Late Friday night, the Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that California must allow churches to resume indoor worship services in a limited manner. But Pastor Mike McClure of Calvary Chapel San Jose has fought back against the state's restrictive orders from Day One.
McClure has refused repeated efforts by Santa Clara County to stop worship. As a result, his church faces a nearly $2 million fine that is growing every day. In addition, the bank that holds the church's mortgage is threatening to call its loan and demand an immediate $1.2 million payment.
Son of the famed Don McClure, who was part of the original Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa and, with Pastor Chuck Smith, one of the leaders of the Jesus Movement, McClure grew up in the heady days of the revival and the wonderful move of God that brought a generation of young believers into the kingdom.
McClure is adamant in his protest against the ban on worship, saying, "Hebrews 10:25 is very clear that we are to not forsake the gathering of ourselves together, and when it comes to us not being able to meet, we have to stand up."
He continues, "I have told those involved we are to assemble even if there is a mandate. You cannot make a law on religion telling us how to act, but I think they are confused about the law. We were very clear to all involved that we were reasonable, being careful, of course. Not one person in our church has been affected by the virus, and the last straw was when they refused to even discuss the ability to worship—if abortion clinics, marijuana dispensaries, liquor stores and Walmart can meet, we are needed even more."
What McClure sees as a true signal of the spiritual warfare nature unfolding in his state is the rise of a bizarre attitude toward worship. "They hate worship the most!" he says. "I was thinking of Moses and Pharaoh and his saying, 'Let my people worship.' We were talking to them, trying to in good faith negotiate a solution, and when we mentioned worship they hung up on us. It appears there is power in worship that the enemy is most fearful of!"
But McClure is disappointed with his fellow area pastors and what he believes is their ignorance of Scripture. "The pastors really don't know what to do, and many don't seem to know their Bibles and our history. They seem to not know that our country was founded by those looking to worship in freedom. The church doesn't seem to know who we are."
And the Calvary pastor also brought up a little-known figure that has stunned many, namely that according to a Barna report since the COVID-19 outbreak, 27% of evangelical Christians have stopped going to church altogether, which is causing widespread and serious problems. This only affirms McClure's desire to see the church as the most important part of society, essential because it covers all areas and needed more than before because of the multiple stresses and challenges people are facing.
A crowdfunding account has been set up to support McClure's and Calvary Chapel San Jose's efforts at this link.
McClure adds, "No matter what we do, the hatred they have for the gospel and in particular for worship is something that will need be appeased. They simply want to shut us down, so we will continue to serve and worship the Lord Jesus Christ."