If you’ve previously read my posts ‘…more than conquerors …’ and ‘A Proverbial Spider’, you will have already realised that I have long held doubts about the veracity of the whole ‘coronavirus pandemic’ story. A story that we have been fed ad nauseam for over eight tedious months.
My views of both aren’t necessarily important right now, and my own interpretations are not really relevant to the issues I’m about to cover. Whatever our understanding of 2020’s global phenomena may be, we have all been affected and our lives seriously disrupted.
Many people have lost their livelihoods as a consequence of the autocratic ‘pandemic’ precautions taken worldwide. Additionally, whilst many have lost their lives as a direct result of a virus – the source of which is not yet clear – a staggering number of lives have also been lost due directly to the draconian measures taken by governments around the world.
But, enough on that. Books may be written for decades to come, analysing and dissecting the minutiae of these events. My six-pennyworth is neither necessary nor useful here.
Instead, I simply wish to explain why I wasn’t among the small congregation earlier today when my church opened its doors for the first time in over five months.
I knew that when our church reopened, it was to be in full compliance with ‘Guidelines for the Safe Use of Places of Worship During the Pandemic’ issued by the UK government.
Some may consider that our church has no choice in the matter but to obey these parliamentary directives. But there lies the crux of the problem. When official, secular rulings conflict with God’s directives, who should we obey?
For me, the choice was simple, albeit painful. And that is why I have not attended church.
There are those in the church who direct my attention to the book of Romans:
‘Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.’Romans 13:1
I can say, hand on heart, that I have been a law-abiding citizen for all of my sixty-two years. However, when rulings issued by our ‘governing authority’ contradict those of God, there can only be one outcome. This point is illustrated in the Book of Acts, chapter five, verses twenty-six to twenty-nine.
‘But Peter and the other apostles answered them and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men”’Acts 5:29
So what are those problem areas that so prevented me from joining with fellow Christians in worship today?
For ease of explanation I will quote a sample of those instructions issued by the church, beginning with the obscene masks:
- Face coverings are mandatory for places of worship – except for those who are leading services or events in a place of worship, and those who assist them, (or unless you are exempt) [sic].
When God breathed that initial breath of life into man – as described in the first book of the bible – it wasn’t through a cloth face covering. There was no intervening fabric reducing or befouling man’s first lungful of air. It was a breath of life, God-given – as each one should be.
In addition, the Book of Deuteronomy includes the following instruction:
‘You shall not muzzle an ox when he treads out the grain.’Deuteronomy 24:4
Interestingly, and as a direct consequence of this law, this humane practice continues in parts of Syria, where oxen are permitted to tread the grain, unmuzzled. Furthermore, in his first letter to Timothy, apostle Paul applied this verse in reference to the fair treatment of:
‘… those who labour in the word and doctrine …’.
To continue, in full compliance with government, today’s church also forbids close contact between worshipers:
- Do not shake hands, hug or lay hands on anyone.
- Observe social distancing within the building.
There are two issues with this. The first is what has been shamefully termed ‘social distancing’. Such an instruction ought to be anathematic to all Christians. God, through Paul’s first letter to Peter, provides a clear instruction on how we must greet one another:
‘Greet one another with a kiss of holy love.’1 Peter 5:14
How on earth are we to do this while six feet apart? Furthermore, in his first letter to Timothy, Paul also wrote:
‘Do not neglect the gift in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the body of elders.’1 Timothy 4:14
Once again, how can we administer such aid to those in need whilst maintaining obedience to government? We can’t.
As if these ordinances weren’t enough, Christians are no longer permitted to express their joy in open worship:
- There will be no singing by the congregation, or raised voices.
This appalling rule, given to appease authors of a political decree, flies in the face of numerous contrary edicts we’ve clearly been given by God in His Word. Such as:
‘Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.’Psalm 100:2
‘… be filled with the spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.’Ephesians 5:19
‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom, reaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.’Colossians 3:16
There are no ambiguities in the Word of God. His instructions are clear.
To contravene the ‘guidelines’ of a profane government may solicit an unfavourable response. Disobeying God, however, will have way more serious ramifications. This was something Adam and Eve discovered right at the start, to the detriment of all mankind.
As a footnote, I’ll add one further prompt that appears on my church’s ‘Covid-19 Guidelines’.
Whilst those directives shown above reflect church’s willingness to place government policy above scripture, there is one biblical component they do wish to uphold – tithes and offerings:
- We have appreciated most people have been able to give their Tithes & Offerings online, and we would encourage this as much as possible. If this is difficult for you there will be a marked box that you can use as you exit the building.
I was sorry to miss today’s meeting, and my decision has caused me some considerable distress over recent days. However, as with the story of ‘The Emperors New Clothes’, I consider that vital truths have been laid bare here, and this church is one to which I will not return.