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John MacArthur and the elders of Grace Community Church in California have decided to defy the State government and open their church facility and hold services. Some have argued that there are better or more creative ways to get around the government mandate. There may be. But a government that supports abortion on demand and sanctions every type of sexual perversion in opposition to what the Bible teaches is not interested in the interests of a church like Grace Community.
With the latest SCOTUS ruling on same-sex everything, churches are going to be in the crossfire of legal challenges, so they better get ready to take a stand now, join in, and fight. It’s practice for what's to come. The Left wins because they make noise and show themselves to be bigger than they are. There are tens of thousands of Bible-believing churches in the US. If they all got on board with what Grace and other churches are doing, it would send a loud message. When the LGBT+ crowd goes after churches, they will already be united because they took a stand here.
The following article is by Uriesou Brito, Pastor at Providence Church, Pensacola, Florida. — Gary DeMar
The 81-year-old John MacArthur is no stranger to controversy. Several decades ago, he penned a few books on Lordship that became best-sellers. Little did he know that evangelicals were interested in deep theology. Back then, he was concerned that Christians were taking the Gospel call to discipleship too flippantly. He noted that "the gospel call to faith presupposes that sinners must repent of their sin and yield to Christ’s authority." The proposition was simple, but the opposition was massive.
Fast forward three decades, the octogenarian is still preaching each Sunday at Grace Community Church in California on the Lordship of Jesus. My differences with John MacArthur over the years have been significant, though what I find as I get older is that my admiration for pastors who have fought the good fight for over 50 years increases. Adding to the list of controversies in MacArthur's history is his now nationally recognized position that Jesus is Lord over governments and it is the duty of ecclesiastical bodies to disobey the government when it forbids worship.
God and Government is a comprehensive study of what the Bible says about government--self, family, church, and civil--and how these principles should be applied in areas like economics, church/state relations, civil disobedience, education, taxation, caring for the poor, and much more.
As a result of this decision to keep the church doors open, there are some indications that the local government plans to shut down electricity should this happen again. This may be a mere threat as a way of discouraging gatherings. I would find that appalling, but California has been appalling for a long time.
MacArthur's decision has been met with mixed reviews. Those who acquiesce to the status quo and say that MacArthur has no right to defy the government on the matter of worship and that we should submit to it willingly are mistaken, and I confess at this point, have only fragments of my respect. Other, more coherent voices, have articulated that there are some additional options that MacArthur has not contemplated and that he should do so as a way of setting a good example to other churches. It should be noted that these same voices are also cheering on the decision of J.D. Greer to cancel corporate gathering until 2021 and establish "house church" models until then. I cannot even begin to tell you the danger of such an approach, especially considering the after-effects of decisions like these to the ecclesiastical ethos of modern evangelicals. These decisions assume that evangelicals in this country have a high ecclesiology. This can be the point of no-return for many large churches.
One response to MacArthur that caught my attention is that the elders of Grace Community Church should consider that this is not the right battle for our time. The real battle is the LGBT community and that the church should save energy to exercise those muscles on that issue instead of "spending down our capital on pandemics."
But it has been over 150 days since the pandemic started! When is it time to say enough?! The problem is not exercising our muscles on this issue, the problem is not exercising strongly enough! We have caved into the either-or dilemma. The Christian church possesses the keys of heaven and hell (Mat. 16:19), therefore she does not have to wait to exercise anything at a future date, she should be ready to exercise her authority whenever she deems right.
The LGBT issue will come, but if the church cannot establish the centrality of worshiping as one now—with whatever protocols necessary for the protection of the saints—she will have no stamina or logic or grace to take on other pressing matters later. Once again, the proposition is simple, and the opposition will surely be massive.
Uriesou Brito is pastor at Providence Church, Pensacola, Florida.