Home>Articles>California Judge Rules in Favor of Grace Community Church

Pastor John MacArthur. (Photo: Thomas Moores Society)

California Judge Rules in Favor of Grace Community Church

Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church Win Right to Hold Indoor Worship Services

By Katy Grimes, August 15, 2020 7:46 am

A California superior court ruled in favor of the First Amendment and Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church this week, while smacking down Los Angeles County officials.

The Los Angeles megachurch closed its doors in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. It announced plans to re-open in May, but a federal court upheld the state’s ban on indoor services, KTLA reported.

Pastor MacArthur slowly opened back up in July, and offered an outdoor tent for services, until thousands of his parishioners were attending. But LA County tried to enforce a limit of 100 on church service attendees – a tiny fraction of the megachurch congregation.

“The renowned pastor and his well-known church in Sun Valley, took the stance that church is essential,” the Thomas Moore Society reported. “The court affirmed that position, recognizing the constitutionally protected right of churches to remain open and to hold indoor services in their sanctuary.”

The Los Angeles area congregation was represented by Jenna Ellis and the Rancho Santa Fe headquartered law firm of LiMandri & Jonna. Thomas More Society Special Counsel Erick Kaardal assisted the all-star team in putting forth MacArthur’s case.

In an interview this week, MacArthur told KTLA:

“We’re a church, and we’re going to trust those people to make adult decisions about the reality of their physical and spiritual health.”

Thomas More Society explains:

Hours after Grace Community Church filed suit to invalidate Los Angeles County’s unconstitutional restrictions on churches, the county filed for a temporary restraining order to force the church to stop holding indoor services and comply with unreasonable and over-broad demands.

Judge James Chalfant denied almost all of the county’s requests at the August 14 Los Angeles Superior Court hearing, agreeing with MacArthur and the church that it is the county’s burden to show why they should be permitted to infringe on the constitutionally protected rights of churches to freely exercise religion.

Attorneys for Grace Community Church explained that Los Angeles County was being unreasonable in its demands, and offered to have the congregation comply with face mask wearing and social distancing indoors until the matter could be fully heard. This was stipulated as a more reasonable action that that of the county’s rush to shut down church services. The judge agreed and set the full hearing for September 4, 2020, ordering the church to have congregants wear masks and social distance between family groups indoors.

“I am very grateful the court has allowed us to meet inside and we are happy for a few weeks to comply and respect what the judge has asked of us because he is allowing is to meet,” MacArthur said. “This vindicates our desire to stay open and serve our people. This also gives us an opportunity to show that we are not trying to be rebellious or unreasonable, but that we will stand firm to protect our church against unreasonable, unconstitutional restrictions.”

“This is a huge vindication for Pastor John and the Board of elders at Grace Community Church, who have simply asked for their right to worship the Lord together in church to be acknowledged and protected,” Attorney Jenna Ellis said.

“This result is indeed a great victory for all citizens’ constitutional right to freedom of religion,” LiMandri said. “This result makes it possible for the thousands of congregants of Grace to continue to gather together in their church to worship, while at the same time honoring the court’s requirement that reasonable and temporary safety measures be observed.

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10 thoughts on “California Judge Rules in Favor of Grace Community Church

  1. GREAT NEWS! Pastor John MacArthur is the real thing, isn’t he? The more I see him the more I respect him. Obviously the thousands of additional congregants who descended on the church in recent months feel the same way too.

  2. I love this! The shutdown was absolutely appalling and restricted our right to freely worship God. I am happy and I hope Shepherd of the Hills follows suit. It is sad when we have to fight for a right that is supposed to be guaranteed and protected by the constitution.

  3. I hope they for once do the Christian thing and for two weeks self-quarantine. The neighboring communities are already highly impacted and don’t deserve more needless deaths or economic misery. And Los Angeles County has tried its best to reign this group in but obviously to no avail. Tightly packed pews and no masks, that’s why Newsom tried to shut them down, not religious persecution. The news, FOX too, says as much. But MacArthur says “We’re a church, and we’re going to trust those people to make adult decisions about the reality of their physical and spiritual health.” So that’s that. It’s not really lambs to slaughter as the congregation probably does know the risks, but it is murder once they take it out into the community. There must be a word for someone that even potentially allows such carnage to take place. Well, ‘MacArthur’ in this instance. A disciple is someone who believes in Jesus and seeks to follow him in his or her daily life. Nowhere in this bit of politically motivated histrionics do I see MacArthur even close to that path so long ago laid out by our Lord. I pray MacArthur soon finds his way back. Very soon. 169,000.

    1. It is hilarious when leftists try to put their leftist beliefs in religious terms. Marx was not one of the disciples. 😉

    2. If you look back and read again. It said they closed the door in March and reopened in May. I hope you see that they do care and fallowed Witch I want to point out that was more then TWO WEEKS.

    3. Carnage!!! OMG, you have bought into the fear! I have had family with COVID-19 who recovered after 3 days, one with only headaches. There was no carnage! Quit the fear mongering!

  4. And even after thousands n thousands of years of abuse, millions still flock to these churches, like the millions that believe our government. Since Judgment has begun on the house of God (churches/congregations), according to 1 Peter 4:17, Satan has taken his seat in the temple (churches/congregations), according to 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4, and many more woes to come in Isaiah to Malachi (especially Jeremiah 25 and Ezekiel 9), because they have changed the laws of God to please themselves/the people, for the love of money, reminds me of how the governments have changed the rules to make mucho more money for themselves, and their big multi billion/trillion $ corporate donor friends, while the rest of world gets poorer, homeless, hungry, etc. Another similarity is how they all love to make billions/trillions on the children, for their sick pleasures, all around the world. Praying for the children, and may God have mercy on all, cus He’s coming soon! Deuteronomy 31:6 and 33:27, ” Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.” Romans 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Revelation 14:7, ” Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Revelation 6:15-17, ” And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

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