This is a special COVID-19 edition of The Bell Ringer. As public media echoes its voice, including sound medical advice from the pros, but also fear mongering, we must, as the body of Jesus Christ, adopt a Biblical response to the Corona virus. In this issue, we attempt to share some of what we believe to be sound published thoughts from some of the best minds.
But first allow me to frame the discussion a bit.
You hear constantly of flattening the curve of the outbreak, as MarketWatch notes. As government expert Dr. Anthony Fauci himself says:
“If you look at the curves of outbreaks, you know, they go up big peaks, and then they come down. What we need to do is flatten that down,” he has said publicly. “That would have less people infected. That would, ultimately, have less deaths.”
Since the eventual spread of the virus is apparently a given, the purpose for slowing the spread of contagion is to reduce a sudden, momentary surge of impact on health care services, to spread the contagion out over time. This certainly seems reasonable in itself. However, since the contagion remains in the population, slowing the spread means also slowing other significant and possibly devastating effects on society. How long can businesses survive an elongated crisis, small businesses especially? How will an elongated period of fear and panic affect an often-childish public among the many who do not trust God? Will we experience an extended period of riots or other expressions of unrest? We’ve already seen mini-panics in our supermarkets and big box stores.
Will elongating the curve give the power-hungry statists an extending opportunity to subjugate the population with curfews and other statist impositions?
Our founders, our Founding God really, intended America to function as a do-it-yourself, voluntary people. At root is the ability for self-government upon a grand providential, Biblical-historical wisdom that allows for institutionalizing Biblical principles of relational government into fundamental law and common practice.
I wonder if America did not depend, emotionally and practically, so heavily on experts and the state, if we might voluntarily come together by faith with Biblical solutions and mutual care, thus avoiding an invitation to tyranny in the name of keeping ourselves safe. I hear a politician lamenting what looks to him as public chaos. He no doubt holds to a characteristic solution—tyranny. True, God’s individuality in society by design, with communities coming together in voluntary union does often indeed look like chaos as we seek solutions. But this is always a what a free and self-governing society looks like. Liberty looks like chaos, but in a community that practices loving one’s neighbor, few unnecessarily suffer. We trust God to control us, and not men.
Just so, in the past, Americans would look to God and not men. They would declare a day of prayer, fasting and public humiliation in the face of dire circumstances. We realize that our own sin might be the root cause of our trouble. We do not dare assume God’s purview to appoint blame. Scriptures forbid it. But it is perfectly Biblical to pray and seek God’s face, even as we humble ourselves and confess our sins, which we all bear. We thank God, that in this time of distress President Trump had the courage to declare a National Day of Prayer.
Then it is perfectly Biblical to seek godly solutions. Isolation, for example, is a Biblical solution to contagion.
Altogether, even as we each seek the path of action the Lord would have of us in the trial, I pray that we are also consider the long-term impact of the choices we make as individuals and as a society. The Book of Hebrews warns us:
“Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may* serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.—Hebrews 12:27-29 © NKJV
We know we must endure trials in this fleeting life. Certainly, we can expect that God will shake us occasionally for His own purposes. Our response ought to be one of faith out of Biblical prayer, wisdom, compassion, and identifying positive opportunities. Jesus Christ is not suspending His Great Commission. And perhaps, our Lord is giving us an opportunity to nudge our nation back to its voluntary, self-governing and generous roots, and our essential evangelical purpose.
For now, the counsel to isolation is wise. “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished” (Proverbs 22:3 © NKJV). Voluntarily flattening the curve makes sense. Authoritarian measures are dangerous.
Ron Kirk is editor of The Bell Ringer, an ordained minister of the Gospel, and pioneering educator—restoring and extending a Biblical and historic system of education and applied Biblical faith.