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AUSTIN: John, we are so glad you’re here.

JOHN: Thank you.

AUSTIN: And that, in and of itself, is a providence. You are probably not supposed to be here, as far as recovery time goes. Most people wait about six months for recovery; you’re six weeks, I think. Classic MacArthur: total jock, total warrior, total lion. So but you’re here, so give the men an update. What has providence done in these last few months? How are you feeling? Are you done with extreme motorsports? Just let us know where you’re at, MacArthur.

JOHN: Well, I feel great. I felt good, really, generally speaking, before it became apparent that I had some arteries blocked; and coming out of that, that was completely successful, for which I’m thankful. And since then, I’ve felt great. The challenge for me has been to handle the medication. I’m not a good drug addict.

AUSTIN: You walked into a pastors’ meeting, you walked into a pastors’ meeting a few weeks ago—this is a very memorable moment—and he sat down and said, “This meeting is brought to you by Pfizer,” which coming from MacArthur is a very meaningful sentence.

JOHN: Yeah. So obviously, there’s some recovery time. It just turned out, too, that I was in the hospital ten days because they did two procedures, and there was a weekend that they weren’t operating, so it just made me languish in the hospital for ten days, and you have to recover from that. Yeah, so I’ve never been this age before, so I’m trying to figure out what to do with it.

But yeah, I feel great. Every day I get a little stronger, a little better. A few months from now, probably back to normal, or even better than normal. In fact, when I went in for the procedure the surgeon said to me, “Were you bedridden at home before this incident?” and I said, “No.” He said, “Were you on a walker?” I said, “No, I was playing golf.” So he said, “You have a very strong heart.” So in fact, when the procedure was over he commented on the health and strength of my heart. So that aspect of it, the Lord was kind.

You know, I don’t want to overstay my welcome, but I’m happy to still be here.

AUSTIN: We are, we are more than happy that you’re still with us; and, yeah.

JOHN: And since I’ve never been this age before and don’t know how to handle it, I had a run-in with an immovable object, and I tried to take it on with my arm and my head, and I was unsuccessful. So there’s a fracture in one of the small bones in the wrist, which put me into a very difficult situation because I can’t turn the pages of a Bible, so— along with a lot of other things I can’t do. So I’m trying to figure out what the future looks like. But I want to speak tomorrow night because I’ve got a lot on my heart. So they’re doing tutorials with me to help me swipe an iPad.

AUSTIN: This is a sure sign of the end times.

JOHN: I think so. So if I can navigate that, that’ll be fine. But yeah, I feel very well. I was messing around with something to help Patricia and stepped over the line of my limitations and paid for it.

AUSTIN: No, we all want you to preach, we all want you back, but we want you rested, we want you well, we want you to take as much time as you need. I mean, this is just phenomenal that you’re here, and we’re just grateful to spend this time with you. And your influence is where the Shepherds Conference came from. This, the presence of these brothers here, looking for the refreshment and encouragement and equipping that comes from a week like this, is something that you had in your heart a long time ago. So let’s talk about that first, and then I want to get you to go ahead and preach the message, chair version, that we missed yesterday.

But let’s talk about Shepherds Conference at the outset. What is this thing? Where did it start? What was the vision behind it? How did you architect this whole concept?

JOHN: Well, I don’t know that it was my intention at all. I didn’t say, “Well, this is a great idea, let’s do this.” What happened is, in the early years as Grace Church began to grow, we had more and more people saying, “What is going on there?”

I remember Moody Monthly did a magazine article called “The Church with Nine Hundred Ministers,” and they were surprised at the functioning of the body of Christ in what was the church in the chapel; that’s all that was here. And one of their lead writers came and wrote this article, and it attracted attention. It was around the time that Fuller Seminary was running the School of Church Growth, kind of a historic moment that came and went. And so there was a lot of interest in church growth and what was going on here.

So people were coming regularly. I mean, they were bringing classes from Talbot and from Fuller to the church, and pastors were dropping by to see what we were doing. So it occurred to me that if there was that much interest, why don’t we just jam all into one week, so we don’t have to keep repeating ourselves; and that’s what led to the first Shepherds Conference. And it was, I don’t know, maybe two or three hundred guys over in the chapel. And then for a while we had two a year, to accommodate them. Then we kind of shut it down and reinvented it. I don’t remember exactly how many years ago, fifteen maybe, and it became what it is now.

