Grace to You Resources
Grace to You - Resource

Austin Duncan: Welcome everybody. We got a Q&A tonight, and the five of us just wanted to, yeah, the five of us just wanted to have better seats. So we’re just gonna sit up here so we can listen to John talk some more.

Pastor, thank you so much for letting us celebrate you this morning. I know that you don’t prefer us to pay attention to you and you did everything within your power to appropriately flip that straight to the faithfulness of God. So thank you so much for this morning and reminding us of your vantage point. The line that is memorable to me was you’ve had a front-row seat to the work of the Word and the Spirit. And then you spent the rest of the time talking about this beloved congregation and how that ministry has enriched your life. So give us afterthoughts after this morning.

John: Again, it—it’s such an overwhelming experience to arrive at fifty-five years of ministry. I’m still trying to process that. And when I was asked to do some reminiscing about it, it was difficult for me to—I literally threw away ten sheets of paper that I wrote on, because I didn’t think I could do justice to, to all the things, that there’s no—there’s no bottom of that list. There’s not one through ten; it’s all ones. So I just decided to say whatever came into my head, and that was to focus on the faithfulness of God by following the pattern that He has ordained for His church. And you all have lived that, to whatever degree you have been here, and you see the fruit of that. And yeah, it’s just an, an amazing thing.

Longevity in ministry is rare, and long endurance of a congregation that continues down the same path, growing and flourishing, is rare as well. But as will be evident from these men tonight, when you stay a long time, it’s amazing how extensive the fruit becomes. And the reason that happens is because you are literally building strong people. And the church really rises and falls on the strength of the men that lead it. And what makes Grace Church so unique and its ministries so effective is the strength of the men who have grown up in this environment and carry the truth with the same passion that I do. The Lord has used them in their gifts to go way beyond anything I could ever have imagined. And when I said I’ve been like a spectator, it’s true. I see things that we need to do, and God raises up people who do them, and do them with such skill and excellence and spiritual devotion that they become as enduring as the church itself.

Austin: And that’s what we want to highlight tonight, because as we all understand your priority has always been this church, the care of this congregation, the ministry of the Word from this pulpit—that’s been the center point of everything, and none of the rest of it was part of some plan that you had in 1969.

John: All I did was plan to be prepared next Sunday.

Austin: Right.

John: There are no Monday sermons. So your whole life is built around the relentless preparation for proclaiming the Word Sunday after Sunday after Sunday. Fifty-five years of Sundays is the way I look at it. You can do the math. That’s a lot of sermons and a lot of preaching. And I take seriously the responsibility for that, which means the greatest investment of my life has been in the preparation to do that for fifty-five years. And I still find that preparation the real joy and delight of my ministry.

Austin: And that’s the goal tonight, is to try to capture just a little taste of what God has done through the ministry of His Word among us. You’ve always said that it’s your desire to focus on the depth of the ministry and let God take care of the breadth. And so that’s what we want to survey tonight, is to get a little taste of the breadth of this ministry, and not just looking at the past, but looking at the future. MacArthur, this isn’t—this is your life thing. This is ongoing, present, and forward leaning, really, in how the Lord is using this to this very day.

John: This is not a preview of my funeral.

Austin: No, no. Phil, Phil said it today on the Internet. He said something like you prayed for ten more years of faithful preaching ministry, right?

Phil: That’s right.

Austin: Yeah. So that’s all our desires. We like working here, so we want you to stay.

John: I like having you here.

Austin: Let’s do a little chronological visitation, though. Let’s start with Phil. Phil, you’ve been around for quite some time. Tell us your origin story. And what I mean is, where did you first encounter the ministry of John MacArthur?

Phil: It was at Moody Bible Institute forty-seven years ago—hard to believe because it doesn’t seem that long. He came to speak at a special week of chapel services for the students. I was an editor at Moody Press, right there on campus, and because I was an employee they—and it was a special week—they gave us permission to go to those chapels. And I’d never heard of him. I—the only thing—in fact, I didn’t even connect—I’d read that article, “The Church with 900 Ministers.” I didn’t connect that with you, John, and I’d never heard your name; I didn’t know who you were. I shared an office with another guy, and he—just before chapel, he said to me, “Are you going down to hear that speaker?” And I said, “Who was that again?” And he reads the information sheet to me; he says, “This is John McArthur, Jr. He is the pastor of Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California. He’s fifth-generation preacher, and today he’s speaking on God’s will for your life.” And I said, “No, I’m not gonna go hear that.” I said, “Somebody should tell Junior that every speaker who ever comes to Moody Bible Institute talks about God’s will for your life. I don’t really have time to go hear some guy whose claim to fame is he’s somebody’s son.” So he left, and I’m sitting there in my office alone. Twenty seconds later, Darlene, who I had just started dating, stuck her head in the door and said, “Were you coming down to student chapel?” I said, “Yeah, I was just on my way.”

So we sat in the balcony behind the audio booth, and I had very low expectations, but from the time he opened his mouth I was transfixed. It was a message like I’d never heard; it was his famous message “God’s Will Is Not Lost.” I remember thinking, “He needs somebody to help him get this stuff in print.” And from then on every time I ever heard him, that was sort of my fantasy: “I’d love to edit books for this guy.” That came about a different way; it’s too long of a story to tell. But that was my first encounter.

Austin: I like—it’s the first encounter. I like that it had an unspiritual side. You just wanted to be with Darlene.

Phil: Yeah. No, that’s true. I was as carnal as could be, but John’s influences had a good effect.

Austin: But the sermon wasn’t “junior.” The sermon was powerful—

Phil: The sermon was the best I’d ever heard, literally. And you know, I graduated from Moody, where they bring in the best speakers all the time. I’d never heard a better speaker. And he was so young—John, I think, was about thirty-four at the time, and it impressed me. I thought, “He’s young, and he’s cool, but his sermons are better than any I’d ever heard.” And from then on, I’ve just been stuck with him.

John: Fortunately.

Austin: I think that the—I mean, just to speak about that for a moment, how many of you have read the little booklet called Found God’s Will?

So not enough of you. About half, is my estimation.

Phil: We used to give that away free here.

Austin: It’s a phenomenal book, and so many people encounter Dr. MacArthur’s ministry through this little booklet, which is a summary of this excellent sermon that takes away the mystery of what is the future, what is God’s will for my life, and puts it in scriptural terms. So it’s absolutely a great spot to encounter the ministry of Dr. MacArthur.

Dr. MacArthur, this is the man who’s been at your side for many years now—Phil, how long?

Phil: Forty-one years.

Austin: Forty-one years; you picked him off from the folks at Moody. Talk about the origin story of the organization that you’ve entrusted with Phil, and Phil has been stewarding. Let’s talk about Grace to You. Where did it come from, and how did that come about?

