The entire planet is exercising a social distancing and quarantine program of some kind. Here in the U.S. only essential businesses such as drive thru restaurants, medical facilities, gas stations, and groceries stores, are permitted to remain open for business. Non-essential businesses such as shopping malls, sports arenas, and movie theaters have been labeled as hotspots and asked to close in order to slow the spread of Covid19.
37 U.S. States have declared places of worship to be non-essential and asked them to close their doors for the safety of the communities they serve. The response from church leadership to these mandatory closings have been mixed. Some religious leaders willingly complied and moved worship services to online formats while others refused to make any substantial changes at all. The latter continue to hold regular services and special gatherings in protest of the order to close their doors for one of four reasons.
Places of worship are miscategorized by the state as non-essential. These pastors believe the church is crucial to the mental and spiritual health of the communities they serve.
The constitution does not allow the government to hinder the people’s rights to freedom of religion and practice.
The Corona virus is a weapon of mass destruction administered by Satan therefore the church is in a time of spiritual warfare. All faithful soldiers of Christ are obligated to serve their God and fight through prayer and fearless living.
This virus is an expression of the wrath of God in an attempt to have sinners turn from their wicked ways and seek redemption. Large scale corporate worship is the only way to appease God in order to regain Gods favor and a sense of normalcy.
Blame it on The Devil
The idea that the Corona virus is Satan’s weapon of mass destruction to judge, convict and execute the believer for their faith and service to God is interesting. Kenneth Copeland believes the presence of Covid19 is an affirmation of spiritual warfare between the forces of good and evil and Christians are called to the battlefield to fight in the name of God. Mr. Copeland recently went on air retaliating with a blow directed at the virus itself and Satan, the force that wills it.
In the manner of a true heartless general, Copeland stationed himself safely outside the battlefield standing confidently in an empty well sterilized sanctuary praying dramatically and shouting at times with a villainous smile. He then physically blew what he called, “the breath of God,” on the Corona virus accomplishing in just a few quick seconds what the worlds scientist have been unable to do for months, rid the planet of Covid19 forever.
Copeland also proclaimed to have the power to heal his followers that were infected with COVID19 and instructed them to continue paying tithes despite the present economic climate. Now believing the Corona virus has been destroyed, the approximate 600,000 people in 132 countries that look to Copeland for direction may be rejecting safety protocols put in place to protect them. So, in essence Mr. Copeland has sent his beloved congregants out into what he believes to be an active battlefield during a time of spiritual warfare, disarmed and blindfolded. Who is the enemy of these Christians now, Satan or Copeland.
I’m curious, how much power and authority do these Christian leaders apply to Satan?
What is the purpose of the church? Is it to build up or oppress, to liberate or make and keep captive blind religious slaves? The church is supposed to be a place of enlightenment, to be enriched, to gain insight for life and its challenges, to discover who and what you are, to meet God and to introduce God to others.
According to the Bible his attack on Job was predicated by specific instruction and support from God (Job 1:6-12). If Christians believe Satan has the authority, ability, and jurisdiction to freely murder them acting outside the sovereignty of God than what is the purpose of fighting for God in spiritual warfare? Giving that much potential to Satan means that God can talk good but when it comes down to making some real things happen it’s out of God’s hands because God doesn’t control the narrative. Let’s not forget that Christians are not the only believers losing their lives to this virus. We have lost Muslims, Buddhist, Atheists, Jewish, Hindu, and the spiritually indifferent as well.
If We Straighten Up God Will Heal the Land
If Covid19 is a manifestation of the wrath of God for the repentance of the people, what kind of God does that? Sounds more like a supervillain than God to me. Where is the loving God, where is the slow to anger God, the God with the wisdom to do all things, the God with the ability to make all things possible and to make anything happen, the compassionate God, the God of unconditional love, the God of the lost, the needy, the weak, the powerless, and the oppressed. The only way God could make people behave is to terrorize, intimidate, and threaten them? Why would God be forced to act in such a desperate manner as if God had no other choice?
God is sovereign and is fully aware of the issues we are currently experiencing with Covid19. God is not the dispenser nor the generator of the virus for the purpose of getting what God wants. Only a deeply insane person would kill their children when they are acting up, burn down their office building when having problems at work, or murder their spouse because they are not getting along. Let’s not give God the characteristics of a criminally insane human. Since when does God need opportunity, ideal options, or have to wait for the right conditions to get what God desires? Is God not God anymore?
A Place for Hope and Spiritual Support
Rev. Tony Spell of Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge LA has been receiving a lot of attention for his refusal to follow the stay at home orders set forth by the State of Louisiana. Rev. Spell believes the virus is politically motivated, and the work of dark spiritual forces desiring to persecute the church. Rev. Spell is calling on his congregants and all true Christians “to be fearless and try your faith in the fire and put your religion to the supreme test.” Rev. Spell says going online is not an option and his church is refusing to close its doors. He believes Life Tabernacle Church is a place of hope and spiritual support for the people of his community and that death is welcomed by the faithful Christian. Spells says, “the Bible teaches us to be absent from our bodies is to be present with the Lord. Like any zealot or like any pure religious person, death looks to them like a welcome friend. True Christians do not mind dying. They fear living in fear.”
