“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Warning and Disclaimer: If you are unable to separate your political views from your spiritual beliefs nor able to set aside your anger or frustration of the condition and conduct of government, including worldwide; then do not read this article. There is a desperate need to return to the simplicity AND truth of the Gospel, to apply discernment and wisdom, to test and try the spirits according to the Word of God.
Truly we as believers must learn to discern and fact check those who fill the pulpits today. This article is not about the rights or wrongs of whether churches are being discriminated against during this pandemic. But rather, the error, deception, and misuse of the Scriptures and other facts in an obvious and blatant about face from complying with government guidelines to defying them. As believers we need to apply Biblical practices and look at what is said and taught with a clear and objective view of the facts. Whether you agree with John MacArthur’s statements to comply or his statements to defy government, the bottom line is, facts and Scripture have been twisted. The entire point of this article is to show John MacArthur is not trustworthy, upright, or honest in his handling of facts and Scripture.
In May2020 John MacArthur put out a statement in response to other pastor’s continuing to hold full services, even though the government limited the size of the meetings. MacArthur fully supported compliances with the government guidelines and condemned those that didn’t comply. Then in July 2020 he flipped, defied those guidelines, and went full service. Again, this is not about which decision is right, it’s about the error, misuse of scripture and other facts that is misrepresented here. John MacArthur continued to “preach” every Sunday from live stream and as he himself states he reached people he would never have reached having his regular services. He speaks of how “his” congregants are reaching out and ministering etc.. He does several interviews defending compliance with government guidelines and reiterates the need to protect the people.
Then in July, he, holds full service, no masks, singing etc. with no social distancing. Preaching that the Sunday morning physical church meeting is the only truth and righteousness in this world. He, himself had said that these types of situations will promote lawsuits if someone gets the corona virus. Now he has no concern for the congregation’s wellness. There are many errors, contradictions and misquotes in the video’s, with contradictory statements. I pray that all are watched in full, to get a full understanding of how convoluted and misleading this is.
“Do you believe it is biblical when some pastors in America continue to hold services even though the government has instructed them not to?
JM: Very important question and a very important biblical answer… let me make very clear this question because it keeps coming up. If the government told us not to meet because Christianity was against the law, if the government told us not to meet because we would be punished, fined for our religion and our religious convictions, we would have no option but to meet anyway. And that takes you to the fifth chapter of Acts where the leaders of Israel said to the apostles, “Stop preaching.” And Peter’s response was very simple. He said, “You judge whether we obey God or men,” then he went right out and preached.”
“ But this is not that. Might become that in the future. Might be overtones of that with some politicians. But this is the government saying, “Please do this for the protection of this society.” This is for greater societal good, that’s their objective. This is not the persecution of Christianity. This is saying, “Behave this way so that people don’t become ill and die.” – MacArthur (1) http://communitygrace.church/pastors-blog/2020/5/17/notes-of-faith-may-17-2020-1
Since his May statement what followed were a series of interview videos of John MacArthur where he continued to reinforce his scriptural position that we as believers should comply with government guidelines. Listed below are both quotes (compliance and then the decision to defy guidelines) by John with his reasons for compliance followed by quotes from his July 26, 2020 sermon holding full services without using any safety measures. I encourage everyone to listen to them in full and continue to fact check John MacArthur’s statements and usage of Scriptures.
QUOTES taken from (2)https://youtu.be/t2ixUp5KKn8 (interview by Phil Johnson)
12:12 mark: Compliance: (concerning a couple from the church)“Who actually got the corona virus, but that couple, not an older couple either, wound up in the hospital, because it was such a virulent experience for them. So we wouldn’t want to say, well, let them come to church and mingle with everybody else and let it be whatever it’s going to be. That doesn’t make sense, we wouldn’t purposely expose our people. That’s not caring for your people. We wouldn’t purposely expose them to that and since we wouldn’t have known, we just said, look, we’re not going to do that. “
“Well we wouldn’t want to needlessly, why would we want to expose people to that? So, it was a pretty easy thing to think about. If this is happening at this level, this is in the plan of God. This is in his purpose, so what would we do that would maximize the impact that we could have in a different environment? And that’s where we said, it didn’t take me two seconds to immediately say, hey, I’m going to preach on Sunday, I’m going to preach on live stream and we’ll just let it go and as I said just a few moments ago, it’s covering the globe, so we’re reaching people we never would have reached by not having the service in the normal way.” (13:50)
John MacArthur saying that the preaching of the gospel via live stream is reaching more souls than his regular Sunday service, had he not complied with the government guidelines. So why would he want to subvert God’s plan in July 2020, if indeed, as he says, this covid-19 was in God’s plan? Which of course it is. This is noted because John later states that the church/his church is being hindered from preaching the gospel. He takes his congregation in completely different and opposite directions within a few weeks/months and justifies it all with scripture. How confused and or deluded his congregants must be.
