John MacArthur and Grace Community Church announced last Friday their decision to postpone their annual Shepherds’ Conference that draws upwards of 3,000 male attendees each year. The decision comes in response to “threats” the church received from the county of Los Angeles and the State of California.
ANNOUNCEMENT:— Grace Church (@GraceComChurch) February 12, 2021
In light of our ongoing litigation and recent threats from the County of Los Angeles and the State of California, we have decided that the most prudent course of action at this time is to postpone the Shepherd’s Conference.
Due to the pandemic, in the past year, churches across the nation have had to make hard decisions to follow or not to follow guidelines and restrictions their states have placed on places of worship in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Grace Community Church has been in the national news since Pastor John MacArthur expressed in a statement last July that the state does not nor should not have authority to close churches. MacArthur said, “As pastors and elders, we cannot hand over to earthly authorities any privilege or power that belongs solely to Christ as head of His church.”
Since then Pastor MacArthur and Grace Community Church have been fined, sued, and harassed by Los Angeles County and the state of California for refusing to close the doors on their indoor worship services.
The Shepherds’ Conference announcement said the County of Los Angeles and the State of California have threatened the conference if they met. Postponing instead of canceling gives church leadership time to seek answers from key health officers and county officials for the actions the government plans to take against them. The announcement also indicated the church would, once again, be taking legal action against the state.
The statement reiterated Grace Community Church’s commitment “to the truth that Christ is the head of the Church and we will not yield to government’s infringement upon the biblical command to worship and gather together.”
A recent ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States granted churches in California the legal right to resume indoor worship services, as long as they follow the statewide guidelines that their spaces can only be filled to 25% capacity and no signing or chanting is allowed.
You can read Grace Community Church’s official statement on the decision from their website below:
In light of our ongoing litigation and recent threats from the County of Los Angeles and the State of California, we have decided that the most prudent course of action at this time is to postpone the Shepherds’ Conference. We will be deposing the key health officers and county officials and requiring them to answer for their oppressive actions under oath, and requesting all documents and information supporting their arbitrary attempts to restrict our religious liberty as a church. Our church leadership remains firmly committed to the truth that Christ is the head of the Church, and we will not yield to government’s infringement upon the biblical command to worship and gather together. We intend to steadfastly defend this truth and obtain appropriate constitutional and legal protections and further relief from the Court.