John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in California, said that he does not support the ongoing religious freedom advocacy by most evangelical groups because of its potential to allow idolatry - particularly that of pagan religions.
"I told our congregation a few weeks ago that I could never really concern myself with religious freedom. I wouldn't fight for religious freedom because I won't fight for idolatry. Why would I fight for the devil to have as many false religions as possible and all of them to be available to everyone?" says MacArthur as quoted by the Christian Post.
During his State of the Church address on Wednesday, MacArthur shared his thoughts on the issue. He equated evangelicals partnership with non-Christian groups to promote religious freedom as an unholy alliance which does not help advance God's Kingdom. His stance is that the Gospel is enough to bring favorable changes in a society.
"The Gospel offends the sinner and seeks to break the sinner's comfort and contentment by bringing him into stark realization of the eternal judgement of God. Evangelicals have become like Peter. They are looking for alliances with Satan that they think somehow can aid the Kingdom," MacArthur said.
Having fought for his congregation's right to continue on-site services despite litigation and threats, the renowned preacher said that religious freedom will not give Christians immunity or protection from "the hostility of sinners."
MacArthur maintained that Christianity will advance with or without a state sanctioned religious freedom. He also noted the downside of supporting the advocacy as believers.
"And there'll always be religious freedom for all the lies. Every false religion is going to be free because it's linked to the kingdom of darkness that operates in the world," he explained and added,
"The Apostles turned the world upside down with no help from it. No social action. No alliances. The evil kingdom of darkness hates what God loves and loves everything that God hates, and the kingdom of darkness is never a friend to the light."
The megachurch pastor also highlighted the "principalities of the air's" role on influencing government leaders by saying,
"Even rulers have exchanged the truth of God for a lie. ... They function under the liar Satan himself who [is] the liar and father of lies. There is absolutely no reason for us to make any alliance with him."
MacArthur quoted the apostle Paul's admonishment on Ephesians 5:5-8 to back his claims highlighting verse 7.
"Do not be partakers with them," he said. "You have no alliance with the kingdom of darkness."
What Other Evangelical Groups Think
Of course Pastor MacArthur's words do not mean relgious freedom shouldn't be fought for. In 2019, according to Religious Freedom Index: American Perspectives on the First Amendment, 60% said religious freedom remained important.
"While much changed in 2020, religious freedom continues to garner support across demographics through each of the Index's six dimensions, as reflected by this year's composite score of 66 on a 100 point scale," they said as per the data gathered.
"Our findings present a picture of Americans relying on religion and religious freedom to deal with the challenges of 2020, both reactively and proactively," the researchers concluded.
Religious freedom is also a major concern today, especially with the Biden administration's Equality Act, which, per Evangelist Franklin Graham, could force the LGBTQ agenda on people, especially children. Religious freedom will mean having the power to refuse things that violate a person's moral convictions.
MacArthur's assertion should encourage Christians to see religious freedoms in a different light -- that whether it is upheld or not, the faithful must continue advancing the Kingdom of God without resorting to compromise.