterized a biblical definition of sin, making a group of people guilty of the sin of one man, without exception.

This is not New Covenant justice.

People are upset that, without qualification, Thabiti has condemned a swath of people without warrant. It was my parents that taught me not to judge people based on mere outward appearances; it was my parents who taught me to love people; it was my parents who taught me racism was wicked. There are many who are offended at these articles for this very basic, emotional, reason. I’m sure many others thought of a grandparent or parent who has been influential in their lives, for the better, as they read Thabiti’s harsh (and inaccurate) words.

So, Thabiti wrote something inflammatory in his first article that actually worked to degrade the situation. Then, in his second article, he soft-peddled his first article to get himself off the hook and to make the angered party look bad.

In my opinion, Pastor Anyabwile has succeeded in looking like more of a radical than Malcolm X. At least Malcolm X had sense enough not to label the entire white race of the United States racists:

Malcolm first began to reexamine the black-white relationship, according to his own account, in Jedda in 1964 en route to the holy city of Mecca. “I’ve had enough of someone else’s propaganda,” he wrote to a friend. “I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” In effect, he came to distinguish between whites and white racists. “I don’t speak against the sincere, well-meaning, good white people,” he said publicly. “I have learned that there are some. I have learned that not all white people are racists. I am speaking and my fight is against white racists.”

-Malcolm X, “The Fantasy of Black Nationalism”

Thabiti Anyabwile is not only a plenary speaker at the upcoming T4G conference later this week, he will also be taking part in a panel discussion titled “50 Years After MLK.” Although to date, no one has been able to convince Pastor Anyabwile to cease his unwavering support for C.J. Mahaney (scheduled to be a plenary speaker at T4G, Mahaney was pressured to withdraw from the conference for credible evidence of his covering up the sexual abuse of children in the Sovereign Grace Churches denomination. This makes 2 out of the last 3 conferences Mahaney has had to withdraw from) I hold out hope that Anyabwile will have the discernment to step away from the racist comments expressed in his article and build bridges towards unity rather than blowing them up.


Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep Christians apart. Anything which can divide saints from one another he delights in. He attaches far more importance to godly intercourse than we do. Since union is strength, he does his best to promote separation.
-Charles Spurgeon

My daughter attended a church service today where, in my opinion, the pastors did an excellent job discussing the sin of racism. Pastor John K. Jenkins, Sr., Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Glenarden (a suburb of Washington, D.C.) seems like a brilliant man who seeks to build respectful relationships in order to advance the cause of justice and equality for all. Pastor Anyabwile is also in the D.C. area. May I suggest that for the good of American Evangelicalism Pastors Anyabwile and Jenkins meet up for coffee?

Additional Information:

The Gospel Is The Remedy For Racism

Thabiti Anyabwile Says All Whites Are Complicit in Murdering Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Racialist Lens Disrupts True Christian Unity: A Response to Thabiti Anyabwile

There Can Be No Reconciliation Where There Is No Truth-Telling First


38 thoughts on “Thabiti Anyabwile and TGC Have Lost Their Way, Racial Relations Suffer a Setback

  1. Lydia

    I do feel obligated to point out that idea of a mass guilt of oppressers and the oppression of mass victims actually hurts REAL victims. When all of one group are guilty and all of another group are victims, then none are guilty and none are victims. Real victims are just trampled over.

  2. Lydia

    Just when I think I can’t be shocked anymore by these guys. This one really pushes the envelope. He would think my parents horrible as we were taught there is only one race and it’s human. The amount of melanin in ones skin was of no consequence as we are each individuals. I refuse their guilt tactics. And as usual he plays down his accusations. I draw the line at accusing me or my family of being guilty of murder. Where does he think this will end? If he gets his way, will it be over once and for all? It’s never enough.

    The divisive vitriol and virtue signaling guilt is coming off as a millennial recruiting strategy— to me. The old, “only we have the True Gospel” ran its course. They are now social justice warriors progressives. (Socialists)

    I had no idea he was “Ron Burns”. The romantic appeal of exotic origins is over for me. 🙂 Just like finding out in my 20’s that Geraldo Rivera was originally Jerry Rivers from the Bronx.

    1. 2samuel127 Post author

      Thanks Lydia. I agree with what you have stated. I listened to the rather long James White broadcast which I linked at the end of the blog, and he was also asking where this all ends. His answer – it never ends!

        1. JLC

          I wish that these TGC guys would inherit some guilt about ignoring or even enabling child sexual abuse in their Churches.

          They seem much more interested in Thabiti Anyabwile’s comments on race than they are in evidence that SGM and Mahaney used Church funds to hire lawyers for pedophiles who were Church members.

          And no, I don’t think that Thabiti Anyabwile’s descendants should ever have to atone for his apparent indifference about child sexual abuse, as it affects his friends and business associates.

          Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      1. 5yearsinPDI

        Janna- I just went into my junk mail which I rarely do, and this reply was in there. I am surprised that with only two recipients it went to junk, but it did. Just wanted to let you know in case it is a glitch on your end. Thanks for the link. It was an interesting read and he sounds like a great guy 2.5 years ago during this interview. I would guess there is still a lot of anger and pain he needs to process….in a better way than the blame whitey thing. A great many blacks need to take a long hard look at the lack of fathers, as the predominant problem that outweighs alleged racism impacting kids in bad ways.

        1. JLC

          Thanks 5years. I just updated the comment system on the tech side. Hopefully, that will keep future comments from ending up in your spam folder. Please let me know if that happens again.

          There are many other commenting programs out there, but this is the only one that allows people to sign up to read other people’s comments without first making a comment of their own.

          Hopefully, it will continue to work out for that reason.

          I understand your reasons for wanting to use the name Ron Burns. For simplicity’s sake, I’m sticking with Thabiti Anyabwile, as that’s how most people identify him now.

          His comments about MLK seemed inflammatory rather than helpful in any way.

          I have a low opinion of the integrity of all the Together for the Gospel plenary speakers. Therefore, I do not care about what Mr. Anyabwile says about most things.

          We’ll see if he creates a real dialogue about complex racial issues.


          Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          1. 5yearsinPDI

            Janna- That went through. Thank you.

            I join you in the low opinion and the not caring 🙂

          2. JLC

            Thanks 5years. Feel free to let me know about any other tech problems or tech issues. For example, I’m happy to hear about any additional features people might want this site to have. Just e-mail Todd and he’ll forward the message to me.

            Best, Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

  3. Cookie

    The problem with society and education today is that they want to “white wash” white people from fighting injustice during the civil rights movement. You don’t hear about the white men and women who helped fight against the Jim Crows and it is made out to be only black Americans fight against Jim Crows! It looks like all white people were racists when that is not true.

  4. Cookie

    How can we be right with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ if we hold grudges toward others?

  5. Cookie

    This is about a person who won’t forgive those who wrong him. Blame a group of people who had nothing to do with it is wrong. It is not Biblical in the New Testament. Everyone will have to answer to God. How can we be a light to the world if we can not forgive those who wrong us? Jesus die on the cross so that our sin be forgiven and be right with God.

  6. Grainne McDonald

    Just a brief comment. Many of the slaves brought to America were sol to white traders by Arabs or by black slave traders. Many of the tribes in West Africa enslaved those whom they captured in war and sold them to traders who marched them to the coast and sold them. Surely reparations should be sought from the original slavers, each tribe having to make reparations for those whom they enslaved…..

    As a long time anti racist I find it sad that this bitterness and desire to continue as victims is engulfing many who could show their courage by refusing to look back into a dismal past, being grateful that they live in freedom, and grasping every opportunity that comes from being really free. I can truthfully say that my family has always been anti-racist as far back as we can find, and, being Irish, understand what it is to be a subject nation. However, we do not hark back to the bad old days, but rejoice in where we now are.

    Incidentally, as Janna said, there are many slaves still in this world, in areas where whites are not in the ascendancy. Let fighting that wickedness be the cause for which Mr Anyabwile fights.

  7. ZechZav

    Good analysis. Anyabwile’s article will only stir up tension and cause more pain. I just read the original article and highlighted this statement by him:

    “My white neighbors and Christian brethren can start by at least saying their parents and grandparents and this country are complicit in murdering a man who only preached love and justice.”

    As a white European do I stand condemned by this broad-brush assertion? If we accept his logic, my Jewish friends could say “My Gentile neighbours and Christian brethren can start by at least saying their parents and grandparents and the entire continent of Europe are complicit in mass murder of Jewish people during the holocaust!” As a Gentile, TA would stand condemned by his own logic. Such a statement would be offensive to the memory of many people who saved Jewish lives (including Christians and Muslims) across Europe in the 1940s. Thankfully my Jewish friends have never made such a statement and they appreciated my support in their campaigns against racism. TAs statement will only serve to alienate white people and it will be counter-productive.

  8. 5yearsinPDI

    First of all, his given name is Ron Burns. I will never call him T.A.

    Secondly, he claimed during the last election, trying to get votes for Hillary, that people and pastors who make prolife the most important issue are guilty of idolatry and binding people’s consciences. ( Just to be clear, I voted third party; this isn’t about Trump vs Hillary).

    “And we shouldn’t lose sight of this fact either: This idolizing of abortion has come at the teaching, preaching and advocacy of pastors and leaders. Some are offended that I’ve dare say these things “as a pastor.” But the church has been political for a long time and telling people how to vote for a long time. Sure, most avoided naming any candidate. But strong insistence that we only consider one issue and refuse voting for anyone who isn’t anti-abortion is, in fact, an attempt at binding the conscience in a political way in political elections. Insofar as one party has officially stood against abortion, then it’s also been a partisan binding of the conscience. That’s why so many today can’t even imagine a pro-life Democrat and can’t imagine participation in the party with the goal of changing its platform. Though the cause is just, wherever we pastors have gone too far in insisting that people’s consciences conform to our own, we’ve fostered idolatry and weakened the ability of many to consider and negotiate more complex realities.”

