Got to decide between obeying God’s word or secular world’s opinion!!! EXAMPLE John MacArthur!


Got to decide between obeying God’s word or secular world’s opinion!!!

‘They want to shut us down’: Megachurch holds service in defiance of Los Angeles order

California appeals court overrules judge’s order that would have allowed in-person services

By Valerie Richardson– The Washington Times – Sunday, August 16, 2020 

Los Angeles megachurch Grace Community held indoor services Sunday in defiance of a local public-health order, just hours after an appeals court blocked a ruling that would have allowed the evangelical services to go forward legally.

Pastor John MacArthur, who has led the congregation in Sun Valley for 50 years, told worshipers who packed the 3,500-seat sanctuary that “the powers of the city were not happy” about the church’s decision to file a lawsuit Friday challenging the novel coronavirus mandates.

“They don’t want us to meet, that’s obvious,” Mr. MacArthur said from the pulpit. “They’re not willing to work with us. They just want to shut us down. But we’re here to bring honor to the Lord.”

He said it was “hard to figure out exactly what the city is trying to do with us and to us,” but insisted “we’re not meeting because want to be rebellious, we’re meeting because our Lord has commanded us to come together and worship Him.”

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant rejected Friday Los Angeles County’s request for a temporary restraining order to stop the church from holding indoor worship, and the church agreed to have parishioners practice social distancing and wear facial coverings until the full hearing Sept. 4.

“They were going to be asking us to do two things, social distance and wear masks,” said Mr. MacArthur. “We agreed, [saying] look, we’ll comply for a few weeks. They asked that for three weeks. We’re not wanting to be defiant. We will do what is reasonable. That was not enough for the city. They went to the appellate court Saturday late, and had that order removed.”

The California Court of Appeal issued a stay of the judge’s order, ruling that the dangers of COVID-19 outweigh the right to hold services at the popular church, where Sunday attendance has in pre-pandemic years topped 8,000.

“As between the harm that flows from the heightened risk of transmitting COVID-19 (namely “serious illness and death”) and the harm that flows from having to conduct religious services outdoors instead of indoors, the balance at this early stage favors issuance of a stay,” said the court in its four-page order.

Mr. MacArthur said that the “good news is, you’re here, you’re not distancing, and you’re not wearing masks.”

“And it’s also good news that you’re not outside, because it’s very hot out there, so the Lord knew you needed to be inside and not masked,” he said.

The church also offers an outdoor tent, but the recent heat wave has made that option problematic. The high temperature forecast Sunday for the San Fernando Valley community was 94, with an excessive heat warning issued for the county.

The Supreme Court has ruled twice in favor of state authority to issue emergency orders in lawsuits by churches challenging coronavirus health restrictions, but the Grace lawsuit argued that California Gov. Gavin Newsom had discriminated against churches with his lax enforcement of public-health mandates on protests.

“Grace Community Church is doing exactly what they have for 63 years—holding church,” said Jenna Ellis, attorney with the Thomas More Society, which represents Grace. “They have tried to be reasonable and work with LA County, but the County would not accept anything short of shutting down the Church entirely.”

Breaking: California Court of Appeal upholds ban on indoor church services, sets aside lower court order allowing Grace Community Church to meetCalifornia Court of Appeal upholds ban on indoor church services, sets aside lower court order…disrn.com9:59 AM · Aug 16, 20203533 people are Tweeting about this

In a statement, Los Angeles County said it was “pleased that the California Court of Appeal recognizes the vital importance of our Health Officer Orders in protecting the lives and health of our residents as we work to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.”

In a statement, Los Angeles County said it was “pleased that the California Court of Appeal recognizes the vital importance of our Health Officer Orders in protecting the lives and health of our residents as we work to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.”

“LA County showed clearly their discriminatory intent,” said Ms. Ellis in an email. “This isn’t about health. Pastor MacArthur simply held church, and the California and US constitutions protect his right to do that. He is rightly standing firm that church is essential.”




What is ahead of us? I would suggest that we must have Two Tracks in mind.

The First Track is the fact of the conservative swing in the United States in the 1980 election. With this there is at this moment a unique window open in the United States. It is unique because it is a long, long time since that window has been open as it is now. And let us hope that the window stays open, and not on just one issue, even one as important as human life—though certainly every Christian ought to be praying and working to nullify the abominable abortion law. But as we work and pray, we should have in mind not only this important issue as though it stood alone. Rather, we should be struggling and praying that this whole other total entity—the material-energy, chance world view—can be rolled back with all its results across all of life. I work, I pray that indeed the window does stay open. I hope that will be the case.

