Category Archives: Covid Pandemic

Fabric of Civilization (G)

• Committed to community: We were recently contacted by the chairman of a political party in the country of Namibia. We have known Festus Thomas, the chairman of this party, for many years, having spent many nights in his home enjoying the hospitality of himself and his sweet wife. As the chairman of the Christian Party of Namibia, he sits in the Namibian parliament for the purpose of promoting the objectives of the Christian Party. He subsequently argues on behalf of the people he represents from the perspective of Christian principles.

Representative Thomas recently contacted us in order to inform us that the Namibia parliamentary leaders recently met in reference to the possible banning church assemblies throughout the country because of the Covid-19 virus. Festus wanted to inform us that their party won their case, and thus the churches of Namibia would not be ban from assembly throughout the country because of the pandemic. Churches would be allowed to make their own decisions concerning how they would meet, and what precautions they would take in order to protect their members. But the government would not be allowed to hand down any government mandates to terminate church assemblies. The government voted to stay out of the function of the churches.

Unfortunately, this is not the case in many countries of the world that are ruled by atheistic government officials, specifically in those democratic governments of the West where politicians must please atheistic voters. Such governments see no problem with restricting church assemblies. They will often allow pubs to be opened, but ban religious assemblies.

We can appreciate the concern of governments to establish guidelines in reference to all assemblies in order that the citizens be protected from viral infections that are air borne. However, it is interesting to note that South Africa is the most tuberculosis infected nation of the world, with over seventy thousand deaths resulting each year because of this infection. But with such an infected population, the government has never considered banning church assemblies in order to protect the people, neither have face masks been mandated to be worn in public by those infected with tuberculosis.

Some restrictions in reference to air borne viruses are possible in Western countries, but quite impossible in most societies of the developing world. Large cities in developing world environments have populations that are very congested. In these situations, people simply cannot be banned from being together in their communities. This is a reality in the major cities of these countries, and thus the possibility of banning people from socializing with one another is simply not possible. We must be careful, therefore, not to make moral judgments of those nations who cannot carry out in their normal everyday lives Western restrictions in reference to social distancing.

We must not forget that the emotional psychology of human behavior determines the very core of how societies function. When this psychology is attacked by a moral norm that is contrary to God’s moral standards, then society as a whole is under attack. And when the societies within a civilization become unglued with detrimental social norms that are contrary to God, then we know that a civilization is on the brink of decline, if not extinction. And once a civilization morally implodes, then those who survive must pick up the pieces of human fragments and start building again. If one does not believe this, then we would suggest that a good study of the rise and fall of the Roman Empire be in order. Better yet, it would be good to study again how God had to start human civilization over again with only eight people after the global flood of Noah’s day (See Gn 6 – 9).

We were recently in a telephone conversation with a member of the church on the other side of the world. This was a member of a church that before the pandemic days, had an assembly attendance on Sunday morning of about four hundred people. When the pandemic struck, and the elders of the church introduced safety measures in order to protect the body from self-infection, they disbanded the assembly for a few weeks. They did so because most of the members were aged people who had known one another for decades. They were close friends who had known one another for many years. Therefore, the leaders of the church, in agreement with the church, implemented safety measures in order to protect the aged members in reference to any large single assembly on Sunday morning. The members went to meeting in their homes.

This particular church normally met in a building that they had constructed over a half century ago. But health restrictions that were suggested by the medical people of the country encouraged churches to refrain from large congested single assemblies. So this and many other single-assembly churches complied with the suggestions.

Once they returned to a single assembly, they organized their assembly in order to maintain social distancing as best as possible when meeting in the building. As families, they spaced themselves apart from one another in the assembly. If they had to go to two assemblies, they did in order that each family not have to sit close to other families.

But what was a pleasant surprise to us was what this particular member of this church said to us over the telephone. We commented, “We are supposing that the aged members are remaining at home in order to protect themselves. They are the most vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus.” However, the informant member on the other end of the line said, “No, it is the aged who are coming, and the younger are staying away.”

Now that was certainly surprising. Nevertheless, it was quite revealing, and understandable. The older members had for decades formed close friendships with one another. To them, it was not about attendance on Sunday morning in order to comply with some tradition nor legal mandate. It was about long-term friends having the opportunity every Sunday to meet together in worship of God. This was a beautiful testimony to Christian friendship, and the true intent of what the Holy Spirit meant for us to understand from His statements in Hebrews 10:24,25. These older Christians certainly did not show up because it had been ingrained in their conscious to be obedient to some legal doctrine of attendance. On the contrary, they were in love with one another because of decades of mutual friendships. And so it should be.

We would assume that the younger members would develop such friendships in the coming years. Unfortunately, when similar church assemblies were banned in Western churches because of the pandemic, and then restarted, church leaders discovered that about twenty percent of the attendees never came back. The reason they never came back is that they were never there in the first place. “Church attendance” was simply a legal matter, not a reunion of friends on Sunday morning.

So we would conclude that Christians who are in love with one another will always find a way to be with one another. It is their inherent nature, not a command that they would obey. If one’s attendance to church assemblies is still focused on obedience to some legal command, then he or she still does not get the point of the assembly of the saints. Those aged members of the preceding illustration got the point. Their attendance was based on old friends enjoying worship together.

Regardless of any restrictions that may be placed on old friends in reference to protecting themselves from air borne viruses, old Christian friends will always be committed to one another. It is easy for atheistic societies as England and Europe to implement strict measures in reference to social distancing in church assemblies. But when Christians want to remain in contact with one another, they will find a way.

It may be that for a time, as in wars and pandemics, Christians being together may be highly restricted. Nevertheless, they will in some way find a way to associate with one another. This has happened for centuries, and will continue. Fortunately, Christians today in the West have the advantage of the Internet. But this has been a blessing only in the last twenty years. Throughout world history until about twenty years ago, Christians were out of contact with one another during times of great social distress. In fact, the Holy Spirit even suggested that Christians in some areas forgo marriage because of the social distress that had been imposed on the Christian community because of Nero’s reign of terror against Christians in Rome during the 60s. In this case, Paul suggested,

Now concerning virgins [who are not married], I have no commandment of the Lord. However, I give my opinion as one who has obtained mercy by the Lord to be trustworthy. Therefore, I suppose that this is good because of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry [in these times of distress] you have not sinned. And if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless, such will have trouble in the flesh. I am trying to spare you (1 Co 7:25-28).

