A Troubling Scenario
April 28, 2020, 4:12 PM

In the midst of all of the safety precautions that have been put in place in our nation and state there is some reasonable misgivings being expressed by many people.  There have no doubt been justifiable reasons for such measures as 'stay in place orders', 'social distancing', and closure of some public arenas for gathering.  They do make sense in order to stop or slow the communicable spread of a deadly virus.  However .... there are some things that don't make sense.  For instance, it makes sense that in order to stop the spread of a disease you might temporarily ban some arenas for social gathering such as schools, churches, gyms, etc.  I am grateful that grocery stores and gas stations are still open.  American ingenuity is admirable in how restaurants are serving carry out only food orders.  The logistics of how they are doing business under such restrictions is very ingenious.  But with all of the classifying of certain businesses as 'essential' and others as 'non-essential' it is most interesting that an ABC store is an essential business but a church is 'non-essential'.  An ABC store is where you go to get alcohol.  Church is where you go for hope. With people not going to work in many cases and 'sheltering in place', add into the mix folks over indulging in alcohol and what has resulted in many cases is an increase in domestic violence. It almost seems like a recipe for dissaster in homes where both scenerios are likely to occur.  And yes, I understand about the preventative measures in limiting social gatherings.  But for how long?  And why did church goers in a Mississippi community get fined when they attended a church gathering in a parking lot where they remained in their cars, obviously observing the social distancing guideline.  Why?  Where was their Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion while observing the required safety precautions?

Many local churches have resorted to conducting ministry online, as we have.  Many have posted their worship experiences on FaceBook and/or Youtube as we have.  But just for the sake of argument consider this real world scenerio.  When a religious group, for our purposes a Christian local church, is forbidden by governmental decree from gathering in person, they must resort to hearing the Word of God by way of internet or TV.  Also consider the very real and scary fact that the internet and social media is constantly being monitored.  Consider also the fact, true fact, that some speech is being censured from access and publication by the internet.  For instance, some speech, which has not been considered politically correct has been removed by FaceBook already.  The conservative radio and television commentator Glen Beck recently revealed that he had experienced some material removed by the 'watchdogs' of Facebook because it did not meet certain criteria.  He was not even informed what criteria his material did not meet.  It was just simply removed by Facebook.  Youtube recently removed a video produced by two medical doctors who were challenging the dominant mainstream narrative on the coronavirus.  Boom!  Their video was removed.  The politically correct watchdogs of social media completely trampled on their Constitutional rights of free speech.  Google filters all posts, even the President of the United States for what they have termed 'offensive' posts.  Offensive to WHO?  Research into the matter by congressional committees have conducted hearings on the matter out of a concern for censureship and the denial of constitutional rights of free speech.  

Here is my concern which is shared by others who seem to discern a real and present danger.  If a church is forbidden from public gathering and has to get their message out by internet and social media which has its own standards of what is offensive and censurable, then where does that leave the church of Jesus Christ in its freedom to proclaim Biblical Truth which is "God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work".  (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV).  

Can you see a potential for danger in this scenerio?  Well, it is already happening.  Does this matter to you?  It should!  When a church's message is censured, its sermons removed from the internet because it does not agree with the values of those who control our access to cyberspace then our nation and world have been fundamentally transformed from a 'free' society in which 'freedoms of thought, speech and religion' are permitted into a state that is strictly governed by ideologues who suppress the public.  When Scriptural morality is labelled as 'hate speech' or as 'non-conformist speech' or 'contrary to the public interest' and is suppressed by government and/or powerful private interprize on a cyberspace level it may be time to wake up.  

Everyone is talking about how the world is changing and has changed due to the Covid-19 virus.  Could this new world be friendly to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  Or our worst nightmare slowly engulfing our lives?  Matthew chapters 24 and 25 as well as Luke chapter 21 contains Jesus' teaching concerning the 'End of the Age'.  (Take note, Jesus did not say the 'End of the World' as scoffers like to mockingly say as they discount our Lord's warnings of things to come.). "On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.  Men will faint from terror, apprehension of what is coming on the world,........... when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."  (Luke 21: 25-28).

Hear the message of Jesus.  At the end of the age there will be some fearful and perplexing changes taking place that will cause people to lose heart due to fear of the prevailing circumstances.  We do not know when all of these things will be fulfilled or when the Lord will return as promised, but as we experience fearful and challenging times we are encouraged by Him to "LOOK UP, LIFT UP YOUR HEADS, BECAUSE YOUR REDEMPTION IS DRAWING NEAR".    I hope our world returns to some degree of normality after this virus passes, and it will pass.  But I am concerned by what powers there may be that want to "change the world in the image that they desire" using whatever means they have available, but I will NEVER BE FEARFUL because my Redeemer lives!  He is large and in charge!  And He is mighty, and He is mighty good!  

Be wise, be aware, be in prayer! 

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