SPEAKER 1: Let us pray. Our wonderful Lord, how grateful we are for that marvelous providence that brings us to this hour. And, oh, how we ask that Thou will be gloriously exalted in our midst. And that throughout this entire occasion, we will sense Thy Spirit. Be with us to bless us. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, we pray. Amen.
You may be seated. Central in the life and ministry of Dr. John MacArthur, and central in all that is taught and all that is done at the Master’s College is God’s Holy Word. David wrote these words concerning it in Psalm 19. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”
And motivating the ministry of Dr. John MacArthur and, likewise, motivating all that is done at the Master’s College is that great command of the Lord of Lords, and the King of Kings, recorded in Matthew in chapter 28, where the Lord Jesus said this: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
SPEAKER 2: All hail the power of Jesus’ Name and crown Him Lord of all. You find the words written in our program on the last page, and we’d like choirs, congregation, and instruments to sing together in this great hymn.
SPEAKER 3: There’s a Scripture that summarizes in large measure the goal of a Christ-centered college like the Master’s College. It’s found in Colossians 2 verses 6 and 7. Let me read it to you and see if you can pick up of the salient features of it as they impressed me. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” These words impressed me recently because of the last few that are given, “abounding therein with thanksgiving.”
You may be asking, “What is an inauguration service? Is this really when Dr. MacArthur becomes the president?” No, that is not the case, and we’ll amplify that a little. But, in this case, as I see it, and the emphasis that I’d like to give, it is, in a sense, a thanksgiving service. We are thankful that the Lord has supplied the college with a new president. Now, in that, the Board of Directors acted decisively last February when they extended the invitation. And in due time, Dr. MacArthur acted decisively in accepting it. It took him nearly a month to come to some kind of decision, which seemed to me like about five years. But, at any rate, eventually, he did.
Let me tell you just a little of how that came about. On January the 3rd, I met with Dr. MacArthur in his office here at the church, and I said, “I have two questions. One may not be necessary, but one is this: If you had full liberty to do what you like with the statement of faith of the college, what change would you make?” And he looked at me in some surprise, and said, “Why, none.” And I thought to myself, “That just about does it.” So I asked in due time, “Would you be willing to allow us to present your name to the search committee?”
And Dr. MacArthur replied, “I want to be all that I can for the Lord, and I suppose it would be reasonable. I suppose it would be all right for you to do that.” Now, this man is – has responsibilities beyond number. You would know that. He was so vividly aware of it. But his words, “I want to be all that I can be for Christ,” were memorable, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget them. So the Board met. They – they had come to their decision with great earnestness and after much prayer, and their invitation to him was decisive. He was the only man that ever was interviewed, and the only invitation that was ever extended. So we are thankful in that regard, that it was a decisive issue settled, and we moved on from there.
We are thankful tonight, as well, because of the Biblical stance of the college and the strengthening involved in this move. The day that we made the announcement here in the church, Dr. Jack MacArthur, Dr. MacArthur’s father, said to me, “I believe that through this decision the purposes of the college will be met and enhanced.” And I believe that with all of my heart. And I believe that we’re seeing that, and there is no sense in which this is a step back. It is a huge step ahead in the Biblical emphasis and theological conviction of the college through your pastor’s ministry and, as well, through the curriculum development that has transpired.
Then the administrative features of the college, what we call the administration has been enhanced by the addition of two men. Particularly, Mr. Bob Provost, who comes as executive vice president, and Mr. Russ Moore, who comes as assistant to the president. These men are already a part of the college family. Mr. Provost has a great background in administration; in church administration, as well as in secular business. And he has been a – a strengthening factor to us. But he has another feature that has intrigued me, and as I think of him, I pray for him and pray that this may not be diminished in any way. And that is his burden for world missions and especially the ministry of the Gospel in the Orient.
And I would ask you to pray that, as he stands at Dr. MacArthur’s right hand, as it were, and as they work together, that they, together, may be used of God mightily in enhancing the liberty of the Gospel through the instruments available, and through this ministry. Russ Moore is known in this church. He is what I would call a human dynamo. Now, the college is not – is not devoid of those. Some of us are aware of a man named Dewey Bertolini. He is in that same nuclear world. And Don Gilmore, others that I could mention. But with Russ coming along and his leadership, we are having some interesting times.
We are thankful tonight, because the faculty has been encouraged. The Bible says, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a source of life.” The college has not moved ahead as – as forcefully and definitely as it should in the last several years. We were impacted by the recession. We’ve had other matters that more or less meant the status quo. And that creates dissatisfaction and frustration in – in anyone that’s involved in such a vital work as a Christian college.
I thank God for the men and women who have come to labor at the college. I commend them to the new administration. But I am thankful, as well, that, instead of having limitation, extreme limitation in many areas as supplies, facilities, and large departments, we have new ranges of fervor and hope and conviction that God is bringing those to pass. The faculty has been greatly encouraged. The campus has already been extended. It’s about a 45-acre campus out there in the Placerita Canyon. And, almost immediately, a decision was made that there should be the addition of a – an available piece of property. Other property is going to be needed. And not only that, but it’s beginning to sparkle under the leadership of – of Mr. Reese. We are – we’re not at all apologetic about the campus out in that area of Newhall.
