I have become distressed at the divisions within the Body of Christ over Covid-19.
Churches, and even Christian families, have split over issues such as obeying or defying the government's lockdown mandate, or getting vaccinated, or mask wearing in church, or singing or no singing.
It is awful, and it must grieve Jesus who prayed to His Father that we would live in complete unity and this can only be done through the love of God within us and our obedience to Him.
Once 'earthly' issues get prioritised over scripture the divisions arise.
First of all a helpful background to understand some difficult Bible verses that will be mentioned shortly.
In the days of the apostles Peter and Paul, the Roman empire was ruled by the infamous Emperor Nero.
This form of government was not a government that the people could vote in or out every four to five years as in the democratic west.
All too often the strongest tyrant could rise to the top and stay there until a stronger and more devious tyrant murdered his way to the throne. About 20 percent of Rome's 82 emperors were assassinated while in power.
The excellent film 'Gladiator' directed by Ridley Scott gives a good feel for the ways of Roman rule back in the day.
Even by Rome's standard, young Nero's rise to power was exceptionally murderous (click here for the details)
Despite his bloody ascension to power, his first five years of rule met with senatorial approval.
Astutely advised by his childhood tutor, the famous philosopher Seneca and by Burrus, the Prefect of the Praetorians, the young emperor showed an enlightened public face, declaring allegiances to the popular principles of Emperor Augustus, reprieving many from death sentences, abolishing oppressive taxes, distributing money to the common people and giving extra grain to the Praetorian guards.
He was excessively vain, and loved nothing more than to stage great spectacles where thousands of young men were paid to applaud him.
However, beneath his carefully nurtured public persona he had a vicious pastime which revealed his true character.
Along with a few of his cronies he would often roam the streets at night in many disguises beating up, and sometimes murdering completely innocent people.
To help date these events in your mind it might be helpful to know that Saul had his remarkable conversion on the road to Damascus some 25 years earlier, and now in the year 59/60AD he was about to embark on his fourth and final epic journey - his deporation from Jerusalem to Rome, where the young 23 year old Nero was steadily eroding the powers of the senate (Roman parliament) and centralising all power around himself.
Eventually the situation was arrived at where the Senate would simply pass whatever law Nero wanted.
Christians were terribly persecuted throughout the empire.
Then on the 18th or 19th of July 64AD, under a full moon, a fire broke out in the Roman circus in the middle of Rome.
Fanned by the wind it quickly spread throughout the city, and for 6 days it burned fiercely, destroying 10 of the 14 city regions.
Nero was in Antium when the fire started and then returned to direct the fire fighting, organising shelter for the homeless and distributing food and cheap corn.
But rumours began to circulate.
Rumours that claimed that he had ordered the fire and watched it from the Tower of Maecenas, singing his own aria to the sack of Troy.
Whether this was true or not is difficult to tell, but after the fire had done it's terrible work Nero delighted in restyling the city into a grander and more pleasing state with a rectangular street system and taller buildings, and finally building a palace of unparalled grandeur called his 'Domus Aureus'
There he established a statue of himself some 120 feet high. (Over 36 metres)
However the rumours that he had burnt the capital city down would not go away, so he looked for someone else to get the blame.
And who better than the Christians.
Despite his continual persecution, especially in Jerusalem, these peculiar people known as the Christians were increasing at a remarkable rate not only through the Roman empire but also in the capitol itself.
Paul was one of the people most responsible for the spread of this new faith. He had been kept under house arrest, out of harm's way up until the previous year, when according to Romans 15:24 he went to Spain.
However, when under Roman guard in house arrest he had been active in strengthening and building up this new faith. He had written powerful letters to the young churches at Ephesus, Colosse and probably to Phillipi in 64AD (He was imprisoned at Rome and at Ephesus)
He wrote his letter to the church at Rome in 60AD.
Another apostle, the man called Peter, had journeyed to Rome and had also strengthened the church there.
The Bible does not mention this fact but according to church tradition, Peter and Paul taught together in Rome and founded Christianity in that city. Eusebius cites Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth as saying, "They taught together in like manner in Italy, and suffered martyrdom at the same time."
