John MacArthur has been on the frontlines opposing the tyranny of the California government that is relentlessly trying to shut down his Grace Community Church in Los Angeles. The looming threat of arrest and jail time for John MacArthur is reminiscent of some of the great martyrs in history. That MacArthur is willing to stand against this tyranny even with this threat should be an inspiration to the Church.
But, sadly, it’s not.
In fact, many church leaders have openly opposed MacArthurs stance — Al Mohler even suggested that what he’s doing could be “malpractice” and 9Marks, Jonathan Leeman and Mark Dever have taken opposite stances. Most leaders have refused to stand with him or ignored him altogether.
This is not the first attempt by the county to retaliate against Grace Church. Last month, the county threatened to order the utilities to but shut off at the premises where the church meets and also served a notice of closure for their on-campus coffee shop by the Department of Public Health. The government has repeatedly threatened MacArthur with fines and even arrest for non-compliance.
Last night, MacArthur spoke with Laura Ingraham on Fox News. Besides giving Laura Ingraham, a Roman Catholic, the gospel, he also told her that if he’s arrested, he’s “open for a jail ministry.”
“We received a letter with the threat that we could be fined or I could go to jail for a maximum of six months,” MacArthur said on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle. “… My biblical hero, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, is the Apostle Paul. And when he went into a town, he didn’t ask what the hotel was like – he asked what the jail was like because he knew that’s where he was going to spend his time. So I don’t mind being a little apostolic. If they want to tuck me into jail, I’m open for a jail ministry. I’ve done a lot of other ministries and haven’t had the opportunity to do that one, so bring it on.”
Unfortunately, that could very well be the case. MacArthur and his church have been embroiled in court battles over this for a number of months now, with victories and setbacks, one after the other. But MacArthur has vowed to stay the course despite the clear government overreach that is happening to this, and many other, churches.
Thankfully, the Church still has great leaders like John MacArthur to model what it is like to shepherd a church through persecution. There are few left of such notoriety today, but we must not forget all of the unknown pastors who, as well, are standing in the path of tyranny for the flocks. We should continue to pray for these churches as well as John MacArthur.