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Thoughts on churches opening despite executive orders

A few thoughts regarding the debate on whether churches should oppose and go against a governor’s executive order that says churches should close:

  1. Church members should do their best to follow and support their pastors and other leaders who have been entrusted with this type of decision making.
  2. Churches and church members shouldn’t fight against the executive order just for the sake of fighting and arguing.
  3. Churches should still show wisdom in the way they reopen, understanding that having people singing together in close proximity will probably raise the risk of a virus spreading.
  4. Live streaming a service for a short period of time is fine and not a sin. However, this is not the way church gathering is meant to be. We are meant to congregate and gather with other believers.
  5. It’s highly debatable whether governors have the authority to close churches. In some cases it’s been deemed unconstitutional.
  6. The U.S. Constitution and state constitutions limit the role of the executive, stating that the government derives its authority from the right of the governed.
  7. Our elected representatives are not our bosses in the same way that kings and monarchs were in Bible times. We need to understand whom we need to submit to in the United States. We need to submit first of all to our Constitution, then to our state constitutions, and then other laws. (Romans 13)
  8. In America, elected leaders answer to the people, not the other way around. The people answer to the laws that are made. 
  9. There are some exceptions in which elected leaders can set aside some of their restrictions and exercise more authority. There are also some exceptions on First Amendment rights. For example, we cannot yell “fire!” in theaters without repercussions.
  10. However, these are exceptions, not the rule.
  11. The burden of proof on whether governors can close churches falls on the governors, not the churches. (Again, this doesn’t mean churches flaunt freedom just for argument’s sake.)
  12. Persecution in America will look different today than it did in Bible times, at least at first. The government is probably not going to suddenly come in and start persecuting us and shutting us down like in Bible times. Think about the boiling frog metaphor. 
  13. Persecution will probably be gradual. It could start with a strict or overbearing permitting process. Or maybe the government will require you to hire someone who doesn’t believe in what you say. Or maybe they will start by saying you are bigoted in some way. You’ll need to decide whether to stay under the radar or stand up and speak out.
  14. It’s important for Christian leaders to be vigilant when the government takes away freedoms. We want the spread of the gospel to be legal. Christian leaders have a right and a responsibility to be engaged citizens as well.
  15. Christians don’t get to abdicate their roles as citizens of a country just because the world is their temporary home and heaven is their permanent home. 
  16. Having said that, Jesus did not return 2,000 years ago to save Israel from Rome. He came to save us from our sins. He didn’t come for politics. His purpose was deeper than that. (Read John 6)
  17. Whatever happens, our main desire and prayer should not be saving us from a pandemic, although it is fine to desire and pray for that. Our main desire should be that God is honored and Christ is glorified. (II Kings 19:19)

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