Can the State Ban Your Church Services?
Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church in Los Angeles California says no. The church continues to gather for indoor services and singing hymns, despite California Governor Newsom’s ban. Pastor MacArthur stated: “We will obey God rather than men… Newsom is not the head of the church.”[i]
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25.
“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Matthew 22:21.
How to balance these two verses is a difficult assignment. Many options may be viable, but each pastor and church must make a decision. A “non-decision is actually a misnomer – no action is really an action. Where do we as Christians stand? What are we willing to risk from the world in order to obey our Lord, feed His people and worship Him together?
Romans 12:1-3; 9-14, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you…Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
It is becoming more evident each day that the world’s pattern does not include the Christian faith. The world, through its political leadership, is edging out the need for God in general and Christianity specifically. Churches are not ”allowed” to open, but protests and riots can continue without restraints. At what point does your church decide to defy “Caesar” and follow God?
12:1-2. Be wise. Renew your mind in regard to government. For some decades this has not been so difficult. But that is changing. When you are convinced what the Head Shepherd is commanding, then go forth without fear, forth telling His truth.
12:2. Holy and pure. Live and act in God’s good, pleasing and perfect will. Defy in love for God. Speak truth without anger or name calling.
12:3. Remain humble. Use sober judgment in faith as Christ leads and protects you.
12:4-9. Responsibility. Be responsible to Christ’s Body. Recall Amos 5:15, “Seek good, not evil. Hate evil, love good. Maintain justice in the courts.”
Do not be afraid to use your constitutional rights.
12:11. Zeal. Never lack zeal! This means working hard with fervor. Heat up your enthusiasm.
12:10-14. Participate in needs. Jointly work together in meeting the needs of God’s people and those in the community. Do this with a family type of love, treating others as part of your own family.[ii]
Always follow Christ first!
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