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Churches Must Re-Open – With Jack Hibbs: Is the Church in the same category as a business? Or, does the First Amendment of the Constitution set the Church apart? Should the Church submit to tyrants and unjust laws? Tune in to hear the answers to these important questions and more as you listen to why a California pastor decided to defy the governor and re-open his church.

Air Date: 06/24/2020

Guest: Jack Hibbs

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith and the Culture

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith in the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live, and we’re talking about the hot topics of the day. but from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. We always have that conversation with David Barton, he’s America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders, with Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders and my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach.

You can learn more about all of us right here on our website, actually, we’ve got a couple of them. Let me give you the both of them. Wallbuilderslive.com, that’s our radio site, wallbuilders.com, you can connect between the two, it’s very easy. But wallbuilders.com has all kinds of great resources: articles, DVDs, mp4, things you can download, but tons of education on America’s history.

I mean, literally coming out of the WallBuilders’ library, the largest private collection of Founding Fathers’ documents. So, we’re not just, you know, quoting from some professor. We’re quoting from the founders and what happened at the time. It’s a great way to learn the true history of America.

If you’re really wondering right now, if you’re questioning is America good nation or bad nation? I mean, right now, all you’re hearing is how terrible America is. Well, if you want to rediscover the fact that America has actually been an amazing force for good in the world, then you need to go to wallbuilders.com and get some of those materials and learn that information.

And then also, visit wallbuilderslive.com, the radio site. And at that site, you can get archives of our program, you can get list of stations that we’re on across the country and you can get some of the videos that we’ve done on the COVID crackdowns and what churches can do, what you can do, knowing your rights. Those are all very important things for you to do.

And then today, we want to do something a little bit different. We’re going to kick right off, instead of having our interview in the middle of the program, we’re going to jump right into an interview with Pastor Jack Hibbs out in California. It’s always great to have Pastor Jack on the program, great information and just solid, solid biblical worldview and citizen action based on that biblical worldview. Pastor Jack, always good to have you, brother. Thanks for coming on today.

Jack:

I love you, Rick. God bless you, guys. Love the program. Love what you’re standing for.

Working With the White House

Rick:

Well, hey, man, we’ve been watching what you’ve been doing the last couple of months and leading the charge on getting churches opened back up out in California, working with the White House. And just through that whole process, you know, it’s been interesting to see people’s opinion of the necessity of the church really being highlighted. I mean, we’re finding out just how necessary the church is right now.

Jack:

Well, you know what, Rick, exactly that. And the fact of the matter is that I believe that we need to change the narrative and I know that’s been an effort here at our church. And what I mean by that is this. For some reason, Rick, the church and pastors have allowed themselves to fall into the rhetoric or the assessment of the culture, the unbelieving culture. And what I mean by that is this.

Things have been relegated to either in essential status or nonessential status. And what I believe, I think, what you believe, what others believe as well is that the church can never be relegated or labeled as either essential or nonessential. Now, you know, I’m hailing from California, which our governor not only declared the church to be nonessential, but he categorized the church under amusement parks and places of entertainment. I kid you not.

Rick:

Wow!

Jack:

And so, regarding his position, we petitioned our governor numerous times. As you know, Rick, we are a very high-profile church and we contact often our elected officials. They know who we are, we know who they are. And so, we were asking, Governor, let us know from the beginning, tell us when you see the church reopening, tell us.

And so, we were knocking on his door from the beginning no answer. No answer. No answer. In fact, I got to be honest with you. Governor Newsom here in California didn’t give an answer until the Monday following Trump’s challenge about churches need to open up. Now, and then all of a sudden, our governor had an epiphany and he was going to give us the rules on Monday. He had no plan for opening up the church.

The Church is Not a Company

Having said that, I believe the church is not essential, I believe the church is not nonessential. The church cannot be relegated to that decision process. The church is transcendent. Rick. The church is not a company. The moment we allow it to be labeled essential or nonessential, puts it in the same status as a Walmart or Costco. The church is the transcendent, heavenly-created, God-given institution from heaven above. It transcends the rule of man.

