John MacArthur: We're not rebels – our church family just wants to be together

Friday, August 21, 2020
Chris Woodward (

Grace Community Church (California)State and local officials may not want him to, but Pastor John MacArthur plans to have service again this Sunday at his Southern California church.

A hearing was held Thursday in Los Angeles County, where the county wanted to fine Grace Community Church for reopening amid COVID-19 restrictions. Speaking yesterday on American Family Radio, Pastor MacArthur said the fine was removed by the judge.

"The judge also said that you can't go through any process that would put on them any court order for the coming Sunday, and he said you are the only church in California who can meet indoors freely," said MacArthur.

"Pastor John and our unanimous Board of Elders at Grace Community Church are standing firm that church is essential and we are protected in California and the United States to serve our church community and fulfill the commands of Scripture to worship together.

"The LA County Board of Supervisors are continuing to try to shut down our church, and we hope to show them our earnestness in our faith and practice in obedience to our Lord, and that we do not have a spirit of rebellion."

Statement from Grace Community Church
(published August 18, 2020)

"They have tried three times in court to shut us down – and after the third time, the judge even asked the lawyer from the county 'Why are you doing this? You are back with the same request, and it's not granted.' So the church can meet this coming Sunday."


A full hearing has been scheduled for September 4, and Pastor MacArthur said that remains in place. "That would be [when we make] the argument that we have constitutional protection to meet and that the COVID issue does not create a real emergency that would void the constitutional freedom to worship," he added.

On Friday, August 14, a judge ruled Grace Community Church could meet for indoor worship, and the church agreed to masks and social distancing where possible. Still, the county appealed that decision and got a ruling saying the church could not meet. MacArthur and others did so anyway.

"We complied with a live-stream only for maybe four weeks, and then our people didn't believe the narrative anymore and they started coming back," MacArthur said. "We didn't say anything official. [Our church members] didn't buy the narrative – they calculated there was no reason to fear the flu or the virus and they wanted to be in their church."

Last Sunday's service was "Kids Sunday," according to Pastor MacArthur.

"We had 1,000 kids coming back, and we had balloons and lollipops," cheered MacArthur. "We said 'If you're going to shut us down, you're going to have to go through the kids' – and they're coming back this weekend again."

His church families are not afraid, MacArthur concluded. "They're doing what's in their heart to do," he stated.

Read official statement from Pastor MacArthur and church elders

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