Episode 454: Should Churches Shut Their Doors Due To Coronavirus With Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
With the recent developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments around the world and across many different states in America have taken steps to encourage and even require people to stay home. Pastor Mark Spitsbergen joins Eugene to share his perspective on this issue concerning the church, and why he’s been taking flak over the past few days.
Hello and welcome to another back to Jerusalem podcast. I’m Eugene Bach, your host for this time, and I’m coming to you live on delay from somewhere within the borders of Sweden, but it’s not Sweden that we’re talking about right now. It’s actually what’s been taking place in the U S I have a friend of mine that we’ve known each other for Several years. I’ve been to his church, really love him. He’s been with me in China as well. pastor Mark Kay. Pastor Mark is still there with us. Yeah, I’m here. Happy to be here with you. Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on and being with us at back to Jerusalem. I know that this is, I think, the first time we’ve ever had you on the back to Jerusalem podcast.
Can you just introduce yourself really quick for people that have never heard of you before? Sure. Well, let me begin by saying I love back to Jerusalem and everything that your whole team is doing within the expression of back to Jerusalem. I’ve pastored for over 37 years now in San Diego. we do missions.
All over the world. Right now. Our focus primarily is cashmere. Even though we’re still very active in Nepal. In fact, all of this ruckus says, actually we had to shut down our pastors conference that was going to be in the Northern regions of Nepal, which I was looking forward to, but we’re going to get back to it if they’ll open up.
travel again here at the end of April. and I’ve known, and been a part of, you know, at least two different expressions of back to Jerusalem, since about 2002. And so really love and appreciate you guys. And we love you as well. We love being at your church. We love the fellowship. We love the connection every time we’ve been there.
It’s just been such an amazing time. And, love your faith, love, love everything about your church. I mean, I’ve also traveled with your sister Geneva and and her husband, and also just an awesome couple. Yeah. You know, one of the reasons why I love having you on right now is that, you know, the Corona virus, we’ve been actually dealing with this since early January inside of China.
we were some of the first people to kind of report on it and talk about what was taking place as a ministry anyway. just because the churches that we work there work with in Wohan were given us daily updates and telling us about everything. And. And, we started to see areas just shut down really quickly as the virus spread.
And now that it’s in the U S it’s been interesting to watch how the Christian community has reacted. And, just I think a few days ago, on March 4th, I believe it was. there was a restriction of travel, in the U S, specifically focused on California. California issued a state of emergency on March 4th, on March 4th.
And then just a few days ago, on March 19th, they gave a mandatory statewide stay at home order. and I saw that many of the churches went online at that time. But your church decided that you guys were still going to meet and you had put some things up on social media about that. And I saw you started taking a lot of flack from different directions from people that felt that, you know what?
Right now, Christian should stay at home. Yeah, and it’s just so tragic to me. It’s so hurtful to me because, you know, I really truly look at it as they were approach against Jesus because that the church, we are the only representation of Christ Jesus in the earth. And Jesus is far more today than what he was.
When he managed was manifested in the flesh 2000 years ago. Now he has been glorified with his eternal glory. May King of Kings and Lord of Lords, place in authority above all other things, given the church to be the fullness of him that fills all things declared to the church and fallible word that.
The Gates of hell would not prevail against the church, given us two immutable things that we should absolutely have for a great certainty. His word and his promises and what we see here. Is that the leadership and America, especially the USA, has really failed to do their job and instill within the people of God a great confidence, a great assurance in who Christ Jesus is.
Today. And the authority that he has over all things. I mean, once again, the church is supposed to be the cure for every spiritual problem, every problem, spirit, soul, and body of man. And unfortunately, Oh folks have, within the leadership of the church has actually abdicated under a suggestion, not under a pain of death, not under a pain of some real.
you know, penalty of law because the reality of it is, is, is barely, is barely, more than a recommendation at this point. And it wasn’t so much for me that people were just rolling over to the, the rights and privileges that we have expressed in the constitution, which is the law of laws. What was problematic to me.
