Saturday evening August 15th, the California Court of Appeals ruled to reactive a ban on indoor church services, a ban that was temporarily halted by the Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, August 14th.
On Friday, the L.A. Superior Court granted an injunction, or temporary restraining order, on California’s ban on indoor services, and this injunction effectively permitted churches to hold indoor services today, August 16th, as long as the churches were applying safety measures.
Trump Attorney Jenna Ellis, who is currently serving as special counsel to Pastor John MacArthur, celebrated Friday’s injunction:
?BREAKING w/ @PaulJonna:
An HISTORIC WIN today for @johnmacarthur and @GraceComChurch! Judge allows indoor services with singing and no attendance cap! Church agrees to adhere to mask and social distancing until full hearing.
FIRST CA Court to recognize #ChurchIsEssential!
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) August 14, 2020
But now, churches that had planned to hold services indoors due to the L.A. Superior Court’s decision will have to weigh their convictions: follow the law of the land, or follow the law of the Lord.
The legal battle was prompted after John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles County, publically declared that he will be defying California’s ban on indoor services. MacArthur has since held two indoor services.
“The biblical order is clear: Christ is Lord over Caesar, not vice versa. Christ, not Caesar, is head of the church,” MacArthur wrote. “Conversely, the church does not in any sense rule the state. Again, these are distinct kingdoms, and Christ is sovereign over both.
Christ is the one true head of His church, and we intend to honor that vital truth in all our gatherings. For that preeminent reason, we cannot accept and will not bow to the intrusive restrictions government officials now want to impose on our congregation.
Los Angeles County issued a jubilant statement responding to the appeals court’s ruling:
Los Angeles County is pleased that the California Court of Appeal recognizes the vital importance of our Health Officer Orders in protecting the lives and health of our residents as we work to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
A full hearing on the merits of California’s ban on indoor services is scheduled for September 4th.