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MacArthur Appointed : Baptist College Gets New President, Name

April 09, 1985|JOHN DART | Times Religion Writer

The board of directors of Los Angeles Baptist College has appointed as president John F. MacArthur Jr., a nationally known fundamentalist pastor whose Sun Valley church attracts more than 10,000 persons weekly.

The liberal arts college, which moved to Newhall in 1961 from the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles, will also assume a new name, Master's College, after graduation exercises on May 11.

The outgoing president, John R. Dunkin, said Monday that the name change was designed to allay the misleading impression that the college is still situated in the city of Los Angeles and that it is a school primarily for Baptists.

To Remain Pastor

About one-third of the college's 300-member student body come from churches of its longtime sponsoring body, the General Assn. of Regular Baptist Churches, Dunkin said. The remaining students come from other Baptist and community churches.

MacArthur, who will take over on May 12, will remain the senior pastor at Grace Community Church on Roscoe Boulevard. Dunkin said MacArthur will work through two vice presidents at the college, Robert Provost and John Stead.

MacArthur has been among the leading fundamentalist ministers insistent on the preaching and teaching of an "inerrant" Bible, devoid of mistakes or untrue statements, within conservative Protestant circles.

Radio Minister

His program "Grace to You" is broadcast on 180 radio stations. He has also written many inspirational books and a commentary on the New Testament.

Just as MacArthur's own congregation is nondenominational, the new Master's College will seek to emphasize its appeal to a broader constituency. "But it will have the exact same theological constituency as before," said Dunkin, who will become chancellor at the 49-acre campus.

Dunkin, who will turn 65 tomorrow, resigns as president after 26 years.

MacArthur has been a part-time Bible lecturer at the college and has been a frequent chapel speaker. He could not be reached for comment Monday.

Malpractice Suit

MacArthur and three other church officials at Grace Community Church have been named as defendants in what is believed to be the nation's first clergy malpractice suit. Jury selection is scheduled to begin April 22 in Burbank Superior Court.

The lawsuit was brought by the parents of a young Tujunga man, Kenneth Nally, who committed suicide in 1979 after receiving spiritual counseling. The parents contend that MacArthur knew the man had suicidal tendencies but intensified his guilt and anxiety through inept counseling and by discouraging him from seeking psychiatric help.

Church officials have denied the allegations and have said they recognized the man was suicidal and encouraged his family to have him involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital, but that the family resisted.

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