Now the window is open and we must take advantage of it in every way we can as citizens, as Christian citizens of the democracy in which we still have freedom. We must try to roll back the other total entity. It will not be easy to roll it back because those who hold the other total world view of reality have no intention that it will be rolled back. Those who hold this view are deeply entrenched, they have had their own way without opposition for a long time, and they will use every means to see that the momentum they have achieved, and the results they have brought forth in all fields, will be retained and enlarged.

For example, all you have to do is to consider the way the media treated Dr. C. Everett Koop. Dr. Koop is one of the foremost pediatric surgeons in the United States, and among other honors, he was given the highest honor of the French government for his pioneering work in pediatric surgery. But when he was nominated for the position of Surgeon General, he was attacked by the secular media with total disregard for objective reporting—and with total disregard for his brilliant humanitarian record as a surgeon. Those in the media holding the humanist world view could not tolerate Dr. Koop’s voice to be heard—they could not tolerate his articulate defense of the sanctity of human life to be expressed.

We must understand that there is going to be a battle every step of the way. They are determined that what they have gained will not be rolled back. But it is our task to use the open window to try to change that direction at this very late hour. And we must press on, hoping, praying, and working that indeed the window can stay open and the total entity will be pressed back rather than the whole thing ending only in words.

Some of us, however, who have some position of leadership, must unhappily be thinking of the possible Second Track.

The Second Track is, What happens in this country if the window does not stay open? What then?

Thinking this way does not mean that we stop doing all we can to keep the window open. Nevertheless, some people must be thinking about what to do if the window closes. And though we hope it stays open, what happens if it does not?

Now let’s ask ourselves where we are in the sociological atmosphere of our country. Think of the counter-culture people out of the sixties. By the end of the sixties they had given up their hope of an ideological solution on the basis of drugs or on the basis of Marcuse’s New Left. That is, by the end of the sixties they had given up their two optimistic, ideological hopes.

(page 458)

As we consider those who came out of the sixties and seventies we see there are not many anarchists around us in the United States. In Europe, however, there are a growing number of young anarchists—in West Germany, especially West Berlin, Holland, Great Britain, and even Switzerland. These anarchists are there. They have a cry, “No power to nobody!” They paint a large A on the walls of beautiful cathedrals and beautiful old churches and government buildings. Anarchists! They are nihilists. I saw a graffito on the wall of a government building in Lausanne a few nights ago which read: “The State is the enemy. The Church is the collaborator.” What they practice in their lives is exactly what the words of punk rock say. Most people do not listen to the words of punk rock, even if they listen to the music. The words of punk rock speak of nihilism, hopelessness, the meaninglessness of life, anarchy. This group in Europe is now living that way and in practice stands against total society.

(page 459)

But that has not happened in the United States. In the seventies the counter-culture young people who had given up the hope of an ideological solution of drugs and of Marcuse’s New Left began to join the system in order to get their part of the affluence and thus be able to live their own lifestyle. That is what we find in the seventies and the beginning of the eighties. They may continue to use drugs but no longer as an ideological solution. If they use drugs it is now rather as the traditional use of drugs, for personal escape.

Now I want to add something to that. In the Nixon era we heard a lot about the Silent Majority, but most people did not realize that there were two parts to that Silent Majority among the older people. There was the majority of the Silent Majority and there was the minority of the Silent Majority.

The majority of the Silent Majority were those who had only two bankrupt values—personal peace and affluence. Personal peace means just to be let alone, not to be troubled by the troubles of other people, whether across the world or across the city. Affluence means an overwhelming and ever-increasing prosperity—a life made up of things and more things—a success judged by an ever-higher level of material abundance.

On the other hand, the minority of the Silent Majority were those who were standing on some kind of principle, and often with at least a memory of Christianity even if they were not individually Christians.

(page 459)

We must realize that if you take the join-the-system young people and the majority of the Silent Majority, though they may have very different lifestyles, they support each other completely sociologically. They are in exactly the same place. In this respect, we must remember that although there are tremendous discrepancies between conservatives and liberals in the political arena, if they are both operating on a humanistic base there will really be no final difference between them. As Christians we must stand absolutely and totally opposed to the whole humanist system, whether it is controlled by conservative or liberal elements. Thus Christians must not become officially aligned with either group just on the basis of the name it uses. (Page 460)

Terry Eastland in Commentary says:

It is the style nowadays not only among the college-educated but also among many blue-collar workers to be economically conservative but socially and morally liberal. This, translated, means balance the budget but decriminalize marijuana and cocaine and let us have abortion on demand. If the liberalism of the sixties has a definite legacy, it is found in the far more liberalized and hedonistic lives many Americans, including many older Americans, and indeed many political conservatives now, lead.

