Nothing like a crisis to shed some light on how Christians think and what they believe. Responses from preachers around the globe to Covid-19 have underscored our need to be like the Bereans of old and search the Scriptures to see if what is being claimed matches what God has said.
Here are some of the issues to be wary of as you tune in online over these next few weeks:
1. The blood of Jesus – some have suggested that the blood of Jesus, like a magic charm, will protect those who come under its covering from the virus. This is not true. By the blood of Jesus believers have been justified or declared right before God (Romans 5:9). His blood has dealt with the penalty of sin and so enabled us to come near to God (Ephesians 2:13). His blood forgives our sin (Ephesians 1:7, 1 John 1:9).
2. The nature of faith – we are not called to have faith in our faith, rather we are called to have faith in Christ. We trust him for forgiveness, we trust him for help to live as we ought, and so on. The object of our faith is all important, not the amount of faith (see Matthew 17:20). Saying you’ll be protected from the virus if you have enough faith is completely off the mark.
3. God’s sovereignty/providence – I do not believe anyone can say with any certainty that God has sent this pandemic (supposedly to get our attention and call us to repent). While God has previously sent plagues and will again in the future, He would appear to be working in a different way in this current age. I see no biblical evidence to suggest he is behind Covid 19. Do we suggest he was behind the black death in the Middle Ages and indeed the various strains of flu that slay thousands each year?
4. Misapplication of the Old Testament – the bulk of the O.T. is about God working with the nation of Israel to bring blessing (redemption) to the world. From the beginning the nation of Israel operated under the Mosaic Covenant (the Old Covenant or the Old Testament). Under that covenant there were blessings for heart-felt obedience (like protection from pestilence cf. Psalm 91) and curses for disobedience. The church is not under the Mosaic Covenant. This means that many of the promises from the O.T. do not apply to us in the same way they applied to Israel. This misapplication is a dangerously common error many preachers are making.
5. The End Times – I do not believe what we are experiencing is mentioned in biblical prophecy. For sure the spread of this virus and the way world governments have severely clamped down on their people may point to how future events will unfold. However, the next event on the prophetic calendar (as I understand it) is the rapture of the church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), not a pandemic.
As you access a variety of biblical preachers over the next few weeks don’t just believe what they say. Though many are great orators and ooze charisma be sure to check out their teaching. Let’s try our best to think well of God and the way he works in the world.