![if !(lte IE 7)]> <![endif]>
The year 2023 marks an important anniversary in English church history. Five hundred years ago, in 1523, William Tyndale traveled to London to advocate for a new English translation of the Bible, one derived directly from the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Tyndale was committed to getting God’s Word into the hands and hearts of the English-speaking world. His daring work, for which he was eventually martyred, laid the foundation for all subsequent English Bible translations—from the Great Bible of 1539, to the King James of 1611, to modern translations today. Like his fellow Reformers, Tyndale not only affirmed the primacy, authority, and sufficiency of Scripture, but he was also willing to die for that conviction.
Thirty-seven years ago, in 1986, The Master’s Seminary was established on that same theological foundation—a steadfast commitment to the centrality of God’s Word. When John MacArthur first came to Grace Community Church in 1969, he had two primary goals. First, he purposed to preach the Word of God faithfully each week, accurately expounding the biblical text verse-by-verse (2 Tim 2:15). Second, he desired to train the next generation of spiritual leaders, entrusting the truth to faithful men who would teach others also (2 Tim 2:2). Those goals came together in the founding of a seminary on the Grace Community Church campus to train pastor-theologians.
Many of the greatest names from past generations—from Peter and Paul in the first century, to John Chrysostom and Augustine in the early fifth century, to Martin Luther and John Calvin in the sixteenth century—were both pastors and theologians. They shepherded the flock by preaching the Word, while also engaging in significant theological discourse and dialogue. Their legacy provides a compelling reminder that pastoral ministry and theological study are not, and indeed should not, be mutually exclusive.
In our own day—in our very own church—Dr. MacArthur has consistently modeled the dual role of pastor-theologian. As a pastor, he has shepherded Grace Community Church for 54 years, preaching thousands of sermons through the entire New Testament and significant portions of the Old. As a theologian, Dr. MacArthur has been an influential voice confronting issues like easy-believism, ecumenism, evolution, charismatic excess, pragmatism, psychology, worldliness, and wokeness. These dual aspects of Dr. MacArthur’s ministry flow from a singular commitment to the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. But being a pastor-theologian is not an end in itself. Rather, for Dr. MacArthur, and for any faithful minister, the end goal is always to know Christ and to make Him known.
Five centuries ago, William Tyndale and his fellow Reformers recognized the church’s desperate need for biblical truth and for pastor-theologians who would boldly proclaim that truth. That remains the church’s great need today. At The Master’s Seminary, we thank the Lord for giving us a modern example of such biblical conviction and Christ-centered courage. In training the next generation of pastor-theologians, Dr. MacArthur has modeled faithfulness in both pastoral ministry and theological engagement. The author of Hebrews reminded his readers, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith” (Heb 13:7). It is therefore fitting for us to give glory to God by dedicating the current issue of The Master’s Seminary Journal to our seminary’s Chancellor and founder, Dr. John F. MacArthur.
To purchase a copy of the latest issue of The Master’s Seminary Journal, visit Grace Books.