The student body has taken a quantum leap ahead. If there is one dramatic issue that delights our hearts, it’s the fact that, after about 300 students last fall, it is 450 this fall. Now that’s a 50 percent increase in students. And they come from twice as many states as they did last year. Now that’s a big increase, and that creates some problems. That’s a challenge. It’s the kind of problem that you’d like. We thank the Lord for that kind of growth, that kind of response to Dr. MacArthur’s leadership and his influence nationally. But it’s a new world to us, to be that crowded so quickly, and we are rejoicing.
We think that we have the cream of the crop in college students this year, and it’s going to get better. But may I say, there is one word that ought to really sober us, and it is this: we have a 50 percent increase in students in something less than six months of promotion without a catalog. Now nobody goes to college without a catalog. Just absolutely ridiculous to consider a college, especially in the – in the era in which we live. And it has been a real problem to know how to grapple with that issue. And by the Grace of God, that will be resolved early this fall. But if that is resolved, as it certainly will be, can you imagine how many students will be at our door next fall? I think that, in itself, is a decision that is facing the friends of the Master’s College.
Will – will we prove to be trustworthy of the opportunity made available to us? Can we believe God for the facilities and faculty, the leadership that is necessary for a rapidly expanding student body? Our constituency has been widened. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is thoroughly Biblical. One of my special texts is in Psalm 119:63, where it says this: David says, “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.” I like that. “I am a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy precepts.” I believe that God has already honored that widening constituency and that God will continue to honor it as long as the communication is clear and the stance of the college is very, very simple and basic, that that we are consistent with the things that we advertise.
Our constituency has been widened in one precious way and it has to do with this church. I would like to express our appreciation for the hospitality, the warmth and understanding of the Grace Community Church. We are well aware of your anxiety about your pastor and his limited strength, his commitments already. We know that if we are to divide up your pastor, you’ve already got his heart. So we’ll just take his head, if you don’t mind. But we are very sensitive to this.
We are aware that Dr. MacArthur’s preaching is the hub of his great ministry, that it relates to his leadership here. It relates to his broadcasts. It relates to the tape ministry. It relates even to the writing ministry. We’re aware of that and Some of us are very concerned about it, as you are. But it has meant so much to us to have the – the strength, the welcome that we have sensed in this church. As our students have been coming in greater numbers, they – they were the largest company. This church received more of our students last year in attendance than any other.
But somehow or other, you have graciously, lovingly opened your hearts to us. We trust that it will be a reciprocal matter, that we will bring blessing into your lives, something after the equivalent concept that has been brought into ours. All of this involves an enormous task. While Dr. MacArthur is a man of self-discipline and has a tight schedule and a heavy responsibility, it is an enormous task. We would be wrong to say that it was otherwise. It is a huge task. We were looking for a man who would face that kind of a task. These directors down here, thinking back to the day when we – we began to grapple with this issue and what was ahead of us and the fact that it was going to require a special type of man.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Canadian who is showing the Texan Niagara Falls. And he said to the Texan, “I bet you don’t have anything like this in Texas.” And the Texan looked at him, and he said, “No, but we have a plumber who can fix it.” Well, Dr. Plumber, we feel that God has given us a special man, and he is special because of the enablement and leading of the Holy Spirit in his life. And we praise God again today that, after the month’s that have come and gone since this became known, and this decision was reached, that Dr. MacArthur has proven to be, in these early days which are just a foretaste of things to come, that he is, indeed, God’s man. Praise the Lord.
SPEAKER 4: Dr. MacArthur, on behalf of the faculty, it is with great anticipation and enthusiasm that we affirm you as the fourth president of the Master’s College. You bring to us the best of our past. A Biblical Christ-centered commitment consistent with those doctrines of historic Christian faith. But through God’s provision and grace, you also call us to an expanded vision of the future. A vision that is transnational and transcultural in scope, a vision that goes beyond ourselves, beyond the Santa Clarita Valley, beyond the San Fernando Valley and beyond denominational boundaries, a vision for the extension and expansion of God’s Kingdom wherever we have that opportunity.
The prospects of seeing the ministry of this dedicated faculty expanded is exciting to me. But, in another sense, it is also very humbling. We are humble because along with God’s blessing comes responsibility and accountability. It is a great challenge to accept the responsibility that God places on each of us, as His stewards, to teach our subjects to the best of our ability and to model a Christ-like life to those dear students whom He has placed in our care. Continuity and change are the prospects for the future if our Lord tarries, and we welcome them. We, as a faculty, are thankful to the Lord because we know that, under your leadership the word of God will continue to be central to the educational process.
