The following is an article about the church that John MacArthur is the senior pastor of in California. MacArthur has been a nationally known pastor, seminary president, author for many decades. The church had been set upon by local government authorities because it refused to discontinue worship services at the church. The entire covid situation has been so grossly and amateurishly mismanaged from the beginning and government overreach has been essentially criminal. Panic and hyperbole is no way to handle a situation that could have been handled in a much more composed way. Contrived and amateurish responses caused immensely more damage to our society than the disease. I hope that we learn to stop listening to the tiny minority of screamers and hysteria and return to the days when we had much more sober responses to issues that confront us. That genuine professionals are put back in control and those who are politically motivated and only superficially qualified are removed, disciplined and people like them never allowed to be in places of responsibility. The state of California and Los Angeles county have to pay out taxpayer money, not their own money, to Grace Community Church $400,000 settlement, plus the immense legal fees they also rang up and the other results of collateral damage done to the county and the church by the irresponsibility of government leaders. I certainly hope those people are held to account.
UPDATE: John MacArthur’s Church Wins Legal Battle Against CA, LA County
UPDATED Sept. 1, 2021: The legal battle between John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church (GCC) in Sun Valley, Calif., and the state of California and Los Angeles County has finally concluded. Under the terms of the settlement, reached Tuesday, Aug. 31, the state and county must pay the church $400,000 each in legal fees.
“After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that some public health safety measures could not apply to houses of worship,” county officials said in a statement, “resolving this litigation is the responsible and appropriate thing to do. From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Los Angeles County has been committed to protecting the health and safety of its residents. We are grateful to the county’s faith organizations for their continued partnership to keep their congregants and the entire community safe and protected from COVID-19.”
In the statement, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors referred to a Supreme Court decision in February 2021 that set new guidelines for indoor worship, allowing churches to resume in-person services. Officials unanimously approved the settlement without discussion. Pastor John MacArthur has said the money will not go to GCC, but to the Thomas More Society, which represented the church.
ChurchLeaders original article written on Aug. 31, 2021, below:
In a sermon on Sunday, Grace Community Church (GCC) pastor John MacArthur acknowledged that COVID-19 had gone through his congregation in December or January of last year and also acknowledged that he and his wife, Patricia, had contracted the virus. MacArthur denied, however, that any outbreak has taken place among the Sun Valley, Calif. congregation.
“There is no evidence that can be traced back to Grace Church,” said MacArthur on Aug. 29, referring to media reports of outbreaks and deaths due to COVID-19. “Obviously, many people contracted COVID. We understand that. It probably went through our church in maybe December, January. That’s when I began to realize how many people were ill, and that’s when Patricia and I enjoyed our own bout with COVID for about a week and a half.” After recovering, MacArthur said that he and his wife were “fine, and we’re thankful for that.”
John MacArthur: The Lord Protected Us
A video clip of MacArthur’s sermon, posted by independent journalist Julie Roys, begins with Pastor John MacArthur acknowledging recent headlines announcing that L.A. County and the state of California seem likely to settle their lawsuit with GCC by paying legal fees in the amount of $400,000 each. GCC has been fighting an extended legal battle with the county and state since last summer when the church refused to stop meeting in person. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday evening on whether or not to settle with the church.
If the settlement is approved, that money will go to the Thomas More Society, which represents GCC. “Nothing will come to us,” said MacArthur, “except the affirmation that the Lord preserved and protected us through this.”
MacArthur then went on to reveal that the reason he took a break from preaching for a month in December and January was due to COVID-19. This is the first time the pastor has given the reason for his absence, as well as the first time he has admitted so directly that the virus went through his congregation last winter. During that time period, The Roys Report published several articles noting MacArthur’s protracted absence and citing evidence that the church was not only concealing a COVID-19 outbreak but was also pressuring members not to admit that they had tested positive for the virus.
In April 2021, MacArthur submitted a legal rebuttal denying both claims. In the pastor’s view, a group of positive cases are not an outbreak unless there is proof the virus spread at a church event. MacArthur argued that there is ”no reason to believe that any of these people who tested positive had been attending our Sunday services.” He also said allegations that GCC pressured people not to report positive cases were “entirely false.”
As ChurchLeaders reported last October, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health identified GCC as the site of a COVID-19 outbreak because three confirmed cases of the virus had been associated with the church. Even though the circumstances met the county’s definition of “outbreak,” GCC’s legal team took issue with the application of the term to such a small number.
In a statement to ChurchLeaders, attorney Jenna Ellis said, “Three very mild positive tests among more than 7,000 people is hardly news. 0.0004 or 0.043 percent is not an ‘outbreak.’ The LA Times and others’ grossly misleading and fear-mongering headlines aim to mischaracterize Grace Community Church as irresponsible and a superspreader.”
The Los Angeles Times reports that if the settlement is approved Tuesday, that would resolve “all legal actions between the county and the church.”
This is a quote from Cyprian. The church was an important institution. The church was a place to get help, be heard, be with fellow believers in Jesus. It was a place where you deal with the realities of life. So many treat the church as a nice little place, but not to be taken seriously. In reality the church is very much where you can deal with the genuine issues of life, not the frivolous, transient issues. Too many refuse to deal with the real issues until it’s too late, much to their regret and those they care for.
Cyprian is a Church Father, one of the greatest thinkers in Christian history. Cyprian wrote: “He who has not the Church for his mother can no longer have God for his Father. If anyone could escape who was outside the ark of Noah, then he also may escape who shall be outside of the Church.
…Does anyone believe that this unity which comes from the divine strength and fits together with the heavenly Sacraments, can be divided in the Church and can be separated by the parting asunder of opposing wills? He who does not hold this unity does not hold God’s Law, he does not hold the faith of the Father and the Son, and he does not hold life and salvation. ..
…But because Christ’s people cannot be divided, His robe, woven and united throughout (John 19:23), is not divided by those who possess it; undivided, united, connected, it shows the united concord or our people who put on Christ. But the sacrament and sign of His garment, He has declared the unity of the Church” (Cyprian, On the Unity of the Church”, 6-7 quoted in A Year with the Church Fathers pp 279-280)
We are not entitled to divide God’s Church. You may not agree all the time, you may think things could be done differently, that does not entitle you to undermine the church’s ministry. Many today seem to feel they are entitled to undermine in order to make the church follow their ideas. They don’t seem concerned if they don’t know what they’re talking about and what damage is being done. They will be held accountable. God will not tolerate their hostility to His Church. If you have a well-founded issue and plan to conduct in your church, you are welcome to present it and discuss it. If you think it’s all about you and your opinion, that in itself should tell you how unfounded your proposal is. I get it, today people treat the church as a frivolous little social event. At the end times and the judgment, many will find how wrong they are and how they undermined the Body of Christ. They will be held accountable, and it won’t be good. If you commit the sin of division in the church, you will be judged severely.
Before you chose to make it about you and not about Jesus, you need to really think about what your doing. You may not think your actions are serious, but as I said, the sin of division is serious and those who commit will be held accountable.
Wes McAdams writes: “The book of James sheds a lot of light on what causes divisions. And the simple answer is, a lack of wisdom from above. James says, “Wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and sincere” (James 3:17). When we are not being peaceable, gentle, and open to reason, it is obvious we are lacking the kind of wisdom James is commending here.” (https://radicallychristian.com/the-sin-of-division) If you are not looking for wisdom from above, then you are not being guided in Christ. If you allow yourself to be guided by anything/one but our Triune God you could well be condemning yourself. Proceed with caution. If you have something to discuss, propose, feel free to bring it to your pastor. He will probably give you some input you hadn’t thought of that is crucially important. Really think about what is motivating you; faith in Christ or your own ego or selfishness. If from there you can’t understand what is truly important, you might even consider where you really are in Jesus. Your salvation may not be what you think it is.
Did you know these 10 things about the U.S. Coast Guard?
These six units, under a single command, create an organized quick reaction force that can be deployed to handle natural disasters, environmental catastrophes, terrorism and other threats to the United States and the world.
The Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series Race 3 is on Sunday July 11, 2021.
We have had many in “public health” presuming to lecture many of us who are church pastors about how irresponsible it is to hold worship during COVID. Turns out that there was never any serious outbreak associated with holding Christian church worship.
During all this we continue to have as at least serious heroin epidemic that has been in this country for at least years, if not this century and prior to that. Those same public health folks, don’t seem to presume to lecture those many who have been very irresponsible in this serious crisis. One public health person lectured pastors that they can’t just trust faith. Based on the outcomes of the last year, seems anything identifiable as “Christian” was pretty much untainted. Same can’t be said for much of the secular. So hey, faith? hmmmm maybe….
In the meantime, instead of a lot of the misjudgment of the past year and creating immensely more problems than solving; substance abuse increases, mental health issues increasing, suicides, depression PTSD, the enormous financial impact which mostly affected the underprivileged, there could be a lot better judgment and maybe taking a lot more responsibility for the things that you are responsible for such as bringing this heroin scourge under control. Hmmmm maybe a little more faith on your part might have some effect. It seems it may have done a lot for the church.
The following is the CNN account:
|News Alert: Drug overdose deaths in 2020 hit highest number ever recorded, CDC data shows|
|From:||CNN News Alert <CNNNewsAlert@emailalerts.cnn.com>|
|Date:||Wed, Jul 14, 2021 10:26 am|
Drug overdose deaths in 2020 hit highest number ever recorded, CDC data shows
By Maggie Fox, CNN
Updated 10:00 AM ET, Wed July 14, 2021
(CNN)Drug overdose deaths rose by close to 30% in the United States in 2020, hitting the highest number ever recorded, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday.More than 93,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2020, according to provisional data released by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. That’s a 29.4% increase from the 72,151 deaths projected for 2019.”Overdose deaths from synthetic opioids (primarily fentanyl) and psychostimulants such as methamphetamine also increased in 2020 compared to 2019. Cocaine deaths also increased in 2020, as did deaths from natural and semi-synthetic opioids (such as prescription pain medication),” the NCHS said in a statement.
Opioid Crisis Fast Facts“This is the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period, and the largest increase since at least 1999,” Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, said in a statement.
“These data are chilling. The COVID-19 pandemic created a devastating collision of health crises in America,” added Volkow.
As in recent years, inappropriate use of opioids was behind most of the deaths. The NCHS reported that overdose deaths from opioids rose from 50,963 in 2019 to 69,710 in 2020.Enter your email to subscribe to the Results Are In Newsletter with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.close dialog
I’ve been doing at least one triathlon a year. I started in 1986 and it has become ingrained to target at least one race per year.
Needless to say along with everything else, there were no races last year. There were “virtual” races, I did two. Talk about kissing your sister. I do have more finisher medals than I’d usually have because there were a few runs that either were kind of novel or fund raising for worthy causes. The oddest was the LL Bean “Flannel Run”. Got a unique, really good shirt and medal out of it. The two that kind of resonated the most was, first, the Michael P Murphy challenge, Navy Lt Murphy, was a Navy SEAL and awarded the first Navy Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. He was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2005. The challenge is to raise funds for scholarships in Lt Murphy’s name. The other race was for police and military canines. These dogs often need to be sheltered while trying to place them after their service.
It was an odd year, certainly one to try some different things. And as pointed out in the following article, kind of a way to have a new start in the summer of 2021 which I just had a week ago.
Rocky Harris wrote in USA Tri magazine winter 2021 pg 16 wrote about his plan for his first race in almost two years: “For my first triathlon of 2021 and my first multisport event since the summer of 2019, I’m planning to enjoy the day and set only process driven goals. I want to go in with eyes wide open, just like I did my first race. I’ll savor the finish chute a little more and try to recapture the “newness” and excitement I felt when I was just getting started. Sometimes it takes something being taken away from you to realize how much you really love it.”
As I said I just did my first one for the year. The Rock Hall Triathlon, Rock Hall, Md. I did the Olympic Distance race, 1500 meter swim, 25 mile bike, 10k run, for the fifth year here. Wasn’t wonderful! The temp went up higher than expected, so kind of dragged through. It’s been kind of cool and wet here and hitting 90f was warmer than I’ve been in awhile. I made it through, got my medal, nothing noteworthy except the first after the big fright of 2020. It was fun to be back in the competition. It all came back pretty fast, but as Mr Harris pointed out, did make me “take it in” a little more than I would have thought to. I’m getting to an age where it’s “maybe this is my last”. It was my sixty-fourth triathlon since 1985, so gives you a little idea. Maybe it will be my last, or maybe another ten years.
It is God’s will, and I’m looking at a sprint distance race, .25 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 5k run, in South Carolina. I haven’t done sprint distance in about five years. Maybe I will do a lot better, could use a little ego boost. Remind me that I can do the shortest distance to prolong my time.
Kinetic Sports puts on the race and they have done a great job for the times I’ve done their races. But I’ve only been doing the two races they run in Rock Hall for four years. I’m looking forward to doing a new race in a new state for me. This will be the furthest south I’ve gone, the furthest west is Kansas. Maybe next year Georgia.
It’s no secret that people have an array of opinions when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine. According to a recent survey from online job site Glassdoor, a whopping 70% of employees believe that they should be required to get a vaccine before returning to the office.
Glassdoor found that age and gender play a role people’s opinions on the vaccine. According to survey results, those aged 18-34 are less likely (58%) than those aged 35-44 (84%) to agree that employees should be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine to return to the office. Men (74%) are more likely than women (64%) to agree that employees should be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine to return to the office.
Overall most surveyed plan to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Over 3 in 4 (76%) intend to get inoculated when a shot becomes available to them. Those aged 18-34 (66%) are less likely than those aged 35-44 (81%) to say they intend to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, and nearly 1 in 4 (24%) do not plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them.