And according to Origen (184–253) and Eusebius, Peter "after having first founded the church at Antioch, went away to Rome preaching the Gospel, and he also, after [presiding over] the church in Antioch, presided over that of Rome until his death".
His first letter (1 Peter) was written to the five Roman provinces also around 60AD.
These strange people who would not worship the twelve Roman gods nor participate in the raucous annual feast of Saturnalia on December 25th would be perfect scapegoats for the fire.
So just as Hitler turned on the Jews Nero turned on the Christians and accused them of starting the fire and then proceeded to hunt them down as an act of 'lawful retribution'
He had them slain in their tens of thousands. Had their property taken away from them. Had them thrown into jail and tortured.
The historian Tacitus described what followed.
As you will have gathered, under Nero it was not a great time to be a Christian.
Why do I give you this brutal background to the New Testament writings?
For a very important reason.
As I write this in mid-December 2021 the Covid-19 virus has been active worldwide for two years.
Finding themselves on new ground, Governments everywhere have being doing their utmost to try and confine, and then defeat the virus.
That is what they are meant to do.
To do nothing would be a serious dereliction of duty.
Wearing a mask, social distancing, lockdowns, working from home, furlough payments, testing centres, self testing kits, vaccinations, booster vaccinations, travel restrictions and pre-travel testing and Covid-19 passports have all been brought on to the battleground in an attempt to defeat this relentless enemy. Time will tell what they got right and what they got wrong.
The national economy suffered greatly. As did individual trades such as travel and hospitality.
The hospitals were completely unprepared for such a new and virulent virus and were quickly overwhelmed.
Temporary Nightingale hospitals were set up to cope with covid patients that hospitals had no room for. Temporary morgues were set up. In some places these were large refrigerated container lorries outside the hospital.
Professor Chris Whitty is Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, the UK government's Chief Medical Adviser and head of the public health profession. He wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that the NHS faces the “most dangerous situation in living memory”
In the UK - for several months after Covid -19 arrived - many of us stood outside our doorways on Thursday evenings to applaud and say thank-you to the overwhelmed National Health Service staff at the cutting edge in the war, especially in the intensive care units throughout the land.
The pandemic is coming in variants. First the Alpha, then the Delta variant, and now, as I write, the much more contagious - but thankfully less virulent - Omicrom variant.
Today as I write this first draft (December 29th 2021) the U.K has recorded 183,037 new infections, the highest number of infections within a 24 hour period. The total UK number to date is 11,500,000 infections and 147,000 deaths. France has also now hit a new record number (over 200,000) as has the USA, and Ireland. The world wide death toll is currently 5,458,297. Some non-western countries are doing immeasurably worse. In Peru for instance there are nearly 100,000 children referred to as 'Covid orphans'.
Multiple hospitals in the UK have declared critical incidents amid warnings that the NHS is 'in a state of crisis' with high levels of staff absence due to Covid-19, and also the non-Covid-19 cases piling up.
In other places, thousands of hospital patients have been discharged early to hotels or their own homes to free up beds for Covid-19 sufferers needing life-or-death care.
We have a moral responsibility to do our utmost to avoid adding to the already stressed and over-stretched hospital staff.
However, many of the negative responses to the governments' science-led response to the pandemic have been emotionally based rather than factually based. Two samples from good friends of mine. "I'm not letting them put 'that stuff' into my body" "I won't wear a mask. Dirty old things!"
While the vaccinations have not stopped the spread of Covid-19 as hoped, they have clearly done something else that is just as vital.
They have greatly reduced the virulent power of the virus.
It is easy to forget the distressing stories of individual sufferings due to Covid-19 before the vaccines took effect..
The BMJ (British Medical Journal) wrote,
The Guardian Newspaper wrote,
The Guardian Newspaper also reported,
Regarding deaths from the Covid-19 vaccine itself, the Office of National Statistics (UK) has two sets of statistics. The Yellow Card reporting scheme is where medics and the public can report the possibilty that a death may be linked to the vaccine itself. Between 9th December 2020 and 8th September 2021 there were 1,645 deaths reported on this scheme where the person died shortly after receiving one of the coronavirus vaccines. This is the number of deaths reported as possibly linked to a vaccine. However, they will not have been fully investigated at the time of reporting and a report is not proof of causation. So, the numbers are likely to be a big overestimate.The data on confirmed Covid-19 vaccine related deaths up to August 2021 gives us these details,
When these confirmed (and unconfirmed) deaths are set against the total number of vaccines given out in the UK between 8th December 2020 and 15th December 2021 we get a balanced picture.
To put these figures into perspective, according to recent data from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, you are three times more likely to get struck by lightning than die from a covid vaccine.
When these UK statistics are set against the vaccine's prevention of death from Covid-19 we get a balanced picture.
As with every medicine that our family doctors or hospital consultants prescribe there is always an accompanying leaflet letting us know what the common, less common, rare, very rare and sometimes the extremely rare side effects could be. Yet, - like taking a car journey or a flight - we understand the potential risks, and knowing the odds are greatly in our favour for good, we usually take the medicine.
Thus, the common to very rare side effects from Covid-19 vaccines are a known reality, and I sympathise with those whose fears prohibit them for taking the vaccine. This news-video helps put the serious side effects into perspective.
Due to the urgency of the situation, vaccines were rushed through without the - often years of - detailed testing in different age groups, in different underlying medical issues and in pregnacy etc, so it is understandable that genuine caution is there. No doubt time will reveal a variety of possible negative effects.
One anti-vaxx dad posted a video saying his son died from a "massive heart attack" after having a COVID vaccine, with the comment, "They have taken away our only son, we put our trust in the government to keep us safe and they killed my boy!" It was completely fake. A woman who filmed apparently empty corridors to try to show the coronavirus crisis is a hoax has been banned from hospitals. A video recorded an anti-vax man persuading a man seriously ill with Covid to leave the hospital. He told the man that he was "here to save your life" Doctors are heard in the background pleading with the man to stay, with a doctor saying to the patient "I won't lie to you, you could die, but your best chance is in here." The patient's family brought him back to the hospital two days later where he died. The man in question has been arrested.
However, now that many, many millions of vaccines have been administered to many millions of individuals, and now that two years of worldwide research is available, reliable medical evidence clearly shows that double (and triple) vaccinations greatly reduce symptoms and Covid-19 deaths - which in turn reduce the extreme pressure on the hospitals.
Long Covid illness is a terrible reality, both before and after the vaccinations were available. Figures now show that while the vaccine does not give immunity from long Covid, those vaccinated are less likely to suffer from this awful illness.
As a pro-life Christian (as all Christians should surely be in principle) I had to face up to the fact that while no aborted baby parts are used in any of the Covid-19 vaccines, the fetal cell lines (not fetal tissue) that were used in the Covid-19 vaccine research and development stages originally came from two elective abortions almost half a century ago. Those original fetal cells lines have been replicated in research labs many thousands of times over the past half century, negating any need to use new aborted fetal cells today. The best we can say is that these two abortions have saved the lives of an unknown multitude. However, if newly aborted babies were being used to produce the vaccine the situation would be spiritually untenable.
Conspiracy theories are rampant throughout the church.
We are called to be confidently watching for Jesus's triumphant return. (in short, we win!) - but satan keeps us fixated on the coming of 'his beast', which bears the cruel fruit of Christians scanning every twist and turn of the news with suspicion and fear. "This could be the start of it" "It's coming" "I think it will be here in the next twenty years"
Unfortunately this makes us susceptible to every conspiracy theory that appears, and this can cause discord and factions within the Body.
Over the years theories have regularly done the Christian rounds as to who this 'beast' might be, and which new technology might be the forrunner for the mark on our head and hand.
Jewish Nobel Peace prize Henry Kissinger (international peace making diplomat and Secretary of State under Presient Nixon and Gerald Ford) was rumoured to possibly be 'the man'. As was Nobel Peace prize winner Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev (who had a birth mark on his head and brought an end to the east-west cold war and unified Germany)
Even controversial South African evangelist Rodney Howard Browne because his three names all had six letters.
