Civil Rights icon Charles Evers – brother of murdered Civil Rights activist, Medgar Evers – is hoping to set the record straight, requesting that radio Bible teacher, best-selling author, seminary president, and mega-church pastor John MacArthur stop “lying” about being with Charles Evers on the night that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
Testimony from Charles Evers and fellow Civil Rights icon, John Perkins – in concert with official reports from the Memphis police, the FBI, and the Congressional investigation into Dr. King’s assassination – are incongruent with Pastor MacArthur’s statements of the events of April 4, 1968, when Dr. King was shot.
Revising black history
In August 2018, shortly before the release of his widely-discussed “Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel,” Pastor MacArthur published a blog article entitled “Social Injustice and the Gospel” in which he described his alleged experience on the night Dr. King was murdered :
I was again ministering in Mississippi with John Perkins and a group of black church leaders in April 1968 when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis. One of the men leading our group was Charles Evers, head of the Mississippi NAACP. (His brother Medgar had been killed in 1963 by the KKK.) When news of Dr. King’s murder broke, we drove to Memphis—and literally within hours after Dr. King was assassinated, we were at the Lorraine Motel, standing on the balcony where he was shot. We were also shown the place where James Earl Ray stood on a toilet to fire the fatal shot.
On at least four other occasions, Pastor MacArthur has either alluded to or directly claimed to have learned of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination while in the company of John Perkins and Charles Evers, and to have traveled to Memphis with those men on that tragic night.
- At the 2007, Desiring God Conference 
I was down in the South, in the office of Charles Evers–the brother of Medgar Evers–when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated… I was in Jackson, Mississippi with some leaders and they actually put me in a car and took me to Memphis into the building where James Earl Ray shot him. I climbed up on the toilet to look through the window where he held the gun.
- 2009, A Retrospective on 40 Years: John MacArthur with Rick Holland 
Well it was during those times that I was there and I will never forget, I can’t tell you the whole story, but I’ll never forget one night, I was in the middle of Jackson, Mississippi in the office of a man named Charles Evers. Charles Evers had a brother named Medgar Evers. Medgar Evers was the first martyr of the Civil Rights Movement. He was the first person killed. Charles became the first black mayor…the first black mayor in the south at Fayetteville, Mississippi. He was a friend of John’s [John Perkins], and I had come to know him. And we were sitting there and he was trying to explain to me that night in Jackson what was going on. Now remember, I was a very young guy, I had become immersed in that culture, grew to love those people. And Charles was talking and a man burst through the door and said, “Martin Luther King has been assassinated.” That happened that night while I was with Charles and John and some others.
The immediate issue was that there were serious things going on in the street in Jackson and they were trying to get me out of there because I was as pale as a ghost. And here we were worried what might happen to me. And so they escorted me. And then they said, “You know, we’re going to go to Jackson. We want to…we want to go…we’re going to Memphis, we want to see what happened.”
So they took me. And in those days the police weren’t nearly as protective, forensics hadn’t developed to what they had and they didn’t necessarily protect crime scenes. So we went to the motel, up to the landing, saw the blood where Martin Luther King had been shot just hours before by James Earl Ray. I actually went to the little building opposite the motel, went up on the second flood [sic], stood up on the toilet and looked out the window where James Earl Ray had shot him. And I was there at that very, very, very crucial time.
- 2014, Bible Questions and Answers, Part 62 
I happened to be in Jackson with all the black leaders when Martin Luther King was assassinated. I was in the room with all of them. I was the only white guy, but I was there preaching in all the black schools everywhere and living in John and Vera’s house with their family. It was so interesting because John reminded me at the table of something I’d forgotten. He said, “When Martin Luther King was killed, we had to go preach the next two days. We had to go preach in black high schools.” He said, “While the world was trying to figure out what was happening, the black kids were weeping. Every high school we went to,” he said, “the black kids were weeping because of the death of Martin Luther King.”
