Christian Nationalism?

Acts 17:26-27 ESV
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.

There’s your Christian Nationalism. Groups like The Gospel Coalition are not arguing with people of today, but with Apostles under the inspiration of God. Will there one day be one people made up of every tongue, tribe and NATION? Yes. The consummation is not here. Until then, we call people of other nations our brothers and sisters in Christ, co-heirs of a Kingdom, but not yet of the same Earthly nation.

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100 A Psalm for giving thanks.

Social Media Update: Thought Police Edition

Hey y’all, alternate social media is hard to start because first you have to get a significant number of people you already know on there. People are generally followers, no offense intended as I’m including myself in the category of “People.” If you’d like to see what else I’ve had to say about social media, I’ll direct you to a previous post where I discussed the full circle concept of social media.

My favorite social media platform of all time will probably always be Google+. Google+ failed primarily because it was launched full scale before it had a core group of users, even though it had more users than Twitter. The advantage that Facebook had then is the same one it has now. You already know lots of people on there. You know more people who are on there than who aren’t. I joined at a time when I desperately needed a new group of friends, and the platform was ideal for that purpose, both locally and widespread.

Just so you know, only roughly 20% of Americans have a Twitter account. I don’t know the ratio for Parler, but the thought police pervading Facebook and Twitter is resulting in a lot of people branching out there. MeWe and Gab have also seen an increase, but for right now Parler is the place to be for true free speech. It is more similar to Twitter than to Facebook and I hope it evolves as it grows. It isn’t as polished as Twitter yet, but it’s improving. If you’d like to give it a try, my handle is CoffeeSwirls. Unexpected, right?

I’ve also been seeing an uptick in users joining MeWe. MeWe feels more like Facebook and has an interesting component to it. It is free to use, but you can upgrade your experience. For a small fee you can unlock night mode, which I am considering. You can also add more emojis, which is crazy because there are already too many. In return, they don’t flood you with all sorts of adds for hair loss formulas and ED pills. But I’m a middle aged dude, so you may get something different. Here is how to find me on MeWe.

In discussions, it has been suggested that I try Gab. Gab doesn’t have an app on the Google store. They say it is because Google disagrees with their free speech. If that is true, why is Parler on the store? I have an account there, but among the new groups it is a distant third, at best. I don’t want a fifth social media account. Frankly, four is more than I want.

I am also a member on a few Discord servers. I have no idea what I’m doing there.

I have no intention of ending my Facebook account. Twitter either. The biggest benefit of Facebook is that my FB account is my login for some other websites. I should probably address that sooner rather than later. I must say that it is refreshing to see other platforms where people can communicate openly without fearing the ban hammer just because some neutral third party has a different agenda. That ban makes both Facebook and Twitter a PUBLISHER, which is another discussion altogether.

Also, neutrality is a myth.

This is true for Fact Checkers, political posts, religious proclamations, jury selections, and governor lockdowns. Everyone enters every decision with presuppositions. To deny this, you must either lie or you must be unaware of your own leanings.

2020 Thanksgiving Guidelines

In light of these precedented times and the unprecedented overreactions I thought it would be a good idea to share some guidelines that ought to be universal to all this coming Thanksgiving. I would require that you follow these rules, but I don’t want to enforce them at your home. They are the expectation at my family’s Thanksgiving though.