After Paul wrote the preceding words, social distress would eventually increase against Christians in the Roman Empire. By the end of the first century, and into the second century, Christianity would be made illegal. The result of this in the city of Rome was that those Christians who lived there would eventually have to socially distance themselves in the catacombs (caves) beneath the city of Rome. Some Christians lived and died in the catacombs, while some were caught and thrown to lions in the coliseum for the entertainment of a truly ungodly society. Nevertheless, the power of the gospel eventually prevailed throughout the Roman Empire because Christians refused to be subjugated to the control of government. They chose to serve God above man. The same will happen today. It is simply true in all ages of history that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rm 8:37). That statement was first written to Christians in Rome. It is still true today because He who works in us is greater than he who is in the world.

(End of series. The book will be forthcoming.]

Fabric Of Civiliation (F)

• Surviving social damage: Social chaos is often caused when the foundation for strong friendships and family are attacked within a particular society. The damaged friendships and families then spill over into the social division of every group within a particular society. When the foundation of friendships and family are damaged, this damage leads to the dysfunction of the society as a whole. This often leads to one group of a society judging another group when the judged group does not conform to the social norms that are dictated by the judging group. Conflicting social groups bring a civilization to the brink of revolution. It is in such times as these that “every imagination of the thoughts” of man’s heart becomes continually evil, and thus, civilization implodes (Gn 6:5).

Those who give up on God’s moral standards have set themselves on a path to moral degradation. When a society starts making moral standards that are outside the moral standards of God, then that society has positioned itself on a road to doom. This is true because it is not within the citizens of any society to determine and establish their own moral standards. This is true because it is simply “not in man who walks to direct his steps” (Jr 10:23). And this is true because “the way of man is not in himself” (Jr 10:23).

Moral degeneration is slow, and often without pain. It is often unnoticed within a society because it may take two or three generations in order to come to fruition. For example, we were recently surprised when we read a statement in the oldest magazine that has been published in South Africa. It was a statement that had never before been made in this magazine throughout its years of existence.

The Farmer’s Weekly was first established in 1911. One of the interesting features in the magazine is called “The Hitching Post.” The purpose of this feature is similar to the online dating services that are common today on the Internet. Any single person can write to the editor of the magazine with his or her desire to find a mate. These are usually widowed individuals in their older years who are looking for someone with whom to spent the remainder of their years. The requests are sincere, if not sometimes amusing. However, in the August 14, 2020 edition we read something that would have been unheard of only a few years ago. The requests are normally statements from those who seek “a nonsmoker,” or “soft-hearted” individual, or one who “loves singing and laughter.” One requested that a potential mate “treat me like your queen and I will make you my king.”

But in the August edition one requirement for a mate was allowed into the requests by the editor for the first time: Two people were seeking mates who “must be nonreligious.” This is not the culture of the Christian farming community of South Africa. Nevertheless, the editors relinquished to the changing social conditions of the nation.

When the majority of a nation seeks to be “nonreligious,” then we know that we are in trouble. We are headed in the wrong direction if we do not want to be continually reminded that there is a God out there to whom we must all eventually give account. This is the downfall of Western civilization that has basically given up on God, and thus, given up on any divine moral standards.

[Next in series: Oct. 16]

Fabric Of Civilization (E)

• Historical comparisons: In our world history less than a century ago, “death camps” were constructed by the autocratic leaders of Nazi Germany in order to be the “final solution” to what the officials considered to be an inferior race of people within their society. Through propaganda, the general population of the society was convinced by the atheistic politicians that the people should distance themselves from those they judged to be a lower race of people within their society. This supposed lower race of people was considered to be an “infection” of the true Aryan race.

Adolf Hitler simply brought the “God is dead” philosophy of Fredrich Nietzsche into his own social world view, and thus concluded that the Aryan race was superior to all other races of people. In the philosophical void that Nietzseche’s nihilism produced—in the absence of any higher moral authority than man, nothing has any inherent importance, and thus life lacks purpose—Hitler gave purpose to the German people. While living, according to Nietzseche, in the “despair of meaninglessness” in Germany after WW I, Hitler gave people hope. He first gave people hope of developing for themselves a better life. He then convinced the people that the Aryan German race was the pure race that would guarantee a better world. Through their own will they could make life better for themselves.

Hitler subsequently established “breeding camps’ in order to increase the population of a pure Aryan race, while at the same time, he eliminated the undesirable race of those who still hung on to the concept of a God who issued to humanity divine moral standards. In others words, if Hitler were to implement his moral behavior to exterminate the Jews, he had to eradicate from the minds of the Germans any moral standard that was higher than man. It was necessary, therefore, that Hitler, with the philosophy of Nietzseche as his authority, to eradicate God. With God out of the way, he and his ungodly leadership, could establish any moral standard they so desired. They thus became a moral law unto themselves.

The general population of the German society were subsequently taught to despise and fear what was considered to be a lower class of human beings within their society. In order to identify this lower class of citizenship, those of this lower class were first mandated to sew the Star of David insignia on their shirts and coats. In this way they could be identified in the streets, and thus shunned by the general German population. But this was not enough. The despised were then herded into the ghettos in order that they be totally distanced from the general population. Eventually, two of Hitler’s henchmen, Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Goering suggested a “final solution” be mandated to solve the matter. This solution was to eliminate the infecting race of people from the general population. The result was the extermination of over six millions Jews in death camps across Europe during WW II.

In our recent history in Africa, one tribal group in the country of Rwanda was led to believe that another tribal group of the same country were the “cockroaches” of society. Twisted leaders then convinced the supposed superior tribal group of the country that the “cockroaches” needed to be eliminated in order to preserve the higher race of people. What is the difference between this thinking and a particular group within a society today who, for political reasons, labels an unmasked group of society to be selfish and inconsiderate? And thus, such “unmasked infecting cockroaches” must be disciplined by being fined a great amount of money? If the “unmasked race” do not conform to the “masked race,” then the police must be sent out into the streets in order to subjugate those who refuse to wear a mask.

If we eliminate divine moral standards from social behavior, and deny the social glue of community that holds people together, then the standards we construct for ourselves, and by which we make judgments of one another, become twisted and impersonal. Again, we must never forget that a population of people who are brought into fear, can be manipulated by the political leaders to accomplish their own agendas.

