County officials have allegedly threatened Grace Community Church in California with fines and possible arrest for reopening his church in defiance of lockdown orders from Gov. Gavin Newsom during the pandemic. Still, Pastor John MacArthur has vowed to continue in-person services.
“We will obey God rather than men,” MacArthur said in a video statement Friday. “We’re going to be faithful to the Lord and we’re going to leave the results to Him. Whatever happens is going to be what He allows to happen. But He will be on our side because we will be obedient and faithful to His word.”
“We will not bow to Caesar,” he added. “The Lord Jesus Christ is our king.”
Officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health have threatened MacArthur with “repercussions such as fines and even possible arrest” if his church doesn’t comply with state orders, the Rev. Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, wrote on Facebook.
The department’s Environmental Health division “is investigating and will be reaching out to the church leaders to let them know they need to comply with the Health Officer Order,” Religion News Service reported.
MacArthur noted that this wouldn’t be the first time that they find themselves “in a trial” or “end up in a court setting.” In 1980, Grace Community Church was sued for clergy malpractice by the parents of a 24-year-old, who was part of the church, after he committed suicide. Nearly a decade later, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, allowing California Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit to stand.
While he said he doesn’t know “what the Lord has for us” this time around, they will continue meeting for worship every Sunday.
“We will meet as the church of Jesus Christ because we’re commanded to do that. We will sing, we will pray, we will fellowship, we will proclaim the Word of God far and wide and even around the world through this livestream opportunity that we have,” the pastor stressed.
Commenting on churches, including megachurches, that have chosen to shut down until January, MacArthur said, “I don’t have any way to understand that other than they don’t know what a church is and they don’t shepherd their people but that’s sad.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Anugrah Kumar