In March 2020, church leaders shut their doors and went online due to the government imposed lockdowns and the announcement of the Covid 19 outbreak. The leaders who made this decision acted in good faith and their compliance was based on the limited information that they received from the government. They had received an alert about the dangers and exponential spread of a new deadly virus. John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in California, made a public statement explaining why they complied initially:
…because we could not possibly have known the true severity of the virus, and because we care about people as our Lord did, we believe guarding public health against serious contagions is a rightful function of Christians as well as civil government. Therefore, we voluntarily followed the initial recommendations of our government. It is, of course, legitimate for Christians to abstain from the assembly of saints temporarily in the face of illness or an imminent threat to public health.Grace Community Church
I agree with MacArthur’s assessment here. However, as time went on it became clear that the government had lied to the public about the severity of the virus and it also became clear that there was no end in sight for the restrictions. MacArthur stated that these restrictions had caused unnecessary and unjust sufferings and therefore he defied the lockdown orders and re-opened his church. Many church members and leaders disagreed with MacArthur on this. Peter Masters of the London based Metropolitan Tabernacle expressed why he disagreed:
Other interests have also had a rougher ride than the churches. The government recently let it be known that if the resumption of education leads to a ‘spike’ in Covid-19, the pubs and bars would have to close again to rebalance the fight against the virus. There was no mention (at this stage) of the churches being closed also. There does not appear to be unfair action toward churches and the proclamation of the Gospel…
As Christians we are subject to speed limits, building restrictions, and even emergency lockdowns just like the rest of society. We thank God there are alternative ways of proclaiming the Word and ministering to individual people in the short term.
If coronavirus restrictions become unreasonable, or too long, or unequal, that would be the time to protest. As things stand, churches do not want to behave as a spoilt community.Should Churches comply with government instructions about Coronavirus? (Source)
Masters makes some good points here and Christians should not see the lockdowns and shutdowns as persecution against Christians. Pubs and schools have suffered also. But it is the last sentence that I want to focus on: The Coronavirus restrictions, in my opinion, actually did go on too long and they actually were unreasonable. In my opinion, they caused far more damage than they prevented and I will elaborate on that. It is not my purpose in this article to speculate about the motives of government officials in imposing the restrictions. They could have been sincerely misguided, careless and negligent or deliberately malicious and wicked. I will express my own views on that in another essay but for now, take your pick. In this article I want to focus on the effects of these restrictions and the effects of Christians and churches complying with them.
Love Your Neighbour As Yourself: I have heard this command being quoted to promote masks and vaccines but this is twisting the commandment. This command is, as Pastor Matt Trewhella calls it, “multi-dimensional.” It cannot be reduced to “one size fits all.” People have suffered a severe impact on their mental health due to loneliness and isolation. Many others have suffered financial hardship due to losing their jobs or businesses. The church as a duty of care to these brothers and sisters. The command to love your neighbour as yourself is the goal and summary of the law (Romans 13:8) and it is the command by which all other commands are to be interpreted and applied. Yes it means protecting people from a plague but it also means protecting people from psychological torture and financial devastation. We need to use common sense here.
Grief and Loss: People have said to me “I know someone who died of Covid” and “If you knew died of Covid…” This is tragic and I have sympathy for their loss. But we need some perspective here: All deaths are tragic especially to their loved ones. People die in car accidents but their families do not call for everyone to stop driving cars and expect economies to collapse. People die of the flu but I hear no calls for testing and lockdowns over that. People have also died as a result of the lockdowns and also after getting the Covid injections – why do these victims and their families not get the same sympathy? This is a violation of the law of Christ which condemns showing favouritism (James 2).
