Very little has disturbed me as a minister of Jesus Christ, more than what was willingly done by many pastors, and Christian leaders of Christian denominations all over the United States when we were told to protect public health, we must close our church buildings to public worship. All over our nation, churches closed by the thousands and the sound of emptiness was heard as Houses of Worship were abandoned for computer screens. Today, over four months after the initial request by the President, a large percentage of Churches all over the United States remain closed. Some will never again open their doors. Others are attempting to do so but have been attacked with threats of incarceration and extraordinarily high fines to be levelled against them if they dare to open. The willingness of a very large part of the Christian Church in unscripturally shutting their doors has struck my heart like nothing has in years. One of the things that Christian defenders of the “shut down” have forgotten is that true, Biblical, foundational Christianity is social. For two thousand years Christians have met together to worship the One True God because He commanded it (and no matter who tells you differently, it isn’t just commanded in Hebrews 10:25! I have previously given several passages where God commands certain places and a certain type of worship. There are numerous others references where public worship is simply expected, though not commanded. But if that were the only place, would that not be enough?) and we need it! Try as we might to convince ourselves things such as these work, a short text or sweet email, meeting on “ZOOM,” or even a lengthy phone call does not fulfill the need we have for personal face to face communication with our brothers in Christ! We cannot exhort one another, or as Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” if we are not with each other! Truth be told, had our government leadership given us a specific time table – let’s say a month – for us to refrain from public worship, I would still have refused, but I would have seriously considered their request. Instead, there was no time frame, the facts about the virus changed daily, and, months after the “shut down,” we have learned the virus was spread mostly in homes where we were ordered to “shelter in place!” Churches closed, people have been terrorized and the work of the Gospel has been greatly hindered because we believed a collection of lies. And what were those lies? Covid-19 virus is unlike anything ever seen and 2.2 million people in the United states alone would die of it. Public worship, especially singing, will spread the virus exponentially. There are essential and nonessential people. Public worship is nonessential. And the list goes on. Truthfully public Christian worship was declared nonessential a long time ago when we Christians decided other scheduled activities were more important than Church service. Children’s sports top the list. It is more important for our children to throw, catch or run a ball, than it is to teach them there is a God Who is worthy of our worship and Who should be righteously feared. It seems we are no longer afraid of God just a virus. It seems we have surrendered. I hope I am wrong.
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