A pastor in Baltimore, Maryland, tore a cease and desist letter in front his congregation on Wednesday after he was ordered by local officials to stop hosting in-person services during coronavirus lockdowns.
Governor Larry Hogan said last week that places of worship could reopen at 50 percent capacity. However, hundreds of members of Calvary Baptist Church attended a service officiated by Pastor Stacey Shiflett’s last Wednesday.
The following day, Baltimore Council Executives decided against it on a local level, and put Pastor Shiflett in violation of Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services’ rules.
Also, Baltimore Mayor Jack Young limited religious and spiritual gatherings to just 10 people.
On Tuesday, May 19, Pastor Shiflett announced on social media that he received a threat of a $5,000 fine.
In spite of the threat of a fine, on Wednesday night, May 20, he returned to the church where he tore a cease-and-desist letter from local officials in front of his congregation.
“Pharaoh doesn’t get to dictate to God’s people how they worship their God,” Pastor Shiflett began in the video. “God’s that one that defines the perimeters, God’s the one that communicates his will and his plan for his church, not Egypt.”
He added: “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, but so much more as you see the day approaching,’ and the closer we get to Jesus coming back, the more church we ought to be having, not less church,’ he said at a Wednesday church service, before ripping the piece of paper.
“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! God tells us how to worship Him, nobody else gets to do that.”