Explaining Why ‘Church Is Essential’…
Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles released a video earlier this week in which he explained why he believes “church is essential” and urged other churches to reopen.
In a video he prefaced with a Bible verse that commands Christians to gather together, as well as one in which Jesus promised that “the gates of hell shall not prevail” against the church, MacArthur laid bare what he described as the inconsistent and arbitrary lockdown measures against houses of worship in California and elsewhere.
“Today’s current crop of politicians are trampling on the Constitution and on the resolve of citizens to demand their rights under the pressure of a manufactured fear,” MacArthur asserted.
“The reality is that the COVID data just doesn’t match the government’s COVID narrative.” Even if an individual catches COVID-19, MacArthur claimed, “You have a 99.99% chance to survive COVID. It’s just not what they’re saying it is.”
“That absolutely does not warrant shutting down anything,” MacArthur continued. “But especially, absurdly and arbitrarily, churches that have a special protection from the Constitution. Oh, and at the same time, leaving open abortion clinics, strip clubs, and marijuana dispensaries.”
“And by the way, the Health Department is on record as saying they are going to allow riots and protests without regard for the mandated health and safety ordinances. This is obviously targeted discrimination. Leftists and secular government officials have no tolerance for biblical Christianity, so they’re using COVID as an excuse to shut us down.”
“We have to stand firm on the reality that the church is essential. The most meaningful, transformative, exemplary lives in a community all come together in a church, and that’s been our impact on the city of Los Angeles.”
MacArthur explained that after crucial ministries in his church were shut down for 20 weeks, he first began preaching to an empty auditorium until members began returning because “they didn’t believe the narrative the local government and media were giving them.”
Appealing to the legacy of the Protestant Reformation, MacArthur warned, “This is a watershed moment in America. We have been granted by God the freedom to meet as a church and that is protected by the Constitution. We need to be the church, not only because we’re free to be the church, but because we’re commanded to be the church by the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church.”
“This is a time of all times to meet as the church. Open your church. The church is essential,” MacArthur added.
Evangelist Franklin Graham quote-tweeted the video in a show of support, writing, “I’m thankful that [President Donald Trump] declared that churches in this country are essential. I appreciate Pastor [John MacArthur’s] stand and agree that churches should be able to open and not be stopped by the government.”
Graham expanded on his thoughts about church lockdowns in a recent interview with The Daily Wire:
Regarding what the future may hold for American Christians, Graham reiterated the warning of freed pastor Andrew Brunson, who will be attending the march and offering the prayer at one of the stops along the Mall. A year ago, Brunson told the Washington Examiner that he believes persecution is possibly “very close” for the American church, a prediction about which, Graham said, there is “no question.”
Graham condemned the lingering lockdowns of churches in states like California as illegal and unconstitutional. “The Constitution guarantees us the right to worship without interference from the government,” he said. “For a governor just to arbitrarily say that Lowe’s, Home Depot can be open, or Walmart can be open on Sunday, but churches have to be closed, and they can’t have more than 100 people or 50 people or whatever, it just shows you that they are targeting churches.”
“Businesses can stay open, but churches cannot. I appreciate the president saying that churches are essential,” Graham added, commending Los Angeles pastor John MacArthur especially for taking a stand against state and local authorities, despite continuous court battles. “He’s right,” Graham said. “We have the right to worship, whether pandemic or not a pandemic. We have the right to worship and the government can’t stop us.”
California Threatens John MacArthur’s Church with Hefty Fines for Defying Lockdown…
Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church in a Los Angeles suburb have been served a letter from the city threatening to impose a $1,000 daily fine if the church does not comply with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order for some churches in the state to be shuttered because of the coronavirus.
“The state has absolutely no power to impose the restrictions it is demanding,” Jenna Ellis, one of the attorneys representing the church, said in a report on The Federalist website. “This is not about health and safety, it is about targeting churches.”
In mid-July Newsom ordered churches in 30 counties, including Los Angeles County, to stop holding indoor services, but MacAuthor refused to comply, as Breitbart News reported, saying that Jesus Christ, not the state government, is the head of the church:
When any government official issues orders regulating worship (such as bans on singing, caps on attendance, or prohibitions against gatherings and services), he steps outside the legitimate bounds of his God-ordained authority as a civic official and arrogates to himself authority that God expressly grants only to the Lord Jesus Christ as sovereign over His Kingdom, which is the church. His rule is mediated to local churches through those pastors and elders who teach His Word (Matthew 16:18–19; 2 Timothy 3:16–4:2).
