After Grace Community Church of Sun Valley, California, announced on July 24 that it would re-start services in defiance of the governor’s shut down order, the city of Los Angeles sent a cease-and-desist letter, threatening the church and its senior pastor with a daily fine of $1,000 or arrest. The church has retained two prominent attorneys, Jenna Ellis and Charles LiMandri, to defend it against the city’s threats. “LiMandri began the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund in 2012 and has litigated high-profile cases in California for decades” (“John MacArthur Lawyers Up,” PJMedia, Aug. 5, 2020). MacArthur’s announcement said that since Jesus Christ is the only true head of the church “we cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings.” The state of California has released 8,000 law breakers “to stop the spread of Covid-19 inside state prisons,” but now its largest city is threatening to send pastors to jail for disobeying a health mandate. MacArthur’s prominent evangelical friends, such as Al Mohler of Southern Baptist Seminary, aren’t supporting him in this stance. Many fundamental Baptist churches and others have long been congregating across the country in defiance of government mandates. We report on MacArthur only because of his prominence and our interest in how this case will proceed.
(Friday Church News Notes, August 14, 2020, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)