Daniel Whyte III Warns Pastors Across America Not to Follow These Pastors in Defying Shelter-in-Place Orders and Common Sense Because It is Not ‘Satan and the Government Trying to Keep You Apart’, This Plague is a Judgment Against Most Churches Because Most Churches Were, in the Words of Leonard Ravenhill, ‘Playing and Straying Instead of Praying’

Tony Spell, left, Rob McCoy, right

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)

“No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. The pulpit can be a shopwindow to display one’s talents; the prayer closet allows no showing off. Poverty-stricken as the Church is today in many things, she is most stricken here, in the place of prayer. We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.” – Leonard Ravenhill

When God is not pleased with His people, God does not mind shutting down the Church. Remember, He allowed the Temple to be destroyed because His chosen people, Israel, did not do what they were supposed to do.

Dozens of defiant Christian pastors across the country are preparing to open their church doors to their congregations for Palm Sunday, despite strict lockdown orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

‘We’re defying the rules because the commandment of God is to spread the Gospel,’ Louisiana pastor Tony Spell told Reuters Saturday.

More than 8,000 Americans have died from the highly contagious coronavirus in recent weeks, prompting officials and medical experts to plead with the public to practice social distancing.

But Spell, whose Life Tabernacle megachurch in Baton Rouge boasts 1,000 members, plans on holding three services on Palm Sunday.

It’s unclear how many of them will crowd inside the building to hear their pastor preach.

‘The church is the last force resisting the Antichrist, let us assemble regardless of what anyone says,’ Spell told Reuters.

For Spell and others, the public health orders are a threat to religious freedoms and constitutional rights.

Tony Spell told Reuters Saturday he plans to hold three Palm Sunday services at his Baton Rouge megachurch despite orders to self-isolate amid the COVID-19 outbreak0000000
Congregants arrive for service at the Life Tabernacle Church on Tuesday evening
Congregants after a service at the Life Tabernacle Church on Tuesday evening

‘Satan’s trying to keep us apart, he’s trying to keep us from worshiping together. But we’re not going to let him win,’ Kelly Burton, pastor at Lone Star Baptist Church in Lone Star, Texas, wrote in a post on Facebook.

Lone Star has been holding services in the parking lot – what it calls ‘Church on the Lot’ – and will do so on Palm Sunday.

Meanwhile, in California’s Sacramento County, officials stated Friday that they have identified one evangelical church that has a cluster of 71 positive cases. They offered few details but said that while the church itself is closed, church members continue to gather in fellow parishioners’ homes.

Others in California are defying the ban.

Rob McCoy, the mayor of Los Angeles enclave Thousand Oaks, is one of them.

He also serves as the pastor of Godspeak Calvary Chapel, where he will offer communion on Palm Sunday – though encouraging worshipers to stand six feet apart.

‘It’s very important theologically that communion not be taken alone,’ said McCoy. ‘What we are doing is exercising our inalienable rights. Communion is non-negotiable for us.’

Rob McCoy, the mayor of Los Angeles enclave Thousand Oaks and pastor of Godspeak Calvary Chapel, says ‘Communion is non-negotiable’
Godspeak Calvary Chapel in upmarket Thousand Oaks, California is pictured

About 400 miles north of Thousand Oaks, police in Lodi, California, interrupted a service late last month at the Cross Culture Christian Center, an evangelical church with about 80 regular attendees, to tell members they were violating stay-at-home orders.

They have since been given a warning posted on the church door, a ‘Notice of Public Nuisance,’ demanding the center stop holding services, according to local officials.

‘This is a serious public health threat,’ said city spokesman Jeff Hood.

Still, the pastor plans to hold services on Palm Sunday, said the church’s attorney, Dean Broyles.

‘Simply put, no, we’re not going to obey it,’ Broyles told Reuters. ‘The virus does not suspend our constitutional rights, the right to assemble, freedom of religion and freedom of speech.’

Meanwhile, Ohio megachurch Solid Rock, has been holding its 1,000-strong gatherings in person
A Solid Rock Church service is pictured taking place last summer

Broyles said the church is taking steps to mitigate risks, including sanitizing the building before services and asking that the elderly or those with health problems remain at home.

‘We’re much safer than a Walmart or grocery store,’ said Broyles.

‘Think about it, you’re crammed into (store) aisles inches apart from other shoppers. Here we’re sitting six feet apart.’

Meanwhile, Ohio megachurch Solid Rock has been holding its 1,000-strong gatherings in person, and plans keep the church open on Palm Sunday.

Solid Rock did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters but in a statement on its website said, in part, that ‘we are taking all necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of anyone who comes to Solid Rock Church. We have scaled back our normal services; and there are not large numbers of worshipers in the facility, but we are open and continuing to practice and sustain our faith.’

