Greg Thornbury Talks About the Attacks on Wokeness

On Monday, I will post a new conversation with former The King’s College president Greg Thornbury. He is currently Senior Vice President at the New York Academy of Art in Tribeca NY, a school founded by Andy Warhol. You can watch the first interview here.

In this interview, I ask Greg about Eric Metaxas’ Punch and Run, evangelical COVID truther events, Al Mohler’s shift toward Trumpism, wokeness, and much more. In this brief segment, Greg tells me what he thinks Owen Strachan is really trying to accomplish with his recent attacks on wokeness (see tweet below).

So should racial justice advocates fear excommunication? Thornbury suggests they are safe and that another agenda may be at work.

Tune in Monday here or at the PsychVideos You Tube channel for the entire interview.

While you are at it, go subscribe to the PsychVideos channel.

John MacArthur, Tony Perkins, Wayne Grudem, Others Call Evangelicals to COVID Denial

Last night Tony Perkins and Family Research Council hosted a COVID-19 denial, Trump campaign, and Amy Coney Barrett support rally at Jack Hibbs church in Chino Hills, CA. Called Freedom Sunday, Perkins also brought together pastors and others who supported opening churches without restriction, including masks and social distancing. No one was wearing masks or social distancing in the crowd.

John MacArthur spoke by video and again cited the same false information about the prevalence of COVID-19 in CA. He admitted in this address that some were ill in the beginning although he didn’t say they were hospitalized. There are others who have been ill but people are not talking at the church. He also says in the Freedom Sunday video that they made no announcement about reopening. However, that description doesn’t fit the statement leading up to their first real Sunday back in session July 26, 2020.

The false information given in the Freedom Sunday talk is what he is also using to try to get other churches to open without mitigation measures.

In this video, MacArthur again says that 1/100th of 1% of people have COVID in CA. However, the graphic on the screen says “.001” which would be .1% or one- tenth of a percent. In fact, 1/100th of 1% is .0001. MacArthur is asserting that only 4,000 Californians have COVID-19. The 16,584 COVID deaths in CA is a greater percentage of the population than MacArthur claims has the virus.

I still don’t know where MacArthur is getting his numbers. His PR firm won’t comment. As in the Freedom Sunday video., he clearly here refers to people who have COVID-19. As of today, 846,579 have had COVID-19 in CA which is 2.1% of the population. According to Worldometer, 399,491 Californians have active COVID cases. This is right at 1% of the population.

In his Freedom Sunday appearance, he spread the same false information without being corrected. It is obvious that there was no concern for objectivity or facts at this event. If conspiracy theories and false information will do the trick, then full speed ahead.

Eric “Punch and Run” Metaxas, Wayne Grudem, and Che Ahn also lent their Trump support and COVID-19 skepticism to the event.

Why should I or anyone trust anything being shared? No one with expertise in epidemiology was curating the information. Skepticism about the virus and support for Trump were the necessary criteria for speakers at this event. The speakers said they wanted freedom to worship Jesus, but what really came through was their desire to hold indoor political rallies in the name of religion.

 

Faith Healing Bethel School of Ministry Scene of COVID-19 Outbreak

While Bethel volunteer worship leader Sean Feucht travels the nation defying COVID-19 health orders, back home Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry is having a COVID-19 outbreak. Since early September, the unaccredited school has reported 137 cases, with 68  current active cases. Yesterday, Bethel issued a statement detailing their response.

This has been going on awhile back in California. Meanwhile Feucht has been spreading the gospel of Bethel and maybe COVID-19 all around the country. Watch this earlier this week in Kerrville, TX.

So Feucht is out doing this while his home place is being overrun with COVID-19. What a knucklehead.

This summer in Texas, two church camps were sources of scores of COVID-19 cases, some severe due to activities just like was Feucht is doing in the video above. He should know better since he is a minister of a church with a significant outbreak. Apparently, jumping up and down is more important than the health of people in that audience.

A fruit of the spirit is patience. If we can be patient, we will be able to bang on guitars and make imitation pop and rock music with repetitious religious words all we want next year. Just have some patience. Breathe. But do it with a mask on.

