CHLIC #4 – Dec 20th, Love

CHLIC #4 – Dec 20th, Love

The Peace week of advent 2020 has been very interesting. A lawsuit has been filed against the Alberta Government over the lock-down infringement on Civil Rights, churches in Manitoba were blockaded by Police. Churches in Alberta were raided and given shutdown orders, unknown persons were going to churches and photographing license plates, and churches were getting hate mail and threats. So when did that all become OK?

Amidst the craziness of Peace week, I have had dueling ‘sermons’ preached to me in the form of links. Neither of which were done spitefully or out of rebuke, but out of concern and love. Both were shared with me by highly respected Christian brothers and friends whom I’ve known for over 13 years each. It is out of sacrificial love for others that they have taken the positions they have, but like Paul and Barnabas, they each have differing views that can not work together, because their approaches are different.

This has left me in a bit of a pickle. While I am a member of the congregation of the one friend, I find myself aligning with the views of the other. As a result of this pickle, I have given each article shared a critical analysis. Even this though, is difficult to do, as one article, I don’t agree with much of, I can more easily pick apart, while the other I just found myself nodding in agreement. So, I ask you to give both articles a read and analysis. Point out the inconsistencies or errors that my biases may be preventing me from seeing.

The two articles are:

A Call to Divine Obedience – Aaron Rock


Are Masks a Conscience Issue – Erik Raymond

I will explain why I reject the second article’s arguments. While both articles focus on the lock-down down measures and the over all theme of “should the church be submitting to the ‘authorities'” on these matters. The second hones in on masks, and whether masks are objectionable to the conscience, while the first focuses on the overall intent and spirit of the lock-downs, and masks just happen to be one of the measures they use.

Raymond takes the position that the masks themselves are the thing that ‘anti-maskers’ have taken ‘conscience’ issue with. This comes off as shallow and pedantic to anyone who does object to wearing the mask, as the mask itself is clearly not what most people object to. It would be akin to saying that people who object to drums in church think the drums themselves are sinful. While I’m sure there are some who have taken this shallow position, I can say with certainty, that is not what the position of the majority of ‘anti-maskers’ is.

Raymond further states all arguments against the mask fit in three categories; political, moral, & scientific, while at the same time implying that no one objects on the grounds of all three, and that all the arguments can be simplified to his suggested rationale for those categories. In writing off the arguments of the ‘anti-masker’ into such a narrow view, he presumes to know what they are thinking and judges the ‘anti-masker’ as being in disobedience to God.

Having established that the majority of Raymonds article is off key with what most anti-maskers believe, I can move on to the 6 points he raises as to why he believes Christian’s shouldn’t object to masks, and should obey the authorities. Or rather, the 6 presumptions he makes as to the thoughts and intent behind every ‘anti-masker’ who calls themselves a Christian.

I can not speak for others, but these are my answers to the six accusations of Mr. Raymonds.

1. Conscience doesn’t work that way.

The Conscience can and DOES work that way in the real world. Every person on earth is a hypocrite, and nowhere is it more obvious than around the Covid restrictions imposed by the government willy nilly. But regardless, since the mask is not the issue, but the intent and ethics behind the wearing of the mask, it makes perfect sense that people would wear a mask at a hospital or work, or to buy groceries, but not at church, because church is where God is supposed to be the authority, not government. Is Raymond really suggesting that in order for the Christian to be consistent, he must starve, be homeless, and die of any injury, because we don’t want to wear a mask before God?
Besides all that, I and many ‘anti-maskers’ I know will not wear the mask anywhere not reasonable. I will not wear it at grocery stores. I will not wear it to work. I will not wear one to church. I’ve even pulled my kids out of public school, so that they wouldn’t have to wear a mask. How’s that for consistency? More than I can say for the rules at church that say you have to wear a mask while singing, but not preaching, and only when singing non-worship songs.

2.Gathering to worship.

This one particularly irked me, as most churches in places where there are mask mandates are not even allowed to meet, and if so, they must have limited attendance, and remain 6 feet apart, are not allowed to break bread with each other, or hang around after the service. What kind of fellowship is that? Certainly not the kind the scriptures had in mind. Many churches have even ceased meeting together entirely, and prerecorded their sermons. So which group was forsaking the fellowship again? All the Christian ‘anti-maskers’ I know insist on going to church.

3. Submssion to Authorities

Aaron Rock countered this one pretty good. Blind submission to anyone claiming authority is not only sinful, by shows extreme cowardice, and lack of any convictions. Rock said this, as have I, should we submit to C-6? We now know that much of the Bible will be illegal to preach once C-6 passes. Blind unquestioning submission makes you complicit in all kinds of atrocities, and you have only yourself to blame when they come for you.

I don’t have a problem submitting to proper legal authorities, and as long as their commands do not make me a complicit actor in the atrocities that those commands create. Will I carry a pack for a soldier if the law requires me to? Yes. Will I help him load his weapon. No. Will I wear a mask when visiting the elderly, or a hospital? Yes. Will I wear a mask when worshiping God. NO. I firmly believe that when I am kneeling before God, while wearing a mask, I am informing Him who I really fear and submit to.

4. Submission to Elders

If those elders are demanding you obey them rather than God, than you are perfectly righteous to disobey. But I understand masking is a split issue, and so while I don’t agree with requiring you wear a mask at church, it is a worse thing for me to cause division and strife in the church. So that is why I do not attend in person where masks are required. It is not like the fellowship is any better in person as watching on screen, when all the anti-fellowship rules are being enforced. . . and if all the rules are NOT being enforced, that is open hypocrisy. So, it is just better to avoid it entirely.

5. Love for Others

One could also say that standing up for people’s rights is out of concern and love for the people, just like William Wilberforce, and MLK. To not stand up for the truth,justice and rights, is far more careless to me than making someone uncomfortable for 60 minutes. This argument is as shallow as saying we need to love homosexuals by accepting their sin. It is unwise to pass judgement on others as to whether they are loving and un-Christ-like when you don’t even understand what their convictions are, or what freedoms to love others you are losing by not fighting for those rights.

6. Wisdom Toward Outsiders

Raymond’s last point suggests that Christian ‘anti-maskers’ come across as unwise if we do not obey every edict given around Covid, but I believe it shows a particular lack of wisdom to just accept everything without question, even when it contradicts common sense, ‘conventional wisdom’, science, ethics, and observable truth. The Covid rules are full of nonsense and hypocricy. Even here in Alberta, the ministers are not subject to the rules that everyone else is. So how are they ‘protecting’ others?

As well, I’m not aware of any ‘super spreaders’ from church. I am aware of a few churches that had pot lucks that spread it among their congregations, but it didn’t go any further. Same with the quires. Again you have to question the wisdom of feeding hysteria, and putting faith in the government over God.

In Conclusion

I hope you all have a better understanding as to why I will not comply with the mask orders, and that we are not the unloving careless people we are labeled. Many of us have thought this through, and are doing it for our kids and future generations; For truth, for justice, for the isolated and lonely, for life, and for Gospel.

I know you probably have 1000 more questions and ‘debates’ and I am open to honest civil discourse, and so feel to comment under this post, or on my account, and hopefully I will see you at our 4th CHLIC session. I’ve changed the location to the Costco parking lot, as the Family Leisure Center is closed.

We will be singing the songs that we didn’t get to sing last week.

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