Therefore, in response to the recent state order requiring churches in California to limit or suspend all meetings indefinitely, we, the pastors and elders of Grace Community Church, respectfully inform our civic leaders that they have exceeded their legitimate jurisdiction, and faithfulness to Christ prohibits us from observing the restrictions they want to impose on our corporate worship services.
“Now, the city of Los Angeles is punishing the church for its decision to continue gathering. In addition to fines and threats of arrest, Mayor Eric Garcetti has shown himself willing to use other tactics to keep residents from breaking shutdown orders,” The Federalist reported. “Back in April, he warned that he’d given the Department of Water and Power permission to shut off utilities for nonessential businesses that were operating in defiance of restrictions.”
The Federalist said that in addition to Ellis, who also is a private legal adviser to the Trump 2020 campaign, Charles LiMandri of the Thomas More Society is also providing legal representation for Grace Community Church.
“It is unconstitutional for Governor Newsom and the State of California to discriminate against churches by treating them less favorably than other organizations and activities that are not protected by the First Amendment,” LiMandri said.
Will Authorities Cut Water and Electricity to Churches that Defy Newsom’s Shutdown Order?
On Saturday PJ Media reported that Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif., had announced it would not comply with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s draconian COVID-19 order shuttering churches in counties that represent 80% of the state’s population:
“We cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings,” the church, led for the last half-century by Pastor John MacArthur, explained in a statement on its website. “Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord’s clear commands” to meet together for worship. “The church by definition is an assembly,” the pastors and elders of the church explained. “That is the literal meaning of the Greek word for ‘church’—ekklesia—the assembly of the called-out ones.” As a result, “no earthly state has a right to restrict, limit, or forbid the assembling of believers.”
“Therefore, in response to the recent state order requiring churches in California to limit or suspend all meetings indefinitely, we, the pastors and elders of Grace Community Church, respectfully inform our civic leaders that they have exceeded their legitimate jurisdiction, and faithfulness to Christ prohibits us from observing the restrictions they want to impose on our corporate worship services,” they wrote.
As promised, the church met for in-person worship on Sunday:
Indeed, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has deemed churches “nonessential” and warned in May that nonessential businesses caught defying shutdown orders could have their water and electricity cut:
Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed frustration and outrage that some nonessential businesses remained open despite coronavirus restrictions and vowed Los Angeles would take action against them.
Garcetti said his office was still receiving daily reports of nonessential businesses that continued to operate as normal — behavior he called “irresponsible and selfish.”
He also announced a “Safer at Home” business-ambassadors initiative that aims to bring about greater compliance from businesses that are ignoring the city’s order to close.
Such businesses should also expect to get a warning call from local prosecutors before the city takes more aggressive action, including turning off their water and power, he said.
On July 13, Gov. Newsom ordered churches in several counties, including Los Angeles County where Grace Community Church is located, closed until further notice.
Most churches chose to abide by COVID-19 orders when the pandemic began, but as the shutdowns continue to drag on, many have lost patience, arguing that Christians cannot do what the Bible commands—meeting publicly, singing together, observing the sacraments, and proclaiming scripture—while obeying the orders of state and local authorities.
John MacArthur’s Calif. Church Will Defy Newsom’s Church Ban: ‘Christ, not Caesar, Is Head of the Church’
In May I wrote about a group of Virginia pastors who implored Gov. Ralph Northam to allow churches to reopen:
“Because corporate worship is central to Christian life, it is extraordinary for churches to forego meeting for even a single Sunday,” they write. “Thus, with each passing week that corporate worship is banned, as churches stand ready to implement reasonable public-health precautions, the government pushes Christians closer to the point where they must choose to sin against God and conscience or violate the law.”
“Ultimately, as Christians, we are compelled to obey God’s law (Acts 5:29),” they say, citing the Commonwealth’s Constitution, Virginia’s Act for Religious Freedom, and Virginian James Madison, who said, “It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.”
“The ban on corporate worship prevents Christians who believe that Holy Scripture commands them to assemble for worship (Hebrews 10:24-25) from acting as their consciences – and God Himself – dictates,” they add.
The ongoing ban puts churches in a tough position. Most churches have chosen to abide by the stay-at-home order, with many of them offering streaming services, but most have acknowledged that the situation is untenable and cannot go on indefinitely.