- 2017, Bible Questions and Answer, Part 66 
When I was down in Mississippi years ago, I was arrested by those kinds of people for preaching the gospel in Black high schools, and I was put in jail, and they took all my money away. I know that. I was with Black leaders in Jackson, Mississippi when Charles Evers, Medgar Evers brother – Charles was the first Black mayor in the South, Charles. His brother Medgar was the first martyr of the Civil Right Movement, he was killed. I was in the room when Martin Luther King was assassinated with those Black leaders. We went to Memphis, and I stood on the blood spots on that motel with those men. And I stood in the little bathroom on top of the toilet where James Earl Ray shot him out the window. Those men were my friends. That was my community. I couldn’t buy groceries in that town when I got back in Mendenhall, Mississippi. I couldn’t eat in a restaurant.
These remarkably detailed accounts are irreconcilable with the testimonies of Charles Evers and John Perkins.
“Stop telling that lie!”
In researching this article, I spoke with Mr. Evers by phone, and he summarized his relationship with John MacArthur in four words: “He don’t know me.” One of my research partners also interviewed Evers, the full recording of which is provided below.
A few poignant comments from the interview with Charles Evers, however, serve well to illuminate the drastic difference between Evers’s and MacArthur’s versions of what happened the night of King’s assassination.
To the question “Did he [Charles Evers] learn of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. while in his NAACP office and in the company of John MacArthur and John Perkins?” Evers responded:
I know that didn’t happen… I know when I heard about Martin I was headed to Natchez, in my car driving, and my secretary called me and told me that Dr. King had been shot. And I said, “What!” (interview at 1:54)
No, ain’t nobody with me—period—in no office. (3:47)
That’s a lie. That’s a lie. (5:22)
And did Evers travel to Memphis to visit the Lorraine Motel and the boarding house with John MacArthur and John Perkins?
He [John MacArthur] would be lying. Wasn’t nobody with me. (2:48)
I don’t know what he [John MacArthur] knows, but I know I wasn’t—that ain’t true about me… I don’t know the stuff he’s talking about. (4:50)
I did not go nowhere with John. (6:17)
In conclusion, Charles Evers firmly requested, regarding MacArthur (6:51):
“Tell him to stop telling that lie.”
Evers had previously published his own account of the night of King’s death in his 1997 book Have No Fear. There, Evers wrote, “On the evening of April 4, 1968, I was driving highway 28 to Natchez,” Mississippi when Dr. King was killed  .
John Perkins’ 2018 testimony
Was John Perkins with Charles Evers and John MacArthur in Evers’ NAACP office when, as MacArthur claims, “a man burst through the door and said, ‘Martin Luther King has been assassinated,’”?  Although Dr. Perkins (a long-time friend of John MacArthur’s father) declined to answer on the record when contacted, he had previously offered his heartfelt account of what transpired that fateful evening .
On an April 2018 United We Pray podcast, host Isaac Adams asked his guest, John Perkins, “What was it like when Martin Luther King was shot? What was happening? Who were you with? Describe that for me.” Dr. Perkins responded:
And so when I got in that evening, from [preaching the Gospel in] my rural school, I was getting called on the phone, but also at the same time, when I got there, some children and another lady in the community ran out to meet me. They saw me and they said, “I just heard it on the news that Martin Luther King was dead.” (podcast at 8:40)
This detailed response notably lacks any mention of John MacArthur, Charles Evers, or the NAACP office. Further, John Perkins’ recollection that he was informed of the death of King by a woman and children from the community, starkly contrasts with MacArthur’s narrative.
A Biographer’s Response
To help me make sense of the unambiguously differing accounts of MacArthur, Evers, and Perkins, I reached out to John MacArthur’s biographer in search of clarity.
In John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock, Iain Murray’s biography of John MacArthur, the author had referenced MacArthur’s accounts of April 4, 1968.
Below, I’ve quoted my email to Murray followed by his response.
My Email to Iain Murray
Mon 1/14/2019, 2:18 PM
Happy New Year,
My name is Paige Rogers and I write for a website in the United States called NOQ Report (NOQReport.com).
I am writing you today in regards to information published in the biographical book, “John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock,” by Iain H. Murray.
