Praise the Lord. I see the sovereign hand of the Lord here, in the midst of China, a country that itself persecutes Christians severely, but would forcibly repatriate ethnic North Korean Christians to an even worse and more repressive regime, that of North Korea, so totally closed, but where I am sure people are dying in their thousands from Coronavirus.
I am sure the Lord used two elements here in this our sisterâ€™s release:- an obviously loving Chinese husband, and as in Iran, perhaps, fear by the Communist authorities of the effects of COVID-19 in prison!! Whatever the reasons, we praise the Lord for her release, and pray that she will in time, (though at present no doubt in the home lockdown), be able to resume her work of conducting North Korean ladies Bible studies, or whatever else the Lord gives her to do.
I am sure and hopeful that some strong evangelical Christian families that had previously had children enrolled in state schools, but were becoming increasingly unhappy about the political, environmental and sexual indoctrination going on in the state schools, as well as the evolutionary teachings, and (in the British set up), interfaith RE, or in the USA set up, compulsory atheism as the (illegal, according to the US Constitution) state religion, being taught, will now take the plunge, and embark on a genuine home schooling project for their children, linking up, on the internet, with other like minded evangelical Christian parents, to cooperate, encourage and help each other in this endeavour, and will decline to send their children back to the state schools, when, God willing, at last this coronavirus compulsory home lockdown ends. They must vote with their feet, this could be a real silver lining of this coronavirus lock down for these families.
Yes, at this extremely difficult time, we definitely need to be very careful, and it is right to close down public events and gatherings. However, we also have to be aware of two very great difficulties. The longer this total lockdown continues, the more the economy will be totally ruined, the more pressure will go up for permanent centralised state control, and of course, the aim of the enemy of souls, the coming world government, cashless world economy and the world interfaith religion to go with it, that will end up in the compulsory mark of the beast and the worship of Antichrist.
The other factor is that in democratic countries, already there are forces that are deliberating hyping this up, aided by the media, causing widespread fear and panic, and why is there virtually little or no testing. That should have taken place immediately, and then followed by sensible measures, not disproportionate closing down of everything. Sweden and South Korea seem to have followed this sensible path.
Also in past times of plague, at considerable danger to themselves, yes, the church was still allowed to be at the heart of it as C H Spurgeon, during the cholera epidemic in London in the 1860â€™s would inform you!!!
Tragically, politically correct politicians (and may I say churchmen) abound everywhere, and when the results of their deeds come to light, it is indeed the ordinary people who suffer terribly as a result.
I worked some years ago, in Italy for a year and three months, in and near Milan, which is now right at the heart of the Coronavirus epidemic, and in Spain a few years later for two years, in the south of the country, and both countries are now suffering greatly, and in total lockdown.
Though I have unfortunately now lost contact with the people I knew in the churches that I went to, I do now at times remember them in prayer, and hope they are alright. May the Lord bless them, and the work of the Gospel in those two countries, and I look forward to hearing good news of these countries when they have passed through this trial.
Absolutely tragic!! While the good solid churches have to close down, and very well, some of them are able to do live-streaming (though now in Britain, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, certain states of the USA, India, Jordan, and even Israel, amongst other nations where there is a complete lockdown, or something approaching one, even this may become virtually impossible, unless the pastor sits at home with his computer, and at least some of his congregants might have a compatible computer or mobile device, or access to an extremely good website), but many have not, (my own church does not livestream, and as far as know home based services or sermons are not now even being recorded or uploaded), these wolves in sheepâ€™s clothing, may well be preaching in empty large stadiums or at home, and millions tune in to have their ears tickled!!
I really do wish that your President in the USA, would switch off a certain female â€śspiritual adviserâ€ť, and send her packing, because it is people like this that atheists and sceptics love listening to so that they can gain fuel for their attacks on Christianity and the real true Biblical church!!
The true church should not have been unilaterally closed down, but merely required to observe sensible precautions I have listed elsewhere, and past
There are some breakaway churches of an Anglican nature, though here in Britain they are very small. One is the Free Church of England, which has a few churches, and broke away some decades ago, though I am not sure how evangelical it is.
Another one, which also has a tiny number of churches, is the Church of England (Continuing) which is definitely down the line evangelical and reformed, using the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the KJV Authorised Version Bible, the 39 Articles of the Church of England, and traditional hymns, and no sacerdotalism, and simple communion services.
However, I understand that the official Anglican Church in some African, South East Asian and South American countries is also very evangelical, and the GAFCON organisation many of them belong to, will support, ordain and recognise those Anglican ministers and local churches that cannot function in their own very liberal national Anglican Church.
The fact that churches have not been exempted in this international Coronavirus lockdown quarantine, raises questions, when in times past, that was often not the case.
In fact, churches were at the heart of it, helping and ministering even though it was very dangerous. Spurgeon himself went on a campaign of visitation and ministry in the middle of a cholera epidemic in London in the 1860â€™s or thereabouts, and churches were open for days of fasting and prayer.
