God’s Sovereignty and Disease
Notwithstanding questionable fiscal decisions and political haymaking, COVID-19 kills a lot of people and social distancing does keep it from spreading. Do you think that God’s sovereignty means that we don’t need to take precautions to minimize health hazards or do you think there is a conspiracy to make it sound much worse than it really is?
Chris, first, I don’t believe that faith in God’s sovereignty should serve as an excuse for not taking reasonable precautions. But I do believe that faith in His sovereignty should prevent us from being chased through fear into unreasonable precautions. I believe that reasonable precautions, like not moving COVID patients into New York rest homes would have saved a lot of lives.
Dear Parson Wilson, Here in Pennsylvania some of us freedom loving Believers are having a hard time of it. Our Governor has extended our “State of Emergency” and our constitution does not have provision for him to be challenged. Our General Assembly voted on a resolution to end the State of Emergency citing a similar action taken in the 1980s by the legislature against the executive and a PA Supreme Court Case from April 13th as their standing for voting the madness to end. The Governor challenged this, of course, and said he deserves the right to veto it (even thought it was technically legislation) and so the Supreme Court took up the case. Yesterday the Supreme Court decided that the Governor wins and the legislature does not have a “legislative veto”. The Tranny Health Department Director Immediately released an order to mandate masks. Prior to this it was a suggestion for citizens and an order for private businesses. Now it is an order for all to wear anywhere I may be six feet from someone in public.
Our church governing board has been split on this issue from the beginning. Claiming that wearing masks is a loving thing and they be sure to wear one anytime they are engaging with someone wearing one at church. I do think that follows 1 Cor. 8 and Rom. 14 but at church. But how do we think and live about this now? Our constitution does not allow for this kind of tyranny but the supreme court upholds that it does. What is a good, God-fearing citizen to do?
How should we interact with those that will wear masks for the sake of “testimony” to the world in our church?
How should our church board react? Shouldn’t the church be publicly teaching and training the magistrate? Publicly posting doctrines of church and state and decrying tyranny? Because we are not.
Our General Assembly are calling for their people to disregard because its all unconstitutional but our county is being weak about masking up. Not sure if our doctrine of lesser magistrates comes into play unless our sheriff is willing to man up.
Jed, I would take an inventory of all the ways you could possibly and reasonably refuse to comply, and then I would start refusing. Put another way, I would start pushing it.
Marxism in Black Face
You had me at “beating the commies like a rented mule”.
Thanks for the clear thinking and writing. My pastor recently preached a sermon about the “sin of racism” and used the book White Guilt as a framing device if you will. It was saturated with social justice jargon and light on biblical exposition. My wife and I were shocked.
Our pastor is the Vice President of a local clergy association which includes Roman Catholic priests, Episcopalian priests, and a lady pastor of a United Congregational Church, among other Baptists. They do events in the community together regularly. I’ve recently become very concerned about this because of his most recent sermon. Is his involvement with that association a violation of 2 Corinthians 6:14-15? It seems pretty clear cut to me. My wife and I are sadly considering leaving our church. I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.
Ryan, the ministerial association may not be where your pastor is picking this up, although it seems likely. What I would do is arrange a meeting to ask questions about the sermon. If he is going woke, and if he won’t reconsider, it is time to find a more faithful church.
“. . . praying that God would raise up a generation of preachers who, like Knox, do not fear the face of any man. We need our seminaries to stop graduating such likeable lick-spittles. This means hot gospel, aimed directly at the actual sins that the people and our leaders are actually committing.”
Yes, I am quite tired of jellyfish-spined “men” occupying pulpits who are themselves more occupied with the fear of man. I believe one of the current buzz-phrases is “trying to understand both sides of the issue”. . . ? Of course, it’s all rationalized away with terms like “grace,” “gentleness,” etc.
Question is, what do I, as a faithful, pew-sitting congregant, do about it? What can I do about it? If all of Scripture really is profitable to make me complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work, what are my options to be like Phinehas (Num. 25)? From my vantage point, it seems that the options are limited.
Guymon, what it boils down to is this. Resist those within your circles who are going woke, and support those who are standing firm.