  1. Pray before the meal. Pray to God in the name of Jesus. Don’t just go around the table and ask what each person is thankful for. Pray and thank the fount of every blessing.
  2. Be a good host. And to do so, ignore the conflicting information coming from the CDC as well as your local lawmakers. We were told masks don’t work. We were later told to wear one, not to protect yourself but everyone around you. Now we are told they protect you as well, even though the CDC said that 85% of the positive cases were from people who wear masks either All or Most of the time. The CDC has been on every side of this and your best response is to ignore them.
    • If someone shows up in a mask, be kind to them. They know that they will need to remove it if they will be eating anything, making their arrival in a mask purely cosmetic.
    • If you are invited to someone’s home, don’t show up in a mask. Don’t be that guy. It sends a message that contradicts the very reason you were initially invited.
  3. Gravy is a near-universal condiment. The only exception that comes to mind is dessert. Don’t put gravy on your pumpkin pie.
  4. Don’t talk politics. Just don’t.
  5. Any news program is verboten on this day. I saw my first bit of national news in over a year this last weekend and it was just vile. I took a journalism class in college and these clowns have absolutely none of the objectivity that was restated in every class session. They are in the midst of a historical time that will be dissected by future generations, but all they can do is recite “Orange Man Bad.” Pathetic.
  6. Sigh. The early NFL Games both suck. Texans at Lions? Washington at Cowboys? Ugh. Unless your team is playing, you can get some brownie points with your wife if you tell her you want to focus on just family during them. Don’t tell her why, you dolt! But the late game of Ravens at Steelers is worth watching.
  7. Cranberry sauce is useful. Put some on the white meat. You’re welcome. If you still don’t like it, refer to rule #3.
  8. Are you nervous about ruining the turkey? Buy a couple Costco rotisserie chickens the day before and stick them in the refrigerator. The next morning, put them on the smoker or in the oven at a low temperature. You’re not cooking them again because you bought them cooked. You’re just warming them up and maybe adding a little extra flavor. I smoked them last year and the results were delightful!
  9. Congratulations, you have now entered the Stuffing and Eggnog Season. You have roughly 5 weeks where it’s OK to consume these with every meal. If you aren’t counting carbs, take full advantage! But know that you will pay for these 5 weeks with a gym membership in January, that you will regret before February.
  10. Will the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade be worth watching? I want to say no, but with the lunacy going on it will be a memory to tell your grandchildren as you tell tales about what it was once like to be free.

Starting Another Bible Reading Plan

This blog was founded on me reading the Bible over 365 days and commenting about what I just read. Since then I have read the Bible through before but I haven’t chronicled it on this blog.

Well, that’s not about to change. The plan I started today is a 90 day plan, and there’s simply too much to put into a daily blog post. Creation, Fall, Promise, Noah, Babel, Abram. That’s a lot to shoehorn into one post!

I have completed a 90 day sprint before and I retained much more than expected. If you are looking for a reading plan, I have a few plans and some tips on my Bible Reading Plan page.

Why did I start on a Tuesday in the middle of November? Why not? Do you find yourself with additional time on your hands now that everything fun is either closed or no longer fun? You could start your own project!

Do not muzzle the human while it treads

The following post was written by Jeff Durbin to his Facebook timeline. I added a little bit of editing for spacing.

The masks.

The masks have endangered a fundamental aspect of what it means to be human. We can’t behold each other’s uniqueness. We have become colder, less interactive, and distant. Humans were made for fellowship and intimacy. We weren’t made to be muzzled for extended periods of time. We lose the ability to see the smiles and participate together with them. We lose the ability to see the sadness and enter into comfort with it. We have been trained to treat everyone we cross paths with as sickness and disease.

“Stay away!”
“Come no closer!”
“Do not even breathe in my vicinity!”
“Children, walk away around that family! They may be sick!”

We are told that this is all an effort to “love our neighbors.” They even employ the emotion driven tactic of, “What would Jesus do?” That is actually a good question. What would He do?

He wouldn’t lie and pretend He was sick. And He wouldn’t encourage others to do so. He wouldn’t lie and pretend that everyone was sick. And He wouldn’t encourage others to do so.

He wouldn’t hate His neighbors by submitting to tyranny that robs His neighbors of their liberty. He wouldn’t submit to any decrees that destroyed the purpose and order for which He created mankind. He wouldn’t hate his neighbors by lying about the government’s “right” to destroy businesses, property, family savings, and livelihoods over a sickness with an over 99% survival rate.

Jesus, the Creator of humanity, wouldn’t support any decrees that distort the image of God, ruin human relationships, destroy our neighbors lives, and cause incomprehensible damage to our God-ordained face-to-face interaction.

Stop lying about Jesus. Stop tolerating arguments that do. Stop submitting to iniquitous decrees that hate our neighbors. Human beings are not beasts. We weren’t created to be muzzled.

