Despite Ruslan KD taking a few shots at us in a recent video he did with Julie Roys outlining the John MacArthur saga, we have no ill will towards him, and in fact have featured him before. What we did want to focus on, however, are several claims made by both parties showing the careless way they handle facts and truth.
The first claim came from Ruslan, who said, “she was the first journalist to cover Ravi Zacharias” to which Roys responds:
“I was the first journalist to break it. I mean, there were some bloggers out there, you know, writing about it for years. I think it was in August or September, I broke the story of 2020. And then within like a month of that, then CT broke the story of the spa allegations and then World Magazine, but yeah, I was the first to break that, especially the part about Lori-Ann Thompson.
We have been pursuing justice and rattling this cage before this was a blip on their radar, as Pulpit & Pen, and then later as Protestia. We’ve been on Ravi Zacharias’ case for three years now – in 2018, and then in many more articles to follow we published his emails showing that he threatened to kill himself if Lori Anne Thompson told her husband about their interactions, which Ravi claimed were innocent and pure as the driven snow.
Heck, we mentioned the sex scandals in his obituary months before this all came out. But even we didn’t get the information out of nowhere. The whole push to expose Ravi was led by Steve Baughman of RaviWatch, who for years was instrumental in any and all movement on this.
But we were the first news organization to break the story of the abuse of the Spa workers – with information passed on by Steve – which kick-started the story back on September 9th, nearly 3 weeks before Christianity Today or anyone else did their piece and gave it national attention.
We likewise wrote about Zacharias multiple times in 2019, and 2020, asking why no one else was covering this. We wrote the following three years ago:
What’s of more significance is that few Christian publications have written about the adultery of one of the most – if not the most – prominent Christian apologists in the world. When the Christian Press has covered the topic, they have done so only in the most shallow of ways, mostly refusing to publish the evidence and allowing Zacharias or his ministry to dismiss the concerns without any moderately tough questions asked.
As far as we can tell, Roys first wrote about Zacharias on September 14, 2020, when she launched three-part investigation into the same claims we covered years before.
But days before she launched her investigation into the 2017 incident and “broke” the story by providing clarity on claims postulated by Ravi and platformed by Christianity Today, we had already written about the new spa allegations multiple times, reaching out and receiving comments from Ruth Malhorta where she claimed the claims would be virtually impossible to investigate.
In fact, we have written more about the Ravi Zacharias scandal than any other news organization.
If Roys or Ruslan can show where she wrote about it sooner than that, we’d love to know. Otherwise, Ruslan is wrong that she was the first journalist to cover Ravi, and Roys is wrong that she’s the first journalist to break the story and that CT was the first to break the spa allegations.
We imagine she might defend these claims by pointing to her title as the first “journalist” to cover these stories, rather than “the bloggers” who she swiftly dismisses, but we’ll put up our creds against hers any day.
Protestia/Pulpit & Pen is more widely read, gets far more traffic, and our news stories have been featured in more big-name secular sources (Fox News, BBC, MSN, CNN, NYT, Washington Post to name a few) than hers have. It’s not even close. We publish stories with millions of views, and have done our fair share of investigative work and story breaking – all the while having channels and pages deleted, and our sites being targets for crippling throttling of page views and visibility from social media giants, given all the strikes we’ve gotten for daring to discuss LGBTQ issues.
If she says she wasn’t aware of the work we did, then cool, she can clarify at her earliest convenience.
Another key point from Ruslan’s video is the narrative that John MacArthur and the elders at GCC encouraged Eileen to submit to abuse. Not to David even though he confessed to having bouts of being abusive, but to the abuse itself. This is what Roys herself tells Ruslan:
“And I think the real key piece of evidence there, is that we have this declaration by Pastor Alvin Barber. So he was the pastor who married Eileen and David Gray. And she was recording those counseling sessions… with Carey Hardy who was the personal assistant to John MacArthur, who was an assistant pastor at Grace Community Church. So she recorded these counseling sessions, she sent them to pastor Barber to listen to.
We have sworn testimony from Pastor Barber saying that in those counseling sessions, Carey Hardy was encouraging Eileen to submit to her husband, and even his abuse. Even the abuse she was supposed to submit to. So that’s sworn testimony from a third party who heard the counseling tapes that Carey Hardy had recorded.
But this is not true. First of all, Barber didn’t listen to all the tapes, as Roys claims, but rather only ONE tape, as he explains in his affidavit.
Second of all, Barber does not say that he heard her being counseled to submit TO the abuse, as Roys twice alleges, but that she was to submit to him, even in spite of his prior abuse.
For better or worse (and to what degree he was still an abuser), Grace Community Church elders believed David was fully repentant, and there is no evidence she was counseled to stay with him while he reigned down blows, submitting to his fists and “submitting” to his abuse.
But again, the purpose of this post is not to defend MacArthur, but rather to point out the ways in which Roys is playing fast and loose with the facts. What we have frequently noted about Roys is that she has good facts, but a bad narrative.
She is good at sourcing primary documents, but bad at interpreting what they mean. If this Barber affidavit is her key piece of evidence (that Eileen was being counseled to submit to the abuse), and that MacArthur was in some way to blame, we don’t think she has much to support those claims. For all her claims of her being an elite investigative journalist, she really ought to be less careless.
h/t to Bible Thumping Wingnut for pointing out that latter part.