The battle for Grace Community Church and its lead pastor, John MacArthur, to observe the Lord’s Day and hold services within the building recently made positive progress.
On Thursday, according to a press release from the Thomas More Society, a religious liberty law firm, the Los Angeles County Superior Court announced that there is no court order prohibiting the church from holding indoor worship services.
MacArthur, an internationally-renowned theologian, and GCC’s Sun Valley, California, congregation are being “targeted by the County of Los Angeles, which has made repeated attempts to shut down the non-denominational, evangelical megachurch,” the press release explains.
The Thomas More Society has appointed Special Counsel Jenna Ellis and Charles LiMandri to represent the church in defense against LA county’s unconstitutional violation of their right to worship freely.
“We are pleased with the outcome today,” Ellis said in response to the judicial finding. “Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff correctly found there is no court order prohibiting Grace Community Church from holding indoor services.”
“LA County continues to harass and target Pastor MacArthur,” Ellis continued. “Having failed to get a court order to shut down the church they have sought three times, they’re going to try again by hauling us back into court.”
“Ironically, LA County said in its application for contempt that, ‘Grace Church cannot thumb its nose at the court when decisions don’t go its way,’ yet that’s precisely what LA County is now doing themselves,” Ellis concluded. “We will simply continue to defend our client’s constitutionally protected rights because church is essential.”
MacArthur and Grace Community Church are suing the county and the state of California for attempting to shut down their worship under regulations intended to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic, which ultimately violate the state’s constitution. The lawsuit was filed after MacArthur received a cease and desist letter threatening him with fines and imprisonment if GCC did not halt indoor worship services.
As we reported last month, MacArthur firmly declared—after months of submitting to state church restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus—that the point had come where the state was compelling believers to disobey God:
Christ is Lord of all. He is the one true head of the church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18). He is also King of kings—sovereign over every earthly authority (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; 19:16). Grace Community Church has always stood immovably on those biblical principles. As His people, we are subject to His will and commands as revealed in Scripture. Therefore we cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings. Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord’s clear commands.
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