AUSTIN: Yeah. Well, I know that these brothers are grateful for the existence of the Shepherds Conference. How many of you are here for the very first time? Raise your hand. Yeah. Amazing. Welcome, brothers; good to have you.

How many of you, when Dr. Lawson testified to the Shepherds Conference’s role in his life and ministry all those years ago in the smaller version, how many of you were here in that original iteration of the Shepherds Conference before it was a big conference, when it met kind of in another room? How many of you’re old-school Shepherds Conference guys? So they’re still—what a blessing. Well there is a remnant right there, MacArthur.

JOHN: There’s a remnant. Yeah, and by the way too, it was obvious to me that the Lord didn’t want me to preach that message yesterday, He wanted Steve to preach the message that he preached. That’s evident from providence, right?


JOHN: You know about that; you were talking about it.

AUSTIN: I believe in it. MacArthur’s been faithfully livestreaming the conference like the people who didn’t register on time.

JOHN: It’s been tremendous for me, tremendously encouraging for me, and I wanted to be a part of it, and I was hoping you could fit me in today.

AUSTIN: Yeah. Well, we’re delighted that you’re here. And so let’s talk about your vision behind this particular Shepherds Conference theme, the idea of the remnant of shepherding, the remnants. That was the volley you wanted to send. Why don’t you give us kind of what was in your heart behind that concept. Obviously, a biblical important issue and connection throughout the Scriptures, which we’ve seen in a number of ways. But what was your vision behind this idea of shepherding the remnant?

JOHN: Well, the objective was to define ministry, to define ministry in the church. If you’re a shepherd or a pastor, the Scripture defines your ministry. And you could go to John 21, “Feed My sheep, feed My lambs, feed My sheep. Did you hear Me? I just said that three times in a row.” So if you’re looking for a definition of ministry, “Feed My sheep.”

Peter got the message. He didn’t always get the message; he got that message. And then, in his epistle, he wrote, “Feed, shepherd the flock of God.” And what I see missing in the church today, generally speaking, is that commitment to feed the flock of God.

There’s an inordinate affection, strange to say, for the culture. There’s a driving desire that’s twisted to reach the culture. You can go back to Tim Keller’s mandates for urban renewal, or Andy Stanley welcoming all the homosexuals because he wants to reach them. But pastoral ministry is not about changing the culture. And if you define it theologically, your church will never have anyone who’s a genuine member who’s not part of the remnant.

We’re not going to accomplish anything that the Lord hasn’t already decreed. And I don’t want to be irresponsible about evangelism, because He chose the people and the means. But I think ministry has been woefully lacking to the souls of the people of God, and so they have struggled, and they have been wounded. They have been without biblical teaching, without solid doctrine, without nourishing truth, while everybody is worried about what the world thinks and making sure we identify with the world and its style and its music and all of that, when feeding the flock of God is how we discharge our ministry and how the Lord builds His church.

So it just seemed that this was a time to remind everybody of the remnant. And so what I had planned to say yesterday was that if you look at Scripture, it’s crystal clear that God works through a remnant, and the first indication of that is in the book of Genesis, where you have Enoch. This is a remnant from Adam’s family, and the next one is Noah.

You think about it, most estimates are that the world at the Flood would have 750 million people. Out of that, God chose 8 people. I mean, that is a stunning reality. And they weren’t that great. Couldn’t He have picked 8 other people? And remember that Noah for 120 years was a preacher of righteousness essentially; and when it was 120 years, and when it was over, there were 8 people, and they were all in his family.

And then He starts a new humanity. And it’s not long until the new world has completely gone to seed, and they’re worshiping false gods. So they built a ziggurat, the Tower of Babel, and the Lord has to punish and judge and separate them because they’re so corrupt that they’re going to have to be divided up to be able to sort of hold each other mutually accountable.

And out of that there comes another new humanity. God identifies a Chaldean moon-worshiper, you said, by the name of Abraham and says, “I pick you.” And Abraham is the father of a new humanity, both in the nation Israel. And so much as he identified with the remnant that Paul even says all of us who are in Christ are Abraham’s children because we have the faith that Abraham had. So there’s a new humanity, and it’s a small, nondescript, tiny tribe of people.