According to John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock, (2011):
“On the night of April 4  John was in Jackson, Mississippi, talking with a group that included John Perkins and Charles Evers, the black Mayor of Fayette, whose brother was regarded as the first martyr of the Civil Rights Movement… As they were discussing events a man burst into the room with the news ‘Martin Luther King has been assassinated.’”
However, in Charles Evers’ book, “Have No Fear,” Mr. Evers stated that he was in his vehicle, on his way to Natchez, Mississippi, when he learned that Martin Luther King had been killed.
I spoke with Mr. Evers on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, by phone. He denies knowing John MacArthur, and he denies being with John MacArthur when he learned that Dr. King had been assassinated.
Additionally, in a taped podcast interview with John Perkins in April of 2018, on the topic of King’s assassination, Perkins stated that he was informed of Martin Luther King’s murder by a group of children and a woman from his community after returning from preaching the Gospel in a rural Mississippi school.
Thus, several questions arise regarding the incongruity of these accounts.
Did Iain Murray verify the claims published in his book? If so, what corroborating evidence was found?
Was there a ghost writer involved, from which Mr. Murray received this information?
Is there any information which you can share, or a direction you can point me, so that I may verify that John MacArthur, John Perkins, and Charles Evers were together when Dr. King was killed? Any information that may assist in clearing up this current incongruity of facts is greatly appreciated.
Do you wish to ask any questions of me regarding the information presented in this email?
Do you wish to make a comment, for the record, regarding the information presented in this email?
Iain Murray’s Response
Wed 1/16/2019, 6:54 AM
Thank you for your letter to me via Banner Of Truth publisher’s. I had that information direct from John MacArthur in personal conversation. Sorry, that is all I know.
A forensic look at the forensics
Martin Luther King, Jr. was pronounced dead by doctors at 7:05 PM , and according to pastor John MacArthur, he arrived at the Lorraine Motel “literally within hours after Dr. King was assassinated,” . This followed a 210-mile drive to Memphis, Tennessee—a city in the midst of riots and under a mandated curfew—that he allegedly made with Charles Evers. Yet, also according to MacArthur, he and John Perkins “had to go preach the next two days. We had to go preach in black high schools” in Jackson, Mississippi .
According to MacArthur’s description, his was a comprehensive—arguably time-consuming—review of the key locations involved in the King shooting. Did MacArthur arrive late on the evening of April 4, 1968, tour the crime scene, and then return to Jackson in time to preach?
According to pastor John MacArthur, he “stood on the blood spots” on the balcony of the Lorraine motel, and, after being shown “where James Earl Ray stood on a toilet to fire the fatal shot,” MacArthur claims to have “stood in the little bathroom on top of the toilet”   .
Yet, police reports are clear that James Earl Ray did not fire the shot from the toilet, nor was he ever suspected of doing so.
According to the report by the Memphis Police Department, the fatal shot was fired from the bathtub in the boarding house, where shoe smears were found.
As shown in the images and diagram below, the balcony of the Lorraine Motel is not visible from the toilet. Only from the bathtub could one look to the right through the window and see the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. From the toilet, one can only look to the left.
Had John MacArthur actually stood on the toilet in the boarding house bathroom, he would have immediately noticed that he couldn’t see the balcony of the Lorraine Motel from that vantage point.
According to pastor John MacArthur, “in those days the police weren’t nearly as protective, forensics hadn’t developed . . . and they didn’t necessarily protect crime scenes” .
However, the official police report explains that, “According to the transcription from the police dispatcher’s radio log at 6:10, 10 minutes after the shooting, there were 135 police officers in the immediate area, and that the complete area had been sealed off” .
The MPD report casts serious doubt on pastor John MacArthur’s claim that the boarding house crime scene was not protected. On the night King was shot, investigators did not finish their initial processing until after 11:00 PM, at which time guards were stationed to protect the integrity of the boarding house crime scene overnight until investigators returned to resume their investigation .
(Note in the accompanying image that the report is so detailed as to even include the names of the police officers involved.)
Furthermore, as noted by the U. S. Congress’ Findings on MLK Assassination, the police sealed off an entire portion of the boarding house – even from the boarding house’s own residents .
