John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles County, could be facing legal troubles for continuing to gather indoors for worship service. Reports indicate that the church received a cease-and-desist letter for defying orders to stop all services. The letter threatens a daily $1000 fine or arrest of MacArthur.
Grace Community Church lawyers indicate that restrictions on gathering are not within the states juristiction.
"The state has absolutely no power to impose the restrictions it is demanding," Jenna Ellis, one of the attorneys representing the church, said. "This is not about health and safety, it is about targeting churches."
Inspite of regulations passed by California governor, Gavin Newsom, Grace Community Church has continued to meet in person. An order to stop indoor gathering was instituted on July 13 for an indefinite duration, but MacArthur issued a public statement on their right to gather nonetheless.
"It has never been the prerogative of civil government to order, modify, forbid, or mandate worship," said MacArthur and elders from Grace Community Church said in their statement.
"Freedom of worship is a command of God, not a privilege granted by the state."
MacArthur further emphasized his stance on government interferance during an interview on Fox News Tonight with Shannon Bream on Monday, Aug. 3.
"We feel like we are the most essential reality in the world," MacArthur said. "Jesus is Lord. That is the Christian confession. It has always been our confession since He rose from the dead. He is Lord of the Universe and He is Lord and Head of His beloved Church which he redeemed with His own blood."
While MacArthur attributes respect to the governing bodies of the state, he insists that they have no place in commanding the church.
"He [Jesus] is the Head of Our Church," MacArthur said. "Governor [Gavin] Newsom is not the head of the church. Mayor [Eric] Garcetti is not the head of the church. We respect them for their temporal leadership in government. But when they move into the life of the church and tell the church what it can do, they are usurping a role they don't have. The Constitution doesn't give them the power to do that and they certainly do not have the spiritual power to do that."
Grace Community Church offers hand sanitizer, masks, and also the option of outdoor seating for those who would rather not gather indoors.