We are grateful for your confidence in us as persons and as professors in our various disciplines. We deeply appreciate your gracious spirit toward all sectors of the college constituency, especially your magnanimous spirit in responding to the many inquiries concerning your acceptance of the presidency of the Master’s College. Dr. MacArthur, we welcome you as a respected Christian leader, as an able administrator, as a minister of the Word of God, as a friend, and as a brother in Christ Jesus our Lord. May God bless you and keep you as you lead us in the furtherance of His Kingdom. May all that we do bring praise and honor and glory to God, our Father, and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
SPEAKER 5: Dr. MacArthur, the alumni are the voices of the past for Los Angeles Baptist College and Theological Seminary. We trust that you will indulge us our memories. Every time we get together, we will have our stories to tell. We will tell them bigger and better than the time before. And many of the occasions, you will have no acquaintance with, little understanding or appreciation of statements like “the pioneer spirit” and “the famous 50,” “walks in the ivy with Dr. Duncan” and the “Gideons losing 100 to 55.” But a few alumni are chuckling in the distance, I hear, and you know what I’m talking about.
Twenty-two years ago, my wife and I left the state of Washington and packed everything we owned into our car and landed in this strange land of southern California. We heard about Dr. Jack MacArthur, and, in a couple of years, about you. You taught a class in evangelism at the college. And you became a part of our heritage through the years. Here at Grace Community, you have continued to be an influence on our students and a kind of fellow traveler in the history and movement of the college.
When we left the school some three years later, we had all of our belongings in a car and a trailer. We had a baby on our arm – in our arms, and we headed back for Washington to serve the Lord with the ideals that Dr. Duncan has expressed strongly implanted in our hearts. A belief in the Word of God, its authority, its finality, the desire to evangelize through the Word of God, to be faithful to those things that had been committed to us. And as we have observed you and as we have been involved in the college through the years, we have seen that you have modeled the very ideals that have been taught us and that your church and your ministry has done exceedingly above what we could imagine with the very things that we were taught.
May I say we’ve been jealous? That would be true, and that is – yet, that is not the feeling we would express. But, rather, we are thankful that God has blessed you and brought you to the place that He has and somehow brought us together. And we are looking to the future. Our children are coming to the college. And I know of no other group that has been involved in the life of the college, that is more solidly behind the choice that we have made than our alumni. They see that you have modeled in your life and in your ministry the things that we have always been taught. And we praise God for this choice.
And we promise to stand behind you in prayer and in support in our giving and, as I said, in sending our children, our greatest treasure. This is the reason we’re in business, for the young people of now and tomorrow. And we believe that, as our numbers swell dramatically, that this same – same loyalty will continue and that our commitment to the Word of God will grow and be blessed worldwide until Jesus comes. And so we pledge to you our love, our prayer and our support. We welcome you as our president.
SPEAKER 6: May I, on behalf of the student body of the Master’s College, just take this moment to thank those who have been so vitally involved in the – the planning and the organization of this evening. I know that, personally, there’s been a lot of hard, long hours put into pulling this all together tonight. And so on behalf of the student body, I would like to thank those of you who were responsible for that. Pulling it all together is one thing. But making it all possible is quite another. No Board of men, be it school or church, was responsible for that. No committee, no institution, no association, no carefully derived plan was used. That we could all be here together this evening enjoying and celebrating this very, very momentous occasion was made possible and in a – in a sense, ultimately pulled together by one thing and by one thing only. And that is the – the sovereign and the Mighty Hand of God.
As one sits back and listens to the events which led to the naming of Dr. MacArthur as president of the Master’s College, one can only be amazed at the obstacles, at the barriers which were overtaken. And may I add, completely forgotten. How exciting it’s been to see God work in such an obvious and clear way. I remember last winter, as I began to catch wind of this, and as I began to hear things brewing. Some things maybe I wasn’t supposed to hear, but I heard. And I began to think in my mind how amazing that would be if this could happen. How incredible, how – how productive this college could be, how absolutely impossible it is. And I began to think, you know, that – that this could never be.
And then just a few weeks after that, as I sat in the living room of Dr. MacArthur’s house, and as he began to share with my family and with me his own personal vision, his own personal dream, his own personal vision for the school. As he began to talk about the ideas he had for publicity and for promotion, as he began to talk about the dorms that had to be built, the programs that had to be established, I just sat there in amazement. As I left that night, I thought, “I respect the man and I admire the man, but the man is crazy. How – how can he even seriously think about taking on all the responsibilities that that would entail?”
With all the ministries that he has, the responsibilities that he has here at the church, I – I just couldn’t fathom the thought that it would actually happen. And I guess at that time I was just showing my own mental shallowness and my own smallness. And as we all know, through days and hours and weeks and months of careful prayer and consideration, we are here tonight, again in celebration and welcoming Dr. MacArthur as the president of the Master’s College.
So how do we feel? How does the student body feel when God leads a man of Dr. MacArthur’s stature and character to our college? How do we feel when God gives to us a man whose ministry reaches far beyond the borders of our nation, out into the outermost parts of the world? How do we feel when God leads to us a man whose tape and book ministry serve millions across the globe? How do we feel when God leads the pastor of probably the most single effective Bible-teaching church in the nation to our college? How do we feel? We feel good.
