In Acts 28, the apostle Paul was under house arrest, apparently for 2 years. Paul did not jail break his house arrest. Instead, he preached the gospel to all who came to him. This is the same Paul who instructed the Romans, and Titus to be in submission to governing authorities. Paul taught that those who do good need not be afraid as government is an ordination of God.
It’s truly disappointing that some Pastors have chosen to defy governing authorities who are simply doing their best to slow the spread of a virus and save lives. This is why I believe the greatest need in American Christianity is sound doctrine. Those who think that the closing of churches for a brief time to help prevent the spread of this virus is somehow equal to the persecution the apostles endured in Acts is troubling.
Local authorities in the United States are not suppressing the gospel. They are not forbidding us to speak in the name of Jesus. In fact, Churches are encouraged to use every means possible to continue their ministries and stay in touch with their congregations. There are so many available outlets to continue ministry during this pandemic (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tic Tok, Twitter, Blogs, Vlogs, etc ), and Pastors may freely visit his parishioners if they so choose. I can only imagine how Paul would have put the resources we have available to good use while under house arrest.
A temporary suspension of in person church services ought not be compared to the real persecution the apostles and early Christians endured. We as Christians are simply being asked to do our part, as team players to help our communities fight the spread of Covid 19.
Unlike the Christians who have truly suffered persecution, Christians in the United States have a vast amount of government assistance made available to them: stimulus checks, federal sponsored unemployment, and PPP loans that are forgivable. Besides these, many creditors are offering help to relieve financial burdens until we get past this time.
Yet in this environment, some have decided they want to turn the cautionary measures that local authorities are implementing during the pandemic it into a constitutional fight, by defying the guidelines of their local governments. Ironically, the very scriptures they claim to adhere to reveals that those who “despise government” are actually walking after the flesh. ~ 2 Peter 2:10
Such behavior does more to bring a reproach on the gospel in the eyes of the world than to glorify the Name of Christ. As Christians we are not called to be rebellious to governing authorities when such authorities are doing their best to serve the public. We are called to set the example of godliness and purity by submitting in meekness as we display good works which put to silence our critics.
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. ~ Romans 13:1-5
Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. ~ Titus 3:1-2
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation (your conduct) honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. ~ 1 Peter 2:11-16