Earlier today I called your attention to a Chronicle of Higher Education piece on the WASC Senior College and University Commission accreditation report on The Master’s College and Seminary, an evangelical institution run by megachurch pastor John MacArthur. Read it here.
After a three-day study of MacArthur’s school, the reviewers hired by the accrediting agency concluded that Master’s has “a pervasive climate of fear, intimidation, bullying and uncertainty.” Their report noted that “reports of lack of leadership ethics and accountability” were “unmatched for members of this review team.”
MacArthur responded to this negative report in an August 2018 speech to the students enrolled in the Master’s Seminary. The Chronicle of Higher Education obtained a copy of the speech. (It is currently behind the paywall). Here are some of themes:
- He tells first-year students that they have arrived at The Master’s Seminary at the “best time ever.”
- MacArthur calls this an “apostolic moment” for him and compares himself to the Apostle Paul. He tells the student body that the attacks on him and his ministry (and by implication his university and seminary) are similar to the kind of attacks that these future ministers will face in their churches and ministries one day.
- He takes a shot at Fuller Theological Seminary for not upholding a belief in the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. (Read about this history here). I am not sure why this is important in this context, but he takes the shot nonetheless.
- MacArthur says that the chair of the accreditation review committee told him a week before the team’s visit that he expected everything would go well.
- After the visit, the chair of the committee came into MacArthur’s office and told him, “you are under attack.”
- When the report said that Master’s had a climate of bullying, intimidation, and fear, MacArthur said he was “puzzled” by this.
- The attacks, MacArthur claimed, were “on me personally, not the seminary.”
- MacArthur claims that the attacks came from people “outside the university and seminary” who the committee spoke with during their study of the campus.
- MacArthur implies that some of the people from outside the university and seminary who spoke negatively about him to the accreditation committee were former disgruntled employees. (He also seems to say that there are disgruntled current employees as well, but I can’t make out that part of the recording).
- There was much in the accreditation report that was untruthful and “completely unrelated to reality.”
- MacArthur said the Master’s University and Seminary has responded to the negative assessment with a “full report.” The accrediting agency eventually “praised” this report. MacArthur is confident that Master’s will not lose their accreditation.
- He compares disgruntled employees at Master’s to NFL players kneeling before the National Anthem. Both, he says, are disrespecting their employers.
- MacArthur says that the college needs to do more “spiritual shepherding” to get disgruntled employees in line.
- MacArthur alludes to the possibility of a “coup” going on at Master’s. It is led by people “with ambition.”
- MacArthur then moves into his ongoing critique of “social justice.”
- MacArthur does not believe that WASC is “adversarial” to Master’s. The review committee just responded to the things they were told during their visit to campus. MacArthur believes these things were untrue.