And so, we are now in a position where it was became very clear to us, that we were going to need to open up to meet the demands of the flock and also continue the preaching and teaching of making disciples and it’s something that we just had to do. And yes, it put us at odds with the governor’s office. However, we think God for America, because we not only have the biblical mandate of Scripture to preach and to do church, but thank God, we have a First Amendment. And so, I…

Rick:

And the Constitution actually backs up exactly what you’re saying. I mean, literally sets churches from, you know, the Walmart and the businesses. And you’re exactly right, all of these orders across the country just threw the church into these different categories when you’ve got triple protection in the First Amendment.

Jack:

Absolutely. And so, this is what happened. You know, sadly, many pastors and churches kind of went away with a whimper. Now, I get it, I get it where it’s a public safety issue. I understand the emotion and the reality of the arguments. But I could also counter and say, but where do we lay hands on people, anointing them with oil and praying for the sick?

Because in California, Rick, we were not even allowed to go to hospital beds where our flock was dying, they wouldn’t let us into the hospitals. Now, where in the world does that order come from in light of the First Amendment?

Rick:

And I noticed even, you know, rules on telling you how you can do communion and how you can, I mean, it was literally infringing upon the very tenets of the faith.

Obey God Rather Than Man

Jack:

You are so right. And yet, someone will say, oh, but pastor, we’ve got to do this, because it’s under the label of public safety. I understand that. If you’re sick, stay home. Or if you’re sick, call for the elders. But this is the church here. This is the church.

We love our people more than the government does. We know how to love our people more than any laws of man. No. Should we be careful? Yes. But we should be wise. But in no way have we been given the permission from Jesus to close the doors of His church when he opened the doors. He said, I’ve set before you an open door and that is very key.

So, Rick, our stand, our position has caused over 1,400 churches in California to rally with us and they opened up their doors a little while ago on May 31st, Pentecost Sunday. But at the same time, Rick, we have been attacked and mocked and ridiculed and spoken ill of by ministries and by pastors who say that we are in violation of Romans 13 that we are not being obedient to the powers that be, which is not true.

Rick, we obey President Trump’s 15-day request. We shut down completely. Then he asked for another 15 days, we stayed shut down. And then if you remember, after 30-days, Trump let that go wisely, mind you. Very brilliant move on Trump’s part.

He gave the authority over to the governors to make their own decisions. And when we petitioned our governor, he refused to address the reopening and it became very clear that we need to fast and pray and seek God. I read the book of Ezra, read the book of Nehemiah. During that time, it was April 26th, God spoke to my heart to open up May 31st.

And I’m glad we did, because already, Rick, we’re starting to hear rumors now that the “Coronavirus” and its strains are now making a comeback, we don’t know when we can ever open up fully again. Even today Dr. Fauci announced that this is the tip of the iceberg, flu seasons coming. So, what our church is going to do Rick in the next flu season? What are they doing October, in November? I fear that this is an attack against the church.

Rick:

It is and the unwillingness to pivot once the science was showing this isn’t near as bad as what everybody thought it was going to be. You know, and really, the fact that they just have no faith in you as a pastor to care for your people is one of the things that rubs the worse.

I mean, I was with a church up in Chicago during and then one of the ones that was really harassed, I went up there and spoke. And these precious Romanian pastors who came out of tyranny and now they’re experiencing it right there in their own backyard. And that was what he was most upset about.

Pastors Love Their People

I think, you know, he said, “Look, the mayor and the governor act like they will take better care of my flock than I will. We care more about our people than anybody else. We’re not going to do stupid things. We’re going to be smart. We’re going to pay attention to the science and all the things that are happening.” But there’s been no ability to do that. Newsom has given you no wiggle room or our leeway to make your own decisions about how to do this.

Jack:

Not only are you so right, but Rick, I just want to make this as almost a statement of record. We are the church, this church, the one that I pastor, we’re the ones that were perpetually faithful to be knocking on the governor’s door, asking him to take the lead. He didn’t do it. So, if people think well, you violated Romans 13. No, we didn’t, we obeyed the law to the tee. It was the lack of leadership from our governor who refused to address the reopening of the church that forced the church in California to say, well, now it’s time for us to obey God, rather than man.

I mean to tell you, Rick, if our governor would have said, in an overt attempt have to be cautious, I’m going to say the churches can’t open till June 15th, hypothetically. If he would have said that, Rick, I would have obeyed him, I would have obeyed him. But he didn’t say anything. He had no plan. So, God gave, I mean to tell you, I don’t want to sound like, you know, speak Christianese.

