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Hey, everybody, welcome to this episode of the Charlie Kirk Show. I am so honored to be joined by Pastor John MacArthur. Pastor MacArthur has been a hero of mine for a couple of years. I actually heard him originally on Moody Radio in Chicago. They were rebroadcasting one of his incredible sermons and he has made news recently where he has reopened his church in defiance to Governor Newsom's orders. And he is someone that I look to for such inspiration for a theological and spiritual clarity.
So, Pastor MacArthur, thank you so much for joining the Charlie Kirk show now.
Thank you so much for those kind words. Charlie, I'm grateful to be with you.
Well, thank you. So can you give us a little bit of an update and a backdrop of what your church has been going through and some of the decisions that you have have made recently to reopen your church?
Well, I'm going to give you an exclusive that just happened today. We had a court hearing and we had basically posted an injunction against the county of Los Angeles and the Health Department to prevent them from shutting down our church altogether this coming Sunday. They filed against us to go ahead and ask the court to shut us down. And the judge ruled today in our favor. So it was an incredible win for the church. And the judge said outside, no restrictions at all with children, no restrictions at all.
They can go back to Sunday school and classes.
The only thing we ask is that when you go into the worship center, you observe social distancing in masks and you know that that's OK, because that that doesn't invade the freedom that we have to worship in our church if we have to look silly for three weeks, he said for the next three weeks and then conform to that, that's good. He ruled in our behalf and basically against the county trying to shut us down. And I understand that he wanted to make sure that he protected our First Amendment rights, but he didn't want to play doctor because the conventional wisdom is, hey, maybe social distancing in masks helped.
So do that for a few weeks. And on September 4th, we'll have a full and final hearing. But we were very, very grateful for that. So we can get out of the parking lot and go back into church. And if you want to stay out, we have outside seating as well. You can stay outside without a mask or any social distancing.
Well, Pastor, so this was a result of you suing the county, is that correct? That is correct. So some Christian. And that I have spoken to, they have some confusion around Romans 13. You wrote a beautiful letter getting some clarity theologically on how and when Christians should challenge their government. I think this is a one of the most misapplied pieces of scripture, especially during this time. Can you give some clarity on that, on why you chose to take this action to sue the county government and reopen your church?
Because essentially, Charlie, the government shut us down. They they said, well, you can meet outside, but here are the rules. There were at least 50 of them. For example, one rule was that you have to maintain a six foot perimeter around every person. And if you get inside that perimeter for more than 15 minutes, everybody inside that perimeters quarantined for two weeks. Now, we have 7000 people here last week. That was just absolutely absurd.
Then they said parking in every other parking space, one person in a restroom, it just went on and on and on. It was impossible. So for the for the last number of weeks, we just met anyway. We were basically in defiance of the health bureau's orders. We didn't know what else to do. We started out when the pandemic's was launched and we were told millions are going to die. And so we thought, well, no, we don't want to be responsible for somebody's death.
So I preached live stream in an empty auditorium for a few weeks. And then when the narrative didn't seem to hold water anymore, our people started coming back. They began to realize that there weren't dead bodies in the streets. And it became pretty clear that the death rate in California from covid is zero point zero two and the average age of the person dying is 78. And the average age of a person who dies without covid is 78. They began to put the two together and say this doesn't make any sense.
So they started coming back to church. So there were hundreds and then there were a few thousand. And then there were 6000. There were 7000. We were telling them to come, but the city was saying they can't come unless they make a reservation, turn in their name and address, get get their temperature coming in, stopped them at the at the gates and then all these impossible rules. So it was so onerous. And of course, our great confession is Jesus is Lord.
He's the head of the church, not Governor Newsome, not Mayor Garcetti and not the Health Bureau. We have protections by the First Amendment. We all know that the government doesn't give us the right to worship. The government exists by the Constitution to protect a God given right to worship. And and so our people just said worship matters to us. They they calculated that there was a very negligible risk from covid, but there was a huge risk in not gathering together as the people of God.
And then I've said this, Charlie, I'm not nearly so concerned about the flu as I am eternal punishment. Everybody is going to die.
