John MacArthur responded to a pastor’s criticisms of his church’s decision to reopen in defiance of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s second round of lockdown orders, saying his church is “not spreading anything but the Gospel.”
“We are a church that has a reputation for the last 50 years of obeying the government,” MacArthur, senior pastor of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles County, California, said in a Monday interview with Fox News’ Shannon Bream.
“We are a friend to this society, to every level of this society. We have been given awards and accolades and plaques from the city government, the police department, all in authority, because they recognize what an honorable congregation this church has been,” he said.
“But never before has the government invaded the territory the belongs only to the Lord Jesus Christ and told us we can’t meet, we can’t worship, we can’t sing,” the pastor continued. “There’s no power given to the government to make those kinds of calls against us. … We love our neighbors. We’re not spreading anything but the Gospel.”
MacArthur’s comments were made in response to Pastor Gavin Ortlund, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Ojai, who wrote in a blog post that while he affirms the vital importance of corporate worship, he believes “the current situation is more complicated than MacArthur’s perspective allows.”
According to Ortlund, there are at least four biblical values that should inform the church’s decision-making in this situation: The importance of worship, love for neighbor, obedience to government, and maintaining a good witness.
“What concerns me about defying the state order right now is that it seems to prioritize 1 at the expense of 2-4,” Ortlund wrote. “Christ, not Caesar, is head of the church: and when the two conflict, we must obey Christ. But when we seek to avoid undue defiance of Caesar, we also act in obedience to Christ.”
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Source: Christian Post