The principle we would suggest in matters of public safety in reference to pandemics is that the people must first be educated on matters of personal and public safety. The people must then make their own personal decisions concerning these matters lest those in authority become dictators of the people. We do not think it right that the government force their restrictions for health on the people without the consent of the people. The free world is not like the dictatorial social order of communist China. When the pandemic began in China, and the government called for community quarantine, some doors of houses were nailed such, or chained, in order that the people not come out of their homes. In a dictatorial nation as China, we can understand that the government would unleash such restrictions. Once one becomes a dictator, it is easy for him, by instilling fear in the people, to reign over the people. This behavior even occurred in some Western countries when some governors and presidents acted as dictators in handing down restrictions throughout the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.

In the West, however, if the people seek to retain their freedom in the midst of pandemics, then it is the people, not the appointed elected officials, who should make the decisions as to what restrictions should be implemented on the public in reference to public protection. This is where science plays a very important part in our culture today. It is the responsibility of the scientists among us to thoroughly educate the public concerning the hazards of a particular pandemic. It is then the responsibility of the people, who should be concerned for one another, to protect themselves according to the information that has been discovered and explained by our scientists. The public must make a decision as to whom they will give the right to initiate lockdowns and the termination of businesses, which termination destroys the livelihoods of many within society. And when society determines what is safe behavior for society as a whole, then it is the responsibility of each citizen to implement the recommended safety measures throughout society. Those who have any familiarity with the word of God on this matter will discover in this the approach of God’s instructions for social behavior: “Let each one not look out merely for his own interests, but also for the interest of others” (Ph 2:4).

Though these things happened in the society of Germany in the 1930s, we must give credit to the present generation of Germans today. We can understand why thousands of the citizens of Germany recently organized the first public protest in August 2020 against the government restrictions that were being arbitrarily imposed on the people in reference to “masking” and social distancing. The present German leadership evidently had a temporary relapse in memory by forgetting the terrible skeletons in their emotional closet in reference to such restrictions in their past. They forgot that many years before they allowed the social gods of the Nazis to likewise place restrictions on a class of people within the population of Europe. In their past, as previously stated, the Nazi leaders imposed social restrictions on those they classified to be a lower race of people. Those Nazi gods pronounced that the supposed “cockroaches” of their society, the Jews, were to first sew the Star of David on their shirts and coats in order to be identified. We know the rest of this story.

We have discovered that few of the present generation of the West, especially the young, have any idea of the road that we can travel if we start marginalizing one another for some reason that the scientists dictate should be moral standards by which we would judgment one another.

We could learn a great deal from the Germans. They once traveled down the road of moral decay through racial distancing. They have subsequently lived with the pain of repentance for this behavior for decades ever since. It is unfortunate that many today will inflict emotional pain on others that will take decades to heal. The Germans have to a great extent overcome their sociological scars, but the scars are still there. There is an inherent regret within the German culture that has a difficult time of fading into the past.

Therefore, before a generation of radicals inflict sociological pain on their own generation, they should take note that they emotional pain they inflict on society will leave scars in their culture for generations to come. Jeremiah meant something as this in the statement, “The fathers have eaten a sour grape and the children’s teeth are set on edge” (Jr 31:29). Those who are out there burning businesses on the streets need to remember that their grandchildren must live with the legacy of what their grandfathers did in an effort to destroy a society with which they judged was inferior to their own society (race) they were promoting at the time.

[Next in series: Oct. 14]

Fabric Of Civilization (D)

• Cold science and moral behavior: We grew up with an illustration that was told by the old pioneer preachers who preached that if one took a piece of coal out of the “fellowship” of all the other pieces of coal, then it would cool, and eventually go out. Friends are no different in their relationships with one another. There is simply no such thing as endearing friendships among those who continue to be socially distanced from one another for any extended period of time.

And when two friends do come into the presence of one another, there can be no endearing friendship restored when two friends must present themselves to one another behind a mask, or remain at a distance from one another. No handshakes or hugs allowed. This is what sociologists are trying to tell us, at least in reference to spreading the present Covid-19 virus. And they are right on this change in our social interaction. Unfortunately, the biological scientists among us are still scaring us into remaining distant from one another on a continuing basis lest we infect one another. In the present pandemic, this may be true. However, we must also understand that in a social system of sustained distancing we will harm our relationships with one another as human beings if we continue to manifest a restrained contact with one another.

When biological science reaches into human behavior with conclusions that are without emotion or morals, then fear is often produced. The facts of science can indeed be cold facts. And when cold facts start to determine our social behavior, and particularly our social friendships, it is then that we are in trouble in reference to our relationships with one another.

The cold facts of science sometimes produce fear. If the cold facts are violated, the biological scientists want us to conclude that we are unscientific if we violate their conclusions without the implementation of their facts in reference to moral behavior and social interaction. But we must determine if endearing friendships should be sacrificed in order to maintain the cold facts of science that are without any emotion. Biological scientists need to sit down with sociologists. They need to do so in order to reach some compromise in order to sustain healthy societies. In other words, what good is it to preserve a society of zombies who have no relationships with one another.

The science gods among us sometimes forget that fear fractures friendships. In obedience to the impersonal facts of science, we are sometimes fractured into an existence of zombies who endlessly roam the streets behind masks that conceal our personalities, and identify us as estranged individuals in a somewhat impersonal society.

If we are kept in fear, science gods will easily reign over us. When government officials use the cold facts of science that produce fear, then they can reign without question, lest those who object to their autocratic mandates be accused of being rebels against science. We must never forget that terrified populations are easy to be control by autocratic leaders.

And then, when the atheistic news media fails to report on fractured friendships, they too are in cahoots with the cold facts of the science gods. When the political figures of government implement law that is based solely on the foundation of cold scientific facts, without any consideration for the science of the social behavior of the people, then we have entered into a truly new normal of social reality to which none of us really want to go. Now bring the politics of a democratic system of government into this picture, and we are doomed.

Democratic politicians will often scare the people into submission with the force of rigid science facts that have no personality. If one does not believe this, then make a study of how Adolf Hitler, an elected politicians, eventually used the cold and immoral conclusions of atheistic evolution to convince the German society of his time to socially distance themselves from a particular race of people within society who were supposedly an inferior race to the Aryan race. The evolutionary development through the process of natural selection supposedly left behind the Jews in order to development the higher species of the Aryans.