I'm much more aware of the fact that everyone dies. And after that, the judgment and the only escape from judgment is the gospel of Jesus Christ. So we want to stay open, preach the gospel and be a shining light in the world. And our people just kept coming back and coming back. And then the order came stop. And we have in this system of government an opportunity to appeal that in an injunction against the county. And the judge upheld that and said, you can meet not only can you meet, there are no restrictions outdoors.
And if you go indoors just for the next three weeks, the judge mandated that we wear masks and social distance in families. They can all sit together.
And I thought, you know, that's reasonable. That's not an infringement on our right to worship.
And we were so thrilled with the judgment itself. And it leads us down the right path to what's to come when the covid slows down, because that's a court declaration that we have the right to meet and that can't be impinged on by any government agency.
Well, praise God, because the Supreme Court, I think, ruled incorrectly in the Las Vegas decision where it said, interestingly enough, Charlie, the judge today said he was disappointed in the ruling of the Supreme Court and he even named the one justice that we thought would vote for the church and voted against it. Yeah, Neil Gorsuch, in his dissenting opinion, had a repudiation of the majority opinion where he basically said, how could Caesar's Palace have more rights to gathering than the Calvary Chapel in Las Vegas, where the First Amendment clearly states there is the free exercise of religion and the establishment clause of the two different things.
But it is there is no constitutional right to gaming at all. And it was just an incredibly puzzling decision. So. Pastor, I guess the question that I struggled to answer, though, is just going verse by verse and word by word in Romans 13, some people think that is a reason for Christians never to challenge their government. I do not hold that view. When is it correct for Christians to pause and say this is infringing on our God given rights and I will not submit because that is the word that is thrown around a lot sometimes in Christian circles as to why we shouldn't question authority.
Yeah, and I think the answer is pretty simple. Romans, 13, basically says that government, the powers that be are ordained by God and they have two purposes to protect those that are good and to be a terror to those who are evil. So that's a very clear cut moral definition. They are to protect those who are do good works and there be a terror to those who do evil. And he gives them a weapon. God literally says they have the sword and they don't carry it around for nothing.
And the sword was not something you use to tap people on the back. It was basically capital punishment. And even Jesus said to Peter, put your sword away.
If you live by the sword, you die by the sword. So our Lord actually affirmed capital punishment as it was basically established in Genesis Chapter nine. So government is one of those critical entities that carries a huge threat and is a terror to those who do evil. Here's the problem. When that government flips that over and starts punishing people who do good. And abetting and aiding people who do evil, it forfeits its right to that authority. I can give you an illustration of that.
It's like a father. We say a father biblically has authority in the family. He has some authority and leadership lovingly over his wife and over his children. As long as he exercises that authority for their good and their well-being and their benefit, then we honor him as a father. If he says to his wife, I want you to become a prostitute. If he says to his daughters, I want you to go sell yourselves. If he says to the son, I think you have feminine characteristics.
I think I want to take you to the doctor and have you surgically altered so you can be a woman. You immediately say they don't have to obey that.
Of course, they don't have to obey that. The father is a protector and a savior. The father is one who has only good intentions for his children. It's that same perspective that is in government. And from our standpoint, we see that entity as the police.
They are the ones that have the sword. They are the ones that protect those who do good, and they are the ones that punish those who do evil. And if I can expand that for just a minute, Charlie, there's a way to understand that that's a little bit broader. So we're a bunch of colliding sinners in the world. All of us are fallen. How does this how does society flourish? How do we survive in this world? Something's got to be around to mitigate sin.
And God has established four barriers to the sinfulness of man so that he doesn't completely destroy himself. Barrier number one is the law of God written in the heart, and the weapon is the conscience. So everybody knows innately what is right or wrong. That's what violation of that produces guilt and anxiety and and even panic attacks. So the weapon of the conscience strikes, the one who violates the law in the heart, that's the first restraint in our society.
We've destroyed the law of God in the heart. People don't know what's good, what's bad. Everything's turned upside down, inside out. And if you have a guilty conscience, you ought to send it away because you shouldn't feel any shame no matter what you do. So that whole restraint has been completely obliterated in this society. That looks like the Jerry Springer Show. The next restraint is family. And what do you have in family? You have parents passing righteousness and truth from one generation to the next.
