The City of Los Angeles has issued a cease-and-desist order threatening Pastor John MacArthur with a daily $1,000 fine and possible arrest for breaching the Covid-19 lockdown.
MacArthur, together with his fellow pastors and elders at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Los Angeles, has decided to restart full church worship gatherings in defiance of restrictions imposed by the state.
The Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, has issued orders to shut off water and utilities for any venue that continues to host large gatherings.
Grace Community Church is not the only congregation gathering for worship inside a church building, but it is one of the largest and most prominent.
MacArthur says complying with the state’s lockdown order would mean disobeying Christ. He also says the government has no right to dictate how or where they hold their Sunday services.
A statement by the church elders has been posted online, and over 20,000 people have signed up to show their support.
But MacArthur says he is disappointed with some church leaders who, he believes, have failed in their duty to stand up against closure.
Grace Community Church does not require any social distancing in the congregation, nor is anyone required to wear a face mask. However, the church has made arrangements for those who wish to do so.
The move has been highly controversial amongst American evangelicals. Some applaud MacArthur for obeying Christ over Caesar. Others say there are alternative ways to worship without breaking the lockdown rules.
At the time of this edition of ET going to print, the legal ramifications of the church’s defiance of the lockdown are still unknown.
Mike Judge, editor