‘I will go to jail before I close my church’: Pastors prepare for renewed battle over church closures

When California Gov. Gavin Newsom in July announced revamped restrictions on worship, churches statewide resisted, drawing the attention of pastors nationwide as they prepare for a renewed struggle over church closures.

Newsom’s restrictions require all churches to suspend singing during services and most to hold their churches outside. Citing already burdensome restrictions placed on them in the spring, many church leaders refused to comply, most notably John MacArthur, a celebrity pastor who declared in a Sunday sermon that “Christ, not Caesar, is head of the church.”

MacArthur’s sermon won widespread approval from many evangelicals. Greg Locke, a Tennessee pastor with a large social media following, in a
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