Grace Community Church Welcomes Presidential Visitor: Will President Trump Intercede on Behalf of All “Places of Worship” in California?
I’m going to come right out and say it. I like Jenna Ellis. I first learned her name yesterday and then watched several hours of lectures and presentations and “pre-Trump” appearances. I felt like I could really get a better sense of the person she is by seeing the trajectory of her stardom, so to speak, then some of the present stuff like the CNN interview or the mail-in controversy. Any Christian attorney gets my instant respect because it is a profession that favors an adversarial relationship with your opposing counsel, sometimes the client relationship breaks down and with the 100-hour workweeks and liberal judges, it is harder to maintain your testimony than many people can imagine.
Last Sunday, both the Los Angeles Department of Health officers and Jenna Ellis, Senior Legal Adviser to the Trump Administration, visited Grace Community Church. Much to the chagrin of John MacArthur (though I highly doubt that she just showed up, but that’s how John told it), Ms. Ellis essentially told MacArthur that he had the support of the President, respected his stance, and then handed him her business card and said, “if they (the LADPH) give you any trouble, send them to me”. It was straight out of a movie. And then, she handed him the phone and said, “the president would like to speak to you”. He took the phone and heard: “tell ’em to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Gipper”. Ok, no…I wish. It was a friendly exchange about his courage and that he supported him. He handed back the phone and the young attorney got back into the limo, waving, headed back to Washington.
Most of that did happen. This Valkyrie, flaxen-haired Coloradan descended and condescended to the crime-ridden, grime-ridden city of Panorama like Gandalf the White “at dawn” during the Battle of Helm’s Deep. She also answered questions at the evening service. People were encouraged. John was delighted. I mean, what more could you want? Let’s make like third-semester Greek class and parse. this. out.
Act II-The Los Angeles Department of Public Health Enters.
So, yes, they did come. It’s their job and when they saw the 4,000-plus, maskless Protestants at Grace Community Church, they did not come in with guns drawn, pepper spray, salivating German Shepherds, but a couple of people with clipboards. Have any of you worked in a restaurant and seen an inspection? It’s that kind of vibe. Professional, stern, but noting where improvements can be made. They did want; however, the personal information of all those in attendance, the names and phone numbers of their employees, and they did suggest that their employees get tested after seeing so many people gathering. Their earnest recommendation was that they return to offering worship services outside (which they had been doing, remember the tents).
As John MacArthur continues to preach indoors and violate the current mandate, I am sure they will be back. Again, it’s their job. They are monitoring and “educating” the church because in their perspective this is a powder keg and an environment so ripe for an outbreak. We’ve all read stories about churches or families that chose to continue to meet despite Orders to the contrary which had such tragic endings. I hope John is correct that the “coronavirus does not kill you” and that “masks don’t work” and that this “nothing more than a Socialist takeover” (recording forthcoming, from the Chapel last week). If he is wrong, or slightly less right and the coronavirus does exist and people do get sick, there will be a line longer than the DMV’s of those ready to sue. I’ll be the first to donate my legal services. This cavalier attitude is not shared by any rational, reasonable, hapless employee of Grace, TMU, or GTY. They are all along for the ride “if they want to keep their jobs”. What did they call it “an environment of fear and intimidation” in the probation report? Ah, yes, that Old Time Religion.
On April 24, 2020, MacArthur was interviewed and stated, “I do know that those people who defy that order in this litigious society are going — this country is going to see lawsuits the likes of which it has never seen. Every person who is at the disposal of an attorney is going to be marching in the direction of suing somebody if they contacted this illness somewhere in a public place, or whether it’s a market or whatever. I mean, it’s already started, there are lawsuits. So you don’t want to expose yourself needlessly to that either”. https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/GTY176/thinking-biblically-about-the-covid19-pandemic-an-interview-with-john-macarthur
Intermission-Thoughts about What We Have Seen So Far
- Forgive me, but will President Trump extend his support to all places of worship in California, not just to the ones who have a long history of Republican support and who employ Nestle Vice Presidents and corporate suits to the highest place of church leadership?
- Jenna Ellis could be seen as offering special treatment to the former President of the college where her mother received a Master’s in Biblical Counseling. If she did intercede, ethically would this not be a conflict of interest? I don’t imagine that she would relish the thought of having to come to the aid of a “non-Christian” entity, but such as it is. It’s the Constitution.
- Much like Senator’s sons during the Vietnam War (thank you, CCR), does this presidential nod mean that Grace Community church can continue to ignore the LADPH’s recommendations altogether and does this then extend to the other agencies in Newsom’s “strike teams”? There’s a recklessness here I can’t quite put my finger on.
- So, if I want to sing and enjoy fellowship without a mask, I can either go to a BLM protest or Grace on Sundays because there’s no fear of repercussions? I do love Chick-Fil-A. (It was noted previously that Grace Community Church regularly has catering from In-and-Out and Chick-Fil-A). “It must be nice. It must be nice…to have Washington on your side”.
One Day More
The Bard wrote that “all the world’s a stage”. We have our principal players and there’s nothing left, but to let the drama unfold. If you ever think that I write with far too much candor or sarcasm, it is merely the culmination of daily stresses as I watch my neighbors and my country descend further into financial uncertainty. I write about Grace to try not to think about the 40 million facing eviction, the end of the unemployment assistance that has kept people in their homes, and yes, even Newsom’s incessant “WEAR. A. MASK.” tweets. Like the Native American who feels the ground and knows which way the buffalo are heading (hey, that’s racist, relax I’m Native American), I can feel the “quiet in the heart of the hurricane” and it newly encourages me each day not to take these times for granted. “Feel it keenly,” I tell myself and pray they never come again.