Todd Friel Defends Pastors Who Won’t Open Their Churches

Todd Friel has a message for pastors who haven’t opened up their churches yet 14 months into the pandemic, along with those planning on staying shut for months longer- perhaps even years- on account of the novel coronavirus: he fully supports you.

The Wretched Radio show host made the comments during a program uploaded April 19, where he sought to explain Romans 14 and how it applies to Christians.

What Romans 14 tells us, brace yourself for this and please don’t think suddenly I’ve become a member of the Democratic party (or) I’ve become a liberal theologian. No, but there are times when certain issues are ‘a truth’ and not ‘the truth.’

Todd explains that he’s not being postmodern, but rather he’s offering a straightforward summary of Romans 14, positing that if we as Christians can properly understand that chapter, then we will have more unity over divisive issues raging in Christendom, like COVID.

There are Christians with differences of opinion. Some are opening up their churches, some are adhering to the government mandates whatever they happen to be- a percentage, distance between people, wearing the masks – different churches are reacting differently to the same set of information that we all have access to.

And I’ve noticed we’re starting to cop a bit of an attitude toward those churches that don’t do it exactly the way that we do. Or some of us are leaving our good churches because we don’t agree with what the elders have decided is the right way to approach this situation.

Might I suggest to you (that with) COVID maybe there’s an aspect of it where this doesn’t apply, but COVID is an ‘a truth’ issue that different churches are going to see the situation based on their history, their people, maybe even for all I know their comorbidities, what their government is mandating, where they’re at in the history of the church.

And they’re making decisions that some perhaps don’t agree with. And I would suggest to you that if they are working through the subject, whatever it is that they decide about whether or not they should open up, whether or not they should tell the government, ‘Sorry, we have to obey God,’ wherever your church is at on that spectrum would suggest to you that is ‘a truth’ but it’s not ‘the truth.’

Friel offers the caveat, “If your church is obeying government ahead of God, that would be a sin,” but makes it clear he does not consider a church shutting down on the demand of the government to be putting the government first, reiterating that “I can’t judge your church because you are following ‘a truth'” and “different Christians are going to have different takes on it and we need to recognize that is okay.”

Later in the message, Friel offers his thoughts on James Coates and the stand that he has taken, saying that the pastor was right to insist on keeping his church open, but that another pastor who has chosen to keep his church relegated to virtual services for over a year, and even for another year or two, would be right to do that, as that would be “a truth” too.

And so do I agree with what GraceLife Church is doing? Sure. If your church is doing the opposite I think what you’re doing is right too, because we let other believers go about the business of making decisions on subjects that are not theologically crystal clear issues, and ultimately have a different conclusion. And here’s the – this is the tough part about this – they’re both right. They’re both right.

We leave Friel with the words preached by Pastor John MacArthur more than seven months ago:

I’ll tell you what is disappointing to me, how few churches are standing up. How few large churches or even Christian leaders are willing to say, “Look, we’re, not going to bow to Ceasar. We’re going to serve our Lord.” Churches are shutting down. Large churches are shutting down until they say January. I don’t have any way to understand that, other than they don’t know what a church is and they don’t shepherd their people. But that’s sad. And you have a lot of people in Christianity who seem to be significant leaders who arent giving any strength and courage to the church, they’re not standing up and rising up and calling on Christians to be the church in the world.


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15 thoughts on “Todd Friel Defends Pastors Who Won’t Open Their Churches

  1. I’ve noticed that he’s seemingly tried to position himself on all sides on quite a few issues over the past few months. Every time I’ve heard it, his motivation is to encourage Christian’s to be more accepting of the way other Christians look at things, which is usually to accept Christians who are stretching biblical wording to accommodate something. Infant baptism and neglecting the assembly of believers are only two of quite a few issues over the past few months.

      1. Certainly death before the age of accountability would put them in heaven. Unless you are a true Calvinist who believes God makes certain humans just to send to hell as they unfortunate enough not to be the chosen elect. That doctrine would send infants to hell.

        1. Yes I am a Calvinist for forty some yrs and most our preachers believe that, calling it the doctrine of original sin. However some Calvinists believe all babies and young children who pass on, are elect. No one should really argue about this, I have seen churches split over doctrines (pre, post trib, pre rapture, etc).

        2. Our eternal destination is up to God. The Bible gives fairly good indications as to where people are likely to be going, but ultimately we leave it up to Him… because we ultimately don’t know the fate of others. To make a blanket statement and creed that ALL sinful and rebellious people will go to heaven before reaching a loosely defined and vaguely biblical “age of accountability” is not made a matter of certainty because Scripture declares the certainty of it. It is a creed established by those who’s view of God in scripture translates into how they feel God will handle this situation… whether or not Scripture explicitly says so. There are a few semi- revelant scriptures to point to, but definitely not nearly enough to make the case for a blanket age of accountability for everyone who ever lived. That’s called wishful thinking. It’s not biblically tenable.

          This puts everyone below a variable age during The Flood into heaven, and everyone above that variable age into hell, even though the Bible describes all of them identically.

          Some things we need to just put into God’s hands and to “not go beyond what is written” in Scripture. We also need to not stretch what is in scripture to accommodate a blanket rule or law that God needs to follow in all circumstances in order to address the despair felt at the loss of a child.

        3. JTC, A Calvinist’s biblical backing on that view, if that is their view, is literally over 100 times greater, in both verse quantity and direct information, than the biblical backing of a blanket “age of accountability”… Just sayin’

      1. While I certainly have appreciated much from Todd Friel, he’s dead wrong here. Christ alone is the head of the church. If the pastor is submitting to the tyrannical government instead of Christ, he’s a hireling, unwilling to feed God’s sheep.

  2. In my humble opinion it’s John MacArthur who doesn’t know what a church is. The best definition I’ve heard is ‘it’s what’s left after the building has burnt down’. Is there a church in North Korea? Of course! There aren’t any buildings for the believers to meet in, but there is certainly a church. People not buildings, Mr MacArthur!

  3. I like Todd and get what he’s saying. Some church leaders believe they are following God’s Word to protect their flocks and their motivation is honorable. Possibly incorrect, but honorable.

    1. He’s argued that we should honor and accept Christians who align themselves with the Democratic party as well. Considering how anti-Christian their objectives and actions currently are, I’m starting to wonder if Todd is only a step or two away from trying to convince us that we should be accepting of Christians that openly embrace the LGBT agenda as well.

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