I learned after I posted this that Bethel Church has expressed some mild concern about Feucht’s worship events. Nonetheless, he remains a volunteer worship leader and valued member of Bethel.

 

Pastor Greg Laurie Has COVID-19

According to New Yorker’s Olivia Nuzzi, Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California has COVID-19.

I don’t think we know the fall out from that prayer march or the Amy Coney Barrett coming out party. Unmasked evangelicals may or may not decide there is a pandemic after these next few days go by.

I believe Greg Laurie is standing unmasked behind Michael W. Smith who is at the piano.

There are many people there who need to get a test.

Greg Laurie made an announcement for social media. His Facebook announcement is here and the twitter video is below.


On Facebook, Laurie said:

I tested positive for COVID-19 last Friday. I have been in quarantine since then. I am happy to report that all members of my family have tested negative for COVID. My symptoms have been mild so far, and I expect to make a full recovery. I have always taken the Coronavirus seriously, and it has tragically taken many lives.

Laurie has taken the virus more seriously than say, John MacArthur. However, why is he in the middle of 50,000 mostly unmasked people singing without a mask? If he was taking it as seriously as he should have been, he would not have been there.

Ravi Zacharias Radio Show Dropped by Bible Broadcasting Network; CMA Re-Investigates Allegations

Bible Broadcasting Network have dropped Ravi Zacharias’ syndicated radio show “Let My People Think” from their broadcasting lineup.

We are saddened and deeply troubled to hear once again of disturbing allegations against Ravi Zacharias.  In the past, after hearing of similar allegations, BBN concluded we would give Ravi the benefit of the doubt based on our longstanding relationship. At the time, however, we expressed to the leadership of RZIM that future questions of this nature would require us to discontinue our broadcast of Let My People Think. We have notified RZIM of this decision, effective immediately. We will continue to pray for the ministry of RZIM.
___________________________________
 For God’s Glory,
Jason Padgett
Business & Operations Manager

 

Also today, Christianity Today published a disclosure that the Christian & Missionary Alliance denomination will again investigate the allegations against Zacharias. In 2018, the denomination decided not to pursue discipline against Zacharias. Based on my knowledge of the charges and investigation at the time, I believe that the denomination overlooked evidence and did not do a thorough investigation.  The CT article implies that as well.

 

Despite Indoor Services, Grace Community Church Doesn’t Want to Get Sued if You Get COVID-19 at the Church

Even though L.A. County said they placed them in the wrong spots, Grace Community Church posts signs disclaiming responsibility for any sickness if a person gets COVID-19 at the church. Given this disclaimer, it is not surprising that persons who say they attend Grace say they have to sign a COVID-19 waiver if they want to volunteer at the church.

John “There is no pandemic” MacArthur’s church requires a waiver from people who serve according to three sources who sent me copies of what they say members and staff are required to sign in order to work or volunteer at the church. Last week, I sent the waiver to the public relations firm representing the church with a request for confirmation and/or comment but did not get any response.

The full waiver is linked above and provided below but at least one point is worth mentioning. Remember when John MacArthur said:

the good news is that you’re here, you’re not distancing, and you’re not wearing masks.

Here is what the waiver sent to me requires a person to affirm:

While wearing a mask covering the mouth and nose while in the Church is not required, I assume additional risks of possible injury and death by not wearing a mask. I understand that I may request a mask from the Church and the Church will provide one for my use. I have been encouraged to use a mask at all times when engaging in Activities at the Church.

I am not a lawyer but if I wanted to challenge this waiver, John MacArthur’s words in church would be exhibit A. Furthermore, during the weeks that Grace has been meeting, no one on camera has worn a mask and no one has been encouraged to wear a mask. No social distancing has been observed.

Here is the waiver of liability:

WAIVER OF LIABILITY AND COVENANT NOT TO SUE NOTICE: THIS IS A LEGALLY BINDING AGREEMENT. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY.

