Friday, 9/24/21 – Friday Question: “What is the Christian response in this present pandemic?”

What is the Christian response in this present pandemic?

To find clarity in responding to this question I believe it helpful first to remove any aspect of what a government may request or require and respond first to the question “What is the appropriate Christian response when it finds itself in the midst of a devastating pandemic?” What option is most Christ-like?

  1. The church makes no accommodations and continues to gather unprotected.
  2. The church closes in order to remove all possibility of infection by meeting together.
  3. The church takes appropriate precautions to make meeting together safe.

There is a fine line between faith and presumption. There is a great difference between trusting God and tempting God, between acting in wisdom and acting in folly. God protected Paul when by chance he was bitten by a viper (Acts 28:1-6) and He turned this incident into an outcome to His Glory. But He does not extend such protection to those who willfully expose themselves.

It is my conviction that the 3rd option is the appropriate Christian response. It assumes nothing by presumption, does not tempt God, and is in no way acting in folly. Now, if a government asks or imposes upon a church to select this same option does that fact now make this option less appropriate, less Christian?

The death toll of the 1918 influenza pandemic fell somewhere between 50 to 100 million souls. Many churches closed to preserve their societies. The Black Plague of the mid 1300s is said to have slain 1/3 of the then world’s population. Thinking the plague God’s punishment for sin Christians held huge processionals of up to 2,000 people which lasted as long as 3 days. Such gatherings only worsened the spread taking many more lives.

Brothers and sisters we must consider the glory of God. Do we wish to show this world the love of God or the stubbornness of man?  “What would Jesus do?” is always a most informing question. He the great Healer who endangered no one, Who rendered to Caesar, Who submitted to Pilate, He in Whom neither accusers nor state could find fault except falsely – what would He do? Paul wrote that without love one’s actions were useless. “Love,” he said, “always protects… always perseveres” (1 Cor. 13:7).

We are not being asked to bow to an idol, to cease our praying, or to deny our Lord. We are being asked to act in love and in wisdom, to continue in our worship of our God in such a way that may result in the health and safety of many — alive in body that by our prayers and safe ministry we might also by Christ make them alive in spirit!

Much more could be said, and some will disagree, but let us agree to seek the Face of our God, subdue the rages of our flesh, and love one another deeply.

Press on…

Here’s some links that may interest you…

Pandemics and Public Worship throughout History

How the Church Responded to Previous Pandemics

Pandemics and the Church – What does History Teach us?

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Wednesday, 4/29/20 – Pressing on…

What has you?

20200428_124018This past month mankind found its wisdom insufficient to prevent — at current count — the deaths of some 211,766 persons. Each of these people found their own personal physical strength insufficient to combat the invading virus. And every one of us has felt the economic impact of a world brought to a standstill. (The Dow Jones for example plummeted from above 29,000 to below 19,000 points!)

grayscale photography of man in short standiung

Suddenly it doesn’t matter so much what you have…

Do you have Wisdom – it fails.
Do you have Strength – it fails.
Do you have Riches – it fails.

20200428_120636.jpgIn my office I have a beautiful hand crafted cane – a gift from our previous pastor while on a missionary trip. But I cannot use it! I had begun to, but somewhere deep below its beauty and shellac the wood must have had a rotten patch. When I reached for it at last it was in two pieces! I’ve glued together now and it remains a beautiful souvenir, but I don’t dare trust it to support me.

20200428_120654.jpgMoses used a cane, and God told him to cast it down. When he did the staff became a snake… a serpent, possibly representative of what lay beneath all the man-made props we may lean upon. “We know,” writes John, “…that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19).

Of Moses the Lord said, “He is faithful in all my house” (Num. 12:7 / Heb. 3:5). All Moses had when he met the Lord at the bush was his staff, and God told him to throw it down. A wise Wycliffe missionary once said to us, “Whatever you are leaning on, throw it down. When you pick it up again, go with the power of God in your hand.” – Marshall Holdstock, Wycliffe missionary. (Wycliffe ‘Quest,’ Trinity Western University, Langley BC, May 30/92.)

bullion gold gold bars golden

This is exactly what God asks of us in this hour. We will take nothing with us into eternity, nothing but what our souls have become. The things we have amassed, the things we say we have: wisdom, strength, riches… things of world, flesh, devil… will all stay behind. He wants us to throw these things down NOW. Though they look shiny and polished, there is rot within them… splinters to harm us, and a very great fall indeed await.

These things are here to be used… used for God, not instead of Him. Paul writes,

“…the time is short. From now on… those who buy something [should live] as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” (1 Cor. 7:29-31).

In the end, it matters not what you have, or what you think you have, rather what matters is Who (or what) has you.

Press on…

To view Elder Don Longworth’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the page from the church website.

Wednesday, 4/1/20 – Pressing on…

Pandemic Peace

white toilet paper roll on woven basket

“How do you have peace in the middle of a pandemic?” asks David Platt, Pastor of McLean Bible Church, Washington D.C. “How do you have faith over fear and an unknown future? Here is how — you trust Jesus with your life.”

We must all come to face this at some point – believers and unbelievers alike. Sin has given us all a terminal illness. We will each at God’s foreknown moment be at that place of physical death. To what or to whom will you entrust your eternal soul? To have peace then, and now, we must individually trust Jesus with our life.

What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:14b-15).

The COVID-19 epidemic is not the first mass loss of life to challenge the faithful and terrify the lost.

  • In the mid 14th century, the Black Plague killed an estimated 25 million in Europe — 30-60% of the population.
  • In 1918 the Spanish Flu, another coronavirus, killed 50-100 million people worldwide.
  • 1914-1918 World War 1 resulted in an estimated 20 million deaths.
  • 1939-1945 World War 2 saw an estimated 75 million deaths.

man in yellow coveralls holding spray bottle

If we knew God to be loving and good before COVID-19 (yet after all these previous horrifying losses) we can rest confident He is still loving and good today. Many fine Christians suffered and died during the first half of the 20th Century and many may die by COVID-19. We have no guarantees of particular protection, but we do have the greatest guarantee that God will grant grace for whatever He allows. The unbeliever has no such hope.

Times like these are gracious reminders from our Creator. Our lives in this world are at best but a brief and transient thing. When, how, and if the Christian dies is all in the hands of his loving Father. I’m not trying to be morbid here, but knowing we need not fear the “worst” will settle our hearts amid this world gone frantic.

selective focus photo of woman in blue denim jacket using her phone while holding a book

Having settled that… having entrusted to Jesus one’s life… one needs give the matter no further thought. Once one has dealt with what this world calls “the worst possible thing” one is freed to focus on bringing others to faith and in laying up hope and treasures eternal.

Press on…

To see and hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church… look for the March 29 post. Or, link to the page from the church website.