"One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind." – Romans 14:5
I recently saw a number of articles that piqued my interest:
These and others are going on as if there is no COVID-19 coronavirus.
And then there is Andy Stanley, son of the famed Charles Stanley. Andy pastors a large church in the Atlanta, Georgia area. That church has decided to remain closed through the end of 2020.
A missionary noted to me that MacArthur is being praised by the church and vilified by the press, while Andy Stanley is being praised by the press and vilified by many within the greater Christian community.
But what does Paul say? Paul says it is a matter of opinion. There is no Bible verse that says, "In the event of a pandemic, here is what you should do…" In general we are to obey those in authority over us. All Christians agree on that. But the Fourth of July would be just another day on the calendar if it were not for the fact that some, long ago, said "Enough is enough." There were Christians colonists on both sides as to whether or not there should be an American Revolution. But today, even the strongest defenders of submission to authority tend to grill steaks on July 4, and they do so with a smile.
Back in early May, the elders at Burning Hearts unanimously voted to reopen Burning Hearts. We did so believing that 1) it was wrong for us to remain closed any longer, and 2) that we could do so in a way that should appeal to most of the church members. And now, come September 13, we plan to try and unite the two services into one. To date, some have still not returned to church. These people all know my thinking on the matter: I desire to see them at church, to enjoy the fellowship of others, to sing praises to God with the body, etc. But just as God will be the judge regarding John MacArthur and Andy Stanley, he will judge what is right for each individual.
Years from now we will be in a much better position to assess 2020 and the coronavirus. Did we take it too seriously or not seriously enough? Were masks effective or not? Were the lockdowns worth the financial loss? Did Burning Hearts open up too hastily or should we never have closed at all? I don’t believe any of us can rightly judge these questions at this time. A browsing of the internet reveals there is no unanimous consensus on almost anything pertaining to the virus.
So, live as you believe, under God, you should. And be willing to pay the consequences of your actions (John MacArthur and the church he pastors are supposedly being fined; Andy Stanley is facing grief from some of his own church members). In the end God will be the judge, and he will do right (Genesis 18:25c).