By Elizabeth Prata
Grace Community Church in Sun Valley CA has been harassed and sued by both Los Angeles County and the State of California for about 18 months- ever since the initial COVID 3-week ban on worship gatherings expired and the county and State tyrannically continued it- while allowing riots and other gatherings to continue to occur with no restrictions. That’s when worship at GCC resumed, and the trouble began.
Pastor-Teacher John MacArthur has been stalwart since that time of re-gathering in objection to the insane and hypocritical rules. He said “the church is essential” and moreover, restrictions and intrusions into the type of worship, the means of worship, the number within worship and the sacraments of worship are unconstitutional to mess with. He preached to explain the Elders’ and his stand from scripture, then posted his church’s stand, Christ, not Caesar, Is Head of the Church.
And the legal battles were off and running.
Jenna Ellis and her team from the Thomas More Society agreed to represent the Church, its elders, and MacArthur himself (since all 3 were named in the various suits).
After a long slog of legal wrangling, an 800 member INCREASE in membership to the church, national attention, silence from fellow evangelicals, and crickets from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the Church emerged victorious this past week.
Here is Pastor John MacArthur on the Grace Community Church lawsuit victory speaking to his congregation in a 12-minute sermon introduction and summation of the conclusion of this issue on 9/5/2021. Christians Republic Youtube channel
Jenna Ellis tweeted what it was like to work with John MacArthur:
@JennaEllisEsq Aug 31. @johnmacarthur is a hero of the faith. At every turn in this protracted litigation, his response, no matter what I called to say had happened (and a LOT happened) was always the same: “Okay. What would our Lord have us do now?” This is the definition of exercising religion. Paul M. Jonna tweeted, @PaulJonna- Exercising his God-given and constitutionally protected right to practice his faith and hold church services without arbitrary interference from the state. He had faith in God and courage (and some good lawyers I might add Grinning face), and he emerged VICTORIOUS. — and now the County of LA and State of CA are paying him $800,000 to cover his attorneys’ fees and settle his case.
I think it’s also a message from God: if we trust Him and have faith, we can accomplish anything — even when it seems the deck is stacked against us. If this victory is important to you, then I encourage you to read about and support @ThomasMoreSoc. They made it possible for us to represent Pastor John MacArthur pro bono and to win many other important victories for people of faith.
Sadly, there are detractors of MacArthur and the handling of the situation against Grace Community Church. Some are claiming he is a liar, others were not happy with either side, his initial following of the CA Health Orders, or the subsequent resumption of worship. Here, Fred Butler explains it all very clearly:
The overall lessons here are simple and few. MacArthur stated them in his speech:
“If we obey the Lord, He will honor us.”
“It’s not about courage. It’s about faith.”
And as Jenna Ellis reminded us of JMac’s constant refrain: “What would the Lord have us do now?”
It is ALL about the Lord Jesus Christ. Not lawsuits, religious freedom, courage to stand against Caesar. Not about threats of arrest and jail. None of it. It is about knowing His word and obeying it. The Lord is worth obeying under any and all circumstances. The lesson for us individually is that the example of the ease with which harassment of churches has been ongoing under guise of “health orders” can and does happen. Next time it might be under some other kind of “emergency orders.” What will we each do when they come for us in our own churches? NOW is the time to ponder these things.