I do wonder, if, God willing, this current terrible trial and judgment burns itself out, the old freedoms we have in supposedly democratic countries, will ever be fully restored. We must pray, and cry unto the Lord. Maybe He will indeed turn many people to Himself in repentance and faith, despite churches being closed, just through the Word of God, and the drawing of the Holy Spirit.
I still believe that as I stated in another thread in SA News Comment, the churches should not have been interfered with, except to require strict precautions, such as distancing in the church, no handshakes or physical hugs, older, frail and vulnerable people staying away, as well as those who believe they are infected with the virus, live-streaming made available as well as a physical service, cancellation of all conferences, all social events which were not religious services of worship, use of disposable single cups for communion, and bread broken up, etc, before the service, and I guess, because of outsiders being involved, cancellation of Sunday schooos, etc.
However, at the end of the day, if the state required a church to close down, for medical reasons of public safety, (but not for religious reasons), a church has no alternative but to comply.
What I do find disgraceful, is the glee of some leftist politicians in closing churches, and the zealous willingness of liberal churches to close down, and the lack of any debate in parliaments, congresses,and city halls, to challenge some of these things as they are being rushed through. I have also noticed the zeal if police to enforce these things, with draconian fines, threats of prison, as we have seen in continental lo
The police now have power to enforce these provisions.
I personally believe that churches should not have been interfered with, but merely required to observe strict provisions.
In time past during plagues, the church was always at the heart of things, being present, functioning and ministering to those in need. The modern way seems to be different and the church is included in the same restrictions and provisions as everything else.
As I stated elsewhere on SA News Comments, on Sunday morning my own church was closed without livestream, so I tuned in to a larger Reformed Baptist church in south London (Spurgeonâ€™s old Metropolitan Tabernacle) where the pastor did the service on his own in an empty church, with just broadcast staff, and in another room, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese translators present for later recordings in those languages. The service was live, but recorded hymns with congregation and organ were played from previous services. It sounded like a real service!!
In the evening I tuned into an IFB church in South London , using business conferencing app. There were a few people in the church, there was a live pianist, the pastor took the service, and a deacon (really an elder in my view), preached.
I am not sure either will be possible from next Sunday, as PM Johnson has now banned all gatherings of more than 2 people, no baptisms, weddings or other services are now permitted, (except funerals with immediate family only), all non-food shops are closed, only food shops and pharmacies are permitted. I assume delivery services are still permitted. People can only go out of their houses for essential work, for going to these shops, and exercise once a day. Police now have powers to enforce
It reminds me of Martin Lutherâ€™s 95 Theses that sparked off the Protestant Reformation, one of which was saying sarcastically (in my poor paraphrase, it sounds better in Lutherâ€™s original), â€śWhy does not the Pope forgive everyoneâ€™s sins, instead of charging to do so?â€ť referring to the Papal indulgences that were being sold by Johann Tetzel and others, supposedly for the forgiveness, of sins. The unspoken answer to that question was that, of course, he had no power to do any such thing, whether it be Leo X or the current Francis I.
The Bible of course tells us in Johnâ€™s first epistle that we cone to the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness of our sins, and that He is our Advocate, while Paul tells us that we have one Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ, and only one.
On an interesting note, my own Reformed Baptist church was not open today due to the Coronavirus, and sadly does not livestream, so I watched a livestream from a famous large Reformed Baptist, that basically was carried out live by the pastor on his own, in an empty church, but with recorded congregational hymns with congregation and organ, from past services! It was certainly very comforting to hear what sounded like a real service!!
My very elderly mother, who is now in a nursing home in her 90â€™s, whom I am no longer allowed to visit, indefinitely, told me in times past of the wartime days during the 2nd World War, and in some ways, things were more dangerous. There was constant bombing, people had air raid shelters, blackout curtains, rationing, and obviously people were drafted into the military, or like my mother into reserved wartime occupations (in her case admin in a military aircraft factory).
Yet, despite all that, people could still move around, hotels, (if not requisitioned), restaurants, cafes, and public places were still open, people could still get together, even for things like sports and concerts as well as family occasions, schools still functioned, (even if evacuated to the country), despite removal of all road signs and bombing, public transport still ran, and most importantly churches were open and public worship took place.
This crisis seems far worse to me, and is basically an indefinite international quarantine of everybody, even the healthy, enforced by law, and even police and martial powers. We must indeed pray and seek the Lord at this time.
Since my last comment, things have updated in Britain. PM Boris Johnson has still not yet commanded churches to close, and restaurants and non-food shops are still open as is internal public transport, but the advice to stay at home is getting stronger, and within a week, I think will have the force of law. All schools are to close on Friday indefinitely, with remote teaching except some formal schooling for children of health professionals.
Many churches and large denominations have closed down, with live-streaming available, including one very large Reformed church in London, (yes, Spurgeonâ€™s old church, the one mentioned by Donâ€™t Panic UK!!).
I personally think all churches should have stayed open, with strict precautions and provisions, until commanded by the state to close.
I do think sadly, this COVID-19 crisis has been hyped up deliberately by globalist forces for their own ends, and sets a dangerous precedent.
