Legal counsel for John MacArthur's Grace Community Church said that Los Angeles County is seeking a restraining order to stop the pastor from holding any in-person services on Sunday.
During a Thursday interview with The Daily Wire’s Andrew Klavan, MacArthur’s attorney Jenna Ellis revealed that L.A. County is now seeking a temporary restraining order to prohibit Grace Community Church from "allowing any form of indoor worship and also outdoor worship that does not comply with its ridiculous mandates.”
“They are trying to restrain Grace Community Church and we, of course, will defend their constitutionally protected rights,” she said.
“This is not Pastor John and Grace Community Church defying the law,” Ellis, who is also a senior legal adviser of the Trump 2020 presidential campaign, said. “The law in America and the state of California is the Constitution and those protections. This is Grace Community Church standing on the side of the law against these overreaching tyrants that are defying their oaths of office when they are commanded, mandated by the Constitution to preserve and protect our right to free exercise of religion.”
The order comes a day after the Thomas More Society filed a lawsuit against California officials on behalf of the church and MacArthur, who were recently threatened with fines and imprisonment for holding in-person worship services despite Gov. Gavin Newsom's most recent lockdown orders prohibiting church gatherings.
In the complaint, MacArthur and Grace Community Church accuse state government officials of selectively restricting gatherings amid the pandemic.
“When many went to the streets to engage in ‘political’ or ‘peaceful’ protests purportedly against racism and police brutality, these protestors refused to comply with the pandemic restrictions. Instead of enforcing the public health orders, public officials were all too eager to grant a de facto exception for these favored protestors,” the suit states in part.
“California targeted the wrong groups. California first lifted restrictions on gatherings that occurred outdoors — blessing after-the-fact the illegal conduct of the ‘George Floyd’ protestors. California then banned singing in worship services and then shut them all down — unless they could modify their services to operate identically to the now-legal protests.”
The lawsuit further argues that it's “time for California to recognize that disfavored religious minorities are not second-class citizens.”
“California has no such power to determine whether churches are ‘essential,’ as the federal and state constitutions have already done so,” the suit adds.
Speaking to Klavan, MacArthur noted that most people survive the coronavirus, adding: “Let me say this: You have no chance of surviving death, ultimately.”
“The Church does not exist to protect people from flu,” he said. “It exists to protect people from eternal punishment and Hell, and we will continue to preach the Gospel because that is the message the world must hear. We are the stewards of the only saving message that rescues men and women from eternal judgment. That is a far higher calling than trying to protect a few people from the flu, realizing that all are ultimately going to die.”
“And our message alone provides through faith in Christ eternal life,” he added.
When asked if he believes the government is “openly hostile to the Christian faith,” MacArthur said that the fact that Satan and all his forces constantly work against the Kingdom of God is a “basic theological truth.”
“So we're not surprised by that,” he added. “The Apostle Paul said we don't wrestle against flesh and blood. It's not primarily human, but against principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies. Satan and all his agents, all his spiritual agents, and all his human agents work against the Kingdom of God. The Bible says the devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. The Bible says we shouldn't be ignorant of his devices.
“So we get it,” MacArthur continued. "The whole world, says the Apostle John, lies in the power of the evil one. So is there a massive supernatural conspiracy against the Kingdom of God? Of course, but that doesn't mean every person is violently against the Church. Satan works with those who will acquiesce to his leadership at whatever level they will acquiesce.”
The pastor said the church “is always going to have to fight” spiritual battles, adding that Satan will “find all kinds of ways to try to silence the Church.”
“And let me just pivot a little bit to say this: The Church in America has been so caught up in pragmatism; it has drunk the Kool-Aid of trying to devise a religion that non-religious people will like and accept, that it's afraid to be courageous because it might offend somebody,” he concluded.