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Pastor John MacArthur Says Martin Luther King Jr. ‘Wasn’t a Christian at All,’ His ‘Life Was Immoral’

John MacArthur Martin Luther King Jr.
Screengrab via YouTube / @Grace to You

Popular author and pastor-teacher John MacArthur recently claimed that civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr. “wasn’t a Christian at all” and that his “life was immoral.”

MacArthur, who for more than five decades has pastored Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, made these comments while criticizing The Gospel Coalition (TGC) and Together for the Gospel (T4G) during a Q&A session at his church. 

A clip of his controversial remarks were posted to social media.

“There are some major organizations that have been around for the last at least 10 years—one is The Gospel Coalition—started out with noble intent to bring different people together, leaders, pastors, theologians, around the gospel,” MacArthur said. “It was very much like T4G—Together for the Gospel.”

“[T4G] had that conference. We had as many as 10,000 people. I was a part of that every year, these huge conventions and it was Together for the Gospel,” MacArthur continued. 

Nevertheless, MacArthur went on to allege that T4G “bought into the deceptiveness of the woke movement and the racial baiting that was going on a couple of years ago, and it literally put them out of existence.” 

While T4G held its last conference in 2022, it remained a popular event among evangelicals, with nearly 12,000 attending the final conference. 

MacArthur continued, “I was thinking the other day how interesting it was that the last panel discussion I was on at a T4G event was to honor [pastor and theologian] R.C. Sproul, who had died.”

“The T4G guys wanted to honor him with a panel and we spent an hour, an hour and 15 minutes—it was just this beautiful tribute to R.C. from all of us who knew him so very, very well,” MacArthur said. “And the strange irony was a year later, they did the same thing for Martin Luther King, who was not a Christian at all, whose life was immoral.”

In 2018, T4G commemorated the 50th anniversary of King’s death. That same year, TGC, in partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, likewise held a conference to reflect on King’s impact and legacy.

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“I’m not saying [King] didn’t do some social good, and I’ve always been glad he was a pacifist or he could have started a real revolution,” MacArthur went on to say. “But you don’t honor a non-believer who misrepresented Christ and everything about the gospel in an organization alongside honoring someone like R.C. Sproul.”