While photographs have emerged of California’s Democrat Governor, Gavin Newsom, flaunting his state’s COVID regulations at a recent party, Grace Community Church was falsely accused of causing a COVID outbreak when three members of its 7,000 member congregation caught the virus.
According to CBN, this resulted in the church facing additional outbreak restrictions from the city’s health department.
As part of its lockdown, California has limited church attendance to 25% of capacity to a maximum of 100. However, the mega church, pastored by John MacArthur, chose to remain open and has fought several court cases as government officials trying to force its submission to the state’s COVID-1984 restrictions.
But things took a turn at the end of October, when an article in the Los Angeles Times, entitled, Coronavirus outbreak strikes L.A. megachurch that defied public health orders, accused the church of having a COVID outbreak when three members caught COVID, because of the church’s refusal to obey the lockdown orders.
Yes, they described it as an outbreak when just three people caught the virus.
However, an investigation by officials with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health concluded that there was no outbreak at the church suggesting that the virus had not spread from the three people who contracted a very mild case of COVID.
As the church’s lawyer, Jenna Ellis, noted:
“Three very mild positive tests among more than 7,000 people is hardly news. 0.0004 or 0.043% is not an ‘outbreak.’ The L.A. Times and others’ grossly misleading and fear-mongering headlines aim to mischaracterize Grace Community Church as irresponsible and a superspreader.”
Maybe this is why people are increasingly referring to the mainstream media as fake news.
However, Grace Community still faces an ongoing legal struggle to remain open with threats of jail time if they don’t bow the knee to state authorities.
But MacArthur has refused to back down:
The early church also faced similar threats for holding services. In Acts 5, we read how the apostles were arrested and held in a public jail for teaching in an area next to the temple. But that night an Angel of the Lord broke them out of prison and told them to return to their teaching (Acts 5:18-21).
After the apostles were rounded up a second time, dragged before the Sanhedrin and ordered to quit preaching Jesus, Peter responded:
“We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29 NASV)
Because an angel of the Lord illegally (from a government perspective) broke the apostles out of jail, they understood that they were subject to a higher authority.
And this wouldn’t be the last time God broke members of the early church out of prison:
- An angel broke Peter out of jail again in Acts 12: 1-18, and
- The Apostle Paul was released from jail when an earthquake sprung open the doors (Acts 16:16-40).
In a statement on their website, the elders of Grace Community explained that they also must obey God rather than men when it comes to holding church services:
Therefore, when any government official issues orders regulating worship (such as bans on singing, caps on attendance, or prohibitions against gatherings and services), he steps outside the legitimate bounds of his God-ordained authority as a civic official and arrogates to himself authority that God expressly grants only to the Lord Jesus Christ as sovereign over His Kingdom, which is the church. His rule is mediated to local churches through those pastors and elders who teach His Word (Matthew 16:18–19; 2 Timothy 3:16–4:2).
Therefore, in response to the recent state order requiring churches in California to limit or suspend all meetings indefinitely, we, the pastors and elders of Grace Community Church, respectfully inform our civic leaders that they have exceeded their legitimate jurisdiction, and faithfulness to Christ prohibits us from observing the restrictions they want to impose on our corporate worship services.