Amid raging debate on the topic of church operation in the age of COVID-19, a prominent and widely respected voice has just weighed in with what should be the final word.
In an Friday blog post, renowned California pastor John MacArthur declared with certainty that houses of worship should remain open, reminding local officials and Christian congregants alike that “freedom of worship is a command of God, not a privilege granted by the state.”
“Christ is Lord of all,” wrote MacArthur, the pastor of Grace Community Church in San Fernando Valley. “As His people, we are subject to His will and commands as revealed in Scripture. Therefore we cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings.
“Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord’s clear commands,” the pastor added.
The letter came less than two weeks after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom did an about-face on the social and economic reopening of California, issuing an executive order that once again restricted businesses and religious institutions following a major coronavirus case surge within the state, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Newsom’s controversial edict, issued July 13, ordered the shutdown of all indoor dining locations, bars, zoos and museums, in addition to largely closing down churches and gyms.
It had been just over two months since the state began incredibly modest reopening efforts on May 8, according to the Times.
Previous efforts to lock down the state were met with substantial challenges by early May as numerous counties, cities and citizens protested by reopening early. Sizable church networks also pledged to ignore Newsom’s order that they remain closed.
And where patience once wore thin, it has now dried up entirely.
According to MacArthur, the closure and re-closure orders were a radical step beyond the government’s jurisdiction in regard to houses of worship.
“God has established three institutions within human society: the family, the state, and the church,” he wrote. “Each institution has a sphere of authority with jurisdictional limits that must be respected.”
Read the rest at: Church-n-Caesar