Was those who are supposed to be able to stand up and stop this play against Dan between the living and the dead, ran for the Hills they ran for cover, and if we are not the cure to the social and moral ills of society, if we’re not the cure to the plagues, then there is weak. There is no one who can be that.
on the left, we certainly advocate, which it looks like we’d gone over to the words of men and of science, and you know, I’m just not going to stand for it. Your background is not a typical pastor’s background. I mean, when you were in university, you S you studied science, right? Or, or what was your background.
Yeah, I did. I did. I, you know, basically, I’ve spent many years in molecular biology and immunology. And I have a quite a bit of experience, you know, in infectious disease, I worked for hybrid tech as I was by vocational bio. I worked in the biotech, so one of them was an antibody, you know, . And then I worked for Eli Lilly, a very famous pharmaceutical company, and then another biotech company that was actually, developing a, a vaccine against tuberculosis. So yeah, I spent a lot of time in science and I’ve certainly, it has its place, but there’s nothing more powerful than the word and promises of God and the authority that has been given to the believer to cast out devils, lay hands on the sick and nature recover.
One of the reasons I wanted to bring this up is because, I mean, when you see a biological threat, I mean, you are able to see the spiritual side of it as a pastor, but you also see the physical side of it as well. I mean, the, the, you know, from the, from your background, I mean, you can see the threat. And, and, and, you know, faith is not ignorance, but you are able to measure the threat that you are actually facing.
And so you buy by you standing on the word of God, I find extremely unique because it’s, it’s not that you’re standing on the word of God because you’re ignorant. You’re standing on the word of God because you’ve. Seeing both worlds. I mean, you, you understand the science, you understand the biology and you understand the power of the spirit as well.
Yeah and no, it’s just true because, you know, I don’t want to say something really self serving, but in all honesty, you know, after my, so many years in biotechs and doing, you know, discovery research, not just applied research, but discovery research. And there may be some of your listeners who know the difference.
And especially before a company like Eli Lilly. I’ve come to know and be acquainted with many people who actually know more about Cove at 19 and the various facets of this good killer virus. Then then at least anyone in the world, and at least as much as anyone in the world, and what Mike contention is here, you know, even though it is very infectious, it’s probably about 10 times worse than influenza.
the reality of it is. The Bible tells us in Matthew chapter 24 verse seven that we know that there is going to be famine, there’s going to be plugs of disease, and there’s going to be earthquakes, and we can understand ended in that context that it’s going to be like a woman in travail. Where the, those contractions come closer and closer together.
And the reality of it is, is we simply aren’t prepared in terms of the church to stand in the face of these things and really live out Psalms 91 where ten thousand ten thousand fall by our side and it does not come near us. That is an active relationship of believing God’s word, exalting God’s word above every day.
But I mean, when you’ve got 10,000 people drop dead right around you, that is one scary situation and the only ability to not be taken by that fear is this faith that comes out of an intimate relationship. And assurance in who God is for us. And so my alarm isn’t so much about the epidemial epidemiology of COBIT 19 my alarm is about the sickness, spiritual sickness that actually exists within the church that is supposed to be the ones that stand between the dead and the living when there is a plague, the ones that are supposed to.
Call humanity into the light and revelation of who Jesus is in times like this to be the salt and preservation as well as the hinder of iniquity. When we’re dealing with all of these events and on, I am just overwhelmed at the faithless response and it has startled me and it has also. You know, created a, a fire on the inside of me just to speak that much louder.
let me ask you this, pastor, what has been the reaction of your church, the elders, the, the members, at, your refusal to, to, to stop services. Well, the good news is that my church has been, being taught to follow Jesus. every time we get together, they are built up in the faith. They know who they are in Christ Jesus.
I have a church full, clinical scientist. And medical scientist as well as educators. So I fortunately have watched a group of people who are as familiar, if not more so with the realities and the issues stand in a place in greater confidence. That Christ Jesus is in control and that his authority is active right now.
