One high-profile pastor is openly defying the government and continuing to hold church services, despite an executive order limiting such services, including singing in church.
John MacArthur is the chancellor of The Master’s Seminary and the pastor of Grace Community Church in Southern California. He’s an author and the founder of the internationally syndicated Grace to You radio program.
By executive order, Gov. Gavin Newsom has banned all worship services in California indefinitely, whether in church parking lots, church buildings, or inside homes. At least one church has filed a lawsuit against the state.
The 81-year-old MacArthur is committed to continuing to hold in-person services.
Townhall reported that the city of Los Angeles issued a cease-and-desist letter against him and threatened to fine him personally and his church $1,000 a day until he obeys the government. He might also be arrested. An excerpt:
“This is not the first time we as Christ’s church have stood for Truth. We will continue to stand firm for the Truth today like we have every prior day in our 63-year history and in the over 2000-year history of the biblical, New Testament Church,” MacArthur explained. “We stand firm to continue fulfilling our biblical mandate from Christ to proclaim the Gospel and assemble together, and I earnestly hope that our stance will encourage other pastors, churches, and the general public across America and the world to also stand firm for biblical Truth. Church is essential.”
President Donald Trump’s personal attorney and Trump 2020 campaign senior advisor Jenna Ellis and constitutional law attorney and religious freedom expert Charles LiMandri will serve as Grace Community Church and Pastor John MacArthur’s Special Counsel.
American Christians hear about religious persecution all over the world but haven’t had to face anything close to what Christians in China, for example, have to face. We may worship openly. We may publicly declare our faith in Jesus Christ and share the Gospel with unbelievers. So far, we haven’t had to smuggle in Bibles or meet in secret. We may publicly criticize a government that discriminates against us.
But what the government is doing right now, in the name of stopping COVID-19, is impinging on our right to worship in our churches and in our homes.
Will we come to the point of having to worship in secret in our homes if more governors like Newsom ban home worship indefinitely? Will the government start arresting pastors who opening defy restrict church-worship orders?
Pastor MacArthur recently appeared on Fox News to discuss the matter. He called the government’s orders draconian. Neither Los Angeles’ mayor nor the governor are head of the church, he added.
“We respect them for their temporal officer leadership in our government that when they move into the life of the church and tell the church what it can do, they’re usurping a role that they don’t have. The Constitution doesn’t give them the power to do that, and they don’t certainly have the spiritual power to do that, to usurp the place that only Jesus Christ has over his church.”