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Letters to the Editor: A megachurch pastor’s dangerous defiance of COVID-19 rules

Grace Community Church members make their way to Sunday service in Sun Valley on Sept. 13.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: In a country built on the separation of church and state, how can the government prevent large indoor worship services when the pastor of Grace Community Church, John MacArthur, defies an order to limit attendance to slow the spread of COVID-19?

This is an extremely large congregation in Sun Valley that follows the precepts of its pastor, who asserts, “The one who’s behind the virus of deception is the arch deceiver Satan himself.”

Are people so taken by their faith that they lose their reason? One church member said that God knows when people will die and his believers should not fear death. But these believers, by attending a packed church service indoors, risk hastening their deaths to a time that God might not want.

America has always been a land that prided itself on having religion as a foundation for deciding between right and wrong. But there are times when people should take a moment to reason with themselves about whether what they are being told is in their best interest.

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Barry Wasserman, Huntington Beach

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To the editor: McArthur is one of the best Bible teachers in the world. His knowledge and understanding of the scriptures are second to none.

I have heard him teach on multiple occasions about the requirement that Christians obey the civil authorities that govern them. Their powers are derived from God, who ordained them. This is God’s law for Christians. It’s in the book of Romans, Chapter 13.

Yet you report that McArthur is operating in open defiance of the authorities with regard to coronavirus restrictions.

Now what do I do? I thought Romans 13 was clear — not always convenient, but clear. Are we to reinterpret the scriptures to fulfill our wants and needs? God forbid.

Mark Wenzel, Woodland Hills

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To the editor: MacArthur unfortunately revealed a primary reason for holding indoor church services. On Aug. 30, congregants gave the church $40,046, which according to The Times was almost six times more than the previous Sunday.

Meeting outdoors and practicing proper social distancing makes it difficult to pass the collection plate.

Clay Wells, Newport Beach


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