    When a man accuses his fellow Christians and pastors who vote prolife (and make that their primary concern in voting) of being idolaters, and trying to bind the conscience of others ( ie legalism, sinful passing judgement), he has lost all credibility. I have no idea why TGC even keeps him on the list.

    Thirdly, “Little King”, that was really funny and clever. Thank you.

    Lastly, hundreds of thousands of Union soldiers lost their lives and limbs and eyes in the civil war, and my ancestors were northern abolitionists. The white guilt gets tiresome. I’d like to hear some gratitude for once for all the many whites who had a biblical understanding of race and fought against racism over the centuries. From Wilberforce to John Brown to Harriet Beecher Stowe to modern day Christians, whites have often led the way in godly race relations. Honestly, the repetitious accusation is annoying at best, demonic at worst.

    1. 2samuel127 Post author

      Thanks for the comment 5Years. “Idolizing abortion” is just a bizarre statement. That would be like saying abolitionists were “idolizing slavery.”

      Here is a link to an article on “Pen and Pulpit” that discusses Anyabwile’s name change and radical past. The author also seems to indicate that Anyabwile is in sync with The Gospel Coalition’s agenda.

      As for Anyabwile’s name change, I understand that many who convert to Islam change their name, but I would think once an individual converted from Islam to Christianity he would want to change back to his pre-Muslim name. I don’t know Anyabwile’s reasoning to keep his Muslim name, but that is his choice and I will respect it.

      I noticed yesterday that Anyabwile continues to do his best to not address his article of April 4th. He continues to point to the 2nd article, which was summed up quite well in my blog by the quote from Joshua Sommer’s article. In a tweet, he praised Tom Ascol’s article which praised Anyabwile’s second article, neither Ascot nor Anyabwile mention’s the article of the 4th of April. Again, Anyabwile is receiving blow-back from saying in his first article that all whites murdered MLK. That is an outrageous claim, Anyabwile clearly knows it, but instead of repenting for that, he totally avoids the issue and attempts to deflect attention away from that by questioning why whites cannot admit racism still exists. Everyone I know readily admits to that, meanwhile we await an admission from Anyabwile that his first article was egregious.

      I should note that I just checked Anyabwile’s Twitter feed and he has mentioned articles by both James White and Douglas Wilson. I have not yet read them, so need to do so now.

      1. 5yearsinPDI

        Thank you for the link Todd. Very interesting.

        I think, based not necessarily on R.B/T.A’s writings but on other things I have read, the concept of apology means massive financial reparations. I generally never hear a word from prominent black voices about the millions of slaves in Somalia and Sudan and the mid east, and what we can do ( if anything) to help modern day slaves. I never hear a word about sex trafficking either. We know a few white people who work overseas in capacities aimed at rescuing kids from sex trafficking, and they are always tight for money due to the sheer number of kids and their necessities. I don’t want to broad brush TGC, in that at least Piper has concern for missions and the massive suffering in foreign lands, but if RB/TA is so concerned about injustice he needs to be talking about slavery right now today, and what the church can do. Less focus on what whites owe him, and more focus on what he could use his position to do for those in bondage right now, would be a godly improvement.

        1. 2samuel127 Post author

          Thanks, 5Years. I have now read James White’s article and TA’s response. They are both quite lengthy. TA again refuses to see or acknowledge that the offensive item in his April 4th article is his statement to the effect of all whites are guilty of murdering MLK. I know he is not a stupid man, therefore, I conclude he actually knows what he said was offensive but believes what he says is true. He doesn’t dare defend that statement because I believe, he would lose a ton of support, both financially and morally. His solution is, therefore, to ignore his comments about all whites being guilty of murdering MLK and instead obfuscate the matter by speaking about the horrible racism in the 50’s and 60’s and that racism still exists today, etc.

          We all get that, we may disagree on just how bad racism is today, but I am willing to grant TA his point. Racism exists, OK, but he is being a racist when he brands all whites alive at the time of MLK as guilty of murdering him and I doubt he would acknowledge that. I stand by my quote of Ronald Reagan in the article I wrote.

          The T4G panel titled “50 Years Since MLK” may make for interesting viewing. I would guess TA’s good buddy Mark Dever will be moderating the panel, so he is not likely to ask TA any tough questions regarding his article of April 4th. I would guess it will be more of the same from TA, with MD praising him for his insight and boldness to address racism.

          White’s article:

          Anyabwile’s response:

          1. 5yearsinPDI

            Hey Todd-

            Been meaning to say thanks for the White article which is very good.