(page 460)

What percentage in the 1980 election voted out of principle and what percentage voted for a change of some sort in order to increase their own affluence? George F. Will is a columnist for 360 newspapers, including the Washington Post, and is a contributing editor for Newsweek. In a February 16, 1981, article entitled “Rhetoric and Reality” in the International Herald Tribune, he wrote: “In 1980, the electorate’s mandate probably was about 20 percent for conservatism and 80 percent for improved economic numbers, no matter how produced.” Notice the important phrase: “no matter how produced.”

Long before I read that quote I said that was what had happened. I would not dare give such exact percentages, but I think what George Will is stating is exactly the case. And if the improved economic numbers are not forthcoming, then what? With the two sociological groups of the join-the-system young people and the affluence-centered older ones supporting each other, do you think the window that is open will stay open?

With the window that is open we must beware of letting a foolish triumphalism cause us to think that all is now won and certain. We hear: “There is a new wind blowing.” True, but often those who say this, or something like it, then forget that this does not mean the new wind will automatically keep blowing. It does not mean we can return to the practice of false views of spirituality. And it does not mean we can withdraw from a struggle for continued reformation, even if it is at great cost to us personally and to our favorite projects.

(page 461)

And if the window does close, if people do not get their “economic numbers no matter how produced,” I do not think there will be a return to the old liberalism of the last fifty years. Rather, my guess is that there will be some form of an elite authoritarianism just as I suggested at the conclusion of How Should We Then Live?

All that would be needed in much of the Western world is even an illusion of what George Will calls “improved economic numbers” to accept some form of an elite to give at least the illusion of these numbers. And as I said in How Should We Then Live? this will be especially so if it is brought in under the guise of constitutionality as it was under Caesar Augustus in the Roman Empire. If it could be brought in in that way I think there would be hardly a ripple.

(missing some on page 461 and page 462)

What form of elite might take over? A number of thinkers have set forth their predictions. John Kenneth Galbraith (1908- ) has suggested an elite composed of intellectuals (especially from the academic and scientific world) plus government. Daniel Bell (1919- ), professor of sociology at Harvard University, saw an elite composed of select intellectuals made up of those who control the use of the technological explosion, a technocratic elite. Speaking more recently, Gerald Holton (1922- ), Mallinckrodt Professor of physics and professor of the history of science at Harvard University, seems to agree with Bell. The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 18, 1981, quotes Holton in an article entitled, “Where is Science Taking Us? Gerald Horton Maps the Possible Routes.”

Therein lies the problem. More and more frequently, major decisions that profoundly affect our daily lives have a large scientific or technological content, he says, “By a recent estimate, nearly half the bills before the U.S. Congress have a substantial science-technology component,” he says, and “some two-thirds of the District of Columbia Circuit Court’s caseload now involves review of action by federal administrative agencies; and more and more of such cases relate to matters on the frontiers of technology.
“If the layman cannot participate in decision making, he will have to turn himself over, essentially blind, to a hermetic elite,” Mr. Holton said in the interview last week. Then, he continued, the fundamental question becomes, “Are we still capable of self-government and therefore of freedom?
“Margaret Mead wrote in a 1959 issue of Daedalus about scientists elevated to the status of priests,” Mr. Holton said.
“Now there is a name for this elevation, when you are in the hands of—one hopes—a benevolent elite, when you have no control over your political decisions. From the point of view of John Locke, the name for this is slavery.”

For myself I think we should not rule out the courts, and especially the Supreme Court, as being such an elite for these reasons:

They are already ruling on the basis of sociological, arbitrary law.
They are making much law, as well as ruling on law.
They dominate the two other parts of government.

They rule on what the other two branches of government can and cannot do, and they usually go unchallenged. It has been said that in the last couple of years the Supreme Court has tended to defer to the other two branches of government. However, while one could hope this will set a trend toward self-restraint away from an “Imperial Court,” the figures suggest otherwise. In the first 195 years of the existence of the United States the Supreme Court voided only ninety-one acts of Congress—that is, considerably less than one every two years. In the last ten years it has voided fifteen acts of Congress—that is, an average of one and a half acts of Congress have been voided each year.

