Recently, I attended a small church in the Bible belt of South Carolina, where half of those attending were wearing masks. Also, every other pew was blocked off with yellow caution tape for social distancing purposes. The same week, I received a newsletter from the pastor of a church I previously attended. The letter explained several members of the staff had contracted the Chinavirus (covid-19) and how services would be restructured. The pastor announced, since the church meets in a university auditorium, there will be limited seating and everyone must register for the service they wish to attend and wear a mask.
I write this letter to inform these state run churches (501c3) that disease, sickness, illness (virus) is the work of the devil and Jesus has given His followers all power and authority over the Chinavirus. In Luke 9:1, Jesus gathered “His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases” (Luke 9:1). In John 16:7, why did Jesus tell His followers “It is expedient [ profitable] for you that I go away.” So, He could send the Holy Spirit to them and in His power they would do the impossible! Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” Jesus “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38) and He expects His followers to do the same. However, out of fear the church has given that power and authority to the virus (devil) and our government.
Closing churches, wearing masks and practicing social distancing in church is not of God, but government mandates. However, in their defense and out of fear, these state-run churches are quick to respond we must be “subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1), therefore, denying the work of the Holy Spirit. Leprosy was a disease that could be spread by droplets from the nose or mouth and it was against Levitical law to come in contact with a leper. However, Jesus broke the law and did not social distance Himself, or wear a mask when touching the leper and healing him in Matthew 8. Jesus also commanded His followers to do the same, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons” (Matthew 10:8).
According to the U.S. Constitution, “We The People” are the governing authorities and the Constitution is the “Supreme law of the land.” The First Amendment gives the church the “free exercise of religion” without government interference.
Throughout the Bible, personal contact with other Christians is commanded, the gathering/assembly is where the power of God is – not virtual or parking lot services.
In Hebrews 10:25, we are commanded to “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together” yet many state churches, out of fear, have complied with government “Stay at Home Orders” and closed their churches (“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” Mark 8:35). Many state run churches (501c3) have taken Romans 13 (“submit to the governing authorities”) out of context, the same scripture Hitler used out of context to load the Jews into box cars. State churches (501c3) need “to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29) and start living under the authority and power of God’s Word – not government.
“Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves.” Ezekiel 33:5
In the year of our Lord 2020 –
Sincerely, Tom Hughes