Outspoken US megachurch pastor John MacArthur has issued some foreboding words to Joe Biden following his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States.
MacArthur, who leads Grace Community Church in California, warned Biden against placing his hands on the Bible whilst doing "the very things that blaspheme [God's] name". Biden took the Presidential oath of office while placing his hand on an 1893 edition of the Douay Rheims Bible - a Catholic translation - which has been in the family for generations.
“You can say whatever you want to say,” MacArthur went on, “but when you touch the ark, you place your hand on the throne of God, because God is enthroned in His Word, and you place your hand on the Word of God and pledge to do the very things that blaspheme His name...talk about a high-risk action".
The pastor then addressed a number of moral and ethical policy positions adopted by Biden which he deems to be incongruent with the Bible.
“Don’t tell me you advocate for the slaughter of babies in the womb,” he said, referring to the President's stance on abortion. He went on to attack President Biden over his stance on gender identity, the Islamic faith and immigration: "Don’t tell me you want to destroy masculinity, femininity, marriage. Don’t tell me you want to fill the world with LGBTQ people in leadership, you want to justify the transgender activity. Don’t tell me you want to invite more Muslims in who represent a religion from Hell and then put your hand on the throne of God.”
MacArthur's comments drew reactions on social media, with one Twitter user replying: "So...John MacArthur is saying we shouldn't let Muslims into America? What about the Bible's command to welcome foreigners? What if the only way they hear the gospel is in the United States where we have freedom for all religions so that the only true one is also never hindered?"
It was MacArthur's second week back in the pulpit after he took a month off with a mystery illness. Some have speculated that may have been suffering from Covid-19. In his first week back, after stepping up onto the stage, the pastor appeared breathless and was heard trying to clear his throat.
MacArthur hit the headlines last year after breaking the law by refusing to suspend in-person services at the height of the pandemic.