Welcome to G3 Weekly—a summary of this week’s top news stories on Christianity and the public square.
This week, Hurricane Ian devastated Florida and threatened other portions of the southeastern United States. Pastor John MacArthur called California Governor Gavin Newsom to repentance over his nationwide support of abortion. Meanwhile, dozens of Nigerian believers were martyred or severely injured by Muslim herdsmen.
Hurricane Ian Hits Florida
“We will not fear though the earth gives way… though its waters roar and foam” (Psalm 46:2-3).
Hurricane Ian made landfall in western Florida on Wednesday at nearly the status of a Category 5 storm.
The system is among the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the Sunshine State. In areas such as Hardee County, DeSoto County, and Lee County, nearly all residents were left without power by Thursday morning while personnel worked to rescue stranded citizens.
“The top priority… is saving lives,” Coast Guard Deputy Commandant Peter Gautier said during an interview with Fox News. “In the days leading up to the storm’s landfall, the Coast Guard moved all its cutters, aircraft, and small boats out of the area so that we could be positioned to bring those back in.”
Hurricane Ian hit the west coast of Florida with winds above 150 miles per hour, which later weakened to 65 miles per hour—although the National Hurricane Center said in a forecast that the system would regain speed before impacting South Carolina and Georgia.
Grace Baptist Church Pastor Tom Ascol, whose congregation worships in the coastal city of Fort Myers, wrote that the devastation from Hurricane Ian was “hard to measure.”
“In the wake of such catastrophe it is easy to be disoriented by the traumatic experiences you have just lived through and the catastrophic loss that is evident everywhere,” the recent Southern Baptist Convention presidential candidate said on social media. “But God’s people, those who have tasted and know that He is good, who have experienced His grace in the salvation found in His crucified, risen Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, we have many reasons to be filled with hope and even to rejoice.”
John MacArthur Preaches the Gospel to Gavin Newsom
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).
Grace Community Church Pastor John MacArthur called California Governor Gavin Newsom to repentance amid his nationwide abortion advertisement campaign.
Newsom, a Democrat, funded eighteen billboards in conservative states such as Mississippi, South Carolina, and Indiana, inviting mothers to visit California and murder their babies under the cover of the law. According to a report from The Daily Wire, one billboard in Texas depicts a woman in handcuffs alongside the caption: “Texas doesn’t own your body. You do.” Another billboard reads: “Need an abortion? California is ready to help.”
Some of the advertisements directly quote Jesus’ exhortation for His disciples to love their neighbors: “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment” (Mark 12:31).
As MacArthur explained in a letter to Newsom, the willingness to pervert Jesus’ words about loving one’s neighbor to support the murder of Americans’ most innocent neighbors particularly grieved him, provoking newfound concern over the official’s standing before God.
“You chose words from the lips of Jesus without admitting that in the same moment He gave the greatest commandment,” MacArthur wrote. “You cannot love God as He commands while aiding in the murder of His image-bearers.”
The longtime minister, who gained national attention for defying lockdown orders from the state government of California and continuing to host worship services at Grace Community Church, cited multiple texts discussing the responsibility of civil magistrates to rule according to God’s standards (Psalm 72:11, Romans 13:1-7, Proverbs 16:12).
“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,” MacArthur continued. “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.”
Dozens of Nigerian Christians Murdered
“My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart” (Psalm 7:10).
Islamic herdsmen in Nigeria reportedly killed dozens of Christians, looting their homes and farms for food and other belongings.
The militants, suspected to be members of the Fulani tribe, attacked six predominantly Christian villages. Residents have identified at least twelve of the victims, with pastors and denominational leaders allegedly among the martyrs.
“These attacks by the herdsmen have left dozens of Christians dead and several more with gunshot injuries and machete attack wounds,” resident Ukan Kurugh told Morning Star News. “Survivors of these herdsmen attacks have been taken to some hospitals, and they need urgent medical attention but lack the funds to pay for their medical bills. Some of them need urgent surgeries but they can’t afford to pay for the charges.”
Nigeria—which is divided between a largely Islamic north and a largely Christian south—is a hotbed for attacks against believers. “Persecution in Nigeria is, simply put, brutally violent,” explained a report from Open Doors. “In much of northern Nigeria, Christians live their lives under the constant threat of attack from Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province, Fulani militants, and criminals who kidnap and murder with few consequences. The violence is so bad it has begun to travel south, as well.”