How can Scripture guide the believer, congregation, and church leaders through the COVID-19 pandemic?
Nearly one year into the Coronavirus pandemic and the Church seems more fractured than ever. Vitriolic rhetoric amongst believers has become the new norm. Purporting Christian liberty, some have taken a stand against governing authorities, while maligning societal convictions on health and safety. With this vocal minority gaining momentum in Christo-American culture, its difficult to remain unaffected, silent, and neutral.
I myself have faced persecution from fellow believers, simply for following COVID guidelines. I’ve been crushed by church leaders, mentors, and professors who suggest mask wearing is tantamount to ignorant compliance to an oppressive system. I’ve lost friendships, merely because of my desire to obey Scripture – to love others, submit to governing authorities, and obey my church elders. To say this pandemic has unalterably affected my future would not be an overstatement. The Lord has allowed me to experience these trials, so that I myself might humbly treat others with greater respect and dignity. That I would respect the convictions of others and resolve to never put a stumbling block in the way of a brother or sister. And to take seriously my Christian witness amongst a world that is beginning to associate Christ with conspiracy, rebellion, science denial, and inhumanity.
In upcoming posts, I will provide biblical insight into the church’s role in a global pandemic. Key to this analysis will be a systematic observation of scriptural principles, reaching beyond arguments for Christian freedom. Several facets of church praxis will be considered:
- Is the Church’s gospel witness marred by rebellion against governing authorities?
- How does the church best care for her neighbors and the flock?
- What is the root and solution to infighting over COVID regulations and guidelines?
- Does Christian freedom and liberty inform our response to social distancing/mask mandates?
- What is the pastor’s role in addressing COVID-19? Is a church leader qualified to downplay or deny the Pandemic?
- How can Gospel unity be achieved between the libertines and the subservients?
In examining the church and COVID-19, I will offer my own experience with libertine philosophy and praxis – namely at Grace Community Church and the Master’s Seminary – in contrast with the subservience of my home church, Cornerstone Moorpark. I hope to shine light on this dilemma of divergent convictions faced by many students, congregations, and families.