“Corporate worship is commanded by Scripture and has been a foundational element of Christian life for nearly 2,000 years,” the pastors explain. “Alternatives such as live-streamed services and ‘drive-through’ worship are not adequate substitutes to the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) united together in corporate worship.”
Virginia has since allowed churches to reopen with strict social distancing protocols, but in other states, including Nevada, where a group of churches is suing the state, churches are subject to attendance limits or other untenable rules. The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that Nevada was within its rights to cap the number of attendees at worship services in a 5-4 decision that saw Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the liberals on the court. Justice Neil Gorsuch issued a scathing rebuke in his short-but-sweet dissent:
This is a simple case. Under the Governor’s edict, a 10- screen “multiplex” may host 500 moviegoers at any time. A casino, too, may cater to hundreds at once, with perhaps six people huddled at each craps table here and a similar number gathered around every roulette wheel there. Large numbers and close quarters are fine in such places. But churches, synagogues, and mosques are banned from admitting more than 50 worshippers—no matter how large the building, how distant the individuals, how many wear face masks, no matter the precautions at all.
In Nevada, it seems, it is better to be in entertainment than religion. Maybe that is nothing new. But the First Amendment prohibits such obvious discrimination against the exercise of religion. The world we inhabit today, with a pandemic upon us, poses unusual challenges. But there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.
At least two pastors have already been arrested for flouting shutdown orders (see here and here), and while it hasn’t come to that yet in California, the threat of action against churches that disobey government COVID-19 orders looms large.
For Christians, suffering and persecution are to be expected. God has seen fit to allow Jesus-worshippers in the U.S. to largely escape the harsh conditions faced by Christians throughout most of Christendom, but as we’ve seen in recent months, our freedoms can be wiped away with the stroke of a pen. This time it’s a global pandemic that has our church doors closed. What will the excuse be next year?
Prediction: If Democrats take control of the Senate and presidency in November we’ll see a public health crisis declared to aid and abet transgenderism and gender confusion. What will your church do when ordered to either modify doctrinal positions on human sexuality or shut down? Now’s the time to be thinking through how we’ll respond when the real persecution begins.
The World Is In Big Trouble, for Those That Believe We Will Go Back to Some Sense of Normal Life Here on Earth, You Will Be Sadly Disappointed, Seven Years of Hell on Earth Which Began January 1, 2020
“Our courts oppose the righteous, and justice is nowhere to be found. Truth stumbles in the streets, and honesty has been outlawed” (Isa. 59:14, NLT)…We Turned Our Backs On GOD, Now We Have Been Left To Our Own Devices, Enjoy…
While Mainstream Media Continues to Push a False Narrative, Big Tech Has Keep the Truth From Coming out by Shadow Banning Conservatives, Christians, and Like-Minded People, Those Death Attributed to the Coronavirus Is a Result of Those Mentioned, They Truly Are Evil…
Watchmen does not confuse truth with consensus The Watchmen does not confuse God’s word with the word of those in power…
In police-state fashion, Big Tech took the list of accused (including this site), declared all those named guilty and promptly shadow-banned, de-platformed or de-monetized us all without coming clean about how they engineered the crushing of dissent, Now more than ever big Tech has exposed there hand engaging in devious underhanded tactics to make the sinister look saintly, one of Satan’s greatest weapons happens to be deceit…
The accumulating death toll from Covid-19 can be seen minute-by-minute on cable news channels. But there’s another death toll few seem to care much about: the number of poverty-related deaths being set in motion by deliberately plunging millions of Americans into poverty and despair.
American health care, as we call it today, and for all its high-tech miracles, has evolved into one of the most atrocious rackets the world has ever seen. By racket, I mean an enterprise organized explicitly to make money dishonestly.
All the official reassurances won’t be worth a bucket of warm spit. The Globals are behind the CoronaVirus, It Is a Man-Made Bioweapon.
For those of you who care, Google and your favorite social media platforms have misled you, and now we all pay a heavy price for trusting the ungodly, Google and company, They knew exactly what they were doing, removing our history while preparing you to accept the New World Order playbook, Enjoy.
The number of Orphans aging out of Child Protective Custody has grown at an alarming rate. The 127 Faith Foundation receives many requests each week to house them at our ranch. Our prayer is that the good people of our country will step up to the challenge and offer financial support for "the least among us." We need your help! StevieRay Hansen, Founder, The 127 Faith Foundation
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