[Next in series: Oct. 14]

Fabric Of Civilization (C)

• Divine principles for social health: What the Holy Spirit was saying in Hebrews 10:24,25—and we have all known this for years by experience—is that for people to maintain the type of friendships that are necessary in order to prepare for eternal dwelling is that the members of the body of Christ cannot be distanced from one another for any extended period of time. Paul’s statements in Ephesians 2 is a social dictionary on the organic friendship of the members of the body of Christ. He wrote, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ep 2:19). In Ephesians 4:16 Paul explained that Christians are the organic body of Christ, “from whom the whole body being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working of each part, causes growth of the body to the edifying of itself in love.” This is the objective for maintaining the Hebrews 10:24,25 function in our relationships with one another.

Each individual member of the body must be connected with all the members in order that the ekklesia function as a self-edifying body of believers. If social distancing is introduced into this dynamic, then the body becomes dysfunctional. As citizens of the household of God, there can be no member of the household who would distance himself from the organic function of the entire household. If “a part” (member) of the body chooses to socially distance from the other members of the body, then he has forsaken the responsibility that comes with being a member of the body. He has forsaken his responsibility to join in with all the other parts of the body in order to energize the body through love and good works.

Hebrews 10:24,25 does not stipulate the frequency of this bodybuilding connectivity, or assembly. Nothing is revealed by the writer concerning frequency and the numbers of the parts of the body that must assemble at any specific time. Nevertheless, at least one thing is crystal clear: Friends in Christ, that is, members of the body, who do not come into one another’s presence on a regular basis have damaged their relationship with the body as a whole, and thus, they have damaged the objective of building up of the body of Christ through assembly.

The Hebrews 10 statement does not explain how many of the members of the body must come together in assembly in order to accomplish the mandate of the assembly. In the first century, the disciples came together in small groups in the homes of the members. At least we must conclude that the Holy Spirit assumed the small-assembly home environment when He made the assembly statement of Hebrews 10 many years after the establishment of the church in Acts 2. He certainly did not have in mind the mass assemblies of people we see today in large urban churches. Because of the size of these large assemblies, the assemblies themselves inherently fail to accomplish the very purpose of the Hebrews 10 statement.

In fact, the assembly of the early disciples in small groups in the homes of the members enhanced the personal relationships of the members with one another. Each member was brought into close contact in the home assembly, and thus into close contact with both the spiritual and physical needs of one another. In view of this, we would make a judgment on this matter in reference to the large-assembly churches today that tend to work against the members opportunity to interact with one another in a large assembly context. Large-assembly churches are actually gatherings of “socially distanced” members. These churches encourage the membership of the body to be satisfied with socially distanced relationships while each member is seated alone in the presences of hundreds of people. After all, some of the loneliest people in the world are seated right in the midst of hundreds of people on Sunday morning.

Now back to the BBC report. What the BBC wanted to reveal through the interview of the psychologists, was that when the citizens of any society disconnect with one another, they will subsequently disconnect in their friendships within the society. The point that we discovered from the interview was that even those who function outside the realm of Christian-principled behavior, now realize that human relationships are always damaged when people distance themselves from one another. And when friendships are damaged within a society, then society as a whole is damaged. In other words, close human connection within a society is necessary in order that the members of society remain emotionally healthy. The thrust of the BCC report was that people must interact with one another in order to build one another up as members of society. If we distance the participants of any society, then we damage society as a whole.

As Christians, we must consider this social damage in reference to the church, for the church is a part of society. The principle of human connectivity as the church saturates the New Testament. If social distancing is practiced within a society, and subsequently by government mandates imposed on the members of the body of Christ, then the body is dysfunctional, if not in many cases, terminated simply because the members cannot function as the body of Christ.

The longer individuals within a society socially distance themselves from one another, the more damage that is done to the society as a whole. Now please do not misunderstand us concerning this vital principle of human behavior. We are now witnessing the rebellion within many societies of the world today movement against the “science” of social distancing. This is not without a cause. As a whole, people seem to know more about human friendships than those scientists who would lead us to believe that we are the product of some impersonal biological evolution. On the contrary, we are the product to a creative God, not the result of some primordial “building blocks” of matter that by chance collected together to spontaneously generate life. For this reason, some scientists need to distance themselves from their cold laboratories in order to see the affect of their scientific conclusions on the societies of humanity.

The movements against the imposition of impersonal mandates are generated by the very nature of human life. People are simply going to be with one another. The police can impose a fine on people being together, but the fines are totally against human behavior. Who would have ever believed that we would come to a point in history were we would be issued fines for being with one another on the street, under a tree in a park, and now, have too many guests in our own homes? Have government health officials actually considered the insanity of such laws? Have we now moved into a social order where the police can enter into the privacy of a man’s house and count how many people are in that house? And if there are too many people, the police write up a ticket and fine the house owner for being too hospitable to his friends? What insanity is this that we have digressed into a new social order wherein we are made enemies of ourselves? Why is it that Anna Frank keeps coming into our minds?

We are the creation of a God of love, and thus have fallen in love with His Son. Therefore, as Christians, John wrote, “we love [others] because He first loved us [through] His Son” (1 Jn 4:19). Because of this, we have also fallen in love with all those who are the product of the God of creation. This principle belief, or behavior, is what holds civilizations of the world together. Within any society of any civilization of the world, people must have compassion for one another. And in order to have compassion for one another, healthy relationships must be established and maintained within every society.

All of us must understand, therefore, that for a season we must submit to the restrictions to distance ourselves from one another for safety reasons. However, those governments who impose such restrictions on the people must understand that they are trying to socially restructure human society. They may require such for a season, but there can be no long-term social distancing on a permanent basis.

We feel that at the end of the social tensions that resulted from social distancing, humans will win the battle, and thus come together again. The force within us to be together is far stronger than the forces of any government to keep us away from one another. If on is an unbeliever in the God of creation, then it will be difficult for him to understand this basic psychology of human behavior. One the other hand, if one believes that we are the product of a God who created humanity after His own image, then he will firmly agree with us on this matter. He will believe that we were created after the image of a God, who is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one. This God does not reside individually as distanced Deities throughout the universe. They are one God in being, essence and existence.

