One Twitter user responded to McKissic, saying, “I don’t know what he could even mean by the black church movement in 1978. The black church has been alive, vibrant, and spirit filled, and faithfully teaching the word long before. Ever since we got here…Our hymns alone inspired modern American music.”
Rev. James R. Riley, senior pastor of the House of Prayer Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, La., responded, “MacArthur so casually suggest[s] that he believes that the slave masters actually knew Jesus. That the slave master had a good theological understanding of the Bible. How? Who can read of God’s love and plan for redemption and own human beings like property? This is sick.”
In MacArthur’s 1987 sermon, titled, “The Conscientious Christian Employee, Part 1,” the pastor made similar comments about the origins of the Black church in the U.S., saying that as a result of slavery and segregation, Black people “had a smattering of biblical Christianity tied in with a whole lot of culture, and so what generated was the black church movement which is sort of a highbred [sic] syncretism of their culture under slavery and a little bit of Christianity mixed in. And that highbred is a living testimony to the withdrawing of the revelation of God from the black people. And many of them, of course, by God’s wonderful grace have come out of the caricature into the reality of Jesus Christ, for which we praise God.”
User @TimRehmer argued that Mason was misrepresenting MacArthur’s position. “You have cherry picked some quotes from several sermons to fit your narrative,” he said, likely alluding to the fact that elsewhere in MacArthur’s sermons the pastor says that all people are equal. And immediately following the above comment, MacArthur describes being personally appalled at racist statements from others, as well as being jailed and even having his life threatened because he chose to associate with Black people.
Mason responded, “I think these [quotes] represent a quite common assumption among American white Christians.”
ChurchLeaders has reached out to John MacArthur for a statement.