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In reaction to recent media coverage of Grace Community Church’s handling of marital counselling and abuse cases, the church has stated that it does not “respond to attacks, lies, misrepresentations, and anonymous accusations.”
As a result of Kate Shellnutt’s extensive piece published in Christianity Today on February 9, the elders of the California megachurch have issued this statement.
She speaks with Hohn Cho, a former elder at the Grace Community Church of God. Cho claims the church is “playing Russian roulette” with its approach to counselling, especially with vulnerable women and children.
She also talked to eight women who claim church leaders told them not to report abuse by their spouses. If a victim of abuse requests anonymity, CT will not identify them.
Shellnutt tweets, “I stand by my reporting, which wasn’t ‘lies,’ but verified by documentation, court records, and [by] many sources beyond those referenced in the article.” It is in reaction to a statement made by GCC concerning her piece.
Counselling at Grace Community Church, According to a Former Elder, Is ‘Grievous’
Cho, a lawyer hired by Grace Community Church to investigate an abuse allegation 20 years ago, said the church was wrong. He said the church should “do justice” for the victim Eileen Gray.
David Gray, her ex-husband and a former GCC employee, is in jail for various offences, including aggravated child molestation and abuse.
Eileen Gray says John MacArthur was publicly accused of unrepentant sin after disobeying church leaders’ orders. She did not dismiss a restraining order against her husband.
Cho claims that GCC leaders became defensive instead of apologising to Eileen Gray and that MacArthur told him to “forget it.”
He wrote a 20-page memo to church leaders in March 2022, stating, “I cannot ‘unknow’ this, and I am accountable to God for this knowledge, and now you are as well.”
Cho told CT that adults supported the alleged child abuser, who was later shown to be a child molester. This was against the mother, who was urgently safeguarding her three small children. It was totally unacceptable and still is; fixing it is essential.
He continues, “Numerous elders have stated in various private meetings that mistakes were made’ and would make a different decision today knowing what they know now.
But if you make such an admission, you have a fundamental Christian obligation to make amends with the person you hurt.
Who is the new Reported Victim Of John Macarthur Scandal?
While attending MacArthur’s church, Cho “was horrified to discover the same awful patterns of counselling were still happening,” so he quit GCC.
In “another grievous GCC counselling case,” the former elder claims he learned of leaders advising a domestic violence victim to return to her husband last fall.
Some GCC clergy members even submitted sworn statements to the court on the husband’s behalf.
The woman claims that church authorities told her it was “un-Christian” to file for a restraining order because her husband might get violent.
Her statement to CT is that “God is real, but we’re supposed to submit to church leaders when this is occurring, I would rather die.”
Reporter Julie Roys apologises In John MacArthur Case
Liberal Christian writer Julie Roys recently admitted that she had made mistakes in her coverage of pastor John MacArthur, a surprise and unusual turn of events.
She adds that she feels terrible about what she did. It’s unfortunate that she never truly repented.
Repentance is the decision to turn away from wrongdoing, to acknowledge that one has sinned dramatically, and to make amends for that transgression.
Check out this excellent piece by Protestia that disproves Julie Roys’ claim that MacArthur covered up the sexual abuse of his daughter by Paul Guay, a former pastor at MacArthur’s church.
For more of Julie Roys’ coverage of MacArthur, read this piece by Protesting.
I have a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders now that everyone knows the truth about John MacArthur.
MacArthur is a man of God who has served the Lord with integrity for nearly half a century; we can learn from his example.
What a reliable spokesman! If you’re looking for expositional preaching, you won’t find better than John MacArthur in the modern era.
Better preaching is hard to come by in the modern era; you must go back to Spurgeon in the 19th century or the Puritans in the 18th and 17th centuries.
I genuinely hope that Julie Roys will quit spending her time criticising John MacArthur and Grace Community Church.
- You may also read: Jeremy Foster Pastor: Reason Behind His Resignation
How Did John Macarthur Scandal Get Into Gril?
Roys has unearthed alarming details about MacArthur, a prominent pastor and teacher whose theology has informed much of modern Evangelical thought about pastoral leadership.
Following his conviction on multiple charges of sexual and physical abuse of children in 2004, Gray received a 21-year sentence for severe child molestation, corporal injury to a child, and child abuse.
About a year and a half after MacArthur publicly humiliated Eileen Gray, Gray’s ex-wife, from the pulpit at GCC, Gray was convicted.
MacArthur publicly disowned Eileen Gray in a recently discovered film because she refused to remarry him after he physically tortured their children.