[Next in series: Oct. 12]

Fabric Of Civilization (B)

• Attack against functioning discipleship: The subject of the BCC report reflected on the very meaning of what the Holy Spirit revealed to Christians long ago in Hebrews 10:24,25: “Let us consider one another to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” This was a hortatory declaration, not an imperative commandment. This meant that the statement was not a legal mandate, but the behavior of those who walked in appreciation for what God had done for them.

The statement is hortatory because being together is the very nature of who Christians are in their covenant relationship with God. In other words, being together is inherently natural for the covenanted people who walk in appreciation for what God did for them through the gospel of grace (See 2 Co 4:15). So the Spirit added the following responsibility of what grace-living Christians do for one another: “… but encouraging one another” (Hb 10:25). And then again the Spirit added in another context, “Let each one not look out merely for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Ph 2:4). Disciples cannot do this unless they are together.

These, and many other similar statements in our Bible, refer to something that is beyond supposed legal commands on “church attendance.” Jesus reflected on the meaning of these statements when He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). “You are My friends” (Jn 15:14). Attendance at the assembly is a reunion of Christian friends. We are Christian friends because we lay down our lives for one another. And sometimes, this can be life-threatening, at least it was for Jesus who laid down His life for us, His friends.

When Jesus was on earth, He established friends with people. We seem to sometimes forget this very important point in reference to our relationships with one another. Friends, especially those who are friends in Jesus Christ, seek to be together. They will risk their lives for one another. As Jesus wanted to be with His friends, we as His friends seek to express our love for one another in order to encourage one another. Christian friends look out for one another, and in order to do this, they must be in one another’s presence on a regular basis. This was what the Hebrew writer was trying to convey to us when he submitted to the Holy Spirit to write through him the instructions of Hebrews 10.

The instructions of Hebrews 10 were the natural result in our relationships with one another because Jesus laid down His life for us. Christians seek to interact with one another as Jesus interacted between God and humanity in reference to the washing away our sins. He is still interacting on our behalf (1 Tm 2:5). Therefore, as Christians, we interact with one another because He interacted on our behalf. This is the definition of Christian fellowship. It is the definition of church. If there is no interaction among members of the church, then there is no church. And since “church”—that is us as His disciples—are an example to the world in reference to social interaction, then certainly people of the world should follow the interaction of the members of the church. The more the citizens of a society interact with one another in this way, the more society is both socially stable and functional.

Though the statement of Hebrews 10 was given in a Christian social context, the principle behind the statement has always been true in reference to all people who would seek to exist in a functioning society. In fact, if the citizens of any society of the world do not assemble for the specific reasons defined in the text of Hebrews 10, then there can be no such thing as a functional society. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Holy Spirit used the secular Greek word ekklesia (meaning, “assembly,” and often translated, “church”) to define the existence and function of the people of God. Here’s the point: If God’s people are not able to come together on a regular basis to encourage love and good works, then the ekklesia, or the church, loses its purpose for existence in this world. It does so because it becomes dysfunctional, and thus, gives a dysfunctional example of human activity before the world.

Therefore, the Hebrews 10 statement was not a legal commandment, which if obeyed, would encourage us as the members of the body of Christ to put a shiny star on some attendance chart. Neither was the statement given in order to motivate us to show up on Sunday lest we receive a call from the preacher on Monday, inquiring as to our whereabouts.

On the contrary, the assembly of Christians is the very core of Christian behavioral function. This does not mean, however, that all the Christians in a particular area must assemble together in a mass assembly at the same place. Nevertheless, it does mean that if one member does not want to be with fellow members of the body, then it is revealed that he or she does not want to be a functioning participant of what identifies the organic function of the body of Christ.

The same is true in any society. One is a hermit if he refuses to participate in the normal function of society. Hermits, therefore, play no part in maintaining the function of a healthy society. And for this reason, there is no such thing as a “hermit Christian.” If individuals of a society, or the church, are forced into being disconnected hermits, then as the church disintegrates into disfunction, so likewise does society.

Legalities had nothing to do with the instructions of the Holy Spirit in the Hebrews 10:24,25 statement. Sometimes in our past exhortations from this text, we often missed entirely what the Holy Spirit was trying to communicate to His readers. But in the BCC interview that we have just mentioned, where two psychologists were interviewed in reference to the present dysfunction of human friendships, the reason why people need to be together was clearly revealed. In view of the social distancing and masking of people that are taking place around the world today, psychologists have now connected the dots. And the connection of the dots in reference to friendships is that people are becoming more disconnected. And when friends are disconnected, friendships diminish.

When friends stay away from one another, friendships are damaged, even when they are socially distanced for health reasons. In fact, friendships cannot continue to be wholesome if people are socially distanced from one another on a continual basis. The two psychologists of the BBC program simply concluded that science cannot dictate that socially distanced humans can truly have socially distanced friendships. Humans need more than the bump of an elbow, or a disguised grin through a mask. There is no such thing as close friends who are continually distanced from one another with concealed facial expressions. Friends cannot be locked away from one another in quarantine indefinitely.

[Next in series: Oct. 6]

Fabric Of Civilization (A)

We must remember that while we are bowing down to the pronouncements of all the scientists among us concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to reflect on a social tragedy that is playing itself out in our times in reference to social friendships. We will listen to all that the scientists say to us in reference to social distancing and mask wearing during this pandemic. We will listen in order to protect ourselves. But in protecting ourselves, we are actually protecting ourselves from one another in the pandemic world in which we now live.

However, there is a social tragedy we must not forget during these times of self-protection. When the pronouncements of science start inflicting pain on our human behavior, then we become concerned. Some people, in their overprotection of themselves, often begin to ignore the fact that we are both psychological, that is emotional, as well as physical human beings in our relationships with one another. Regardless of all the scientific facts that are thrown at us almost every day, we must not forget that we are human beings with a psychology that motivates us as people to interact with one another.

Science researches areas of both the psychological and biological world. But when conclusions of the scientific method of study start focusing, or obsessing, exclusively on the physical, then science starts attacking the behavior of human interaction. It is then that social problems arise, problems about which most people are fearful even to question, lest they be accused of being unscientific, or even worse, against science. But as Christians, and those who recognize that we are not the product of some evolutionary process over millions of years, we consider ourselves in view of the fact that we are the creation of God. This means that our existence on this earth is not the result of some spontaneous generation of life from the impersonal elements of physical matter. We are mind, body and soul, and the product of a God who created us (1 Th 5:23).