And what weapon do they carry? The Bible says they have a rod. What is a rod? It's a way to discipline children so they realize there are consequences to bad behavior. And those consequences need to be somewhat painful. So children learn not to do that. The family is the next barrier that is destroyed. This culture has obliterated the family in every sense. The next restraint is the police. The weapon is the sword, the threat of punishment, and they try to keep civil order.
What are we seeing today?
Defund the police? I mean, we're so far down the line that destroy the law of God in conscience and the family. The next to go is, is the police. Get rid of them. And oh, by the way, like Governor Newsome, open up the prison doors and let several thousand prisoners loose. 18000 in the culture. OK, that leaves one final restraint, and that's the church and the church is salt and light in the world and the church has the ultimate weapon.
That nut doesn't punish but transforms, and that's the word of God. So if you've wiped out the law of God in the heart and the conscience and you've wiped out the family and you're taken down the police, guess who's next? The church, so we're not surprised at this, but we're grateful that we have constitutional provision for us to say, whoa, you've gone too far. The police love Grace Church. I'll tell you that all last week we had them here for training.
I talked to the chief of the police in L.A. He said this to me. There's no scenario that I can imagine in which the police would ever come against Grace Community Church. We are concerned with the law, not with health ordinances. They're our friends.
We've been their friends for years. I just received another plaque from the LAPD for the service we render to them and have for many years. So they feel like they're under attack by the politicians who are supposed to be the fathers of the society. But they're murderous.
You know, they're killing babies at three hundred and sixty four a day in California in the womb, which is the most obvious case of premeditated murder there is. And they're turning over every every righteous standard in this society that they can. So they have forfeited the right to call themselves a government that protects the good and is a terror to the evil. They flipped that. The police for us are the last agency of that. We're standing with them as they're being attacked and with the church's right to continue to meet, to be salt and light in the world.
That is so beautifully said and the best articulation of Romans 13 that I have heard, so thank you for that. And I think it's so courageous what you did and are doing. And you are a leader in the Christian world and people have drawn inspiration by your courage during this time. And there are other pastors as well, Pastor Rob McCoy and Pastor Jack Hibbs, that are in similar types of battles right now and definitely the exception to what's happening.
So I want to dive into young people in our culture and kind of the crisis that's happening with this next generation. A study came out yesterday, according to the Center for Disease Control, a multimillion dollar study that they commissioned. Twenty five percent, one out of four of young people under the age of 30 seriously contemplated suicide during the lockdown. This is a generation that has whatever they need at a moment's notice, whether it be a meal or a movie.
However, it is the most miserable, directionless generation that is looking for truth, that has been taught a secular, postmodernist narrative that they can indulge themselves up to some level of, as you put it, perfectly guiltless joy, which we know, of course, really any sort of joy can only come in Jesus Christ. Can you talk about the crisis that's happening with young people right now and kind of how you have looked at this and your approach to it?
Probably shock you a little bit, but I'd like to quote Maya Angelou, she said.
A young cynic is the most hopeless of all people because they go from knowing nothing to believing nothing. That's a formula for nihilism, that's a formula for desperation.
That's a formula for emptiness.
First, you don't necessarily go immediately from knowing nothing to believing nothing to nihilism years ago to hedonism before there you just throw yourself randomly into every possible lustful fulfillment to see if you can satisfy your soul. And what that does is drive you deeper into despair because you have no meaningful relationships. And while your conscience has been attacked, it's still there and it produces guilt and guilt produces sadness and emptiness. So, yeah, the real problem is you have a generation of kids who start out knowing nothing and end up believing nothing.
That is that that is a formula for absolute nihilistic despair. And it becomes so severe that they contemplate ending their lives. There's no hope and there's no future because there's no truth. If I could bring anything to this age of millennials and I think you're a tremendous illustration of what is happening in this country, and I'll tell you where the divide comes. Conservative millennials are seeking truth.
They're seeking truth, you're there to provide that truth for them. Liberal millennials are seeking power and revolution. They're trying to find something to live for because they're totally empty. They have bought every lie that everything has to be torn down. You and the conservatives believe they want to pour their lives into building up, into making things better. But if you have nothing to live for, you're the most dangerous person in the world because you're risking nothing in risking nothing.