John: Well, it really came about because people wanted to record the sermons. From the very outset, that wasn’t done. There was no such thing as a cassette, let alone a CD or a download. So creating a recording of a message was—was challenging. The only tape players that existed when I came here were big, huge contraptions with two wheels that turned like this—

Austin: Old reel-to-reel.

John: Reel-to-reel, and there was no portability with that. But people said—well, there was a man in the church, one man in particular who said, “I’ll record your sermons, and I’ll do reel-to-reel copies at normal speed”—so you play the whole reel to produce one copy—“and we’ll take them to the shut-ins.” That was his desire. And so we started out doing that in a very simple way. And eventually cassettes kind of slid into the picture. And once that happened, there was a shift to, “Let’s make tapes.” I don’t know how many years it took before we hit one million. Do you remember, Phil?

Phil: Yeah, one million was in 1982, 1982. So it was, what, is that like eleven years?

John: Yeah, at least. So that led to radio ministry, and, and it, it really—again, was there was something we didn’t plan. It turns out that there was a station in Baltimore, WRBS, and they started picking up these cassette tapes and putting them on the air and playing them without any authorization from us. This was just—which was great, and people started writing to me and saying, “We really love your radio program.” And I said, “I don’t—we don’t have a radio program.” “Yes, you do. It’s on WRBS, which is in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area.” And we decided that if they could have value there, we’d expand that. So that’s how it started. I don’t know what exact year, Phil, officially Grace to You began.

Phil: The radio broadcast premiered officially in 1978; think it was the year I moved to Florida. Darlene and I had gotten married two or three months earlier. We wanted to get out of Chicago. So we moved to Florida. I could do freelance editing anywhere. And we chose Tampa because I knew there was a Bible-teaching church there. And the week we moved to Florida was the week that Grace to You premiered, and one of the three stations in the country that carried it was there in Tampa. So I started listening to you on the radio from day one. I’m probably one of the first fifteen or twenty people on the mailing list. And, yeah.

John: Of course, there were nowhere near a number of radio stations, Christian radio that there are today. It was—it was meager. So I remember we first went on a station in Glendale, KIEV. I remember that very well. And we were—we were between the news and the horse races, and we weren’t a hit. It was not—it was the wrong crowd, for sure. So there was a little bit of adjustment to be made, made at that point. But at the same time we started the radio, radio networks, Christian radio networks, began to develop. And so we, we kind of saw that ministry develop with those networks, going forward.

Austin: And so Phil, let’s fill in some gaps here, in just thinking about what the Lord has done through this ministry that we’re privileged to be a part of, in real life, here from this pulpit, week in, week out, for all these years. But it’s had a massive impact, through initially these cassette tapes that people were handing around even locally, and then a radio expansion; and that grew and grew. Maybe the downloads is the next most significant kind of moment, as well as syndication of the radio show. Talk a little bit about the initial boom of that, and maybe even a little bit about the reach of that ministry.

Phil: Right. When I, when I came to Grace Church in 1983, Grace to You was actually a division of Grace Church. It was overseen by the elders. There were two departments: the tape ministry and the radio ministry. In about 1985 or so, we combined those and spun off, because it had such a large budget and only five minutes a month on the elders’ agenda. So we felt like we needed an independent board. So we consolidated radio and tape at that point. And that was about—that was about the same time that Salem bought the radio station here in Los Angeles. And that, that was a huge jolt for the radio broadcast. Put us ahead, and we’ve just grown ever since; we’re on thousands of radio stations now.

The footprint of our Spanish ministry is almost as big, in terms of geographical regions and cities that we reach—almost as big as English. And you know, there’s not a—I say this frequently—there’s not a time, day or night, any part of the week, day; twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, somebody is listening to John preach—which is kind of a terrifying thought, isn’t it John?

John: Yeah.

Phil: But—and the downloads, we, we were—

Austin: Talk about the decision to open the vault. That’s something that you, you were up against: was do we, you know, selling these tapes, just put them for free on the radio, or do we actually download it?

John: I need to jump in on that and say this: We, we came to a kind of a crisis moment, where financially we, we needed to figure out how we were gonna sustain this. And there were consultants who would come along and say, “Well, you gotta have—you gotta create a crisis. Remember that you gotta create a crisis, and then you gotta make people feel that you’re liable to go off the air if the crisis isn’t abated. And you try to—try to gin up their interest and support.”

And I just refused to do that. I said, “I, I don’t want to do that. We’re going to minister, and we, we’re going to—we’re going to give everything away. And so if the Lord wants to shut it down, He can shut it down. But I want our ministry to depend on support. It comes from willing people, not gimmicks.” And the people at the time who were kind of giving us advice about marketing said, “This is crazy. You can’t do that.” And I said, “Well, I just want to be certain that the one who is pushing this ministry forward is the Lord. And if we give it all away, then I’m gonna know whether or not He’s blessing it.” So that was a huge, huge move. And we’ve done that. I don’t know the numbers of books—

Phil: Starting in the 1990s, we started giving away pretty much every book you wrote.

John: We gave away several editions of The MacArthur Study Bible.

Phil: Right.

John: And that’s like a $50 or $60, obviously, book, and we, we gave them away to tens of thousands of people everywhere. So that was kind of the mentality. And so eventually, people were downloading sermons or getting cassettes, and they were paying, I don’t know, a couple of dollars for it. By then it was CDs.

Phil: We went through CDs. That was a short shelf life. The shift from cassettes to CDs, and then everything was available on the Internet. I remember a moment in 1995 when the Internet was brand new, the World Wide Web, hardly any people knew it, but Grace to You was already there. And we had a management retreat—John was there, and I made the comment, “John, you know, within”—I said—“like, fifteen years, people won’t even be buying cassettes from us. They’ll be listening to you online.” And he said, “Don’t say that.” He said, “Cassettes are the backbone of our ministry.” But you know, technology evolved, and we stayed up with it. We were, we were selling the downloads for a few years and realized, you know, we don’t need the sales income. Let’s just open the vault and let everybody download any sermons they want. We did that. Actually, it started, I remember it was in 19—what was it? It was the day after Obama’s first election. Had election day, and the very next day we opened the vault and immediately—

John: Celebrate Obama’s election, is that what you’re saying?

Austin: That’s what Phil said.

Phil: Or, or to compensate on it. Immediately. That month, I think we had like, in excess of two million downloads. And I thought, “People are just downloading everything; that number will tail off. We won’t see it anymore.” But it’s remained constant. So that—as I said, it took more than a decade to deliver the first million cassette tapes. Now we have close to two million downloads every single month.

Austin: Every single month. It’s incredible.

