In November 2014, Phil Johnson wrote a lengthy comment entitled “John MacArthur’s compensation” on Sharper Iron in response to bloggers raising concerns about MacArthur’s income and lifestyle. He opened with this line.
“The questions and quibbling innuendo that have been published on the Internet regarding John MacArthur’s income and stewardship are rooted in misinformation.”
He went on to defend MacArthur but provided no proofs to back up his assertions. Indeed, he withheld vital information and put forward misleading information.
Amazingly, he sent this exact same statement to The Christian Post (CP) on Tuesday of last week (Feb. 9). They wrote a featured article based upon it without realizing it was seven years old. They thought he was responding to their questions.
“Phil Johnson, GTY executive director and an elder at MacArthur’s Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, said in a statement to The Christian Post on Tuesday. … Johnson’s statement came in response to questions from CP about a report published by independent journalist Julie Roys last Wednesday.” (CP, Feb. 9, 2021)
This is remarkable. The lies he told in 2014, he is repeating in 2021 but the evidence exposing his lies is far greater today due to the work of investigative journalist, Julie Roys at The Roys Report. Please read her article. It is incredible.
The Prosperous Lifestyle of America’s Anti-Prosperity Gospel Preacher By Julie Roys February 3, 2021
Once again, Phil Johnson needs to be exposed for his serial lying and deception. This is a documented pattern in his life and ministry. But John MacArthur is no better. He sanctions it and contributes to it. You can read these articles I wrote to understand what I mean.
Thoughts on Julie Roy’s Excellent Article “The Prosperous Lifestyle of America’s Anti-Prosperity Gospel Preacher” – John MacArthur Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 4:20PM
Who Will Stand Up to Phil Johnson for His Vicious Verbal Attacks Upon Journalist Julie Roys? Certainly Not John MacArthur! Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 6:47PM
At the end of this present article, I have included “John MacArthur’s compensation” and highlighted the material quoted verbatim in The Christian Post article. I am surprised they didn’t see through his devious statement and raise credibility concerns in the article.
Official denies John MacArthur makes more than $500K a year from Grace to You By Leonardo Blair, Christian Post Reporter Wednesday, February 10, 2021
John MacArthur is a millionaire many times over. Conservatively, his annual compensation easily amounts to 1.5 to 2.0 million per year. It is comprised of salaries, housing allowances, royalties, honoraria, bonuses, and gifts. For instance, he was given a 150k gift in 2011. That doesn’t include all his other benefits like health insurance, retirement account, etc.
John MacArthur Is Paid Three Salaries
John MacArthur has multiple income streams including three salaries. Johnson says,
“John is paid a modest but reasonable salary by Grace [Community] Church…well within the upper-medium range for California pastors’ salaries. The same process is followed with equal care by the board of directors at Grace to You. … John is not paid an exorbitant salary by either organization.” (CP, Feb. 9, 2021)
These are empty pronouncements. Johnson refuses to provide any proof. If MacArthur’s salaries are reasonable in 2021, MacArthur should freely make them known.
In 2015, Grace to You (GTY is the worldwide broadcast & media ministry) stopped publishing figures. In 2014, however, they paid MacArthur 268k for part time work. I can’t imagine what they paid for him for full time work at Grace Community Church (GCC).
Oh, I forgot! He is “paid a modest but reasonable salary…well within the upper-medium range for California pastors.” From salary.com, “The average Pastor salary in California is $110,277 as of January 29, 2021, but the range typically falls between $90,629 and $124,970.” That means MacArthur is paid a modest salary of $107,800. Johnson is lying. GCC has never published MacArthur’s salary.
Furthermore, Johnson makes no mention of a third salary paid to MacArthur as Chancellor of The Master’s University and Seminary (TMU&S). People would be alarmed to know MacArthur is paid three separate salaries. In 2014, he was paid 62k for 15 hours of work per week. By leaving out this information, Johnson implies MacArthur receives no salary from TMU&S.
The numbers cited above are from 2014 and were public. I can’t imagine the numbers in 2021 that are secret. And of course, we have no salary figures for his most lucrative work at Grace Community Church as senior pastor. A pastor should be accountable to the people who donate the money to pay his salary and cover his benefits. His compensation package should be a matter of record in the church budget but celebrity leaders like MacArthur never reveal their compensation because it is shameful. They have nothing in common with Jesus Christ or the early church.
Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matt. 8:20)
In The Christian Post article, Johnson refers to “the three nonprofit organizations John serves.” John “serves” but not for nonprofit. How great his is profit? He will never tell you. This is a serious matter. I conservatively estimate he is paid 100k from The Masters University & Seminary, 300k from Grace to You, and 500k from Grace Community Church. Nearly a million dollars and that doesn’t include his greatest source of income.
By comparison, the vast majority of pastors in the United States are paid 50k including their housing allowance. They serve in 80% of the 350,000 churches in America with an attendance under 200. They work as hard as John MacArthur. In fact, one could argue they work harder. They don’t have large staffs to do the work of pastoring and administration. They can’t focus on preaching or the writing of books. They are generalists, not specialists. I know. I’ve pastored small churches and large churches. I think large churches are easier.