Jeff Durbin wears many hats, and I’ll likely miss one or two here. He is a pastor at Apologia Church, which has as among its ministries Apologia Studios, End Abortion Now, and Red Door Ministry. I suggest you follow him on YouTube as well. Pastors who are willing to stand and speak truth are becoming more rare and I appreciate Pastor Jeff (AKA The Ninja) more and more as time goes on.

The Great Awokening

First a little background. I came to faith seventeen and a half years ago. Old enough to be a spiritual grown up, young enough to still count half years. I was a husband and a father and I knew that I was ill equipped to fulfill my duties in either role in the way that my newfound savior would expect. I had grown up in the church and understood a few basics, but that was about it. So I threw myself into the deep end and sought to learn about God as quickly as possible. That is where this blog originally came from. A Bible reading project leading into a desire to make up for decades of lost time as I viewed it.

A Christian man (I forget his name) found out that I was new to the faith and challenged me to believe and be baptized. Then he asked me what being baptized means and I said that it was a water dunking. He responded with the first Greek word I’d ever heard. Baptizo. He told me that to be saved, you must repent/believe and then be engulfed and overwhelmed by the gospel. Halfhearted Christianity was not salvific and I needed to mature and grow, which just so happens to be exactly what I was looking for.

Rather than invite me into a discipling relationship, he told me to purchase “Desiring God” by John Piper and I read that book chapter by chapter alongside another blogger whose name you would recognize. I was being challenged with ideas that had never occurred to me before and he was my lifeline as I questioned these concepts and heard his take on them.

That was a worldview altering Book. I learned that Christianity is not rules to follow and a savior to resolve my failures. I learned that it is a lifelong battle to seek the greatest joy available, and that joy is found only in God. I now had a foundation to build upon!

Over the next few years, I attended several pastor’s conferences. seeing men preach, men whose books and broadcasts I had been soaking up. Mark Dever, Russell Moore, Albert Mohler, David Platt, Tim Keller and pretty much anyone associated with The Gospel Coalition. My personal favorites were John Piper, John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul. I was a bit bothered by the elevated platform these pastors had in relation to the many pastors who paid for tickets to these events, but the delivery and the richness of content they provided me was invaluable.

Time went on and I grew in the knowledge of my faith by leaps and bounds. Before I knew it, controversies arose among the Christian blogs. My skills as a believer in sola scriptura were put to the test. It was helpful that I came to faith while reading my Bible in its entirety and it was essential in these times that my memory for various passages would make recollections quickly and accurately. I credit the Holy Spirit.

Many topics came and went with various bloggers sharing their stance, and supporting it with biblical references and concepts. We debated the drinking of alcohol, the continuation of spiritual sign gifts, whether children killed in abortion were taken directly to Heaven, and much more. I remain shocked that we never debated how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. And through all of these debates, my ability to support my stance by the Bible was exercised and strengthened.

And that exegetical strength was put to the test by the Emergent Church. Well, not really. I had enough of a foundation by then that the postmodern Emergent authors rang hollow to me. Sure, some of their complaints were valid, but at the same time their solutions were just vacuous and lacking in any reliable biblical sense whatsoever. If any value was found in their messages, it was that the churches ought to pursue a grace filled authenticity often found in simplicity over complexity. Virtually everything else they shared was rooted in anti-Christian paganism that they would attribute to their post-Christian missional way of thinking. Thankfully, very few of their concepts are overtly found in churches today. With a few notable exceptions.

They advanced notions of social-justice in their conversations, for one. That doesn’t sound so bad to us now, but whenever you hyphenate a concept that is owned by God alone, you begin to undermine His authority in that realm. God defines justice in His law passed down through Moses, and the social-justice of the Emergent Church contradicted that law. Just as the various hyphenated justice statements of the Woke today contradict the Law of God, and thus are not justice at all, but cheap imitations of it. Before you redefine something, first you must reject its original definition.

The various celebrity pastors mentioned above rightly rejected the Emergent movement as pagan. God has been very clear in how we are to approach Him and the practices of the Emergent Church were strange fire before the Lord. As time went on, the EC pastors faded away or converted their teaching to something more orthodox. The celebrity pastors, especially John Piper, were quick to come alongside these men and guide them on a path that was true to the Bible.

How’s that for an intro?

