I agree that online viewing cannot replace gathering together to worship God. It can however serve as an interim tool when the world is confronted with a once in a generation plague. Look how callous Hibbs is here. People who are concerned about catching a lethal virus are dubbed as taking a "wait and see" approach! Are you kidding me! It is sad when the sheep know better than the shepherd. They do not need the sermonette and the banal repetitive choruses of how much God loves me. Not at the risk of their very lives. Hibbs needs to give his folks more credit. They are the ones who had it right. They also see right through transparent pastors who hide behind verses out of context to try and guilt the sheep into their woodchipper. Hibbs abuses Revelation 3:8 here. The door is NOT the church door but the Gospel. Hibbs actually cites a verse here that disproves his entire position. The Gospel is not bound by any building. No one can truly shut the Gospel down. They might prohibit your little cul-de-sac Christianity and your microwaved services but the Gospel will march on. It will march on with or without you. The state of California tried to shut the doors of Jack Hibbs' church but Hibbs shut the door on the Gospel. By whining and defying authority he pushed away those he needed to reach. This past year was an enormous opportunity for those who preach the Gospel. The world needed God and pastors everywhere pretended that God only was only available on Sundays from 10 am to 11:30 am. Hibbs and his anti-government and science friends held the keys to the kingdom in their hands and told everyone that God was unavailable unless they got their way. That petulance and disobedience is not lost on the unsaved.
"In 2020, it became evident that what was unfolding was the fact that God, though He didn't cause the COVID issue, was using it to test His church and purify His people. Pastors and Christian leaders shared a genuine concern to protect the welfare and health of their churches and communities. However, this later became a standoff between political agendas and obedience to the Word of God. As we continue through 2021, the next phase of testing will most likely come to the church by way of persecution. The onslaught of societal issues will demand supremacy, trumping a biblical worldview. That thought should not surprise the Western church. In every generation for the last 2,000 years, believers in every age and culture have been appointed to forms of persecution. The result was and will be excellent--a cleansing and purging of the church." - Jack Hibbs
What Hibbs cannot see is that God may have used COVID to expose the hirelings in His pulpits. To expose pastors who are more interested in purpose driven goals and tithes than the safety and well being of the sheep entrusted to them. I will not allow Jack Hibbs to rewrite history here. He reopened his church just a few months into this worldwide pandemic. Tens of thousands of Americans have died since then. His characterization of a standoff between political agendas and obedience to the word is asinine but it is the end product of polluting the church with the politics of this world. His foreboding of persecution is equally stupid. Asking people to avoid situations that could kill them is not persecution. The cleansing and purging of the church is already well underway in response to the great apostasy, of which Hibbs is a part. Don't get me wrong, there is persecution in the world today. The underground church in China or the deaths of martyrs across the Middle East will attest to that. Telling American churches they temporarily cannot hold mega-gatherings for an hour and a half on Sundays however, is not persecution. It was common sense.
"We all love the awesome dynamic biblical accounts of great exploits of faith and victories in the face of certain opposition and even death. Those accounts become our encouragement in trying times like these. The church that is taking a stand and has determined to obey Scripture, to be salt and light, to be the hands and feet of Jesus and to be the voice of hope to a perishing culture--that church will be deemed to be at odds with this world. Humanly speaking, the world will make many good and reasonable arguments as to why the church must stay closed and stand down--to comply in the face of "public safety" or "political correctness"--but its argument comes from its value system, while ours comes from Jesus Christ. I believe we are entering into times of testing. These days of testing must come to prove that the church is neither essential nor nonessential, but rather transcendent. The true church of Jesus Christ will be as a light shining on a hill, a beacon to those who are lost and willing to be hated by the world for the cause of Christ, which is the redemption of the souls of men. Let's take courage by remembering what Jesus went on to say: "For you have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name" (Rev. 3:8b)." - Jack Hibbs
Ok, first of all, comparing biblical exploits of faith and victory to stomping your feet like a spoiled child at the government is ridiculous. Holding a service on Sundays is not what it means to be salt and light to a dying culture. Defying the governing authorities is not obeying scripture - it is disobedience. Are the hands and feet of Jesus only accessible at Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills on Sunday mornings? Look how ignorantly he glosses over public safety and conflates it with political correctness. Protecting people from a deadly virus was not "politically correct." Make no mistake about it beloved. Jack Hibbs' arguments for violating law and reopening his church had nothing to do with Jesus Christ and everything to do with Jack Hibbs. A true church of Jesus Christ does not need an hour and a half on Sundays to be essential. The apostate church today is not like the church from Philadelphia. It is in fact the church of Laodicea. Do not allow the Jack Hibbs's of the world rewrite history. He reopened his church in the heart of the worst pandemic in a hundred years and in doing so consigned his sheep to serious illness or death. He had no biblical reason for doing so.
Reverend Anthony Wade - May 28, 2021