Pastor John MacArthur, whose California church is holding in-person services in violation of the state’s COVID-19 health orders, opened his most recent sermon by welcoming his congregation to "the Grace Community Church peaceful protest.”
"Good morning, everyone. I'm so happy to welcome you to the Grace Community Church peaceful protest,” MacArthur, senior pastor of Grace Community Church, a megachurch in Sun Valley, California, said Sunday morning, drawing cheers and applause from worshipers.
MacArthur went on to explain that, “based on the Word of God,” his church is “pro-life, pro-family, pro-law and order, and pro-church of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The preacher then invited a chaplain from the Los Angeles Police Department to deliver the service’s opening prayer. The chaplain prayed that MacArthur and his congregation would have the “wisdom and faith to weather all of the things going on in church and outside church.”
MacArthur preached from 1 Corinthians 1, which reads in part, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”
“We are here in obedience to our Lord, we are here because He has given us commands, not in a personal esoteric way, not through some vision or dream, not because I hear voices from Heaven, I don’t, but because I have a Bible,” he said. “Grace Church is defined by its commitment to Holy Scripture. For true Christians, the Bible is our greatest treasure.”
The mark of a true Christian is the love of Scripture, MacArthur said, adding: “God's true church has always been a place where people hunger for the truth from the Bible. That’s why we're here.”
“If this pulpit was not the place for the proclamation of the Word of God, this place would begin to be empty,” he added. “That's why you're here ... it's clear to me that you love the word of God. That's why you're here.”
"We're not smarter than anybody else," MacArthur stressed. "We’re not more spiritual. We're not better people. We’re as wretched as any and all sinners are. But we've been chosen. And then we've been called. And then we are being saved, sovereignly, supernaturally."
“We're the nobodies, we get it," he concluded. "We're the nothings. We’re nonexistent. We’re the low of the low. But we have the wisdom of God, because God in His grace and mercy, called us."
“We are a church that has a reputation for the last 50 years of obeying the government,” the pastor said in a recent interview with Fox News’ Shannon Bream.
“We are a friend to this society, to every level of this society. We have been given awards and accolades and plaques from the city government, the police department, all in authority, because they recognize what an honorable congregation this church has been,” he said.
“But never before has the government invaded the territory the belongs only to the Lord Jesus Christ and told us we can't meet, we can't worship, we can't sing,” the pastor continued.
“There's no power given to the government to make those kinds of calls against us. ... We love our neighbors. We're not spreading anything but the Gospel,” MacArthur said, noting that out of 7,000 church members, “no one has had any effect if they’ve had COVID.”
Officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reportedly threatened MacArthur with “repercussions such as fines and even possible arrest” if his church doesn’t comply with state orders.
MacArthur and Grace Community Church have since received special counsel from President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Jenna Ellis, and religious freedom expert Charles LiMandri.