            It has to be said though…Phil Johnson was a first class dope to quote Doug Wilson, no matter how relevant anything DW said was. Wilson’s book with Wilkins on Slavery, and how pleasant American slavery was, and all the affection between masters and slaves,etc, is horrific if you ever read Uncle Tom’s Cabin and know that Stowe relied on first hand accounts for her novel. It doesn’t help the debate to quote anything at all by DW given his pro slavery bias. Just muddies the waters.

            Anyway, carry on 🙂

          2. 2samuel127 Post author

            Glad you liked it. I agree with your comment about Wilson. He is not somebody I would want to quote for anything these days.

  9. Little King

    Hey Todd,

    I don’t have a comment on this article you just wrote, but i have some advice for you, so i hope you don’t mind me writing; it’s for your own good so just listen. I just looked a the website. At the top (I don’t know what they call that technology now) is a sort of scrolling marque of photos of some of the great speakers of wisdom that have been at the event in days gone by, indicating to the looker, i guess, what they can expect at this years event. Apparently the wisdom there is so great that the heading says, Together for the Gospel, Distinct from the World.” I guess the wisdom they possess is out of this world. Would you not say, that must be some incredible knowledge that is going to be shared and given out?

    I see that this great wisdom event is sold out, which I’m sure you are aware of. But now that you are not ‘pushing tin’ anymore, you should be able this year to take advantage (with part of your leisure time) and enjoy and learn a lot by watching t4g 18 in live-stream; it says you can do so near the end of the webpage. You will be able to take advantage of all the great wisdom from all the great speakers by watching it on the net.

    Todd, do you hear what I’m saying? You will be able to hear the plenaries’ (men who walk extremely intimately with God and their) vast knowledge, the great wisdom from the panelists (bringing together the wisdom in groups of four or so of the most talented, knowledgeable and humble servants of God in the 21st century), the extraordinaire singing leadership to enhance and make your current worthless ignorant sub-par worship of God relevant and taken to a new-high-high, and whatever else is offered so that you can learn what it is to love and serve God and truly know and follow Him, which by this manifesto seems to me to convey that most people need with the implication being you are unable to obtain this level of wisdom on your own without this knowledge. So you can take advantage of it and be blessed.

    However, Todd, there is one thing that a person (such as yourself) will miss by not being able to physically attend this event. What is that, you ask? People like you are going to miss the possible opportunity to have a great meal with one of the panelists, plenaries, speakers or worship leader where you might have the good fortunate to be graced by being at the same table with one of these wise leaders so that you might be able to have some question of a spiritual matter that resides in your boring dull-of-hearing heart which you cannot figure out answered. This is an opportunity you will miss to be able to ask for specific wisdom on such a matter. Or maybe by being there for a happenstance meal, being lucky enough to just be in the right place at the right time, you will miss out on hearing some special extra words of wisdom about God that the speaker is not sharing with everyone in the big meetings. Now that would be something you could brag about on

    But you, dear one, even though you cannot physically be among that zestful, youthful, ever-wanting-to-learn more about God passionate crowd, you will be able to buy (with your retirement checks) and consume (with your decrepit and sick unnourished soul) all the great books and I imagine videos they have for sale in case you aren’t smart enough to ‘quite get the messages’ through watching it live-stream on the site. (Maybe in your retirement you could add a page on your own website, selling these books and dvds to make a little extra money?)

    So, buddy, you have no excuse to miss out on all this wisdom that is available for you. You’re just one dumb hombre if you let all this wisdom pass you by. (I only write this last sentence to encourage you, not to say you are dumb.) If you’re talking to Brent, you might want to let him know too, in case he is holed up wasting more of his time writing some new article to expose the truth. Who wants to know the truth when you can get all this wisdom that only a few select have been given magical most-favored powers to possess? You, O average one, do not have the character to be trusted with such knowledge!

    In closing, I have to mention that I think these Scriptures ring out to us in these days:

    Proverbs 27:2
    Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.

    Jeremiah 9:23
    This is what the LORD says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches.

    Psalm 75:4-5
    I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’ I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists! Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens or speak with such arrogance.

    Here is what I found that Watchman Nee said:
    Many may boast in the depth of their Bible knowledge and in the excellency of their theological tenets, but those with spiritual discernment are aware that it is dead.

    1. 2samuel127 Post author

      Hi Little King,
      Thanks for all the great advice, and best of all it was free! Yep, the Yum! Convention Center in Louisville will be one big idol factory in a few days! I wonder how much a Plenary Speaker will be paid for sharing his pearls of wisdom with his 10,000 worshippers? I wonder how much each of these men “earns” per year? I just heard that John MacArthur is conservatively estimated to earn $1,000,000 per year. I did see the 2011 tax filing of Grace To You and back then MacArthur was paid in excess of $400,000 for his part-time work for that corporation; Phil Johnson, his trusty side-kick, “earned” about $220,000 for his work. Note to the proletariat – keep sending your hard-earned dollars to GTY, MacArthur undoubtedly has a hefty house payment to make. Oh, wait, I forgot he receives a housing allowance from his church!

