John MacArthur’s telling California No.
Many of you will know the pastor from his many books, including The Gospel According to Jesus.
Clearly, he doesn’t believe the gospel truth is set by the state of California, home to his large Grace Community Church.
And on Friday, the 81-year-old issued a statement about his Sun Valley congregation.
They’ll no longer obey the government and keep from in-person meetings.
From the statement:
“[W]e cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings. Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord’s clear commands.”
MacArthur cited Jesus and the Bible as the ultimate authority.
According to the minister, the Creator has granted certain dominion to family, church, and government. And “when any one of the three institutions exceeds the bounds of its jurisdiction it is the duty of the other institutions to curtail that overreach.”
As for California’s reasons for a second shuttering — including a hand-tying of sanctuaries, synagogues, and mosques — John asserted that seats of power aren’t always filled with the butt of best intentions:
“History is full of painful reminders that government power is easily and frequently abused for evil purposes. Politicians may manipulate statistics and the media can cover up or camouflage inconvenient truths. So a discerning church cannot passively or automatically comply if the government orders a shutdown of congregational meetings—even if the reason given is a concern for public health and safety.”
And at some point, in his view, those devoted to their faith may have to endure persecution:
“As government policy moves further away from biblical principles, and as legal and political pressures against the church intensify, we must recognize that the Lord may be using these pressures as means of purging to reveal the true church.”
As you may have heard, on July 13th, Gov. Gavin Newsom launched another batch of shutdown orders after loosening things up from March’s restrictive round.
From Fox News at the time:
“During a press briefing that all bars across the state must close up shop and that restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and card rooms must suspend indoor activities. The governor also announced that all gyms, places of worship, malls, personal care services, barbershops, salons, and non-critical offices in counties on the state’s ‘monitoring list’ had to shut down under the new order.”
This isn’t the first time believers have taken a stand against Newsom where the assembling of themselves together is concerned.
As I covered in May, nearly 3,000 California churches chose to defy state’s orders and reopen on Pentecost Sunday.
But here we are again, with a brand new war over worship.
As noted by The Daily Wire, in a 2018 interview with Ben Shapiro, Pastor MacArthur expounded upon government and authority:
“We…are commanded necessarily to dissent in our speech when the government is asking us to do something that is wrong, or that God is telling us to do one thing, they’re telling us to do something else. … An illustration in the New Testament: The apostles go out, they preach Christ, and the Jews arrest them and say stop. And so they said, ‘You judge whether we obey God or men.’ And they went right back out to preach Christ. Freedom of speech, for us, is freedom to preach the truth of Christ, even when the society says that’s against the law. And then, you don’t get an army. You go to jail. They went to jail, they took the consequences.”
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