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Our Side Of The Story
The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18:17)
Some documentation is given below, but much of the information herein cannot be substantiated except by personal testimony of those involved. Nonetheless, this is written for those who would like to know,
Our Side Of The Story
[You may also want to read, "Who Is Darwin Fish?"]
At the end of 1992, Darwin was asked by his sister's family to come and teach them the Word of God in their home, because they were having a hard time finding a local church that was faithful to the Word of God. Darwin spoke to Dr. John MacArthur about this, and MacArthur encouraged Darwin to go ahead and do so. As a result of this, Darwin soon began teaching every Sunday morning in his sister's home, thus no longer attending Grace Community Church.
In September of 1993 Darwin bought a "Discernment Notebook" from Biblical Discernment Ministries (BDM, Rick Miesel's ministry). In this notebook was a report on Dr. John MacArthur with documentation of mostly psychological duplicity, hypocrisy, and error. Having gone to Grace Community Church for approximately thirteen years, since 1980, and seeing and hearing little to no criticism of MacArthur's teaching the entire time, Darwin found this report both interesting and distressing. It was distressing, because Darwin viewed MacArthur as a faithful man of God, who certainly would in no way want to dishonor Christ. Darwin read this report, but did nothing with it for several weeks.
In November of 1993, Darwin began taking a closer look at Miesel's report. As a result, Darwin wrote a letter to MacArthur asking him about one accusation concerning his lack of involvement with the underground church in Russia. MacArthur wrote back denying the accusation. Darwin checked with Rick Miesel regarding this accusation and no evidence could be produced.
At this same time, Darwin had exposed Christmas for what it is, an ungodly pagan holiday, and sent his findings (study) to MacArthur for review. MacArthur wrote back stating he did not have time to review his material, but sent a copy of his book, The Miracle Of Christmas. In MacArthur's letter, MacArthur wrote back saying, "I pray that the Lord will richly reward your ministry to Him." (letter on file, dated 11-15-93).
In December of 1993, Darwin, being on Grace Community Church's mailing list, received a letter from MacArthur concerning his new and upcoming "Biblical Counseling" ministry. In this letter MacArthur made a plea for people's money. As a result, Darwin wrote MacArthur (see letter) in "all due respect" rebuking him (Proverbs 27:5-6) for both his foolish "Biblical Counseling" endeavors, and for his plea for people's money. Darwin received no response.
With a growing concern about exactly where MacArthur stood, Darwin went to MacArthur one Sunday evening after the evening service and asked MacArthur why he did not expose (Ephesians 5:11) Dr. James Dobson as a false teacher, thus warning the flock (John 10:11-13). MacArthur stated something to the effect that he did not get into name-calling. He grew up with that. And his job was to teach the Word of God with the result that people will be able to discern such things on their own. Darwin explained to MacArthur that James Dobson propagates the false gospel (Galatians 1:8-9) of self-esteem and he needs to be exposed. MacArthur rebutted that he did not know if Dobson still taught that. Darwin assured MacArthur that Dobson did still indeed teach his false gospel of self-esteem, and that Dobson is a false teacher who needs to be exposed. MacArthur thanked Darwin for his exhortation.
During this time period, Darwin was in the process of examining MacArthur's teaching. Besides consulting the books he owned (several volumes), Darwin also went to The Master's College library and checked out a stack of MacArthur's books about 18 inches high. Normally, they would not allow so many volumes to be lent out all at one time, but in this case, for some reason, they made an exception. Darwin scoured through the material, and found several issues against the Word of God, and destructive (2 Peter 2:1 "destructive heresies").
By the middle of February of 1994, Darwin was convinced there were serious problems with MacArthur's teaching. He compiled a study exposing some of MacArthur's psychological hypocrisy found in MacArthur's book Our Sufficiency In Christ. This study also included some of Wayne Mack's deceit found in Preparing for Marriage God's Way. But, before Darwin taught this message, he talked to Jerry Wragg, MacArthur's "right hand man" at the time.
Al Soto, who attended Grace Community Church prior to attending the fellowship in which Darwin was teaching, had scheduled a meeting with Jerry Wragg in order to discuss his concern over the "Biblical Counseling" ministry. Darwin went with Al to this meeting and addressed some of MacArthur's teaching found in Our Sufficiency In Christ, and in Wayne Mack's Preparing for Marriage God's Way. Mr. Wragg answered virtually nothing in refuting or showing them that MacArthur or Mack were teaching the Word of God on the matters addressed. He said he would talk to MacArthur and Mack and get back to them.
With all the above in view, and having experienced in the past the extreme slowness in which things may be done at Grace Community Church, Darwin did not wait for Wragg's reply. After that meeting with Wragg, on the very same day, that evening (2-17-94), Darwin exposed MacArthur's false teaching and Wayne Mack's. The following weekend Darwin exposed MacArthur as a false teacher, giving further documentation of his error. In addition, on the following Thursday Darwin exposed even further MacArthur's false doctrine.
