John F. MacArthur, Jr. (born June 14, 1939 in Los Angeles, California) is an American evangelical writer and minister, most noted for his radio program entitled Grace to You. He is currently serving as Pastor-Teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, and as President of The Master's College (and the related Master's Seminary) in Santa Clarita, California.
The son of Dr. Jack MacArthur (an accomplished preacher in his own right), John MacArthur was a gifted athlete and attended Bob Jones University before transferring to Los Angeles Pacific College (now Azusa Pacific University). He later obtained his Masters of Divinity from Talbot Theological Seminary in La Mirada. He graduated with honors and in 1969, he became the third pastor in the then-short history of the nondenominatinal Grace Community Church.
In 1985, MacArthur became president of The Master's College (formerly Los Angeles Baptist College), an accredited, four-year, liberal arts Christian college, and in 1986, founded The Master's Seminary. His daily radio program, Grace to You is broadcast throughout much of the world. He is the author of dozens of books, notably his MacArthur Commentary Series and The Macarthur Study Bible (ISBN 0849912229). He works alongside Phil Johnson who edits most of his written work.
MacArthur has been embroiled in a number of controversies, the most famous of which was the first time an evangelical church had ever been sued for malpractice. Kenneth Nally, a 24-year old seminary student, committed suicide in 1979. The following year, MacArthur and several members of the staff were brought to court to determine the legality of Counseling people from the Bible rather than modern psychology, although Nally had been receiving psychological help elsewhere as well. After seven years of court rulings, challenges, and appeals, the California Supreme Court Found that there was not enough evidence to go to a full trial.
His theology is best described as evangelical and dispensational although he rejects some of the classic dispensational ideas – hence his self-description as a "leaky dispensationalist." With regard to the doctrines of predestination, he is Calvinistic. His book The Gospel According To Jesus (ISBN 0310394910) caused great controversy in the evangelical church by arguing for lordship salvation, which teaches that good works are a necessary result and proof of being justified by God. MacArthur is also a strong proponent of expository Preaching.
MacArthur's writings are highly critical of many modern Christian movements such as the charismatic movement (especially those who teach the controversial "prosperity gospel") and "seeker-friendly" leaders such as Robert Schuller and Bill Hybels. Interestingly, MacArthur (unusual among evangelicals) does not agree with the commonly-taught view of tithing, believing it to be strictly an Old Testament practice.
He has also written over 75 books, the most popular being "The MacArthur Study Bible", which has sold over 500,000 copies. Some critics of his study Bible contend that MacArthur makes definitive statements on disputed points of theology without providing adequate support. He is also a strong advocate of the Biblical Counseling movement which stresses the Bible as a tool for counseling and rejects psychology's usefulness in spiritual issues