Over time, these various pastors started to reveal that they were not who we thought they were. I first came to this realization when I noticed some troubling tweets from Thabiti Anyabwile, a prominent contributor at The Gospel Coalition. He was openly pushing for leftist causes that are contrary to the laws of God. I pushed back with scripture verses. You know, the really obscure ones like “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not murder,”you know, the ones that most leftists don’t like to think about. He didn’t relent so I copied The Gospel Coalition directly and asked them to step in, since he was using their website and their name in defiance of what one would expect from any publication with the word “Gospel” in it.

Crickets. There came no response. And none of the other TGC members or contributors gave any counter to what he was saying. I lost all hope in The Gospel Coalition as a whole when I happened to see this article.

In church yesterday, leading up to the most contentious election I have ever witnessed, with one candidate who spoke at the national Right to Life march and the other one going on record as wanting to expand abortions without limits in the US and abroad, all paid with our tax dollars, the pastor went so far as to tell us to know what the issues are and to vote through a biblical lens. He did bring up the great evils that a leftist would champion, but he did not name any persons or parties to vote for or against. That has been the norm in churches throughout our country. True Christians oppose killing babies, mutilating young children, stealing from your neighbor, and more. One party champions doing things like this and most pastors are too afraid to endorse against it. Why? Because then they could lose their listeners who love darkness rather than light (John 3:19) and worse yet, they could lose their tax exempt status.

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him.

Luke 16:13-14

Right about now, you’re probably expecting me to tell you to vote straight ticket Republican. I won’t do that. I will remind you of what I said in my last post though. One day you will give an account for every word that you utter, every time you gave or withheld comfort from someone, every time you spent the money that God gave you to manage in ways that are dishonoring to Him. And you will give an account for your positive affirmation of how a candidate has declared he or she will use the authority that you are handing them. And I don’t want to say that I hated my God and my Neighbor by endorsing the destruction of children made in God’s own image.

Maybe you’re cool with that. Thabiti Anyabwile certainly is. And so is The Gospel Coalition. They are more concerned about the coalition than they are in the gospel and don’t let them say otherwise. So very few “celebrity pastors” have remained firm against the onslaught of wokeness, which I haven’t even defined. And honestly I couldn’t fit all there is to say in a single blog post. But wokeness is antithetical to the gospel. It denies that every debt to God was paid by Jesus on behalf of His elect. It denies that true reconciliation can only be found in the gospel. It denies that reconciliation is even attainable. There is only the punishment of your oppressors. No Justice, No Peace? To be woke is to deny the one who defines what justice and peace even are.

Most of the men who I soaked up everything they ever published have turned out like this. They have built their houses upon the sand and I pray for their repentance. I saw glimmers of this in John Piper a few years ago when some racial unrest was happening but the subject changed and he stopped speaking about reparations for sins that he didn’t commit and I thought it was done and over with. Now he has equated the murder of a million babies per year with someone being arrogant. This is the logical progression from the Emergent Church that rejected objectivity. The Emergent Church rejected the notion that the Bible is the final authority in how we ought to live, favoring emotion and the inclusion of heterodox methods of discernment. A breeding ground for wokeness.

I used to suggest John Piper books and recordings to everyone I know. I thought Mark Dever was today’s architect of how a church ought to function. I thought Al Mohler and Russell Moore had the worldview that every Christian ought to share. I thought Kevin DeYoung and David Platt were the next generation of faithful teachers of biblical truth. I thought Tim Keller was a trustworthy deep thinker worthy of being followed. The list goes on.

There are exceptions to be found, but for today I’m once bitten twice shy. If some of the names I’ve shared are concerning to you as well, and you would like some more information, I will suggest you subscribe to AD Robles on YouTube. Also, I am in the middle of an eye opening book called The Woke Supremacy that will give you a much better definition of wokeness as well as the ramifications of it on our society.

They say not to have any living Christian heroes and now I know why that is. My Christian faith is not shaken in the slightest, but I am saddened by what I have seen. And I’ll need to look at the publication date before I offer a copy of Desiring God to anyone I am discipling.

