“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?
- The church makes no accommodations and continues to gather unprotected.
- The church closes in order to remove all possibility of infection by meeting together.
- 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.
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