A California judge has ruled that churches may operate with indoor services and with no attendance cap.
This ruling is a swift blow to California governor Gavin Newsom’s edict banning indoor services. The decision came as Trump attorney Jenna Ellis and Charles LiMandri defended California Pastor John MacArthur who openly defied the California ban.
Pastor John MacArthur told “Fox News @ Night” earlier this month that he began holding indoor services in the form of “peaceful protest” at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles County, despite being warned he could face fines or arrest.
“We feel like we are the most essential reality in the world,” MacArthur told host Shannon Bream. “Look, Jesus is Lord … He is the head of our church. Gov. Newsom is not the head of the church. [Los Angeles] Mayor [Eric] Garcetti is not the head of the church.”
Ellis told Todd Starnes:
“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. When I spoke with Pastor John after the hearing, he expressed sincere gratitude to the California Court and said his congregation will be happy to comply with the the judge’s temporary order. The full hearing is set for September 4. This is why John MacArthur is so deeply loved and respected by his congregation and all over the world. He is a gracious and firm leader, and his stand for church being essential has now been rightly validated. We look forward to continuing to advocate on his behalf in asking the Court to continue to protect the fundamental rights of churches.”
Ellis tweeted the news Friday afternoon:
“Breaking with Paul Jonna: An HISTORIC WIN today for John MacArthur and Grace Community Church! Judge allows indoor services with singing and no attendance cap! Church agrees to adhere to mask and social distancing until full hearing. FIRST CA Court to. recognize #ChurchIsEssential!
🚨BREAKING w/ @PaulJonna:
An HISTORIC WIN today for @johnmacarthur and @GraceComChurch! Judge allows indoor services with singing and no attendance cap! Church agrees to adhere to mask and social distancing until full hearing.
FIRST CA Court to recognize #ChurchIsEssential!
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) August 14, 2020
This is a temporary restraining order where Judge James C, Chalfant of the Los Angeles Superior Court denied the overreaching demands of the country and further recognized the constitutionally protected right to practice religious freedom without oppressive regulation.
John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in southern California openly declared that his church will no longer adhere to the oppressive measures taken by the state. In a blog post, MacArthur penned:
“The biblical order is clear: Christ is Lord over Caesar, not vice versa. Christ, not Caesar, is head of the church,” MacArthur wrote. “Conversely, the church does not in any sense rule the state. Again, these are distinct kingdoms, and Christ is sovereign over both.”
The Rev. Franklin Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, expressed his support for MacArthur’s stand for “religious freedom.” In addition to MacArthur, a network of churches, led by Pastor Che Ahn of Harvest Rock Church, filed a lawsuit in July challenging the Democrat governor’s orders.