Popular pastor John MacArthur and his church could receive a significant settlement from local authorities after consistently defying COVID-19-related orders.
In recent years, John MacArthur and his church, Grace Community Church (GCC), have consistently made news due to the leadership's choices to resist local COVID-19 mandates. GCC resisted county orders restricting indoor worship, with MacArthur himself reportedly being infected at some point. The church has come under scrutiny for not reporting that its members have exposed others to the virus. It was not until a recent sermon that MacArthur acknowledged that the church had faced an internal virus outbreak and was infected himself.
Now the legal battle that has consumed Grace Community Church may be coming to an end. ABC7 in Los Angeles reports that the county Board of Supervisors will be asked next week to approve a $400,000 payment to the church to settle the ongoing legal dispute. The church defied county orders several times, even going as far as to ignore an injunction filed against the church. The church, in response, sued the state and county, arguing that the specific COVID-19 regulations were restricting their religious freedom. The county has spent nearly $1 million in attorney fees to fight this battle with the state. During his sermon, MacArthur proclaimed that "it appears … this lawsuit is going in our favor. We're deeply grateful for that. We've been getting those kind of signals for the last number of weeks."
MacArthur continued by attacking the county leadership. "The utter unnecessary deprivation of all our people by completely shutting down the mutual love and care that sustains our people in all the exigencies, pressures, and challenges of life was cruel," he said. "And after 63 years of sacrificial kindness to our city, to be repeatedly threatened with court-ordered efforts to shut Grace Community Church down when no one is sick reveals an inexplicable preference for a mostly harmless virus over the life-enriching and necessary fellowship of the church."
Despite MacArthur claiming that the church had not been affected by the virus, Members of Grace claimed otherwise. Several attendees told the Roys Report that they were pressured into not reporting new outbreaks among the church's population or ignoring such cases. Select medical authorities did say a breakout of COVID occurred in October and December 2020, including the infection of MacArthur.
Grace also canceled a Men's Conference in February 2021 after officials told the church that the conference would worsen the spread of COVID.