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Thoughts on Julie Roy’s “The Prosperous Lifestyle of America’s Anti-Prosperity Gospel Preacher"

I was on the Leadership Team and Board of Directors for Sovereign Grace Ministries for 25 years. One of my responsibilities was writing policy and procedures that ensured our integrity in financial matters. I insisted nothing be hidden or concealed from anyone including The Washington Post if they ever came knocking. The ministry was based in the D.C. area.

I also worked with our Compensation Committee. I put guidelines into place to ensure our salaries were in keeping with standard salary surveys. No one was paid an excessive salary. In the same manner, I put restrictions on the money we could keep from royalties and honoraria. It was a 15% cap in each category. For example, if your salary was 100k, you could keep 15k in royalties and 15k in honoraria. The remainder was put back into the ministry.

I was the second highest paid employee in Sovereign Grace Ministries. When I resigned in 2007 over grave concerns, I earned 140k from all sources of income. After my departure, C.J. Mahaney and Tommy Hill (Director of Finance) changed these policies and our historical commitment to transparency. They no longer reveal salaries, compensation packages or financial arrangements. I can’t even get an audited financial statement from them for 2020.

I estimate John MacArthur makes 1.5 to 2 million dollars a year. He is paid three salaries from Grace Community Church, Grace to You (media ministry), and The Master’s University & Seminary. That doesn’t include his ministerial housing allowance(s) which goes unreported on tax forms or IRS reporting forms.

Nor does it include income from book royalties, honoraria, and bonuses. Two hundred books have been written under MacArthur’s name. That amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties every year. How much does he receive? He speaks at the biggest conferences in the nation. They pay thousands of dollars in honorarium for featured speakers. And what bonuses and gifts does he receive? For example, what did he get last year on the 50th anniversary his pastorate?

Let me illustrate. Here was my total income back in 2007. I was a very blessed man.

$67,750 - wage

49,000 - housing allowance

14,550 - honoraria

8,000 - bonuses


Men in ministry who are grossly over compensated like MacArthur hide their many sources of income and total compensation package. In the illustration above, if asked how much I made I could say $67,750 since that’s the amount reported as wage on my W-2 form but that would be terribly misleading. Honesty would double the amount.

And that doesn’t include other benefits like a pension plan, retirement account, health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, transportation, home maintenance, and money or allowances for study retreats, sabbaticals, and education.

Or an interest free loan of 50k that was written off to MacArthur’s right hand man, Phil Johnson to buy a home. That is corrupt. It is also illegal. It’s called private inurement under IRS regulations.

John MacArthur is never going to reveal all his sources of income or the total amount of his income for any given year. Nor his entire compensation package. Why? It would disgrace him! When you go into the ministry you go into the non-profit sector, not the for-profit sector. You have no aspirations of being wealthy. If you do, stay out!

MacArthur has made himself rich just like any health and wealth prosperity preacher! He is no different! He just markets “sound doctrine” to make great wealth. So do other evangelical celebrities. They get rich off the gospel! This is a far cry from the leaders we read about in the New Testament starting with Jesus! Their lifestyles were characterized by sacrifice, simplicity, and contentment.

Julie Roys at The Roys Report has done a great service for the Body of Christ. She has further exposed the nepotism, cronyism, and corruption that has characterized MacArthur’s ministry for decades. I’ve written about it at great length. Read here for starters.

Of course, she will be condemned for slander but it is never slander when hypocrisy of this magnitude is exposed. No, it is obedience to Jesus Christ and submission to the authority of Scripture. Those who have read my writings know John MacArthur and Phil Johnson are serial liars and more. It is all documented in just manner. We are way beyond the appeals process laid out in Matthew 18:15-17. No one should associate with them so serious their unrepentant sin.

Please study this fine piece of investigative journalism by Roys which would be unnecessary if church leaders did what was right. All the elders at Grace Community Church should demand an accounting of John MacArthur and Phil Johnson but that has never happened in all my dealing with them over the past five years. In fact, they’ve done the exact opposite. They have covered up for them. For example, read here. By a miracle of grace, I hope that ends. It if does both men will be removed from ministry for failing to be above reproach in crucial ways over several decades.

Read Julie Roys' article here: