California's Grace Community Church announced that Los Angeles County health officials have cleared the congregation of causing a COVID outbreak this summer.
"We are glad to announce that we received a notice from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Thursday, November 12, saying that we have been cleared of COVID-19 outbreak," the church said on its website. "After a thorough investigation, Public Health officials have decided to rescind all outbreak-related requirements and restrictions on Grace Community Church."
The megachurch, as well as MacArthur, has been the subject of ridicule and false accusations since the summer when the congregation resumed its in-person worship services.
The Los Angeles Times targeted Pastor MacArthur's church in a recent article, condemning his congregation for causing a coronavirus "outbreak".
According to the Times' own report, there have only been three confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley.
Jenna Ellis, the attorney representing MacArthur and his church, said in a statement, "Three very mild positive tests among more than 7,000 people is hardly news. 0.0004 or 0.043% is not an 'outbreak.' The L.A. Times and others' grossly misleading and fear-mongering headlines aim to mischaracterize Grace Community Church as irresponsible and a superspreader."
And in September, county health officials claimed the church had repeatedly violated public health and court orders needed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
A Superior Court judge issued a preliminary injunction that forbid the church from "conducting, participating in, or attending any indoor worship services" and also banned outdoor worship unless arduous restrictions were followed.
One week after the injunction was issued, MacArthur said he received a letter threatening additional fines and up to six months in jail if he continued to hold worship services in the church's sanctuary.
"Of course, my biblical hero - apart from the Lord Jesus Christ - is the apostle Paul, and when he went into a town, he didn't ask what the hotel was like," the preacher explained to Fox News' Laura Ingraham. "He asked what the jail was like because he knew that's where he was gonna spend his time. So I don't mind being a little apostolic if they want to tuck me in a jail."
John MacArthur not worried about threats of jail for holding church services: "I'm open for a jail ministry ... bring it on" https://t.co/DYr6pzGkue pic.twitter.com/vnZm9qyoSW
— Disrn (@DisrnNews) September 16, 2020
Withdrawing the outbreak-related restrictions against Grace Community Church suggests that officials have found no further cases connected to those original three.
But the legal battles between the house of worship, Pastor MacArthur, and the county are not over yet.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff said a contempt hearing over the lawsuit filed against the church and pastor will be on Jan. 15 in regards to the preliminary injunction issued in September.
The pastor and his congregation have stood firmly on their belief that it's their biblical responsibility to stay open and hold worship services, saying they would not disregard "our Lord's clear commands."
"They don't want us to meet, that's obvious," MacArthur said. "They just want to shut us down. But we're here to bring honor to the Lord."
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