Glassdoor Chief People Officer Carina Cortez notes that employers are taking the health needs of their employees seriously.
“Resoundingly, employees want to know that employers are prioritizing their health, safety, and wellbeing while taking into account the latest health guidelines and recommendations,” Cortez said.
Another key finding of the report shows that most employees want an incentive from their employers for getting the COVID-19 vaccine: 68% of those surveyed said they would receive the vaccine if their employer offered a cash bonus and/or more paid time off.
When it comes to the work-from-home environment, 86% of those surveyed said they would like to continue working from home on a part-time basis even after their offices reopen. Some folks have gotten accustomed to the “new normal,” with some 23% saying they’d consider quitting their job if they were required to return to the office before all employees were vaccinated. Seventeen percent of those surveyed even said that they would consider quitting their jobs if they were required to return to the office five days per week.
“At this point, many employees have been working from home for about a year, and they’ve grown accustomed to the flexibility of working from wherever they want, as long as they have the tools necessary to do their jobs successfully,” said Cortez.
The survey showed a consistent theme: employees would prefer to work from home at least part of the time. “It’s clear that a hybrid approach to remote and in-person work will be a top trend in 2021, and employers should keep this in mind when evaluating the next phase of work for their employees. The future of work is right in front of us, and this survey data reveals that a hybrid working environment will be the wave of the future,” Cortez added.
**Survey Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor from February 16-18, 2021, among 2,072 adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,149 are employed and 571 are currently working from home due to COVID-19. This online survey is not based on a probability sample, and therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.**
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.
It has been a brutally difficult year, year plus. Personally, for the congregation, and certainly for what has been going on around us. Personally my wife had a very devastating stroke and after months is still not walking reliably. Of course the violence in our cities this past summer sparked by left-wing terror groups has raised tension enormously, especially when efforts by law enforcement are undercut by politicians who are only interested in their personal advancement. This is causing all of us feelings of insecurity whether there will be protection in case of assault, violence and destruction.
What I wanted to focus on in particular is our church. The loss just in the past year has been staggering. Six life-time members, pillars of the church went to be in the presence of the Lord. Certainly we are thankful that they are in the bliss and pain-free comfort of Christ, but it certainly impacts the church at such loss. Quick note, none of them were a victim of COVID. Those who have left: Rich Bower, Jan Kohler, Jack Fernwalt, Anna Lepter, Sam Marcus, Renee Coxon. All in their own right faithful and strong members of Christ’s church in their own right. They are missed. Whenever I preach I especially feel it for those who were so regular in attendance. Even in my short time here I remember where they sat and what they would say and do in worship.
It has been enormously difficult to minister, to even know what to do in the environment of disease. In all this it is easy to believe that the church may be in its last days. I see it more as a way to cull out a lot of “churches” that weren’t really about Jesus and more about numbers and the glorification and benefit of the pastor. Some of those churches have lost up to 75% of their membership. My hypothesis, those people saw that church as a place that simply could not step in times of difficulty. They were more about entertainment than serving in times of crisis and loss. Many have not just rejected the church, but also Christ. I would not want to be the pastor who has to answer to that responsibility at the final judgment. Churches like that set people up to fail and maybe even eternal condemnation. This is usually about pastors who are not sufficiently trained and educated and make very poor choices.
Those who are in Christ and faithful have done their best to be part of worship and fellowship in the Body of Christ, Jesus. Those are the faithful churches that will bring their people through the stormy seas.
The Christian church has, is and will go through enormously difficult times and has not just grown but thrived. Under the humanistic-secularism of the 20-21st centuries, we have seen the secular, leftist governments of the world relentlessly persecuting, torturing, murdering hundreds of millions of Christians. These are people whose only offense is to worship, live in Christ and present Him to others. Those in the humanist, which really means anyone who isn’t Christian and even some who call themselves Christian, are relentless in their mindless hatred and violence towards Christians who simply want to live their life according to God’s guidance.
The good news is that the church has survived much more difficult times and will continue to survive as God lifts up the faithful remnant who continue to serve His Church.