I desire to participate in one or more activities or programs (each individually an “Activity”; collectively, “Activities”) offered, operated, sponsored or directed by, or otherwise involving, Grace Community Church of the Valley (“Grace Community Church”). The Activities may occur in whole or in part at or in the church (the “Church”) located at 13248 Roscoe
Boulevard, Sun Valley, California 91352 owned and operated by Grace Community Church. The Activities may involve, without limitation, attending or assisting with programs, events, instruction, and classes both inside and outside the Church and with or without supervision of Grace Community Church or any of its employees, contractors or personnel (collectively, “Personnel”). I understand that each Activity poses inherent risks of exposure to and/or contracting the COVID-19 virus. With full knowledge and understanding of these risks, and in consideration of my use of the Church and participation in Activities, I acknowledge and agree as follows:

1. Acknowledgement and Assumption of the Risk

I acknowledge that participation in Activities, use of the Church and any services provided by the Church subjects me to the following risks, among others: accidents which cannot be foreseen and personal injury, including but not limited to death or sickness from contracting the Coronavirus disease 2019 (“COVID‑19”), the infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

I understand and acknowledge that:

A. The above list of risks is not inclusive of all the possible risks to which I will be subject in participating in Activities and using the Church and that the list in no way limits the extent or reach of this Waiver of Liability and Covenant Not to Sue (this “Agreement”) or any provision of this Agreement.

B. There is an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 in any place where people are present.

C. While wearing a mask covering the mouth and nose while in the Church is not required, I assume additional risks of possible injury and death by not wearing a mask. I understand that I may request a mask from the Church and the Church will provide one for my use. I have been encouraged to use a mask at all times when engaging in Activities at the Church.

I understand that masks may reduce or mitigate the above risks, but are in no way a guarantee of safety. I further recognize that masks have limited capability as far as prevention of infection from contracting COVID-19.

I VOLUNTARILY ASSUME ALL OF THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH PARTICIPATION IN ANY ACTIVITY OR USE OF THE CHURCH, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO RISK OF INJURY, SICKNESS AND DEATH FROM CONTRACTING COVID-19 OR EXPOSURE TO COVID-19. I VOLUNTARILY ASSUME ALL SUCH RISKS WITH FULL KNOWLEDGE, UNDERSTANDING AND APPRECIATION OF THE RISKS INVOLVED.

2. Waiver of Liability and Covenant Not to Sue

I, on behalf of myself, my heirs, representatives, executors, administrators and assigns, hereby knowingly and intentionally (A) waive any and all liability of Grace Community Church and their respective successors, assigns, owners, shareholders, officers, directors, members and
Personnel (each individually, a “Released Party”; collectively, “Released Parties”) for, (B) release Released Parties from, and (C) covenant not to sue Released Parties for any and all causes of action, claims, injuries, liabilities, damages or demands of any nature whatsoever, whether known or unknown, anticipated or unanticipated, which I, my heirs, representatives, executors, administrators and assigns may now have, or may have in the future against any Released Party on account of any and all known and unknown, foreseen and unforeseen personal injuries, property damage, death, sickness or accident of any kind and whenever occurring, arising out of or in any way related to any Activity, any occurrence or event involving the Church, any Released Party or any service or program related to any thereof, whether such Activity, occurrence or event is supervised or unsupervised and however and whenever any injury, property damage, death, sickness or accident is caused. THIS WAIVER OF LIABILITY AND COVENANT NOT TO SUE SHALL BE EFFECTIVE EVEN THOUGH SAID LOSS, DAMAGE OR INJURY RESULTS OR HAS RESULTED FROM THE NEGLIGENCE, WRONGFUL ACTS, OMISSIONS, BREACH OF WARRANTY, OR STRICT TORT LIABILITY OF ANY RELEASED PARTY. NOTWITHSTANDING THE IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING SENTENCE, THIS WAIVER OF LIABILITY AND COVENANT NOT TO SUE SHALL NOT BE EFFECTIVE IN REGARD TO LOSS, DAMAGE OR INJURY RESULTING FROM THE GROSS NEGLIGENCE OR WILLFUL OR WANTON MISCONDUCT OF ANY OF THE RELEASED PARTIES.

