John MacArthur Reads Letter From James Coates+ Their Prayer for Him

John MacArthur read a letter from Pastor James Coates of Gracelife Church to the congregation during their Sunday morning service, thanking them for being a model of faithfulness and counting it a joy to be considered a co-sufferer for Christ. Grace Community Church in Sun Valley California has born the brunt of the heat in the United States for being open at full capacity through the latter part of the pandemic, being one of the most visible and largest congregations after they chose to reopen in the summer.

Explaining that Gracelife Church is meeting at an undiscovered location, MacArthur comments ‘it’s amazing to have an underground church in Canada, because the government of Alberta tripled fenced the church in and locked it so people couldn’t go there.” Coates and his Associate Pastor Jacob Spenst are both graduates of Master’s Seminary, and he credits MacArthur and his congregation with his resolve to remain strong.

He writes

To Grace Community Church which is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace to you and peace in him. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has superabundantly glorified himself through you.

For decades you have been a strong and steadfast pillar and support of the truth. So much so the Lord has established many other beacons of truth throughout this world as a direct result of your ministry. You have exemplified a profound love for the brethren, warm service and hospitality, and an undeniable love for God and his word. In fact, his word has sounded forth from you with such power and precision that the fruit of your ministry is absolutely immeasurable this side of heaven.

Pastor Johns’ 52 years of faithful ministry is as much a testimony to you as it is to him. May God richly reward you for faithfulness.

Thank you for the way you cared for me, my family and congregation during my imprisonment. Your love and prayerful support were vital to our steadfastness in the face of suffering. The letter from the elders was an immense encouragement. The support from Dr. Nathan Busenitz and the Master’s Seminary was both humbling and strengthening and the pastoral care provided by Pastor John was incredibly comforting.

It was also a rich blessing to receive letters from a number of you while imprisoned. Those letters provided necessary fuel for my resolve.

My wife Erin also sends her greeting and thankfulness. She was and continues to be greatly strengthened by your letters. You poured into her early in her spiritual development and you are pouring into her now as well.

You have suffered well for the gospel. It is an indescribable blessing to join you in that suffering. Our congregations have been counted worthy for this purpose. May we rejoice in this as did the apostles in their sufferings. Jesus Christ is the sovereign Lord over all creation and the Supreme Head of the church. We will bow to him and him alone. Only he is worthy.  

And now may he continually strengthen you unto all faithfulness and may he constantly radiate his honor and glory through you. To him be the glory forever and ever,


James Coates

In return, MacArthur prayed for Gracelife again, echoing their sentiments.

Father we pray for our dear friend James Coates and Erin and their family and others who stand with him for Gracelife Church up in Alberta, that the word will continue to sound forth from them.

We thank you for his godliness, his manliness, his courage, his conviction, his strength, his resolve. Thank you for the work you’ve done in his heart so that he would be strong and courageous and put himself in a position of obedience no matter what the cost so that you could be honored.

 Even as he concluded his letter. his words are our prayer. May you O Lord constantly radiate your honor and glory through us, through Grace Church and through Gracelife Church. To you be the glory forever and ever amen.

Editor’s note. The letter and prayer are both a transcript that we provided. We do not know exactly how it was laid out, so any errors in the reading are ours.


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