Most of MacArthur’s Income Comes from Royalties
In this next comment to The Christian Post, Johnson plays down MacArthur’s salaries by highlighting his book royalties.
“It is possible, however, that most of John’s total annual income comes neither from the church nor from Grace to You but from book royalties paid by his publishers. He has written numerous bestselling works, and his commentaries and the Study Bible will no doubt be in print long after we are all in heaven. John earns a fair author’s royalty for all those works—and all of that income comes from the publisher, not from any of the three nonprofit organizations John serves.” (CP, Feb. 9, 2021)
Notice Johnson says “it is possible” his royalty amount his greater that his pastors’ salary from Grace Community Church. That is a mouth full and I don’t doubt it for a minute. Let me illustrate.
According to Wikipedia, “In addition to more than 150 individual books and monographs, MacArthur has also contributed to more than 30 multi-authored works.” In particular, Johnson mentions “his commentaries and the Study Bible.”
MacArthur is paid a royalty rate of approximately 15%. That is standard in the industry. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary costs $530.00. Every senior pastor or theologian I know owns a set.
I’ve not been able to find figures on how many copies have been sold but 200,000 is a conservative estimate. The complete set was finished in 2015. Individual commentaries were sold as produced beginning in 1983. That comes to 16 million in royalties or 400k on average per year over 40 years. Others helped him so I assume they received some royalty money too. Even so, MacArthur received the lion’s share – let’s say half the royalty rate (7.5%) or 200k per year on average.
Another example. The MacArthur Study Bible has sold 2.0 million copies and costs $35.00 for a cheap hard cover. Far more for a leather cover. An average price of $50.00 translates to 15 million in royalties since 1997 when it first came out. That comes to 375k in royalties per year on average. Again, others helped him. So let’s say 200k per year on average for MacArthur.
These two works alone have resulted in royalties averaging 400k per year for the past 30 years.
There is another major problem. MacArthur “wrote” these books on church time. They came from his research for sermons and his writing of sermons. Read Johnson’s description here on how the books are produced. In other words, he is receiving double compensation. That is unethical and it is also illegal in my opinion.
When I was on the Board of Directors for Sovereign Grace Ministries, I made certain this did not happen for any of us. If you wrote books on church time you received a greatly reduced royalty amount. It was capped at 15% of your salary. Why? We were already paid an ample salary. Writing books (or whatever) was part of our job description. We did it on company time with the help staff or editors. If you write a book on your own time and without staff assistance that is a completely different matter. Keep all the royalties.
Bottom line, MacArthur is paid 600k to a one million dollars every year from royalites alone. By my estimates, his annual income is between 1.5 to 1.9 million. Sources tell me it is around 2 million.
MacArthur’s Simplified Lifestyle – “The Same Home…Just One Car”
The Christian Post didn’t provide an extended quote but made this summary statement about is lifestyle. “He [Johnson] urged people to pay attention to MacArthur’s lifestyle, such as living in the same home for the last 40 years and owning just one car.”
Johnson is manipulating The Christian Post. Julie Roys exposed these lies in her article on February 3 but he is still repeating them to The Christian Post on February 9. He is happy to promote falsehoods. Let me explain.
The reference to “lifestyle,” “the same home,” and “just one car” come from in his comment on Sharper Iron in November 2014. No doubt, The Christian Post has the quote that follows but did not include it for the sake of brevity. The bold letters are Johnson’s not mine.
“All of that aside, the best gauge of John MacArthur’s stewardship is his actual lifestyle. Here are the facts: he has lived in the same house for the past 40 years. (When he built the house, it cost less than one-fifth of what it would list for today on any of the online realty sites. It’s ridiculous to portray his home as some kind of extravagant mansion.) John and Patricia own just one car…. His lifestyle, not his income, is what biblically-minded people should look at if they want to evaluate his character.”
Johnson is a master of deceit. He says “the best gauge…is his actual lifestyle” but then proceeds to conceal his actual lifestyle.
First, he makes it sound like MacArthur bought an average home 40 years ago. He doesn’t tell us what it cost. He doesn’t tell us what it is worth. He says, “here are the facts” but he never gives details that can be researched for veracity.
Second, he says, “It is ridiculous to portray his home as some kind of extravagant mansion.” Of course, he doesn’t provide a description of the home or property.
Third, he wants people to know MacArthur has lived in this lowly house for 40 years and not upgraded because of his simplified lifestyle. It sounds like his housing situation is rather pitiful.
All deceptive. Here is what Julie Roys discovered.
“While it is true that MacArthur has lived in his home in Santa Clarita, California, since the 1980s, the property is worth 1.5 million, which is more than twice the median value of homes in the area. “The five-bedroom, four-bath house sits on more than two acres and includes a tennis court and a swimming pool. The home also is not John MacArthur’s only residence.”
Here is a view showing his lovely 2 plus acre property.
Here is a view showing his three car garage.
Furthermore, Johnson wants people think MacArthur owns but one house when he says, “He has lived in the same house for the past 40 years.” He leaves out the fact that MacArthur owns two other homes. More on that later.