3. Indemnification Agreement

I hereby agree to INDEMNIFY, HOLD HARMLESS AND DEFEND the Released Parties from and against any and all causes of action, claims, demands, losses, damages, liabilities and costs (including but not limited to attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by Released Parties or any thereof) of any nature whatsoever, including but not limited to those caused by the negligence of any Released Party (except for those resulting from the gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct of any Released Party), arising out of or in any way relating to my use of the Church or the services provided thereby or my participation in any Activity.

4. Miscellaneous

I certify that I am in proper physical and mental condition to participate in Activities and that I have no physical limitations that would preclude my safely using the Church or participating in Activities, subject to the risks assumed. I agree to read and abide by all rules from time to time posted in the Church or otherwise communicated to me. I agree to comply with requests and instructions of all Personnel. In the event of an accident, if I should be unconscious or otherwise unable to make medical decisions for myself, I hereby grant the Released Parties permission to administer necessary first aid, and/or to solicit emergency medical services as deemed necessary. This authorization includes permission for emergency medical transportation to the nearest medical facility for additional medical treatment.

I hereby voluntarily waive any right I may have to a trial by jury in any action, proceeding or litigation involving any Released Party. The laws of the State of California shall govern the rights and obligations of the parties to this Agreement and the interpretation, construction and enforceability thereof. I agree that any lawsuit brought against any Released Party shall be brought solely in The Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, North Central District. If any portion of this Agreement is held invalid, the remainder shall remain in full force and effect.

I hereby grant to Grace Community Church, and Grace Community Church reserves the right to use for promotional purposes any photographs taken by Grace Community Church at the Church or during any Activity. Such images may be used in Grace Community Church’s brochures, posters, website or other promotional materials without liability or payment.

I ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT BY SIGNING THIS AGREEMENT I AM RELIEVING THE CHURCH AND ALL RELEASED PARTIES OF ANY AND ALL LIABILITY FOR ANY LOSS, DAMAGE, INJURY, SICKNESS OR DEATH RESULTING FROM ANY ACTIVITY AND WAIVING MY RIGHT TO MAINTAIN A LAWSUIT AGAINST ANY OF THE RELEASED PARTIES, EXCEPT FOR ANY LIABILITY BASED UPON THEIR GROSS NEGLIGENCE OR WANTON AND WILFULL MISCONDUCT. I CERTIFY THAT MY AGE IS ACCURATELY SET FORTH BELOW; THAT, IF I AM AT LEAST 18 YEARS OF AGE, I AM LEGALLY COMPETENT TO SIGN THIS AGREEMENT; I HAVE CAREFULLY READ THIS AGREEMENT AND UNDERSTAND THAT THE TERMS OF THIS AGREEMENT ARE LEGALLY BINDING UPON ME AND UPON MY ASSIGNS, HEIRS, REPRESENTATIVES, EXECUTORS AND ADMINISTRATORS; AND THAT I AM SIGNING THIS AGREEMENT, AFTER HAVING CAREFULLY READ IT, OF MY OWN FREE WILL.

A photocopy hereof, or a record of this Agreement sent and received by facsimile, email or other electronic transmission, shall be enforceable and shall have full legal effect as an original.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, this Agreement is duly executed this _____ day of_____________________, 2020.

______________________________
PRINTED NAME
______________________________
SIGNATURE

 

 

 

 

In August, John MacArthur Denied COVID-19 at Grace Community Church; In April, He Said Members Had Been Hospitalized

On August 30, John MacArthur told his congregation that “nobody in our congregation has ever been to the hospital with this [COVID-19].” According to MacArthur’s own words earlier this year in April, that is not true. When MacArthur explained to Phil Johnson why Grace Community Church was not meeting in person in April, MacArthur told Johnson (entire video is here):

The other thing that we talked about with the elders was if we defy this and if we say we’re going to meet anyway, we run the risk of exposing people to this illness needlessly. And why would we want to do that? Because this is a health issue, this is a health crisis. And since like any church, many of the people in our church are older. We wouldn’t want to expose them to that. We’ve only had, as far as I know, and this was up to yesterday, we’ve only had one couple in our church in the Spanish ministry who actually got the coronavirus. But that couple, and not an older couple either, wound up in the hospital because it was such a virulent experience for them.

