Someone basically asked how it's "biblical" for churches to "hide in their homes" during the pandemic. Here's my response:
- Jesus employed wisdom to avoid crowds and people a variety of times. My favorite example is in John 7. Scripture says that Jesus was avoiding Judea because Jewish leaders were plotting his death. Would you say that Jesus was acting in fear? Of course not. Jesus was employing wisdom. Now, Jesus' brothers say, "You can't become famous if you hide." Jesus responds, "Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go. I'm not going." However, Jesus was actually deceiving his brothers, and ends up going anyway, in secret, staying out of public view. Sometimes staying out of sight is the right thing to do. (Another example is Mark 1:35-39 when Jesus avoids the crowd so he can go to a different town to do ministry; also see Mark 4:35; 7:17; Luke 4:42).
- You mention the persecution in Acts as an example of the church not backing down in the face of danger. The irony in that is in the very verse you quoted, "Those who had been SCATTERED preached the word wherever they went." In wisdom, they fled persecution, and it was in that fleeing that the Acts church finally started to live out their commission to preach to the ends of the earth. From reading what you wrote, it almost seems like you would have wanted them not to flee, but to stay in Jerusalem and be killed.
- I count several examples of Paul fleeing cities secretly to avoid death. Are you saying that Paul was not acting in wisdom, but out of fear? (Acts 9:25; 2 Corinthians 11:33).
- What would you say is better - healing the sick or preventing people from getting sick in the first place? Yes, absolutely, the church should be in the business of healing and casting down the powers and authorities. But that doesn't mean we should behave in a way that actually makes more people sick.
- When you talk about church's teaching, healing, and feeding, and the fact that they didn't spend much time in church buildings...I'm not sure what you're arguing against here. This is precisely what I've seen churches do during the pandemic. Nearly all of the churches I know of have responded to this moment with incredible amounts of generosity and provision for their communities. This is exactly the kind of worship and religion that God says is pure and genuine (James 1:27). The wisdom of avoiding public worship gatherings doesn't mean that people are staying at home with their masks on (that's not how mask wearing works anyway; I assume you know better than that?). It means that the work of teaching, healing, and feeding has actually increased (again, at least for the churches I'm aware of).
- Mark 16:9-20 was added to the book of Mark sometime in the 2nd century and is generally not considered canonical.
- Revelation 13 doesn't talk about the antichrist at all. Only 1-2 John do. It was centuries later when folks began to conflate the beast of Revelation with the antichrist due to misunderstanding Revelation.
- Finally, as a foster child and adopted child, and as someone who has worked alongside this field in a long time, you may want to cross-check your word from God with actual, real, live social workers. I know of few people who are actively working for the good of orphans, widows, and strangers as hard as they do. Many social workers embody "thy will be done on earth as it is heaven." If what they represent and how they act equates to socialism, then please sign me up. But I will not stand to hear someone call social workers "the death of a nation." That's a lie from the devil and I'll happily cast that out.
The above is in response to this Facebook comment:
Since you will not communicate outside of this post. Can I ask you when did Jesus ever hid from the sick? He only healed them. When did the apostles ever shut down in the face of danger. When I read my bible I don't see them hiding in their homes away from people in need. They went to the people in need. They preached and taught, healed and fed. They didn't spend much time in their church buildings. 95% of their ministry was in the streets in the face of danger.
Mark 16:17 -18 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
They were equipped with power for dangerous times, they were also brave and didn't back down in the face of danger. The pharisees sat around and studied. The knew the law. The disciples did 3 main things. Preached the Gospel, Healed the sick and cast out devils.
If you don't believe that part of the bible I advise you to continue to stay home. I still believe we are called to do those things today. If a person wants to stay home, cool. Go for it. But don't force your agenda on others. It is called freedom. There is an Antichrist spirit that wants to shut down the church. Revelations 13 talks all about it. It is always at work and we see it today in America more that we ever have.
The Lord woke me up at 3:30 AM about a month ago and spoke a word to me. Social Studies, Social Worker, Social Security, Social Media, Social Gospel (Powerless without preaching and repentance) Social Distancing all leads to Socialism. The death of a nation. Study those nations who embrace it. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:14. How can you change the world sitting at Home with your mask on? Read Acts again.
On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.
Philip in Samaria. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city. Acts 8:4-8