Friday, July 10, 2020

Posted Without (Much) Comment

Phil Johnson gives his thoughts about Congregational Worship, Social Distancing, Submission to Caesar, and Obedience to God.

Hmm.  If only someone had warned about the inevitable nearly four months ago.

Oh well. C'est la vie. Que sera sera. Etwas auf Deutsch, also sieht es so aus, als hätte Luther es gesagt.


  1. You know, at first I thought maybe it was paranoia, but New York made it more obvious (not outdoor church gatherings, but protests are ok).

    1. Almost forgot when a bunch of medical professionals signed a letter prescribing riots during a pandemic.

  2. I think the recent lockdowns and restrictions have served to highlight how one-dimensional and faulty the traditional brick-and-mortar "church" has become in many ways over the years.

    The early church, as well as many modern persecuted congregations today, don't have the luxury of worrying about things that don't matter.

    Modern big box church model: "How do we comply with the ever changing whims of our petty tyrant leaders?" Early/Persecuted church: "Our government leaders are literally trying to kill us."

    Modern big box church model: "How should we seat everyone to comply with social distancing rules so the gub'mint won't shut us down or, *gasp* pull our tax exempt status? I know, we'll seat by family!" Early/Persecuted church: "We enjoy and expect no benefit from the powers of this world and we are all one family, the family of God in Christ, let us draw together and trust in His good will that we are obeying Him as we gather in holy worship that He will sustain and protect or afflict and sift us as He wills."

    Modern big box church model: "Statisics show people are less likely to give if they aren't here physically, we need to get more people here physically, let's have multiple services!" Early/Persecuted church: "And they had all things in common...Acts 2:42-47."

    The church can't die or be defeated because of Christ and His promise, but those brick and mortar edifices, and sadly in many cases the professional paid clergy class, aren't the church. People seem to easily get this basic concept confused or conflated in their minds.

    It reminds me of the shock the Jews and even the disciples displayed when Jesus declared the Temple, the heart and focus of apostate Judaism, would be destroyed. "How can this be?!?" They asked.

    Modern-day church-ianity is no better off than apostate Judaism. Maybe God is finally spitting out the blind, naked, poor and wretched church of Laodicea.

    1. Hello Coram Deo,
      There's a lot of things I agree with in what you wrote, especially your last paragraph. I actually believe it was probably a majority of people who went to church in February were not actually saved at all, but merely church attendees, and by instituting the lockdown a lot of those false adherents will not return assuming the lockdown is ever lifted (I predict COVID will magically be cured on November 4 this year).

      But my sarcastic quip also brings up the one thing that I would also include as a difference between the first century church and the current American church. It's not just a matter of religious views (although that is by far the primary concern), but also the political ramifications of what happens to America when the Constitution is completely trampled? Rome didn't have a Constitution, and while Roman citizens did have certain rights the majority of the early church was not Roman. In America, we have Constitution rights that are being affected here too. That does change the dynamic slightly.

      When DeBlasio literally says that it's okay to attend BLM "activities", but you're not allowed to sing in church, that's not just encroaching on religion, but it's also destroying what it means to be an American. For that reason, I think there's some valid concern for American Christians to petition our government aside from the religious aspects.

      But again, I say this to add to what you said, not to disagree with any part of it.

  3. Not to be off-topic, but I was just reading a chapter of a book on Mohism and something I read made me think "Huh, Steve Hays would have had something to say about that" and it reminded me of how wide-ranging and influential his thought has been in my life. I didn't leave any comments on the post about his death. I've primarily been a lurker throughout the years (I first found this site from Paul Manata's old blog before he joined Triablogue). But with his ideas randomly coming to mind just now as I read something seemingly far afield, I figured I'd do so now.

  4. I think it's worth remembering though that house churches are also illegal under many governors' orders, so the earliest church model would also be illegal. They were meeting in person quite frequently. It's not just the big-box churches who think it's important to meet in person. If anything, the early church would have been more willing to recognize the necessity to meet in person even if it was civil disobedience. In my own state of Michigan there is an exemption for "houses of worship" but *not* for those who meet to worship in homes.