Well-known pastor John MacArthur received an impromptu standing ovation after he welcomed churchgoers on Sunday morning to what he quipped was a "peaceful protest" at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California.
The evangelical pastor kicked off the Sunday service — which have continued in defiance of state orders — by saying, "Good morning everyone. I'm so happy to welcome you to the Grace Community Church Peaceful Protest."
After lengthy applause and celebration, MacArthur continued, saying, "Are you glad to be here? Everything for us based on the word of God, right? And that means we are pro-life, pro-family, pro law and order, and pro church of the Lord Jesus Christ."
Another applause erupted from the audience when MacArthur announced that Chaplain Martin Morehouse from the Los Angeles Police Department would open the service in prayer.
Grace Community Church Peacful Protest 9 Aug 2020 youtu.be
The announcement took aim at Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom's executive order instructing churches to cancel all in-person gatherings in the name of public health despite simultaneously supporting mass protests.
MacArthur made news several weeks ago when he and other pastors at Grace Community Church announced that they would begin conducting services again in defiance of the state's order to suspend religious services indefinitely.
In a blog post titled, "Christ, not Caesar, Is Head of the Church," MacArthur explained:
Christ is Lord of all. He is the one true head of the church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18). He is also King of kings—sovereign over every earthly authority (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; 19:16). Grace Community Church has always stood immovably on those biblical principles. As His people, we are subject to His will and commands as revealed in Scripture. Therefore we cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings. Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord's clear commands.
... "When officials restrict church attendance to a certain number, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible for the saints to gather as the church. When officials prohibit singing in worship services, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible for the people of God to obey the commands of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16," MacArthur wrote. "When officials mandate distancing, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible to experience the close communion between believers that is commanded in Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, and 1 Thessalonians 5:26. In all those spheres, we must submit to our Lord."
In response to Grace Community Church's decision to no longer comply with the order, the City of Los Angeles has threatened the church and MacArthur with a $1,000 daily fine or arrest, according to Thomas More Society, the law firm representing them.
MacArthur gave a fuller biblical explanation of the church's decision in a sermon titled, "We Must Obey God Rather Than Men," preached on July 28, the first Sunday after the announcement.
(H/T: The Daily Wire)