It is gross and unseemly to see so many pastors and theologians squabbling over John McArthur’s resumption of church services. If you have not read it, you can read his letter here about why his church is going to defy California’s orders.
McArthur makes a biblical argument for resuming church services. He does not even cite the First Amendment other than to note he is not using it as a defense.
Naturally, everyone has an opinion and some pastors were critical of McArthur. Some accused him of grandstanding. Some think he is going to harm his community.
Why not shut up and pray? You all know my strongly held opinions on these matters. Let me add one more — were I in McArthur’s congregation, I’d opt out of in-person appearances as I do not feel comfortable. Given the pictures of the crowds from his Sunday service and a packed house, I do worry for his congregation that they were so eager to get back together that there could be a problem. Time will tell. But McArthur is the shepherd to a flock and he knows best how he needs to shepherd that particular flock. Your church might be different.
Undoubtedly, California has sent mixed messages to churches about how to operate and has, in some cases, treated them differently from other businesses. I understand the concerns McArthur’s congregation has.
If you are a pastor somewhere else, feel free to do differently. But I see no need to be a schoolmarm about it.
Part of what I think is happening, frankly, is that a bunch of pastors and theologians squabbling over this have various evangelical ministries and nonprofits now. McArthur has Grace to You. There are others out there. They’re all feeling their way along in this and there’s quite a bit more No Grace For You than grace right now.
But the bottom line is that what is good for McArthur’s church might not be good for yours and vice versa. There’s no need to throw stones.