Pastor John MacArthur's upcoming Shepherds' Conference for men has been postponed after the organizers received threats from California officials.
Grace Community Church officially announced the Shepherd's Conference's cancellation through announcements via the conference's official website, as well as through social media platforms. The church said that the cancellation was due to legal processes as well as the threats the church has been receiving from the government.
"In light of our ongoing litigation and recent threats from the County of Los Angeles and the State of California, we have decided that the most prudent course of action at this time is to postpone the Shepherds' Conference..." the church website wrote.
Grace Community Church planned to hold the three-day Shepherd's Conference from March 3 to 5 in Sun Valley, California. The event was expected to have almost 3000 attendees.
According to the website, the conference aims to provide men in the church leadership an opportunity to be challenged in their commitment to biblical ministry. It is also to help them find encouragement together and seek to become more effective servants of God,
However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in the county, the church had to postpone the event, the Christian Post reported. It is still unclear when the event will resume.
The Supreme Court recently issued an emergency injunction blocking a complete public health ban on indoor worship. However, California Governor Gavin Newsom said that the state would revise the guidelines for indoor worship.
The office of the governor said it will keep the restrictions left by the Supreme Court such as singing chanting and maximum capacity a church building is allowed to accommodate.
The Los Angeles County's health officials recently expressed concern about the Grace Community Church's regular church services amid the COVID-19 restrictions. They see the gatherings as a potential threat to the health of the community as it combats the coronavirus spread.
"Sun Valley and the surrounding areas continue to have among the highest case rates of COVID-19 within the county, and have for some time," said Dr. Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County's health officer. "And a gathering of this magnitude will create additional opportunities for COVID-19 transmission, both to the people that attend this gathering and the other people in the community."
In spite of the implemented COVID-19 restrictions on in-person gatherings, Grace Community Church continued to gather for the past months. The church believes that it is God's command to gather and to have religious freedom.
Meanwhile, amid the postponement of the Shepherds' Conference, the church assured that it will seek answers from health officers for their oppressive actions under oath.
"We will be deposing the key health officers and county officials and requiring them to answer for their oppressive actions under oath, and requesting all documents and information supporting their arbitrary attempts to restrict our religious liberty as a church," it said.
Further, Grace Community Church says it will stand fast to the Bible's commands regarding corporate worship and fellowship.
"Our church leadership remains firmly committed to the truth that Christ is the head of the Church, and we will not yield to government's infringement upon the biblical command to worship and gather together," the church website wrote.
"We intend to steadfastly defend this truth and obtain appropriate constitutional and legal protections and further relief from the Court," the statement added.