“This is what the Lord wants,” MacArthur says in the clip. His desired form of discipline is excommunication from the church, public shaming, and separation from the fellowship of believers. Eileen Gray is the person in question here.
MacArthur informed the congregation during his sermon that Eileen had sinned by choosing “to leave her husband, to grant no grace at all, to take the children, to go away, to forsake him.”
He urged them to “treat her as an unbeliever — for all we know; she may be.”
Eileen Gray had reported her husband to the church’s leadership for abusing their family and threatening their lives.
Roy claims that the GCC administration forced her to attend spiritual counselling sessions. She also pressured her to bring her husband back into the house after reporting him to the police. Carey Hardy, who was the associate pastor at GCC at the time, told her to “suffer for Jesus.”
Eileen Gray told the media that after church authorities did nothing, she went to the police, who conducted an investigation, ultimately leading to David Gray’s conviction in 2005.
Hardy emailed the church a message of support for David Gray, which was published on GCC’s website.
“Several of you have had direct contact with David,” the letter said. Like the rest of the personnel here who know him, you have difficulty believing the allegations against him.
In the end, it comes down to a question of character: has David shown the traits consistent with these allegations? Even if he hasn’t, we can conclude confidently that the allegations are inconsistent with what we know about David.
The letter failed to mention that David Gray had repeatedly admitted to abuse, including in writing. Fundraising efforts for legal representation and bail were instead documented.
The authorities inexplicably dropped the charges against Hardy, including failure to report child abuse and witness intimidation.
Last week, John MacArthur got sick and had to cancel his appearances at the Ligonier Conference and another speaking engagement.
Reported ‘Awful Patterns’ of Endangering Abuse Victims
A recent article published in Christianity (CT) accuses John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church of siding with abusers and harming victims in “awful patterns.”
Cho’s testimony backs up the findings of a study published in The Roys Report (TRR) in March.
The study described how MacArthur and GCC ridiculed and excommunicated Eileen Gray in 2002 for standing up to her child-abusing husband, David Gray.
TRR stated that the church still backed David despite his conviction for child molestation and assault in 2005.
GCC’s elders contacted Cho after TRR’s initial story was published; he replied, “CT.”.
They wanted him to look into the decades-old case. The realisation that David Gray was guilty and that GCC had done a terrible wrong dawned on him.
Despite 20 years since the truth was revealed, Cho stated in his report to the GCC board that justice can still be achieved.
Honesty, fairness, and loyalty matter greatly, as does standing up for what is right, even if it’s something from 20 years ago.
Cho told CT he counted on MacArthur and the elders to make things right. Neither the church nor MacArthur has apologised or admitted fault in this matter.
Cho claims that many GCC leaders flat-out declined to read the TRR story.
Cho added that MacArthur did not budge on Eileen’s punishment because of reports of her “bizarre behaviour.”
According to what Cho told CT, GCC Elder Board Chair Chris Hamilton informed him he needed to “walk back” his results to keep his position on the board. As TRR reported in April last year, Cho and his wife quit the next day.
“They sided with a child abuser, who turned out to be a child molester, over a mother urgently attempting to protect her three innocent little children.”
After hearing about Eileen Gray, Cho found other instances of GCC convincing women to return to their abusers.
In 2022, a woman claimed GCC authorities urged her to return to her husband despite his incestuous behaviour toward their daughter and his search for incest porn.
These stories match TRR’s April report on MacArthur’s Master’s University and Seminary’s biblical counselling graduate program chair John Street.
Street’s online lectures advise Christian wives to handle physical and verbal abuse from unbeliever husbands like missionaries handle local antagonism.
In the 2022 case, the woman told CT that GCC authorities advised her against a “heart of retaliation” and called legal protection “un-Christian.”
CT claimed the woman called 911 during a fight with her husband. The responding domestic violence officers urged the victim to leave her husband. In court documents obtained by CT, GCC pastor and elder Rodney Andersen advised women to submit to him “as unto the Lord.”
GCC pastors also downplayed the woman’s assault charges. The woman’s complaint, acquired by CT, alleges that her husband photographed their naked infant and toddler touching his pants zipper.
CT quotes Grace Community Church elder Brad Klassen, who said the woman had shown him photographs taken by her husband but had no “evidence” of abuse.
Wendy Guay, one of CT’s women questioned, informed TRR in April about her father’s abuse, a former Grace Community Church pastor.
Guay told MacArthur he assaulted him, yet he worked for him for another three years.
Years later, Wendy asked MacArthur to help her inform the church elders about her violent father, but he refused and called her “obsession.”