According to pastor John MacArthur, there was little forensics work performed on the part of law enforcement authorities. Actual police and FBI records, however, indicate otherwise.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot at approximately 6:00 PM , and at 6:09 PM, homicide officers arrived on the scene . A stringent investigation ensued which the official report describes this way: “On the arrival of these officers the most intensive investigation in the history of the City of Memphis Police Department was begun” .
As both the Memphis Police Department’s 64-page report and the FBI’s report detail, investigators meticulously collected forensic evidence . For example:
Also at this time, various agents from the FBI office in Memphis, arrived on scene, and acted as observers, and advisors… Capt. Nick Carimi of the Memphis Police Department’s Bureau of Identification processed the bathroom for fingerprints before measurements were taken in the bathroom, and no measurements were taken anywhere, in the bathroom, or in the assailant’s room, until after it had been processed completely, and even though it had been processed the measurements were taken with care, so as not to disturb it, in case we needed to process it at a later time.
In April 2018, Mary Ellen Ford (visible among the street-level witnesses in the iconic photograph below), who was working at the Lorraine Motel when Dr. King was shot, was interviewed by TODAY’s Craig Melvin. Ford is identified as “Witness 43.”
According to the interview, “Ford stayed at the motel under lockdown for three days following King’s assassination as police investigated the scene” .
A three-day lockdown can hardly be construed as taking forensics lightly.
A closer look at Pastor John MacArthur
Who is Pastor John MacArthur? Why does it matter whether or not John MacArthur falsified a story about his involvement with key Civil Rights leaders at the time of Martin Luther King’s assassination?
Pastor John MacArthur has built his ministry empire on the faithfulness of his Biblical teaching and on his own personal integrity. Millions of people have come to honor and respect what they know of Pastor John MacArthur.
MacArthur pastors the California megachurch, Grace Community Church, and he is the founder of the wildly popular Grace to You media ministry. He is also among the framers of the widely-discussed evangelical “Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel,” a document compiled by evangelical leaders to clarify biblical principles in light of “questionable sociological, psychological, and political theories presently permeating our culture and making inroads into Christ’s church”  .
He is the author of more than 100 books, including a best-selling study Bible which bears his name (over 1 million copies sold).
MacArthur was also a frequent guest on Larry King Live, and in December of 2018, he was a guest on Ben Shapiro’s The Daily Wire Sunday show.
Christianity Today listed John MacArthur as one of the “25 Most Influential Preachers of the Past 50 Years” .
Finally, MacArthur is the president of Master’s University (and the Master’s Seminary), although the institution is currently on probation by a regional accrediting agency for monetary “conflicts of interest” and for fostering a “climate of fear, intimidation, bullying, and uncertainty among significant numbers of faculty and staff”   .
Pastor John MacArthur has preached at length in his own church on the gravity of dishonesty . For example:
It is not appropriate for someone in high levels of leadership responsibility to lie…
If a person will lie . . . and if a person develops a pattern of lying, if a person is comfortable with lying, that person will fall to any temptation. Because he never has to fear being discovered, because he’s so adept at deception.
According to pastor John MacArthur, “Liars want to crush those who would accuse them. They despise them. They despise those who bare the truth. They despise those who speak honestly. They despise those with integrity,” .
Yet, according to Charles Evers, pastor John MacArthur has been lying about Evers for over a decade.
I reached out to John MacArthur through his personal assistant, but did not receive a response. Thus, we are left with several unanswered questions…
Will pastor John MacArthur honor Charles Evers’s request to “stop telling that lie”?
Why is pastor John MacArthur’s narrative so starkly different to the recorded testimonies of both Charles Evers and John Perkins––testimonies which indicate that pastor MacArthur was not with these men in Charles Evers’ NAACP office on the night Dr. King was murdered?
Was pastor John MacArthur in Memphis, TN hours after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered? If so, who was he with?
Why would such a successful pastor fabricate the events of April 4, 1968, as iconic Civil Rights leader, Charles Evers, insists?
Perhaps it is true that “Every man is a hero of his own story,” .