Bar Codes on products became a new possibility with claims that there are three sixes in every code stamped on every item we buy. (Not true)
As did microchips in pets.
Since 2014 approximately 6,000 people in Sweden (i.e less than 1000 per year average) have asked for one of their hands to be micro-chipped by companies Chipster and Epicenter, so that they can open their office doors and use the food/drink machines, plus not needing to carry their keys, ID cards, and even train tickets. However, once the original novelty wore off the annual number has been declining since 2016. Some have now asked for their vaccine passport to be added to their chip. There's enough there to fuel the theory for Christians that the beast of Revelation chapter thirteen is already knocking at our front door.
Here is a reality check from scripture.
There are nearly eight billion people on earth.
We are clearly a long way away from every person in every nation, great and small throughout the earth getting a mark on their head and hand under the deceptive submission to a great worldwide peacemaker who initially appears to be good, and then turns evil.
If we see fire coming down from heaven, and one man - who has gained authority over every inhabitant on earth - telling us that unless we get marked on the head and hand we will not be able to buy or sell, then we will have full Biblical clearance as one body to say no.
It will happen, because scripture cannot be broken, but it will happen in God's timing, not satan's timing.
Until then its another war against another common enemy.
In the common war against twenty-first century terrorism (especially since the USA's 9-11 in 2001 and England's 7-7 bombings in 2005) intelligence agencies such as Britain's GCHQ and America's NSA have aquired the capability of being able to store and rapidly sift through virtually every phone call, every text messages and all internet data looking for vital information that might detect and defeat future terrorist activity, whether state-sponsored or otherwise. We do not like this loss of privacy but without such thorough defence measures few of us would feel secure when we book our flights.
Likewise in the common war against crime, CCTV cameras now monitor us in the streets and in the stores. Road side cameras record and store our car journeys along most main roads. Our DNA records consistently provide the police with major breathroughs in detection and conviction which would have been impossible several decades ago.
As the world becomes a more dangerous place, these invasive measures will be permanent, and ever increasing defence measures.
C.S Lewis said, 'Freedom always comes with a price'.
Other measures are of a temporary nature. Harrowing at the time, but eventually disappearing down the time line.
I have lived in Northern Ireland exactly 74 years this month which means I lived through the terrible decades known as 'The Troubles' when over 3000 people died and many thousands more were injured by bomb brick or bullet.
These were long lasting and extraordinary circumstances, and the normal Police force was quickly overwhelmed, so reluctantly the British Government sent the army in to protect the public. This meant that in the common war against the violent terrorists (or freedom fighters to some) there were restrictions that affected our day to day freedom. Endless car stops and searches. No-go areas. Being frisked on entering the Belfast City centre and on entering every shop in the country. Every handbag and shopping bag opened for inspection. Some areas had regular house to house searches.
When peace finally came the army left, and normal life quickly returned.
We can be certain that in the common war against climate change, cyber warfare and possible further pandemics we will be faced with various temporary or permanent restrictions on our way of life.
We agree, and even insist, that the Government do all that it can to protect us, but each well intentioned level of protection comes at a cost to our day to day freedom.
In the democratic west we have the regular freedom to elect people to take responsibility for our governance. While no system can ever be declared perfect there is a healthy balance brought about by the collective power of debate by our elected representatives and by the pressure from the elected opposition parties. We also have a free press to hold our politicians to account. Within this cover we have the right to protest peacefully. As Christians we are not 'of the world' and must not conform to the world, but until death we are still in the world and must be salt and light in this fallen and broken world. We have the right (and the calling) to be vocal about injustice. And righteousness - which exalts a nation. About the mistreatment of 'the least of them'. About racism. About integrity. etc.
Here's the point.
What does God care about in this worldwide pandemic?
Is it medically advised vaccines, or the temporary wearing of masks or the temperorary lockdowns etc.
Or is it something deeper, more challenging?
In extraordinary circumstances temporary laws often have to be taken to combat the extraordinary circumstances, and here one Christian's idea of defence can be another Christians's idea of offence.
Experience shows that pandemics - historically not uncommon - were harrowing at the time, but eventually they disappeared down the time-line and into the history books.
