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R. Huggins/IslandsEnd/CC
John MacArthur.png
R. Huggins/IslandsEnd/CC
UK News

Judge rules John MacArthur can host church services despite lockdown

by Marcus Jones

A California Court has ruled in favour of Pastor John MacArthur in his bid to host indoor services at his church.

The megachurch leader had said he was willing to defy the local restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus claiming he would not "bow to Caesar".

Churches in California had been told that they should refrain from opening for public worship indoors with Los Angeles County filing a restraining order to ensure Grace Community Church remains closed.

Judge James Chalfant, however, suggested the request was infringing on the constitutionally protected rights of churches to freely exercise religion. 

While a full hearing is now expected next month, the church has agreed to comply with safety protocols suggested by the court meaning the congregation must follow social distancing measures as well as wear face masks.

Responding to the ruling, Pastor John MacArthur said: "I am very grateful the Court has allowed us to meet inside and we are happy for a few weeks to comply and respect what the judge has asked of us because he is allowing us to meet. 

"This vindicates our desire to stay open and serve our people. This also gives us an opportunity to show that we are not trying to be rebellious or unreasonable, but that we will stand firm to protect our church against unreasonable, unconstitutional restrictions."

Jenna Ellis, a legal adviser to Donald Trump, provided legal support to the Church. She said: "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 Judge Chalfant and said his congregation will be happy to comply with the judge's temporary order. 

"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 biblical 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 protect the fundamental rights of churches."

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