Doug, you remind me of the old joke about the pastor who was such a partisan that one day one of his elders said to him, “You are so partisan that you’d probably vote for Satan himself if he ran as a Republican.” To which the pastor responded, “Well, not in the primary I wouldn’t.” The left doesn’t accept election returns? You mean like during the Obama years when you actively urged Republicans to obstruct, obstruct, obstruct? Pretty much like what Democrats are now doing to Trump; the only thing that’s changed is which party is at the receiving end of it.
And if you want to be overtly partisan and just say you like obstructionism when your side does it but not when the other side does it, just because you like the results, fine, feel free to says so. Just don’t make any claims about having the moral high ground.
Mike, when the opposition party is in the minority, their job is to oppose. That is what they do. They vote against things they disagree with. That is different, I would suggest mildly, than fomenting riots.
If that’s the way Moscow’s city officials think, why would there be a refugee column headed there? It sure doesn’t sound any better than, say, Indianapolis, which has lost its mind.
Stuart, good question. Yes, our local city council is filled with over-reaching panic-mongers. But there is a large community of Christians here who are in a position to stand together against it. That is an improvement for people who are isolated and alone.
Dear Pastor of the Dark Stream (Douglas), As is commonly expressed in these letters to the editor, you communicate with an unabashed outspokenness against our septic culture’s downward flow, an outspokenness I have yet to see paralleled by any in the Protestant Christian community of our day. So many of who I perceive to be the evangelical leadership in America have succumbed to the gentle-Jesus-meek-and-mild notion which has paralyzed the church at least since Machen’s day when he wrote Christianity and Liberalism.
My question is this: Can you provide a brief list of historical Christian leaders, to whom you look for inspiration, who have taken a similarly resolute stance against the prevailing culture when the rest of the church was punctiliously silent?
Pete, you mentioned Machen, who is the great modern example. In the nineteenth century, I would point to Spurgeon for his theological resistance to “downgrade,” and to Chesterton for his cultural resistance.
Could you please comment on the difference between Christians fighting for the lives of the unborn and Christians fighting for equal treatment of blacks in America? I’ve been talking with a black brother in my congregation, and this is frequently one of his criticisms of evangelicals. He’ll say that when it comes to racism we say just preach the gospel. But when it comes to abortion, we’ll join protests, we’ll advocate for legislation, etc. Thank you so much for your ministry.
Nick, here is the difference, and it is not a subtle one. We don’t have any laws against murdering the unborn, and so we need some laws against that slaughter. We advocate for legal reform because legal reform is what is needed. But when it comes to the laws requiring equal treatment of blacks and whites, we already have the laws. We don’t need to urge the passage of a law because such laws (however poorly written) are already on the books. So the problems that remain are heart problems, sin problems, which can only be addressed with gospel.
Some Books of Mine
My wife and I just finished reading Andrew and the Firedrake with our five-year-old daughter. We greatly enjoyed reading it with her at night. It seems like from the content of the story (Kyru’s comment about Andrew returning because he left in obedience) that another book at least is intended. I am curious if you are working on the next book for Andrew and if there is an intended release date? This is our first book that we have read of yours, and look forward to reading more!
I grew up reading C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, and even had the opportunity to take courses on them during undergraduate and master’s school, so I appreciated your references to them in Andrew and the Firedrake.
Thank you for your time, blessings,
Austin, thanks for the comments. I left room for another book in that series, just in case, but am not currently working on a sequel. Here is a link for those interested.
Happy Fourth of July!
Just a quick note after finishing your book, Back & Tan — thank you. This spring, I started reading your books on education as I prepared for my coming transition out of the Army and accepted a position at a Classical Christian school. In addition to appreciating your style, humor, and – most importantly- innumerable, Scripture-supported points, what struck and turned me around the most (after four years of coursework to earn a degree in education) was your highlighting that a so-called neutral position cannot exist when instructing our children. Accepting this simple yet impactful point provides a solution and way forward for us, as the so-called experts – several of whom I studied under – agonize over the latest questions and progress toward nowhere. This perspective was not only an eye-opener for me in the context of school, but in that of culture as well.
In light of recent events and because of a general interest in history (and so, also appreciating your description of the uncertified generalist), I chose Black and Tan as my first foray into your non-education related – at least not specifically – books and was not disappointed. As the Intoleristas and Marxists may be too far gone, my only regret is that I cannot force many of those who are ostensibly on our side to take the book up . . . I can certainly do my part to spread the word though.
Thomas, thanks so much. I wish more folks were as open-minded. Here is a link for those interested.