But I’m telling you, God gave me May 31st, so clear that I had to obey God rather than man. It was undeniable. In fact, Rick, it was so clear that if I didn’t obey God in it, I would be sinning against God. That’s how clear he made it for me. But I want you to know that our heart was to obey our governor in submission to the Lord. And it was the lack of his leadership and his personal agenda to keep abortion clinics opened during the entire time, pot stores, marijuana dispensaries were open, never, never did they shut their doors and the ability to purchase liquor and all.

Rick:

Yeah, did you get to a point where, I mean, very much like MLK from the Birmingham Jail saying an unjust law. At some point, you have to say this is not a lot to follow. And in this case, you got one man and this was happening in almost every other state, Kristi Noem didn’t do it in South Dakota and a couple others.

Romans 13

But one person making law and executing it, now for three months with no legislative body, no deliberative body, no opportunity for other scientists to come in and say here’s what’s actually happening, I mean, none of that’s happened this has been a dictator type situation. Did that come into your thinking as well that wait a minute, at some point, this is not even a just law, so Romans 13 doesn’t even apply in this situation.

Jack:

I’m so glad, Rick, you said that. Because throughout church history and even Old Testament history, there is that clear revelation of Scripture, that when something is unjust, it’s the church that corrected that injustice. Be it slavery, be it Sati or whatever it’s called in India, where if a man died, the woman was burned to death with the man. And William Carey, a Christian missionary said that’s wrong, that’s a bad law. The wife should not die when the man dies. There are unjust laws.

Here’s the thing. And I thank God for you, Rick, and for all that you guys do. If you don’t know what the law is or what our constitutional freedoms are, even if you’re a pastor, you’re a sitting duck to get deceived, because and that’s exactly what’s happening today. We need to know the high and lofty calling of the church that the pastor is the watchman on the wall, that we are not to win a popularity contest, we are not going to record and deem our success up or down based on our tweets or our Facebook likes.

We are together our answer from God’s word. And now, we’re living in an age where the church in obedience to God is in direct opposition to the political agenda of several who are, like you said tyrannically dictating, bypassing constitutional practices and they’re making decrees. Isaiah 10:1 says, “Woe to those who make unrighteous decrees and plan misfortune for the people.” That’s exactly what’s happening in California.

Rick:

Yeah, no doubt about it and I’m sure you were just as you know, disappointed as I was. And Justice Roberts, you know, siding with the four liberals on the court to say, well, we haven’t had enough time, we don’t know yet and we got to leave this in their purview, because it could be that, I mean, when in reality, we’ve had plenty of time and there’s plenty of science out there. And without the due process of the courts, this continues to be a one man show.

Alliance Defending Freedom

What is the next step since the Court has said no, and that was of course before all the protests were now even the mayor of Los Angeles and others have been out there breaking their own rules? What do you think happens next on the on the legal front for California?

Jack:

I can only answer for us personally and I’m actually holding in front of me, Rick, I wish you could see it. But I have a letter here that was our letter that we sent. When I say we, I’m talking me and my attorneys at ADF, Alliance Defending Freedom. We sent a letter to the governor’s office in detail telling him when we were going to open, how we were going to open and the safety precautions that we were going to put in place.

We sent the copy also to the Department of Justice. That said that letter opened up a door, Rick, for me to literally have a conversation with the Attorney General Barr. Attorney General Barr told me that, as the United States Department of Justice, we will stand 100% with you and your second paragraph of your letter to the governor regarding your First Amendment rights.

And when you have the voice of the Attorney General saying that you couldn’t have written a better letter to your governor, you must honor the calling of the church, on top of the fact that the First Amendment gives you that right, which he mentioned, by the way, it doesn’t give Walmart that same right, it doesn’t give Costco that same rights. They don’t have the First Amendment right like a church does. It was remarkable to hear that and to be reminded of that.

So, we are open, we are continuing to stay open. We have clearly announced to the governor’s office, here’s our address, here’s what we’re doing. But just remember this and it’s true. Remember this when there’s a fire in Southern California, you guys call on us to feed the firemen and to help people that are displaced. We’re the ones that led the spearhead of helping the homeless in Paradise when that city was completely removed by those horrible fires. We reminded them all the good that we do as a church.