As we proceed through this discussion, therefore, please keep in mind that during pandemics as that which is currently ravaging the population of the world today, we firmly believe that one must do all that is necessary in order to protect oneself and others from infection. If this means for a time to wear a mask in public, wash our hands, and socially distancing ourselves when possible, then we will do so. Being safe makes sense. As from childhood, we were instructed to wash our hands, especially after coming from a gathered crowd. But if life must forever be defined by the required behavior that is necessary to decrease our contact with one another, then we must be prepared to live a life that is contrary to the very nature of human interaction.

The point of our concern at the time is not whether one should do all the safety measures to keep oneself and others safe from infection, but the negative social consequences that we must recognize in order to do so. This is a subject that is commonly ignored, especially when a pandemic strikes in the midst of ambitious politicians in their efforts to win elections. However, regardless of all the fear-mongering that is spouted by politicians, we must remain focused on society as a whole. We must understand that the implementation of all the safety measures to protect our physical bodies from viral infection is not without harm to our spiritual self and relationship with others. It is for this reason that we must consider the social ramifications of all the restrictions to keep ourselves safe from the viewpoint of what God has revealed to us concerning human relationships. We must not forget that man-made social restrictions that come from unbelieving people do not come without harm to society. This is especially true if the social restrictions are placed upon society by the atheistic officials of government who have no consideration for the behavior of a God-created human being. But what seems to be more of a problem in these times of democratic government is that the elected officials are placing the restrictions on society because they do not to be accused of doing nothing in reference to the Covid pandemic. They want to be known for doing all that could be done, whether all that could be done damages both the social structure of societies, as well as the business that families have built up for generations. For a few months of lockdown, elected officials, in order to get reelected are willing to destroy that which will take more than a generation to rebuilt. We see this move on the part of those who thirst for power a tremendously selfish move.

• Damaging social function: My wife and I were recently sitting in our living room, as all lockdown “patients” often do, in front of the one-eyed creature, our television, that we have invited into our house to prevent boredom. We were listening intently to the British Broadcast Corporation (BCC) concerning the daily body count in reference to the Covid-19 pandemic. And then the BCC moved on to an interview with two psychologists who covered a subject that we had not observed on any of the other news media at the time.

Almost daily on all media networks there were dismal information reports concerning all the attacks of an unseen viral enemy that has ravaged humanity around the world. We are bombarded with strategic lockdowns and social separations that seem to have engulfed humanity around the world. But sometime very important seems to have always been lacking in all these reports. Science was dealing with the physical, but ignoring the emotional. The scientists were ignoring the fact that all their prescriptions to prevent the spread of the Covid virus were taking a tremendous toll on the social interaction and financial well-being of humanity.

Evidence of all the sociological problems that are now arising out of the mandated restrictions that have been imposed on humanity around the world are now coming to the surface. The psychological trauma that people are suffering concerning the pandemic restrictions has now increased to the point that societies can no longer ignore the fact that people’s lives are being greatly impacted by all the pandemic restrictions on human interaction. This problem has become so pronounced that the BCC could no longer refrain from alerting people of something that all of us have known for years, especially those of us who recognize that we are God-created human beings. This was a news report of old news, therefore, that was revealed in the Bible for millennia.

[Next in series: Oct. 4]

Restoraton Essentials

During times of trial that come upon us, we must always focus on the positive. During these times wherein we are greatly restricted from one another in our common assemblies as the church, there are some serendipitous results that have come into our lives. These are blessings on which we must focus in order to understand that Satan cannot win in our lives. He will have his brief victories, but in all things that seem to be hopeless, we must never forget that there are blessings that keep our hope alive. It is for this reason that Paul wrote that all things work together for good to those who love God (Rm 8:28). We must view all times of trial, therefore, as a refreshing time of restoration to spiritual matters in our lives.

• Restoration of personal Bible study: One of the greatest blessing about being locked in one’s home for a period of time, is that one has the opportunity to find his or her Bible, dust it off, and once again study God’s word. Instead of depending on the Bible study of a hired professional, the average member has in lockdown the opportunity to take ownership of his or her own Bible study.

It is now like it was back in those days a century ago when people were cut off from the biblically educated world. Each brother had to take his turn to preach on Sunday. As in some places in the West Indies where we worked, if one was a baptized male member of the body, then he had to take his turn to preach. One of these young men related to us that he was twelve years old when he was baptized. When he came out of the water, someone gave him a towel to dry off. Another brother said, “You preach next Sunday.” He told us that he preached that which he had to know before he went down into that water.

Professionalism is not a part of Christianity. Professionalism strikes a blow at the very heart of each member taking ownership of his or her responsibilities to be a disciple of Jesus. If one needs an answer to a Bible question, there were no professionals in the first century to which to go in order to have a Bible answer given. Professionals have made gaining Bible knowledge cheap for the members, at least cheap in the amount of time one should spend in Bible study. All one has to do is show up in a class and the professional will teach all that he or she needs to know. This steals away the opportunity for each disciple to give all diligence to present oneself approved unto God through diligent personal Bible study (2 Tm 2:15). In those days when the professionals are limited in their context with the members, it is an opportunity for the members to once again study the Bible for themselves.

Unfortunately, the discussion that is now common among all local assemblies of disciples is that many of the members have vanished. Many churches have started restricted assemblies in a pandemic environment, but some members are not coming back to the assembly. These members became so disconnected from the people during the lockdown that they have decided to stay away from the assembly. It may be that these members are not coming back to the assembly because they were never really there in spirit in the first place.

Those who do come back to the assembly are reaffirmed in their relationships with one another because they have been friends for too long to stay away from one another. In their return to the assembly they discovered the purpose of the assembly, that is, a weekly opportunity to renew friendships. If one were never connected into the making friends with the members of the body of Christ, then this is one who will disappear.

• Restoration of personal spiritual growth: Once one is locked away from those on whom he or she relies for spiritual strength, then one has to dig deep inside in order to discover the spiritual strength that is needed to survive. One must take ownership of his or her own spiritual growth.

We need not depend on professionals to be the foundation of our faith. Only Jesus can be in that position. The purpose of an assembly of disciples is that we can take the opportunity to regularly renew our friendships with one another (Hb 10:24,25). But when this opportunity is taken away, it is then that we learn to be somewhat self-reliant in reference to our spiritual growth and relationship with Jesus. We cannot depend on the “pastor” in such social restrictions. We must depend on Jesus alone in our home. It is as the rural Israelites were on their farms that were scattered throughout the land of Palestine. These farmers were not in close contact with one another. Nevertheless, they survived with their families alone in their homes, with an occasional visit from a roaming Levi.