We feel very thankful. We feel very challenged. We feel very fortunate. We feel very, very blessed. But most of all, we have begun to feel, through the vision of our leadership, an amazing desire, an incredible desire to serve. A desire to learn, a desire to prepare, not only to change the lives of those whom God so sovereignly sends our way, not only to change Newhall and the Santa Clarita Valley. Not only to change, by the grace of God, Los Angeles and southern California, but in a very real and sincere sense, to begin to change the world with our service and with our trust and with our faith in Him.
The Master’s College, equipping for excellence in the Master’s service. I would just share with you now that, as a student body, I – I feel I can speak on behalf of them all, all four hundred and seventy-five, that we are thrilled at that which is taking place at our college. God has put before us a tremendous amount of responsibility. And I would just ask now that you could share in that with us, that you could begin to lift us up in prayer, that you could support us, that you, too, could become enthusiastic about that which is before us. We would appreciate that.
And I might just add this final note for Dr. MacArthur. It was just a few weeks ago that a young man who serves on our ASB governing body came to me. He’s our business manager, and he was sharing with me that he had gone and dug out the old ASB Constitution and it’s an old constitution. But we haven’t revised it, so it is still our constitution. And he pointed out a – an article at the bottom of one of the pages in fine print where it says that the ASB governing body of the college, if there is ever to be a – a change in the office of president of the college, that we, as an ASB, must unanimously approve that. So our next meeting’s not till Tuesday. So I – I hate to keep you hanging, but – we just are very thankful and look forward to that which is ahead of us. Thank you.
SPEAKER 7: Thank you, musicians. That was inspiring. And what a thrill it is to be here. Dr. John MacArthur, directors of the Board, members of faculty, student body, and the choir, and throughout this audience and members of the Grace Church, what a thrill it is for me to bring warm greetings to you from the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, especially two of our faculty members, sons-in-law of Dr. Duncan, asked that I say hello, Dr. Ben Ware and also Nate Wright of our faculty.
I first had a – the joy of meeting Pastor MacArthur, I think it was back in 1972. He was a whole lot younger back then. I took a side glance at him while I was sitting there and saw some silver in that head of hair. But when we met back in 1972, immediately there was that common cause and common heartbeat, and he is, I consider, a very, very special friend. He’s a choice gift to God’s church worldwide, and we thank God for Pastor John MacArthur.
I had the joy of enlisting him – yes. I had the joy of enlisting him as a trustee of the Moody Bible Institute and I would be remiss if I didn’t express their love and their congratulations and their enthusiastic support, and our prayers and best wishes for the church, Grace Community Church, and for the Master’s College. We warmly and enthusiastically are in favor of what is happening here. As I sat there yesterday and listened to the proceedings – though I was convinced in my heart before that time – once again, it was affirmed that this was of God and God was doing a wonderful thing here. Well, we’ve had a good day; great day yesterday, and a good day today.
Now there’ll be some difficult days. Sometimes we have bad days. I heard someone telling how you can tell you’re going to have a bad day. One way is when you hear a bird sing and you look out of the window, and it’s a pigeon. Another way is when you’re driving down the expressway behind a gang of motorcyclists who belong to the Hell’s Angels, and you’re horn gets stuck. You know you’re going to have a bad day.
Someone had suggested for the pastor, when the phone rings and the woman says, “I’m not being fed, and I’m going to leave the church,” and that woman happens to be your wife, then you know you’re going to have a bad day. Or when the official Board meets to discuss your salary, and they can’t remember your name. Well, I could go on and on, but I better not do that. We’re going to have a good day, and it’s been a great time all week long and yesterday and this Lord’s Day and in this service.
I was thinking about three indispensable attitudes that I would like to suggest to Pastor John MacArthur. Yesterday, when he was speaking, he spoke about Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London. And I thought I’d like to start there, as he alluded to that. Do you remember he told the story of three workers on that beautiful cathedral? And he expressed that there were three different attitudes they were – though they were all building the same building.
An interrogator came to the first stonemason and said, “What are you making?” And the stonemason said, “Well, can’t you see? Anyone with two eyes can see what I’m making. I’m making a wall. That’s what I’m making, a wall. That’s what I’m making. I’m building a wall.” The interrogator smiled and went to the second stonemason and said, “What are you making?” And he said, “I’m making a – the equivalent of a measly $10.00 a day. That’s what I’m making.” Said, “Now I deserve a lot more than that, but that’s all I’m making.” And the interrogator smiled, and he went to the third stonemason and said, “What are you making?” And the stonemason looked up, and he said, “I’m a partner with the architect, Sir Christopher Wren, and we’re building a cathedral. And in this cathedral, men and women are going to praise God and worship God. I’m building a cathedral. That’s what I’m building.”
And in that illustration, he suggested the importance of – of an attitude of great trust in God. And so the first thing that I would suggest is – I would encourage to everyone, but especially to Dr. MacArthur, an attitude of full trust in God. An attitude of complete faith in the Lord. Faith is where we begin. By grace are you saved. Through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. So we all start there. Faith is first. We come as sinners and receive Christ as Savior. We’re born of the Holy Spirit of God and we’re baptized into God’s wonderful family through that marvelous act of faith. Yes, faith is where we begin.
