Billy Graham Center

Interview of John Allan MacDonald - Collection 489

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent. Some or all of this collection can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. ]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of John A. MacDonald

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

Lists of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records


Audio file and written transcript for T3

Brief Description.
Two interviews with MacDonald in which he discusses his education and activities at Wheaton College from which he graduated in 1943, literary societies, friends and faculty, the impact of World War II on the campus, Billy Graham and his role in the United Gospel Tabernacle in Wheaton, MacDonald's evangelistic and church ministry among San Francisco hippies in the late 1960s and work with Jews for Jesus (JFJ) and its founder Moishe Rosen. The second interview focuses on JFJ, describing leader Moishe Rosen, evangelism among Jews, JFJ's philosophy and methodology of evangelism, responses by Evangelicals, the public and the Jewish community's response to JFJ, organizational structure and leadership, the role of women in the organization, relationships with other agencies reaching out to Jews, and his experience as JFJ board member and chaplain.

Collection 489 [July 21, 2000]
MacDonald, John Allan (Dr); 1921-2014
Interviews; 1993, 1994
3 Reels of Audio Tape

Restrictions: None


Full name: John Allan MacDonald

Birth date:  February 27, 1921, in Stockton, California
Death date: August 30, 2014

Parents: John A. (principal) and Maude MacDonald
Marital Status: Married Marilyn S. Rundlett ('42) June 25, 1944

Conversion: Eight years old; age twelve when sick with appendicitis, he promised God he'd be a preacher

Denomination: American Baptist?

Stockton, CA, High School
1939?-1943 Wheaton College, BA (Philosophy)
1947 American Baptist Seminary, BD?
1951 American Baptist Seminary, ThM
1975 Golden Gate Theological Seminary, DD

Pastor in First Baptist Church in Mill Valley, California
Worked in San Francisco with hippies, students, drug addicts, etc.
Member of the board of Jews for Jesus, also chaplain

Other significant information: While at Wheaton, he was a member of the concert orchestra, concert band, men's glee club, brass choir, Inter-Society Council, Aristonian Literary Society

Scope and Content

John Allan MacDonald was interviewed by Paul A. Ericksen on May 7, 1993, and March 11, 1994, at the Billy Graham Center Archives. The events described in the interview cover the time period 1920-1993.

T1 ( 60 minutes). Early life and spiritual journey; Wheaton College: transfer in, first impressions, strength and weakness (academic constraints as shown in the Gordon Clark's firing), Clark and other faculty (Joseph Free, Bill Nordin, Henry Thiessen), Dr. Buswell, Dr. Edman, spiritual environment, the 1943 revival, role of Bible study in his life, social life of Wheaton, pranks, impact of Pearl Harbor attack on campus, recollections of Billy Graham and other classmates, literary societies; discontentment with first pastorate, emergence of ministry with San Francisco young people formation of Evangelical Concerns, Moishe Rosen and start of Jews for Jesus (JFJ), serving on JFJ board and as staff chaplain, Moishe Rosen, impact of free speech-related litigation on JFJ, losing half the Mill Valley congregation over ministry to young people, his family

T2 (70 minutes). Jews for Jesus (JFJ): 1973 split from American Board of Missions to the Jews (AMJ, now Chosen People Ministries) over methodology, culturally acceptable confrontational style of evangelism, Western and Jewish styles of interaction as applied to evangelism, varied responses to JFJ from and acceptance by Evangelical churches, JFJ's organizational development (staffing, financial growth), collaboration among groups evangelizing Jews, Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism, issues over which groups disagree, acceptance of compatibility of Christianity with Jewish practices, rabbis' opposition to evangelism usually provides good publicity, Liberated Wailing Wall singing group, changes in organizational structure, international expansion, ministry in Russia, JFJ offices and leadership, litigation against JFJ and staff arrests, use of media for promotion, staff, philosophy and methodology, the role of women in JFJ (Susan Perlman as an example), the JFJ board (administrative, financial and policy oversight) and council (elected from JFJ staff to establish field strategy), joining staff as chaplain and instituting ombudsman role to assess needs of the staff and offices

T3 (33 minutes, click to audio and link to the transcript of this tape).). (T2 continued) JFJ: aging staff, maintaining focus, reaching young people, threat to freedom of speech, growing polarization over who Jesus is, mass evangelism campaigns, wife's role, broadsiding, JFJ's emphasis on personal evangelism, issues (need for Jews to respond to the gospel, Bible's promises to Israel, Jewish converts retaining their Jewishness), JFJ's affirmation of biblical inspiration and value of Jewish culture, developing Jewish Christian music, God's provision of Moishe Rosen and JFJ, being a Gentile in a Jewish organization


The materials in this collection were given to the Archives of the Billy Graham Center by Dr. John MacDonald in May 1993 and March 1994.

Accession: 93-65, 94-24
July 21, 2000
Janyce H. Nasgowitz

Accession: 93-65, 94-24
Type of Material: Audio Tape
The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, 65 minutes, one side only. Interview of John A. MacDonald by Paul A. Ericksen on May 7, 1993, at the Billy Graham Center Archives.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, 70 minutes, one side only. Interview of John A. MacDonald by Paul A. Ericksen on March 11, 1994, at the Billy Graham Center Archives.

T3 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, 33 minutes, one side only. Continuation of interview of John A. MacDonald by Paul A. Ericksen on March 11, 1994, at the Billy Graham Center Archives.

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Last Revised: 7/21/00
Expiration: indefinite