“Christ not Caesar is the head of the church,” cries out John MacArthur and Grace Community Church. And they are right. It is not the prerogative of government to forbid worship. No matter what the case may be. This authority belongs to Christ alone, and it is a constitutional right.
As a young pastor, it has been encouraging to see the boldness, courage, and clarity from John MacArthur in these times. He, in a very real sense, has become America’s pastor, and given us young pastors a Biblical model to follow. In their letter to the state government, MacArthur, and his elders wrote this:
“As pastors and elders, we cannot hand over to earthly authorities any privilege or power that belongs solely to Christ as head of His church.”
Since then, MacArthur was fined $12,000 personally, and the church $8,000 (This fine has been overturned in court.) The government has threatened to cut the power off during services. They have been in and out of court. And now the most recent unconstitutional attempt at enforcement is that they have been served eviction papers to vacate a parking lot that they have leased for 45 years. The government is terminating the lease for their parking lot, and if you can’t park cars, what can you do? Parking lot or not, California cannot win this fight.
Make no mistake about it, this is classic discrimination. This isn’t about a virus. This is about silencing churches that preach the gospel. Abortion clinics have remained open. Approximately 364 abortions per day. With Gavin Newsom, the states governor, encouraging any women from other states who are not allowed to have an abortion in their state to come to California. Liquor stores have remained open. Marijuana dispensaries have continued. Casinos have been allowed to remain open. But church doors are to remained closed. Do you see the hypocrisy? Wicked carnality can continue, but spiritual vitality must be sacrificed.
This is not a time for fear. This is not a time for cowardice. This is not a time for timidness. This is a time to stand up and be the church. It is a time to rediscover our convictions, and live as a people of biblical conviction. It’s a time to rise up and preach the saving gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ unapologetically. It’s a time to show the powers of tyranny the power of God. Proclaiming this truth, even persecution cannot stop the advancement of the gospel. If anything this persecution will serve as the springboard to revival in our nation. As California attempts to shut down churches, they will do nothing more than walk into the Sovereign hand of God, and all of it will backfire. It is an exciting time to be the church of Jesus Christ. Only we can say with the utmost confidence, we cannot lose.
“But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” -Acts 5:29