And so I’ve got folks that, well, one particular person who actually works in the ICU, these guys are, all of them are primarily your first responders. with respect to medical science. And some of them are actually researchers in clinical science. And every one of them has stood with me and, and are fired up.
And I think that if I did anything less than I’m doing, that they would be. So they’re not just following, they’re standing alongside. That’s, that’s amazing. have you, have you had any orders from the state? Have you, has anybody given you a call from, the, from California state, representatives or the governor’s house, asking you or telling you or local authorities, police, anyone?
Calling you and telling you that you need to cease and desist any services. No, we have that. But we’re prepared for that. I mean, our response would be first and foremost, a biblical response. and then we would also give them a response to helps them understand that we are a very knowledgeable community of people that, you know, we have, you know, as I said, a lot of folks in our community who really are the first responders in the hospital.
And we would just break, basically do everything we could do, to try to just assure them on the basis of things that they can know and understand. and then we have, you know, several lawyers in the church too, especially one a constitutional lawyer. And we would, you know, basically stand up or. Our right if, and if they couldn’t understand anything else, our right in terms of the law that is above all laws and they have the constitution and, you know, we’re, we would, that’s our privilege for the United States of America that a lot of other countries don’t have.
And, we would certainly not back down, you know, for me, I look at the church of China. I looked at the church and other, you know, very, difficult areas of the world. And, you know, they have stood the task and stood up to, honor Christ Jesus and the authority of his word and of the church on such an amazing level.
It is a, certainly. You know, a, a banner for all of us to look at and follow and, you know, I’m just not going to be, I’m not going to be fearful. I’m not going to be coward. Here’s what I know. I know that as long as we stand with the Lord, he’s standing with us and he’s going to take care of this and work miracles for us, whether it’s miracles and dealing with the infectious disease or miracles that dealing with the authorities, we’re going to have favor.
I’m going to I, my position as I can prove to you Christ Jesus, I can prove to you is healing power and I can prove to you his protection, power, protection, and you know, and we’re here to offer that to a very fearful. Society. One of the things that I loved about your social media post was that you had really, you know, in just a couple sentences and said that, you know, the governor of California has said that all nonessential travel, it is, should be canceled, but that the church was.
And it was an essential part of travel and a, there is a pastor that, you know, we are based out of Baton Rouge. We’ve been based out of Baton Rouge for a while and, there’s a church right down the road from our, from our office, called life tabernacle church. They’re in Baton Rouge. We know the church pretty well.
Pastor Tony spell was told by the governor of Louisiana. That he had to stop his services because they made it illegal to have a congregation of, or any gathering of more than 50 people. So the sheriff showed up at during this last Sunday service, and they were told that they had to disperse. And this pastor has been basically making the same argument, which is.
This is not, we are not this, this little cute thing that takes place, you know, as a hobby for people on Sundays, but leave the real challenges to the government officials or to the, the guys in the state house. we are an essential part of our community. We are here, you know, for the medical workers that are absolutely emotionally and physically drained, we are here for those that are losing their jobs, those that are facing troubles in their marriage.
We are light in the community that is needed during the hardest times, if ever. And so we cannot close our doors when people need us the most. And so the governor had said, you know, well, we’re going to be calling in the national guard and the national guard. Officer had replied and said, you know, that we haven’t been contacted by the governor.
But even if he did, and he said a few words but coded, he basically said, over my dead body, I’m not going to be enforcing a church to close their doors. Yeah. I thought was was great. And of course, there’s not a legal standing for that governor to stand on, and to go against that, the church. But what I loved about the pastor, and what I love about you is that.
You guys are both sharing that this is essential. This is what we do is, is like the air that we breathe it. It is a part of who we are at our veterans. Very essence. And when you take that away, you take away our lives. We don’t have life outside of the body of Christ. And, and, and this is something that I think the world.
and, and even some Christians, as you’re starting to see, may not fully understand, sadly. Well, it’s become obvious. The light is shown upon it. It’s become obvious that they don’t, there’s a, I’m discovering, I knew in my heart that it was true, but I, you know, until you face the reality, you kind of lay, you know, you know, hold out for a hope.