Johnson also says, “John and Patricia own just one car” to attest their elementary lifestyle. He made that statement in 2014. He is reiterating it in 2021. Still only one car seven years later. But here is what people must realize. MacArthur may “own” only one car but that doesn’t mean he and Patricia have only one car.
Let me illustrate from my own experience. I led a Sovereign Grace Church in northern Virginia and headed up our Pastors College in Gaithersburg Maryland. It was based in C.J. Mahaney’s church which was a 50 minute drive across the Potomac River. I could not afford a second vehicle so my church kindly bought a new but inexpensive vehicle for church use. They let me use it to commute the sixteen weeks when I taught in the Pastors College.
Here’s another illustration. C.J. Mahaney was no mechanic! He didn’t even know how to change a tire. Seriously. We use to laugh about it together. He was also busy and worked long hours. We didn’t want him taking time to maintain or bother with his vehicle. Therefore, we leased a Toyota Camry for him.
I have no doubt Grace Community Church (or one of his many wealthy friends) provides a second vehicle for John MacArthur. I don’t think he has one car in his three car garage! Now that would be poor stewardship – lol. Of course, maybe I am wrong and his uses Uber all the time.
[Update (Feb. 21): One source tells me Galpin car dealerships, just miles from Grace Community Church, provided free, new vehicles for church leadership to drive tax free. A second source confirms the dealerships provided cars including a Ford Expedition & luxury Lexus to MacArthur. Every year, or more often, he would get a new vehicle. Of course, Johnson deceives with the assertion “John & Patricia own just 1 car.” No kidding! I wonder why?]
Membership in Two Exclusive Golf Clubs
C.J. Mahaney’s first introduction to John MacArthur came when he spoke at the Grace Community Church “Resolved” conference in February 2005. Rick Holland led the event and John heard C.J. preach and was positively affected. Men on the staff had also been strategically speaking well of C.J. to John for two years. There were serious issues with John. They wanted C.J. to help him because they were afraid to address him. For instance, the top leaders on MacArthur’s staff had no friendship with him and received no encouragement from him.
After Resolved, MacArthur invited Mahaney to visit for four days in August 2005. C.J. told me all about the trip. I was his closest confidante in Sovereign Grace Ministries. These are a few of my notes from back then.
C.J. speaking to church three times on Sunday, August 21
Will meet with pastoral staff Monday morning
Also addressing incoming students at Master College and Seminary
John heard about C.J. golfing with Rick
Will have a meal with John on Saturday and play golf
John very competitive, attacks ball, age 67
Wanted to play with C.J. again on Monday
John loves golf, shared details about his golf lessons
MacArthur can easily get discouraged when he plays golf poorly
Member of two exclusive clubs
Out drove C.J. and a number of times
Take notice, MacArthur was a “member of two exclusive clubs.” The first was Sand Canyon Country Club. It is 2.3 miles from his home in Santa Clarita. Check out this video.
This once exclusive private club is under new ownership and now open to the public. They advertise as “One of the best golf clubs in Southern California.”
The second is the plush Spanish Hills Golf & Country Club in Camarillo. It is world class. Here are some descriptions from their website.
Spanish Hills Club Spanish Hills is a world class private club. The classic Spanish style clubhouse is searched high on the most dramatic point of Camarillo. Members and their guests enjoy the warmth and elegance of a gracious, friendly private club. Spanish Hills provides a level of service and quality of cuisine that Members of the great country clubs throughout the world have come to expect. At Spanish Hills, the Tradition of Excellence is Apparent Everywhere A gentle ocean breeze. Breathtaking views of the Topa Topa Mountains, surrounding countryside and the Pacific Ocean. A championship golf course and clubhouse grounds that rival the most celebrated country clubs anywhere in the world.
Spanish Hills is for the rich and famous. The place is palatial and exquisite. It is one of the premier golf clubs in the world. That means the membership is limited and exclusive. You don’t even need a tee time because it is never crowded. You just show up and play.
Here is a helpful article and excerpt.
A Peek Into Exclusive Golf Club Memberships - Helen Brown Group Among the costs to join a club are an initiation fee, annual dues, and a monthly minimum spend for food and drink. Some clubs also divide up the cost of grounds maintenance among its members.
For the uninitiated, the “monthly minimum spend for food and drinks” is the amount of money you must spend at the club every month on food and drinks. If you don’t spend it, you are charged it anyway.
These exclusive clubs are for exclusive people. They don’t play golf on public courses with a snack shop off the 18th green. Here is the “Stunning Clubhouse.”
Julie Roys pointed out the following in her article, The Prosperous Lifestyle of America’s Anti-Prosperity Gospel Preacher.
“Since 1996, MacArthur has also owned a $700,000 villa about an hour west of Santa Clarita, according to a document The Roys Report obtained from the Ventura County Tax Assessor’s office. “The three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home is located next to a world class private club with a championship golf course, tennis courts, pool, and fine dining. The home also is just 11 miles from the beach.”
The Spanish Hills description of amenities out does her. Clearly there is nothing lavish about MacArthur’s lifestyle, right Phil?