And, of course, we need to go on by faith so that the writer of Hebrews in that great 11th chapter verse 6 says, “It is impossible to please God without faith.” Without faith, it’s impossible to please God. Now I can build a house without faith and I can get married without faith. And someone can earn a million dollars without faith. But without faith, it is impossible – Impossible to please God. And so not only am I saved, as I come to the Lord and reach out in faith and receive Him as my substitute for sin, but then I go on by faith.
Now, I’m not speaking about a nebulous sentimental optimism. I’m speaking about a faith in a holy, righteous, all-powerful God, who gave His only begotten Son to die for our sins. And when we repent and believe, we pass from death unto life, and we become the children of God. I’m speaking about that kind of faith. I think in the Old Testament, especially in the book of Numbers, how we see that faith, that exciting faith exhibited by Caleb and Joshua. Two million children of Israel were at the border town of Kadesh Barnea. They had journeyed, and finally they came to the town, and the Lord said, “It’s yours. All yours. Possess the land.” And in that moment of decision, they made the wrong decision.
You recall how thirteen messengers were sent out, and ten came back. The majority came back, and they said, “It’s all that God said. It’s a great land, but we can’t. We can’t. The people are like giants, and the cities are fortified, and we can’t do it.” Verse 31, “But the men that went up with him said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.’” They brought back a faithless report. They brought back a report of unbelief. And lack of faith magnifies obstacles.
We all have obstacles. Sometimes you don’t have two good days back to back. There are days like that. But every problem is a chance to display the power of God. Cities are walled, and sometimes the obstacles are like giants. They are giants and they’re like giants. But we need the attitude of Caleb and Joshua who believed God, and their eyes were on the Lord. The ten looked at the giants, and they looked at the walls, and they said, “We can’t do it.” A lack of faith magnifies the obstacles, and a lack of faith minimizes the solution. A lack of faith minimizes the answers. They said, “We’re like grasshoppers in their sight.” And they said, “We’re not only like grasshoppers in their sight, we’re grasshoppers in our own sight.” They had a grasshopper complex.
They said, “We can’t do it.” The forgot that they were the redeemed, chosen children of God. That God was their director and their leader. They forgot that, and they said, “We’re just grasshoppers. We can’t do it. We can’t do it.” Pandemonium broke loose because of the report of the majority, which was a negative report of unbelief. And because of that, they were consigned to wander in the wilderness for 40 years until they died. The world’s longest funeral march because of a lack of faith. They wandered until they died, because they did not believe God.
But there were two others, Joshua and Caleb. And they constituted the minority. And their report is verse 30, “Caleb stilled the people before Moses and said, ‘Let us go up at once and possess it, for we are well able to overcome it.’” Caleb went on to say in chapter 14 verse 8, “If the Lord delights in us, then he will bring us into this land.” What was the secret of Caleb and Joshua? That we’re not – we don’t have to think about it or guess about it. In chapter 14 verse 24, it says, “But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, will I bring into the land.” Caleb followed the Lord fully. Joshua followed the Lord fully. That’s the secret, following the Lord fully.
Our eyes are on Him. The watchword of the apostolic church was God is able. God is able. As you were singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” I thought that’s it, too. God is faithful, and we look to Him, and He is able. That hymn was first introduced at the Moody Bible Institute in 1923 by Talmadge J. Bittikofer. God is faithful. And the more I know Him, the more I will be like Him. That quality of faithfulness. Oh, yes, that’s what we need. We need great faith in God, because God is able. Caleb, when he was old, 85 years of age, in Joshua 14:11 said, “Lord, give me this mountain.” And there – there happened to be a nest of opposition there. He said, “Lord, I’m just as strong at 85 as I was when Moses sent me, and I want to go and clean out that nest, Lord, for Your Glory, and in faith I’ll go. Give me this mountain.” And the Lord gave him the desire of his heart.
Oh, I think of the words of Paul Rader in that old chorus, “Only believe, only believe, all things are possible, only believe.” Throughout church history, that’s been true. I think of that young Baptist missionary, William Carey, in 1790, who said, “I’ll go to India.” They mocked him. But he went to India, and for 44 years he was true to the Lord. His motto was “Attempt great things for God, and expect great things from God.” When he came to the end of his ministry, they asked him the secret of the success, and he said, “Well” – he said, “I can plod. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.” He was faithful to his Lord, and he had an attitude of faith throughout his whole ministry.
Dr. MacArthur, may I express to you and to your leadership, and wish for each of you mountain-moving faith. Because it is an attitude of faith that separates a Christian college from a secular college. The secular college pursues truth without God and without faith, and that leads to academic idolatry. Mr. Moody founded two schools. He founded the Moody Bible Institute in the city of the Chicago, based upon faith in God and faith in God’s Word. He also founded another school in Northfield, Massachusetts. They followed the example of the Ivy League schools. Academic respectability and scholarship were the goals of that school to the extent that, ultimately, the evangelical faith faded. And the call is for faith in God, complete faith in Him. Caleb followed the Lord fully.
