I’ve been hesitant to address this issue because it is a politically charged football, currently being tossed between political parties. However, given the positions we find ourselves in, under lockdown for what looks to be a second month with many states, including mine seeming unwilling to lift the lockdown, it needs to be said. It’s time to open the churches.
Before the panic starts, let me explain what I mean. I am not saying we need to reopen society as a whole, or that everyone should return to church. The former question is one for others to decide, while the latter is an individual decision. If you are in the most at-risk categories for COVID-19, you might be wisest to remain home for a time. You need to make that choice for yourself. However, for the rest of us, the risk is minimal. The overall death rate from the virus is well below one percent overall, including those most at risk. For those who are healthy, the death rate is much lower. There is no reason in-person services cannot resume for the healthy. It’s time to reopen the churches.
Before the inevitable atheist accusation that I am ignorant of science comes up, let me explain a few things. I am aware that the vast majority of people infected with COVID-19 will exhibit no symptoms and may spread the virus unwittingly. I am aware that droplets containing the virus may spread six feet or more. However, I am also aware that, other than the most at-risk populations, even if someone comes in contact with the virus, they are highly unlikely to become infected with the virus. In fact, the numbers indicate that a churchgoer is more likely to die in a car accident on the way to church than contract COVID-19. Yet the government is not banning cars. It’s time to reopen the churches.
I can already hear some well-meaning Christians citing Romans 13 to claim we must listen to those in authority. For those in that camp, I hear you, and I can relate to you. I agree, we certainly should submit to those in authority. There is a caveat to that, however. If they attempt to prevent us from worshipping Jesus, we are absolved from our duty to obey them. At this point, given the numerous citations given to churchgoers, even those who merely attended drive-in churches, as well as the arrest of pastors who continued to preach, it should be clear, they are doing exactly that. It’s time to reopen the churches.
Further, if you take a step back and consider what is going on, it becomes incredibly obvious that this is not about social distancing. If social distancing were the goal, grocery stores would be closed and be only accessible by delivery. Instead, big box stores limit the number of people inside and create lines of people who are not appropriately distanced outside, yet they are not arrested. In certain states and cities, other religious buildings remain open, particularly mosques. The Muslim call to prayer will be broadcast across a Minnesota city district for the first time ever in American history. Yet the governor of Kentucky threatened Christians who attended church on Easter with a mandatory two-week quarantine, and the mayor of New York City threatened churches with permanent closure. Social distancing is not the real issue. It’s time to reopen the churches.
This is a very difficult time for many people. Many have been laid off and have been unable to access unemployment benefits they have paid into for years. They are hurting, isolated, and desperate. The churches have the answer they seek, but the doors of the churches are closed. Now, more than any time in recent memory, people in this country are recognizing their own insufficiency and need of something or someone outside themselves to help them. Many will turn to the government, as planned, but the government cannot satisfy the longing in their soul. That can only be done by Christ. As His ambassadors on earth (2 Cor 5:20), the church needs to be reaching out to those struggling right now, both within and without the church and showing them the love of Christ. It’s time to reopen the churches.
In light of the government sanctioning protests and large scale funerals for politicians, we have to ask the question: why is your church still closed? Many of the mega-churches, including JD Greear’s church, are closed for the year. I have to ask why the double standard and why are Christians abiding by it? It’s time to reopen the churches.
If you are one of those people who is struggling right now, please know, God has not forgotten you. If you know Him, continue to trust Him. He is in control and He will provide. If you don’t know Him, friend why wait any longer? Isn’t it time you turned from your sin and trusted Christ alone to save you? If that’s you, please read the article, or listen to the podcast at the bottom of the article and contact us if you have any questions. We’d love to help you. For those of you who are Christians, consider meeting with your pastor, and or other pastors in the area and discussing how best to reopen your church. Perhaps you can open and practice social distancing at the same time to remain compliant. Regardless, we all should start looking at options because it is far past time for the churches to reopen, with, or without the government’s approval.
Do you know what’s going to happen when you die? Are you completely sure? If you aren’t, please read this or listen to this. You can know where you will spend eternity. If you have questions, please feel free to contact us, we’d love to talk to you.