Amenities After a challenging round, members and guests find solace in our classic Spanish-style clubhouse. Here you’ll enjoy luxurious amenities including a formal dining room, casual family grill room, exquisite banquet facilities, men’s and women’s locker rooms with lounges and a golf shop. Completed with professionals and personnel eager to greet and fulfill your needs. Whether relaxing with friends or entertaining clients and associates, members and their guests spend their time immersed in luxury and beauty. Members also enjoy a variety of sports and fitness activities with five lighted tennis courts, a lavish swimming pool, a complete fitness center equipped with cardiovascular and weight equipment, as well as personal training, massage therapy and facial spa services also available. The facility also includes a jacuzzi, steam room and dry sauna.
Below is a photo of the Spanish Hills Country Club and MacArthur’s home in the Golf Villas neighborhood on the right side. I know the exact address. It is literally 0.3 miles or a 6 minute walk from his front door to the club’s front door. His neighborhood is surrounded by the golf course on all four side. It is one of his playgrounds.
Phil Johnson says nothing about this second home in his response to The Christian Post. I wonder why?
MacArthur did golf outings at Spanish Hills for his executive leaders from The Master’s Seminary. In the evening, the entire facility would join them for dinner. This was paid for by “off budget money” that came from wealthy donors who wanted to do something nice for the faculty. This information was provided me by someone in attendance. I have passed it onto Julie Roys for her use.
C.J. also told me about MacArthur’s connection to many wealthy millionaires. Here is one example. I wonder if this millionaire is still looking for a candidate. I might apply. Seriously, now a days the men most gifted by God can make millions in the megachurch market and on the celebrity speaking tour.
All three guys [top leaders] will be gone if John doesn’t position them and take better care of them in next two years
Will leave due to absence of encouragement
They regularly receive offers from churches – are high profile leaders
Large churches want these guys
John’s dominance of pulpit and reluctance to share it
Wealthy and influential people in churches
Pittsburgh millionaire asked MacArthur to send Master’s College graduate, promised 7 million dollar bldg. and land, 2 million in bank, and 5 years of salary
Passion is to write his NT Commentaries before he dies
Don’t do team teaching
This brings me to MacArthur’s third home in Colorado Springs. No wonder Johnson did tell anyone about it. It’s a dandy! Again, I am indebted to The Roys Report.
“MacArthur’s third and largest home—a seven-bedroom, 7.5-bathroom ranch on five acres in Colorado Springs—was built in 2007, according to El Paso County records. “The property was given to Circle M Ranch—a limited liability limited partnership (LLLP) owned by John and Patricia MacArthur—by David Wismer Sr. “Wismer is a longtime member of TMUS’ Board of Directors and has also served as TMUS Board secretary. “I spoke with Wismer and he told me that in 2007, MacArthur approached him, expressing that he wanted to build a home in Colorado Springs. Wismer said he owns a 2,600-acre ranch in Colorado Springs and was happy to give five acres to MacArthur as a gift. “Wismer said MacArthur then built a home (valued around $800,000) on the Colorado property using his own funds.
A few things to point out.
First, the house is 5,470 square feet. The garage is 1,074 square feet (you know the size of a cottage). I hope MacArthur can fit his car into it.
Second, Wismer is a generous millionaire. “MacArthur approached him, expressing that he wanted to build a home. … [He] was happy to give five acres to MacArthur as a gift.” MacArthur doesn’t have any reluctance approaching his millionaire friends for favors. That includes men on his Board of Directors for The Master’s University & Seminary.
Lastly, Johnson leaves out this third and most lavish home. I guess it doesn’t suit his false narrative of one house and one car.
Let me expand on the second point a little more. MacArthur is connected to many wealthy people around the world who think the world of him. They are glad to make their yacht or second home in Hawaii or tickets to The Masters Tournament available to him. They will also lavish him with all kinds of gifts or favors for the asking.
I am confident they do much the same for select leaders like Johnson and MacArthur’s family members. I saw this happening on a much smaller scale in Sovereign Grace Ministries. It is fine to bless leaders but it can get away from you.
Under different circumstances, I came to discover C.J. Mahaney was sent away on an exquisite vacation by a millionaire who was a sex abuser in appreciation for covering up his crimes.
I asked The Christian Post if Johnson provided them this section from his original comment on Sharper Iron. They did not answer but I now know he did. It is a quote from Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) that Johnson applies to MacArthur.
What Spurgeon said about his personal finances could likewise be said about John MacArthur:
“When I gave myself up at first to be His minister, I never expected anything beyond food and raiment [clothing]; and when my income was £45 a year [the equivalent of $5,300], I was heartily content, and never thought of a need without having it supplied. It is with me much the same now: ‘I have all, and abound.’ I have only one grievance, and that is, being asked for loans and gifts of money when I have none to spare. Under the impression that I am a very rich man, many hunt me perpetually; but I wish these borrowers and beggars to know that I am not rich. They argue that a man must be rich if he gives away large sums; but, in my case, this is just the reason why I am not rich.”
Spurgeon earned the equivalent of 50 million dollars in our day from the publishing of his sermons and books that spread around the world. Yet, he died with $250,000 in the bank. He gave the rest away. “I have none to spare. … I am not rich.” That is not true of MacArthur. Nevertheless, Johnson says, “What Spurgeon said about his personal finances could likewise be said about John MacArthur.” This is a legendary tale created by the legend writer.
