August 17, 2020
Note. After writing this article, Brother David Houston informed me that GCC lost on appeal. See, BREAKING: LA County wins Appeal: County can ban church services. I will follow up on that in the next few days.
This article is a follow-up on A Warning From God’s Word to Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church which explains that Grace Community Church violated the Bible principle that a church should be solely under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. How? By becoming a legal entity, a “fictitious person” under the authority of civil government via the Fourteenth Amendment, by incorporating and obtaining Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. She rejected her Biblical, spiritual, eternal, First Amendment status in favor of secular, earthly, temporal, compromised status. Churches such as GCC have a form of godliness but deny the authority of God. This article will, very briefly, comment on subsequent developments in the GCC situation and how they dishonor the Lord Jesus Christ. A final note below this article explains the biblical road that MacArthur and GCC should have followed.
GCC filed suit in civil court, and claimed victory in that suit. In CA Pastor Hires Prominent Lawyers To Fight Newsom’s ‘Unconstitutional’ Order To Shut Down Church, July 7, 2020. GCC went to her chosen authority seeking permission to hold services. The article exposes God dishonoring arguments that the lawyers made to the church’s chosen authority, the court. The believer who cannot correctly, on the basis of Bible principle, analyze the problems with those arguments, needs to delve into deep study of the Bible. Believers and churches are commanded to fight a spiritual warfare and how to do so:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Ephesians 6:10-18.)
Instead, MacArthur and GCC totally ignore their Supreme Commander’s orders. Neither MacArthur nor his attorneys, at least in the statements in the article, mention one Bible verse or principle to back up their position. Their arguments are secular. They fight in the devil’s courtroom using secular arguments. Their arguments and statements are not biblical.
It remains to be seen whether the state will appeal, and, if they do, the outcome. From the perspective of the word of God, GCC loses, no matter the final court decision.
As reported in the articles, MacArthur incorrectly stated, for example:
- “Never before has the government invaded the territory that belongs only to the Lord Jesus Christ” and told us, we can’t meet. We can’t worship. We can’t sing.” [This is a lie. The territory does not belong only to the Lord Jesus Christ as explained in A Warning From God’s Word to Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church]
- “This is not the first time we as Christ’s church have stood for Truth.” “We will continue to stand firm for the Truth today like we have every prior day in our 63-year history and in the over 2000-year history of the biblical, New Testament Church. [GCC is not a Church under Christ, it is not “Christ’s church.” It is a church which is substantially, for many matters, under the authority of the state of California, through its chosen corporate status, and the federal government, through it’s chosen 501(c)(3) status. They choose which “truths,” if any, they will stand for.]
- We stand firm to continue fulfilling our biblical mandate from Christ to proclaim the Gospel and assemble together, and I earnestly hope that our stance will encourage other pastors, churches, and the general public across America and the world to also stand firm for biblical Truth. [They have not stood firm on that mandate. They are asking the state to give them permission to meet. Below, this article will briefly explain how they could have stood firm the Bible way, God’s way. Their stance grieves those pastors and churches who know God and His word. Their stance does not stand firm for biblical Truth; instead, their stand denies Bible truth. MacArthur and GCC cause the general public to blaspheme the name of Jesus because lost people know a fake when they see it.]
- Church is essential. [Not churches like GCC. GCC betrayed the Lord many years ago. She is not a biblical New Testament Church. Yes, they decided, after initially folding on the issue of assembling, to fight their authority in their authority’s court. They were obliged to do so because they had freely chosen their authority. No matter the decision of their authority, they lose, in the eyes of God. That is, unless they repent toward God, get rid of their legal status, and proceed according to God’s Word.]
