The following is an open letter from Pastor John MacArthur to Governor Gavin Newsom, in response to billboard advertisements placed across the country by Newsom’s campaign shamelessly misquoting Mark 12:31 in support of abortion. View a PDF version of the letter.
September 29, 2022
Governor Gavin Newsom
1021 O Street, Suite 9000
Sacramento, CA 95814
Almighty God says in His Word, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). Scripture also teaches that it is the chief duty of any civic leader to reward those who do well and to punish evildoers (Romans 13:1–7). You have not only failed in that responsibility; you routinely turn it on its head, rewarding evildoers and punishing the righteous.
The Word of God pronounces judgment on those who call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20), and yet many of your policies reflect this unholy, upside-down view of honor and morality. The diabolical effects of your worldview are evident in the statistics of California’s epidemics of crime, homelessness, sexual perversions (like homosexuality and transgenderism), and other malignant expressions of human misery that stem directly from corrupt public policy. I don’t need to itemize or elaborate on the many immoral decisions you have perpetrated against God and the people of our state, which have only exacerbated these problems. Nevertheless, my goal in writing is not to contend with your politics, but rather to plead with you to hear and heed what the Word of God says to men in your position.
“Let all kings bow down before Him, all nations serve Him” (Psalm 72:11).
“He who rules over men righteously, who rules in the fear of God, is as the light of the morning when the sun rises” (2 Samuel 23:3–4).
“It is an abomination for kings to commit wicked acts, for a throne is established on righteousness” (Proverbs 16:12).
What God said to Cyrus is a truth you should take to heart: “I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:5–6).
In mid-September, you revealed to the entire nation how thoroughly rebellious against God you are when you sponsored billboards across America promoting the slaughter of children, whom He creates in the womb (Psalm 139:13–16; Isaiah 45:9–12). You further compounded the wickedness of that murderous campaign with a reprehensible act of gross blasphemy, quoting the very words of Jesus from Mark 12:31 as if you could somehow twist His meaning and arrogate His name in favor of butchering unborn infants. You used the name and the words of Christ to promote the credo of Molech (Leviticus 20:1–5). It would be hard to imagine a greater sacrilege.
Furthermore, you chose words from the lips of Jesus without admitting that in the same moment He gave the greatest commandment: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). You cannot love God as He commands while aiding in the murder of His image-bearers.
Psalm 50:16–19 speaks to people who pervert the Word of God for their own sinful ends:
But to the wicked God says,
“What right have you to recount My statutes
And to take My covenant in your mouth?
For you hate discipline,
And you cast My words behind you.
When you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
And you associate with adulterers.
You let your mouth loose in evil
And you harness your tongue for deceit.”
My concern, Governor Newsom, is that your own soul lies in grave, eternal peril. “Each one of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). One day, not very long from now, you will face that reality. Nothing is more certain. “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). You will stand in the presence of the Holy God who created you, who is your Judge, and He will demand that you give an account for how you have flouted His authority in your governing, and how you have twisted His own Holy Word to rationalize it. As you look over the precipice of eternity, what will your answer be? When you look ahead of you and see that nothing awaits you but eternal misery—the just punishment for your sins—what will all the clever rationalizations and political talking points avail for you then? And by then it will be too late for any remedy or redemption. “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).
My plea to you, Sir, is that you would not let it come to that—that you would not go to that day of judgment apart from receiving forgiveness and righteousness through faith in Christ alone. In Psalm 50, after rebuking the wicked for uttering God’s words in a profane way, Scripture makes this promise: “Now consider this, you who forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there will be none to deliver. He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving glorifies Me; and he who orders his way, I shall show the salvation of God” (Psalm 50:22–23).
So there is salvation for those who repent. Christ purchased full redemption for all who will turn from wickedness, forsake their evil thoughts and actions, and trust fully in Him as Lord and Savior.
Our church, and countless Christians nationwide, are praying for your full repentance. Please respond to the gospel, forsake the path of wickedness you have pursued all your life, turn to Christ, ask for forgiveness, and use your office to advance the cause of righteousness (as is your duty) instead of undermining it (as has been your pattern).
Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:6–7)
Governor Newsom, “now is the acceptable time, behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).
For the Master,
Pastor / Teacher - Grace Community Church