MacArthur has made tens of millions over his 50 years in ministry. When he dies, I don’t think his wife, Patricia will have to sell their homes, furniture and library to make ends.
The Spurgeon Center 4 Reasons Spurgeon Died Poor October 11, 2016 To say Spurgeon died poor is not to diminish the actual poverty of London’s lower classes. Yet compared to the millions upon millions of pounds Spurgeon earned, the preacher died relatively impoverished. To make ends meet, Susannah [his wife] was forced to sell the estate, the furniture, and also her husband’s personal library (now the Spurgeon Library).
Johnson further told The Christian Post:
“The critics who seem so eager to sully John’s name with controversy are busybodies guilty of sinful scandal-mongering. As far as I know, no one who has any actual firsthand knowledge of John or his lifestyle has ever accused him of extravagance or poor stewardship.”
Of course, Johnson has “firsthand knowledge” of his extravagance. Moreover, he too lives the good life. As Roys pointed out, “Phil Johnson received between $160,000 and $238,927 per year between 2005—2015 for his role at GTY [Grace to You].” That doesn’t include his salary from Grace Community or housing allowance.
Nor does it include all the money he has made from royalties as ghost writer for many of MacArthur’s books. For instance, his bestselling book, The Gospel According to Jesus published in 1988. It was Johnson’s first assignment. I’m sure Phil would love to tell us how much he has made over the last 33 years from that book alone.
But truth be told, the real issue with Johnson is how he ruthlessly and deceptively conducts himself. He is retained like a mean lawyer to go after “disloyal” employees, viciously attack critics, and constantly propagate a false narrative of greatness about John MacArthur. I fear he has lost his life and forfeited his soul.
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what good will it do a person if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his soul?
On Tuesday of this week, Phil Johnson was interviewed by his friend, Justin Peters. Peters is a devotee of MacArthur’s. He has spoken at The Truth Matters Conference sponsored by Johnson. He also speaks with MacArthur at conferences like the upcoming G3 Conference. Peters is never going to ask hard questions or probe deeply for the truth. He believes what he is told as is evident throughout the interview.
The following transcript is from minutes 34:25-35:26 and 35:57-41:45. It covers Johnson’s comments about MacArthur’s three homes. This was a new development. MacArthur and Johnson were forced to address the issue because people were reading Roys’ article.
In another place during the interview, Johnson addresses MacArthur’s trip to Memphis after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. It is full of spin and falsehoods. I will address that in the future.
I’ve added commentary below. Johnson’s words are italicized.
Interview of Phil Johnson
February 16, 2021
I had a document where I had answered many of the questions that were sent to us. But that was available to the reporter who wrote the hit piece and she selectively quoted what helped her narrative and ignored the facts that didn’t.
Comment: Julie Roys had the document. She did not selectively quote or ignore facts. Nor was her article a hit piece. It was a fact piece. This is the same document Johnson sent to The Christian Post (I’ve posted it at the end of this article). If you study it and compare it to Roys’ article you will see Johnson is slandering her.
One of the facts that absolutely doesn’t help that narrative, that I’ve made over and over again, you don’t evaluate a person’s stewardship based on how much money they make. What size their salary is. You evaluate whether they are a lover of money or not but looking at their life style. And I dare anybody to look at John MacArthur’s life style and accuse him of extravagant living. He is just not an extravagant man. But he is an generous man. You know, that is really all anybody needs to know. If somebody had actual facts that proved otherwise, go ahead and publish it. But there are no facts like that.
Comment: I have published the “actual facts” above. Roys even more. The true test of one’s generosity is not how much he gives. It is how much he keeps. It is easy to give out of abundance. There is no sacrifice. It requires no faith. It is much different when you have very little to live on.
Mark 12:41-44 41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
Moreover, we should consider the example of wealthy members in the Jerusalem church like Barnabas who was an apostle (Acts 14:14). They sold their extra homes and lands to provide for the poor (maybe they were out of work or lost their business because of COVID-19). That is heroic giving.
Acts 4:32-37 32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each to the extent that any had need.
36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37 owned a tract of land. So he sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
And let me also follow up on that because the gist of that article, and some of the subsequent discussion is, well the proof that he is a lover of money is the fact that he has three houses and collectively they are worth millions people keep saying. I don’t actually know the value of all three of his houses but here’s the story. His house where he lives is at the other end of this valley. He has lived in that house for forty years. A man who is a lover of money and who makes millions as John has on book royalties, doesn’t live in the same house for 40 years. He builds a bigger one or whatever.
Comment: Julie Roys included the value of MacArthur’s three homes in her article. Johnson claims ignorance and yet he is criticizing her article. Maybe he should read it! Anyway, 1.5 million for his home in Santa Clarita, CA. 700k for his home in Camarillo, CA. 800k for his home in Colorado Spring, CO. That comes to 3 million.
