Pastor John MacArthur re-entered the pulpit to a standing ovation on Sunday after taking a bold stand against the arbitrary and “intrusive restrictions” that government officials have imposed 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 in the statement 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.
Despite local authorities threatening to cut power to any churches that gather, the meeting at Grace Community Church went ahead on Sunday morning with more than a thousand in attendance.
“I’m told there were 1,000+ people outside,” said Phil Johnson, Executive Director of Grace to You. “I didn’t go out and look, but reports are the tent was full and open-space venues around the campus were well populated.
“The Worship Center was full, too, and some of the neighbors set up a recall booth across the street,” he said.
Of course. I’m told there were 1,000+ people outside. I didn’t go out and look, but reports are the tent was full and open-space venues around the campus were well populated. The Worship Center was full, too, and some of the neighbors set up a recall booth across the street: pic.twitter.com/5fe1WWe5d4— Phil Johnson (@Phil_Johnson_) July 26, 2020
The full service was live-streamed and can be viewed on the church’s Facebook page.
Grace Community Church was not the only congregation to defy California’s restrictions. Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California held an in-person service on Sunday, and is reportedly also suing the state for the right to assemble.
The Federalist reports: “Calvary Chapel of Ukiah, Calvary Chapel of Fort Bragg, and River of Life Church in Oroville are suing the state over its ban on congregational singing. South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista renewed a lawsuit over the state’s decision to shutter churches, noting that government favoritism toward the George Floyd protests while churches are forced to stay shut ‘has caused amazing harm in the form of a general loss of confidence by the American people in the merits of the pandemic restrictions at all.'”
And lest you think it’s simply about protecting lives, here’s footage of an approved BLM protest along Hollywood Boulevard.
California says Christians can’t sing in church, but this protest is perfectly acceptable.— Ben Davis (@BenDavisCP) July 14, 2020
Despite the state placing restrictions on religious gatherings, Mayor Eric Garcetti said he was proud of the protesters for “leading a powerful movement to make Los Angeles more just, equitable and fair for black Angelenos, communities of color and all of our workers, youth and families.”
Because nothing says “Black Lives Matter” quite like encouraging tens of thousands of black people and BLM supporters to gather en masse during a global pandemic that’s apparently so dangerous, and so deadly, that not even a church could responsibly gather without risking their lives and the lives of everyone they come in contact with.