On today’s Briefing, Al Mohler discussed the recent Supreme Court ruling that governments can hold tighter restrictions on churches than they can casinos referring to the decision as “malpractice” on behalf of the courts. The president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary then went on to suggest that out of “love for neighbor,” churches in many cases should close their doors if the government tells them to.
Without rightfully handling the text, Mohler cites Romans 13 as part of his reasoning. However, the Scriptures never command churches to accept blind allegiance to government and submit to them.
Mohler then suggests that in the wake of John MacArthur’s church’s decision to remain open despite the government’s mandate to close,
We need to pray that the leadership of every gospel church would be rightly directed by Scripture under the Lordship of Jesus Christ to be a model of obedience to God and of respect and love and concern for neighbor. We need to demonstrate courage and commitment, and we need to pray for discernment. We need, at this point, to call out the malpractice of the United States Supreme Court and do our very utmost to avoid any malpractice of our own.
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Mohler says that he has, “argued that churches should cooperate with authorities, and that churches “should respect and follow guidelines handed down that are reasonable and neutral and generally applicable.” However, he never draws a clear picture of what “reasonable” is. If we use the Scripture as our guide, we are never called to quarantine healthy people and corporate worship is central to Christianity and the Christian life. Worship is not optional — it is commanded barring providential hinderance.
Instead of coming up with every excuse to justify the continual fear of man and government as we keep our churches closed and discourage people from corporate worship, we ought to be thanking God for pastors like John MacArthur who have the courage to stand up against the tyranny and show us exactly what it means to be a man of God — something most pastors today know nothing of.