Soon after this, Darwin went to Grace Community Church one evening and after the service, handed MacArthur the three taped messages exposing his false teaching. Darwin pleaded with MacArthur to get back to him, foolishly hoping MacArthur might repent of his false teaching. MacArthur explained that he was a busy man, but finally succumbed and promised to get back to him, which he never personally did. Also, MacArthur said something to the effect that he was more concerned about Darwin having problems, than he was about himself.
Immediately after Darwin's conversation with MacArthur, Darwin, being sullen and sad because he was distressed over MacArthur, ran into a friend who asked him what was wrong. He told her that he was grieved because he now believes MacArthur is a false teacher. She asked him why. He explained why. Darwin did not speak to any other person at Grace Community Church that evening.
During this same time, Darwin mailed his three taped messages on MacArthur as a word of warning to several people who went to Grace Community Church. This mailing was both to friends, acquaintances, and other people who either attended or were in some way linked to Grace Community.
Not long after Darwin gave MacArthur the three tapes, a meeting was scheduled at The Master's College, at which, Darwin thought, they would address the doctrinal issues raised on the three tapes on MacArthur. When Darwin arrived with two friends (Joe Howson and Al Soto), Jerry Wragg told Darwin his two friends could not attend the meeting. It was either Darwin alone, or no meeting, according to Mr. Wragg. Darwin foolishly gave in to this wickedness (darkness, 1 John 1:6), and entered the meeting alone. By the way, all of this was not a private matter (like Matthew 18:15, note the KJV or NKJV translation). This was all public, and Darwin wanted it to continue to be public.
At the meeting, Darwin encountered Phil Johnson (for the first time), Lance Quinn, and Jerry Wragg. Darwin listened to them rail on him for approximately thirty to forty-five minutes about how wicked and evil he was for publicly exposing MacArthur's public teaching. They argued that he had taken a vow of membership to support the leadership of Grace Community Church. The problem was, in part, that they believed "supporting" was keeping a lid on any criticism one might have on the leadership's public teaching, at least until you first confront them privately. This, of course, is contrary to 1 Timothy 5:19-20 ("rebuke in the presence of all") and Jude 3 that says to "earnestly contend for the faith."
One verse they used against Darwin was Proverbs 16:27 which says,
An ungodly man digs up evil, and it is on his lips like a burning fire.
What Phil Johnson (and the rest) did not acknowledge at the time, and still do not, is that in their use of this verse they actually call some of MacArthur's teaching "evil" (and it is!). But, their use of this verse is erroneous. MacArthur's teaching, particularly what Darwin had exposed, was not buried. No documented repentance or forsaking on MacArthur's part had taken place. It was still out there, in print, on tape, and on the radio. It was still being promoted and was in no way underground. Proverbs 16:27 addresses those who slander and find fault against people based on buried issues of the past, not present wickedness. The verse that Darwin was following is found in Ephesians 5:11,
Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
In this meeting with Johnson, Wragg, and Quinn, their key verse was Titus 3:9-11 which says,
But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned. (NKJV)
They argued that the doctrinal issues that Darwin addressed were "foolish disputes" (2 Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:9). Although they never once showed Darwin how or in what way they were "foolish," because they refused to do so, they nonetheless argued that they were so. Left to find out on his own how they were "foolish," Darwin was unresponsive to this argument. [Foolish? See our report on MacArthur.]
Actually, they claimed they would address the doctrinal issues only after Darwin admitted his own error. This, of course, made any hope of progress impossible, since the only way Darwin could be convinced he was in error would be to show him he was in error on the doctrinal issues he raised.
Furthermore, they argued that Darwin was "factious" (NAS, Titus 3:10) or a "divisive man," because Darwin had freely discussed and distributed criticism against MacArthur without their consent; and that such criticism incited "divisions" or "factions" within their church. Darwin was unresponsive to this argument also, because: 1) No division or faction had occurred within the church because of Darwin's material. 2) Even if a division or faction had occurred, Jesus himself caused divisions, or factions (John 7:24; 9:16; 10:19, Matthew 10:34, Luke 12:49). Division, in and of itself, is not factious or sin. If there is an actual division, the one to be blamed is the one "contrary" to true doctrine (Romans 16:17). If what Darwin was saying was true (i.e. MacArthur had taught falsely), then Darwin was not to be found "factious" for exposing MacArthur's lies. Besides, the Greek word used in Titus 3:10 for a "divisive man" (or factious man) is αιρετικον (haietikon) which has to do with being a heretic (Titus 3:10, KJV), one who speaks falsely. A man can not be rightly blamed for speaking the truth.
Moreover, according to Johnson's, Quinn's, and Wragg's scheme, no one could ever contend (fight, Jude 3) for the faith publicly, otherwise they would soon be found "factious" for doing so, as happened to Darwin. This was, and is, their folly, and is exemplified by the fact that they ignored the doctrinal issues.
MacArthur's hypocrisy is blaring at this point. In his book, Reckless Faith (copyrighted the same year this all came to pass, 1994), on page 21 MacArthur writes,
Anyone today who is bold enough to suggest that someone else's ideas or doctrines are unsound or unbiblical is dismissed at once as contentious, divisive, unloving, or unchristian.
