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  • Writer's pictureThomas Bonifield

Standing against Persecution, "The Essential Church" Releases Today

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

From the church of Pastor John MacArthur, the documentary tracks the oppression Believers through the ages have faced from government.

Pastor John MacArthur (background) films a scene for "The Essential Church."
Pastor John MacArthur (background) records a scene for "The Essential Church." Image: Grace Productions.

The mandatory shutdown of churches during the Covid pandemic may now seem a distant memory, but several pastors who risked arrest and incarceration to keep the doors open want to make sure Christians do not forget. Among them is John MacArthur, lead pastor at Grace Community Church.

A digital poster for "The Essential Church."
A digital poster for "The Essential Church." Image: Grace Productions.

He is the driving force behind The Essential Church, a feature-length documentary put together by Grace Productions, which belongs to his church. The Sun Valley, California-based body was a prominent player in the often-contentious battle between local congregations and elected officials and bureaucrats bent on shutting down in-person worship during the virus hysteria.

In MacAurthur's case, he and his flock defied lockdown orders from both local and state authorities, and they went on to prevail in legal proceedings that followed. The film, however, goes well beyond the instances of government overreach and persecution during just the pandemic a few years hence, detailing the broader history of tyranny against the Church from the time of its founding.

This production rolls out today in more than 40 states and U.S. territories, and you can purchase tickets to a theater in your area via this link to the website of The Essential Church; the trailer below will give you a better feel for what to expect in the meantime.

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