Johnson says, “He has lived in that house for forty years. A man who is a lover of money and who makes millions as John has on book royalties, doesn’t live in the same house for 40 years. He builds a bigger one or whatever.” No he doesn’t if he loves his home and property. That is a false premise. My parents lived in the same house for over 40 years. Moreover, John and Patricia don’t need a bigger house and it is centrally located. Grace to You is northwest, The Master’s University is due west, and Grace Community Church and The Master’s Seminary are south of their home.
John has lived in the exact same house for 40 years. That is on a piece of property, as I understand it, was given to him, because when he lived down in the San Fernando Valley, the most populated part of northern half of Los Angeles county. Because of his profile as pastor of Grace Church, there was a stalker who was threatening one of his children, one of his daughters. So someone gave him this property in a remote area. There were no other houses around at that time and he built that house. I don’t know how much it cost but given the fact that it was built in the late 1970’s and on property that was donated to him, I’d be very surprised if he spent much more than a 100k on it.
Comment: Once again, we see someone giving MacArthur land. The property is 2.3 acres (99,317 sq. ft.). The house was built in 1980. It is 3,209 square feet with five bedrooms and four bathrooms. He also installed a swimming pool and built a tennis court. The last line is outrageous and intended to deceive. “I’d be very surprised if he spent much more than a 100k on it.”
So the real estate listings say it is worth 1.5 million right now. I call that a good investment. It certainly wasn’t an extravagant expense on his part. But what is he supposed to do, look at the value of his house, and say, “No, I’ve got to move into a smaller cottage?” You know, he has lived in the same place for 40 years. That says something. He has preached at the same church for 52 years. This is not a man who is shopping around for a more extravagant life style.
Comment: No one has ever suggested MacArthur must move into a home of lesser value. Or as Johnson says, “move into a smaller cottage.” That makes me laugh! His house is not a small simple house which is the definition of a cottage. Furthermore, no one has ever suggested MacArthur “is shopping around for a more extravagant life style.” These are the kinds of rhetorical embellishments or straw men exaggerations employed by Johnson to rile people up and affix false guilt to folks like Julie Roys.
The other, the second house that I know, that is not far from here, is a sort of get away that John goes to when he needs to be alone to study, when he needs to get away from the phone in the office, and those of us who are constantly are asking him to video tape and stuff like that, for writing projects and stuff like that. It’s I would guess 50 miles from the Grace to You office towards Ventura, another, the next sizable town north of L.A.
Comment: I doubt MacArthur spends much time in either the Grace to You office, which is a 28 minute drive northwest of his home; or the Grace Community Church office, which is a 26 minute drive south of his home. From what I’ve been told, MacArthur isolates himself.
In addition, he can work in private in his spacious home. He doesn’t have four kids running around making noise or fighting for his attention in a small 1,200 sq. ft. home. Even more, he can work year round by the pool and enjoy his beautiful property in sunny southern California. Today’s weather in the dead of “winter,” mostly sunny with a high of 74 degrees.
And that is the one this article says is “only 11 miles from the beach.” I can show you homeless people that live closer to the beach than that. That’s not a short walk to the beach. And it could easy say it is a half mile from a strip mall and a 7-11 [laughter]. This is not a mansion. In fact, I think the real estate listings on it, again I am going from memory, so it something like three bedrooms and two bathrooms. This is not a luxury home. In fact, I think it is a condominium but I am not even sure about that.
Comment: First, it is not a condominium; that is a condo unit with other units in the same building. It is a standalone house or single family dwelling with three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. That should suffice for study retreats!
Second, Johnson knows the home is a 6 minute walk from the world class, Spanish Hills Golf Club. He knows MacArthur is a golf fanatic. He plays all the time. MacArthur is like R.C. Sproul. Sproul did all his studying and writing at his private golf club. I don’t think MacArthur spends much time writing and studying in his “condominium.” He is working in the stunning club house when he is not on the golf course.
Third, Johnson blatantly deceives his listeners. He is a serial liar with no shame. I’ve documented it countless times over the last five years. He starts by mocking Roys for writing MacArthur’s home is “only 11 miles from the beach.” Of course, this is a selling point used by Spanish Hills. “The classic Spanish style clubhouse is searched high on the most dramatic point of Camarillo. … A gentle ocean breeze. Breathtaking views of the Topa Topa Mountains, surrounding countryside and the Pacific Ocean.” Wow! I’d love to do my researching and writing there.
Fourth, Johnson continues, “I can show you homeless people that live closer to the beach than that. That’s not a short walk to the beach. And it could easy say it is a half mile from a strip mall and a 7-11.” Contrast this deceptive statement with Roys’ statement. “The three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home is located next to a world class private club with a championship golf course, tennis courts, pool, and fine dining. The home also is just 11 miles from the beach.” Somehow Johnson forgot about “next to a world class private club.” He implies it is next to a “strip mall and 7-11.”
In all of this Johnson doesn’t want you to know about the Spanish Hills Golf Club or MacArthur’s membership. He conceals it. Instead, he wants you to think there is nothing special about the home’s location.
The third one is basically a cabin in the woods. It is a nice cabin. It’s got several bedrooms because John built it so his entire family can use it as a vacation get away on some property that again, was given to him, two acres in Colorado. And I’ve not been there, I haven’t seen it, I don’t know. I am told that the picture that was published with the hit piece is not a picture of the actual place. That is not the right home. The house that is shown in that picture is not John’s cabin.