Phil: I forget the number. And that’s, that’s just people who download the audio files from our website. There are also people who listen to sermons on YouTube. I don’t even know how to compile all those numbers, but it’s millions and millions. There, there’s really nothing—there’s no precedent to it in history.

Austin: Yeah. And God has used that in so many people’s lives in just the same way he’s used your preaching, John, into the lives of this congregation. So many people feel attached to you, they consider you a spiritual father. You’ve, you’ve rescued them from false teaching. You’ve taught so many guys to preach. I mean, I, I have a hard time parting with my cassettes. I still have a giant bucket of cassettes in my attic, and I can’t throw them away. And it’s just, it’s this weird thing; that’s I learned to preach by listening to GTY cassettes—writing it down in a yellow pad, adding jokes. So pretty much, pretty much the same thing I do now. But I mean, that’s so many of our seminarians—they learn to preach by, by following Dr. MacArthur’s example. And it’s because that teaching was proliferated all around the world. And so it really is a story of God’s faithfulness in just what you said: the Spirit and the Word coming together to produce so much fruit.

John: For every one of those millions of people, there’s a story, there’s a life story. Wonderful thing about what’s happened over the last maybe seven or eight years is Grace Reaches Out. Explain what Grace to You–

Phil: Grace Reaches Out is our program to multiply the ministry in as many different languages as possible. So currently we’re translating all of—well, we’ve selected six hundred of the most important messages, and we’re trying to translate those into as many languages as possible. We’ve got at least four languages that we’ve basically completed the work. We’re working on another four right now. And you know, we have sort of laid out by population count who’s who, which language has the most people, and we’re going to try to take them in that order. So I think right now, besides all of that, we probably have material by John translated into well over twenty different languages—books published. We used to say we wouldn’t do audio because we didn’t really trust translators to deliver the sermon in as sermonic way. And then, and then a guy just sort of—again, without permission, without asking us—translated a ton of John’s material into Vietnamese and was distributing it all over Vietnam. And it was, it was amazing the impact that made, and that sort of motivated us to say, you know, we shouldn’t write off the possibility of making audio translation. So now we’re doing it in as many languages as we can.

Austin: Incredible. And that’s—we’ll come back to Grace to You to talk more about the future of the ministry, and where it continues to grow, and what some of that impact is. But let’s keep moving through the reach of this ministry in a chronological way. It’s the mid of the—it’s the mid-1980s; Dr. MacArthur, your church is, is booming. You’re seeing such incredible growth and fruit here in the San Fernando Valley, and there’s impact around the world through these messages. Christian media is at a newfound high because of the radio ministry.

So all that is happening, and then an opportunity with a almost defunct college up in Santa Clarita falls on your lap. Talk about the origin of The Master’s College, now Master’s University. How did that come your way?

John: I had been on the board at Moody for about eleven years, which was a way that I could weigh into Christian education, because I felt it was so critical. I mean, I understand that getting sound doctrine is everything in, in preserving the future of the truth and the church. So I was grateful to do that.

The leadership wondered at that point after about eleven years, if I would want to move to Chicago and make a change in my life, but I never could; I never had a split second moment of my life when I ever entertained the thought of leaving Grace Church. So I said, “I can’t do that.”

It was right around that time that some of my friends from the—Los Angeles Baptist College is what it was; it was not in Los Angeles, and it wasn’t particularly Baptist. And it was—it had a sound doctrinal statement. I had actually taught there. I taught evangelism class there, several semesters. This is an invited guest; Dr. John Duncan, who at the time was the president, invited me to come. So I got to know him, a wonderful precious saint; his son-in-law John Stead and I were close buddies all the way back to high school, when we were the double play combination in the backfield in our high school football team.

And so John approached me and said, “You know, we’re gonna need a new president. Would you think about that?” And I, I didn’t need another job, but I understood the value of Christian education, and I understood that this was a—this was a gym. It had a sound doctrinal statement. It had a solid history; it had faithful people. And not understanding what it was going to mean, because I think if I understood at that time, what it would mean to do this, I probably would have walked the other way. I could never have anticipated the—everything that it would take. Although now, looking back, I’m—I’m glad the Lord kept me ignorant. So I would step in and see His hand the way I have. Would I be willing to become the president? And again, not understanding all that was involved in that.

I sought some counsel from people who were in Christian education, and they said, “You’d be a fool to do that”—you know, digging the school out of a hole of financial difficulties and all of that. So I, I said, “But look, it’s right near us. We don’t have anything like that. We don’t have a school like that. We need a school like that. It’s, it’s got to be done. It’s there.” I just, I couldn’t shake it. So I said, yes, I would do that. And they called me to be the president, and immediately at that point, a large number of the board resigned because I wasn’t part of their Baptist group. And I started getting mail from the people who had been a part of the denomination that supported that school, and they were—many of them were irate that they had allowed me in, and they wrote me letters like, “You did a hostile takeover of our school. We want you to pay reparations.” Some of them even put a price tag on what I should pay because I absconded with the school. So it wasn’t popular with everyone, which made it even a greater challenge, because you would have thought that the people would be glad for their school that they love to get shot in the arm.

Austin: Because it was in a—it was in a tough spot.

John: It was in a tough spot, and because we had radio, we had a national constituency, and they needed students. And so I began to talk about this on Grace to You, and it took off and has been an incredible blessing and joy to me and produced thousands of students who are serving the Lord all over the world. And I wouldn’t—again, I wouldn’t have imagined that what has occurred there could have occurred.

Just in the last few months, the Wall Street Journal rated our college as number two of all colleges and universities in the nation in terms of customer satisfaction. I guess you could call it that, Abner? So, you know, we, we’ve shocked the world. I love it when the world has to recognize a solid, biblically orthodox Christian college for its quality, though they hate having to do that.

So the Lord has blessed that, but it, it came about because some friends asked me to come and help, and I wasn’t sure what it would—what it would involve. But over the years that I have been there, there’s been different challenges every few years. It’s just been all kinds of different things to overcome and to fight and to build on.

But again, I could have never known what the outcomes would be at the beginning. I just said, OK, Lord, I feel like You’re asking me to do this. So I’ll step in. And the elders of the church were very gracious because essentially I was then saying to them, “You’re not going to have all of me,” in some ways. And they were very affirming.

Austin: Yeah. And you know, in hindsight, you could see what a decision this was. You served in the role of president of the Master’s College, and then University, for more than thirty years. And the Lord blessed that through all those decades of faithfulness there, and those who know you best know how much you love that school. You have just such a an affection for the young people there and for the ministry, the vision of that place; what happened in your time serving there that made you have so much love for being a college president and for watching these young people’s lives?

