An Interesting Fact About the King Assassination

13 Jul

“Like anybody I would like to live . . . a long life.  Longevity has its place.  But I’m not concerned about that now.  I just want to do God’s will.  And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain.  And I’ve seen the promised land.  I may not get there with you.  But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land!  So I’m happy tonight.  I’m not worried about anything.  I’m not fearing any man!  My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!”

These words were spoken by Martin Luther King, Jr. the night before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.  The assassination was one of many tragic events in a tumultuous year, 1968.  The iconic image of King’s associates on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, pointing toward where the shots came, with King lying at their feet, is immediately recognizable to many Americans.

What I never knew was that a future evangelical leader arrived on the scene in Memphis that night.  Driving up from Mississippi where he had been working in a serious of revival meetings with black evangelical leader John Perkins, John MacArthur came with a group of friends to the Lorraine Motel on the evening of April 4, 1968.  As related in Iain Murray’s new biography of MacArthur, the man who has been Pastor at Grace Community Church in California for the last 41 years, was in 1968 in a series of evangelistic meetings with Perkins.  When Perkins and his associates heard of King’s slaying, MacArthur joined them on the trip to Memphis.  Perkins and his friends were careful to protect MacArthur, a white man, from potential threats from the outrage over King’s death.

When they arrived late on the evening of the 4th, they found the Lorraine Motel unguarded.  Amazingly, by today’s standards, there was no police guard, no crime scene tape.  The men went right up to the balcony where they saw the blood stains where King had fallen.  MacArthur even says he went across the street to the boarding house from which James Earl Ray had fired the shots.  John MacArthur, future evangelical leader, stood where Ray had stood on April 4, 1968 and looked out to the balcony where one of the pivotal moments in American history took place.

I never knew about MacArthur’s involvement with John Perkins but I was not surprised.  When we read the Scriptures honestly it is clear that the scourge of racism is unthinkable and if there is anything MacArthur is known for it is the honest reading of Scripture.  So MacArthur followed his biblical convictions, as he so consistently has throughout his ministry, in spite of what others think or do.

One Response to “An Interesting Fact About the King Assassination”

  1. R Johnson December 8, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    In 1999, a jury in Memphis, Tenn. found the government guilty of conspiring to kill MLK. They proved that James Earl Ray did not shoot Dr. King and that the shot that killed him did not come from the rooming house bathroom. My question to you is this: Given that no shot was ever fired from this bathroom, how did John Macarthur, who arrived on the scene in Memphis late on the night of MLK’s assassination know to go to this bathroom? And why was he allowed to enter this bathroom? Please address these questions since you are supposedly a Christian blogger.

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