Phil Johnson question: “With the prospect of this going longer and longer, do you think the elders will reconsider, you know, when do we get back together, or are we just going to wait until the world opens up again?” JMac: “I don’t know the answer to that, I don’t know the future. I do know that those people who defy that order, in this litigious society, this country is going to see lawsuits, the likes of which it has never seen. Every person who is at the disposal of an attorney, is going to be marching in the direction of suing somebody, if they contacted this illness somewhere in public place, whether it’s a market or whatever. I mean it’s already started, there are lawsuits. So you don’t want to expose yourself needlessly to that either… I think in all honesty the thing is over exaggerated. I mean we all know that the initial reports were that two million to four million Americans could die. Now, as of today, it is down to fifty thousand and that’s less than died of the normal flu last year. “ (14:36)
This was April 24, 2020). John’s reinforces the compliance with government guidelines and emphasizes not only not wanting anyone to be infected with the virus in his church but also points out the threat of being sued by those who do contract it. What also needs to be pointed out is that John’s church could have meant, in of course much smaller groups and or outside with social distancing, masks etc. yet all along his statements lend to the government shutting the church down completely. Why then didn’t John continue to comply with full government guidelines and meet with small groups, outside, social distancing etc.?)
“It is true, that the Lord will accomplish His purposes and His will through this. We don’t have to defy the powers that be, in order, to accomplish the will of God.” (17:33)
But then he does.
“If you can terrify people, if you can make them afraid, you can control them. Basically, that how Hitler operated. He made people fear Christianity and then he wiped out the church. Made people fear the Jews and he massacred the Jews.” (20:55)
Hitler didn’t wipe out the church, he used it and even claimed he was Christian.
“My feelings as a Christian point me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter.” ~ Hitler (3)https://www.learnreligions.com/adolf-hitler-on-christianity-quotes-248190
“ But we are Kingdom people and, you know, my kingdom is not of this world, is exactly what the Lord said and if my kingdom was of this world my servants would fight. Right? But we don’t fight. (27:05)
Then he defies government guidelines and hires attorneys to represent him and his church.
“you don’t have any leverage in the culture unless you’re a victim. “
“It is unconstitutional for Governor Newsom and the State of California to discriminate against churches by treating them less favorably than other organizations and activities that are not protected by the First Amendment,” (32:47) (4)https://ministrywatch.com/l-a-threatens-macarthur-grace-community-church-with-fines-arrest/?fbclid=IwAR2tO86yZnl-Xc3bwIPEG9u64sfDlkVo5siC7PS9B9V9aqtB52sdii-OLBU
NOTE: This is a quote from MacArthur’s attorney’s Doesn’t this place him and his church as a “victim”? Again “we wrestle not against flesh and blood” Eph. 6:12.
Christianity is not a drug. Christianity is not a vaccination. Christianity is not going to save you from the virus. ….isn’t it amazing how little the healers, the supposed healers have to say in the middle of the corona virus? Where did they all go? Where are they when we need them most (36:55)
John seemingly agrees with those he has previously called out as false teachers by saying God will take care of us. This sounds eerily like those cults that preach blind faith and healing and refuse to seek medical care for themselves or their children. (see the 44:20 minute mark of his July sermon) “You came because you’re not afraid, because God takes care of all of us.” Now it seems John has lost his sensibility, responsibility, and care for his congregation in exposing them to the virus, while telling them God will take care of you. To not take any precautions at all is completely ignorant and foolish.
John MacArthur’s sermon July 26,2020 in defiance of government guidelines (5) https://youtu.be/t2ixUp5KKn8
(John MacArthur just read Eph. 1) “ And everything is in subjection under his feet, including the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that fulfills all in all. Just as a body is in submission to the head physically; so, the church submits to it’s head, the governing and ruling authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now and forever, he gave the son , notice that it says in verse 21 that He is far above , hyper, super , high above, in this age and even in the age to come. Eternally he is the supreme one, everything is in subjection to him. John Calvin said “hence should anyone call us anywhere other than to follow Christ, he is empty, full of wind. Let us therefore without concern bid him farewell. “ (14:13)
John MacArthur partially quotes John Calvin, one of his favorites I’m sure, and the quote is taken out of context: Calvin was speaking of Colossians chapter 2 verse 19 not Eph. 1: Here is the entire quote:
“Not holding the Head. He condemns in the use of one word whatever does not bear a relation to Christ. He also confirms his statement on the ground that all things flow from him and depend upon him. “Hence, should any one call us anywhere else than to Christ, though in other respects he were big with heaven and earth, he is empty and full of wind: let us, therefore, without concern, bid him farewell.” Observe, however, of whom Calvin is speaking, namely, of those who did not openly reject or deny Christ, but, not accurately understanding his office and power, by seeking out other helps and means of salvation, (as they commonly speak,) were not firmly rooted in him.” (6) https://www.ccel.org/study/Colossians_2:19
Calvin was referencing other believers whereas John MacArthur is using it to reference the world/ unbelievers, that’s why part of the quote was left out about heaven and earth. This is called quote mining:
“Quote mining (also contextomy) is the fallacious tactic of taking quotes out of context in order to make them seemingly agree with the quote miner’s viewpoint or to make the comments of an opponent seem more extreme or to make it seem that the opponent holds positions they don’t in order to make their positions easier to refute or demonize.[note 1] It’s a way of lying.” (7) https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Quote_mining
“Daniel disobeyed the king, because the king told him to disobey God. Not to pray, he only asked for 30 days of submission, temporary mandate. Daniel threw open his windows and prayed openly and publicly for those 30 days 3 times a day.
