Over the weekend, Grace Community Church won in court against Los Angeles County only to lose the appeal prior to their legal struggle. This comes in their legal struggle in an effort to hold in person worship services amidst Gavin Newsome’s power trip. But do not be deceived by my headline. I am in full support of John MacArthur doing in person services, as it is his Christian duty. I am also in full support of him invoking the Doctrine of Lesser Magistrates as demonstrated in my video (see below) on this exact issue. I’m a contrarian by nature, but in this case, I am not disagreeing with other grassroots Evangelicals, rather I am cutting beneath the surface.
The Initial Ruling Wasn’t a Win
Initially the court ruled in favor of John MacArthur and Grace Community Church. However, this was nto an example of what winning looks like. The court did not accept the premise the the government fundamentally cannot interfere with ecclesiastical measures. Instead there was a greater emphasis on masks and social distancing. MacArthur, himself, wrote that the church could not function properly while abiding by social distancing guidelines. The courts ruling was conditioned not on the Constitution but on COVID. This is like how the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Masterpiece Cake Shop by ruling that the Colorado acted with deliberate religious animus, instead of invoking the freedom of association.
We get to see how committed Grace Community Church really is
If the appeal came back negative for Grace Community Church and they cancelled their service accordingly, that would have been a major betrayal. We got to see a legal setback that will ultimately increase the church’s fruit. Too many churches have caved after a negative court ruling, instead of outright rejecting the court’s ruling and making the judiciary enforce it. The fact of the matter is Grace Community Church will lose this lawsuit eventually. The Supreme Court has gutted the First Amendment in 2020, both Justice Roberts and Justice Gorsuch are willing to side with the Leftist judges. There will always be five judges willing to side against the church.
Defiance is the only path to victory
Make no mistake, courts are political institutions and always have been. They are not legal institutions. A quick read through the Declaration of Independence reveals the numerous grievances against the courts because they were political institutions for the King or Parliament. American history has long told the story of how political our courts are. Judges are politicians whether at the Supreme Court or the local level. That is why they are so comfortable conjuring law. As politicians, they recognize that issues need resolving and Congress is doing nothing, so they act accordingly.
Since judges are politicians, if churches call defy them, courts are left with their pants pulled down. It will then be up to the executive branch to decide what the law is. This is the only effective way to apply a check and balance on the judiciary in modern day: outright defiance. President’s Lincoln and Jackson both defied the courts, rejecting their ability to conjure law. And if the courts get their pants pulled down, they are far more likely to keep quiet on these matters. If churches openly defy the courts and the executive branch refuses to enforce, then judges will not pick such a feeble battle. As for Grace Community Church, its size is a strength that makes enforcement far more difficult. There is strength in numbers, and this is more true when it’s brothers and sisters in Christ.