And again, there’s a lot of noble things about Jewish characteristics and DNA and all of that. But with all the privilege they had, I mean, they just basically disobeyed God throughout their entire history, so they wound up getting judged again and again and again and again. But they represent the remnant.

Then you look at Moses. And Moses takes them out of Egypt, and there could have been two million or so; but they were so disobedient to the Lord that they couldn’t even go into the Promised Land; had to be a new generation. This is another remnant. And they get in the land, and they’re supposed to do the right thing, and they don’t. And you go a few more hundred years and you come to Elijah, and Elijah says, “I, only I, am left,” and the Lord has to remind him, “Look, I’ve got seven thousand.” That would be about one-half of one percent of the population. This is a stunning pattern of God choosing the few.

And you come into the New Testament, as Steve was saying, and you’ve got the little flock—“few there be that find it”; narrow gate, narrow way, so much so that the disciples asked the question, “Will anybody be saved? Is anybody going to be saved?”

Then you come to the Day of Pentecost, and there’s 120 believers in the hundreds of thousands of people in Israel who have been exposed to the ministry of the Son of God for three years—and it’s still a remnant. That’s where it all begins, and then 3,000 are converted that day, added to the 120. And a little later in the book of Acts, 5,000 men, it says, were converted, and the church continues to be a remnant. And we understand that our Lord said that the wheat and the tares are going to be together, so even the visible church itself has within it a remnant. And that just seems to be the pattern all the way through Scripture, until you get to the very end, when all the ungodly are judged and the remnant enters into the kingdom of Christ.

So when the Lord says, “Feed My sheep,” “Take the oversight,” and you have all the instruction in the epistles—it just strikes me that we can’t reinvent the plan; we have to be faithful to it. And that’s what Paul said when he said, “It’s required of stewards that a man be faithful.”

So what does faithfulness look like? Let me get some water, because there’s all that medication.

AUSTIN: Mac, you’re preaching. You’re over here—where’s your notes? Where’s this all coming from?

JOHN: Well, I was prepared to preach; I just got benched.

AUSTIN: We’re tracking. This is really helpful. So you’ve traced the remnant from Genesis to Revelation, and now you’re talking about what that means for pastoral ministry.

JOHN: You go into Revelation. Go into Revelation and look at the seven churches, and within the seven churches you have a remnant called overcomers. Even the seven churches weren’t the true people of God; there was a remnant in those locations. I mean, some of them were worldly. The Sardis church was dead, Laodicea was nauseating, but the Lord would always put a blessing on those who were overcomers; and it was their faith that overcame.

So I think when you understand the sovereignty of God, that He is gathering His people, you understand pastoral ministry is to turn those people into the purest worshipers possible. So that’s your responsibility: not to make everything super simplistic, not to try to convince people who won’t believe through some means or mechanism or compromise that they should believe, but rather to build the saints up so they can be fully committed to worshiping and serving and glorifying God. Anything less than that, you fail to fulfill your ministry. You can’t be worried about how many people you have or how many aren’t there and how many empty seats there are; you’re responsible to heaven for the occupied seat.

So that was the introduction to the message that I didn’t give yesterday. But the main body of that message was Jeremiah 23. Oh, I was going to add one other, Isaiah 6, where Isaiah gets his commission at the end of the sixth chapter, 8–13. He says, “Who will I send, and who will go for us?” and Isaiah says, “Here am I. Send me!” And the Lord says to him, “Go, and understand this: that they won’t hear, they won’t see, they won’t understand.”

Well, that’s a pretty discouraging commission. And Isaiah responds by saying, “How long? How long do I do that?” and the Lord says to him, “Until there’s not a person left. You just keep doing that.” Why? In that final verse He says, “Because there’s a remnant.” He uses the illustration of a tree being cut down, but the stump remains, and it still has life in it. And He says, “The stump is the holy seed”—again, “holy” meaning separated. “So Isaiah, your job is to reach the holy seed and to minister to them.” That is the remnant. And that idea of “They’re going to hear and not understand,” that’s repeated four times in the New Testament in other circumstances by our Lord by the apostle Paul. So that’s a longtime principle.

