John MacArthur, the pastor of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, told the “Todd Starnes Show” on Wednesday that the state threatened to lock him up for 90 days and slap his church with a $1,000 fine for holding indoor church services, but he said that he is not going to let the threat interfere with his mission.
“My hero in the Bible is the apostle Paul,” MacArthur said. “And I would be happy to experience what he experienced in every town that he went into. He didn’t ask what the hotel was like, he asked what the jail was like because that’s where he knew he’d end up.”
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California has been the battlefield of intense clashes between religious leaders and Sacramento. The state insists that church services are dangerous during the China Virus outbreak and have put strict guidelines in place.
Critics call the guidelines an infringement on the constitutional rights of the faithful and even point to the hypocrisy of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s encouragement for the anti-police protests that erupted in the state.
The state issued a cease-and-desist order to the church, prompting Jenna Ellis, an attorney representing Grace Community Church, to tell the Federalist that the “state has absolutely no power to impose the restrictions it is demanding. This is not about health and safety, it is about targeting churches.”
MacArthur told Todd Starnes, the host of the radio show and vocal critic of state overreach during the pandemic, that the state has “virtually shut our church down.”
MacArthur said that some people asked why the church just didn’t hold the services outside. But he said the church received an “inch-thick” stack of guidelines that the church would have to follow that virtually made any gathering impossible.
He said that he intends for the church to remain the “light in the world” and the head of the church is Jesus, not Newsom or Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
“The governor, neither by divine right or constitutional right, can determine what is essential,” he said. “And when he determines that, you know, Walmart and abortion clinics are essential but the church is not essential, he doesn’t have the authority to do that. So we have to respond.”