Two 'Grace to You' Employees Respond to David and Eileen Gray Controversy
Two employees from pastor John MacArthur's Grace to You broadcast ministry have commented on reports that MacArthur publicly shamed a woman in 2002 for not taking back her husband, who was later convicted of child abuse.
Phil Johnson and Fred Butler both commented on the reports, with Butler saying that MacArthur and the church were right to call out the woman, Eileen Gray, who had first told the church about her husband, David Gray's, abuse.
Butler said in a tweet that David was "confronted over his sin ... repented of his behavior ... wanted to reconcile w/ his family and be counseled/discipled ... the wife refused to take him back, which is an unbiblical reason for her wanting to leave the marriage. She was held accountable for that."
- The man was confronted over his sin.— Fredman (@Fred_Butler) March 17, 2022
- He repented of his behavior.
- He wanted to reconcile w/ his family and be counseled/ discipled.
- The wife refused to take him back, which is an unbiblical reason for her wanting to leave the marriage. She was held accountable to that.
Meanwhile, Johnson said he was not involved in the original issue with Eileen.
"(The Roys Report) is writing about a 20-year-old discipline case that I had no involvement in. It doesn't pertain to me in any way, though she always attaches my name to pretty much everything she does," he said.
"I'm disinclined to think all the noise about it represents a legitimate desire to know the truth," he added.
Despite this misleading mess: https://t.co/IV1xun3K0C :— Phil Johnson (@Phil_Johnson_) March 15, 2022
1) I have not "responded to [her] article,” nor will I. She is citing an email I sent to a person who asked (via email) if I intended to respond to Roys. I answered THAT question.
(I didn’t post it on social media.)
The Roys Report, however, said records show that Johnson was named an elder in 1999 and 2000. Other reports indicate that he served as an elder from 2002 to 2005.
Johnson admitted on Twitter that he has sometimes taken an "inactive" status in his role as an elder, so he wasn't involved in the 2002 excommunication. He did, however, note that he "might have been" present at the service where MacArthur spoke publicly about Eileen.
Might have been. We have discipline issues to deal with in about a third of our communion services. I don’t remember or record each one.— Phil Johnson (@Phil_Johnson_) March 16, 2022
GCC elders can take a year or more on inactive status for various reasons. I’ve done it twice. Hence I was not involved in this case.
Neither John MacArthur nor representatives from Grace Community Church have officially responded to requests for comment.
The controversy continues following the surfacing of a 2004 letter to the congregation of Grace Community Church that shows a former associate pastor supporting David.
The letter from Carey Hardy, who at the time was an associate pastor at GCC and the personal assistant to MacArthur, was emailed to the church and then posted on GCC's website just five days after David, a former teacher at the church, was arrested. The letter has since been removed from the site.
"I'm sure you know by now that one of our own, David, has been arrested," Hardy said in the letter, which was obtained by The Roys Report. "The accusations being brought against him have to do with child abuse. Most likely, these accusations come from his estranged wife, Eileen."
When the church would not help her with the situation, GCC reportedly continued to encourage Eileen to drop the restraining order and allow David to return home. When she refused, she was told the church would excommunicate her. Then, in a 2002 church service video, MacArthur talked about Eileen, saying he needed to talk about a "sad situation."
"This is what the Lord wants. He wants discipline, and one of the forms of discipline that he uses is to be put out of the church, to be publicly shamed, to be put away from fellowship. In this case, it applies to Eileen Gray," MacArthur said.
He added that Eileen had rejected "all the instruction and counsel of the elders, all instruction from the Word of God."
He also told the church to pray for her and "treat her as an unbeliever—for all we know, she may be."
In the 2004 letter, Hardy wrote that the church had known of the accusations but was "concerned with the integrity of Eileen's statements."
"Many of you have interacted with David on a personal level," Hardy wrote. "And, like those of us on staff who know him, you have great difficulty believing the accusations that have been brought … We can still strongly say that the accusations do not fit with what we know of David."
But according to The Roys Report, David submitted a handwritten confession of his abuse to the church in 2001.
Gray is currently serving 21 years to life in a California prison for his convictions for aggravated child molestation, corporal injury to a child, and child abuse.
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.