Compliant Commandments and Mundane Mulligans

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Our good friend Jerry has a new post over at Grumpy’s Grumblings. I’ve provided an excerpt today with a link at the end to continue reading. Thanks Jerry!

The two ubiquitous questions reverberating around the fundamentalist firmament these days are 1. Is Ravi Zacharias rejoicing in heaven or roasting in hell? and 2. Why’s the world picking on a good man like John MacArthur?

For those unfamiliar with those two names, here’s a brief rundown: Ravi Zacharias, who died of cancer a few months ago, was an evangelical rock star, the Indian-American Bruce Springsteen of Christian apologetics. Now, you might ask, “What is Christian apologetics?” It’s a branch of Christian theology that seeks to reveal and defend the authenticity and reliability of the Christian faith (my definition). Meanwhile, John MacArthur is the pastor of a southern California mega-congregation known as Grace Community Church. He’s also one of the most influential figures in the white evangelical movement.

Ravi Zacharias

The first question began to be asked not long after Zacharias’s death in May of 2020. The reason for that question was tied to emerging allegations that Zacharias was a serial adulterer and sexual harasser. When the first allegations trickled out, board members and staff at his Ravi Zacharias (RZIM) were—or at least appeared to be—shocked. A subsequent independent investigation found abundant evidence confirming many of the allegations. So the question shifted from “Did he really do it?” to “Has God forgiven him?”

John MacArthur

Meanwhile, back in sunny southern California, the country’s COVID capital, Pastor John MacArthur—who’s waged a nearly year-long battle with state and local governments over his refusal to submit to COVID-related governmental health protocols—has become the subject of investigations into his finances. It seems that MacArthur, a clamorous critic of “Prosperity-Gospel” preachers has become preposterously prosperous from his own preaching. His net worth is estimated at north of $14 million. His three homes have a combined worth well into the millions. Yet he continues to attack prosperity preachers such as Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer (who deserve every bit of criticism aimed their way).

The Unbalanced Responses

One need only type each of the two names into the YouTube search bar to see the dramatically responses from white evangelical “defenders of the faith” to the two scandals. Zacharias has been posthumously pummeled. His offenses are typically portrayed as “inexcusable.” And a question posed repeatedly in evangelical circles is, “Is Ravi Zacharias in heaven?”

Meanwhile, MacArthur’s defenders have been out in force. Many of the same Christian commentators who’ve openly condemned Zacharias have unambiguously defended MacArthur. It seems that the seventh of the Ten Commandments—the one about adultery–is much more egregious than the tenth—the one about coveting. One might wonder, however, if the 138 Bible references to money and greed are somehow less significant than the 122 references to sex and adultery.

To continue reading, here is the link to Grumpy’s Grumblings


  1. The difference between Ravi Zacharias and John MacArthur seems clear. Ravi Zacharias is dead. Evangelicals seem far more willing to criticize the dead than to criticize someone who is still part of evangelicalism.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder if MacArthur realises his danger having amassed so much wealth, what is it they say about a camel passing through the eye of a needle? Of course, I may be wrong and all three of his homes are to become homeless hostels and the cash is to be donated to the running of them.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ravi Zacharias was also of the ‘wrong’ colour.
    In the eyes of many a white Evangelical a terrible sin which surpasses anything in the Ten Commandments thus making him an acceptable target and so they can be seen to vent their wrath.
    It is so much easier for their when someone found guilty of something is of the ‘wrong’ colour.

    Liked by 1 person

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