At the same time I would stress the fact that the main point is not trying to choose at this moment what the elite might be. Instead we must realize the possibility of such an elite if the masses do not get their “economic numbers.” As I write this there are strikes in Britain—partially, at least, because of the price of rectifying fifty or so years of flagrant economic spending. The United States has also had its fifty years of spending, and this presents a painful problem. Indeed, the political price for solving the problem may be too high to make any solution possible.

I hope the window does not close. I hope those with a humanistic world view who have increasingly controlled our culture for the last twenty, thirty, forty years, something like this, cannot close the open window with all their efforts. But if they do, if they take over with increased power and control, will we be so foolish as to think that religion and religious institutions will not be even further affected than they have been so far? I wonder how many of us are aware of the cases that the churches have faced in the last ten years in various places. The things that have been brought into courts of law should make our hair stand on end. Do you think that in such a case as I have portrayed (and may it not happen!) that the Christians and the Christian institutions will not be even further affected?

Robert L. Toms, an attorney-at-law, lists the issues pending this year and which are up for final adjudication during the coming decade before the United States’ courts, administrative bodies, executive departments, and legislatures:

1. Is a minister of the gospel liable for malpractice to a counselee for using spiritual guidance rather than psychological or medical techniques?

2. Can a Christian residence house in a college have the same standing as a fraternity and sorority house for purposes of off-campus residency rules?

3. Can Christian high school students assemble on the public school campus for religious discussion?

4. Can Christian teachers in public schools meet before class for prayer?

5. Can Christian college students meet in groups on the state university campus?

6. Can HEW require a Bible college to admit drug addicts and alcoholics as “handicapped persons”? …

7. Can a church build a religious school or a daycare center in an area zoned residential?

8. Can parents who send their children to religious schools not approved by a state board of education be prosecuted under the truancy laws?….

28. Should churches be taxed like any other part of society?

29. Can Federal labor laws be used to enforce collective bargaining rights and unionization in religious enterprises?

30. Can the State require a license before a religious ministry may solicit funds for its work?

31. Are hospitals, schools, counseling groups, halfway houses, famine-relief organizations, youth organizations, homes for unwed mothers, orphanages, etc., run with religious motivations or are they secular and subject to all controls secular organizations are subject to?

He [attorney Robert L. Toms] further says:

… two U.S. trial courts have recently ruled that a group of college students who wish to discuss religion could not meet in the context of a public state university, that religious speech must go on elsewhere since it might “establish religion” on the campus….The State must screen out religious speech from the otherwise free speech practiced on a university campus.

We might differ as to what the ruling should be in some of these cases, but that does not change the weight of the whole. It should be said that it is not only Protestants who are facing the implications of the above list, but Roman Catholics and Jews as well. 

And for Christians who are in the habit of drifting complacently, a case presently before the courts should be a loud-sounding alarm bell. As I write, Samuel E. Ericsson, an attorney-at-law, is defending Grace Community Church, the largest Protestant church in Los Angeles County, in a clergyman malpractice suit. This suit was brought by parents because the pastors of that church cared for their son (who had later committed suicide) instead of turning him over to professional psychiatric and psychological care. Obviously if the church lost this case, all religions would be greatly affected. In fact, anyone who tried to help someone with questions or fears could be sued if he or she did not fall under the category of professional psychiatric and psychological competence. And to make matters more complicated, no one has thought how to set standards acceptably for professional psychiatric and psychological competence! 

Samuel Ericsson has put the case in the proper perspective when in a letter to me dated May 1, 1981, he wrote: “I believe that clergyman malpractice, or more accurately spiritual counseling malpractice, is going to present the secular courts with a head-on clash between the two competing world views, secularism and Christianity.” 

Should not all of us be thinking what to do about it if the window does shut? The Christian theologians, the educators, the lawyers, the evangelical leadership, have not had a very good record in the past of seeing things as a whole. That is, they have not seen the contrast between the consensus which is based on there being a Law Giver and what that naturally brings forth, and the totally different material-energy, chance world view of reality and what that naturally brings forth. Now if we have not run very well in the past with the footmen when it has been so very easy, I wonder what is going to happen to us if we have to run with the horsemen? What will protect us from what is happening in most of the world today? Have we run with the footmen? Very, very poorly. What happens if we must run with the horsemen?

(END OF CHAPTER 6 page 466)

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