LGBT outlet calls John MacArthur 'old, white, hate pastor' for saying MLK was not a Christian

Website has history of attributing biblical teaching on sexuality to 'hate groups'

Pastor John MacArthur speaks at Grace Community Church's Shepherd's Conference in 2020.
Pastor John MacArthur speaks at Grace Community Church's Shepherd's Conference in 2020. | Facebook/Shepherds' Conference

A progressive LGBT outlet has labeled one of America’s most well-known Evangelical leaders as an “old white hate pastor” for claiming Martin Luther King Jr. was not a Christian. 

LGBTQ Nation, which is owned by San Francisco-based Q.Digital Network, criticized MacArthur, longtime pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, for saying the late civil rights leader was a “non-believer” who was, in fact, “not a Christian at all.”

The 84-year-old MacArthur made the comments during a Q-and-A session at his church in February, where an attendee asked MacArthur about his opinion on two Evangelical organizations, The Gospel Coalition and Together for the Gospel (T4G). 

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After offering a brief history of the now-defunct T4G, MacArthur noted The Gospel Coalition, while launched by Evangelical leaders with “noble intent,” has in recent years strayed from its original mission — a departure, he added, that was encapsulated by its treatment of King’s legacy.

After recalling the tributes from The Gospel Coalition (TGC) in honor of late evangelist RC Sproul, MacArthur said years later, TGC “did the same thing for Martin Luther King, who was not a Christian at all, whose life was immoral. 

“I’m not saying he didn’t do some social good, and I’ve always been glad he was a pacifist or he could’ve started a real revolution,” he added. “But you don’t honor a non-believer who misrepresented everything about Christ and the Gospel in an organization alongside honoring somebody like RC Sproul.” 

In its defense of King’s Christianity, the pro-LGBT outlet — which once referred to Christian conservatives as the “Christian Taliban” for their biblical views on homosexuality — cited King’s ministry in Montgomery, Alabama, his “Ph.D. in systematic theology,” and said King “is widely regarded as a distinctly Christian and moral civil rights icon.”

The outlet also accused MacArthur of making “numerous racist and anti-[LGBT] statements throughout his career,” including a 2001 sermon in which he said, “The Bible is abundantly clear, slavery is the heart of what it means to be a true Christian,” and “Christianity does not free slaves. Christianity does not give equal social rights…”

Referring to MacArthur as an “old, white, hate pastor,” a title which the outlet has also used for Pastors John Hagee, Jack Hibbs, and other pastor-teachers who teach homosexuality is sinful, the report also linked to a website run by People For the American Way, a progressive advocacy group founded by TV producer Norman Lear to counter the rise of the Moral Majority, a prominent and influential Evangelical political organization. 

In 2019, the LGBT website referred to longtime Evangelical leader Tony Perkins as “president of the hate group Family Research Council” and frequently quotes the Human Rights Campaign, which labeled several high-profile conservative and Christian organizations as "the enemy" in a "state of emergency" report last June on “anti-LGBT” legislation.

In January, the outlet also acknowledged King’s controversial theological standing in an article on trans activism by stating “King’s philosophy of nonviolence was inspired by the teachings of Gandhi.”

A 2014 Gospel Coalition essay quoted King as expressing doubt over the existence of the Virgin Birth, which he said, “the evidence for the tenability of this doctrine is too shallow to convince any objective thinker.” 

Regarding the Resurrection of Jesus, King allegedly wrote that “the external evidence for the authenticity of this doctrine is found wanting.”

Others, among them African American author and theologian James H. Cone, have argued that King’s seminary work did not accurately reflect his personal theological views.

“What King really thought about God is not found in his essays or even the Ph.D. dissertation he wrote in graduate school,” argued Cone, who nevertheless identified King as theologically liberal and an opponent of biblical inerrancy. 

Ian M. Giatti is a reporter for The Christian Post and the author of BACKWARDS DAD: a children's book for grownups. He can be reached at:

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