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John MacArthur's Tortured Arguments for Defying COVID Order

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828ministries.com H3'ed 7/28/20
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"An additional point needs to be made in this context. Christ is always faithful and true (Revelation 19:11). Human governments are not so trustworthy. Scripture says, "the whole world lies in the power of the evil one" (1 John 5:19). That refers, of course, to Satan. John 12:31 and 16:11 call him "the ruler of this world," meaning he wields power and influence through this world's political systems (cf. Luke 4:6; Ephesians 2:2; 6:12). Jesus said of him, "he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44). History is full of painful reminders that government power is easily and frequently abused for evil purposes. Politicians may manipulate statistics and the media can cover up or camouflage inconvenient truths. So a discerning church cannot passively or automatically comply if the government orders a shutdown of congregational meetings--even if the reason given is a concern for public health and safety." - John MacArthur

You mean that Christ is always faithful unless you do not like the way Romans 13 affects your ability to meet in public. That aside, look at the dripping arrogance here. The brushing aside of concerns for the public health from a pastor is staggering. Of course we discern but there is no discernment being displayed here. This is simply a pastor who garnered a great deal of criticism for originally complying who now seeks to use the bile to justify reversing his position.

"The church by definition is an assembly. That is the literal meaning of the Greek word for "church"--ekklesia--the assembly of the called-out ones. A non-assembling assembly is a contradiction in terms. Christians are therefore commanded not to forsake the practice of meeting together (Hebrews 10:25)--and no earthly state has a right to restrict, delimit, or forbid the assembling of believers. We have always supported the underground church in nations where Christian congregational worship is deemed illegal by the state. When officials restrict church attendance to a certain number, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible for the saints to gather as the church. When officials prohibit singing in worship services, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible for the people of God to obey the commands of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. When officials mandate distancing, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible to experience the close communion between believers that is commanded in Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, and 1 Thessalonians 5:26. In all those spheres, we must submit to our Lord." - John MacArthur

The first error here is in thinking an assembly must only be in a corporate church building. Are you seriously making a biblical argument that God looks badly upon virtual corporate worship? That only gathering in your mega church qualifies? That is a specious argument at best. It is not impossible for the church to gather during this time. A plethora of congregations still meet online, with teaching being streamed and pastors actually behaving like pastors in outreaching all of their saints. Church after church still operate benevolence ministries helping the community during this time as well. You can obey the word and obey the state at the same time. You just need to get over yourself. What MacArthur also never mentions is that these orders are temporary. They are to help defeat the deadly virus killing so many people.

"Although we in America may be unaccustomed to government intrusion into the church of our Lord Jesus Christ, this is by no means the first time in church history that Christians have had to deal with government overreach or hostile rulers. As a matter of fact, persecution of the church by government authorities has been the norm, not the exception, throughout church history. "Indeed," Scripture says, "all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12). Historically, the two main persecutors have always been secular government and false religion. Most of Christianity's martyrs have died because they refused to obey such authorities. This is, after all, what Christ promised: "If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:20). In the last of the beatitudes, He said, "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:11-12)." - John MacArthur

Are you serious? In the face of 150,000 dead and four million infected you want to argue that being asked to stay home is persecution? Really? This peddling of the victim mentality for the church is usually reserved for the NAR dominionists. Sad how far MacArthur is willing to fall here. Maybe he can rest in this being predestined.

"As government policy moves further away from biblical principles, and as legal and political pressures against the church intensify, we must recognize that the Lord may be using these pressures as means of purging to reveal the true church. Succumbing to governmental overreach may cause churches to remain closed indefinitely. How can the true church of Jesus Christ distinguish herself in such a hostile climate? There is only one way: bold allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ. Even where governments seem sympathetic to the church, Christian leaders have often needed to push back against aggressive state officials. In Calvin's Geneva, for example, church officials at times needed to fend off attempts by the city council to govern aspects of worship, church polity, and church discipline. The Church of England has never fully reformed, precisely because the British Crown and Parliament have always meddled in church affairs. In 1662, the Puritans were ejected from their pulpits because they refused to bow to government mandates regarding use of the Book of Common Prayer, the wearing of vestments, and other ceremonial aspects of state-regulated worship. The British Monarch still claims to be the supreme governor and titular head of the Anglican Church. But again: Christ is the one true head of His church, and we intend to honor that vital truth in all our gatherings. For that preeminent reason, we cannot accept and will not bow to the intrusive restrictions government officials now want to impose on our congregation. We offer this response without rancor, and not out of hearts that are combative or rebellious (1 Timothy 2:1-8; 1 Peter 2:13-17), but with a sobering awareness that we must answer to the Lord Jesus for the stewardship He has given to us as shepherds of His precious flock. To government officials, we respectfully say with the apostles, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge" (Acts 4:19). And our unhesitating reply to that question is the same as the apostles': "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). Our prayer is that every faithful congregation will stand with us in obedience to our Lord as Christians have done through the centuries." - John MacArthur

Sigh. John MacArthur is better than this. At least he used to be. The verse from Acts is when the religious leaders told the apostles to stop preaching the Gospel. It has nothing to do with the state and more importantly, this situation is not preventing the spreading of the Gospel. It is about the fact that we are going through the worst pandemic in 100 years and in the face of so many people dead, you would think the first place for compassion would be the church of Jesus Christ. So sad that so many mega-church false teachers gathered together starting with Rodney Howard Browne to demand an unbiblical defiance of authority thumbing their nose at the state, the bible and all other human beings. So sad that from Browne it has now ended with the once respected MacArthur. He added an addendum to this statement, trying to explain away why he complied originally and now defies the order. Within that addendum is this unbelievably callous statement:

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3 people are discussing this page, with 11 comments  Post Comment

whitelily227

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Protests are okay

Here's another point: Protests are okay. In one weekend, half a million were out there rioting, pillaging and burning but we can't have church. Fauci himself could not answer when he was questioned by Congress about this double standard. Either it's safe to be in groups or it's not. If you can't see the agenda behind this fauxdemic by now, you must be blind.

