John MacArthur and the Elders at Grace Community Church defied government orders and held their regular Sunday morning services yesterday, without masks and without socially distancing, after a late-night, last-minute appellate court decision removed an exemption they were given on Friday by Superior Court Judge Gregory Alarcon to have service, so long as they complied with masks and social distancing.
“We’re having church. It’s actually hard to figure out exactly what the city is trying to do, with us and to us, but we know they don’t want us to do exactly what we’re doing right now.”
Said MacArthur, during his opening few minutes, further explaining what was happening and the current state of Grace Community Church as it pertains to the government.
“And we’re not meeting because we want to be rebellious. We’re meeting because our Lord has commanded us to come together and worship him.
There was a court order that granted this church and this church alone the right to meet indoors, and the powers of the city were not happy about that. They were going to be asking us to do two things; social distance and wear masks, that was until yesterday when city…we agreed, look, we’ll comply for a few weeks, they asked that for three weeks. We’re not wanting to be defiant. We will do what is reasonable.
That was not enough for the city, so they went to the appellate court at the last minute on Saturday late and had that order removed.
The California Court of Appeal, led by Judge James Chalfant, issued a stay of the previous judge’s order, ruling that the dangers and risk of catching and transmitting the novel coronavirus outweigh the right to hold services, with the 4-page report summarizing:
“As between the harm that flows from the heightened risk of transmitting COVID-19 (namely “serious illness and death”) and the harm that flows from having to conduct religious services outdoors instead of indoors, the balance at this early stage favors issuance of a stay.”
In a statement, Los Angeles County said it was “pleased that the California Court of Appeal recognizes the vital importance of our Health Officer Orders in protecting the lives and health of our residents as we work to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.”
The county so far has shown every indication that they will pursue their July 29 cease-and-desist order, where they declared the church would be subject to fines up to $1,000 and 90 days in prison for each indoor service.
Pastor MacArthur continued:
So, the good news is you’re here, you’re not distancing, and you’re not wearing masks. And it’s also good news that you’re not outside because it’s very hot out there. So the Lord knew you needed to be inside and unmasked. So he did us that gracious favor.
They don’t want us to meet, that’s obvious. They don’t want to work with us, they just want to shut us down. But we’re here to bring honor to the lord. They’re not our enemy, we understand that. The bible tells us to pray for their salvation, and we need to be faithful to do that.
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