The Myth of Asymptomatic Spread: Asymptomatic spread does not exist. There are many articles on this including Technocracy News and RT). The projected spread was forecast by Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London who has an appalling track record of false doomsday predictions. According to the Spectator:
In 2005, Ferguson said that up to 200 million people could be killed from bird flu. He told the Guardian that ‘around 40 million people died in 1918 Spanish flu outbreak… There are six times more people on the planet now so you could scale it up to around 200 million people probably.’ In the end, only 282 people died worldwide from the disease between 2003 and 2009.Six Questions that Neil Ferguson Should be asked (The Spectator, 16th April 2020)
This is just one of many and the Spectator has listed several. In addition, the UK government officially downgraded Covid 19 on their own website in March 2020 (just before imposing the lockdown):
As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious disease (HCID) in the UK. There are many diseases which can cause serious illness which are not classified as HCIDs.https://www.gov.uk/guidance/high-consequence-infectious-diseases-hcid
According to the same source, they define a HCID as having a “typically has a high case-fatality rate” and requiring “an enhanced individual, population and system response to ensure it is managed effectively, efficiently and safely.” This begs the question as to why they locked the nation down – and why Neil Ferguson still has a job! The myth of asymptomatic spread and the false doomsday predictions have been used to support the anti-human and destructive measures of lockdowns, isolating the healthy and anti-social distancing. It is this belief in this myth that has caused many people to suffer needlessly.
Quarantine for the sick is responsible, loving and reasonable. I fully support quarantine at home for people with symptoms of an infection. If you are coughing, sneezing or suffering with other symptoms, you should stay at home. This should not, however, be limited to Covid 19. Even the common cold and the flu can be seriously impacting to the elderly and those with weak immune systems. Quarantine (as per Leviticus 13) is limited and temporary – it is only isolating the infected for as long as they are infected. Leviticus 13:46 explicitly states that
He shall remain unclean all the days during which he has the infection; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.The Bible, NKJV
If he was to dwell outside the camp, that means that the camp was allowed to continue business as usual. God did not demand that everyone lose their homes, their jobs and their businesses. In fact, this command protected the community from economic devastation. Contrary to what many lockdown supporters claim, the Bible does not provide any support to locking down an entire healthy population indefinitely.
Washing Hands: One of the good things about this Covid situation is that more people are washing their hands. My dad was always very strict on our family about this – we had to wash our hands before a meal. Looking back, I am glad that he taught us this lesson as it has stayed with me through my life. Washing hands has both scientific and Biblical support. It is a Jewish ritual rooted in the Old Testament:
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 18 “You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it, 19 for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it. 20 When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the Lord, they shall wash with water, lest they die. 21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die. And it shall be a statute forever to them—to him and his descendants throughout their generations.”
The reason for this ritual was to wash away all impurities from the hands and it became a common Jewish practice to wash hands before a meal in which bread is served. Washing hands is an important policy and we should be doing this when appropriate. On the other side, I do believe that some practices have gone too far and obsessive. They have fallen into the condemnation of Colossians 2:
Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” 22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.Colossians 2, NKJV
Such examples of this today would be when churches refuse to share paper documents, insist on people bringing their own Bibles and not sharing them and not eaten communal meals. These are indeed “the commandments and doctrines of men” and have no value.
Isolation can kill too. As stated above, isolation in the Bible was only temporary and limited. It was only for the infected for as long as they were infected. Isolation is also known to kill people and it is a known torture tactic. If a church cancels God’s commands to visit orphans and widows and cancel his commands to show hospitality just because the government told them to, they are contributing to loneliness and poor emotional health. If someone dies of isolation, suicide or general neglect because nobody is checking up on them, God will hold the church leaders responsible.
Masks are unsafe and ineffective: Many scientists (including Dr. Vernon Coleman, Dr. Russell Blaylock and Dr. Shiva Ayyudurai) have written on the dangers of masks. Masks not only fail to stop the spread of Covid but they also deprive people of oxygen. There are many other health and safety risks posed by wearing masks and the above authors cover this in detail. In the case of children, they are also depriving them on an important part of their emotional and psychological development (they need to see human faces). Masks also hinder communication by hiding facial expressions and muffling the voice. They also hide the face and there are spiritual implications here. The face is the person, it shows their uniqueness and it also shows the image of God. To hide this is to hide the image of God in a person. If church leaders insist on everyone wearing masks, this could result in an attender suffering a serious illness such as brain damage. Be warned: God will hold the leaders responsible.