In a national emergency such as this we can so easily limit our decisions into a tight circle of ourselves alone, and spiritualise it.
"Am I my brother's keeper?" Cain said to the Lord.
In the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus showed us that we have a moral responsibility for our neighbour's welfare.
A teacher of the law had just asked Jesus “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” to which He replied,
Then He added something that challenges us in times like these,
We need to keep this in mind.
For instance, if I refuse to take the medical authority's fully approved vaccine and then become hospitalised through the Covid-19 virus, will my actions place a further burden upon the already stretched and stressed hospital staff?
Christian broadcaster Rick Wiles said he believes vaccines are used to 'commit genocide'. He said vaccines would wipe out "stupid people" He said he would never get vaccinated. He caught Covid-19 and ended up in hospital where he had to be given oxygen.
Running along-side the pan-demic is a viral info-demic. Despite every government diligently enquiring of their most accomplished medical and scientific advisors and reaching the same conclusions, we find that rather than this fact giving reassurance, it is positioned by conspiracy theorists as proof of an international conspiracy.
A Swansea cinema owner defied the lockdown to show a film directed by David Icke's son accusing NHS doctors and nurses of deliberately killing elderly people in hospitals in order to "boost the numbers" of people dying of Covid-19. The cinema's media spokeswoman said that Covid-19 is caused by 5G phone signals, and that vaccines have caused more deaths than the virus, and that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is responsible for murder due to "deaths caused by the vaccines". She also said that if parents allowed their children to be vaccinated then "you don't deserve your children"
Which brings us back to Covid-19 and the divisions within the Body of Christ.
Sadly, having to wear a mask or provide proof of vaccination to engage in non-essential activities has been likened to the Nazi's putting stars on the Jews to mark them out.
Likewise, likening NHS staff to the Nazi's (like Dr. Mengele) doing cruel medical experiments on the Jews.
I would love to say that no Christians have agreed with this analogy, but I can't.
The Jews were marked out for deporation to the gas chambers. Not having proof of vaccination might temporarily keep you out of non-essential crowd events such as a night club, cinema or a restaurant until the virus is defeated.
One angry anti-vax Christian questioned another Christian's salvation because of their conventional stance on masks, vaccines and lockdown.
Another Christian was certain that the government was putting the virus into the testing kits so that people would get Covid-19.
Another Christian refused to attend their requested prayer ministry appointment because they passionately disagreed with being asked to wear a mask in the host's private home where the wife was going to hospital the next morning for surgery. Even when offered a larger venue where no masks would be required they angrily refused that as well, so incensed were they at having been even asked to wear a mask in the first place.
Whatever our stance is on these issues the point is that we must not give it carnal authority to divide the Body of Christ.
If you believe that the Holy Spirit has given you a personal rhema word to 'go against the flow', then by His Spirit at work within you, your behaviour should (super)naturally manifest grace, and not carnally cause dis-unity.
However the verses that immediately precede this speak of the fruit of self seeking, soulish carnality.
Some Christians say that they won't get vaccinated because they trust God. (implication: others do not) Yet they lock their doors at night. And their cars. Take out home insurance. (etc)
King David trusted God completely. Yet when he captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites, he built stronger walls and added additional walls to fortify the city. Solomon later added additional walls.
Because instinctively we (should) know we would be presuming on Him by willfully ignoring available earthly protective measures.
The best known Christian anti-Covid-19 vaccination spokesman was Marcus Lamb, the founder of Daystar Ministries which has an estimated 2 billion viewers spread over 74 countries. He claimed that the vaccine was 'a sin against Holy God' He hosted other outspoken critics and spread much medical disinformation. Sadly he died at age 64 from Covid-19. Other known American anti-vaxxers such as conservative radio hosts Dick Farrell, Phil Valentine, and Marc Bernier also died due to Covid-19.
I imagine a world war two scene in a UK town or city. Everyone has their black-out-blinds pulled down in the evening as the government requests. Except for your neighbour. He is trusting God that his house will not be hit. "Am I my brother's keeper?"