John: Well, first of all, I am devoted to the Lord personally. And so were the people there. So they were my kind of people. Their passions were not academic, their professions were academic; their passions were Christ and His church. And that’s rare even in “Christian education”; that’s, that’s rare. Christian education can get very professionalized. But there, there was a genuine love for the Lord and a desire for His Word to be honored. The doctrine was sound; it hadn’t moved since the school was started in 1927. So it had been faithful for a long period of time. So I, I loved the passion for the things that I was passionate about. I loved the clarity with which they saw doctrine, sound doctrine.

And so they were my people. I didn’t feel like I was stepping into an alien environment and I was going to have to somehow resurrect this institution. It wasn’t that it was alive and well, but it was at an infant stage where it needed to grow and fully develop, and—but I, I loved it from the beginning.

And then of course, you throw in all these young people. They’re irresistible. You—I looked at the chorale singing, and tonight, and I thought to myself, you look at them, and you can see that the current version of the Master’s University is global. There’s so many nationalities there and that’s what’s happening to the Master’s University. So the kids are the prize in all of this. They, they’re the prize, and to see them all over the world serving the Lord in endless ways faithfully—who wouldn’t invest in that?

Austin: Yeah. And you found some real jewels along the way. One of them a young Asian boy, smart as a whip. Nathan, I’m not talking about you. And he was supposed to go to Harvard. I think he was accepted, but instead he ends up at Master’s College.

Abner, where did you first encounter the ministry of Dr. MacArthur? A Midwestern kid, thinking about where to go to college, when did you first hear about Dr. MacArthur?

Abner Chou: You know, I’m one of those million that we talked about with Grace to You. I first heard Pastor John on the radio, 7:30 a.m., sharp, KSIV-AM 1320. My mom listened to Pastor John every single day, without fail. I mean, it was a given. Sometimes we were driving to school, and he would be playing on the radio. I remember one of his messages was on Daniel. I just recall that because we’ve been working on the Daniel commentary together, and I thought, “This is amazing. I—it’s really come full circle, and we—I listened to him on the radio.” I got saved. I began to grow. And for my sixteenth birthday, my mom asked me what I wanted; and my friends were getting cars, and I got a MacArthur Study Bible, which I still have to this day in my office.

And then I said, “I want to go into ministry. I want to teach the Word of God. I want to study it.” And my mom said, “There’s only one place for you.” She said, “It’s The Master’s College.” And I said, “Why?” She says, “Well, the guy who wrote the study Bible and all these books you’ve read, he’s the president.” I said, “Oh, OK. Well, let’s go there.” And so I’m one of those thousands in Master’s College. And Pastor John, Dr. MacArthur, thank you for your sacrifice for that as well, because the college changed my life—every single day of my life, I take the lessons that you have instilled in the professors who instilled it in me, and I use it. And so I’m, I’m in tremendous debt to this plethora of family of ministries that has completely shaped my life.

And then I went to the seminary, and what is true of the college is even more true of the seminary. And I became, eventually, a professor at the college, now university, and it’s all shaped through Pastor John.

Austin: Yeah, and Doc, when you moved to the chancellor role at the university, and God provided Abner for us in the presidency—talk a little bit about this relationship and about the, the impact currently that we’re having on the lives of so many young people at The Master’s University.

John: Well, first of all, I should define chancellor. It’s like being the president—with a walker.

Let me say this: Not everybody in ministry gets to pass the baton to a choice servant. But the Lord gave me that privilege with, with Abner—

Austin: Yeah, amen.

John: Just an incredible servant of the Lord. We all understand his brilliance, his ability to handle the Word of God, his character, his leadership. My heart rejoices every single day that you are in that seat. And you’re young—how old are you?

Abner: Forty-one.

John: Forty-one. So if you’re following my standard, you only have forty-three more years.

Abner: Counting down.

John: That speaks so well for the future of The Master’s University, because he is the most able guardian and leader of that place. And as I said, if I were to define the most amazing characteristic of this ministry in general, it would be the quality of leaders the Lord has developed. Every one. I mean, whether it’s talking about Austin or Phil or Abner or Nathan or Mark, and a whole lot of other people, it’s just an amazing, amazing array of gifted men; but certainly Abner is one that stands out.

And as he mentioned with Daniel, along with Joe, these guys are helping me—Joe Zhakevich—to do an Old Testament commentary series. And I said, “Look, you guys are going to be stuck with most of the work because I’ll never survive.” There, there’s thirty-nine books in the Old Testament. We’ve done two, and well on the way for the third, Daniel. They said, “No, we want to do the rest so that there’s a faithful Old Testament commentary to go along with the New Testament commentary.”

One thing, just in addition, to say is that the breadth of these men’s capacity is really stunning. They’re—you can put them in any situation to do anything in ministry, no matter what it was, and they would excel at it. The range of their giftedness and skill and ability to work with people, motivate them, train them, lead them is amazing. And that’s what each of them has to do. That’s certainly true at the university and seminary with Mark, TMAI, Grace to You, and all of that. So yeah, the—you know, to be able to pass the baton on—and I use that language because of 2 Timothy 2:2, things you’ve heard from me among many faithful witnesses, the same, commit, among many witnesses, the same, commit to faithful men. And I used to think about that when I was in seminary: “That’s what I want to do. I want to be able to hand off a legacy to faithful men. Lord, help me someday to do that.”

And when I came to Grace, I told the elders, I want to do two things. I want to teach the Word of God, preach the Word of God. And I want to train men—because I grew up in a pastor’s family, where I saw a struggle: As faithful as my dad was, it just was very unusual to have an intentional discipleship program for men in a church in those days. And I wanted to make that a vital, core part of my life and ministry and a—whatever small contribution I make to any of these ministries is just placing the right person there as the Spirit directs us to, to accomplish His end.

Austin: Yeah. Abner, talk a little bit about the present work of the university and its impact on lives. Where—where is it at now? When it was first given as a stewardship to this ministry, it was a fledgling school with not enough students and therefore not enough cash, and it wasn’t sure it was going to make it through the year. The Lord has been so faithful, though. Give us kind of a present update. What happening at Master’s right now?

Abner: Yeah, the Lord has been so good, so good. And all of this is a demonstration that He honors His Word. Pastor John has wisely said in the past, and repeated over and over: The results are what they say you are. And the results right now testify that the university—as Pastor John mentioned, the Wall Street Journal recorded, according to the survey results, that it is number two of all the schools in the nation, for that which the alumni affirm was profitable for them. When I heard that first statistic—somebody texted it to me. I said, “Are you sure—the whole United States, or are you just saying number two in Santa Clarita? Let’s be humble here, guys, before you put this on the Internet.” And we beat out everybody. It was amazing. We beat out Harvard, Princeton, all these schools—I was astounded. And we’re number two there, number one in CPA pass rate in California, 95% acceptance rate into medical school, 100% placement rate in our school of education. The Lord is truly blessing, and it’s just so remarkable, the—if you read the historical documents of LABC, they always wanted to be a 1,200 person campus, 1,200 person campus. That was—that was the number; I guess it was kind of biblical, with the number 12 or something, and we could never hit it. And then this year, which is our centennial class, this class that just came in will be graduating on our hundredth year as an institution. We hit 1,200.