Vaccine Passports and Adverse Reactions: The safety of the Covid 19 vaccines has been questioned from many quarters and with good reason. Children’s Health Defence founder Robert F. Kennedy and Elizabeth Mumper (Pediatrician, President and CEO of The Rimland Center and CHD Scientific Advisory Committee Member) have reminded us that “Known adverse events like autoimmune, neuro-developmental, and chronic conditions can take months or years to be detected.” (Source here). Dr. Vernon Coleman has also analysed official databases and asks the question “how many people are the Covid vaccines killing?” If a member chooses to have the vaccine then the church leader bears no responsibility for the consequences. But if a pastor makes the jab mandatory for church attendance and someone suffers an adverse reaction or severe injury (like these victims) then God will hold the church leaders responsible.
Freedom of Conscience: Many Christians, like myself, have a conscience problem accepting a Covid 19 vaccine due to the connections with abortion (although that is not my only reason). Many Christians have been quick to defend their own freedom of conscience to protest gay marriage and support Christians who have lost their jobs and businesses over this. They must apply the same to their brothers who cannot, in good conscience, take an abortion tainted vaccine. Complying with vaccine passport requirements will exclude brothers and sisters. The leaders will be asking them to violate their conscience as a condition of attendance.
Financial and Economic Hardship: Nobody can dispute that the lockdowns have caused unprecedented hardship upon families and individuals. Job losses, businesses destroyed and economies devastated. Church leaders have not been directly involved here but I am sad that they have no public statements on this. Their only public statements made (in my experience) have been about the prevention of Covid. They will have members who may be facing starvation and poverty as a result of these lockdowns and the church leaders (and members) have a duty of care to them.
Quarantine Facilities: What is happening in Canada and in Australia will come to the UK sooner or later. An elderly woman has been murdered by the negligence of staff in a camp in Australia and these camps are being set up in the UK. If the pastor, vicar or elder co-operates and hands over names and addresses, he is complicit. If a church complies with QR codes and contact tracing, that could result in someone being assaulted, abused or murdered in a concentration camp (disguised as a “quarantine facility”). God will hold the church leaders responsible for any injury done to the victims.
Romans 13 and The Government: Many Christians have misused Romans 13:1-7 to justify compliance. Their argument is that if we disobey the government, we are disobeying God. That is a general rule but we agree this is not without exceptions. All Christians believe that we should not obey them if they told us to go against God’s commandments. In light of the above, are they asking us to break God’s commandments? In my view, they are asking us to break the spirit of them (at the very least). They are telling us to hide the image of God in man, to contribute to financial hardship of other people, to stop supporting the emotional needs of each other, to inject ourselves with untested chemicals of questionable safety (and shame each other into doing the same), they are trying to coerce into violating our consciences into taking an abortion tainted vaccine, they are telling us to restrict our breathing and impose it on each other. Nobody faults Corrie Ten Boom for disobeying the German government in the 1940s when she hid Jewish people. In the same way, the Hebrew midwives disobeyed the King when he ordered them to slaughter the Hebrew babies and God blessed them (Exodus 2). Personal non-compliance and civil disobedience is not the same as anarchy and rebellion. The former is peaceful and the latter we should flee from.
God is Still on The Throne: God is currently allowing these events to happen for his own purposes and he will bring it to an end in his own time. We should continue to trust him in these dark and difficult days and keep his commands. But to summarise: God will hold pastors, vicars, elders and other church leaders responsible for any injury, any illness, any damage and any death caused by their compliance with these “Covid prevention” policies. Thankfully, it is not me but Jesus Christ, with his complete knowledge and perfect justice, that will be the judge. He can read all the hearts and intentions as well as the impact and consequences. My hope is that the pastors and elders will start to look at this with compassion for all people impacted and not just from a “Covid prevention” perspective. I also hope that they will prioritise compassion over compliance. I also hope that they will prioritise God’s law over man’s law.