Over the last week, I have been asked by many in my networks about attending Church – is it right or is it wrong, should we attend or should be stay at home? These are personal questions that each of you must answer yourself. Not as a prophetic word but I will give you my opinion from what I feel is supported by scripture. We are a family of “faith” and love attending “assembling together” for most of our lives. While regular attendance is important to our walk of faith for many reasons, I don’t know that any one sermon, worship time or fellowship is so critical that those who truly follow Christ should defy legitimate elected officials when their restrictions are not juxtaposed to the Word of God or ask individuals or families to violate their conscience and walk with Holy Spirit. But let’s examine this and you can decide for yourself.
AUSTIN, Texas — Governor Greg Abbott has issued an executive order that will prohibit gatherings of more than 10 anywhere in the state. Included are bars, restaurants, food courts and gyms closed. Drive-through service will be available for restaurants. “We are doing this now today so we can get back to business as usual more quickly,” Abbott said. Abbott said the order reflected federal guidance and was necessary to “strangle” the expansion of coronavirus at the state level.1
First, the Word of God on Obeying Authority
- Romans 13:1-14, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but too bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.”
- 1 Peter 2:13, “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme…”
- Titus 3:1, “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work.”
Second, the Word of God on Defying Authority:
As per the words of Peter when asked to violate his conscience and the directive of the Lord, his response was appropriate: Acts 5:29, “But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men’”. I do not see anything against scripture from the efforts of the President or the Governor for the State of Texas.
Rather than trying to find loopholes and ways around these directives, I would suggest the following admonishment: 1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from evil [shrink from it and keep aloof from it] in whatever form or whatever kind it may be.” The King James Version states to abstain from every appearance of evil.
Personally, those that outright disregard restrictions, looking for loopholes or ways around the Governor’s orders are showing an appearance of defiling a legitimate order for a genuine purpose. Secondly, closing buildings and structures is not the same as closing “Church.” The true Ecclesia are the Body of Christ – people that follow Christ. You can shutdown a building for a period for a legitimate reason, but you cannot shut down the Ecclesia. Perhaps going back to the origins of the Church (Ecclesia) in the Book of Acts will be a good experience.
Lastly, the Ecclesia has plenty of ways to hear and view the Gospel. Besides, in groups of 10 or less, the result will probably be a great time of teaching the word, sharing scripture, prayer and fellowship. I believe those that continue to lead “these meetings” in defiance and schemes are being driven by money (mammon) – plain and simple. I would venture to say most are not concerned about delivering a lifesaving sermon, amazing worship or “once in a lifetime miraculous service” – it’s about the mammon. Care for and protect your flock (the sheep) and stop devising schemes to keep the cash flowing (tithes and offering) to make the budget this month or the next. Isn’t that what we teach – “trust God” and live by “faith?” Besides, denominations and religious structures have kept up with technology and have a myriad of ways to get cash, checks or credit cards – “fleecing the sheep has become a well-honed art.” Selah
March 19, 2020 (3:50 PM CST)
Joseph “Jim” Stockstill
The Unknown Prophet in Texas
“National War Council” – Chairman, Formation Committee
- Tim Griffin, “Abbott executive order closes bars, restaurants, food courts through Apr. 3,” Kris 6 News, March 19, 2020. https://www.kristv.com/news/coronavirus/abbott-executive-closes-bars-restaurants-food-courts-through-apr-3