And the answer to all of this is not some different philosophy. You already said it. It's the Lord Jesus Christ.
He becomes the raison d'être. He becomes the reason we live and move and and look forward to the future. Look, I'm a lot older than you, obviously, and my life is so full and so rich. Every day of my life is an incredible adventure, full of joy, full of hope. Because not only do I understand what I'm doing in this world and why I'm doing it, I understand where I'm going.
And once that eternal issue is settled, joy backs up into the temporal life as well. It's about the truth. And I want to I just want to be a proclaimer of the truth. That's what I live for. And it is it is a generation right now that has been sold this idea through pop culture, through our school system and the lack of religion, that they can almost become their own God and that they are the most important thing ever to exist.
And this is why you see a generation that is very willing to destroy everything that came before them. They believe, many of them, that the church is just an obstacle to their power grab and their revolution at a very fundamental level. These movements are made up of individuals. We must remember this group identity is very, very misleading. These are individuals that all individually have bought into a very dark triad of bitterness, arrogance and deceit. And you combine those three things of which Christ is the opposite of all three of those things and not bitter, arrogant or deceitful, but instead rooted in peace, love and joy only that comes through Jesus Christ the what I call the disintegration or the cultural arsonists.
They do not believe even truth exists. And so, looking more broadly, you dealt with young people throughout your church and ministry for quite some time on. There's a lot of young people listen to this program. Hundreds of thousands of young people are going to hear what we have to talk about. What is your analysis of either young Christians or what young people can do practically and pragmatically right now in this time of chaos and crisis?
First of all, you have to have something to anchor to. You have to have a foundation of your life. And that is the truth. That has to be the truth. You can't believe lies and survive and you can't believe deception and survive. And the bigger your group of liars and deceived people, the more compounded your angst is. And it would be one thing to just be all by yourself and feel like you didn't have a reason to live.
But if you join a group, then you're bearing all the burdens of all the rest of the people who have nothing to live for. And all that ends up in is just sin and fulfillment and dissatisfaction and sadness. And you become a danger to everybody around you because you can't lose anything if you die. In fact, that might be gain for you because you're out of your misery.
So I think you can't fix the human heart in any other way than by transforming it. The natural man understands not the things of God. They're foolishness to him. We're all we all sin. There's not one righteous. No, not one. We have no fear of God in our hearts. The Bible says the problem that we have is the problem of sin dominating our lives and not providing any remedy or any way out. And you can't work your own way out by your own strength in your own power because the disease is too comprehensive.
You can't self cure. You've got to turn to somebody who can transform you from the inside out, and that's the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ, that through his death and resurrection and faith in him, you become a new creation. All things pass away and you become completely new. What I love to see is a young person with all that anxiety, all that fear, all those endless ideas that were thrown at him in a university experience, none of which carries the weight of truth, none of which is convincing.
And he becomes a cacophony of voices and his heart is empty. I love to see that kind of person meet the Lord Jesus Christ, be totally transformed from the inside and be filled with joy and peace and a reason to live. And I'm surrounded by them all the time. Our church is just full of young people. There's probably a thousand college students here every Sunday morning coming to hear the word of God. And this is a dynamic part of our church life.
So I love to see that happen. When the Lord Jesus gets a hold of a heart and transforms them and takes them out of darkness into his glorious light. And young people right now, more than any other generation, need the word of God and need renewal in Jesus Christ, and I think that it's come to a place in Apex Point where the kind of nihilism that you articulated is so widespread. And you're right, typically there is a bridge and that's the hedonistic bridge.
And some of them at a younger age than ever before, kind of played around in some form of hedonism in high school or in college. And then they get into almost a Nietzsche like belief and nihilism that there is nothing and nothing I do actually matters. And then the only thing they can find meaning in is the destruction of somebody else's meaning. And this is what was always so concerning about me, concerning to me, because the church was always supposed to be the bulwark against societal nihilism.