Submitted on Saturday, Aug 1, 2020 at 12:46:49 PM

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Anthony Wade

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Please Comment

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 28, 2020 at 11:24:23 PM

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Win DeWitt

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Astounding

Wouldn't it have been considerably more Christ-like to have just said, "I understand, what else can we (as a church) do to help?" His verbosity and scripture after scripture twisted ever so slightly looks like someone falling all over themselves to try to prove themselves right (when they know they're wrong). So much easier just to do the loving thing. But love no longer seems to have any relevance....

Submitted on Wednesday, Jul 29, 2020 at 11:54:00 AM

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Reply to Win DeWitt: Thanks

yeah i am always worried when someone seems to be throwing scriptures against the wall

Submitted on Friday, Jul 31, 2020 at 3:28:26 PM

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whitelily227

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Persecuted Christians go to church

Stop it! This is very cowardly of you. I don't agree with John MacArthur on everything but he is speaking truth. Persecuted Christians are fellowshipping together and you think we should cancel it here in free America. They are under penalty of death and they get together. How much longer should we hide from a virus with a 0.25% mortality rate? I live in NYC and it's getting obvious that despite our very low numbers, we will not be fully open anytime soon. This is ludicrous! Didn't we lockdown so that hospitals would not be overwhelmed? What happened to that argument. I went with my husband to his oncologist appointment on April 22 At NYPresbyterian and his doctor told us things were calm again. His staff concurred. Stop the fear mongering! You should start reading the CDC reports and guidelines for your self. Almost all of the deaths have been of people with pre-existing conditions or very elderly. Kids are doing fantastic. The virus is real but if you take a look at the dictionary definition of pandemic, you will realize that we are not in the midst of one. There is no pandemic!

Submitted on Friday, Jul 31, 2020 at 2:10:08 PM

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Reply to whitelily227: well

It is sad that you do not care about 159,000 dead people. It is a shame that you think the elderly or sick are somehow disposable. A lot of kids are doing fantastic, well except those that are dead. Please do not make semantical arguments in the face of such death. You sound callous not Christian. MacArthur is not only wrong but his butchered the bible to defend a choice he knows he never should have made

Submitted on Friday, Jul 31, 2020 at 3:26:38 PM

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whitelily227

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Reply to Anthony Wade: It's not a pandemic!!!

Why is my pointing out that this is not a pandemic a problem? Why does my wanting to go to church the same as believing that lives are disposable? You make a very poor argument and you assume that I am okay with people dying. 150,000 dead out of 330,000,000 (and probably another 30 million illegal immigrants) is not a pandemic. Just look up the word pandemic in the dictionary. How long will we stay locked down? This virus cannot be stopped. We have state of the art medical facilities, testing treatments, antibody testing, plenty of PPE and ventilators and a much better knowledge of what this virus is. Why should we cower in our homes any longer? By the way, Florida got caught cooking the numbers. It's a fact that Cuomo was sending people back to nursing homes when the nursing homes told him that they could not take them. Javitz, the ship, samaritans purse all almost empty and we're closed down. My husband had stage four cancer last year. I spent nine months disinfecting and cleaning everything he touched so he wouldn't get sick. He almost died twice. I'm not saying to throw precaution to the wind but we can't stay home forever. I learned that Death can come at any time for anyone. Everyone who is scared is saying "just stay home" but have no plans to reopen. That's unsustainable. The numbers of suicide, domestic abuse, child abuse, drug overdose and murder are through the roof. But I do ask you: How long should we cower in our homes? What makes this a pandemic? Will you answer my questions?

Submitted on Saturday, Aug 1, 2020 at 12:40:41 PM

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Reply to whitelily227: well

I will not quibble over definitions. 150,000 are dead, period. You have made it clear they do not matter to you. They do to me and they should to Christians. I am not "cowering." I am exercising wisdom. Be well, and i hope you don't get it.

Submitted on Monday, Aug 3, 2020 at 12:48:25 AM

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Win DeWitt

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Reply to whitelily227: There is

Having looked up the dictionary definition of "pandemic", Covid-19 is definitely a pandemic. Jesus said, where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst. That's all it takes to have church. The most persecuted Christians were those of the first century. And yes, like others now, they still met. They established Christianity...meeting in their houses! There were no church buildings - they met in each other's houses or had hidden meetings down in the catacombs. And they did not whine about it! We can do that now. Get together with a few of your Christian friends and have church in your house. Keep it safe and when the pandemic is over, go back to your huge church buildings. Just remember that the purpose of meeting together is to worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He Himself said it only takes 2 or 3 for Him to be there. We Christians are never at a loss for the presence of our Lord and that is what it is truly all about!

Submitted on Friday, Jul 31, 2020 at 6:26:25 PM

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Reply to Win DeWitt: How exactly?

Can you show me how 150,000 out of 330,000,000 (not including the tens of millions of illegal immigrants) is a pandemic? The CDC says this disease has a 0.25% mortality rate. States have already been caught cooking the numbers repeatedly. How is this a pandemic?

Submitted on Saturday, Aug 1, 2020 at 12:38:19 PM

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Reply to whitelily227: well

please stop with the foix news talking points. The states are not cooking the numbers and Florida was caught doing the opposite.

Submitted on Monday, Aug 3, 2020 at 12:49:28 AM

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