Now with that in mind, that the remnant is the object of our ministry, I went to Jeremiah 23—and you might want to look at that for a minute; maybe I can do this one-handed. Jeremiah 23, “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” You want a woe, there’s a woe on the shepherds. “Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: ‘You have scattered My flock, driven them away, have not attended to them; behold, I’m about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds. . . . Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply. I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend to them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,’ declares the Lord.”

And then he goes even beyond that to the Messiah: “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, “The Lord our righteousness.”’” Then down in verse 9, “[But] as for the prophets: My heart is broken within me, all my bones tremble; I’ve become like a drunken man, even like a man overcome with wine, because of the Lord and because of His holy words.” Taking the calling to shepherd the flock of God seriously.

Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet. His heart was broken over the condition of the sheep. The land was full of adulterers, the land mourned, and Jeremiah goes on to indict these shepherds on a number of fronts. They had no concern, they had no virtue, they had no integrity, they had no truth. Just one thing after another, all the way from verse 9 to the end of the chapter. So I was going to just go through that and said it’d be good for guys to read that chapter and understand that God’s morality hasn’t changed, and God’s tolerances and intolerances haven’t changed since Jeremiah’s day. They never change in any way.

So that was—the emphasis at the end of the message was going to be, “You’d better take care of the remnant because you’ve been entrusted with them, and you will give an account to the Lord for how you cared for His beloved sheep.” I don’t know a more serious calling than that; and to ignore them or to treat them with indifference, without the brokenhearted concern of a Jeremiah over their sin while you’re preoccupied with some kind of style or some kind of popularity or some cultural issue or some social cause, has nothing to do with the calling to the ministry. So that was it.

AUSTIN: That was awesome. Mac, how does that—I mean for a benched guy, you still preached it, so you got it out there. But I mean, there’s so many implications to draw from that, isn’t there? I mean, what does this say about expository preaching, MacArthur: “They speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the Lord”?

JOHN: Yeah. They had no truth. Later on he says, “They tell you their dreams.” And here’s something you’ll identify with: They steal each other’s material; they plagiarize—and that’s in that same chapter. So they’re making up the message; they’re inventing it themselves. Doesn’t come from the text of Scripture. Their own visions, their own insights. They are the source of their message. Yeah.

AUSTIN: “‘Therefore behold,’” verse 30, “‘I’m against the prophets,’ declares the Lord, ‘who steal My words from each other.’” There’s your reference. The verse right before that, again, is just underlining how these ministers that you’re charging, that you’re seeing in continuity with the apostle Paul and Isaiah and Jeremiah, have to only speak the Word of God—“has My word, speak My word in truth.” And saying, “‘Is not My word like a fire?’ declares the Lord, ‘like a hammer which shatters a rock?’” That dependence on the Word.

JOHN: Yeah. Two of the great descriptions, two of the great descriptions of the Scripture: fire and a hammer. That’s force; that’s energy; that’s power. There’s a missing trust, there’s a void in much of the evangelicalism when it comes to conceiving what the power of the Word of God really is. I mean, we know what the Bible says: “I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation.” So the power is in the text and the truth of the text.

But that chapter is so interesting because you can identify, as you go through it, things that you’re familiar with today, like plagiarism and dreams and inventing your own message. And he even talks about the fact that there’s adultery, there’s a tolerance for evil; there are pastors who don’t want to confront. In fact, in that chapter the Lord says, “You have become like Sodom and Gomorrah,” and that’s powerful in our day because there is an escalating tolerance of homosexuality in the evangelical movement today, all predicated on the idea that the power of ministry is in the style of the preacher; and somehow if you tolerate sin, if you affirm people in their perversion, you’re going to win them over.

And of course, I think homosexuality is at the root of, I would say, most of the ills in our current culture, and it’s managed to crawl over into the church; and the church tolerating that is only manifesting its pragmatism, its bad theology, its indifference toward the heart of God, and its lack of genuine compassion for sinners.

AUSTIN: And that’s the remarkable thing, is it’s the winsomeness is usually an exchange for the truth. But what you’re saying is that it’s lacking compassion; what Jeremiah is saying is it’s straw instead of grain.

JOHN: Exactly. Yeah, you think you’re being loving, when you couldn’t do anything less loving than to have any kind of an attitude towards sin other than a broken heart.

