John MacArthur Is Right About the Myth of Government Persecution of the Church
I don't agree with all of John MacArthur's theology, especially his anticharismatic views. (See, for example, Michael Brown's Authentic Fire: A Response to John MacArthur's Strange Fire.) That aside, I appreciated what he recently said about the myth that the government is persecuting churches, and why his church is still not having the doors open on Sundays. Here it is.
What would have made a difference would have been if this was persecution of the church, if all of a sudden the government decided to shut down churches as an act of persecution against churches. We would defy that because now you’re into Acts 5 where Peter actually says, “Do we obey God or men?” You say we don’t meet, God says we must meet. You say don’t preach the gospel, we say we must preach the gospel. So when the government gets to the point where it basically persecutes the church, the church has to take that persecution and still do what God has commanded the church to do.
The other thing that we talked about with the elders was if we defy this and if we say we’re going to meet anyway, we run the risk of exposing people to this illness needlessly. And why would we want to do that? Because this is a health issue, this is a health crisis. And since like any church, many of the people in our church are older. We wouldn’t want to expose them to that. We’ve only had, as far as I know, and this was up to yesterday, we’ve only had one couple in our church in the Spanish ministry who actually got the coronavirus. But that couple, and 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. Let it be. Whatever is going to be is 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.”