Grace Community Church’s lead teaching Pastor John MacArthur submitted a statement to the Superior Court of the State of California County of Los Angeles on April 2, 2021 in which he defended Grace Community Church (GCC) from allegations regarding the church ever having a COVID-19 outbreak that resulted in some congregants dying.
Responding to Roy’s report, MacArthur said, “I have never heard or seen any evidence indicating that any of the people on that list believe they were infected with COVID-19 in some gathering at Grace Community Church. A prayer-request list compiled by laypeople and distributed to members of an adult Sunday school class is not proof that staff people or other officials at Grace Community Church knew this information.”
Not denying that GCC congregants have tested positive for COVID-19, MacArthur explained that there is “no reason to believe that any of these people who tested positive had been attending our Sunday services.”
The pastor shared in his statement that the handful of congregants who were hospitalized and/or died from COVID-19 from within GCC’s 6,000-plus attendees “did not get infected at Grace Community Church, because they were not attending services.” MacArthur pointed out these people had prior medical conditions and were following strict protocols to avoid getting sick by staying home.
MacArthur called Roys’ accusation that GCC pressured staff and congregants “not to report cases to the County Department of Public Health” a claim that is “entirely false.” He said Roys hasn’t produced “any corroborating evidence” that would prove truth to that statement. He also said that she twisted the words of one of GCC’s leaders for a large adult Sunday school class “to create a false impression.”
GCC and MacArthur have remained open since initially suspending in-person services for less than a month during the height of the pandemic, in which they reopened their doors for indoor worship that resulted in a near capacity crowd during July. The majority were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing.
“Grace Community Church regards the wearing of masks in worship first of all as a matter of conscience,” MacArthur said and explained to the court that GCC’s biblical stance on masks. He said, “Since we are forbidden by the teaching of Christ not to make extrabiblical religious rules that bind men’s consciences (Matthew 23:1-7; 15:1-9), we neither mandate nor forbid the wearing of masks in worship.”
The Roys Report rebutted Pastor MacArthur’s court statement and says they do have “evidence that at least one of the GCC congregants who died was attending GCC.” Roys also shared that she believes that GCC was aware of a COVID-19 outbreak within their church and shows evidence in her report. She also uses Phil Johnson’s Twitter post, who is the executive director of Grace to You and an Elder at GCC, saying he had the virus in December 2020.
Read the full statement here.