Despite a late Saturday night ruling by a California Appellate Court, barring John MacArthur and Grace Community Church from meeting indoors, the California megachurch met indoors on Sunday anyway. And MacArthur declared:
The good news is that 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.
MacArthur took to the podium Sunday to thunderous applause from the congregation.
Just two days earlier, the church had won what seemed like a substantial victory. Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant ruled that Grace Community Church could meet indoors, despite Los Angeles County’s restraining order against the church. However, Chalfant insisted that Grace “comply with the mandates of the Heath Orders to wear face coverings and practice social distancing.”
But late Saturday night, a California Court of Appeal issued an emergency order overruling Judge Chalfant’s earlier decision. The ruling stated that Grace Community Church could hold outdoor services, but it could not hold indoor services while the church and county’s litigation is ongoing. (In response to the county’s order to stop indoor meetings, Grace had filed suit on August 13 against the county, city, and state, and the county had promptly countersued.”)
“We’re not meeting because we want to be rebellious,” MacArthur told his congregation Sunday. “We’re meeting because our Lord has commanded us to come together and worship him.”
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MacArthur added that the church had met with officials and agreed to social distance and wear masks for “a few weeks. . . . We are not trying to be defiant. We will do what is reasonable.”
But then MacArthur explained that officials had obtained an emergency order and stated: “They’re not willing to work with us; they just want to dumb us down. But we’re here to bring honor to the Lord.”
Los Angeles County has threatened to enforce fines of $1,000 per day and to imprison MacArthur and other church leaders.
MacArthur claims that no one in his church has contracted COVID-19.
However, deaths from coronavirus in Los Angeles County has surpassed 5,000. And in just the past two weeks, the county has had 576 new deaths from COVID-19.