29 June 2005

In Memoriam: Dr. Jack MacArthur, 1914—2005

Dr. Jack MacArthur
Dr. Jack MacArthur, 1914—2005
Yesterday I made a fast round-trip flight to Eugene, Oregon to attend a memorial service at First Baptist Church for Dr. Jack MacArthur, who died exactly two weeks ago, at the age of 91—after 70 years of faithful preaching and teaching. He preached almost every week from the time he was 19 until poor health forced him to stop just a few short months ago. He was beloved by thousands who had sat under his ministry.

Dr. Jack was, of course, the father of John MacArthur and a profound role model not only for his son, but for many other young men who entered the ministry under his tutelage. Dr. Jack's own radio ministry, "Voice of Calvary," began broadcasting in 1942 and has aired continuously ever since. (Production of the program will cease in October.) From 1956 to 1983, Voice of Calvary also sponsored a television broadcast.

John MacArthur and Dr. Jack
John MacArthur and Dr. Jack
Over his long and distinguished career, Dr. Jack was a pastor, conference speaker, author, and church planter. He founded Calvary Bible Church, Burbank, CA—still a thriving congregation. In the 1940s, Dr. Jack served as an Extension speaker for the Moody Bible Institute. Later, while pastoring in Southern California, he and Dr. Edwin Orr founded an outreach ministry to people in the film and television industry.

Best-known as a biblical expositor, Dr. Jack influenced many other preachers (not the least of whom is his own eminent son) to preach the Word faithfully, helping to stem the tide in an era when evangelical preaching was becoming more and more gimmicky and less and less Bible-centered. John MacArthur has often recounted how when he told his father he sensed a call to the ministry, Dr. Jack gave him a Bible inscribed with Paul's instructions to Timothy: "Preach the word" (2 Timothy 4:2). Dr. Jack's faithful advocacy of biblical preaching may well prove to be the most important and far-reaching legacy of a very full and fruitful ministry.

Jack MacArthur was an inveterate reader with a broad range of interests. He had a particular concern for apologetics, and his preaching and writing were often peppered with facts and illustrations designed to demonstrate the trustworthiness of God's Word. One of his books was titled How to Stay Away from the Psychiatrist. It was a practical study of how biblical principles apply to the problems of life.

Dr. Jack earned a degree in theology from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—and a D. Lit from Pacific College (now Azusa Pacific University). He also received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Bob Jones University.

His wife, Irene, went to be with the Lord five years ago. They were the parents of three daughters and a son; with seventeen grandchildren. At his death, Dr. Jack had twenty-two great grandchildren.

"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord . . . that they may rest from their labours" (Revelation 14:13).


Tony Byrne said...

NKJ Psalm 1:3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.

David said...

I first became aware of Jack MacArthur a few years ago when I was shopping Barne’s & Noble Used & Out of Print books. When I stumbled across Adventuring in the Next World by John F. MacArthur, first edition 1967, signed by author, I thought, “What could he have written in 1967? He’s not that old!” Of course, I bought it.

When I got the book, sure enough, there was a picture on the dust jacket that looked like John MacArthur – yet didn’t.

Shortly after that, I found The Voice of Calvary on the internet and have listened to Jack many times since. He was an excellent Bible teacher.

Tom Pilarski said...

While my wife and I attended Grace Community, I was blessed by being able to attend mens meetings that came out of our young marrieds fellowship group. On several occassions we had John MacArthur come and talk to us. One I will always remember was on being a Godly father. John told us many stories about being little Johnny and the influence his dad had on his life. I left that meeting in particular thanking God for Jack MacArthur, for he touched my life and God used his character and integrity through his son John to make me a better father and husband. How geat is a true servant of teh Lord. I can't wait to meet him in heaven.

blepein said...

I had a subscription to tapes of the Sunday and evening sermons at Grace Church. In 1981 Dr. Jack MacArthur preached on the Footsteps of the Messiah in the Old Testament. That sermon blessed me so much that I memorized large portions of the sermon. He ended his sermon by reciting all the books of the bible in order from memory giving the type or picture of Christ from each book. I have used that in my teaching and preaching at various times over the last 24 years. Dr.Jack has meant so much to me through that sermon and because of his influence on his famous son and the lives he changed over 70 years of ministry,his life still speaks to us today and will forever because he was faithful to our Lord.