Eight Christian leaders share their response to COVID-19 at Freedom Sunday

By Michael Hernandez

CHINO HILLS—Eight Christian leaders shared their response to COVID-19 at the Oct. 11 Freedom Sunday service hosted at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills. The evening event moderated by Tony Perkins, Family Research Council President was attended by more than 2,000 and livestreamed nationwide.

(Editor’s Note: To see the Citizens Journal story on Calvary Chapel Chino Hills Pastor Jack Hibbs challenging U.S. pastors: “Open Your Doors” Oct. 25th go to:


Pastor Garry Leist (Calvary Chapel: Dayton Valley, Nevada):

“The church has been seen as a partner in the guarantees of freedom (which is) not to be infringed. Our founders did not want to restrict and infringe (the freedom) to worship and assemble.”

Dr. Albert Mohler (President, Southern Baptist Theology Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky):

“We as Christians are facing overt discrimination to our religious freedoms. The restrictions we see are unconstitutional and targeting religious freedom and are endangering us.

“The apostle Paul would not declare that the Roman emperor was God. He paid for it with his life. Righteous orders are to be obeyed; but when we see an order “not to worship” God; we got to call it for what it is and we got to resist.”

“The founders of the country—our constitutional farmers—understood: If we don’t defend freedom; we are at risk. We will lose freedom. Freedom of religion is the first freedom. If it is voided, none of the other freedoms will stand. If it is honored; all the other freedoms will be honored.”

Pastor Brian Hermsmeier (Slater Mills Baptist Church, Sperryville, Virginia):

“The faithful are ‘not to forsake gathering’ (Hebrews 10:25). I don’t know how to fight a legal battle; but the Lord has fought the battle for me. Now, every church in Virginia can have religious gatherings and funerals; with all restrictions lifted.

“As a pastor, we shepherd the flock. We don’t want people to fear. Pastors have a responsibility to fear the Lord and obey the Lord and not fear man.”

Pastor Che Ahn (Harvest Rock Church, Pasadena, California):

“This summer, I and my church members were threatened with arrest” (for in-person church services). “This is not Communist China; not the former Soviet Union; but the United States. This is crazy. I have traveled around the world and the United States is the best nation in the world because of religious liberty.

“This election is most consequential. Vote biblically. Vote for life. Affirm first amendment rights. 

“How did we get into this situation? The government says the church is non-essential but we’ve been essential for 2,000 years. We need to be open for those sick, the depressed, those fighting anxiety and other emotional and mental challenges. We need to experience a new wave of awakening and revival.” 

Pastor Amado Huizar (South Bay Pentecostal Church, San Diego, California):

“Churches being open for in-person services is a matter of life and death. On May 31 (Pentecost Sunday), we reopened our doors. We haven’t looked back. 

“Our church doors are open. There is a hunger and desire out there. We need to be desperate to open our churches” and minister to the lost.

Dr. John MacArthur (Pastor Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California):

“We had dozens, then hundreds (they kept coming) and pretty soon thousands coming to our church.  I didn’t tell the people about social distancing or masks but let them make their own judgments. We have now been open for a couple months and never has anyone died or gone to the hospital for COVID.  

“The church needs to be open. This is the most critical time. Eternal judgment is far worse than death. We obey God; not men. 

“You need to vote for those who have a biblical stand. You can’t vote for someone who is for same sex marriage; for someone who advocates transgender behavior; for someone who ignores God and HIs word. Take the opportunity to express your righteous convictions on behalf of the Lord.”

Pastor Cristian Ionescu (Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church, Chicago, Illinois):

“This society has no immunity to the Marxist agenda. We can look at Romania to see how a communist regime takes power: Recruit persons who are socially disadvantaged and target persons who can be blamed or vilified. Take advantage of a tragic narrative, of a social crisis. Infiltrate the education system. Take over media and cultural institutions. Aim to take away freedom of speech and the freedom to bear arms.

“Create conflict: black vs. white, young vs. old, poor vs. rich. Create division among religious denominations. Begin to destroy property. Take over the government. Make wild promises even though they are impossible to fulfill. Eliminate all opposition. 

“The church is the last voice. This is the reality facing America. We better fast and pray.”

Bishop Vincent Mathews, Jr. (Missions President, Church of God in Christ, Memphis, Tennessee):

“See what is happening around us: Addictions have risen; so have abortions; Planned Parenthood clinics; and drug overdoses.  

“We have shut down our churches. but we are in a spiritual fight for America. Scripture tells us that ‘the gates of hell will not prevail.’   We must rise and stand. We’re not a black church, not a white church, not an Asian church. We are the body of Christ.

“If we resist the devil, he will flee. The devil must flee out of our churches; out of our cities. We must not stop worshiping, not stop praying.

“We will vote from a biblical worldview. We will vote righteously in partnership with God from a Kingdom perspective. I am not blue, I am not red. I am under the blood. We vote our biblical perspective. Then we will stand against the wiles of the enemy. We will see strongholds broken. We are the hands and feet of Jesus and we share His love. Jesus will reign as our King and our nation will rise.”

(Editor’s Note: To see the Freedom Sunday service facilitated by Tony Perkins, Family Research Council President go to: https://prayvotestand.org/get.cfm?i=PG20I16. Calvary Chapel Chino Hills is releasing a national “Non-Essential” video event with at least eight confirmed speakers on Sunday, Oct. 18 from 5-7 p.m. PST. The theme is: “It’s Time to Fight for Our Essential Freedoms.” The event will be taped on Saturday, Oct. 17 at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants should arrive by 10 a.m.).  

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].

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