Another attitude is an attitude of total trust in the Word of God. I think that, today, our world is, for the most part, without hope. A survey was taken here in California among high school students, and 38 percent said they expect a nuclear war. Now that’s not just true of California. In mid-America, in Iowa City, a survey was taken among the high school students, and two hundred and ninety out of three hundred and seventy students said they feared death in the next ten years because of a nuclear war. Two Harvard medical psychiatrists say, “We may be raising a generation without hope, without a promise of the future.”
Bertrand Russell, British philosopher, in his later years was paralyzed as he thought about the future. And he said, “I have to read at least one detective book a day to drug myself against the future, against the possibility of oblivion.” Well, it’s been said that you can go for 40 days without food and you can go for 15 days without water and you can go for eight minutes without air and you can go for one second without hope. But I wanted to say this afternoon that this book that I have in my hand is a hope book. This is a hope book, and when I use the word “hope,” I’m speaking about full assurance and full confidence as we can have that kind of confidence in the Word of God. We love this book. We trust this book. We build upon this book.
We, with Grace Community Church, believe that this is the inspired Word of God. Second Timothy 3:16. If all Scripture’s inspired, then no Scripture’s uninspired. Not only do we believe it’s the inspired book, we believe it’s the indestructible book. I notice a number read from Psalm 119. Verse 89 says, “Forever, o Lord, thy Word is settled in Heaven.” The Hebrew word is natsab. It means fixed. It means established. This book that I have in my hand is settled forever in Heaven, and we can build upon it. We can build our lives and our churches and everything else that we do in this life upon this wonderful Word of God. Oh, I wish I could talk about that, but I’m thinking of a verse in Isaiah 40 verse 8, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the Word of our God shall stand forever.” The Hebrew word there is yaqum, and it simply means rises to stand.
And you and I know that men can attack this book, but this book is God’s book, and as they attack it, it rises to stand. Oh, I’m calling for once again a renewed trust and confidence in the full Word of God, because this book will never pass away. Someone has said, “It outlives, it outlifts, it outruns, it outreaches, it outranks all other books.” When men trust it and believe it, not only do they find eternal life, but the author makes Him God-like in character. We want to build on this book.
The Bible’s the inspired book. It’s the indestructible book. But more than that, it’s the indispensable book. I mean by that you can’t get along without the Bible. It’s God’s instrument in saving us. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” It’s indispensable, indispensable in the Sunday School, in the college class, in the home, in the factory, on the ball diamond. It’s indispensable. It is the indispensable Word of God. Not only is it the inspired Word of God and the indestructible Word of God, it’s the indispensable Word of God. I can’t grow without it. Peter says, “It’s milk for the newborn and it’s bread, and it’s meat.” I need the Word of God. It’s indispensable for service. We share it. We teach it. We proclaim it. It’s the indispensable Word of God.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon loved this book. He read it, he studied it, he taught it, he preached it, he memorized it. And one day, teasingly, he said, “I’m so filled with this book,” – and he didn’t mean to be using it in a careless way. He said – “Cut me, and I’ll bleed Bible.” He was just trying to say it was in him, throughout, from the top of his head to the sole of his feet. That’s the attitude that builds a great school, an attitude of great faith in God. And, secondly, an attitude of total, total trust in the Word of God.
But one other thought, an attitude of compassion for a lost world, an attitude of compassion for a lost world. Matthew 9, “When Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered like sheep having no shepherd.” Jesus was moved with compassion. The word “compassion” comes from two words. Passion means to suffer, to feel. Com means with. It means to suffer with. And our Lord looked at people and His heart went out to them. He was filled with love, filled with concern. He felt with them. He knew how to sit where they sat, to stand where they stood. He was filled with compassion. He felt with them. That’s the way it must be for each of us, for each member of the administration.
Bob Provost’s heart for world evangelization is a must for every believer. That’s the heart of John MacArthur, as well. I believe that’s the heart of every member of faculty. A heart for the whole world. No trip is too far, if by taking that trip a soul is won. And no expenditure is too great, if by making that expenditure a soul is won. And no sacrifice too deep, if by making that sacrifice a soul is won. No suffering too intense, if by suffering a soul is won. God loves people. God loves people, all people, even some of us when we’re hard to love, and sometimes we’re hard to love.
Reminds me of Frederick the Great. He said the more he got to know people, the more he loved his dog. And I think of the poet who penned, “To love the whole world for me is no chore. My only real problem is my neighbor next door.” And sometimes it’s easier to love the people of a far-off land than those right next door. But God loves people. God loves people. God loves all people. God loves the rich and the poor, the white and the black, and every nationality. God loves people, and the inclusive Gospel cannot be ministered by exclusive people. Our attitude is that of compassion. And if our arms do not embrace the whole world, they’re too short. If our hearts do not include the whole world, they’re too small. Compassion, compassion.