Despite vaccines sucessfully helping to protect us all from smallpox, tuberulosis, polio, reubella, measles and many other once common virulent diseases there is a constant history of anti-vax protests. It makes for interesting reading.
Smallpox was a highly contagious, fever-inducing illness, infamous for causing a severe rash on the face and arms that often left survivors scarred for life. It only affected humans and is thought to have killed more than 300 million people and was fatal in 30% of cases. In 1901, the City of Boston registered 1,596 smallpox cases with 270 deaths. Boston and neighbouring Cambridge boards of health then ordered all their residents to be vaccinated. If someone refused to get vaccinated there was a $5 fine (about $150 in today's value) Some refused to get vaccinated and a Pastor took his anti-vaccine crusade all the way to the Supreme Court. Anti-vaccination groups alleged cases of death and deformity from bad reactions to the vaccine, calling it 'the greatest crime of the age, and that it 'slaughters tens of thousands of innocent children'.
Some Christians will just 'not be told' what to do by the legitimate authority.
They feel that the temporary conditions being imposed are oppressive.
But here's the point.
In New Testament days the government dictates were permanently oppressive to Christians.
Thousands of Christians in the early church were thrown to the lions, were crucified or fled in substantial numbers to safer places.
The apostle Peter wrote his letter to the believers who had fled the city of Rome to the Roman provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia (now Turkey) and Bithynia.
His letter was written mostly to Jewish believers but also to the growing number of gentile believers.
He could have told them never to submit to the government, and who studying history afterwards could have blamed him?
Such a reaction would be a 'natural' responce. At least it would be to me!
He could have told them it was God's will to rebel against their authority and perhaps to take up the sword as Peter did.
The Jews were always doing that against the Romans, and though they rarely won, history applauded them.
Zealots in Christ's day were - and I quote from a Bible dictionary - 'the party of political resistance to Herod and the Romans. Their fervent nationalism led to frequent uprisings'
In fact two years later the Jews rose up agan in rebellion against the Romans and were defeated again.
He could have told them all that and much, much more, but it was the Holy Spirit speaking through him to God's elect. Therfore to us.
1 Peter 2:11-17
Pontius Pilate said to Jesus, "Don't you realise I have power over you" to which Jesus replied, "You would have no power over me if it was not given to you from above" (John 19:10-11
In Acts 23:1-5 we read of where Ananias ordered Paul to be struck on the mouth, to which Paul responded with a measure of disrespect. When he was told that he had 'reviled God's High Priest' he said, (quoting from Exodus 22:28 )
In Jesus's day tax collectors were despised by the people. However, they were authorised by the Roman government to collect the taxes so when challenged on the issue by Pharisees Jesus told His listeners to pay their taxes and thus 'render unto to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21)
Peter was eventually crucified (upside down as he chose) in Rome, under Nero.
Paul was beheaded in Rome, under Nero.
Paul under the influence of the Holy Spirit wrote a similar message to the church at Rome.
In the same vein, Paul wrote to Timothy saying,
This wars against every unsubmitted part of us, but this is our 'rendering unto Caesar'.
But what about Daniel in the Old Testament?
Didn't Daniel (re-named Belteshazzar) and his three fellow Israelites Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (re-named Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) refuse to eat the King's delicacies and wine when they were being trained for future royal service to the Babylonian King? (Chapter 1)
Yes they did, because although they were captives in Babylon and were given new names linked to Bablyonian gods, they were still Israelites. and the King's meats would almost certainly include ceremonially unclean animals not slaughtered nor prepared according to the regulations of the law, and almost certainly the first portion would have been offered to idols, and likewise a portion of the wine would have been poured out upon a pagan altar. (NIV Bible commentary)
What about Daniel's fellow Israelites Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they refused to obey King Nebuchadnezzar as recorded in the book of Daniel? (Chapter 3)
'Nations and peoples of every language' were commanded to fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and despite these Israelites being given Babylonian names they refused - on pain of death - to worship the image. Daniel chapter 3 tells us that King Nebuchadnezzar was told, ''They (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up”, wheropon Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into the furnace.
Didn't Daniel refuse to obey King Darius? (Chapter 6)
Yes he did.