That's exactly what they did to Darwin. MacArthur, through his fellow hypocrites, "dismissed" Darwin as "divisive" without dealing with the doctrinal issues.
Titus 3:9-11, when properly applied, rejects a "divisive" man (KJV "heretic" αιρετικον) only after "a first and second admonition." And what should be included in these first and second admonitions? Biblical rebuke that his "disputes" are "foolish"! It should be proven that his disputes are either contrary to the word of God, or are over issues the Scriptures do not address, or over issues of "genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law," which are not to be contended over. To contend over what the Bible teaches (Matthew 4:4; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5) is a virtue (Jude 3), not a sin!
At the end of this infamous meeting, Darwin begged them to show him how he could be wrong (in sin) if what he was saying was true (i.e. MacArthur really had taught falsely against the Word of God). They completely refused to answer his request.
After this meeting which Al Soto was not allowed to attend, Al (and his family) requested a meeting with Jerry Wragg to discuss why they considered Darwin "factious" and also to ask about the doctrinal issues Darwin had raised. In this meeting with Jerry Wragg and Phil Johnson, which Al taped, even though Al Soto had not been labeled a "factious man," they still refused to discuss the doctrinal issues with Al. They argued he first needed to agree with them that Darwin was a "factious man" before they would address any of the doctrinal issues.
Not long after the meeting Darwin had with Phil Johnson, Jerry Wragg, and Lance Quinn, Darwin called Grace Community Church and asked that his name be removed from the "membership." He did not do so earlier for two reasons. One, because he wanted to remain on the mailing list and still receive information from the church. And two, because he was never told, prior to this meeting, that even such a thing was ever done (that is, being removed from the "membership" after a person leaves the church and is worshipping elsewhere). In fact, the membership agreement that Darwin and his wife signed said nothing about discontinuing their membership after they leave the church. It simply stated,
I moreover engage that when I move from this congregation, within one year I will involve myself with some local church where I can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of the Word of God. (agreement on file).
Just a few days after Darwin's meeting with Wragg, Johnson, and Quinn, Darwin was still unwilling to repent from rejecting MacArthur's false teaching and believing the Bible. As a result, Darwin was "excommunicated" from Grace Community Church and announced, by MacArthur himself, to be a "factious man" (i.e. evil) before a congregation of about 3000 people. Despite the fact that Darwin had canceled his membership and had not been attending Grace Community for approximately one year, the leadership at Grace used his "membership" against him.
Phil Johnson has argued that Darwin broke a vow that he made to the leadership of the church. Darwin never broke any vow. To his shame, really, Darwin loved John MacArthur to the very end (Proverbs 27:5-6) attempting to correct him for his error. But, instead of loving correction (Proverbs 12:1), MacArthur turned and tore him in pieces with Johnson's help, just as Jesus said they would do (Matthew 7:6). As a result of these things, Phil Johnson maintains a website against Darwin.
Because our former website was godswordfellowship.org, Johnson mimicked our website by setting up a site called godswordfellowship.com. This old site of Johnson's is now blocked from being viewed at archive.org. We can only wonder why it is blocked. We do know there were statements on his old site that we exposed as false and he changed them in response to our exposure. These can be viewed on our old site at archive.org. Nevertheless, after we changed our website to atruechurch.info, Johnson changed his site to atruecult.info and then later to atruecult.com.
Phil Johnson, no doubt, has an invested interest in defending MacArthur and making Darwin look bad. He is a hireling for MacArthur's ministry "Grace To You." As an example of his income from that ministry, we have a copy of the 2006 IRS Form 990. On page 5 it shows Johnson made $194,430 that year and received $28,361 worth of benefits. Click here to download a copy of that 2006 IRS Form 990.
Through the years, on occasion, in love and concern for those being lead astray, Darwin has gone back to Grace Community Church and preached on the public sidewalk to the people attending the church warning them of their impending doom if they continue their involvement in that false church (Proverbs 17:4; Matthew 7:13-14; John 10:5). Hatred and hostility towards Darwin was manifest during some of these events (e.g. lying and claiming we could not be on the public side walks in front of the church). On one such occasion, it really got bad.
In 1998, a plain-clothed police officer who attended the church deemed it necessary to man-handle Darwin's wife (for supposedly trespassing) while she was pregnant, had a baby on her hip, and, at the point of apprehension, had two or three small children at her side. Even though he was about twice her size, he apparently felt it necessary to twist her arm and wrist to the point that she had serious pain in her wrist for about a week afterward. They also forced her to a back room, threatened harm towards the children (to take them away) so severely it brought her to tears, and promised her release if she promised them Darwin would not come back and preach to the people ever again.
All she was trying to do was to take the children to the bathroom (which she had previously done about an hour or two earlier), and she had not been told she could not go onto the church property (the bathrooms are only a few yards from the public street sidewalk). She was not involved with the preaching ("protesting"). She was not kicked out of the church like Darwin was. Nonetheless, the church folk knew she was Darwin's wife, so they got her and hurt her. Instead of loving their enemies as Christ commanded (Luke 6:35; Romans 12:19-21), they hated and were brutal, just as Paul predicted (2 Timothy 3:3).
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