Mr. Moody had that. When he was a young man, he vowed that he wouldn’t let a day pass without speaking to someone about their soul. It was late one night; he saw a man walking down LaSalle Street. But he remembered his promise to the Lord and so, he tried to politely address the man. He said, “Sir,” – he said, “tell me, are you a Christian?” And the man looked at him, perturbed, and said, “It is none of your business.” Moody said, “Oh, you’re wrong, you’re wrong. That – that happens to be my business.” He said, “Oh, you must be D. L. Moody.” Well, Moody had such a reputation in Chicago for compassion. He just reached out to the children, he reached out to the parents. He reached out, his heart reached out.
He felt the needs of the people, the poor, especially. And on the doors of the Moody Church, there is this sign, “Ever welcome to this House of God are the strangers and the poor.” Because, though God loves the whole world, I think there’s a special interest in the downtrodden, the oppressed and the poor. So concerned was he for Sunday School children, one day he saw a boy had been missing for a few weeks. And so he got out of his wagon, and he started toward the boy, and the boy saw Mr. Moody coming. You couldn’t miss him. He was 5’8”, 280 pounds, hardly had a neck. His head rested on his shoulders.
And the boy took off down the alley. Mr. Moody took off after him. Boy went into the house. Mr. Moody went into the house. The boy went up a flight of stairs. Mr. Moody ran up the flight of stairs, into his apartment. D. L. followed him. He went into his room and under his bed, and that’s where Moody stopped. He couldn’t get under the bed. But he got ahold of his leg and pulled him out and said, “I want you in Sunday School next Sunday.” And he was there. And he was there for years after and shared how Mr. Moody had compassion.
The Chicago Tribune said to Mr. Moody one time after he had preached, “How did you prepare that sermon on compassion?” He said, “Oh,” – he said, “I – I started to read all the verses in the Old Testament about God’s compassion. Then I started to read all the verses in the New Testament about God’s compassion for the souls of men.” He said, “Finally, I couldn’t stand it, and I laid on the floor of my study and – and put my head into the Bible, and I wept. I wept for the souls of Chicago, for the children, for the teenagers, for the businessmen and businesswomen. And when I was so full of God’s Word, then I went and preached about compassion.”
Yes, that’s the attitude of – of serving the Lord. That’s the attitude of a school that has a heartbeat. That’s the attitude of a church that reaches out. An attitude of compassion. I think of Rachel in Genesis 30 verse 1. It says in verse 1, “When Rachel saw that she bared Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, ‘Give me children, or else I die.’” The crowning virtue of a Hebrew woman was a child. And she was concerned, and she was ashamed. She had no child. But not only that, she was desperate, and she said, “Give me children or let me die.” I believe that John Knox must’ve read that verse, and I imagine that’s why he prayed the prayer, “Give me Scotland, or let me die.” Compassion.
Dr. MacArthur, for you and for your administration, 55:39 your faculty, that attitude, that attitude of a heart of love reaching out, that attitude of compassion, because we’ll never heal the needs we do not feel. And I’m asking that the Lord’ll help each of us, but especially the leadership, to live these qualities, because then the Master’s College will really be the Master’s College.
SPEAKER 8: It’s with pleasure tonight that the Board of the Master’s College prays this prayer of dedication of this servant of God. Join with me, if you would, please.
Lord, we come before you tonight, thankful, Lord, for the tremendous way that you’ve led, humbled, Lord, by this man that we have kneeling before us. As we watch him humble himself before this Board, before this congregation, and most of all before You, Lord, desirous of doing only what is Your perfect will. Lord, it’s with excitement as we look back at what You’ve done, and the opportunity that we’ve had of being involved. It’s with excitement that we are here tonight, have heard the testimonies of these that have been involved. And, Lord, it’s with tremendous excitement that we look forward, thinking about the many things that – that must be done.
We’re so thankful, Lord for the – the students that you’ve brought us. We’re somewhat frightened, Lord, at the responsibility. We think of the message tonight and we just pray that truly that You’ll give us this heart of compassion, that we’ll continue to remember Your faithfulness, even as the song said tonight, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Give us the strength and the wisdom, Lord, to do what is Your perfect Will, and even as John has said so many times to us, he is interested in nothing less and nothing more than Your perfect Will for his life. And that’s what we pray for ours and for him.
Again, we thank You for sending him to us, for calling him to this job, to this responsibility. And we thank You for giving him the strength and for giving us the strength to go forward and do Your perfect Will. In Your blessed Son’s Name, we pray. Amen.
JOHN MacARTHUR: This whole occasion is, to put it mildly, somewhat overwhelming to me. If I didn’t fully understand the weight of responsibility before now, I certainly do at this particular time. I thank God for the privilege. I want to say a word of thanks to just about everyone who’s been a part of this program, because they all play such a – a very important part in my life. I’m grateful to God for the influences of all of these folks. My father, of course, for all the wonderful beginnings of God’s Grace in my life were brought to me through his and my mother’s influence.
And then as regards to the college, certainly to Dr. Duncan, whose gracious spirit, whose persuasive attitude, was a very important part of my decision. He, among others, felt so sure this was the purpose of God. And I have confidence that he knows when God speaks, and I was caused to listen. I’m very grateful also for one you have not met, Dr. Carl Swayze, also a former president of what was then Los Angeles Baptist College, whom you will meet in a few moments. I think, as much as anything, your warm, wonderful, affirming, encouraging spirit has been a blessing to my heart.