      1. Little King

        Todd, you got me a little interested in Mr. MacArthur. Never known anything really about him except to hear his name every blue moon while flipping the radio dial. But what i found is worse than you wrote; but you may know that and just did not elaborate. Here is an article including the amount paid to his son-in-law for video services. Is this the way to spend the money God has given us? There are a few other ‘choice’ gems of financial information in here so it’s worth reading.

        As a side note I will say that I do not adhere to the writers explanation of ‘The Tribulation’ and ‘The mark of the beast’ and some other things later in the article. Those two things, i believe have been incorrectly explained, and have been used as easy tools/waste of time when a preacher has to fill his speech up, and to excite the people. In the process, making a lot of preachers a lot of easy money.

        1. 2samuel127 Post author

          Thanks for that link Little King. I had not seen much of that information before. I am surprised by MacArthur’s ties to the Masons. I was not surprised by the globalist leanings of Al Mohler. I know Richard Land, former head of ERLC, is a globalist and got involved with the UN. Russell Moore took the ERLC position over from Land primarily through because of Mohler pushing for it. Moore has continued and intensified ERLC connections with the UN. Travis Wussow, a rapid riser in the ERLC, also loves the UN. I have written several articles about this. I know the average Southern Baptist member has no idea of this and the few I know have become very upset when I revealed this to them.

      2. Dale

        I am curious what you think would be an acceptable amount of compensation for John MacArthur?
        I followed those links. It looks like he makes close to 7 figures, but not quite. After taxes let’s say he makes $700k per year. That is comfortable. But keep in mind, he lives in an area with a high cost of living. Still, he has a very comfortable income. That is nothing compared to the truly scandalous amounts that the prosperity guys make. But even then, how much is too much?

        Where is the line where a minister makes too much and should be called out? If he only made $500k per year, would that be acceptable? What about $100k? Would that satisfy you? Or is anything above minimum wage a sinful luxury?

        I am absolutely opposed to the prosperity “gospel” fraudsters who rake in the cash. But to say any pastor who makes a relatively high amount of money is in the wrong is wrong. And you would need to throw Spurgeon in there as well.

        1. JLC

          John MacArthur is likely able to use his status as a religious leader to obtain many tax breaks, by the way.

          My issue is not that he makes so much money in general. It’s that he uses a tax-exempt religious organization to do so.

          I guess my questions would be as follows:

          1) Does John MacArthur really work 20 hours a week for this organization?

          Many people seem to think that he endorses books he never reads and engages in other dishonest business practices.

          2) Does John MacArthur really provide $400,000 worth of value to this organization? How is that determined?

          3) Should a tax-exempt religious organization be paying someone $400,000 a year to work 20 hours a week? Couldn’t that money be put to better use?

          I have no problem with pastors privately making money. By contrast, expecting the public to subsidize a non-profit salary of $800,000 (if MacArthur worked full-time) seems obscene to me.

          Thanks for your question. I think that John MacArthur is as much of a fraud, in general, as the prosperity preachers you dislike.

          At least they’re honest about their for-profit tendencies.

          Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          1. Dale

            “John MacArthur is likely able to use his status as a religious leader to obtain many tax breaks, by the way.”

            Perhaps. I don’t think so though. I am pretty sure the tax breaks are for the organization, not the individuals. I could be wrong though, but if true, I can’t complain. I am self employed and I look for every break I can find.

            “My issue is not that he makes so much money in general. It’s that he uses a tax-exempt religious organization to do so.”
            Again, how much is too much? Many large, secular NPOs have CEOs making that kind of money or more. For profit companies that size would likely pay significantly more.

            “1) Does John MacArthur really work 20 hours a week for this organization?”
            I am not sure why this matters. He doesn’t punch a time clock. He is a minister so a lot of his “work” affects all that he does, his role as pastor, president of the seminary, speaking engagements, radio etc. Let’s say it is only 15 hours per week with the seminary, so what? Who get’s to decide what that is worth? Us? Or the people in charge of the seminary?

            “Many people seem to think that he endorses books he never reads and engages in other dishonest business practices.”

            Now you are spreading gossip and you need to be careful. Nowhere in the bible does it say that making more than a certain amount is sinful, but it sure does have something to say about spreading gossip and false witness.
            What dishonest business practices? Provide evidence or retract your slanderous statement.

            “Does John MacArthur really provide $400,000 worth of value to this organization? How is that determined?”
            Apparently he does. Because the people who make those decisions think he is, and they have the resources to pay him that much. I can guarantee you this, if I took his place, we would all find out really quickly that he was worth that much and I am not.

            “Should a tax-exempt religious organization be paying someone $400,000 a year to work 20 hours a week? Couldn’t that money be put to better use?”

            Perhaps it could. But is it wrong? Where is the line? At what rate would you be ok with for a salary for someone in his position? Is $99,000 per year ok but $100,000 too much?