And when you remove the ekklesia, the gathering of believers, and then six weeks later your civilization gets lit on fire, there's probably a direct connection between not having widespread church services and people then all of a sudden turning their back on the entire society and God and on Jesus Christ. Looking at things culturally right now and where your church is, I believe. What is your opinion on the state of Christianity in America? I believe we are on the precipice of another great awakening and revival.
I have the greatest optimism that is about to happen. What do you see the Lord doing right now?
I see the Lord building his church and the gates of Haiti's will not prevail against it. The Bible says Jesus wins. We always triumph in Christ. I will build my church, he says. So I know the Lord is doing that. And I'm always excited and always joyful, even in the midst of this darkness, to be a useful tool that he can use to do that. At the same time, Charlie, in all honesty, I think in many cases the church has been reduced to a rock and roll concert, followed by a TED talk.
And that's just that's just telling sinful people what their heart desires is, if that's the way to bring them to salvation by giving the unconverted sinner what the unconverted sinner wants is not how you bring him to salvation.
What the way you bring him to salvation is to expose the corruption of his heart and show him something far better than what he wants in his natural condition. So and I don't think I don't think the church is just to be a sentimental experience where it's a feel good about Jesus thing. I think it's just the constant pouring out of the truth. The power is in the truth. And Scripture says the word is alive and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword.
And if you just turned the word of God lose, the word of God is like a lion. You don't need to defend a lion. Open the cage and let it out. It'll be fine. It'll do whatever it's going to do in the word of God has done that. You know, I came to Grace Church 51 years ago and people said, well, you know, what are you going to do? And I sent them to teach the Bible.
I can improve on the word of God with the word of God is powerful, sharper than any two edged sword, all scriptures inspired by God and profitable. And so I'm just going to open the Bible. Fifty one years have been opening the word of God, and I've watched it work in incredible ways. And to get back to the original statement you made about the Lord doing things around the world, I've spent 50 years in one spot and I've watched in 50 years the development of the Internet.
First there was tapes, then it was cassettes, then it was downloads in the Internet. And I've watched the truth of the gospel circle the entire world. Every Sunday morning when I preach at Grace Church, it's translated into Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian. I don't even know all the language circles of the world. This is an amazing thing to say to you. But every month from Grace to you ministry, two million sermons are downloaded on the Internet.
Wow. All around the world. Do I think the word of God is circling the globe? What an incredible time to be alive so we can say the truth is circling the world. I am concerned that somehow it's going right by the millennials because they're tuned in to something else. And we've got to get them to the point where they're desperate enough to find truth, whether their hearts are empty enough to find truth, to turn to the word of God and find the truth that totally and permanently satisfies the heart.
I completely agree.
And I visit college campuses more so than almost any other outspoken Christian conservative. And I can tell you the one thing that is the barrier is that young people have been taught that there is no such thing as absolute truth. This is a postmodernist belief that was really pushed in the nineteen sixties by Michelle Fuyuko and by Jacques Derrida. And they tell people, you have your own truth. And if we look at it biblically, a war on truth is a war on Christ.
Because Christ was actually truth. He was the embodiment of everything he said was everything that human beings needed to hear. It was the Alpha and the Omega. There is nothing else that was ever needed to be said before. And so I think that is a very important the most important point, because what ends up millennial's, for whatever reason, I'm still theorizing how this all happened generationally. They almost either feel as if there's plenty of wonderful millennials out there that love the Lord and are doing great things.
But generalizability. Feel they're too good. They don't want to engaged with it, and I think the Christian movement the last 15 years, as you talk articulated it, that got more involved in Christian celebrity culture than in teaching strong doctrine, actually has done more harm to play in sort of so to speak, to that, because in the last couple of months, Pastor, I have been very disappointed by some pastors that have sizable followings that for the first time they have spoken out on very divisive Left-Wing cultural issues and they would never speak out against pro-life issues.
And these happen to be usually the same people that are having TED talks at a Christian rock concert around them. How are we supposed to make sense of that? Let me just back up to say this, I can prove in a very short conversation that people believe in absolute truth. I ask him a simple question, go to the top of a five story building and jump and see if there's such a thing as absolute truth. The law of gravity is absolute truth.
