DIE CORONA VIRUS
HOE MOET DIE KERK DAAROP REAGEER?
Gelowiges verskil met mekaar oor die spesifieke hantering van hierdie pandemie wat op ons pad gekom het, dalk meer oor watter maatreëls die ‘beste’ is in hierdie krisis situasie (My kerkraad se besluit kan hier gelees word).
Na aanleiding van wat ek reeds daaroor geskryf het, sien ook hierdie paar artikels, preke, besprekings oor die saak. Ongeag of mens noodwendig oor al die detail gaan saamstem, wil ek veral die eerste preek en artikel aanbeveel wat veral klem plaas op verootmoediging voor die Here, belydenis van ons sondes en die uitroep na die Here dat Hy ons en baie ander genadig sal wees. Dit kan ons help toerus hoe ons hierdie tye geestelik en in Woordverkondig moet hanteer, om die Here se Hand in alles, ook hierdie pandemie te sien, soos ons bely volgens die Skrif, daar in Heidelbergse Kategismus Sondag 9 en 10. Daarin is ons troos en hoop ook geleë: Die Here regeer in en deur dit alles.
“Ek is die HERE, en daar is geen ander nie; 7 wat die lig formeer en die duisternis skep, die heil bewerk en die onheil skep: Ek, die HERE, is dit wat al hierdie dinge doen. 8 Laat dit drup, o hemele, van bo af, en laat die wolke vloei van geregtigheid; laat die aarde oopgaan, en laat heil voortkom en geregtigheid; laat hulle saam uitspruit. Ek, die HERE, het dit geskape.” (Jes. 45:6-8)
Ek vra vir enige leser/luisteraar wat wil reageer: doen dit met kennis, insig en wysheid, moenie net opskrifte en aanhalings lees en eensydige afleidings maak en uit die heup wil skiet nie. Gaan verantwoordelik om met ander mense, veral ander gelowiges se standpunte, of mens met alles saamstem of nie.
19 So dan, my geliefde broeders, elke mens moet gou wees om te hoor, stadig om te praat, stadig om toornig te word. 20 Want die toorn van ‘n man bewerk nie die geregtigheid voor God nie. (Jak. 1:19-20).
Hier is ‘n paar bronne:
(Luister veral na die prediker se passievolle oproep vanaf omtrent 24min tot 37min)
39 Why should a living man complain, A man for the punishment of his sins?
40 Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the LORD;
41 Let us lift our hearts and hands To God in heaven.
42 We have transgressed and rebelled; You have not pardoned. (Lam. 3:39-42)
“Nothing doth usually so bring men’s sinnes to mind and memory as judgments”
(William Gouge, God’s Three Arrows, p. 6).
Whenever there is a tragic event such as a natural disaster, terrorist attack, disease outbreak, etc. discussions arise about God’s involvement. Some Christians have a hard time believing that God would allow something so cruel even to the point of implying that He may not have total control. We reject the Open Theist notion that God does not know about or can’t control nature or providence and we hold that God is both good and the sovereign first cause of everything that comes to pass. He is not obligated to allot any man a certain amount of time on earth or ensure that we do not endure suffering. It is blasphemous to suggest that God is not good due to the suffering of man, suffering is the result of our own sin and rebellion against God.
Christ uses the Kingdom of His Power (His according to His nature as the eternal Son of God) to build His Kingdom of Grace (His as the Mediator of the Covenant of Grace) as well as to harden the reprobate for ultimate judgment. We will explore how the relationship between these two kingdoms work regarding catastrophe and judgment, as well as the proper response to judgment and the duty of nations to corporately submit to Christ and support His visible Church, which is “the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ” (WCF 25:2).
“Thus saith the Lord God; Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, Alas for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! for they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence” (Ez. 6:11).
If the first Adam embodied the “You do you” culture, the second Adam embodies the “You serve others” culture. After all, it was Jesus who said, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35).
The “you do you” worldview may at first appear to be life-giving, when in actuality it is life-taking. In contrast, the Christian worldview may at first appear to be life-taking, when in actuality it is life-giving.
Ironically, then, it’s in the midst of a tragedy like the coronavirus when Jesus’ words ring most true: “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt 16:25).
What I think I am saying is this: Hebrews 10:24-25 should not be applied to this circumstance as implying we should meet when pestilence is about! I hope if you are troubled about worshipping on-line that this will ease your mind that you are not letting your Lord down. At this time of crisis Christians should be seen to be sane. It would be a great pity to reduce a great Gospel opportunity to distaste or disdain, in some well-meaning insistence that we must meet boldly and bravely in the midst of plague in order to honour our Lord – this is what I am sure is what all my brothers intend, even if we disagree!
This article in no way disparages the use social media for the advancement of the gospel. This article is about protecting the corporate nature of public worship. Exceptional moments do require exceptional actions. I encourage all people to pray that God would again open a door for the gospel that people might turn from fear to the living God who is a refuge and strength to all who call upon him. I encourage fathers to lead in family worship in the home. This allows for actual participation in family worship rather than merely being spectators before a screen. Parents have a wonderful opportunity to minister to their children in private family worship.
I encourage pastors to care for the flock within the limits that providence has placed on them. Messages and prayers livestreamed can be of great help to our people. Pastoral visitation, if possible, is a wonderful way of ministering to the spiritual needs of the people. But there should be a clear distinction that what we are doing before empty seats and a camera is not corporate worship. This will give our people something to earnestly pray about, namely, the freedom and desire to return as a real people, in body and soul, to the worship of God. That longing is healthy and beneficial for the saints, promoting the creation of what Jesus designated as true worshipers of God who worship in spirit and in truth.
But then the guys get down to discussing in a Biblical manner the virus. How do we handle the vast flow of information regarding it? Which people do we trust during this time? What does the Bible say about plagues? How should the church respond? What are we to think about the future? What means can we employ during this time to handle this crisis?
If you could use a little encouragement during these strange days, tune in to this episode of 3GT!
I’m not a medical professional, so I won’t pretend to be able to give advice of that sort. But as you seek out the best information on how to respond, read it through the lens of a Christian worldview.
Specifically I want to suggest that Christians should weave three practices into everything we do: Think, Love, Thank. (Yes, I notice that this echoes the “eat-pray-love” thing. The difference is that these practices aren’t selfishness-parading-as-spirituality; they come from the gospel).