We’re the ones that are, Rick, I’m not joking. With the protests and rioting taking place, in Southern California, the California Highway Patrol was being refused service from fast food chains. The officers couldn’t get food. A California Highway Patrol official contacted our church and said, can you feed these officers at a predetermined location? Rick, we spent thousands and thousands of dollars feeding the California Highway Patrol officers. We are the friend of the State, not the enemy.

The Epicenter of the Community

Rick:

The epicenter of the community as the church should be.

Jack:

Absolutely.

Rick:

And to shut down the epicenter of the community, the very place where needs are met, not only for your flock, but for the for the people in the community itself.

Jack:

Absolutely.

Rick:

Wow! Wow! Well, Jack, I mean, I am I’m encouraged by your boldness, by your moral clarity, by your biblical clarity of the role of the church and I’m so glad that those other churches are joining you. I hope we see tens of thousands of churches joining as well.

We’re beginning to see some boldness out there across the country and churches opening up. But you know, the challenge we’re going to face next is they’re going to blame a second wave on the churches, not the protests or anything else. It’s going to be the church’s fault. So, we’ve got to be ready to stand with resolve and absolutely keep speaking truth and getting more churches to join us. I appreciate your leadership, brother.

Jack:

I love you, Rick. I love you, guys. Stand strong, we’ll do it together.

Rick:

Let’s get you back soon, Jack Hibbs. In fact, reallifewithjackhibbs.org, best website, is that the best website to go to?

Jack:

That’s good enough.

Rick:

Alright, reallifewithjackhibbs.org, we’ll have a link today wallbuilderslive.com. Stay with us folks, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.

Constitutional Defense of your Family and Freedom

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Churches Send Notice to Newsom

Rick:

We’re back here on WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us. And special thanks to Jack Hibbs, pastor from out in California, that man, he’s not just on the front lines. Guys, he’s behind enemy lines too often and does such great work and having biblical worldview and impacting the culture around him, not just in California, but nationally.

David:

Well, you alluded to it in the interview. But he’s the guy who organized the 1,500 churches in California to tell governor Newsom, you know, thank you for your opinion and that’s all it is. We’re going to do what God tells us to do. And I thought the point he made was so key. He said, we have to change the narrative on pastors.

They’ve accepted the assessment of public leaders rather than God’s assessment. And I thought it was a great point. He pointed out that so many governors have put pastors in there in the same category as to museum parks and places of entertainment. And so, you get to open up when the amusement parks and places to entertainment. When Disneyland can open again, churches can open again.

And, you know, I hadn’t even thought of it that way. But they’re grouped in and that’s why civic leaders are grouping so many of the churches. And so, the question isn’t what the governor’s opinion is, it’s what’s God’s opinion and that’s the way pastors should be thinking.

One of the guys that got involved in that 1,500 that Jack was really pulling together was out of a county in California that had 2 million citizens. And I talked to that pastor and he said, I’m the only church in the county that’s opened. All the other churches are saying, well, the governor says we can’t open and we’re going to follow what the governor’s… Hey, how about following what God says or what the Constitution says or some higher authority than just the governor?

And so, the fact that Jack has led that movement, I think that is so significant, but I think he’s exactly right on. We have to change the way we think, whether we’re pastors or not pastors and we can’t let the government tell us what our role is to be. That role is defined by God and by higher documents like the Bible and the Constitution, not by governor’s opinion.

Churches Like Amusement Parks

Tim:

Well, it makes me wonder even more about this comparison with churches, being kind of on the same level as amusement parks or theme parks: is if you’re a pastor and you don’t think that you are essential, it makes me wonder, do you think you’re an amusement park? I mean, like, what do you think you exists for?

If you don’t think you are essential, then you don’t understand the role of the pastor or the role of ministry. Right? You are more essential than any alcohol store, right, which well, they’re essential, you’re more essential than any marijuana dispensary. I mean, let’s go down the list. This is something that is incredibly essential.

Jesus taught his disciples to pray that God, Father, give me this day, my daily bread. Well, who do you think helps to provide daily bread? What do you think your role is as the pastor if not spiritual nourishment, if not maturity and growth in discipleship and development?

I mean, oh, my gosh, we are often critical of pastors on this radio program. Because just the polling shows, we talked to George Barna, so many guys, and so many pastors are not following what the Bible teaches. They don’t teach what the Bible teaches. Right now, we know that the majority of Christians, not just Americans, Christians, do not believe the Bible is accurate or inspired by God.