The reality of it is though, people in the church. Many, many people in the church has it become obvious because I am taking a lot of flack for this and so our other pastors are standing. They with us in this, that people by and large do not believe that we are the power of God in the earth. And that if we abdicate, then there is no means by which father can didn’t express his loving kindness, his tender mercies, his grace for spirit, soul and body for the human rights.
And we go recognize the high and lofty place. The father has placed us in Christ Jesus right now at the right hand of the father and being the church that is supposed to be. The fullness of him to fill up all things and you know, it’s like, I’m thinking, my goodness, it coded 19 isn’t that bad. Imagine a modification of small ponds or something else that Literally take out hundreds of millions of people before you could ever have a answer from science for medical science and here, you know, it’s like, it’s for me, this is like a fire drill. It’s a wake up call and it’s once again a time and opportunity for us to confront people about who they believe Jesus is.Is he. Present with us is the, the say Nestor day to and forever are the same authorities that he gave to the church as is described in the gospels in the epistles that which we are submitted to because that is the true expression of the authority of the church. And so, you know, I, people are having now probably more than ever before to grapple with these things and they’re coming out violently.
Ferociously trying to self justify themselves because in the hearts of hearts, they’ve got to know that they’re walk. Let me ask you this. have you received like any special phone calls from pastors that you’re in relationship with people that you’re individuals? I mean, you don’t have to give any names, but people that have called you and said, brother.
Let’s be wise. let’s let, let’s be safe. This is not persecution. This is just being smart. have you had those kinds of pastors call you? Have you had a conversation with them and how did that go? Yeah, and I have in my point is that all of these things about let’s be safe is really irrelevant to the issue or less observed Romans 13 which is completely out of context because the person who wrote that wrote that specifically.
The apostle Paul was never run out of a church, never shut down a church, never quieted himself in the face of everybody telling him he could not speak. And so we could also say. Peter, James and John, and we could also say Daniel, or we could all, we go go all the way back to the beginning of time. The reality of it is, the bigger issue here that I want to confront with pastors is not all of these mine or things, but our representation of Jesus Christ are we saying publicly that we have no of for antique in his name to cure disease and sickness.
That ain’t the sale yet point. Right. And for us to close down our churches and then to recount this idea that we’re not, you know, those of us who are supposed to be the church, the cure to the social and moral and physical guilt of society are concerned that we are going to infect someone. Well, my goodness, that is an by Fe.
That’s paperless. And did that, did that break your fellowship at all? Are you still in fellowship with those individuals? Did that, that in that conversation in friendly. No. you know how it is every, but I think that most of these people in ministry, they have a respect for me. and they just simply know that I, they just classified me as extreme and as radical and, you know, as very narrow minded, I’m very focused on the Bible and the word of God.
And I don’t allow it to be amended by circumstances or the year 2020. You know, I have loved, I, you gave, I either you gave me a book or I got it somehow, the last two kingdoms, a book that you had written, that highlighted many of the events that would take place before the second coming of the Lord.
And there’s been a lot of people that have asked the question, you know, does this have anything to do with the return of Christ or in times? And what do you say. Yeah, no, this, this would be really in the category of, of Matthew chapter 24, verse seven, before the period of the tribulation. It certainly does, you know, fit into the description of what happens as we approach that time, you know, the earth and, and all of that.
You know, the creation is groaning and travailing, and within the framework of those things, which God allows, and those things which he doesn’t allow, we have these occurrences of, both manmade disasters and natural disasters. And fortunately, we have fathers sitting in a position, of course, Christ Jesus.
As head over everything over, over Prince value, power and might and dominion and nothing makes a move unless he allowed it. And so we then we find ourselves here at this time now with the Lord, not only holding back disaster, because I can think of so many sisters and now from, you know, from a clinical science, perspective, you know, I know a bio weapon that, that.