Comment: This is really funny to me. According to Johnson, MacArthur owns a cottage, condo unit, and cabin. He purposely uses these words. He knows what kind of false impression he is leaving.
He says the cabin is a “nice cabin” and has “several bedrooms.” He can’t be honest. It has seven bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms. That is one world class cabin! He also says it is on a two acres property. No, it is on five acres. Roys documented the fact. This appears to be another lie. I’m confident Roys will address whether the picture was the correct one.
They keep referring to it as his ranch because I think the ownership of it is, something like Circle M Ranch or some like that, that signifies the part their family, and my understanding is, that is jointly owned or set up so that the ownership of it will pass jointly to his four children. So it is part of his inheritance to his children. It is not again, it is not a luxury place, it is a once year get away. And that is where John goes in the summer when he needs to get out of the state and away from, again those of us who demand his time. He usually spends, I don’t know 5-6 weeks during the summer there where he catches up on his reading and tries to relax and spend some time with his wife It is not an unreasonable expense and its certainly isn’t an extravagant thing.
Comment: MacArthur is a multimillionaire. He loves to get away to be by himself to do what he likes to do. Read, study, and write books; relax and recreate with his wife and kids.
I don’t know what he makes on book royalties. It is not as much as he is worth, certainly. I wouldn’t take that money in exchange for him. And he doesn’t use it to spend lavishly on himself but if he wants to have place to be able get away, to get out of state with his whole family, with a bedroom enough for everybody in the family, then I don’t begrudge him that and I don’t think it is an extravagance.
Comment: Johnson has a very good idea what he makes in royalties. So do I. Tens of millions over 50 years. And he writes these books on company time at his beautiful home & property, world class country club, and incredible ranch in Colorado Springs. Why can’t Johnson lay it all out and just be honest? The same with MacArthur.
No one would know about the three homes if not for the investigative reporting of Julie Roys. She has endured tremendous libel as a result. They have attacked her and called her every evil name.
And to try to make it sound like he is shopping around for bigger mansions all the time, is to totally mispresent John MacArthur. It has been completely unfair to him. And those who follow his teaching, I think generally know, this is another reason I haven’t felt obliged to answer every question that is thrown at me on twitter, because I think that people who listen to John teach, and have listened for years in many cases, they know how deeply he gets into Scripture. They know this is not a man who is only spending his spare time only on leisure or living an extravagant lifestyle because he is in it for himself. That is as far from John MacArthur as anything I know.
Comment: Johnson once again resorts to his deceptive tactics. “And to try to make it sound like he is shopping around for bigger mansions all the time, is to totally mispresent John MacArthur. It has been completely unfair to him.” No one has ever done anything of the kind. Certainly not me or Julie Roys. She has never referred to his homes as “mansions.” The only thing “completely unfair” has been done to her not by her.
Last Sunday (Feb. 14) at Grace Community Church, MacArthur made reference to his three supposed “mansions” in addressing the issue. He was forced to do this because people in the church were reading Roys’ article. This was during a 2 minutes 45 second segment at the beginning of his sermon that was black out during the live streaming of his message. Why was this necessary? The answer is obvious. They are covering their tracks and don’t want people around the world to know about his extraordinary possessions. I can’t even imagine the costs to furnish and maintain three homes and properties.
Lastly, Johnson says, “This is not a man who is only spending his spare time only on leisure or living an extravagant lifestyle.” What an absurd statement. No has implied anything of the kind.
A disciple is not above his master. Johnson has been discipled by MacArthur in the art of deception. The way Johnson talks about Roys is the same way MacArthur talks about the Department of Health and the County of Los Angeles. He makes them out to be an enemy like Johnson makes Roys out to be an enemy. The real enemy is within them. It is called indwelling sin and it is destroying their souls.
Additional Article by Julie Roys
Roys' posted this article this evening.
February 20, 2021 6:08 pm CST OPINION: My Response to Phil Johnson of Grace to You, Part One By Julie Roys
What follows is the statement Johnson sent to The Christian Post. The parts in bold print were quoted verbatim in their article.
John MacArthur’s compensation February 9, 2021
The questions and quibbling innuendo that have been published on the Internet regarding John MacArthur’s income and stewardship are rooted in misinformation. For example, a report has been floating around online for some time that John makes more than half a million dollars annually from GTY. Totally false. That idea is wrongly extrapolated from the fact that GTY’s 2011 990 tax form (ten years ago) reported $400k in “salary and benefits” paid to John.
That figure reflects a one-time gift—a rare 1st-edition KJV Bible given to John to honor the completion of his verse-by-verse exposition of the whole NT. It was an expression of thanks for 40 years of faithful ministry. John in turn gave the Bible to the seminary’s collection of rare manuscripts and early Bible editions.