Austin: Amazing.

Abner: And the Lord is just so good in all of this, and donations are coming in, and—and houses are being bought to house these students, and scholarships are being given so generously to our young people, and the results are what they say you are. And—and really, what the results testify to is, as Dr. MacArthur has emphasized, education that is grounded in the truth of the Word of God is the only true education. That’s the education that draws students in, and makes them love what they learn, and makes them effective in their vocation and even more effective as salt and light, and the next generation of the church—that’s what education should have always been. And so I just want to return and say to Pastor John, thank you for insisting that we never compromise. And we are relentless about the pursuit of Christ and Scripture at The Master’s University. That is—that is shade for so many children, so many young people coming through, and even to that end, there are—there’s a movement now, of education, K through 12—K through doctorate, that wants to align with the university, produce curriculum, have institutions like Grace Academy or Legacy Christian Academy that align with us. And we want to provide a truth, a true education for the next generation of the church. I don’t want to take your place, Austin, but I’d love to hear Pastor John’s thoughts on that: protecting the next generation.

Austin: We’ll get to that eventually, I’m the moderator. So you, you stick to smart-guy stuff; I’ll handle this kind of thing. So I know you’re the president, but I’m—I’m in charge, sort of. I’m not really in charge, John. It’s up to you what we do. But so let’s—there’s a—there’s something that we have to expose, because you had in your heart, a desire not just to train Christ-centered accountants, though we bless their names. You wanted to train preachers, and that acquisition of the university would lead almost immediately to the movement towards the seminary. So let’s talk about the—the origin story of the seminary from your perspective, Dr. MacArthur.

John: Well, at the time, in 1985, we were operating an extension here from Talbot Seminary. I think we had about ninety students. Is that right, Nathan, something like that?

Austin: And they were driving up from Orange County.

John: Driving from La Mirada, or some faculty were driving from there to here. We were just trying to find a way because we had so many young guys who want to be trained. So once the relationship to The Master’s College—then University, now—was realized, we knew we had the institution that we could then create a seminary out of. So I think the seminary started that one year later, I think; the—I came to the college in ’85 and in ’86. And what was interesting was the seminary got accreditation in one year. And I remember the first accreditation report was comments like, this is what a seminary should be, it should be attached to a local church; much like you wouldn’t want to have a medical school unless it was attached to a hospital where you could have a practicum for what you were learning, seminaries belong in a local church. And so we were recognized for doing something that was important to do, even by the secular accrediting people.

It didn’t take long for the seminary to grow. But the goal of the seminary was, was simple. You said it: to train preachers. Because that is the means that the Lord has chosen to grow His church: the preaching of the Word. Preach the Word, right? And you have to be trained to do that skillfully. So from the outset, we were not trying to produce professional religious people. We were trying to produce preachers and teachers who could handle the Word of God accurately. And that gave birth to The Master’s Seminary.

Austin: Right here on the campus of this church.

John: Right, and then through some donations that we had, we were able to build a seminary building and develop the library, and the rest is history.

Austin: It is. And though Phil is quite tenured in his role in these ministries, there’s someone who’s been here even longer than Phil. And that is Nathan Busenitz; though young and debonair, he’s been here a very, very long time, not as long as Dr. MacArthur, but a long time. Nathan, talk about your first encounter with the ministry of John MacArthur.

Nathan Busenitz: Yeah. Thank you, Austin.

Austin: You’re welcome.

Nathan: So my dad was one of the men who came from Talbot to help start an extension campus here at Grace Church. He came—he and my mom came in, I believe, the summer of 1977; I think that extension campus started in the fall of 1977. And I was born in Van Nuys in 1978. So I have been here ever since, and I probably only started to remember things about the time that Phil got here, in 1983. But I am so grateful for what this church has been in my life. It’s just God’s kindness that I’ve had the privilege of growing up here. And you know, all of this emphasis, even recently, on protecting the children and providing shade for the children—Pastor John, that’s been your emphasis for your entire ministry—and I’ve been the direct beneficiary of that. I not only went through the entire nursery and elementary education, and then student ministries here at Grace, I was here for quite a number of years at Grace Community School, in the first iteration of it, before Grace Academy. And then after going to high school, went to The Master’s College, met my wife there, and then to The Master’s Seminary, and the rest is history. But it’s been an incredible joy. And honestly, there’s been two people who have, in God’s providence—two men who have impacted my life and left an indelible imprint. One is my dad, and the other is you, Pastor John. So it’s just such an honor to get to be part of a ministry that I’ve had the privilege of experiencing for my whole life.

John: Your dad was the first faculty member that I hired for The Master’s Seminary. That was an easy decision.

Austin: Somehow you knew he would produce a Nathan. I mean, that’s, that is—that is homegrown, that is prenatal man-training, and that’s very impressive.

Phil: Look, I remember Nathan as a toddler, and he was already mature. You know, he was grown up from the time—

Austin: People talked a lot about his briefcase in the nursery, yeah.

John: You can tell a lot about a man by meeting his adult sons.

Austin: Yeah. And Nathan provides stewardship over The Master’s Seminary. Abner is the president of Master’s University and Seminary, but Nathan is on the ground every day, teaching historical theology and leading the administration at the seminary. So Nathan, give us a little idea of the impact the seminary is having today; about two thousand graduates have been trained. Is that correct?

Nathan: Yeah, as Dr. MacArthur said, when the seminary started in 1986 it had just about 90 students. And today we have right around 800 men who are training for pastoral ministry. That includes about 200 who are training in the Spanish language, which is something that we’re very excited about seeing—the Lord strengthen the church in the Spanish-speaking part of the world. And we do have about 2000, a little over 2000 graduates, and they serve not only across the United States but in about 70 countries around the world. And a lot of that service, actually, is through the ministry of TMAI, which Mark will talk about in a moment. But it’s really amazing to see the 2 Timothy 2:2 principle at work. The things that have been entrusted to us, we teach to the men at the seminary, and then they go out and teach others also. So it’s that generational kind of leadership.

And really, Pastor John, what you’ve modeled in wanting to preach the Word of God, verse by verse, and then train up other leaders and fulfill the Great Commission—that’s what the men at the seminary aspire to do. And it’s been our joy to disciple them and then deploy them. That’s an amazing, amazing thing to watch.