As of Saturday afternoon, more than 3,000 people had tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 7,000 had died.

Solid Rock did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters but in a statement on its website said, in part, that ‘we are taking all necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of anyone who comes to Solid Rock Church

SOURCE: Daily Mail, Andrew Court; Reuters


The Americans defying Palm Sunday quarantines: ‘Satan’s trying to keep us apart’

Her house sits on a tidy, peaceful suburban street outside Cincinnati. For the past few weeks, she has been doing everything right: sheltering at home and working out of her makeshift office to help stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

The Ohio megachurch down the road, Solid Rock, has charted a different course. Despite warnings from local and state officials, Solid Rock had been holding its 1,000-strong gatherings in person, and plans keep the church open on Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week in Christian churches.

“I think they should obey the laws of the land, like the way the Bible tells us to,” said Sandra, who lives a few miles from the site and asked not be identified by last name. Reuters was able independently to corroborate her address and identity.

The local mayor and health officials have asked the church to close, so far to no avail.

Solid Rock did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters but in a statement on its website said, in part, that “we are taking all necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of anyone who comes to Solid Rock Church. We have scaled back our normal services; and there are not large numbers of worshipers in the facility, but we are we are open and continuing to practice and sustain our faith.”

Millions of American Christians will observe Palm Sunday at home this weekend, as the vast majority of U.S. churches have moved services online to comply with stay-at-home rules.

But, like Solid Rock, pockets of churches from Florida to Texas and across to California are keeping their doors open and inviting worshipers to attend services this weekend.

FILE PHOTO: Zechariah Payton, 5, puts his head down on an empty pew, on the third day of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s implemented statewide “stay at home order” directing the state’s residents to stay in their homes in the face of the fast-spreading coronavirus disease (COVID-19), before a Facebook Live service at Rising Star Church in Oakland, California, U.S. March 22, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo – RC2SXF9WEZC3

“We’re defying the rules because the commandment of God is to spread the Gospel,” Louisiana pastor Tony Spell said in an interview with Reuters.

Spell, 42, who plans to hold three services at his 1,000-member Life Tabernacle megachurch in a Baton Rouge suburb on Palm Sunday, has defied state orders against assembling in large groups and has already been hit with six misdemeanors.

“The church is the last force resisting the Antichrist, let us assemble regardless of what anyone says,” he said.

For Spell and others, the public health orders are a threat to religious freedoms and constitutional rights.

“Satan’s trying to keep us apart, he’s trying to keep us from worshipping together. But we’re not going to let him win,” Kelly Burton, pastor at Lone Star Baptist Church in Lone Star, Texas, wrote in a post on Facebook.

Lone Star has been holding services in the parking lot – what it calls “Church on the Lot” – and will do so on Palm Sunday.

CORONAVIRUS VS COMMUNION

Gatherings organized by at least two churches – one in France, another in South Korea – have been linked to the spread of the virus.

In California, Sacramento County officials said on Friday that they have identified one evangelical church that has a cluster of 71 positive cases. They offered few details but said that while the church itself is closed, church members continue to gather in fellow parishioners’ homes.

Others in California are defying the ban.

Rob McCoy is one of them. He is the mayor of Thousand Oaks, in the Los Angeles area, but also the pastor of Godspeak Calvary Chapel, where he will offer communion on Palm Sunday – though encouraging worshipers to stand six feet apart.

“It’s very important theologically that communion not be taken alone,” said McCoy. “What we are doing is exercising our inalienable rights. Communion is non-negotiable for us.”

About 400 miles (644 km) north of Thousand Oaks, police in Lodi, California, interrupted a service late last month at the Cross Culture Christian Center, an evangelical church with about 80 regular attendees, to tell members they were violating stay-at-home orders.

They have since been given a warning posted on the church door, a “Notice of Public Nuisance,” demanding the center stop holding services, according to local officials.

“This is a serious public health threat,” said city spokesman Jeff Hood.

Still, the pastor plans to hold services on Palm Sunday, said the church’s attorney, Dean Broyles.

“Simply put, no, we’re not going to obey it,” Broyles told Reuters. “The virus does not suspend our constitutional rights, the right to assemble, freedom of religion and freedom of speech.”

Broyles said the church is taking steps to mitigate risks, including sanitizing the building before services and asking that the elderly or those with health problems remain at home.

“We’re much safer than a Walmart or grocery store,” said Broyles, who is also president of the National Center for Law & Policy, a legal advocacy group based in San Diego. “Think about it, you’re crammed into (store) aisles inches apart from other shoppers. Here we’re sitting six feet apart.”

SOURCE: Reuters, Michelle Conlin and Rich McKay