“We’re not going to kill people by being open,” said MacArthur. “We may save them from a fate worse than death, and that is eternal judgement in hell.”
He continued, “I would just encourage you: Open your church. We have just followed the Lord, the head of the church. We will obey God rather than men.” MacArthur also encouraged attendees to vote in the upcoming presidential election and to vote for the candidate whose views are most aligned with biblical values. Believers, he said, cannot vote for a candidate who supports same-sex marriage, transgender behavior, and the murder of babies.
Quite a few of the speakers joined MacArthur in exhorting attendees to vote in the presidential election. Che Ahn, pastor of Harvest Rock Church, was another who did so. Ahn’s church has also sued the state of California, and the pastor said that while he is hopeful God is working a revival in the U.S., he thinks it is extremely important to pray and to vote. “I believe that this election is the most consequential election, the most important election,” he said.
Perkins added to these exhortations by encouraging attendees to also call their senators and to ask them to support Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
Dr. Albert Mohler, who joined Freedom Sunday remotely from Louisville, Kentucky, told Perkins he believes that the restrictions politicians have imposed on churches go far beyond what the situation merits. “We see a political opportunism here by the secular Left that goes beyond anything that we even saw coming with the pandemic,” he said, specifically mentioning the governors of California and Nevada, as well as the mayor of Washington D.C.
“You know, reasonable, temporary, general restrictions in a pandemic, they make sense,” said Mohler. “And so out of the love of God and love of neighbor, we respect those.” However, he believes “there is an overt secular hostility that is using the pandemic as an opportunity. It’s opportunistic, and we’ve gone far beyond anything reasonable. There’s overt discrimination against Christians and religious groups.”
Mohler voiced what seemed to be a general consensus during the Freedom Sunday event that Marxists and others on the Left are taking advantage of COVID-19 to make war on the church and the nuclear family. “Should we really be surprised that lawlessness has been unleashed on the streets of America as the church has been locked down by overreaching politicians?” asked Perkins. According to author and columnist Larry Taunton, the recent outcries against racism are actually part of a Marxist narrative promoting injustice, and pastors who speak out in favor of racial justice are actually promoting Marxism.
Mohler addressed the perspective of some who say that, based on Romans 13, Christians should comply with government orders not to meet in person. Verses 1-3 of that chapter say:
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
While Mohler acknowledged the validity of this passage, he pointed out that we also have the examples of Daniel, as well as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who defied governing authorities when those leaders commanded them to worship false gods. Mohler added, “The Apostle Paul would not declare that the Roman emperor was God and paid for it with his life as a martyr.” So the SBTS president believes that “when we see an order not to worship the one true and living God…we’ve got to call it what it is, and we’ve got to resist.”
In addition to a biblical basis for our freedom to worship, we also have constitutional protection for that freedom. Our founding fathers, said Mohler, “understood that if we don’t defend freedom when it’s at risk, then we lose it.”
Perkins asked Mohler if it is time for the church to resist government restrictions. Mohler responded, “When they are not temporary, they are not rational, and where they are not generally applicable, where there is discrimination against religion…yes, it is time to say, enough is enough.”