CFW Walther had a really great perspective using the event of Jesus being in the fishing boats during a storm (Matthew 8: 26-27). Rev Dr Walther writes this in the middle of the 19th century, as I said, very little has changed. Dr Walther suffered persecutions in his home country of Germany. He writes:
“Here we have an inexpressibly comforting picture of today’s Church. The world, with its learniing and power, it like a sea stirred up by a strong storm. It attacks the ship of the Church, whose destructin appears to be inevitable, and it seems as if Christ is asleep at the helm. The members of the Church, who are still of little faith, already cry out in despair: ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing!’ Many, full of doubts, may abandon the ship of the Church and plunge back into the sea of the world. Yet there is no cause for alarm. Christ remains aboard out ship and according to His divine omniscience, omnipotence and care. He does not sleep. When His hour comes, He will rise up, rebuke us for our little faith and say to the wind-driven sea of the world, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the world will be stilled and the ship of the Church will enter intothe harbor of heaven. For Christ has promised, ‘On this rock [He means Himself] I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ (Matthew 16:18), and ‘Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’ (Matt 28:20).
So let us not lose heart, even in these last, troubled, times. Let us not forsake the ship of the Church, thinking it will soon sink. We would eternally regret our decision, for outside this ship, there is no salvation, just as there was no rescue for those who were not aboard Noah’s ark. As that ark smoothly navigated through the flood and finally cane to rest, save and sound on Mount Ararat, so too will the ship of the Church pass through the world’s stormy sea and finally rest on the eternal mountains of divine grace. Then we who have remained true n the faith will have our turn to cry out, full of amazement. ‘What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey Him? And we will have all eternity to rejoice in the answer to that question.” ( translated by Gerhard P Grabenhofer “God Grant It Daily Devotions from CFW Walther pp 167-168)
I have been on the sea in very stormy weather. I would venture to guess that I have been on actual stormier seas than I would say that the world is in right now. There is definitely rough seas. We lose relatives, we lost brothers and sisters, those who were so important in our church life. We weather the events of an evil world that is much more interested in abusing each other and others than in any kind of truth or peace. The world mouths the words of “peace, love, safety”, but will have none of it, even after it has enslaved or murdered fellow citizens and stolen all the treasure there is to steal.
The Church of Jesus, the true Body of Christ, the ark of the Church has delivered its people over and over again through the storms of the world. The Ark of the Church will deliver us. If it is to be in the presence of the Lord and shortly afterwards to the eternal resurrection, where we live bodily in the world eternally to live the way God had intended us to live! Well so be it! That is our ultimate and eternal life. But until then the church will be here to provide comfort and defense against the world. We will always have safety in Christ’s church and brothers and sisters in Jesus.
I’ve been reading Jeffrey Hemmer’s book “Man Up! The quest for masculinity” Concordia Publishing House 2017 p 191.
Before you pooh-pooh and dismiss, consider what is really being said. The culture loves to talk love, love. But what does that really mean? This is a discussion when I do pre-marital counseling. Regarding Ephesians 5:24 – 26. “Now as the church submits to Christ so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Ya, I know, blah-blah, horror of horrors. The culture is absolutely appalled, anyway. In this we are talking the deepest of love. Does Jesus abuse the church in anyway in submission. If the church wants to leave, so be it, but the church condemns itself. But if we are saved because of what Jesus did, that He suffered and gave His life as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, shouldn’t we honor Jesus for what He has done and submit to Him, knowing that it is for our best interests that He died.
So for the husband, in order to expect to be followed, as any good leader should do, the husband acts in the best interests of his wife, of their family. That means up to suffering and even sacrificing his life. If he fails in that he certainly can’t expect to be followed as we certainly follow Jesus.
Hemmer quotes John Chrysostom, his nickname was “golden mouthed”, he is considered if not the best, among the best preacher in the Christian church:
“Thou hast seen the measure of obedience, hear also the measure of love. Wouldest thou have thy wife obedient unto thee, as the Church is to Christ? Taken then thyself the same provident care for her, as Christ takes for the Church. Yea, even if it shall be needful for thee to give thy life for her, yea, and to be cut into pieces ten thousand times, yea, and to endure and undergo any suffering whatever, – refuse it not. Although thou shouldest undergo all this, yet wilt thou not, no, not even then, have done anything like Christ. For thou indeed art doing it for one to whom thou art already knit; but He for one who turned her back on Him and hated Him. In the same way then as He laid at His feet her who turned her back on Him, who hated, and spurned and disdained Him, not by menaces, nor by violence, nor by terror, nor by anything else of the kind, but by his unwearied affection; so also do thou behave thyself toward thy wife. Yea, though thou see her looking down upon thee, and disdaining, and scorning thee, yet by thy great thoughtfulness for her, by affection, by kindness, thou will be able to lay her at thy feet”
This all means that husband and wife are always to put the others needs first. Does that happen all the time? A lot of times? Many times? No, both sides, then we wonder why the marriage breaks down. Husbands you have to step up and really “Man up”. Wives, wouldn’t you honor that when you see your husband goes to the ultimate lengths to serve you as Christ served the church?