            “I have no problem with pastors privately making money. By contrast, expecting the public to subsidize a non-profit salary of $800,000 (if MacArthur worked full-time) seems obscene to me.”
            In what way does the public subsidize this? You make no sense here. All of the money he receives comes through voluntary means such as private donations, book sales etc. There is no public subsidy. Where did you get that idea?

            “Thanks for your question. I think that John MacArthur is as much of a fraud, in general, as the prosperity preachers you dislike.”

            Again, unsubstantiated slander. Either back this up with credible evidence or retract the statement. Receiving a large salary does not make someone a fraud.

            “At least they’re honest about their for-profit tendencies.”
            Now you are pretending to read his heart and motives. Again, give me evidence.

            You need to carefully consider the seriousness of the accusations you are making. Remember, the 9th commandment is about just what you are doing here. Gossip is also spoken of pretty harshly in the bible.

          2. JLC

            Hi Dale:

            I think that our messages crossed. I will answer one of your statements. The tax form in question indicates that John MacArthur works 20 hours a week for a salary of $400,000. Therefore he must work that amount of time, legally-speaking. Yes, MacArthur can get away with working zero hours at some of his other ventures ,for big bucks. This is not one of them.

            I suggest that you brush up on your non-profit accounting knowledge. 😉

            Also, you have accused me of slander even though I have said nothing untrue about John MacArthur. Do a Google search to see how many people think it’s impossible for John MacArthur to be endorsing the number of books bearing his signature each year. Ditto some of his other reputededly less than ethical business choices.

            Your statement implying that John MacArthur makes less money and is morally superior to prosperity preachers is completely unsubstantiated. However, I have not chosen to call it slander, because it is merely an opinion.

            “I am absolutely opposed to the prosperity “gospel” fraudsters who rake in the cash. But to say any pastor who makes a relatively high amount of money is in the wrong is wrong.”

            You do not have the right to demand that I retract anything I’ve said on this blog. If you just want to idolize John MacArthur, then there are plenty of other blogs on which you can do that.

            Be civil and fair, Dale, or express your views elsewhere.

            Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

            P.S. – If John MacArthur disagrees with anything I’ve said, then he can defend himself instead of hiding behind surrogates.

        2. JLC

          Hi Dale:

          Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry I was a little unfriendly. My personal opinion of John MacArthur’s integrity is not especially relevant to the question you asked. I don’t know what would be a reasonable amount of compensation for John MacArthur, because I’m not entirely certain what he really does for a living. He seems to engage in many profitable activities that do not involve his work as a pastor. I suspect that when you factor in the money he makes from selling books and running conferences, John MacArthur’s annual gross income is closer to at least 2 million dollars.

          I do know that some people who know him seem surprised that he’s making $400,000 working 20 hours a week for a religious non-profit run by his protege, Phil Johnson, because he appears to live modestly. I don’t know where John MacArthur lives, yet wonder why his ministry forces him to reside in an expensive neighborhood.

          By contrast, no one cares that prosperity gospel preachers make 7 or 8 figures a year, because they don’t pretend to live modestly. At least in their case, there is no hypocrisy or pretense at living simply.

          Regarding non-profit tax-exempt salaries, the IRS has a rule against what they call private inurement:

          “A section 501(c)(3) organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, such as the creator or the creator’s family, shareholders of the organization, other designated individuals, or persons controlled directly or indirectly by such private interests. No part of the net earnings of a section 501(c)(3) organization may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. A private shareholder or individual is a person having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization.”

          IRS Definition of Private Inurement

          Paying someone $400,000 to work part-time at a religious non-profit could constitute private inurement. Given that John MacArthur almost certainly makes more than 99% of the U.S. population sans that $400,000 part-time job, perhaps he should consider either giving it up or acknowledging that he’s not very different from many prosperity pastors.

          That’s my 2 cents or 2 million dollars.

          Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          1. Dale

            Janna, I didn’t think your posts were unfriendly at all, just in need of correction.

            I don’t understand what you mean now. If he lives modestly, which I think he does, where is the problem? As for where he lives, he is in California. I have been told that my midwestern house, which is a modest 3 bed, 2 bath house with a garage (and only cost me 5 figures) would be several hundred thousand in CA. So all of these figures we are talking about don’t mean as much there as in other parts of the country.

            I think you should look up other NPOs and large ministries. I think you will find that his salary is not out of line.

            If he lives modestly, as you say, then that is further evidence that he is not guilty of any wrong doing.
            I don’t get how it is hypocritical to live modestly. Would it be better if he was living beyond his mean? Would it better if, rather than paying cash for a modest car (I have no idea what he drives) but rather was making payments on a Ferrari? Or rather than owning a modest home, he was paying down a mortgage on a huge mansion?
            I just fail to see the problem here. If he is living below his means ( I don’t know, that is not knowledge that I have) then that shows that he ISN’T like the prosperity guys.