So now Christians are expecting God to be a servant and perform like a starring attraction in a circus act. You want to be able to walk into the arms of death voluntarily in order to have God flex divine muscle on your behalf and save you. This is treating God like a lucky charm or a cheap one function toy where you push a button and make it do a trick, light up, make a noise, spin in a circle. This is God worshipping you, serving you not you worshipping and serving God.
Rev Tony Spell said, the church is a place for hope and spiritual support. That’s interesting so is the church unable to offer hope and support outside of the church building? Is the church building the only place where hope and support can be offered and received by those in spiritual need? Absolutely not. The church is a place of worship, one of many and has never been the exclusive place of worship, relationship, connection and communication with God. You can communicate with God in your own home, you can connect with God in your car, you can worship God in a corporate setting over the phone, through Facetime, messenger, etc. Anywhere you are, anywhere you can be, or wish to be, understand God is present before you get there. There is no place you can go that the presence of God is not active and present.
Don't be Fooled
The problem is that many Christians have become zombified by mediocre spiritual direction, biblical illiteracy, lost due to irresponsible leadership, and victims of self-serving and manipulative sermons and worship experiences resulting. All this resulting in a pathetically poor state of spiritual health. When you can’t pray for yourself, preach to yourself, understand scripture by yourself, your dependence is on the pastor to be the intercessor between you and God. The pastor, the church and doctrine becomes your Jesus, you see yourself as being Christian according to these things. The pastor, the church, the doctrine has become a spiritual crutch instead of resources that train you to be educated in the deep things of God studied and showing yourself approved.
Wake up! Don’t allow these pastors to lead you to your death trying to get hope and spiritual support that doesn’t belong to them but is available in God above and beyond any church. You don’t need to be in a church in order to worship God, corporate worship is not mandatory in order to obtain the hope you need, or the spiritual support you require. Remember any authentic hope and support is from God and has not been grown in the basement of the church. God is the source, the exclusive manufacturer, and distributer of genuine hope and support; the real deal.
You know a designer knockoff can fool you if it’s a good fake and it’s hard to tell the difference just by looking at it. The truth comes out when you begin to put it to use. It was all fine when it was on the shelf but when you start to use it you will begin to notice the loose threads, lack of quality, inability to perform, it’s not what you thought it was. The fake one is never going to be able to deliver like the authentic one. If the church is leading you to believe hope and spiritual support is only in the church, it’s human generated, a knock off, forgery, counterfeit, temporary, fading hope and support and not the real deal.
What is the purpose of the church? Is it to build up or oppress, to liberate or to make and hold captive blind religious slaves? The church is supposed to be a place of enlightenment, to be enriched, to gain insight for life and its challenges, to discover who and what you are, to meet God and to introduce God to others. It’s a brainwashing philosophy to believe hope is exclusive to the church building; spiritual support is not limited to the sermon or the pastor.
If you believe hope, salvation, spiritual support, the tools for spiritual development and weapons for spiritual warfare exclusively belong to the church; then I ask, where is the divine hope and spiritual wealth when the spiritually poor and hopeless outside the church need it? Where is the spiritual support you have for the community when a young man suffering from mental illness wants to take his life because he believes he has no reason to live.
Where is the love when gay Christians in your community are condemned, ridiculed, verbally abused, and hated by society and those in the church? Where’s desire to battle in spiritual warfare when black and brown people are being murdered in the streets? People are dying from lack of hope and support, people are begging for hope and support, praying for it, crying for it. If you have this radical hope and spiritual support that you’re willing to risk your life and those of your congregation and leadership over where the hell was it at before Covid19 and where will it be after this is over?
The Blessing of The Alternative
I was in San Antonio on business and the fire alarm went off in my hotel in the middle of the night. We were given instructions to leave our rooms, get to the hotel lobby, and exit the building for safety. Now if the goal is to get to safety on the first floor and I can’t get there the way I’m most accustomed, which is the elevator, do I jump out the 16th floor window? No, I take the safe, wise, and intelligent alternative – the stairs.
Showing up to church during a pandemic does not make you a real Christian. The genuineness of your faith is based on your ability to discern and trust the voice of God not your pastor, church friends or family members and follow those directions.
Is attending your religious services important, yes. Is praise and worship, and fellowship important, yes. Is worshiping God, possessing divine peace safety and assurance important, absolutely. Before you step into a dangerous situation ask yourself what other options do you have? Is it necessary to jump out the window hoping you won’t kill yourself, or would it be the intelligent choice to avoid the danger and utilize the blessing of the alternative?