John: It seemed to me to be the most important thing to do: not to hand off ministry training to some other entity, but to look at your church and the doctrine and the spiritual commitments of that body of people. And if it’s faithful to the Word of God to say, “I don’t want to hand these guys off to some other organization, we need to train them”—and that’s why it was so important to get the seminary rolling. So that we could we could leave our imprint on them. Seminaries, as you know, just like universities, can be very dangerous places where a lot of guys, whatever orthodoxy they have doesn’t survive. So it, it just seemed like who whoever is most intense in handling the Word of God should be training the next generation of leaders.

Austin: So we’ve been touching on this reality from the beginning of this conversation. Not only did God call you to lead a church in Los Angeles, a city that is multicultural and international, a city that is connected to so many other cities around the world. Huge numbers of immigrants live here, and it’s a place that is, is truly—the nations are represented in Los Angeles. And as Phil talked about, there’s great effort in bringing all of your material into other languages. The MacArthur Study Bible has been translated into more than a dozen languages. Your sermons are, are being spread all over the globe in another voice and another language and tongue, and so let’s talk a little bit about the international impact of this ministry. When you first came here, Dr. MacArthur, it was a—it was a little, tiny church, met in the chapel, and was, I probably—I’m guessing it wasn’t very international, but I’m sure there was some kind of attachment to missions. Did you have—obviously the Great Commission was in your heart. What was the initial kind of seed of Grace Community Church and her relationship to the nations?

John: Well, as with many things with me, it was a discontent with the status quo. I had had enough exposure to missions, in being a kid growing up in my dad’s church, to have sort of, I guess, subliminally cataloged the—all the sad tales about what goes on, on a mission field: the inadequacies and all of that. And again, it was just like having a seminary. I said, “Look, we need to produce mission—somebody’s got to produce missionaries. Somebody does, and the people who are the most definitive in handling the Word of God and the most devoted to Christ, they ought to be doing that.” So I said, “We don’t—we don’t want to sit here and wait till somebody shows up from the outside and says, would you support me as a missionary? We want to grow our own.”

Austin: Yeah.

John: We want to develop missionaries right out of Grace Church. We want to actually identify them, train them, send them, support them—you know, the whole thing. And that gave birth to the initial effort to take people and put them through, primarily the seminary guys. But there were others as well, in the early years, put them through training for missionary work. And then we would have both our hand on them for accountability and support and encouragement, because it can be a very lonely and difficult situation out there. I wanted them to be prepared correctly, and I wanted them to feel like they had a church that would have their back no matter what happened because they were—they belong to us. So that led to developing missions, and the way we decided where to go was primarily, as I traveled the world people would say, “Could you come back?” And, “We hear you doing this expository preaching. Could you come back and help us to be able to do that?”

So I would do pastors’ conferences everywhere: Asia, New Zealand, Australia, Europe, everywhere; Eastern Europe, Russia, everywhere. And I was trying to teach pastors how to handle the Word of God accurately, because that’s what they wanted. And that began to develop into, “Can you send more men to give us more formal training?” So we would hold seminars, and we’d have some of our faculty from the seminary or pastors from Grace do a week or two weeks here or there, all around the world. And that began to develop into a reality where they said, “Can we have a school here?” And that led to the starting of all of these training centers that are now a part of TMAI, The Master’s Academy International. I don’t know what year it was, Mark, that I grabbed that label and we sort of pulled all the loose ends together, but–

Mark Tatlock: Yeah, TMAI officially was established in 2004, but it was really back in 1991 that you’re referring to, where the invitation came to send the first graduates of the seminary to Ukraine. You might want to tell that aspect.

John: Yeah, the first real effort at establishing a school was in the Ukraine, and it was an amazing effort to train the pastors in that country. I had been going several times, and they always said the same thing to me: “Help us build a fence around the church to protect it.” Because perestroika and glasnost had come, and they were freed from the lockdown of the Soviet years. And the leaders of the church there, as well as in Russia and the other parts of the Soviet Union, were fearful of the in—of the incoming errors that hadn’t been there because cults don’t want to be persecuted. So they’re not going to go somewhere where they’re going to get persecuted. But if they’re not going to get persecuted, they flood the place. So there was a need for some intense training to prepare a generation of pastors to be able to deal with a formidable assault that they had not normally experienced. And that started in the Ukraine. That was kind of the first model. And we’re still training men there to this very day.

Mark: That’s right. Thirty years later, over nine hundred pastors across the country have been trained.

Austin: Mark, I want you to give us—Mark Tatlock leads The Master’s Academy International. And I, I want you to give us that kind of global perspective. But first, I want the people to hear where you first encountered Dr. MacArthur’s ministry and sort of your origin story, and then we’ll move to the impact of this ministry today.

Mark: Oh, you know, I’ve never told the story publicly. So here goes: It was in 1985, I was a student at Los Angeles Baptist College and had signed up to go on a summer missions trip. That was uncommon. This was before the days of short-term missions’ trips. And I’ll confess to you, my motive wasn’t a pure motive. I was more interested in the adventure and kind of the opportunity to travel. And I was really motivated out of my own sinful pride.

But we were traveling all throughout the country of Brazil doing music concerts. And I had been invited to be the preacher at the end of that to give the gospel message. And of course, that was a privilege.

And but what I’ve never said before, John, and tell you, this is—you were referring earlier to kind of the response that some affiliated with the school had towards you, a kind of a, a takeover of the school and, and some critics. Well, that network of missionaries that the school was affiliated with were not real excited about you coming into leadership. And I didn’t know you; I didn’t attend Grace Church. They had just announced before the trip that you were going to become the president. And I went on that trip, and I remember on one particular occasion attending a missions conference there and being cornered in the dining center at the conference by some missionaries that were very upset that you were becoming the president of the school. And so that was my first opportunity to defend you. And we hadn’t met yet. But God worked in my heart that summer and really convicted me that one of the greatest things the believer can ever be a part of is the advancement of the gospel and particularly to the nations. And so I came back as a student.

It’s now been announced as The Master’s College, and they had gathered a number of the student leaders together; we went up to Solvang, and I met you, John, on that occasion there, and you had brought with you a man named Bob Provost that you’d recruited, who had a passion for missions. And I sat on the living room floor, listened to you both. And you said, “What I want to embed in the culture of this institution”—and this was the phrase that you and Bob used—“churchmen,” or—and churchwomen—“churchmen with a world vision.” And God had prepared my heart at that time to just submit my life to follow your leadership and to follow that direction.

And so those were some of the most transformative years in my life, coming back and being caught up in this experience now called The Master’s College. And the growing number of students and us being discipled, and you stripped away the culture of legalism based on your own early college experience—I wanted to make sure that that was not true ever at The Master’s College, but we dealt with the heart, and therefore ministry wasn’t motivated out of duty, it was motivated out of love and a passion for God. And I learned all those things in those early years under your leadership and, empirically, Bob’s passion that you asked him to champion for, for having that global vision.