Let us pray for all those who will be cut off, our brothers and sisters in Italy, Spain, France and so on, and now Denmark, which has passed a draconian measure in its Parliament of virtual martial law, lasting until March 2021. Very dangerous!!
Two more considerations here in Britain; with the proposed over 70â€™s 4 month lockdown, that will remove all the older people at a stroke, including some pastors and church leaders.
It is also likely that venues hired by churches will close down, and only smaller churches in their own buildings will be able to meet, but this will not even last long. We are heading for the Continental style lockdown as in Italy, France, Spain, etc as enforced by law.
Let us jest, encourage, worship at home, and livestream services if possible.
This is a mixed bag of responses from SA contributors!! So fast as of yet, here in Britain, up to date churches do not have to close, but must observe certain precautions.
However, it does seem that PM Boris Johnson is soon going to ban any gathering of over 500 for any reason whatsoever, secular and presumably religious, that will effect large churches. In that case they would either have to split their services to keep under the 500 limit, or do live-streaming, if they have the facilities to do it.
PM Johnson has until now been reluctant to adopt the total lockdown as required on the Continent, ( Italy, Spain, France, Germany etc), but it is coming, I think, and though this week even restaurants, gyms, and non-food ships, as well as churches have been open, I donâ€™t think that is going to last much longer. Some organisations have already voluntarily closed down, or partially ceased their activities, and where possible gone to remote computerisation and delivery only.
I do think that some leftist authorities have nefarious desires for evangelical churches to close, and liberal churches have been more ready to close down.
The Coronavirus is certainly taking a toll on older people indirectly as well as directly.
Most nursing homes and hospitals now totally ban visits (I can no longer visit my elderly mother in her 90â€™s, the last day for unrestricted visiting was yesterday, and this could be in place for months).
Furthermore PM Boris Johnson has decreed that most likely within the next two weeks all people from 70 years of age and older not currently in a nursing home or care facility must go into complete lockdown, self isolation, in their own homes for at least 4 months minimum, even if they are completely healthy, and even if they have not travelled anywhere or have not knowingly been exposed to anyone suspected of the Coronavirus.
Combined with this rather difficult decree, wil be the cancellation of all non- urgent operations that some of these elderly people may be waiting for, and a reduction in care services for these people.
Combined with social isolation,I believe that this could kill as many or even more old people than the Coronavirus itself!! We must pray for those folks. Though an in the elderly bracket, I am a few years short of the 70â€™s thankfully. I am not too sure our politicians have thought this out well at all..
(Not really a proper communion service, but unfortunately resembling the annual JW Memorial service, where the â€śGreat Crowdâ€ť not being part of the privileged anointed â€ś144,000â€ť, pas the elements of bread and wine, but do not partake!!!)
So far, here in Britain church services have not been banned. I do understand though that as from next weekend here in Britain our PM Boris Johnson has announced that all gatherings, secular or otherwise of more than 500 people will be banned.
We do not have many mega churches in Britain, but one or two larger fellowships I know of will be affected by this.
One very large Reformed church I know of which does livestream its services, but still has congregational attendance, has put out a statement by its elders and deacons court, giving some guidelines, though due to the new rules, I guess it may to have to either split its services, or have online only.
The guidance states that all people should wash their hands on arrival or use the hand gel which is provided, avoid handshakes and hugs, (oral greetings only), sick or ill people should stay at home and watch on the live-streaming, disposable cutlery only used at meals, (some people stay after service for the childrenâ€™s evangelistic Sunday schools, though I wonder if these will need to be cancelled), and somewhat bizarrely, the holy communion will be celebrated, as a kind of memorial service, but the elements of bread and wine will not be distributed!! (Not really a communion service, but a bit more like the strange an
I was using the word â€ślaityâ€ť in a purely historical context. Of course there is no laity and clergy ( and definitely not sacrificial priests) in the proper New Testament church.
All born again Christians are priests, in a non-sacrificial sense, (the priesthood of all believers), and the Lord Jesus Christ is the only High Priest, the only sacrificial Priest, whose work was completed once for all at Calvary, unlike the human priests of the Old Testament, or the assumed modern priests of various professed churches today, whose work is never finished. The Epistle to the Hebrews is excellent in that regard, and though written initially to Jewish Christians, it applies just as much to Gentiles, and particularly to those in churches which profess the use of priests.
A close down of churches would have been disastrous before the Internet, and I believe that unless the authorities actually prohibit services, churches should still gather but with strict precautions. Ill or sick people should probably not attend in person, and churches can webcast their services. Hand sanitiser ( if you can get hold of it, it is like gold dust these days), tissues and good hand washing facilities are all vital, and hand shakes and physical contact generally discouraged. Communion has been dealt with in other threads, but in all matters there should be great wisdom.
Perhaps all social gatherings of the church outside normal services may have to be cancelled indefinitely.
However, the greatest thing to do is to pray, encourage, and preach the Word. This may be a great time for people to think on eternal issues, and to receive and respond to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.