I have been remiss in keeping up this blog, and I apologize. Somehow between discouragement, and life getting away from me, I haven’t taken the time to write.
I somehow feel that I need to write this. After watching and observing various responses to COVID19 (mostly off of Facebook, because I haven’t been on Facebook much in the past several months), I have been disappointed in the responses that I have seen from people who profess Jesus as Lord.
I’m not going to say what my feelings on COVID19 are, because that isn’t the point of this post. I believe that as Christians, we need to treat everyone with kindness and love. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean that we condone sin. I make that point, only because there has been, what I view as sinful responses on both sides, filled with bitterness at either the situation, or the response of one person’s views over another person’s.
We see in 1 Corinthians 13: “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
I believe that we are all able to have our own opinion, including about the COVID19 virus. I also believe that we can have that opinion, and still remain kind and civil towards each other. When I see fellow believers arguing, and angry, and calling each other names because they disagree, it breaks my heart. When I see Churches angry, and opposing government regulations, because they “infringe on MY right to worship”, that also breaks my heart. First of all, we as Christians, actually, don’t have any rights. We left those (or we should have) at the cross, when we gave our hearts to Jesus. If the government gives direction that directly opposes God’s word to us, then yes, I believe we need to disobey them, and obey a higher authority, but the Bible is pretty clear about obeying our government.
In Romans 13 we see this: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.”
So, whether you think everyone should be wearing a mask, or whether you think masks are of no value, or you think the COVID19 virus is a hoax or not, express your opinions in love and kindness, without name calling or belittling each other.
Be blessed. Love as always,
Quintin and Beth
*image from: “https://www.christianity.com/wiki/god/can-god-use-the-coronavirus-for-good.html“
2 thoughts on “COVID19 and the Christian Response”
Hi Quintin and Beth,
I fully agree with the central message of this post. Name calling and belittling is not the way Christians should be engaging in discussion. But I want to ask a question (hopefully in love!). You say that Christians have no rights, and certainly shouldn’t be pushing back against government regulations when those rights are limited or totally removed. Legally in Canada, we actually do have rights that are guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Those rights exist for all people, not just Christians, almost entirely because of the historical Christian witness in Canada. The heading of the Charter is this: “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:” All the charter freedoms emerge from the supremacy of God. If Christians don’t defend rights for all citizens, they will not be defended at all. And then related to that, did not the apostle Paul appeal to his rights as a Roman citizen in Acts 22:25-30? He beleived he had rights as a citizen under a civil government, and he appealed to that government to defend them, in part (I believe) to protect other Christians from unfair treatment by the state. From that point until the end of Acts we see Paul’s appeal to his rights until he ends up befor the Supreme Court (which was the Emperor at that time). Was Paul in the wrong? It is absolutely true that Christians are called, at times, to lay down their rights for the cause of Christ. But I believe Paul shows there is also a time to defend citizen rights, especially if by doing so we are serving the protection of other citizens. Paul wrote Romans 13, yet he clearly opposed the state in this situation. Romans 13 teaches us not only our attitude toward the state but also the proper jurisdiction of the state, which is to punish evil. In this text, Paul is attacking scoff-laws, Christians who would reject the state’s laws because they mistakenly believe they don’t apply to Christians, since we belong to another kingdom. But he also, in the same passage, limits the authority of the state to that which God has given it. Your post acknowledges that when the state opposes the word of God, we are to disobey the state and obey God. Has not God commanded the church to assemble (Hebrews 10:24-25)? The word church means “assembly” or “congregation”. I hope this is taken in a spirit of discussion and brotherly love. I agree that the vitriole that is often expressed is not becoming of believers. But at the same time, rights not defended today are rights lost tomorrow. History is clear on that matter. And watching the erosion of rights without objection is not love for neighbor in the long run. Thoughts?
Hi Mark. Sorry for the delay in responding. I am afraid I have been re-miss on monitoring my little blog 🙂
Yes, totally felt your response was in a spirit of love. And I guess my statement was in more of a broader sense, in that our rights actually belong to God – that is our authority, we gave our rights to God when we gave our lives to him. But God has instructed us that he has placed our government in authority over us. With that said, we do have basic rights, within our respective countries, but I think my statement was based on how we make those rights known. If my rights are being violated, then what is my response, and how does it affect my testimony. When I say “my right to worship God has been violated”, because the government has ordered us to not meet in buildings, because, for some reason, they feel it is for our safety (I know that there are those that feel that there is something more diabolical at play here, but until I see hard evidence of that, I will not pursue that line of thinking). In this case, have our rights been violated? I don’t think so. We were never told we couldn’t worship, or that we had to bow down to someone else. We were just told to change where we worship – and this is in limited numbers. It was the people that have cried out that our rights have been violated, and some churches even deliberately disobeying the order that prompted my article. I admit that my comment that “we have no rights”, was perhaps too bold. I think though, that the point I was trying to make, is that our rights actually belong to God, and we should protect those rights according to His methods and desires, not ours. Does that make sense?
Also, in response to disobeying the government’s order for churches to not meet, you say that we are commanded to assemble, and therefor the government can’t tell us not to. Define assemble though. I realize that doing it virtually is different, and the Bible (because this technology didn’t exist at the time) doesn’t define that, but are we not still assembling by doing this virtually? Our church has even had Zoom meetings when meeting numbers were down to only 10. Now that numbers have increased, we are meeting physically for small group Bible studies. But my argument is that the motive behind the order from the government has to be understood. I don’t believe that there was any motive to prevent us from meeting together that was malicious. I believe that it was done out of a desire to keep all constituents safe. We all have our own feelings about whether we have ever been in danger, but I don’t think that is the point.
I hope that all makes sense. Love you brother!