Could easily be created if they’re not created. And, and we all know of nuclear threats and so many other manmade threats that could exist. And father doesn’t allow them to occur. He’s the one that decides. And then when we find ourselves in situations where now these various different plagues of various different diseases, you know, we’re having to encounter them.
You know, we can be confident that the church is supposed to shine bright as the light of cure that, Hey come over here cause I’m certain that we are going to face in the future, plagued the diseases that are worse than the ones that were encountered in the past. Worse than the bubonic. Plague worse than things that have taken place in the past, that it’s simply an inevitability that is going to take place.
Okay. Well, the reality of it is, is look at the, the, the power and the authority that the name of Jesus could ultimately come to bear in and be described by and witnessed by. not only the church, but for the whole world to see. And if we’re not willing to step up and participate with the remedy that father has given, then ultimately we can’t shine as a light and we can’t be what we’re supposed to be in the earth.
That calling card into the kingdom of God. That love of Jesus Christ describe on every level, because I’m going to tell you right now, there are people that are in the hospital dying of 19 right now and all. If there was a church that was willing to stand up on every street corner as it were and proclaimed this name with the authority that he is given in his name, then the whole world would begin to have at least a view of God’s love for them.
Thank you so much, pastor for coming on and sharing. I love you. I love your church. I love this message. I’m during the, the most trying times is when we really see those that put their trust in the Lord. For those that might be in Southern California listening to this podcast, where could they find your church.
well, right now we’re having to meet at our world mission base in San Diego, which is beautiful. 427 acres of land. but the best thing for them to do, cause we’d been locked out of all the places we’ve been meeting, we were locked out. We were renting a school in town. We were also renting a church in town.
both. The schedule system locked us out because they’d gone on lock down, probably won’t open until next school term at the earliest, the church, which was a real heartbreaker to me that we rent from, they had no price to pay. We alone had the price to pay. They locked us out. It’s just crazy confusion.
So the best thing for people to do, is to go to get a map. Okay. In Southern California, on Debbie . Dot. Abiding place.org and that says, so rather than just be trying to describe or give an address, it would be much better to go onto a biding place website, which has Debbie at WWF. God abiding place.org and get all the information there.
Awesome. Yeah. So if you’re listening to this podcast, you’re in Southern California, or you’re looking for a fellowship where you want to just go and, and fellowship together with pastor Mark and his church, you can find email@example.com I would highlight. Yeah. And listen, listen, also, if anybody has got Cove at 19, we’ll lay hands on you and you’ll get healed.
So, I, I’m, we, we’re, none of us are afraid of coded 19. Awesome. And so we don’t really, people in isolation was no care if you’ve got, if you’re in a home with coded 19 we will come and pray for you. Awesome through that website. So abiding place.org is where you want to go. You can contact, reach out to them.
If you’re in Southern California or in a nearby area and you have coven 19 or you are sick and you want to have prayer, reach out to a biding place. Reach out to pastor Mark and have them in their team. Come and pray for you. I would also highly recommend the only book that I have of yours. Pastor Mark is the last two kingdoms, is that the only one you’ve done or have you done another one?
No, I’ve done multiple books once again on the website. You can go and get them in one relevant book right now is the authority of the believers. so I encourage anybody and we give that free of charge. Anyone can just download it. You can get a hard cover will actually, you know, ask you, you know, to contribute something for that.
But yeah. www.abidingplace.org there’s multiple books. Just highlighting the authority to believe, or people need to get that right now. Oh yes. Okay, great. Yeah, no, I can see that you guys have an online store abiding place.org pastor Mark, thank you so much, brother, for joining us. Thank you so much for taking the call and thank you so much for your faith in Southern California and just standing strong for Christ.
Really appreciate it. Love you, and great to talk to you. Love you so much. Alright. Bless you man. Bye. Goodbye, and thank you for joining us for another back to Jerusalem podcast. Again, I’m Eugene Bach, your host for this time coming to you live on delay from somewhere within the borders of Sweden. God bless you. .