Bang your head on the pavement and you're going to know that there exists absolute truth. Or for from the temporal side of things, from the physical side of things, the entire universe is run by inviolable absolutes. I mean, Elon Musk just fired his rocket up to the International Space Station and then did something incredible, brought it back down again. And all of that is because there are absolutely fixed laws that can be managed and monitored and work with to do incredible things.
So why would we assume that the God who created the world with such inviolable physical laws didn't have any spiritual laws that were absolutes either? The laws of God are as inviolable and absolute in the spiritual realm as they are in the physical realm. The God is not a split personality. He is absolute. And we see that in the physical world and we have to see it in the spiritual world. The Bible defines those absolute spiritual laws. It also declares that we violate those laws before God, which is not only a mistake, it's an actual affront to the holiness of God.
And therefore we're under judgment and we need to be called to the gracious God who will forgive us and save us from our sins, give us eternal life. I don't hear that in churches that are typically talking to millennials. I think they're afraid to if they're afraid to offend somebody, they're afraid somebody will feel bad. Somebody asked me the other day, does it bother you when you offend people? And I said, no, I exist to offend people.
That's my job. If I can't offend you, I can't expose your sin and make you realize your condition. I can't bring you to to the truth. And if I were a medical doctor, the first thing I'd want to do to help a patient would be to diagnose what's wrong so I can bring to that patient what's right. So now I'm I'm fortunately in the business of finding out what's wrong, exposing that and then delivering the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ that that heals the soul.
That is beautifully well said. In closing, Pastor, thank you for being so generous with our time. Can you give a call to action, please? Because there's a lot of searcher's and secrets to this podcast. I am an outspoken Christian. We have one or two podcast a week about the gospel highlighting different pastors. You talked about this a little bit previously, but I want people listening right now to be challenged to do something dramatic, to accept Jesus into their life or to make a choice right now, because we are this program is typically a political news of the day and also philosophical and cultural.
But I think it's going to be someone listening right now that needs to hear this. Can you just give a call to action to our listeners?
Yeah, I think, first of all, you need to go to the Bible. It is the word of God.
And the church, if you're a pastor or a church leader, is to be the pillar and ground of the truth. Every time somebody walks in the door of your church, they are to hear the truth of God, the truth about God, the truth about man, the truth about sin, the truth about salvation. The word of God must be proclaimed. And I would say to this generation of young millennials, open your Bible, find a Bible, get get one from your grandma if you can't find one nearby and go to the gospel of John, the gospel of John and read the gospel of John.
Just read it and let it tell you who Jesus Christ is. Because at the end of the Gospel of John, it says these things are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ and that believing you might have life in his name, he's offering you forgiveness of sin, life abundant and life eternal. That story of Jesus that leads you to that point of salvation is the gospel of John. Twenty one chapters won't take you a long time to read it and keep reading it until you understand who he is and then invite him into your life.
I totally agree, I tell young people very similar things I say, read the book of John and do what Proverbs tells you and you're going to have a more meaningful life. Those are my two favorite books to recommend to young seekers and young people. Pastor, we have your back. Thank you for fighting and for showing us a path that we can challenge as you put tyrannical edicts and to protect the freedom of expression and the freedom of dialogue and worship that we have in this country.
And I treasure you as a someone who is in Christ together, but also someone who is leading so many people to truth and to eternal life. So thank you and. And got three things to be aware of, the ways they can support you, look, you can just pray for me and pray what the apostle Paul said. Pray that the word will have free course. Just I'm so glad at this point in my life to be able to be preaching his word and it accomplishes his purpose.
I'm just thrilled to be alive in a time when the word can circle the globe and and do the work of God. Thank you, Charlie, for what you do. I hope to meet you in person some day and say thank you for all your efforts.
Thank you, Pastor. God bless you. And we truly appreciate it.
Thanks. Thanks so much for listening. Everybody, please email me your questions. Freedom at Charlie Kurk Dotcom. Freedom at Charlie Dotcom. Type in Charlie Cook Show to your podcast provider. Make sure you subscribe. Give us those five star reviews. Screenshot yourself doing that and email it to us at Freedom at Charlie Kirch. Dotcom Freedom at Charlie Dotcom. Thank you guys so much for listening. We got some big episodes coming up this week. Thanks so much for listening.