In August, John MacArthur Denied COVID-19 at Grace Community Church; In April, He Said Members Had Been Hospitalized

On August 30, John MacArthur told his congregation that “nobody in our congregation has ever been to the hospital with this [COVID-19].” According to MacArthur’s own words earlier this year in April, that is not true. When MacArthur explained to Phil Johnson why Grace Community Church was not meeting in person in April, MacArthur told Johnson (entire video is here):

The other thing that we talked about with the elders was if we defy this and if we say we’re going to meet anyway, we run the risk of exposing people to this illness needlessly. And why would we want to do that? Because this is a health issue, this is a health crisis. And since like any church, many of the people in our church are older. We wouldn’t want to expose them to that. We’ve only had, as far as I know, and this was up to yesterday, we’ve only had one couple in our church in the Spanish ministry who actually got the coronavirus. But that couple, and not an older couple either, wound up in the hospital because it was such a virulent experience for them.

MacArthur acknowledged that in April they had a younger couple very sick in the hospital. This awareness helped move MacArthur and the elders toward the decision not to have indoor in-person church. MacArthur said at the time it wouldn’t be right to put people in harm’s way. Watch:

Everything MacArthur said in April is still true.  It is still a health crisis. He still doesn’t know who is in his congregation who might be infected. However, now he clearly doesn’t understand the extent of the problem. He has been telling his congregation that there is no pandemic and only .0001 of Californians have COVID-19. Because he has a false understanding of the situation, he has taken his church in a potentially dangerous change of course.

Addendum

Since this was published several anonymous communications have come in alleging more cases of COVID at Grace Community Church. I am not able to confirm them but I have learned some interesting, to me at least, additional information.

One of the elders of GCC is Jon Scott. He is a physician who practices at a Kaiser Permanente location in Santa Clarita. In March, that same location was closed due to concerns over COVID-19. I don’t know what that means but it as a physician, surely he was aware of the ramping up of medical manpower to handle cases related to COVID-19.

Since I discovered the video from April, I have wondered how Pastor MacArthur became radicalized so to speak. How did he come to mouth QAnon talking points about the coronavirus? Today, I found this from a communication from him in May:

I noticed today that a report came out from the CDC which is the official group the Center for Disease Control, and they said that actually the number of deaths that have occurred during this COVID epidemic is half of what has been recorded, half. So we have been operating with numbers that are unrealistic. It has also come to light – and I think this is very, very interesting – it’s also come to light that half of the deaths occur to people in hospitals and aging homes where you have older people, because they’re the more vulnerable population. So the reality is that the vast majority of the population is really unaffected or mildly affected by this entire thing. The most dangerous place you could ever go turns out would be a hospital, because when you go into a hospital the staff there don’t have a vaccine against this. They’re exposed to it. And if there are other compromised patients, as there are in a crowded hospital, then the coronavirus is circulated in that hospital.

So we’re starting to learn that the folks who are just out in the world doing what we do, we’re the safest of all. The place you don’t want to be is, of all places, in a hospital, because that’s where the highest incidents of this infection at its most serious level takes place. So a lot of things coming out of this that I think are starting to remove the fear and help us to understand that we were told some things that just were not true about the affect of this.

By this logic, you could say you catch cancer at the hospital. That’s where the serious cancer is. Don’t go to the hospital if you have a stroke, you will just get worse. After all, that’s where the most serious stroke patients are.  In fact, if you avoid the hospital, by this way of thinking, you can avoid all kinds of awful things people have in hospitals. People die there.

Clearly his thinking began to change here as the quality of his sources and information deteriorated.

The latest I heard, and I heard a report today from a highly respected medical authority who basically said the death rate will be essentially the same as seasonal flu, no greater than that. We now know that. And in retrospect we would say if we’d known that at the beginning we certainly wouldn’t have shut the world down to the degree that we have and did such disastrous damage to so many lives. But having said that, we have to understand that the Lord allows certain things and certain things are the foolishness of men even at their best efforts; so here we are. But I just want to remind you that this is temporary, that this is not nearly as deadly as we were told, that the rate of death is about like the seasonal flu, it’ll run its course; and hopefully in a few weeks, we’ll come back together and we’ll join each other again and have a great celebration.

Estimates of death rates have varied widely but his certainty about his expert is misplaced. One of the best studies of fatality was conducted via random sampling in Indiana and found that COVID is indeed more deadly than the flu. MacArthur now seems so entrenched in his mindset that he may not be able to back away from the conspiratorial place he has gone.