John MacArthur, Grace Community Church, Los Angelas County
(Photo: Harbingers Daily)

California Judge, Mitchell Beckloff, has denied Los Angelas County’s renewed application for a restraining order against Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church, defeating the County’s fourth attempt to stop the Church from holding indoor worship services through court order.

“We are very grateful to Judge Beckloff for his reasoned opinion and for taking great care to review this very important matter.” Pastor John MacArthur said of the Judge’s decision. “As I said in my declaration to the court, we see this action against us as an illegitimate misuse of power. It should shock the conscience of every Christian that churches are coming under assault from our own government simply for holding Church. Church is essential.”

Thomas More Society on behalf of John MacArthur and Grace Community Church filed a lawsuit against the State of California August 13th which resulted in a ruling by Judge James Chalfant that “it is the county’s burden to show why they should be permitted to infringe on the constitutionally protected rights of churches to freely exercise religion” and setting the full hearing for September 4th.

Later that day, LA County petitioned the court of appeals for an emergency temporary restraining order to bar the Church from holding indoor worship services. The Court then stayed Judge Chalfant order, directing to the previously scheduled hearing, set for September 4th. The Court, however, did not issue the temporary restraining order the County petitioned to have brought against the Church.

The County then attempted to have the John MacArthur and the Church held in contempt of court for holding an indoor worship service that following Sunday. The Los Angelas Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff then upheld the Church’s religious freedom, finding there is “No Court Order Prohibiting Indoor Worship.”

The Los Angelas County then for the fourth time, attempted to get a court order to shut down indoor worship at the Church, but have been denied yet again.

“This should signal to LA County that California courts will not quickly or easily trample the constitutionally protected rights of churches,” said Special Counsel Jenna Ellis. “We maintain that their health order is unconstitutionally burdening the right of churches to worship, and there exists no rational basis, much less a compelling interest, to try to shut down indoor services at this point, particularly when the County is allowing strip clubs to operate and massive riots to take place – and not seeking restraining orders against them. We look forward to making those arguments at a subsequent proceeding, where we will ask the court to properly check this power grab by Los Angeles County and the State of California’s executive branch.”


Read the full Press release from the Thomas More Society Below:


(August 25, 2020 – Sun Valley, California) Today, August 25, 2020, in California Superior Court, Judge Mitchell Beckloff issued a 5-page opinion County of Los Angeles et al. v. Grace Community Church et al., denying the County of Los Angeles’s renewed application for a temporary restraining order against the church and Pastor John MacArthur. Thomas More Society attorneys are defending the renowned pastor and his congregation against an aggressive assault by the county over the right to hold indoor worship services.

In a very well-reasoned analysis of the prior proceedings, the court held that the county’s attempt to obtain a restraining order did not meet statutory requirements and that the Court of Appeal’s order did not justify a new temporary restraining order; rather, it simply stayed Judge Chalfant’s August 14 order and gave the county permission to enforce its own health order.

Thomas More Society Special Counsel Paul Jonna explained, “The court correctly concluded that Los Angeles County’s renewed application for a temporary restraining order was both procedurally and substantively defective. This was their fourth unsuccessful attempt to obtain a court order prohibiting indoor worship services at Grace Community Church. We look forward to fully vindicating our clients’ constitutionally protected rights in subsequent proceedings for this important case.”

Pastor John MacArthur said of the decision, “We are very grateful to Judge Beckloff for his reasoned opinion and for taking great care to review this very important matter. As I said in my declaration to the court, we see this action against us as an illegitimate misuse of power. It should shock the conscience of every Christian that churches are coming under assault from our own government simply for holding church. Church is essential.”

Thomas More Society Special Counsel Jenna Ellis added, “This should signal to LA County that California courts will not quickly or easily trample the constitutionally protected rights of churches. We maintain that their health order is unconstitutionally burdening the right of churches to worship, and there exists no rational basis, much less a compelling interest, to try to shut down indoor services at this point, particularly when the county is allowing strip clubs to operate and massive riots to take place – and not seeking restraining orders against them. We look forward to making those arguments at a subsequent proceeding, where we will ask the court to properly check this power grab by Los Angeles County and the State of California’s executive branch.”

The next hearing in the case is scheduled to take place on September 4, 2020 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Read the order issued August 25, 2020, by Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff in the Superior Court of California – County of Los Angeles – Central District in County of Los Angeles et al. v. Grace Community Church et al. here.