MacArthur acknowledged that in April they had a younger couple very sick in the hospital. This awareness helped move MacArthur and the elders toward the decision not to have indoor in-person church. MacArthur said at the time it wouldn’t be right to put people in harm’s way. Watch:

Everything MacArthur said in April is still true.  It is still a health crisis. He still doesn’t know who is in his congregation who might be infected. However, now he clearly doesn’t understand the extent of the problem. He has been telling his congregation that there is no pandemic and only .0001 of Californians have COVID-19. Because he has a false understanding of the situation, he has taken his church in a potentially dangerous change of course.

Addendum

Since this was published several anonymous communications have come in alleging more cases of COVID at Grace Community Church. I am not able to confirm them but I have learned some interesting, to me at least, additional information.

One of the elders of GCC is Jon Scott. He is a physician who practices at a Kaiser Permanente location in Santa Clarita. In March, that same location was closed due to concerns over COVID-19. I don’t know what that means but it as a physician, surely he was aware of the ramping up of medical manpower to handle cases related to COVID-19.

Since I discovered the video from April, I have wondered how Pastor MacArthur became radicalized so to speak. How did he come to mouth QAnon talking points about the coronavirus? Today, I found this from a communication from him in May:

I noticed today that a report came out from the CDC which is the official group the Center for Disease Control, and they said that actually the number of deaths that have occurred during this COVID epidemic is half of what has been recorded, half. So we have been operating with numbers that are unrealistic. It has also come to light – and I think this is very, very interesting – it’s also come to light that half of the deaths occur to people in hospitals and aging homes where you have older people, because they’re the more vulnerable population. So the reality is that the vast majority of the population is really unaffected or mildly affected by this entire thing. The most dangerous place you could ever go turns out would be a hospital, because when you go into a hospital the staff there don’t have a vaccine against this. They’re exposed to it. And if there are other compromised patients, as there are in a crowded hospital, then the coronavirus is circulated in that hospital.

So we’re starting to learn that the folks who are just out in the world doing what we do, we’re the safest of all. The place you don’t want to be is, of all places, in a hospital, because that’s where the highest incidents of this infection at its most serious level takes place. So a lot of things coming out of this that I think are starting to remove the fear and help us to understand that we were told some things that just were not true about the affect of this.

By this logic, you could say you catch cancer at the hospital. That’s where the serious cancer is. Don’t go to the hospital if you have a stroke, you will just get worse. After all, that’s where the most serious stroke patients are.  In fact, if you avoid the hospital, by this way of thinking, you can avoid all kinds of awful things people have in hospitals. People die there.

Clearly his thinking began to change here as the quality of his sources and information deteriorated.

The latest I heard, and I heard a report today from a highly respected medical authority who basically said the death rate will be essentially the same as seasonal flu, no greater than that. We now know that. And in retrospect we would say if we’d known that at the beginning we certainly wouldn’t have shut the world down to the degree that we have and did such disastrous damage to so many lives. But having said that, we have to understand that the Lord allows certain things and certain things are the foolishness of men even at their best efforts; so here we are. But I just want to remind you that this is temporary, that this is not nearly as deadly as we were told, that the rate of death is about like the seasonal flu, it’ll run its course; and hopefully in a few weeks, we’ll come back together and we’ll join each other again and have a great celebration.

Estimates of death rates have varied widely but his certainty about his expert is misplaced. One of the best studies of fatality was conducted via random sampling in Indiana and found that COVID is indeed more deadly than the flu. MacArthur now seems so entrenched in his mindset that he may not be able to back away from the conspiratorial place he has gone.

