Does the Bible Trump COVID-19 Public Health Orders? Legal Scholars Say No

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Does the Bible Trump COVID-19 Public Health Orders? Legal Scholars Say No


(RNS) — For the past two Sundays, Grace Community Church pastor John MacArthur has defied California’s COVID-19 regulations by opening the doors of his church, allowing un-masked congregants to sing in close proximity to each other.

Lawyers for the church say that Grace Community Church and MacArthur could face $1,000 a day in fines for doing so.

Church leaders say they will follow the Bible instead of health regulations.

“We will obey God rather than men. We’re going to be faithful to our Lord,” MacArthur told his congregants in a July 31 video. “We’re going to leave the results to him.”

MacArthur and the church’s elders say Grace Community Church’s actions are founded on biblical principles. According to a statement, church leaders believe that the government is charged with protecting civic order and well-being. But the government can’t dictate “the doctrine, practice, or polity of the church.”

Meeting together in person and singing together are commanded in the Bible, say church leaders. To stop meeting or singing would be to disobey God.

“As His people, we are subject to His will and commands as revealed in Scripture,” the statement reads. “Therefore we cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings. Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord’s clear commands.”

That approach is…

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