Famed pastor John MacArthur, who reportedly has been threatened by the city of Los Angeles with a daily fine of $1,000 or arrest for his in-church assembly, had a blunt response on Sunday as he began conducting service at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA.
MacArthur started the service by announcing, “Good morning everyone. I’m so happy to welcome you to the Grace Community Church Peaceful Protest.”
That triggered a sustained standing ovation from the assembly. MacArthur followed by asking, “Are you glad to be here? Everything for us based on the word of God, right? And that means we are pro-life, pro-family, pro law and order, and pro church of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Then MacArthur triggered another sustained ovation by announcing, “This morning we have a very special privilege: Chaplain Morehouse from the LAPD [Los Angeles Police Department] is going to come and lead us in our opening prayer.”
After a thirty-second ovation, Morehouse began:
Good morning. As Pastor said, I am Chaplain Morehouse with the Los Angeles Police Department Chaplain Corps. I would like to share two verses of Scripture with you, and then pray for the church. Psalm 91:14: “Because he loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him. I will protect him. For he acknowledges My name.” James 1:5: “If any of you lack wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
Lord, thank You for another day to wake up and praise Your mighty name; and Lord, I ask you to please, put such a strong wall and mighty shield of protection around this mighty church that no outside influence can harm it. I also ask that all the pastors, elders, and the whole congregation of Grace Community Church have the wisdom and the faith to weather all of the things going on, in church and outside church.
The City of Los Angeles had reportedly sent a cease and desist letter to Grace Community Church and MacArthur, according to the Thomas More Society, which announced that attorneys Jenna Ellis and Charles LiMandri would represent MacArthur.
On July 24, Grace Community Church issued this statement:
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.
“This is not the first time we as Christ’s church have stood for Truth,” MacArthur added. “We will continue to stand firm for the Truth today like we have every prior day in our 63-year history and as the biblical New Testament Church has done for more than 2000 years. We stand firm to continue fulfilling our biblical mandate from Christ to proclaim the Gospel and assemble together, and I earnestly hope that our stance will encourage other pastors, churches, and the general public across America and the world to also stand firm for biblical Truth. Church is essential.”
“Pastor MacArthur and Grace Community church are not disobeying the Constitution; it is California’s Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti that are defying their constitutional obligation to protect religious freedom and church assembly,” Ellis stated. “Our American system of government specifically recognizes that our individual, fundamental right to free exercise of religion and freedom of assembly is a pre-political, God-given, inalienable right. That right is not given by the government or the Constitution, but rather, government is mandated by the Constitution to preserve and protect it for the church. Grace Community Church has every right to assemble without impossible and unreasonable infringement from the state, and the state has absolutely no power to impose the restrictions it is demanding. Church is essential, and the government has no power to arbitrate whether religious organizations are essential. This is not about health and safety; it is about targeting churches.”