So that was my first introduction to John MacArthur, and I just have been convicted from that point forward that whatever we do, we need to be committed to advancing the gospel and serving the global church, and it has been the greatest of privileges to be along for the ride. So thank you.

Austin: So Mark, talk about the stewardship that’s been entrusted to you, the leadership that you have over TMAI—give us, give us more about what it is. It’s, it’s seminaries, it’s missionaries, talk about the relationships there and how they are a fulfillment of really the ministry that flows out of the pulpit here, at Grace Community Church.

Mark: Yeah. You know, these are really wonderful days, and these are my brothers, and actually I consider them friends, and there’s quite a bit of trust among us. And we’ve been talking a lot over the course of the last year, with John’s encouragement, of how this family of ministries really works together as a complement to serve and support the global church.

It was about a year ago, we were having a conversation, and we looked at the mission statement, and every one of the ministries that includes some reference to advancing the gospel around the globe or serving the global church or reaching the nations. And that was the kind of leadership and vision that you brought to each of the ministries in reference to what Austin was saying—it was in your heart to see missions as kind of the focal point for the advancement of the work. So we really enjoy working together. TMAI doesn’t exist apart from these ministries.

Everywhere that our seminary graduates serve around the world, it’s at the invitation—often—of the national pastors that have been exposed to John’s preaching through Grace to You’s global reach. They show up at the Shepherds’ Conference.  They see that model you’re talking about of, of a model church and pastoral training together. They recognize that’s what’s so desperately needed in their own country. Then the invitation comes, we go back and recruit from the seminary. Many of the seminary students also attended the university. Their wives went to the university—many of the men, while they’re being trained at the seminary, their wives are being trained in biblical counseling and other programs at the school. And then they come and are welcomed with the greatest of affection and care by this church family to support them during their seminary training, to invest in them, disciple them. And then we have the great privilege through GMI to send them out around the world—to not just financially support them but prayerfully support them. Welcome them back on furlough, shepherd them through the elders.

You know, I—at the elders’ meetings that we have every month I look around the whole table, and to a man, each one has made a contribution to the work around the world. To a man, they have personal relationships with missionaries and are involved in the work of the training center. So TMAI really is the expression of the family of ministries globally. And what we’re talking about today is, How do we steward all the content and resources that we’re generating—that good, sound biblical content, whatever the medium, whatever the format, whatever the curriculum or the book—and how can we get that to the global church so that every church where we have the privilege of training pastors can have the same experience that we at Grace Church have, to be aided in our own spiritual growth? And what’s so fun about this is nobody needs to be convinced. We all agree. It’s just, How do we roll up our sleeves and do that.

And John, you’re the biggest champion, and what you built into us is that spirit of generosity—don’t look out for our own interests; whatever we have, we just lend gladly for the purposes of the Lord. And we’re enjoying just a wonderful breadth of ministry and impact.

John: Mark, how many training centers do you have? And I know that doesn’t tell the whole story. How many cities are you training men in currently around the world?

Mark: Sure. Yeah, the numbers. Today we have nineteen schools that are members of The Master’s Academy International. And when you think about that, I estimate for a school to become a member, there’s roughly eight to ten years of preparation that goes into that. So when you hear of a new school coming online—we just appointed our school in Myanmar as our nineteenth school—there’s just years of faithfulness and investment leading up to that. But because our guys want to be in context where the pastors are, and many of our pastors around the world are bi-vocational—meaning they can’t leave their work or their church—our guys go to them. So we have a primary campus, and then through their graduates, they open up an extension.

So nineteen schools, over eighty teaching locations across the world, many of those cross borders and eventually lead to starting new training centers. We’re looking right now at starting as many as sixteen new schools, or bringing sixteen new schools into membership, in the next four years.

Beyond that, just so you get a sense of the scope. There’re seminary graduates in seventy-five nations around the world. And we’re in touch with all of them because it’s just in their DNA. And so we’re praying with them, trying to walk with them, mentor them, and give them the resources to see their school mature to do what we do here.

Austin: Mark, I think that’s such a helpful way to kind of bring this to—to tie this together. Again, this was—all of this was not in your heart in the present form. But maybe it’ll be helpful, Dr. MacArthur, for you to talk a little bit about how do all these things relate together? It just seems like so much ministry, so many different things happening, but there’s—and Mark Tatlock touched on this—there’s some great continuity in all of this isn’t there? And when you think about these ministries, there’s so much overlap, there’s so much interplay, there’s so much cooperation. What’s God doing in bringing these things together like this?

John: Well, because we have a common set of convictions of concerning the truth and concerning the mission of the church in the world. Even though these guys lead one organization, that is not the full definition of what they’re committed to. We’re all committed to everything, right guys? We’re all committed to everything. And so we gather around our love for Christ, around sound doctrine, and then we live to encourage and support each other. And really we just, as I said this morning, we just watch what the Lord does. I mean, Mark isn’t going around the world trying to find sixteen places to start schools. There are the places that are coming at you and saying, “Please come and help us.”

So faithfulness is its own reward. And when you’re faithful, the Lord—as I said, you worry about the depth and integrity of your ministry, and the Lord will take care of the breadth of it.

Austin: And it’s your heart—Mark, alluded to this—that these ministries all consider each other in the way that they relate. And we have such great interplay and cooperation, and talk a little bit about how these, these family of ministries relate to each other. That you said they have a common doctrinal core. And when you think about the future of these ministries, what—how do you imagine God uses them looking forward?

John: Well no, nobody here is alien to anybody else. We all grew up in the same crucible. So we are, in the purest sense, a band of brothers. We are bound in heart and soul and mind. And we understand that each of our ministries is a piece of the whole, and the only thing that threatens that is when somebody becomes territorial or isolated in their possessiveness. So we have to have an open heart toward all the ministries.

And I might just say this quickly: That has led to the creation of what’s called the John MacArthur Charitable Trust. That is a place where people can give money. And the reason we started it was because people didn’t know what to give to. “Do I give to the seminary, do I give to the university; do I give to Grace to You, do I give to TMAI, do I give to Grace Church? Do I give to GMI on missions? I don’t know where to give.” So we created the trust so that you give to the trust, and the board of the trust will hold the funds and disburse them to every ministry as that ministry has need. This has been a phenomenal benefit. It’s astonishing how many people have found this a really helpful way to invest in our ministry: money coming into the trust, and the trust holds that very briefly, very briefly. Just long enough to get the requests from these ministries to help them.