          2. JLC

            Dale, first you pull the “gossip and slander” card, which I get every time I criticize rich, corrupt “Pastors” like John MacArthur, from my perspective. Then you proceed to ignore all the factual information I have provided.

            I don’t have time to engage in this low level of dialogue. Feel free to comment more, but I’m done replying.

            Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          3. Dale

            “Dale, first you pull the “gossip and slander” card, which I get every time I criticize rich, corrupt “Pastors” like John MacArthur, from my perspective. Then you proceed to ignore all the factual information I have provided.”

            “Many people seem to think that he endorses books he never reads and engages in other dishonest business practices”

            I am sorry if I ignored the factual information you provided but I didn’t see it. The statement above is simply repeating gossip and you give nothing it back it up in that post. If you have elsewhere, I am sorry, I must have missed it.
            All I have seen is conjecture. The only “factual” information I have seen you post is a rule that one of his salaries requires 20 hours per week. Ok, fine. But then you assume he doesn’t actually provide 20 hours a week but you don’t give any evidence other than just what you “think” he does.

            “which I get every time I criticize rich, corrupt “Pastors” like John MacArthur, from my perspective.”
            Perhaps you get this “every time” because you trow out accusations without substantiation. Your perspective doesn’t hold any weight without facts and evidence. So far, you have accused John MacArthur of being corrupt without any actual evidence.

            You say you are done replying, but isn’t that rather convenient once someone asks you to back up your accusations?

        3. 2samuel127 Post author

          Hi Dale,
          It is my opinion that a pastor should be paid roughly the same as the median income of the church members where he pastors. There is the old adage that a pastor should be driving the same car as the members of his church. It is my belief that a pastor should be paid a salary which allows him to live comfortably in the community the church is located in. He or his wife should not be forced to work a second job to make ends meet.

          John MacArthur’s church is located in Sun Valley, CA. I googled the median income for this town and received the following information:

          Median household income in LA City (Northeast/Sunland, Sun Valley & Tujunga) PUMA, CA is $53,252. Males in LA City (Northeast/Sunland, Sun Valley & Tujunga) PUMA, CA have an average income that is 1.12 times higher than the average income of females, which is $45,590.

          John Piper, in this video, said churches should not try to keep their pastors poor or make them rich.

          If you go to this video – – beginning at the 1:06.37 mark you will see that MacArthur, in 2011, received over $400,000 for his work with Grace To You. The video further quotes Phil Johnson as having said MacArthur works a few hours every other Monday for Grace to You! This does not include MacArthur’s salary as a pastor, housing allowance, book royalties or conference speaker royalties.

          According to this source – – MacArthur earns over $1,000,000 per year. This from the link:

          “That man functions as a bishop or archbishop or cardinal or pope over many outside his geographical area and thus he is accountable to other pastors and elders outside his own geographical area. He is teaching and preaching our flocks and our flocks pay him for his teaching and preaching. The national source of their non-profit’s profit is the reason our IRS requires these men to divulge whether they fly first class (MacArthur does) and whether they have their own relatives on their governance boards (MacArthur does) and whether their organization pays a relative money as a business transaction (MacArthur pays his son-in-law $650,000 per year for video work) and how much they get paid by their non-profit ministry (MacArthur’s non-profits pay him just about $500,000 per year, and this amount doesn’t include his church pay or royalties).

          My father-in-law had books providing royalties that dwarf John MacArthur’s books and royalties, plus he and his wife owned Tyndale House Publishers. Yet Ken Taylor was never accused of being greedy. He gave all his money away and everyone knew it because everyone was the recipient of his gifts. Tyndale House’s 990s are there for all the world to see and they could not possibly be more different from John MacArthur’s. John Piper’s 990s are there for all the world to see and they could not be more different from John MacArthur’s. (And yes, I’m aware John Piper would ask me not to make this comparison.)

          It seems beyond argument that John MacArthur’s annual income from peddling God’s Word is something around $1,000,000 per year. His organizations and his personal contracts with publishing companies pay him this money. It’s my conviction this is good evidence of the love of money and MacArthur’s boards and elders should admonish him and appoint a blue-ribbon committee to take over control of his organizations and royalties, scale his income back to around $200,000, do open bidding on his organization’s video work, and stop paying for his first class tickets.”

          I share the opinion of this author, that is, MacArthur’s income should be scaled back.

        4. 2samuel127 Post author

          A quick quote from Carl Trueman:

          “I hate to bang the same old drum that I always bang at this point, but lay people need to realize there is big money involved, and some of the high profile cases of guys who survive long after they should not have survived because they are no longer of good reputation, some of those cases connect to money. It’s as simple as that.

          Every time I say that I get emails from people saying “Well, give me an example.”

          Well, it’s hard, but just open your eyes, just open your eyes and look at the level at which some of these guys are living at. We’re not talking of huge millions and millions of dollars, but we’re talking of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In our world we are talking of significant sums of money that are attached to particular names that have become brands.

