I read the article about a highly visible megachurch pastor who was embarrassed by his fellow pastors because they said he “started a spitting contest” with the government.
As I read the article about this pastor, it felt like Oprah’s interview with Meghan and Prince Harry. My first thought was, “Who cares what these people think?” My second was, “How can two obscenely wealthy people make themselves out to be victims?” Or, as in the case of this pastor, “How can his critics be so smug toward those who struggle in smaller churches?”
He said he is “embarrassed” by churches that engaged in “spitting matches” with state and local governments over COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, lamenting that far too many churches “abandoned the mission for the sake of the model.”
He went on, “I thought, ‘Wait a minute. We’re the Body of Christ. We’re not in it to win it.’ As you’re in it to win it, you’ve abandoned our New Testament mandate. We’re in it to serve, and there is more need than there has ever been. Everybody’s experiencing the same thing, all at the same time—that’s never happened before. Not just all over our communities, our country, but the whole world,” he charged.
This pastor said the pandemic “presented the church with a tremendous opportunity to focus on external ministries and accelerate online programs.”
He is wrong.
1. Pastors who reopened did not “abandon the mission for the sake of the model.” These brave pastors do not reopen just because of a model of meeting in buildings. To reduce their heroic act to a nostalgic need for a model is truly insulting. These men and women of God did not face persecution, fines, and arrests for a model!
They were also obeying the Bible’s specific instructions about the last days: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
No wonder this pastor believes that a clear Biblical command is just an outdated model. He has demonstrated a lack of reverence for scripture before. He even once taught that we need to “uncouple ourselves from the Old Testament.”
The cause of pastors who have reopened their churches is freedom and justice. They were obeying God rather than man. They were opposing a blatant violation of the First Amendment. While this celebrity pastor may think he wants to preach the gospel—he is utterly wrong because he is not opposing the attempt by the Left to ban the Gospel in America that will inevitably come. It was the leaders who reopened their sanctuaries who were standing for soulwinning.
2. Then this celebrity pastor said: ““I thought, ‘Wait a minute. We’re the Body of Christ. We’re not in it to win it.’ As you’re in it to win it, you’ve abandoned our New Testament mandate. We’re in it to serve…” The church is supposed to serve, but she is not supposed to act like a battered wife and remain loyal to a tyrannical government. The same church that stood against racial injustice must also stand against a rogue government that is codifying immorality and perversion—a rogue government that is silencing anyone who disagrees with their agenda.
The lockdown of the church and small businesses was not done to stop the virus. If it were, then big box stores would not have stayed open. And why were Black Lives Matter protestors and Antifa, standing shoulder to shoulder without masks, allowed to riot and to destroy $1.9 billion in property?
Democrats see small businesses and churches as strongholds for the family values they are trying to destroy. This was never about stopping a virus—it was always about destroying the opposition. The brave preachers who have refused to shutdown are being faithful to the mission! Just as Paul opposed the officials in Acts 16:37 when he said to them “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.”
3. This pastor is arrogantly forgetting that he had enough money to remain closed when many of these smaller churches did not. Not only this, but some churches closed for good because they couldn’t afford the bells and whistles that online technology demanded. This is truly hurtful. And it grows out of what I believe is his disdain for smaller churches. He once even intimated that parents who didn’t walk away from smaller churches to join ones that could provide a good program for their children were being selfish.
This mega church pastor should not be embarrassed by his brethren. He should be ashamed of himself. By insulting his fellow preachers who acted out of duty and truth, he has sided with and encouraged the enemies of the church. He is grandstanding to “woke” enemies of the church. He is virtue signaling to the people who hate God and discouraging the ones who do love God.
The Covid crisis has shown which pastors are following scripture. Some have held in-person services since July amid the many restrictions placed on churches by California. Yet one of the largest California megachurch pastors doesn’t believe California is targeting Christianity. He said the virus crisis has “revealed a fundamental weakness in the Church” which is that most churches view worship as their only purpose. Wait. What? He said that worship is all those churches have. But HIS church has more than JUST worship! His church has: ministry, mission, fellowship, and discipleship going on. He apparently thinks his church is unique, and that other churches are lacking those four purposes that his church has going on.
Let me say that I have never been prouder of those of my brothers and sisters in Christ who have opened their churches. God bless you all!