John MacArthur’s position on COVID-19 restrictions on church meetings
Moriel & James Jacob Prasch have received messages regarding John MacArthur’s decision to defy the California state imposed restrictions on church meetings, which has even come to include bans on home meetings & Bible studies (as in Soviet Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran & Communist China).
The covid virus that has been Communist China’s gift to the world has been corrupted into a political issue and not primarily a scientific & medical one.
Data on the efficaciousness of existing quinine based medication, the media suppression of contrary medical and scientific opinion by eminent professionals, the manipulation of statistics neglecting to relate increased diagnosed cases to increased testing, and the ignoring of decreased infection rates in places such as Sweden where no lockdown was ever enforced or implemented, are just a few of the causes for popular confusion.
Accusations that the political left is deliberately misusing the pandemic to depress the American economy in league with refusal to stop urban rioting in cities and states with left-leaning governments as an electoral strategy to turn voters against Donald Trump is another aspect being highlighted by some voices. So areaccusations that globalists are exploiting the pandemic to engineer political, economic, and social crises internationally in order to oppose populism.
All of these views indeed may have merit as secular issues. Our concern however are the issues concerning the body of Christ. Is john MacArthur and others like himScripturally correct in their position?
For the record, a Moriel affiliated church in California has adopted a modified position akin to that of ‘grace to you’ and masters seminary although they are practicing social distancing, face masks etc. But why?
It is no secret that Moriel & Jacob Prasch are at theological odds with John MacArthur in several basic areas of dogma & praxis.
Eschatologically we deem John MacArthur’s teaching that there will be those following the rapture who accept the mark of the beast yet who will be saved and go to heaven to be both false and dangerous and in diametric contradiction to Revelation chapters 14, 16, & 20.
Pneumatologically despite our own hard core opposition to hyper charismatic & ultra-Pentecostal extremism (Neo-Montanism) with its mysticism, emotionally governed pseudo spirituality, and hermeneutical Gnosticism seen in the New Apostolic Reformation, Word Faith money preaching, and counterfeit revivals (Toronto, Lakeland, Hillsong, Pensacola etc), we co-equally abhor the Cessationism of John MacArthur on the opposite pole of the spectrum. Suppressing the Holy Spirit and mutilating the texts of 1 Corinthians to make it say that which it exegetically does not. Both extremes are deception and lunacy.
Philosophically despite the common ground we share with John MacArthur on the fundamental essence gospel and our similar caveats contra-ecumenical seduction,we find the reformed proposition that a god of love intentionally created certain people to be eternally tortured in hell to be aCalvinistic repackaging of the ‘inja allah’ teaching of Islam & the Koran, combined with Calvin’s 16th century humanism. Jesus taught us that ‘hell is a place created for Satan & his demons’, and Jesus died and arose so that no one would ever need to go there, though an omniscient God know the future. We do not subscribe to the patristic theology of Augustine whose Platonism was seminal in the development of Roman Catholicism, despite his maintaining certain true things as well as the introduction of error alien to the New Testament and the apostolic church.
Soteriologically we hold that John MacArthur is confused in his understanding of the blood of Christ and ignorant in his convolution of the death of Christ and his blood.
Ecclesiologically the text of 1 Corinthians Chapter 5 warns us that in certain circumstances there can even be a ‘guilt by association’, but always by cooperation. John MacArthur’sheinous partnering with a nefarious figure like Tim Keller and a neo-gnostic like John Piper who leads the ‘lectio divina’ visualization ritual with mystical Gnostics such as Beth Moore and Francis Chan, is nothing short of pathetic. To align with those who what you profess and know to be serious error is nothing short of hypocritical. When ministry becomes built on theocratic politics instead of on doctrinal theology, ugly fruit can be the only result. We have tragically witnessed Mr. MacArthur’s deputy, Phil Johnson in bed with Chris Rosbrough & son, famous for their supposedly satirical use of excrement vulgarity and on-line four letter swear word profanity represented as being somehow ‘Christian’. Rosbrough rejects any belief in a mark of the beast or a literal antichrist and teaches that the millennial reign of Christ with Satan being bound commenced with the ascension of Christ. Rosbrough propounds sacramental regeneration and proclaims that forgiveness of sin comes from confessing one’s sin to him to receive absolution. Being in league with such a deceiver is indefensible, but that is what Phil Johnson of master’s seminary does. Mr. Johnson lends credence to Doreen Virtue who claims to have had a 3D apparition of Christ, depicted by an artist in accordance with her description, who had no stigmata and (thus) was never crucified for our sin, yet had a protruding Roman Catholic-style sacred heart emanating from his chest. She has just this week published her fourth book on this claimed apparition despite claims that she has renounced it a few months earlier. Yet it is Doreen Virtue whom Phil Johnson enlisted on a video to defend john MacArthur’s erroneous teaching concerning Mark of the Beast.
For the aforementioned reasons, Moriel & Jacob Prasch cannot recognize john MacArthur as a solid, Holy Spirit illuminated expounder of God’s Word, though our own convictions are so often in harmony with so much of what Mr. MacArthur and his colleagues otherwise write and declare from the pulpit. We therefore do not address the current Covid-19 issue in any sense as his devotees.
In California, and elsewhere, leftist gangs can congregate for premeditated civil unrest, the demolition of public monuments, and the violent dissemination of hate speech, often against Christians.Christians however, cannot assemble for prayer, fellowship, and worship. The abortion mills are open for non-therapeutic termination of pregnancy; killing babies as a form of birth control.
Cannabis clinics are also open in California for the procurement of marijuana. Churches however, must be closed.
God may indeed be allowing this as a judgment on apostate churches such as Rick Warren’s Saddleback and Bill Johnson’s Bethel in Redding. However, Christ-centered and scripturally-based houses of worship are also off limits by the decree of a left wing governor known for his anti-conservative Christian political biases.
Unfortunately, we are unable for the reasons listed above to applaud or salute John MacArthur’s actions and his stance as we would have preferred to do. We do however, on the basis of Acts chapter 4, affirm his policy as scriptural. While we are prevented by his bad theology from standing in solidarity with him, in this case we do stand in solidarity with his actions.
It is moreover disturbing to us that so many of his traditional supporters are dividing from him, not over the kinds of doctrinal issues we mention, but because of his reaction to this unjust interference in the affairs of the church by an ungodly politician in Sacramento. In this at least, john MacArthur has our prayers and empathy (for what little they may be worth to him).
Finally, we are forced to regard any citation of the criminal charges brought against his son for alleged financial impropriety in his secular business to be a low blow. Whether these allegations are to any degree a politically motivated misuse of the judicial process by anti-evangelical secularists of the kind California is renowned for, we do not know. We do of course thank God for the
Constitutional principle of ‘innocent until & unless proven guilty’ enshrined in American law (which is also under assault in California by radical feminist advocates of corpus juris). Be these things as they may, they ought not be a factor in the present equation.
Proverbs 11:1 commands that we are not to have unequal weights & measures. If we stand in critical opposition to John MacArthur when we believe him to be wrong, Christian honor demands that we stand in support of his position when we believe that he is right.
James Jacob Prasch