The other Babylonian governors plotted aginst him and persuaded King Darius to 'establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions' We know that miraculously Daniel was unharmed resulting in King Darius publicily honoring Daniel's God.
Nothing in these events can be remotely connected to defying a government which is trying its best to protect all it's people from a worldwide 'plague'. Yet Daniel and friends defying the King has been used many times by Christian anti-vaxxers as a scriptural excuse to ignore what Apostles Peter and Paul told the presecuted church.
I recommend John Bevere's book, 'Under cover' [short sample] which wisely speaks into our duty of obedience to authorities.
But don't go away just yet.
There are things that eminate from the governing authorities that as Christians we have Biblical mandate not to submit to, and this is our rendering unto God the things that are God's.
We should submit to the authorities (government, police, tax authorities, etc ) unless what they are telling us to accept is clearly sinful (contra-biblical)
Thus, no matter how strongly they justify their contra-biblical laws we must never bow the knee and renounce Christ and His Kingdom commands.
While many christians have been vocal about refusing to obey some or all of the Government's Covid-19 rules and plans, the voices are not so public and vigorous on the contra-biblical and immoral issues that the government is insisting we accept - and therfore desist from being vocal on our Biblical views.
The other editorials on this web site - listed at the top of this page - speak into many of these contra-Kingdom issues.
Our children and grandchildren being taught that these things are normal and natural.
Banning prayer for people who desperately want help for their unwanted sexual attractions.
Arresting gospel preachers in the streets.
Many Christians who have quitely stood for Biblical truth in their workplace on these contra-biblical issues have lost their jobs and been publicly 'shamed' with the pressure causing some to finally bend the knee to the secular pressure and apologise. Sadly there has been no noticeable Christian outcry on their behalf. I am thankful for the ministry of Christian Concern in these matters.
Despite the terrible persecution that the New Testament writings are set against, there is not a single sentence focusing Christians on rebellious push back against the Roman authorities.
Instead, it continually focuses on the eternal spiritual war, telling us that the push back is against the false teachers and false prophets who were 'wolves in sheeps clothing' (Matthew 7:15)
Authorities come and go.
The Word of God stands forever, and we are called to be witnesses to that.
Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away" (Matthew 24:35)
Here's the real battlefield that we are on today.
Wolves dressed in in sheep's clothing are very active within the church, compromising the Word of God and causing great confusion and division within the flock.
Kingdom moral issues that historically united Christians are now dividing them. Never from pressure applied historically from scripture, but from the relentless pressure from the spirit of the age to conform to his anti-christ agenda. Without persevering Christian pushback these contra-biblical media driven agendas have quietly soaked into many a believer's worldview.
For example, God's view on men having sex with men is clear in both the Old and New Testaments.
Yet Pew research in the USA states,
The Scottish Episcopol Church also came into agreement with the contra-biblical view of sexuality.
The Church of Scotland allows Ministers and Deacons to marry same sex couples and is close to expanding on this.
The Church of England appear to be paving the way to approve of gay marriage.
The Church in Wales will now bless same sex marriages.
For many Christian fellowships there is just silence on these issues.
I like the writings of that great man of God A.W.Tozer. Here is an short extract from his editorial entitled 'We need men of God again'
This is where the battle is raging, and the red triangles are where our voices should be. Each of these issues have slowly but surely gained an authority in many Christian worldviews, and always at the cost of Biblical worldview.
Elizabeth Rundle Charles (1828-1896) said
"If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point"
This virus and all attached trappings will probably be defeated, or diminish from pandemic to endemic, similar to the annual influensa
The issues immediately above however, will relentlessly continue to gain ground.
Beloved, don't let the spirit of the age distract you.
Let us remember our high calling.
During his first imprisonment in Rome the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write these words to the Colossian church.
We dearly want to hear these words one day,
"Well done, good and faithful servant"
United Kingdom update: March 2022
Masks no longer manatory (Except in health and social scare settings) Covid passports no longer required for night clubs, restaurants etc. People with symptons no longer need to test (though advised to stay at home) Test sites closed and contact-tracing ended.