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UPDATE: Mark Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church Win’s COVID-19 Lawsuit; District of Columbia Ordered to Pay

Video Sermon’s Aren’t A Substitute

According to the lawsuit, Pastor Mark Dever has not been live streaming the sermons of Capitol Hill Baptist Church during the pandemic because “a video sermon is not a substitute for a covenanted congregation assembling together.” The church holds the belief that corporate worship gatherings of its entire congregation is a “central element of religious worship commanded by the Lord.”

Dever posted a video on May 20, 2020 entitled “Why Christians Gather?” The pastor explained Christians are called to get together. Dever shared some church history, explaining how Christians gathered in the temples until they were thrown out, meeting in the Hall of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9), and gathering in large homes so many could worship together regularly. He explained that Christians gather together to hear the Bible read, hear the Bible preached, join together in prayer, give, baptize, and to take the Lord’s supper. Speaking about the buildings themselves, Dever said “they’re not special sacred places, buildings we are trying to get in, so we can get to some mystical power source. What we want to do is be with each other as the people of God. Ultimately the church is not something we want to be in as a building, it’s a people we want to be with.”

Capitol Hill Baptist Church Is Currently Meeting In A Field

The Washington Post reports that CHBC has been meeting in a field outside of a Virginia church for the last several months. The lawsuit states that the church has been offered to use a large outdoor space that would accommodate their numbers but has to have a waiver from the District of Columbia government to be able to use it. CHBC pledges to “ensure that each household is distanced by at least six feet” and “instruct all individuals without medical exemptions above the age of two years to wear masks for the duration of the service.”

Other Churches Have Filed Lawsuits

Earlier this September, North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara, California dropped their lawsuit with the county over orders that prohibited them from meeting indoors. The church decided to start meeting outdoors instead. On September 10, 2020 a California judge sided with Los Angeles county’s move to shut down Grace Community Church’s indoor worship gatherings because they violate the county’s COVID-19 mandatory regulations.

You can read the entire lawsuit filed by CHBC here.