In Historic Win: John MacArthur in Lawsuit over Church Restrictions, we read that “A judge ruled late Friday afternoon that Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, can continue hosting indoor worship services and does not have to adhere to any attendance caps or bans on singing.” “MacArthur said in a response to the court’s ruling, “I am very grateful the court has allowed us to meet inside and we are happy for a few weeks to comply and respect what the judge has asked of us because he is allowing us to meet. This vindicates our desire to stay open and serve our people. This also gives us an opportunity to show that we are not trying to be rebellious or unreasonable, but that we will stand firm to protect our church against unreasonable, unconstitutional restrictions.” It remains to be seen whether the state will appeal, and, if they do, the outcome. By the way, who is he referring to when he says, “We” and “our people?” A church is an assembly of believers, all working together exercising their God given gifts. A church under Christ is a spiritual body made up of born again spiritual believers:
- “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will” (1 Corinthians 12:1-11).
- “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind” (Ephesians 4:11-17).
- “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (1 Corinthians 12:14-27; 1 Corinthians was written to the local church at Corinth and the principles apply to all local churches. The “ye” (a plural in the King James English) spoken to is the church at Corinth.).
How sad is the whole affair from a Bible Christian perspective. Compromising churches and pastors cause the world to blaspheme the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the rapid decline of the percentage of those being saved in America. Again, lost people know a fake when they see it. GCC and most churches in America are modeled after and run like businesses, to one degree or another. They, like businesses are legal, not spiritual entities, organized according to legal, not Bible, principles. They are entertainment centers who find out what people want and give it to them. Most fight a worldly political warfare, not a heavenly spiritual one. They seek to turn America to God when they themselves have turned from God and his principles. Their hope is in America, not in God. They fail to understand preeminent Bible principles such as the principles of government, church, the relationship of church and state and the application of those principles.
The Biblical Methodology
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution and corresponding state constitutional provisions protect those churches who choose to remain under Christ and Christ alone. No law mandates that a church in America become a legal entity. Were there such a law, the Bible commands churches not to obey that law. See, for example, Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses. Churches in China, North Korea, and many other nations of the world have been forced to go underground in order to honor the Lord. Churches in America can choose to remain under Christ alone, without persecution. This ministry helps churches who choose to organize according to Bible principle. See, Churches under Christ Ministry Website. The website covers the many matters – Bible principles, legal precedents, explanation of incorporation and 501(c)(3) status and other legal status, history and meaning of the First Amendment, etc.
Once a church is so organized, that church will not be a legal entity. She will be under Christ only. By suing, submitting to an attempted suit against the church, or doing anything in the legal system, she chooses to forfeit her status as a church under Christ alone. Should someone attempt to name her in the suit, she must, through a person, inform the court that she is not a legal entity (contest jurisdiction). At that point, facts must be presented by the adversary to establish that she is a legal entity and there are no such facts: the church owns no property ( a church can, for example, meet in someone’s property, in property owned by a trust arrangement whereby all trust property belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ), the church has no employees or salaries (the church members can, according to the Bible, provide for the pastor and his family, if able, through gifts for which the pastor can pay income taxes without compromising the integrity of the church), the church has no bank account (God’s money can be placed in a bank account owned by the Lord Jesus Christ).
The only option, for the state who wishes to come against a Church under Christ, is to come against the individuals of the church. This is how church-state establishments, atheistic states such as the Soviet Union, Red China, Korea, and many Moslem nations have always handled the matter. Roman Catholic establishments brutally tortured and murdered fifty million plus so-called heretics who would not bow down to their ungodly organizations. In the present crisis, a Church under Christ alone could obey God. They could meet, worship God, sing praises to His name, and do all they are called to do regardless of civil law. A tyrannical state could cite, arrest, and charge individual church members. The state might choose go against only one person, probably the pastor. If released, he could again obey God; or another could step up, be cited, charged, and arrested. Etc. Each could claim their Bible and First Amendment positions. Each could confront the adversary. Each could wrestle against principalities, powers, the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Each could, like Bible believing martyrs since the beginning of the church, give their all for their Lord and fight God’s warfare God’s way. Each could display to the world the power of God. Had authentic churches, from the founding of this nation and on, like the colonial dissenters whose stand resulted in the First Amendment to the United States Constituion (see, The History of the First Amendment), done so, America would not be the moral, political, and spiritual cesspool that she has become.