Conceding the possibility that “some” students experienced genuine revival, MacArthur said, “Only time would tell that.”
“For most of those kids, I’m afraid it wasn’t about Christ. It was about the chords. It was about singing the same words for 20 minutes in a row…in some kind of pseudo-spiritual experience that had no relationship to sound doctrine, to the depth of the gospel,” MacArthur accused.
He added, “I would like to know if that same revival would have occurred without the music.”
“Shut the music down and let’s find out what God is really doing,” MacArthur continued, arguing that contemporary styles of worship music take “people kind of to a level of hypnosis.”
MacArthur’s Legacy, for Good or for Ill, on Display at Shepherds Conference
While MacArthur has long been popular among a certain subset of evangelicals, his recent health concerns have apparently increased many of their affections for him.
Throughout the Shepherds Conference, conference speakers and attendees have eulogized the pastor through public comments and social media posts.
“I think that five percent of John MacArthur is worth more than the whole evangelical world put together,” said Steven Lawson, who was called upon to speak in MacArthur’s stead, at the conference’s opening session.
Conference organizers even ordered custom designed cans of Fresca, well known to be MacArthur’s favorite beverage. The cans featured an illustration of MacArthur’s face, alongside the quote, “I want my Fresca.” MacArthur made this declaration during the height of pandemic-related supply chain issues, when he claimed that Fresca was not available because all the aluminum was being used for beer cans.
On the other hand, the Shepherds Conference has also shone a spotlight on the ongoing criticism of MacArthur and GCC, which centers on the church’s leadership having allegedly pressured a woman to move back in with and remain married to her husband despite his abusive tendencies.
While GCC leadership defended the husband, he was later convicted of aggravated child molestation and child abuse. Meanwhile, the wife was ostracized. GCC never retracted their public defense of the husband, nor did they apologize to the wife, whom they had publicly maligned.
After multiple journalists, including Kate Shellnutt of Christianity Today, published evidence that GCC had wronged this former church member, GCC released a statement that the church doesn’t “respond to attacks, lies, misrepresentations, and anonymous accusations.”
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One of the chief accusers was a now-former GCC elder Hohn Cho, who told journalists that he had tried and failed to convince church leadership to “do justice.”