AUSTIN: And I think that’s what ministers need to hear from you, MacArthur, is the long-enduring effects of a ministry that we’ve seen here at Grace Church, over these years, have been 54 years of preaching the Word of God and letting the Spirit of God be the one that determines the results, not your imaginations or plan, but letting the truth of God speak, and watching God work in the lives of His people.

JOHN: Right. The one thing I knew at the outset, when I came, was God promised to honor His Word; and I was never going to deviate from that because that’s where His promise was established.

And I’ve also learned over the years—Paul said, “The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart.” And what you have, after fifty years of teaching the Word, is not people who are doctrinally hard, it’s people who are filled with love. And I think you guys feel that; you experience that when you’re here just interacting with our people because where the Word of God does its work, the hearts of people are softened, and there’s compassion, there’s passion for truth, there’s love for people. That is the goal of biblical instruction.

AUSTIN: So this whole idea of the remnant, applied, says that we can continue to preach the Word and only the Word because God will faithfully continue to call His own people to Himself, preserve them in a godless culture. The minister’s job is to focus on the Word and applying that Word to those people, watching it sanctify the people and work in the people.

So many of these brothers have experienced, just in the last few years, as we have at our church, tremendous upheaval, lots of new people coming during Corona days. Some guys’ churches have doubled in size, as they kept their doors open. We experienced a huge influx of growth here. Talk about how, though we’re ministering to what appears to be—and what is—this tiny remnant of people, we still see the Spirit’s work and gospel fruit and progress. Help bring those things together.

JOHN: Well, you know the apostle Paul said to Timothy, “Do the work of an evangelist.” So pastoral ministry doesn’t exclude that, because if you’re handling the Word of God, the gospel is everywhere in the Word of God, so you’re always going through the gospel. You take any message on sin, will necessarily lead to the gospel. Any message on righteousness would lead to the gospel. Any message on life and death, the afterlife, heaven, hell, the gospel is everywhere.

You heard Josiah; who’d have thunk that the gospel would be in Zephaniah? But embedded in your preaching, by the Spirit of God, is plenty of gospel truth, and you preach that with all your heart, and your congregation displays what a transformed life looks like.

AUSTIN: And that’s one of the marks of true revival, right?

JOHN: Right.

AUSTIN: And there’s a lot of talk about revival. This is not the first kind of revival, or claimed revival, that’s been in the news lately, that you’ve seen in your life and ministry. You were present for the Jesus Movement in Southern California. There’s been other times in your ministry, in history, where even at this church you’ve seen tremendous growth. So a lot of people are talking about revival right now. What have you been thinking, as that’s been in the news as of late?

JOHN: Well, I think they throw the word around without understanding it. Look, that—whatever is going on there can have multiple impacts. It’s conceivable, of course, that some of the kids at Asbury or some other school confess their sin, express love for Christ, have a fresh desire to read His Word, to serve Him. But the thing that is troublesome is when you blanket it all with the word revival. It’s everything, it’s everything: from people trying to cast out demons, from LGBTQ—“the alphabet people,” as Voddie calls them. It’s everything: from them leading the worship and leading the music; it’s Arminianism.

That school has had eight revivals like this over the years, and it keeps happening there because it’s part of their culture. This one, by the way, wasn’t spontaneous; it was designed to fit with a special day: February 23rd, I think, was the sort of historic day. But there may have been some kids who, in the middle of all of that, understood the gospel and were converted. But it was a panoply of everything; and to cover it all with the word revival, which carries the weight of believing this is a massive work of God—only time would tell that.

AUSTIN: And that’s—I mean, nobody’s better on revival than the prophets; and then in history it’s Jonathan Edwards. It’s all about the distinguishing marks, isn’t it, of true revival and false revival. And that’s what you’re talking about with the remnant and ministering to the remnant; and that’s been such a theme of your ministry, with this idea of wheat and tares, of the need of assessing a genuine work of God on the basis of God’s Word, not just on emotion, or even apparent success.

JOHN: Yeah. Look, for most of those kids I’m afraid it wasn’t about Christ, it was about the chords; it was about singing the same words for twenty minutes in a row in some mesmerizing kind of pseudo-spiritual experience that had no relationship to sound doctrine, to the depth of the gospel. I would like to know if that same revival would have occurred without the music. Shut the music down, and let’s find out what God is really doing.

But you know, one of the reasons that that kind of music dominates—that Hillsong kind of music and Elevation kind of music—is psychologically it takes people to kind of a level of hypnosis. It has the power to loosen their resistance, and you could almost suggest anything. If you look at Christian hymns, classic Christian hymns, they have a 4/4 beat, they have a 6/4 beat; they have a rhythm that is firm, and that’s a kind of militancy. We’re talking about “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” That’s not mood music. So I think—I think you can induce the pseudo-feeling that they think is spirituality, when it really has nothing to do with that.

AUSTIN: Mac, how do you stay encouraged? Pastors sometimes find themselves discouraged because of some of the truths we’ve talked about, because of the hardheartedness, because of the degeneracy of culture. How are you encouraged in these days in what you’re seeing in the church, in ministry? What reports are coming in that stir your heart? What is it in your life that brings you joy and further fuels the endurance that you’re so known for, now?

JOHN: Well, what’s there to be discouraged about? Christ said, “I’ll build My church; the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” I read the ending; we win. I mean, getting there has the ups and downs of life, but the victory is already won. I love Paul’s statement that “we always triumph in Christ.”

You should never be discouraged. If you’re discouraged about your ministry, you’re probably evaluating it wrongly. And if you’re doing the right thing, feeding the flock of God, setting a godly example, loving the people of God, preaching the Word with power and conviction, you’re going to see the true fruit; and that’s where the encouragement comes from.

AUSTIN: Well, you’re a tremendous encouragement to us. You’ve shown true grit in just showing up here today, and it’s absolutely inspirational, and we’re so grateful for you.

I do have something for you. This is the new edition of The Master’s Seminary Journal. It’s not released yet; we have it here at the conference, available. It’s called The Word of God and the Pastor-Theologian. I didn’t study German in seminary because I went to The Master’s Seminary and you forbid it because of the liberals. So I think it’s called the Festschrift, but that’s how you said in New Mexico, I don’t know: Festschrift.

But this is a Festschrift in honor of John McArthur. We dedicated this spring 2023 edition to you for a few reasons. The year 2023 is an anniversary in English church history. Five hundred years ago, 1523, Tyndale traveled to London to advocate for a new English translation of the Bible, one that derived directly from Hebrew and Greek. And Tyndale was committed to getting God’s words into the hands and hearts of English-speaking Christians. Similarly, thirty-seven years ago, 1986, The Master’s Seminary was established with that same exact heart and intention: a steadfast commitment to the centrality of God’s Word.

And so the faculty put this together; guests weighed in. There’s twenty articles devoted to your ministry, Pastor John, and the work that God has done here at GCC. Steve Lawson wrote on “The Pastor-Theologian” and “The Blood-Stained Word of God: The History of the English Bible.” We have Feinberg in a print of “A High View of Scripture.” Coates is in there, “The Courage of the Pastor-Theologian.” H. B. wrote, “Jesus, the Ultimate Preacher.” So this is an encouragement. I know you guys will love to get this, either online in the electronic form or a fancy paper copy like this one.

But John, we just want to honor you for all that you’ve done in investing in all of us through your ministry, and we’re just so deeply grateful for you, my friend.

JOHN: What can I say? I feel like I’ve just attended my own funeral. You did a podcast on replacing me.

AUSTIN: I wouldn’t put it like that. I didn’t put it like that. But I will say this: When we released our MacArthur Center Podcast—please like and subscribe—our final episode of season two is on “The Successor.” We’re working on season three right now. We just recorded last week about forty-five minutes of material for season. The theme of this season is “The Endurance.” We want to talk about endurance in ministry; and you’re such an example of that.

But this was right before released it in December, I think; and then you were in the hospital early in the year; and I think the first phone call we had, you said something like, “This is your fault for that successor thing.” So I deny the allegation.

But you know, I’m just grateful you’re here, John, and we’re all so grateful you’re here. And Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the result of their conduct, and imitate their faith.” So thank you for your integrity, your leadership, and for leading this conference, and so many ministers who seek to follow in your footsteps so faithfully and well.

JOHN: Thank you very much.

AUSTIN: We’re grateful.

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