Pastor Stacey Shiflett of Calvary Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland, took a stand against his local government and tore up a cease-and-desist order during his recent sermon.
The pastor then went so far as to upload the video to Twitter saying that his church plans to follow the Bible, even risking the ire of local officials who threatened to fine the church $5,000 for holding services in person.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Friday that houses of worship were allowed to meet with a maximum of 50 percent capacity. Calvary’s 600-capacity sanctuary held about 100 congregants on Wednesday and complied with the governor’s orders, but was in violation of the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services’ order, according to Fox News.
The baptist preacher showed the order to his congregants and told them why he was making a spectacle of the violation notice.
“With this cease-and-desist letter in my hand, the Bible says to the New Testament church ‘not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is… and the closer we get to Jesus coming back, the more church we ought to be having, not less church.
“Now that’s God’s parameters. So I’m tearing up this cease-and-desist order right here, and I’m telling you right now, we’re gonna do it God’s way!”
— Stacey Shiflett ???????? (@staceyshiflett) May 21, 2020
“Either we have liberty to worship or we have permission to worship,” Shiflett told Fox News. The pastor said that his decision came after he realized how much the nation needed religious freedom as it’s facing increased government control.
Shiflett said that he and his church are challenging their local officials to designate churches an essential gathering places so that they can freely open their doors once again without concern for repercussions from local government.
Calvary is just one of a coalition of churches who plan to reconvene their regular services on Memorial Day weekend. Shiflett told Fox News that he was asked to attend a ReOpen Maryland freedom rally on Friday by its organizers to offer prayer for the state.
The church’s legal counsel has informed them that if individuals are allowed to gather at retail locations, they should legally be allowed to gather within their four walls.
President Donald Trump has put opening houses of worship back up near the top of his priority list, according to The Inquisitr‘s earlier report.
Trump commented on the lack of respect offered to churches by some Democratic governors, saying that his administration plans to take a strong position in support of local churches.