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HEART Christian newspaper | 29 October 2020

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American churches fight Covid restrictions

Megachurch fined $5,000 per service

US pastor John MacArthur

US pastor John MacArthur, known for his teaching around the world, says his church will continue to hold services despite a court ruling banning indoor worship (Wikipedia)

Citing bans on worship as “the radical Left’s assault on the Church”, the American Centre for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is taking court action on behalf of the many American Christians who are resisting the Covid-19 restrictions on church life.

At the time of writing, California had gone the furthest, banning not just sung worship but all indoor religious services in 29 counties.

According to LifeSiteNews, numerous churches are defying the order, including Grace Community Church of Sun Valley, Cornerstone Church of Fresno, Destiny Christian Church of Rocklin, and Harvest Rock Church of Pasadena. The pastor of Harvest Rock Church even offered to pay the fines of any church member who attended.

The pastor of the 3,000-seat North Valley Baptist Church said he will stop fighting Santa Clara County and hold services in the church parking lot as per local Covid-19 guidelines after fines rose to over $112,000. The county said it would not forgive (cancel) the fines.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County has rescinded a car parking lease the Grace Community Church has held since 1975, and has an ongoing legal battle against the church for holding indoor services. The church’s pastor, John MacArthur, says his congregation is being criminalised for “free exercise of religion”. Rev MacArthur’s theological position is that of a ‘cessationist’, meaning that he believes the gifts of the Holy Spirit were only for the early Church, but his evangelical teaching has a global following.

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