          I assume that I will be totally ignored on this. I would remind listeners that pretty much everything I have said about the celebrity culture and evangelicalism, and pretty much everybody I have called out in the last decade, I’ve been proved to be right; even though you’ve all ignored me. That’s fine.

          The whole big money “uber-conference” circuit depends upon big names and the pressure on the one hand to write blog posts about child abuse, and then to tweet stuff protecting people who have been pulled into those kinds of scandals. That’s huge; it’s huge because it plays to the gallery on the one hand-that you look cared for and concerned; but when it comes down to what we call “brass tacks,” you’re really not doing the evangelical movement any favors at all.

          I think the problem in a lot of evangelicalism now is the money has gotten so big from a lot of these peripheral organizations that they’ve become laws unto themselves, and the blowback on the child abuse thing is that names become too big. They do become indispensable to the economy of evangelicalism and that’s a problem, that’s a real problem.

          That points to the optics of a lot of this as well. I’m tired of reading statements coming out from churches and organizations where there has been child abuse, where you get two or three lines of throat-clearing at the start, [stating that]

          “We’re very sad that X, Y, and Z’s lives were totally ruined by sexual abuse that we should have taken steps to deal with,” and then you get thirty-six pages of how the devil is using this to destroy some good ministry or some good man’s ministry. The optics on this are absolutely abominable.

          This has done incalculable damage to ordinary Christians, not only those who have been abused but those who quite frankly get sick of the cover-ups and sick of the self-serving rhetoric at the top. I can understand why people drift away from the Reformed faith on this score and that’s why I think the leaders need to take more responsibility, we’re not trying to score cheap points here, we’re trying to make the point that our faith is being damaged by the need to preserve certain organizations and certain ministries. That’s a problem!”

          Carl Trueman, Mortification of Spin

          1. JLC

            Dale, you’ve inspired me to do my due diligence regarding my concerns about John MacArthur’s $400,000 annual payment from Grace to You, which he reputedly receives for working 20 hours a week, per the IRS form that Phil Johnson has officially submitted for that religious non-profit, which he is legally responsible for managing in an ethical and legal matter.

            I will write Phil Johnson, by certified mail, and ask him for written proof that John MacArthur works at Grace to You for approximately 20 hours a week. I will also request an explanation as to how Mr. MacArthur provides $400,000/year worth of value to Grace to You. Further, I will ask Mr. Johnson for a statement saying that he understands the concept of private inurment, and that he does not believe that his personal friendship with John MacArthur is the reason he is paying this man what appears, to most people, to be an outrageous salary, to do part-time work for a religious non-profit.

            If Phil Johnson declines to provide me with this information, I will mount a public campaign, and I will give you credit for inspiring me, advocating that the IRS investigate both John MacArthur and Phil Johnson for substantial non-profit financial fraud.

            I don’t know how much Jesus would have thought that a pastor should make. I think that it is godly to investigate whether or not pastor John MacArthur is committing financial fraud. He is not above the law just because he has many fans who idolize him.

            Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

  10. JLC

    Thank you, Todd, for having the courage to discuss such a controversial issue, as opposed to yielding to the understandable temptation to ignore it.

    Right now, I would only comment on an issue that does not seem to have been addressed by very man people. What are those of us who are bi-racial, and partly white, to do the concept of white guilt?

    My ethnicity is half-Chinese and half-White. My brother just got back the genetic test, 23 and me, to prove it. It’s actually 49% white and 51% Asian. So there may have be a surprise European ancestor on one side of the family 5-8 generations ago, but the scientifically-based ethnicity conclusions of the genetic test are close enough for me to make the following point.

    I am at least 8th generation American, of German ancestry, on one side of my mother’s family. There are dated tombstones in Reich’s cemetery, in Lancaster County, PA, to prove it. That side of the family has proudly passed down a book signed signed by Frederick Douglass for five generations, and they were definitely abolitionists. However, it would be dishonest of me to presume that no ancestor on the white side of my family has ever been even remotely racist, no matter how much I would like that to be true.

    By contrast, I’m first generation Asian-American on one side of the family, and was I not born before Dr. King was tragically assassinated. Therefore, my “yellow” side has a clear conscience, while my “white” side does not, according to what I perceive Mr. Anyabwile’s argument to be regarding who is responsible for Dr. King’s death.

    So, should only half of me, as a human being, feel guilty about Dr. King’s death, per Thabiti Anyabwile’s argument about white people needing to feel ashamed about the racist behavior of their ancestors?

    I struggle with this issue as a bi-racial person who is half-Asian and half-European. I think that I would be more troubled about it if I were bi-racial and half-white and half-black.

    I believe that the issues discussed in the article above and by Mr. Anyabwile are complex, and I respect that. My only statement here is asking pointing out how truly complex they are for those of us whose ethnicity is very mixed and only partly white.

    Thanks to all who read this comment.

    Janna L. Chan (blog team member)


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