Dr John MacArthur, along with the elders of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, have taken a courageous stand against the “intrusive restrictions” government officials are attempting to impose on churches in California.
In a statement issued on Friday, Dr MacArthur accused civic leaders of exceeding their “legitimate jurisdiction” by ordering churches in the state to limit or suspend all meetings indefinitely.
Dr MacArthur noted that while civil government is invested with divine authority to rule the state, civic rulers are not granted jurisdiction over the church. In other words, “freedom of worship is a command of God, not a privilege granted by the state.” The church does not need the state’s permission to serve and worship the Lord as He has commanded.
“God has established three institutions within human society,” Dr MacArthur explained. “The family, the state, and the church. Each institution has a sphere of authority with jurisdictional limits that must be respected.
“A father’s authority is limited to his own family. Church leaders’ authority (which is delegated to them by Christ) is limited to church matters. And government is specifically tasked with the oversight and protection of civic peace and well-being within the boundaries of a nation or community.
“God has not granted civic rulers authority over the doctrine, practice, or polity of the church. The biblical framework limits the authority of each institution to its specific jurisdiction.”
Dr MacArthur went on to say when one of these three institutions exceeds the bounds of its jurisdiction “it is the duty of the other institutions to curtail that overreach.”
“Where 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.”
Dr MacArthur went on to urge the true church to distinguish herself in such a hostile climate through a “bold allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ” and by taking a stand “in obedience to the Lord as Christians have done through the centuries.”
We encourage you to head over to Grace to You and read the full statement from Dr MacArthur and the elders at Grace Community Church.