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John MacArthur Is Wrong: Don’t Wait For Permission to Reopen Church

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After President Trump declared houses of worship to be “essential” last month, Christian evangelist and pastor John MacArthur joyfully announced that full, normal services would resume at his Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California.

“In the response to the leadership of our president, we’re gonna go to church,” he said, adding “We’re going to sing our hearts out.” Communion would be observed as well, in a “thoughtful and careful” way.

That all changed with a ruling from the 9th Circuit, which struck down the exception for religious gatherings to Governor Newsom’s stay-at-home-order. While churches in California are now technically allowed to unlock their doors at 25% capacity per Governor Newsom’s revised orders, as of this writing, MacArthur’s church still has not announced plans for in-person gatherings on campus.

He and the other elders of Grace Community submitted to the Court’s authority and have not yet worked out how to open in compliance with the new rules. Grace Community Church’s May 23 press release reads: “Even so, for now, the Ninth Circuit decision is sadly the law of the land in California, and we gladly submit to the sovereign purposes of God.”

MacArthur is a wonderful faithful brother in Christ whose work has won many souls for the Kingdom of God. His influence can sway thousands of other pastors on any given issue. Given this, MacArthur’s off-cited “proof text” of Romans 13 and other relevant passages regarding God’s commandments and submission to civil authorities demand examination, not assumptions, so that church elders can properly discern whether they must leave their re-openings in the hands of the state instead or to make their own plans to ensure both obedience to God’s commands and the safety of their flock.


© The Federalist