LA County hauls John MacArthur to court for fourth time

John MacArthur declares LA County & California action against Grace Community Church church is an ‘illegitimate misuse of power.’

Los Angeles County lawyers are in court again Monday, August 24, 2020, attempting to shut down indoor worship services at Grace Community Church. Pastor John MacArthur’s lawyers filed a declaration in court claiming this is a misuse of power.

In the court filing, MacArthur declares the church to be essential. He further declares the Los Angeles County and State of California actions to be illegitimate.

According to MacArthur’s declaration, “This church is the core of life for thousands from nursery to seniors. Our church is not an event center. It is a family of lives who love and care for each other in very intensely personal ways. So essential to personal well-being that people rushed back as soon as they could. The utter unnecessary deprivation of all our people by completely shutting down the mutual love and care that sustains our people in all the exigencies, pressures and challenges of life, was cruel. And after 63 years of sacrificial, kindness to our city, to be repeatedly threatened with court-ordered efforts to shut Grace Community Church down when no one is sick, reveals an inexplicable preference for a mostly harmless virus over the life-enriching and necessary fellowship of the church. Our leaders and congregation see no real health threat to warrant such restraint. We see this action against us as an illegitimate misuse of power.”

The court filing argues the church has a moral and religious obligation to meet.

“Thus, the county’s and state’s July 13 and 14 worship-bans burden my and Grace Community Church’s free exercise of religion by criminalizing activity directly required by our faith. As a church, we have a moral and religious obligation to continue allowing our congregants to gather in our sanctuary to worship the Lord,” Grace Community Church argues in the recent court filing.

According to the court filing, health issues are a large part of the reason that Grace Community Church cannot worship outdoors.

The declaration says, “Worship-bans appear to take the position that we should lock our doors and force our congregants to gather to worship the Lord in parking lots, in parks, or perhaps beaches—but never in any church. From Grace Community Church’s perspective, this is nonsensical, and we view it as a direct ban on engaging in the worship which our faith requires. The size of our congregation means that there is no place for it to meet outdoors; the summer heat makes meeting outdoors unhealthy and even dangerous; our experts have refuted that meeting indoors significantly aids in the spread of the coronavirus; and most principally, Grace Community Church’s sanctuary itself is a spiritual refuge for our congregants—a refuge of which the county has no right to deprive them.”

This follows a move last week by LA County lawyers to have Pastor John MacArthur found in contempt of court.

According to a pres release from the Thomas More Society, “As the judge noted last week, the County simply refuses to accept the reasoned decisions of the California court. Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff, who will preside over today’s hearing, told Los Angeles County attorneys from the bench on August 20, ‘As I see it, Judge Chalfant said No to you and the Court of Appeal declined to make the order that you requested.'”

You can read the full Declaration of Pastor John MacArthur, filed on his behalf by Thomas More Society attorneys on August 23, 2020, in Superior Court of the State of California – County of Los Angeles – Central District in County of Los Angeles et al. v. Grace Community Church et al. here