“( 36:07)“The apostle Paul, often disobeyed rulers, who wanted him to deny the Lord Jesus Christ and stop preaching he refused to do that ( 36:50)
There is no comparison to Daniel. Daniel was instructed to petition or pray to the king and not God.
Dan 6:7 “All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.”
Nowhere in the government guidelines is John MacArthur or any believer instructed to pray to the governor or any government official. Nowhere in the government guidelines is MacArthur or anyone else instructed to stop preaching Jesus, the Gospel, or even meeting. The instruction is to meet in small groups with social distancing. Paul and the apostles in Acts were told to not preach Christ. John MacArthur is trying to create a case of persecution where none exists. He has been preaching every Sunday and he even says he has reached people he would never have reached in his “regular” service.
“when orders come however, to us, that contradicts the orders of our King, we have to obey God rather than men.” (42:40)
The Government did NOT order pastors to stop preaching and as pointed out John MacArthur never missed preaching a Sunday sermon. He lays an erroneous foundation of persecutions.
“we were told millions were going to die. It was just sensible and rational to be protective. (43:20)
Again in his interview with Phil Johnson, he clearly states that the virus is not as bad as they predicted but it is still irresponsible to put anyone at risk. Yet that has changed in July
“and the commands to not assemble didn’t apply to protestors. And riots” (43:40)
NOTE: Strawman argument.
“little by little Sunday by Sunday you kept coming back. (43:51)
“Why did you come back? You came back because your heart cries out to be here. This is where you live and move and have your being. You came because you’re not afraid, because God takes care of all of us.” (44:20)
The message John is sending with this last statement is similar to those who preach and teach at TBN where Christians are exempt from the virus.
“The Lord brought us back little by little, to worship, to fellowship, to ministry, Bible study, youth groups; and then this incredible week with 350 little kids running all over this place. The unanimous will of the people has expressed itself. (44:43)
It is interesting that he uses these words. They are, for certain, more political than scriptural. Often when the “majority” speaks and demands what they want in scripture, the outcome is never good. 1 Sam. 8:19, the people wanted a king, Numbers 11 the people wanted meat, manna versus quail. Many more instances come to mind where the people were unanimous in what they wanted, and it ended badly and always spiritually bankrupt. John also shifted the decision to the people rather than his and his boards choice to open in full. Again, a great political maneuver on his part, but church is a theocracy and not a democracy. We don’t get to vote on what God does or doesn’t do.
“Why not sooner? Predictions of death. Why now? Aren’t we putting people in danger? The real danger in this world is spiritual isn’t it? (45:00)
Now, he downplays taking responsibility or any sensible care in not exposing others to the virus by spiritualizing the danger. The remaining minutes of this video is John MacArthur pointing out how low the death rate is compared to other illnesses, abortions, alcohol etc. that people die from every year. It is all strawman arguments and contradicts, his own statements that he previously made concerning not wanting to expose others. There is one other statement that he made that must be pointed out.
“this year they’re all going to be higher because the hospitals were shut down. 14000 people die every year form accidents, 5000 people from suicide and that’s going higher this year as well. How could they close the hospitals?” (47:28)
I have been unable to find anywhere where Hospitals were closed or shut down by the government during the pandemic. If anyone has any knowledge of this, please feel free to comment. It is a gross misstatement to say that hospitals were shutdown, leaving the hearers with the distinct impression that those deaths related to accidents, suicides and other health issues are going to be higher due to the closures. John MacArthur used scripture to support his agenda in May 2020 and then uses scripture to denounce that same decision and support his new decision in July. Can anyone see what is wrong here? It must always be in the front of our minds that the Church is not a building, it is people, that assembling is not the great commission, going and preaching the Gospel is, making disciples of all nations is. Assembling is just what the Church does, and biblically it look completely different in the 1st generation church where people met in homes, by rivers, where ever and how ever they could as they were under persecution.