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain-if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith-just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?
Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Galatians 3

P.S. Though their names appear in this post, I believe John MacArthur to remain a faithful minister of the gospel and R.C. Sproul has passed away leaving a legacy of faithfulness to the gospel. I have tertiary theological beliefs that differ from both of them, but I am thankful that God has preserved some who have not bowed the knee to the marxist wokeism that can be seen in our culture and in our churches all to much.

P.P.S God will preserve his church, sometimes by allowing fools to expose themselves. Romans 1 calls this “giving them over.” I pray that I am premature in this thinking.

Doing politics as a Christian

Long time readers will likely not see anything out of the ordinary here. Newer readers to my blog just might. You see, I once operated under a certain set of assumptions. Then, 17 years ago, all of my assumptions were challenged and shown to be left wanting. Now, I still remember these assumptions, all too often I echo them, and sometimes I measure them up against the Bible to see if these assumptions are so. This is one of those times.

What is the determining factor to determine who leads the executive branch of the US Government? If you’ve been through a civics class (and based on the reactions out there I don’t believe most Americans have) each state tallies a vote of their citizens (or residents if they are foolish) and the winner of that state takes a certain amount of electoral votes. Each electoral vote is good for you getting one elector, a person who will submit the vote on your behalf in the electoral college. Win a majority of the electors and you win the presidency. Theoretically.

If I were teaching a government class, I would accept that answer. If I am teaching a Bible class, I would accept the answer with the understanding that ultimately it is God who places rulers in power. Don’t believe me? Read Romans 13:1 again. If that doesn’t do it for you, try Daniel 2:21. Need some red letters? Read John 19:11. God not only places every leader into power, He places leaders who are both good and evil into power for His reasons, not necessarily yours.

So there you have it. Votes do not ultimately determine the winners of elections. God places people in power and he removes them from power. There is no authority on earth that God has not ordained. Therefore, failing to vote for candidate A over candidate B is not the same thing as voting for candidate B. Or is that candidate C? Is candidate C Kanye West or the Libertarian Party nominee? And does it matter in the end? Why vote? To be a responsible citizen? Yes. But even more, we participate in our local governments as an act of worship. “Do all to the glory of God” is the command given in 1 Corinthians 10:31 and if you look up the Greek word for “all” in that verse, it directly translates to English as “all.” No exclusions.

So as you ponder who to vote for this November, remember that you are not installing a person into power, but you are casting your vote as a showing of faith in the One who holds the heart of every leader in His hands. That reference is found in Proverbs 21:1, if you’re wondering. Likewise, if you decide not to vote, that is your right as well. Offhand, I can’t think of any rights that we have that don’t inherently include the right to abstain. The right to speak includes the right to remain silent, as just one example.

It can be difficult to decide how best to vote to the glory of God. Many Christians look for the lesser of two evils approach, which is really absurd if you think about it. All that you know of the evils of the candidates has been told to you by a media that decides not only how to present the stories, it decides what stories to present and what stories to ignore. If the lesser of two evils is your stance, you are a fool who is carried along by the news media, that is not only biased, they are unwilling to acknowledge their bias. Besides that, you are entering the realm of legalism, where you are able to determine which of the candidates is less evil and more pure, deserving of your vote.

Allow me to present an alternative.

In our system of government, the voters are the owner/employers and the candidates are the job applicants. The campaign process is like an extended job interview and the vote is the consensus decision on who should hold the position. Our loyalty is to God, not to any political party. It is never the responsibility of the voter to support or oppose any candidate. Rather, it is the responsibility of the candidate to earn my vote. No voter should be expected to compromise the moral standards of God in order to avoid a worse fate from the opposition. We should never vote against someone, but the candidate needs to provide reasons for us to vote for them.

One day we all will give an account. And I pray that when I do, I can tell God that I voted, not to sway the election, but to demonstrate my fealty to Him. We we not given a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of self control. (2 Tim 1:7) So to vote against the candidate who you fear the most is antithetical to your testimony of God’s power.

God is sovereign. Nothing happens outside His will. All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. In light of these things, let us vote, or not vote, to the glory of God. If you can vote for someone to the glory of God, do so in peace. For me and my house, we vote for the one who has shown an allegiance to the sanctity of life. And yes, we do vote knowing that the opposing party is fully immersed in platform planks that are in direct opposition to every one of the ten commandments. Except maybe commandment #2.