• Restoration to stronger families: One of the greatest blessings of the pandemic is that families have been forced to be together. This was certainly difficult for the older children of the family. Nevertheless, lockdown forced the teenagers to be at home with the family.

During the lockdown weeks families were forced to learn how to play games together. They could have family Bible studies together. They could pray together as a family. And, fathers and mothers could get more sleep on Friday and Saturday nights when before they had to wait up until their teenage children came home before curfew.

When we were young and living on a farm, we were in “lockdown” every day. In the evenings, all of us learned to play games with one another. We were a family unit and never felt as if we were deprived from social activities with others. In those days, families learned how to be dependent on one another. Unfortunately, the fear of most urban families today is the possibility of being bored out of their minds. They are bored if the mother is not rushing the children around for all sorts of school and sports activities. But this is only a recent, if not only an urban, cultural behavior. No farmer is resistent to lookdowns since that is often his normal behavior of life.

• Restoration of preaching outside four walls: One of the blessings of the pandemic lockdown is that Bible teachers were forced to reach out to the world by live streaming their Bible lessons. Some preachers did this before the lockdown. However, the practice has accelerated during the lockdown. We see this as a good thing, and pray that it will continue in the future. Live streaming one’s studies through the internet is simply being a better steward of one’s Bible study and lesson preparation. One can reach out to more than those who are seated before him in a church house on Sunday morning.

We could add here that those writers who are somewhat lazy in their efforts to write good materials can now focus on the world through the internet. The opportunity to use the internet for writing has always been there. But few preachers and Bible teachers have used this opportunity to reach out to a greater audience than what shows up in a classroom on Sunday morning. Writing is very difficult, but it is a ministry that must be used in order to reach this world. In fact, in the days of the lockdown, other than live streaming one’s message, writing reaches those who would seek to download information for their own personal Bible study.

• Restoration of our thirst to be together: There is nothing like understanding how much we need one another by being barred from seeing one another. We are social beings. It is the way God created us. This is especially true in reference to the assemblies of the members of the church. But when Christians are locked away from one another, then they begin to understand why God encouraged us to be with one another.

We have learned that the assembly of the church is not a legal religious ceremony. It is an opportunity to connect spiritually with one another in Christ. We cherish our friends when we are separated from them. As any Christian would confess, being forced to socially distance from one another is not fun. It is not natural. What is natural is a hug and a hand shake. Those who bow down to the science god must understand that humanity cannot live forever without human contact.

[Next in series: Oct. 2]

The Good & The Bad (B)

• Revelation of profiteers: One of the good things that has come out of the pandemic is the fall of the profiteers in the religious world. The good sense of those who came to mass assemblies judged that continuing to do such would not be safe for those who attended. Many assemblies around the world, therefore, have been curtailed in order to guard the health of all those who would attend. But there has been a serendipity to closing down some assemblies. Profiteering false prophets have been deprived of an innocent audience from which they can extract contributions.

We say this knowing that many good preachers of the gospel have also suffered. When assemblies were curtailed around the world, many preachers whose livelihoods depended on the weekly contribution also lost much of their support. Nevertheless, those profiteering faith-healing preachers who roamed among the churches were shut out. These religious marketers had no opportunity to generate hypnotic audiences from which they could extract contributions. Those countries in Africa who barred some of these profiteering prophets from coming to their country needed no longer worry. Shutdown airlines have stopped many of these religious charlatans from boarding airplanes, and traveling throughout the continent. If they did arrive in some country, the people have been barred from attending their miracle-working assemblies.

Must we remind the religious world that the profiteering prophets missed a great opportunity in 2019? If they were true prophets, then why did we not hear from them in 2019 in reference to the coming Covid pandemic in 2020? Those who are thinking should now be able to make a judgment concerning such self-proclaimed false prophets. They were not there in 2019, and neither should they be among us today.

• Revelation of narcissistic preachers: Those preachers who built churches around themselves are now in trouble. Some have used the faith of the people as an opportunity to build a support base of people within a community. On the continent on which we live, this is a very common practice. Now that this support base has been greatly diminished, it is often quite difficult for those prophets who depended on the people for support to be financially secure. There are those preachers who are worthy of support, but we are not discussing these faithful servants. We are focusing on those whose purpose for building an assembly had ulterior motives. These were unworthy motives for financial gain.

In Achaia there were those who were extracting support from the church because they had established themselves to be somewhat among the brethren (2 Co 11:12-15). There were those who were using the church as an opportunity for gain (See 2 Co 11:19,20). If such happened in the church of the first century, then certainly we would assume that such would also happen today. There will always be those who seize the opportunity to take advantage of the innocence of the sheep in order to get gain.

• Revelation of worship without an audience: Instrumentalists often seek an audience. It is quite rare to find a group of instrumentalists playing for themselves. They may do so in order to practice their concert presentation. However, their goal is to play before an audience. It is believed that worshipers are inspired as they pluck away on a guitar, or beat on a drum. They forget that though they may individually pour out their hearts by playing an instrument, at the same time they make all those who cannot join in with an instrument, the audience. All those who do not play an instrument become spectators. Though spectators can be mesmerized by the skill of those who play, being mesmerized through our ears is not worship from our hearts.

Now that the many audience have been taken from the instrumentalists, the worshipers have discovered that they can just as well worship God in their homes without all the distractions of the noise. Worshipers have discovered that they can express their worship on their knees in the quietness of their living rooms without all the distractions of an instrumental concert. People of faith are learning that worship is not in being a mesmerized spectator, but individual outpouring of one’s heart.

• Revelation of ritual-free worship: Related to the preceding point, worshipers have also discovered that they can worship at home without the priest or preacher taking them through some religious rites, rituals or ceremonies. It has been discovered that religious acts of worship are not necessary in order for one to pour out his heart to God with his family at home.

By going home, the worshipers of the world are now discovering the simplicity of worship apart from all the formal presentations of curtains and colored windows in church buildings and temples. Meritorious performances during assembled religionists have been taken away in order that we can discover again the simplicity of worship. We can now go back to our closets in secret and pray to our Father who is in secret.