I’ll give you an illustration. Last Wednesday, was it? We had the trust meeting. We distributed back to these ministries, from donations to the trust, twelve million dollars. That went to every one of these ministries. And that way people can give to the general trust, and the leaders collectively, together, can disburse it where it’s needed. So this has turned out to be an incredible instrument of people are finding their way to it, and they’re making significant investments.

Austin: It’s been an incredible joy to experience the blessing of that at the seminary; we have a MacArthur Trust scholarship, and for those who are, are reined in or watching from far away, who thought about seminary and thought, “It’s too hard to move to Los Angeles. It’s too much of a burden financially for my family.” We’re in such a position because of the MacArthur Trust that we can fund students’ education—and hundreds of seminary students’ education every year at no cost to themselves except the cost of, of following Jesus faithfully and lots and lots of Hebrew flash cards. So it’s just—that’s just a taste, and then to think of all the impact around the world.

So let’s do rapid fire as we run out of time here. Talk about the ministry going forward. What is exciting in the future, at Grace to You, at the university, at the seminary at TMAI. Give us a little glimpse of things to come. What’s, what’s—what does the future hold for the ministry? Not just, you know, five years from now, but fifteen years from now, twenty years from now, where do you see the Lord using this ministry in the future?

Phil: My expectation is that one hundred years from now, people will still be listening to John’s sermons. Like today we read Spurgeon; nobody had the foresight to record his voice. But in a similar way, John’s sermons are timeless, biblical—they’re not tied to, you know, the current events in the culture or whatever. And those sermons will be as effective.

In fact, we still, we still broadcast—the very first sermon John ever preached at Grace Church was recorded, and every year we put it on the radio. So there’s nothing he’s preached over the years that we couldn’t broadcast. And in fact, out of all the 3,600 sermons that we have recorded, we’ve only used about a third of those on the radio. So long after John is gone and I’m gone, my expectation is that the staff of Grace to You, who—some of them haven’t even been born yet—will be putting those sermons, if not on radio, on the Internet, all the ways you can listen to them. And I have every expectation that if the Lord doesn’t return in one hundred years, Grace to You will still be broadcasting John’s teaching.

Austin: Every possible medium that unfolds there: Wear those weird glasses, and watch MacArthur’s sermons.

Phil: Yeah, we’re working out a way to use Al to get John on the—no, I’m not—I’m kidding.

Austin: Abner, what’s the future hold for The Master’s University? These are wonderful days. What’s ahead?

Abner: Yeah, like was mentioned; we want to spearhead education—K through doctorate. So that we equip those who come to the university—and those who may not be able to come to the university—with the convictions that they need to have to be salt and light in the world and to retain, really, what convictions Dr. MacArthur—or the Lord used Dr. MacArthur to lay for our institution, so that future generations of the church worldwide will be sustained.

Austin: Yeah, amen. What about the seminary, Nathan?

Nathan: Yeah, it’s really 2 Timothy 2:2. It’s that process continuing: The things that have been entrusted to us, we entrust to the faithful men who teach others also. Second Timothy 2:15, what is it we train them to do? We train them to be approved workmen who rightly handle the Word of truth, and then we deploy them. Second Timothy 4:2, to preach the Word in season and out of season. And thinking even about the connection to TMAI, our alumni are the ones who are staffing the faculties of all of these training centers around the world, which means that we’re given the opportunity to have global impact. And I think about—and Mark maybe you can comment on this—I think TMAI has trained maybe ten thousand pastors already through their training centers, and TMS two thousand pastors. So that’s twelve thousand men who are seeking to be faithful as expositors of God’s Word. It’s, it’s a joy and a privilege. And we just want that to continue.

Austin: Let’s talk about the future of TMAI.

Mark: Yeah, two things I would emphasize right now, that I’m excited about—I think we all are—is really pressing into the foreign-language translation and distribution of sound biblical resources. Not just books—media, curriculum, all that the ministries represent. And you know, John, your ministry has taken a stance against—you mentioned this morning liberalism—the Charismatic movement, all those theological trends, all the pragmatism; all of those are assaulting the global church, and they need to be equipped to push back against that. There’s a flood of Charismatic literature just blanketing the nations. And we are in a position more than ever before, I think, as a collective set of ministries to turn the tide on that by really taking a much more proactive approach. And we’re excited about the launch of the MacArthur Publishing Group, where we all have imprints and can work together to get our content out. So that’s one.

Two, I would say just like Grace Church, mature churches become sending churches where the pulpit is sound, people understand a true gospel. They understand God’s purpose for sanctification: that they put His glory on display in their lives. They become effective evangelists in their own villages, townships, cities, and countries. But we live in a world where Westerners are—I think are going to be met with greater opposition and resistance. And we believe that faithful churches around the world will become the basis of a global missions movement. We’re beginning to witness that today, we’re beginning to see individuals who’ve been equipped, sent out from the churches of pastors that we’ve had chance to train around the world.

And so we want to be a part of supporting that work, and that will take us into a lot of places guys like us couldn’t go. Currently, we are having an impact in over thirty of the top fifty persecuted churches in the world, where we had a chance to train those from those countries. And we believe there’s a reason for that in the future. Those may be doors open, not to us but to them. And so that’s what I’m really excited about that we can see on the horizon.

Austin: Yeah. Amen. Dr. MacArthur, thank you so much for your faithfulness, your obedience to Jesus, and your submission to His Word. Your work as a servant of the Word has produced so much fruit in our lives. And that’s a big part of tonight. We just wanted to say thank you for your faithfulness. But ultimately, what you told us this morning is the truth is what’s been triumphant, and to God be all the glory. So wrap us up, Dr. MacArthur, and then I’ll have Bill—Bill will you come up and maybe sing “To God Be the Glory”? Does that sound like a good plan? I knew I could count on you.

John: Yeah. As I think about the point at which we find ourselves now, I understand that even after fifty-five years of faithful blessing, we’re only one spiritual disaster away from undoing the history. We’ve all seen that people who are faithful over a long period of time, but they don’t end well. So I think about the words of Paul, “Having done all to stand.” A lot of people have done all, but when the smoke clears, they’re not standing. So I just encourage you all to pray for the continued enduring faithfulness of all of us and all those who serve with us.

Austin: Praise the Lord, praise the Lord. Will you pray for us? And then Bill can sing.

John: Father, we thank You for just the evening together. Thank You for the men who are here on this platform, who represent such vast and impactful ministry. Bless them, protect them, use them, increase their fruitfulness; protect Grace Church, keep us all faithful, increase our love for You, for Your Son, for Your Spirit, for Your Word, for Your church. May we never waver, and may we never come to a point in our lives where somehow, in ministering to others we become disqualified. Even the apostle Paul feared that. So keep us faithful to the very end, for Your glory. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

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Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time
Since 1969


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Since 1969