Just seven short months ago, it seemed unthinkable that local governments in America would openly ban churches from opening while allowing other facilities to remain open. But then the coronavirus pandemic happened, which revealed the anti-religious nature of many in the seats of power in our country.
On Sunday, October 11, the church declared: "Enough." "It is time. It is time for the church to be the church in America again," said FRC President Tony Perkins during Freedom Sunday: It's Time at a packed service from Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in California that was also livestreamed. Numerous speakers joined the service both live and remotely in a chorus of prayer and encouragement for believers across America to stand for their beliefs and their freedom.
"Religious freedom is in danger all across the board," said Dr. Al Mohler, noting that it's not just Christians that are facing unconstitutional restrictions on worship services, but also orthodox Jews in places like New York City. "We as Christians understand why -- theologically and constitutionally -- freedom of religion is the first freedom. If it's violated, none of the other freedoms will stand ... we are doing what the Founders and Framers of this nation would have respected." Dr. Mohler was blunt about what the church needs to do: "It is time to say: enough is enough."
Pastor Brian Hermsmeier of Slate Mills Baptist Church in Sperryville, Virginia did just that by standing up to Governor Ralph Northam (D) and challenging his unconstitutional restrictions limiting the size of church gatherings but not having similar limits on other facilities like restaurants and grocery stores. His courage led to the governor withdrawing his church restriction. Pastor Hermsmeier's message to pastors for Freedom Sunday was to not be concerned with what people might say: "As a pastor, we shepherd our flock. I don't want the people to fear. Pastors, you should fear the Lord. You have a responsibility to obey the Lord and fear him. Don't fear man, fear him."
Bestselling author Eric Metaxas emphasized the foremost importance of the church at this time: "The church is the last voice against what they [on the Left] are trying to do." He underscored the true nature of the battle and what the church will need to do: "We're fighting against something that's not flesh and blood ... It's manifesting itself in a political way, and we need to stand with all our might and main and recognize what it is that we're fighting and recognize that as much as we better vote, we better pray, and we better fast and pray, because that's what we're dealing with."
Pastor Christian Ionescu knows all about the kind of persecution that can happen when leftist extremists gain power. He fled communist Romania and is now the pastor of Elohim Romanian Pentecostal Church in Chicago, where local authorities have tried to stop his church from meeting in person by blocking their parking lot.
"The church is not a video game," Ionescu said. "We cannot operate online alone." After many of his congregants found ways around the restrictions and met at his church in person, the city threatened to demolish his church. He is currently pressing his church's case all the way to the Supreme Court.
"I think this society has no immunity to the Marxist agenda," Ionescu warned. "They classify and divide citizens and antagonize them, young versus old, poor versus rich, black versus white, especially in America, religious denomination versus religious denomination versus the intellectuals. And the list can go on and on." He had a strong message for leftists in the government: "Stop making us believe that you care more than we do ... Stop quoting the Scriptures. You have nothing to do with the Scriptures. You are godless. You do not care about the Bible. You do not care about the church. Stop lecturing us in theology."
Bishop Vincent Mathews, Jr. of the Church of God in Christ in Memphis brought a spirited message of unity to Freedom Sunday: "We must rise up and stand as God has called us to do. You're not a black Christian, I'm not a white Christian, you're not a Latino Christian or an Asian Christian. We are the body of Christ, and as we join together and serve, God will be magnified, and God will be lifted up, and Jesus will be lifted up in our land as we pray together and Satan is rebuked."
Be sure to watch the entire Freedom Sunday: It's Time broadcast, which also features Pastor Che Ahn, Ken Blackwell, Jerry Boykin, Garry Leist, Wayne Grudem, Amado Huizar, Rep. Mike Johnson, John MacArthur, Rob McCoy, Virginia Prodan, Carol Swain, Larry Taunton, and more.