"And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: 'The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation."' I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'" - Revelation 3:14-22 (ESV)
Jack Hibbs is the founder and senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Southern California. He rose his national platform by being a vocal proponent for reopening his church in the middle of the most lethal pandemic in a century by violating state ordinances against such. This of course made him a darling amongst the apostate church that knows so little about the actual church because of their purpose driven foundations. Defying common sense and science, these alleged church leaders cared more about collecting tithes than the health of their congregants. Make no mistake about it, people died because of actions such as these. People became irreparably sick because of these actions. There is simply no way of getting around the numbers. Many pastors tried to use carnal arguments pretending they knew better than scientists and epidemiologists. One pastor lamented that pastors should know better than anyone when it would be safe for their churches to meet again. That is scientifically and biblically insane.
They behaved so reprehensibly even though pastors have literally died from COVID for such behaviors across this country. Let us not lose sight of what was really at issue last year. Many of these churches, including Hibbs' opened around May of 2020, when the pandemic was in full swing. There have been over two million cases with over 50,000 deaths in this country. The state governments that ordered churches not meet did not "close the church." That is a silly argument. They simply said that large indoor gatherings, such as Charismaniacal church serves, needed to be temporarily suspended. They did not say that the church could not service their congregants, either individually or in small groups. They did not say that pastoral care visits had to stop. They did not say that services could not be virtual. They did not say churches could not find more creative ways to help their communities and spread the Gospel. They just could not pack thousands of people into close quarters. The problem is Jack Hibbs and the cult of personality pastors of today were trained under the Rick Warren Purpose Driven Church model where those hour and a half on Sundays ARE the church. Without them they simply do not know what else to do. More to the point they also lose their primary revenue generation, Sunday tithes and offerings. So they lunched into their two pronged strategy. First attack the government in direct violation of Romans 13. Second was to hide behind bible fragments to pretend their cause was righteous when it most certainly was not. A year later, the pastors that thumbed their noses at authority such as Hibbs are still trying to defend their indefensible behavior. Above is a link to a recent article from Hibbs doing just that. Let us reason once more together.
'"To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write ... I know your works" (Rev. 3:7a-8a). While these words were penned to a specific local church in Asia Minor, they also echo throughout eternity as a reminder for every church throughout the New Testament era. Christ is King and Lord over the churches. He alone has authority over the church. However, in recent years, the church has seemed confused about its holy pedigree, its prophetic place and God's great plan. Sadly, many people are questioning the value and the relevancy of what a church is in our day. This has led people to ask, "What purpose does the church serve today?"' - Jack Hibbs
Hibbs just missed the church from Revelation that more closely resembles where the church is today in America. The key verses may as well have been spoken directly to Hibbs. His works are neither hot nor cold. He thinks he is rich and needs nothing but he cannot see he is wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked. The reason why many question the relevancy of the church today has nothing to do with COVID and everything to do with the NAR dominionism that has taken over the modern church. When your opening position eliminates more than half the population based upon political affiliation, what else do you expect? Then factor in the purpose driven church growth model that reduces church to a mere hour and a half each Sunday and what are you left with? Realize that Hibbs and his ilk were arguing only to be allowed to hold their weekend services. That is not the church! A half an hour of vapid music that centers on man instead of God, followed by a twenty-minute sermonette about how special we are? That is not the church yet that is what Hibbs is fighting for! Growing the Laodicean Church is not the great commission.
"More alarming is the reality that many people have now become comfortable not attending church at all. Sure, people will say they now do church online, but let's be honest--viewing an online service is no different than listening to a radio teaching program while driving down the highway. It may be learning, but it is not church. It will not be church until God's people create the opportunity to meet physically. The truth is that tens of thousands of former church attendees have now found it much more comfortable and convenient to stay home. They have adopted a "wait and see" approach. This is exactly why I believe the Scriptures exhort us to be careful about how we value Christ's church in these days and our meeting together (see Heb. 10:25).
The great news is that Jesus told the pastor in Philadelphia, "I know your works. Look! I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it" (Rev. 3:8a). No pastor, board of elders, governor, president or ruler in this world has the authority to shut the doors of Jesus' church. Only Jesus has that right." Jack Hibbs