John MacArthur Botches COVID-19 Statistics and Says He’ll Go to Jail Rather Than Close Indoor Church

Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles told Laura Ingraham that he would go to jail rather than comply with L.A. County’s Health Order and California Superior Court’s Injunction. Watch:

He also continues to falsely say there is only “one one hundredth of one percent” of 40 million Californians with COVID-19. As of today, 773,602 positive tests have come back in CA (1.96%), with 372,515 active cases currently (.94%). If MacArthur was correct, there would only be 3,951 cases in CA which is absurd.

Apparently, the church will continue to defy the Health Order and Court Order.

Last Sunday, MacArthur did so and preached a Sunday which specified a Christian nationalist vision for Christian government. A tweet from his attorney (and President Trump’s attorney as well) Jenna Ellis summarizes well the sermon:

Ellis is enthusiastic in her support. However, we do not live in a theocracy. Nothing in the Constitution requires a religious test for leaders to recognize the Christian God or operate according to any interpretation of the Bible. Surely, constitutional scholar Ellis knows this.

Tyranny Over the Mind of Man

In our history, there have been those who want Christianity to be privileged more than it is. One of the most famous quotes from Thomas Jefferson arose in opposition to Benjamin Rush’s expression of such a hope. In an August 22, 1800 letter from Rush to Jefferson, Rush wrote:

I have always considered Christianity as the strong ground of Republicanism. Its Spirit is opposed, not only to the Splendor, but even to the very forms of monarchy, and many of its precepts have for their Objects, republican liberty & equality, as well as simplicity, integrity & Oconomy in government.3 It is only necessary for Republicanism to ally itself to the christian Religion, to overturn all the corrupted political and religious institutions in the World.

Jefferson wasn’t having it. He was always polite to his friend, but left no doubt about his view of religion allied with the republic. In a letter dated September 23 1800, Jefferson wrote:

The delusion into which the X. Y. Z. plot shewed it possible to push the people; the successful experiment made under the prevalence of that delusion on the clause of the constitution, which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity thro’ the U. S.; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians & Congregationalists. The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

Jefferson vigorously thwarted any notion that he would support the alignment of Christianity and the government. In response, he made his famous declaration: “I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

Note the context of Jefferson’s bold statement. One form of tyranny over the mind of man is enforced Christianity (or any religion) in government.

Evangelicals Confronting QAnon

On today’s NYT opinion page, Sarah Posner brings attention to the growing presence of QAnon among evangelicals. Posner makes several important points in this piece. One is that the QAnon conspiracies are recycled stories floating around evangelical circles for many years.  As an old-timer, I recall one world government worries and the satanic cult fears going back to high school days. The Clintons have lived rent free in evangelical heads since they came on the scene out of Arkansas.

With the advent of Trump, the various stories have morphed to form Trump as the Savior archetype in the QAnon narratives. Only he can save us. Furthermore, Trump is the bridge between the delusional and the deceived. He is the gateway drug for many from irrational support of a man to a world of make believe.

As I say in the article, those not quite yet in the QAnon snare will latch on to QAnon messaging if it helps make Trump correspond to the archetype of savior president. It doesn’t matter where it comes from or who spreads it. Christians appear to be some terrible offenders since, for many of them, Trump is the one defending their faith. Since there is only one Defender of our faith, this is a significant problem for Christianity. The Christian nationalist heresy in combination with the QAnon delusion is a powerful drug.

Go read Sarah’s op-ed and engage in the discussion in the comments.

 

John MacArthur Plans to Hold Church in Defiance of Court Injunction; Keeps Using Wrong COVID-19 Stats

On Fox News Thursday night, John MacArthur said he is planning to have church on Sunday despite the California Superior Court preliminary injunction barring indoor church. Watch:

In addition to appearing to promise to defy the court order, he again said only .01% of Californians have had COVID-19.

A statistic: One one hundredth of one percent of Californians have COVID, that’s the number and yet no one in the entire state of California is allowed to go inside a church. Doesn’t make sense.

As of September 11, California has 755,714 COVID-19 cases. With a population of just under 40-million, 1.9% of Californians have COVID-19. I have twice asked the public relations firm representing Grace for the source of MacArthur’s misinformation but with no reply.

Click here for all posts on L.A. County v. Grace Community Church