I had the privilege of having lunch with he and his wife, and he shared with me the enthusiasm and excitement that he felt for my being at the college and I’m very, very honored by that, because he is a true saint of God. I want to express my personal greeting also, and gratitude, to Dr. George Sweeting. I felt like I should have at least introduced him with a proper introduction, but protocol being what it is, I have waited till this moment to say how deeply grateful I am for his friendship, and not only for his friendship, but for his example.
When you are a part of an institution that is celebrating, next year, its 100th anniversary, and it is still true to the faith after 100 years, you know it has been marked by great leadership. And I rejoice in what I have learned from him. I wasn’t sure why the Lord was putting me alongside him so often and what lessons the Lord wanted to teach me. I think I’m awaking to some of those even now. You might – might find me on your doorstep from time to time, asking your wisdom on many things. And I thank him for those words that could not have been more fitly stated.
I have asked God to enable me to trust in Him, to believe in Him for every seemingly impossible thing. And there are, it seems, many impossible things, humanly speaking, when it comes to this ministry. I have asked God also to keep me true and faithful to His Word, which is the heart and the soul of all of my life.
And I have asked God, also, to give me a compassion for those that are without the Savior. Not only a compassion that is a part of my message, but a compassion that is part of my life. Those were of the Holy Spirit, reminders from this servant of God to my own heart. I trust to yours as well.
I really don’t know how to respond other than to say I’m very grateful for this opportunity. And, in a sense, very frightened that I should ever attempt to do it in my own strength, but very eager to see what God will do. And so I – I can only say that I will do the best I can to apply my time and energy and effort, prayers, leadership in whatever small way I can offer to the ongoing of this ministry for the glory of God.
I call upon you to come alongside and pray for me, because I don’t yet quite understand how all of this fits together in the simple 24 hours that make up every day. Nor in the preoccupation of my own heart and mind, which is filled with so many urgent things. But I believe, with all my heart, this is of God. I feel that the Lord has brought me to this moment. He has placed me here and this is the beginning of a great adventure.
As I said yesterday at the luncheon, I really am a spectator. I have been a spectator all through my ministry. I don’t quite understand how it happens. I don’t even quite understand why you’re all here and why this place is here, except that God has done this. And because I have seen Him work in the past and I have sensed His work in the present through the Master’s College, I’m eager to see the unfolding of His Plan.
And I want to commit myself to this and all my energies and efforts, the best I can. I want you to know that my wife, Patricia, is excited, enthusiastic, and 100 percent supportive, as are my children and all those the Lord has brought around me as friends and co-laborers. And so it is with a sense of, I suppose, fear mixed with tremendous anticipation that we move ahead to see what God will do in the days, weeks and months and years that will make up future life of the Master’s College till Jesus Christ comes again. And until He comes, it’s our goal that we should be able to perfect the saints for the work of the ministry, for the building up of the Body of Christ. That noble task must, to be accomplished, be energized by the Spirit of God. And to that end, we pray. Thank you.
SPEAKER 9: This summer, Dr. MacArthur wrote the words to the Master’s College Hymn, and we’d like to have you join us on the last stanza at the designated time.
CHOIR: Master’s College Hymn.
SPEAKER 10: Shall we stand? Oh, Thou blessed God, Sovereign, Eternal One, we worship Thee for all that has gone on in this service, upon which Thou has already bestowed Thy benediction and grace, but we look unto Thee. We worship Thee, we adore Thee, oh, Thou Blessed God. And we praise Thee as we depart. We thank Thee once again for Thy servant John, under whom Thou hast given another assignment of great influence and responsibility. Our God, we pray Thou will bless him in body and heart and mind and spirit, and all who labor with him, both here at Grace Community Church and at the Master’s College. May Heaven’s blessings rest upon them, we pray.
Grant unto Thy dear servant John, Thou would give him a due spirit of reverent dread and awe and true meekness with heaven’s wisdom and sagacity for so many problems and questions to which he must give answer. Bless him, we pray. And, oh, we pray that Thou wilt bless the Master’s College, this great student body Thou hast brought. May their young hearts be open to receive the benediction from the Lord. Poor out Thy Spirit upon the Master’s College, we pray, oh, God.
Open windows of heaven. And may the school become a veritable oasis in the deserts of sin, an oasis from which shall flow rivers of living water, which through the faithful servants of – service of this faculty and all that have gone to make up the school, has been provided, young men and young women trained, trained in the things of the Lord, sanctified by Thy Spirit and sent out into all the world. Oh, may Thy blessing be upon us.
And if there even, in this moment, Lord, there should be one heart in this service about to go away, a stranger, a stranger under Jesus Christ, oh, Spirit of God, help that soul to find Thee before it leaves these premises. And for us, Thy children, we have never met, we do not know each other by name, but oh, we sense the great oneness with which Thou hast brought our hearts together. We ask Thee, dear Lord, that Thou will truly help us to lay our best at the Master’s feet, and sanctify all our powers unto Thy great praise and glory until the day of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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