During this COVID-19 situation, I have watched and listened as several pastors have complained about the social distancing situation, limitations on their ability to hold services; and in general, how they felt persecuted and how their rights are being trampled. It dawned on me many have no idea about church history and they seem to have decided to ignore the very Bible they profess to preach from.
Let’s talk a little about church history. Not the history of their particular group or even their denomination, about actual factual church history that spans over 2,000 years. While I feel fairly confident that a large percentage of seminaries teach church history, I doubt if there was or is much emphasis. After all, it is more important to teach denominational theology than the trials and tribulations of the early church leaders and what can be learned from them. Few ministers emulate the actions of the early church fathers, few seem to spend the majority of their time reaching out to those unsaved or unconverted and instead spend their time trying to build little earthly empires. Christianity started as a sect of Judaism, the leaders had no power, no glory, in fact they all faced persecution. Eventually through the efforts of the Apostle Paul, the sect became a separate religion, with its own theology and structure, but again with no power, no glory, and still facing persecution. Between the years, AD 50 and AD 312 there were at least 10 major persecutions where Christians faced martyrdom. Eventually though after Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, those persecutions stopped, (although there were still ongoing persecutions in other parts of the world). However, it was at this time that the “church” became a vessel of the world and not of the word, and became obsessed with worldly power. That obsession has never been more evident that it is today and it is displayed in the response to the COVID-19 situation; especially when ministers ignore the words in Romans 13:1 that we are to be subject to government.
“13 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” Those words are clear and concise, and in essence what Jesus taught when He said “to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” Matthew 22:21. If ministers truly believe that the United States was founded under Christian principles, then there should be no issue following those commands. We are asked to minimize the amount of time and the number of people we meet; those ministers who defy those requests, because they believe they are above the law are walking a dangerous line. Especially when so many other methods can be used to spread His words. We are not told obey any draconian laws much like those in China, in fact we are simply asked to help with a health crisis. If these leaders do not loosen the controls then it will be the right of the people to elect new leaders who will, we have to obey now and trust in God for the future. Our church history is proof that strategy works.