-  The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel, (2018). Retrieved at (official site): https://statementonsocialjustice.com/
-  Michael O’Fallon, The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel, Sovereign Nations (2018). Retrieved at: https://sovereignnations.com/2018/09/04/statement-social-justice-gospel/
-  The Top 25 Most Influential Preachers, Christianity Today, (2006). Retrieved at: https://web.archive.org/web/20060201142833/http://www.christianitytoday.com/anniversary/features/top25preachers.html
-  Samuel Smith, John MacArthur’s Master’s University Put on Probation by Accrediting Agency, The Christian Post, (2018). Retrieved at: https://www.christianpost.com/news/john-macarthurs-masters-university-put-on-probation-by-accrediting-agency.html
-  Caleb Lunetta, Master’s University President Pays Son-In-Law Millions of Dollars Through Nonprofits, Hometown Station, (2018). Retrieved at https://www.hometownstation.com/santa-clarita-latest-news/masters-university-president-pays-son-in-law-millions-of-dollars-through-nonprofits-251199
-  REPORT OF THE WSCUC TEAM For Reaffirmation of Accreditation To The Master’s University and Seminary, (2018). Retrieved at: http://pulpitandpen.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/PDF-2.pdf
-  John MacArthur, Social Injustice and the Gospel, Grace to You, (2018). Retrieved at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B180813
-  Tony Reinke, Biblical slavery and American slavery, (2007). Retrieved at: https://tonyreinke.com/category/john-macarthur/
-  John MacArthur, A Retrospective on 40 Years: John MacArthur with Rick Holland, Grace to You, (2009). Retrieved at: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-371/A-Retrospective-on-40-Years-John-MacArthur-with-Rick-Holland
-  John MacArthur, Bible Questions and Answers, Part 62, Grace to You, (2014). Retrieved at: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/70-38/bible-questions-and-answers-part-62
-  John MacArthur, Bible Questions and Answers, Part 66, Grace to You, (2017): Retrieved at: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/70-42/bible-questions-and-answers-part-66
-  Charles Evers and Andrew Szanton, Have No Fear: The Charles Evers Story, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., (1997).
-  Ashley Norwood, Mississippi Civil Rights Veteran Remembers King, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, (2018). Retrieved at: http://www.mpbonline.org/blogs/news/2018/04/04/activists-remember-mlk-on-the-50th-anniversary-of-his-death/
-  Ibid. .
-  John Perkins, Episode 0205- Stopping By Ephesus: Reflections 50 Years After MLK JR.’s Assassination (w/ John Perkins), United? We Pray, (2018). Retrieved at: https://praypod.com/feed/0205
-  Memphis Police Department, Arrest Report for James Earl Ray. Retrieved at: https://register.shelby.tn.us/media/mlk/mlkviewimage.php?imgtype=pdf&local=Reports&image=Homicide%20Report.tif
-  Ibid. 
-  Ibid. 
-  Ibid. 
-  Ibid. 
-  Ibid. 
-  Ibid. 
-  Ibid. 
-  Ibid. 
-  Ibid. , P 6.
-  FBI Investigation Report. Retrieved at: https://register.shelby.tn.us/media/mlk/mlkviewimage.php?imgtype=pdf&image=ray_material_2011-02-08/fbi_investigative_report/0185-0376_fbireport_000904ag03.tif#ray_material_2011-02-08/fbi_investigative_report/0185-0376_fbireport_000904ag03.tif#
-  Ibid. , P 12.
-  Ibid. , P 6.
-  Findings on MLK Assassination. Retrieved at: https://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/select-committee-report/part-2a.html
-  Ibid. , P 15.
-  Caroline Gottlieb and Eun Kyung Kim, Eyewitness in iconic photo opens up about Martin Luther King Jr. assassination 50 years later, TODAY, (2018). Retrieved at: https://www.today.com/news/eyewitness-martin-luther-king-jr-assassination-lorraine-motel-talks-50-t126354
-  John MacArthur, The Destructive Sin of Lying Part 1, Grace to You, (1998). Retrieved at: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-196/the-destructive-sin-of-lying-part-1
-  Quote by Brandon Sanderson. Retrieved at: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/176539-every-man-is-a-hero-of-his-own-story
-  Ibid. 
-  Ibid.