Well, if the majority of Christians don’t believe that, guess where they’re learning that from or not learning from in some cases? It’s the leadership. It’s pastors. Because right, stream of culture is always downstream of leadership. Attitude reflects leadership. This is where, man, bless God for Jack Hibbs and God touch Jack and do even more with Jack. Because this is the time we need courageous leaders to stand up.

It reminds me a little bit of the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Because when you read the book of Daniel and it talks about that when Nebuchadnezzar comes in, hey, bring all the leaders over from Israel and these guys that are wise and smart and blah, blah, blah, and they bring in a group of guys. And it talked about Daniel and then his three friends which we know their names were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego is what we refer to them as.

When those guys come in, what’s to me always been so interesting, those were not the only Jewish guys there. There were more Jewish guys that were part of that captivity, which means they were more believers, just like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, the difference was, none of the other guys stood up and that’s why nobody knows their names. You only know the names of the people that had the courage to stand up and do the right thing.

Standing Up in Modern Culture

Why were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego the only guys that stood up when the music played and everybody else bows down to this golden image? Why were they the only ones standing up? Because they were not the only Jews in the facility, right, they’re not the only Jews in the arena, in the stadium, in the field where this is taking place. Why were they the only ones standing up?

This to me is where I see so much of modern culture right now, that at the time when the music is playing, too many people are bowing down to this false image instead of standing up going, wait a second, no, no. You, governor have misunderstood the role of the church. And we are incredibly essential and we are standing up. We stand up and we honor God. We don’t bow our knee to man, we only bow our knee to God. And this to me is just where so many churches and pastors have lost it.

But it makes it even more refreshing when you talk to someone like Jack that you have someone who is not only standing up, he is leading a movement of other pastors who are standing up and you are seeing a swell of Bible believing people saying, you know what, we’ve had enough, we’re going to stand up and do the right thing.

David:

Well, I was struck recently in reading through the book of Daniel with something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. And I’ve gone to the Bible a number of times. But in Daniel 6:10, it says that when Daniel learned that the writing had been signed, that he was not to pray to anyone except the king.

It says, when he learned that that writing had been signed, he went home, he got in front of the open window, he knelt down and he prayed to God. It’s like, oh, you’re telling me I can’t do this, watch this. I’m going to get in front of an open window where everybody can see exactly what I’m going to do. And that’s the kind of courage that you have to have. And the Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego courage were that somebody has got to be the ones to stand up.

I mean, that really is what the nation needs right now. It needs it from pastors, but it needs it from individual Christians as well. And you know what we’re calling out pastors and Jack called pastors, I think we call out everybody, because we got to have the same kind of courage and conviction to stand and take a stand when things are moving the wrong direction. And when government tries to define our faith to us, we have to say, no, we’re not doing that.

Churches Must Re-Open – With Jack Hibbs

Rick:

And that moral clarity for pastors to know that and then to do the same thing in when we see the lies of the left and other areas as well. So even this whole situation right now where they’re trying to divide us and what churches do in this, we need pastors to stand up and speak truth and seek truth and not just jump on the cultural bandwagons of the of the day. So, many different areas that we need pastors to lead on. If we’re going to save the country, it’s got to be in our churches. The churches once again need to have those pulpits aflame with righteousness.

And a lot of times, it’s just a matter of even pastors need to know their rights. Sometimes we assume that they do and too often they don’t, we’ve seen that so much in the COVID crackdowns. So, that’s one of the reasons we did the constitutioncoach.com website and we have the whole ‘Know Your Rights’ campaign there and really a lot of effort to educate pastors on what they can do with their churches in opening up and what you as a citizen can do.

So, if you’re interested in some of that, go watch those videos, we got a few of them at wallbuilderslive.com. Or you can go straight to constitutioncoach.com and that’s where you can watch those videos, get educated on your rights and also sign up as a Constitution coach and share the Constitution Alive with David Barton program with the people in your family, friends, neighbors, people across the country, you can do a Zoom class, you can do it at your church, in your living room, start getting together and having fellowship. It’s a great way to build community and also know your rights and be good citizens and help preserve America’s constitutional republic.

Thanks for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.