Can you give your vote, your positive affirmation, to someone who wants to expand the baby killing in this country? Can you vote for someone who affirms the delusion that there is more than one gender? Can you vote for someone who believes in an economic system that relies on breaking the tenth commandment not to covet? If you answer yes to any of this, I invite you to read the last verse from Romans 1 again.

Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Romans 1:32

Let he who has ears hear.

Do NOT confuse wearing a mask with loving your neighbor

This video briefly summarizes my objection to pastors and churches claiming that withdrawing from others, wearing masks and living lives of fear is the best way to love your neighbor. Voddie Baucham does not mention masks, but I have heard pastors attach being carried with the unscientific lunacy we see all around us (unless you live in Sweden) to the standard of loving your neighbor.

Loving your neighbor sounds like a great idea, something we really ought to consider. Setting aside your rights for the good of others really feels like the sort of thing that a Christian should be quick to do. It’s all just so… so… FLUFFY! But with just a little discernment and a little study, you can see that there is a very strong statement underneath all of the cocoa with marshmallows cozyness.

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:28-31 ESV

Loving your neighbor is the same thing as following the second tablet of the Law handed down to Moses. Failing to love your neighbor is not just a bad idea and not just a loss of warm fuzzies. Failing to love your neighbor is sin. Thus, these pastors are placing a sin burden on anyone who differs with them. Theological malpractice.

Anyone who visits an elderly grandparent now is questioning if it is more sinful to visit them or to abandon them to loneliness. Anyone frustrated with the ever changing statements regarding masks to the point where they choose to abstain is now left to question if they are sinning with every breath. Anyone choosing to refuse to live a life of fear is threatened with the burden of sin.

Allow me to present a different way of approaching this.

There is a principal of the weaker brother, originally used with meat that had been sacrificed in idol worship, now used frequently with Christians discussing whether alcohol should be allowed or forbidden. The most common proof text for this is 1 Corinthians 8, but I believe Romans 14 gives a better look at the concept.

Romans 14 begins by telling Christians not to quarrel over opinions. Regarding meat, one person is convinced that it is just meat and can be consumed. The other person is convinced that the meat is tainted with idolatry, and refuses to eat. Both of these people are convinced in their own minds (verse 5) and that is OK. What is not OK is when one of them judges the other for a position that is not sinful, which leads to quarrels, which leads to divisions within the church. The Bible says nothing positive whatsoever about the person causing division, also known as discord, among the gathering of God’s people. It is cited in Proverbs 6:16-19 as an abomination before the Lord.

Divisions in the church aren’t about meat today. Divisions right now are more about whether the building should be open, whether the church should accept visitors, whether the people should pre-register, whether everyone inside should be required to wear a mask. And instead of appealing to the liberty that is ours to decide for ourselves what we ought to do, people are trying to coerce others into doing what they feel is right, in some cases they are misrepresenting Romans 13 in order to do it. That is a separate post, in case you’re wondering, but I will say that Jesus is Lord of the church, not Caesar. The people pushing to bind others in ways that are not authorized by scripture should be avoided and in some cases cast out of the church. Yes, I’m serious.

17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. 

Romans 16:17-18

I have been part of an elder board during a pandemic. I know the stresses that are involved as you try to balance what to do and how to go about it. I understand how different people have different levels of fear of the unknown. I get it.

I also understand that in the Law handed down to Moses, instructions are given about infectious diseases. To summarize, we are instructed to quarantine the symptomatic. They are to remain apart from the rest of society until their symptoms have ceased and they can be verified as no longer being a danger to the population. Then they are able to rejoin society. What are the instructions to the healthy? I can’t seem to find any restrictions placed upon them at all. And before anyone says that they didn’t know about COVID-19 back then, just remember who came up with the Law that was given to Moses in the first place. No virus has caught the God of the Universe off guard.

So if you are a church official pondering how to approach this subject, please consider what I have shared here. Your job is not to place a new sin burden upon others. Your job is to foster a community of grace filled people who can make up their own minds about how to proceed and who will live according to their conscience, all without binding the conscience of everyone around them with their opinions.

18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 

Matthew 16:18-19 ESV

Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.