L.A. megachurch pastor mocks pandemic health orders, even as church members fall ill

MacArthur is a conservative evangelical-to-fundamentalist preacher. He is very influential in certain circles. Excerpt of article below.

“There is no pandemic.”

The words from the white-haired pastor echoed inside the cavernous megachurch in Los Angeles.

It was Aug. 30, only 18 days after L.A. County public health officials had demanded that Grace Community Church stop holding indoor services.

But the pastor, 81-year-old John MacArthur, had kept the doors open, delivering defiance from his pulpit every Sunday.


Few churches have captured a bigger spotlight for their defiance than the megachurch in Sun Valley. The congregation has not only continued services but has also questioned the existence of the coronavirus.

“There’s another virus loose in the world, and it’s the virus of deception,” MacArthur told the congregation in his Aug. 30 sermon. “And the one who’s behind the virus of deception is the arch deceiver Satan himself.”

Throughout the summer, MacArthur repeatedly insisted no one from the church had contracted the coronavirus or been hospitalized with COVID-19. Yet congregants have indeed been stricken and hospitalized with COVID-19, according to MacArthur’s own account in a church interview in April. They included a young couple who were hospitalized and a visiting pastor who died of the disease shortly after attending a church conference in March.

County health officials launched an outbreak investigation at the church in October after three other people contracted the coronavirus. Church officials in a statement released last month dismissed the investigation, saying it involves three part-time employees who have not been hospitalized. Three among 7,000 congregants is not an outbreak, they said, and they encouraged worshipers to keep attending services. “We are going to meet for worship this Sunday to celebrate the Lord’s Table together,” reads the statement. As of Sunday, the church had five confirmed cases. `