March 30, 1914 - June 15, 2005
My Dad, Dr. John "Jack" MacArthur, was born March 30, 1914, in Calgary, Alberta, to Harry and Olivia Fullerton MacArthur. His mother's father was a Presbyterian minister on Prince Edward Island, and his father, who dedicated his life to Christ as an adult, served as a pastor and an example for his young son.
For Dad, a boyhood desire to experience his father's faith grew into a lifelong devotion to preach God's Word. After graduating from public schools in California and from Los Angeles City College, he studied at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he received a theological degree. He would later receive a doctorate of literature degree from Pacific College, now Azusa Pacific University, and an honorary doctorate of divinity from Bob Jones University.
On June 25. 1937, Dad married Irene Dockendorf in Los Angeles, and after finishing seminary, he accepted the pastorate at Manchester Baptist Church in Los Angeles. He left that church to travel as an evangelist, preaching at many city and union campaigns throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. He served on the Extension Staff of Moody Bible institute and later became the director of Charles E. Fuller Evangelistic Foundation. During this time, his growing family lived in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Chicago.
Dad's time spent at Eagle Rock Baptist Church near Los Angeles in the early 1940's was momentous as the Voice of Calvary took to the airwaves in 1942 with the encouragement of the church's board.
My grandfather took over the church's pastorate in 1943 as Dad moved to Fountain Avenue Baptist Church in Hollywood, California. At Fountain Avenue, Dad helped establish the Holly wood Christian group, an outreach to people in the film and television industries. He counted Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, who came to Christ under his preaching, as close personal friends.
From fountain Avenue, Dad moved to First Baptist Church in Downey, California. The church became the fastest growing in the denomination under his leadership. He then moved his sphere of influence to Glendale, California, planting Harry MacArthur Memorial Bible Church in memory of his father. The church was later renamed Calvary Bible Church after moving to Burbank. Dad's tenure lasted 15 years, during which I became associate pastor.
In 1969, as I took the pastorate at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California where I remain today, Dad moved north to First Baptist Church in Eugene, Oregon. He served as pastor until 1977 when he took a position at Des Plaines Bible Church in Illinois. He also served as a pastor in Solvang, California, and Langley, British Columbia. He returned to Eugene in 1991, accepting many opportunities to preach and teach.
Through the years as he presented God's Word, Dad's emphasis was on biblical exposition and apologetics. As he taught, he revealed his love of literature. His personal library consisted of more than 3,000 books, several of which he authored, including, Alpha and Omega, How to Stay Away From the Psychiatrist, Exploring the Next World and So You Have Trouble?
In addition, Voice of Calvary published a series of books on the various themes and subjects presented on the program. He produced expositional commentaries on Matthew and Acts.
When Dad stood before a podium to speak, a three ring binder was placed next to his Bible. Each of his messages was typed out and placed in that notebook for easy delivery. As he taught, he quoted numerous sources, showing his love for reading and his knowledge of well-known and not-so-well-known news items.
In addition to reading, Dad enjoyed playing golf and spending time with his family. He and Mom had four children: myself, Jeanette DeAngelis, Julie Noll, and Jane Chase, and their spouses, who blessed them with 17 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren. Julie died in 1997 of cancer, and Mom met her Savior on January 14, 1999. The family misses them greatly.
Dad never retired from his work of presenting the Gospel to listeners, though he did slow down a bit. He began to attract a new generation of listeners eager to fall in love with the Scripture. He taught a Sunday school class at First Baptist Church in Eugene that was originally designed for senior citizens but drew many others, including college students, seeking to better understand the Bible.
Dad concluded his teaching in January 2005, two months shy of his 91st birthday, though his messages continued to air on his Voice of Calvary radio program. About 5 p.m. on June 15, God called His faithful servant home, and Dad met his Lord Jesus face-to-face. His life was celebrated at a memorial service on June 28, 2005.
All the family and those who serve at Voice of Calvary would like to thank those who contributed to the memorial fund for the Master's Seminary, where Dad participated since its beginning in 1986. He was passionate and concerned for future generations who would depend on the ministry of faithful men of God, who were trained to exposit Scripture and defend the faith with conviction and clarity.
There already exists a memorial section of the seminary library dedicated to my mother, Irene, which was Dad's desire for gifts sent in her memory. Now, in his memory, that section will bear both their names, and the funds will be used completely for the training of the next generation of preachers and missionaries who will follow in Dad's footsteps.
I thank God for gracing my life with a father who loved his Lord, his wife and children, and set for me a pattern of faithfulness to the truth, written and INcarnate - to the end. Until he went to heaven his life was a model of integrity.
I miss him greatly, as does my wife, Patricia, and our four children: Matthew Mark, Marcy and Melinda, along with their spouses and children. But we will all meet soon in our Lord's presence, never to be separated.
Thank you for making his ministry such a joy to him and thus to us.
II Corinthians 4:5-7