• Revelation of stymied evangelism: One of the greatest detriments to the pandemic is the shutdown of many evangelistic outreaches worldwide. Travel has been greatly hindered. Public assemblies have been banned in many countries of the world. Some missionaries have returned home, and many hundreds of local evangelists have lost their support. It is indeed a dark day in reference to evangelistic outreach around the world.

If it were not for the internet, we would imagine that the disciples’ outreach with the gospel would be almost brought to a close. We personally do not believe that God will allow this to continue. If evangelism ceases, then the purpose for this world has ceased. If we are to populate heaven by reaching out to the lost, then if the lost can no longer be reached, then there is no purpose for this world.

It is difficult preaching the gospel of love through a mask that conceals one’s face. “Faceless evangelism” has minimal results. We can try to smile with our eyes, but unless people see teeth, we are as expressionless zombies in a disconnected, if not distanced world. This is not the social environment for evangelism. If there are those countries that require a face mask in all social environments, then we are headed into a faceless world. And evangelism without a face, is greatly hindered. We suppose that Satan is tremendously excited about these times.

We can understand why there are marches in different countries against the law to wear a face mask in all public situations. We admired the Germans who were the first to have such a march in Berlin. If one does not know the history of Germany during the reign of the Third Reich, then he or she will have difficulty in understanding why the German people were on the streets marching against a state-imposed law to wear a mask. The Germans were traumatized by Hitler and his henchmen for over a decade seventy-five years ago. They were eventually freed by the Allied Forces in WW II. They now have a phobia about any indications of being brought again into the oppression of any dictator. Those who would seek to lord over the people with laws that work against the human nature should think twice before they work against the consent of the people.

[Next in series: Sept. 30]

The Good & The Bad (A)

With some trepidation we would set forth some of the good, bad and ugly things that are being revealed in the current social calamity that has befallen many people throughout the world today in reference to the pandemic. As we survey through these blessings and cursings, we must never forget that there is nothing new under heaven. Whether as individuals, or as a society of individuals, history is filled with all that might transpire in the present and future. As the people of God endured the past, so they will do the same today as we transition at different places in the world into new paradigms.

• Revelation of demigods: Remember the following statement when King Jesus said to John at the beginning of His revelation of traumatic social chaos that was about to come upon the Jews, “Do not fear. I am the first and the last” (Rv 1:17). We must never forget this. And then again Jesus said to those in Smyrna, “Do not fear those things that you will suffer” (Rv 2:10).

We are sure that Jesus did not give a command that could not be obeyed by His disciples. We must not think, therefore, that He asked those disciples to do something that they could not do, that is, proceed fearlessly into the future. Our assurance that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords should calm our spirits, no matter what social chaos that might prevail at any one time in history. Paul reassured his readers, “The peace of God that surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Ph 4:7). Therefore, “Rejoice in the Lord always. And again I say, rejoice!” (Ph 4:4).

Those who are fearful are easily subjected to those who would reign over them. Demigod rulers seize the opportunity when the people of a society are brought into a state of fear. Fear can be produced by the authorities of the state, or brought on by some natural calamity. Regardless of the origin, fear within a society is fertile soil for those who would seek to rule by mandates that they would bind on the people. In these times the world has been brought under fear by those who worship the god of science. And since the world is in fear, then the kings and lords of this world often take the opportunity to subjugate the people to their control. Demigods always feel good when people are under their control. Control gives them a sense of power.

We see such in some of the present rulers of the nations that have issued some lockdown measures because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some governors in America are behaving as demigods over the people of the states of which they were democratically elected. Without the permission of the people, and sometimes the votes of their own state legislators, they have issued mandates to the public that often do more harm to the social economics of the society than the virus of pandemic.

We have also witnessed that these lords would become self-righteous judges of other nations that cannot enforce lockdown measures. We must keep in mind that “lockdown” is a Western concept, which thing cannot be implement in most developing world environments where people live in mass in shanty villages and towns. And besides this, we have also witnessed that those lords who are quick to bring restrictions on others in their own cities often feel that they themselves are free from adherence to such restrictions. It is always the inability of a lord to live consistently in reference to those things that he or she would bind on others.

The worldwide pandemic has often been the opportunity of some to reveal their thirst to reign over people. There is lordship leadership in every potential lord. Sometimes the fear within a society becomes the opportunity for those with a hidden desire to reign to have the opportunity to lord over others. Nevertheless, Christians must never be subjected to fear, either by governments or natural calamities. Those who are brought into fear are brought into bondage. It is truly the fearless who live in freedom. And since Jesus sought to set us free, our freedom is not only from sin, but from any calamity that this world would deliver.

In reference to America, who would ever have thought that there would be governors of certain states who would ignore the first amendment of the US Constitution? Those who fled religious persecution in Europe and immigrated to America, did so in order to find freedom in the New World. Those forefathers could never have conceived that when they wrote the Bill of Rights that there would arise over two hundred years later their descendants who would not honor the constitutional amendment that there would be a separation between church and state. They would never have dreamed of the day when in the “land of the free,” they would hear from the state, “Your rights to assemble as Christians have been suspended.” Liquor stores and abortion clinics may remain open, but church assemblies will be shut down.

In the lockdown times in America church assemblies were closed down because of fear. Some church members were fined even when they sought to stay in their vehicles and drive to an open-air assembly where the preacher stood outside and preached to everyone who remained in their vehicles. Civil liberties were being ignored for the purpose of “keeping the people safe from the virus.” This does not mean, however, that the people should ignore safe behavior. However, it is the right of the people to make this choice. The choice should not be made by a lord of the state, and then imposed on the people. The people should be educated concerning behavior that is safe for the people, and then, the people should be able to implement such safety measures without the fear of the state.

We must always remember that when we are in fear, we often lose our sense of rationality, and sometimes our freedom for which many died in conflict to preserve. Sometimes we lose sight of the very foundation upon which a nation was built. Therefore, we must not forget that fearful people are easily brought into the bondage of those who thirst to be demigods. We do not move into the future, therefore, under a shroud of fear, but caution. Since Christians are not to fear, then they move forward with caution.

The last thing that should bring fear in our hearts is fear of anything in our environment. So we go forward with the following words of the Holy Spirit clearly in our minds: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rm 8:31,32). The Spirit continued, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will it be tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril [as pandemics], or sword?” (Rm 8:35).

[Next in series: Sept. 28]