John is paid a modest but reasonable salary by Grace Church. Lay elders review and approve his salary annually, using information gleaned from careful surveys. They take great pains to ensure that John’s salary is well within the upper-medium range for California pastors’ salaries. The same process is followed with equal care by the board of directors at Grace to You. (Board members with blood relationships or employment connections to John MacArthur recuse themselves from those decisions, to make sure there are no conflicts of interest.) Professional auditors and an impartial audit review committee review all such decisions to add two extra layers of accountability. John is not paid an exorbitant salary by either organization.
It is possible, however, that most of John’s total annual income comes neither from the church nor from Grace to You but from book royalties paid by his publishers. He has written numerous bestselling works, and his commentaries and the Study Bible will no doubt be in print long after we are all in heaven. John earns a fair author’s royalty for all those works—and all of that income comes from the publisher, not from any of the three nonprofit organizations John serves.
Grace to You gives away freely tens of thousands of John’s books every year. He waives his royalty on all the books we give away, and he gets no royalty payments from Grace to You on any videos or audio recordings—or anything else we produce.
No law requires an author to make book royalties paid from his publisher public information, so the “facts” about John’s total annual income being reported by a small group of critical bloggers are pure speculation and (frankly) well-salted with cynical false assumptions.
All of that aside, the best gauge of John MacArthur’s stewardship is his actual lifestyle. Here are the facts: he has lived in the same house for the past 40 years. (When he built the house, it cost less than one-fifth of what it would list for today on any of the online realty sites. It’s ridiculous to portray his home as some kind of extravagant mansion.) John and Patricia own just one car. And I know for a fact that he quietly supports more missionaries and missions projects than most mid-sized churches. I also know of many cases where he has generously but discreetly met the needs of individuals and families in the church and community. (Such gifts given by him to private individuals carry no tax benefits for him.) And I’m certain he does this far more often than anyone knows (Matthew 6:2-4). It would, of course, be utterly inappropriate for me to broadcast the facts I do know about his personal giving. But it should be sufficient that no one who actually sees how John lives has ever accused him of self-indulgence or even thought in their wildest dreams to 2 describe him as a lover of money. His lifestyle, not his income, is what biblically-minded people should look at if they want to evaluate his character.
Regarding specifics: contrary to other noisy claims that were made by a certain angry blogger a few years ago, MacArthur doesn’t ALWAYS fly 1st class, but since he almost died of pulmonary embolism a few years ago, it’s not good for him to be immobilized in a middle seat on a long flight. So when we at GTY make his reservations for flights more than 3 hours, we do put him in business class whenever we can so that he can move around and stretch more easily. He’s in his eighties and often has to preach multiple sessions immediately after arrival on an overseas flight. It’s hardly an unreasonable expenditure.
On top of all that, Grace to You paid John MacArthur zero salary or benefits for the first 30+ years of our ministry’s existence. The board mandated a change to that policy shortly after the start of the new millennium. Since they know John’s personal giving is unstinted, and considering the principle of 1 Timothy 5:17-18, they made a deliberate decision to pay him a full salary rather than a diminished wage that was arbitrarily curtailed just because he has other income. For the record, his lifestyle now is as modest as it was before the board voted him that benefit.
Recently a few critics have raised questions regarding GTY’s contracts with John’s son-in-law’s video production company. We do lots of video, and we bid out the contract. We chose John’s son-in-law’s firm because 1) his company’s work is excellent; 2) he has easier access to record John than any other videographers would; and 3) his bid was competitive. Our payments go to his company, not him personally. In other words, what we pay covers his company’s related overhead and personnel costs; it is not personal salary paid to him, despite what some have claimed. We save money by not maintaining our own video production department.
The critics who seem so eager to sully John’s name with controversy are busybodies guilty of sinful scandal-mongering. As far as I know, no one who has any actual firsthand knowledge of John or his lifestyle has ever accused him of extravagance or poor stewardship. That is why, despite the persistence of a few nattering critics and mud-slingers who keep trying to turn this matter into a controversy, their idle talk has not gained any traction.
What Spurgeon said about his personal finances could likewise be said about John MacArthur:
I will only add that I serve a good Master, and am so sure that He will provide for me that I never thought it worth my while to be scraping and hoarding for myself. When I gave myself up at first to be His minister, I never expected anything beyond food and raiment; and when my income was £45 a year, I was heartily content, and never thought of a need without having it supplied. It is with me much the same now: ‘I have all, and abound.’ I have only one grievance, and that is, being asked for loans and gifts of money when I have none to spare. Under the impression that I am a very rich man, many hunt me perpetually; but I wish these borrowers and beggars to know that I am not rich. They argue that a man must be rich if he gives away large sums; but, in my case, this is just the reason why I am not rich. When I have a spare, £5, the College, or Orphanage, or Colportage, or something else, requires it, and away it goes. I could very comfortably do with much more. Oh, that I could do more for Christ, and more for the poor! For these, I have turned beggar before now, and shall not be ashamed to beg again. The outside world cannot understand that a man should be moved by any motive except that of personal gain; but, if they knew the power of love to Jesus, they would understand that, to the lover of the Saviour, greed of wealth is vile as the dust beneath his feet. [Spurgeon, C. H. (1899). C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from his diary, letters, and records, by his 3 wife and his private secretary, 1854–1860 (Vol. 2, p. 128). Chicago; New York; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company.]
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