A COVID Apology to America, on Behalf of the Evangelical Church

dc Talk’s 1995 hit “What If I Stumble?” starts with someone reading these lines: “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” Like it or not, true Christians have to deal with the consequences of the professing church. Many unbelievers look at the professing church’s lack of faithfulness and conclude that such is what true Christianity is.

As such, for many a true follower of Jesus, the response of the professing evangelical and even Reformed church during the coronavirus has been one of the most discouraging and disheartening parts of this whole year. Dealing with government overreach, media-induced fear, and hysteria without end would have been bad enough. But the one place where Christians should have been able to find refuge was in the church. There, believers should have found a different spirit—a spirit of faith and trust and courage. A spirit of freedom and peace. Believers should have been able to point to the church—the called out ones—and said to a watching world, “Behold, there is something otherworldly, something different from the world.” Sadly, that wasn’t the case for most churches. Uncertainty, fear, cancellations of fellowship, mask requirements, and social distance regulations thrived in the church just as much as in the world.

I’ve entitled this “A COVID Apology to America, on Behalf of the Evangelical Church.” This is what I believe the professing evangelical and Reformed church should say to America. And, of course, she should not only say it, but change course accordingly.

The Apology (7 parts):

America, we’re sorry. We had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show you how different Christianity is from the world. And we failed.

Years ago, Leonard Ravenhill said, “The world out there is not waiting for a new definition of Christianity; it’s waiting for a new demonstration of Christianity.” The COVID debacle of 2020-2021 was the perfect opportunity for us to give you that new demonstration of Christianity. We could have shown you what it means to live a life free from fear. We could have shown you what it means to value spiritual things more than material things. We could have shown you that Christians are different. Instead, most evangelical churches acted just like the world. Our profession of faith made little difference in our lives. Our churches closed their doors just like the Lion’s Club and community BINGO night. It’s too late for us now to change how we responded. But the least we can do is say that we’re sorry.

We’re sorry we contradicted so much of what we had told you previously. Prior to the coronavirus, we told you that it was vital for Christians to gather together and fellowship. We preached about passages such as Hebrews 10:25: “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” We told you about Christians throughout church history who were willing to meet despite the dangers of persecution, oppression, and even death. We held these men and women up as examples of faithfulness. And then, when the coronavirus struck us, we scattered like sheep without a shepherd. Forgive us.

Prior to the coronavirus we told you that living for Christ was worth more than anything this world could offer, including safety, health, and prosperity. We told you about Christians—going all the way back to the apostles—who truly understood the gospel and were willing to give up everything to follow Jesus. We told you about the missionaries and housewives, preachers and plowboys, who were willing to die if they could only read the Scripture. We told you that obedience to Christ was not an optional part of discipleship, but the very essence of following Jesus. And then, when it was going to cost us something to stand for Jesus and stand against the world, we crumbled like a house of cards. Forgive us.  

We’re sorry we perverted the glorious and beautiful blessing of Christian fellowship. We neglected fellowship. For some of us, it didn’t even take one week for us to cancel fellowship. We dressed it up with a lot of explanations and qualifications, but the bottom line is that we told everyone to stop meeting together as a church body. We did not accurately demonstrate the doctrine of Christian fellowship. We made Christianity to look no different than a social club or sports league, willing to cancel gatherings on the word of a pagan tyrant.

But even worse than abandoning Christian fellowship, we perverted fellowship. We encouraged you to think that Christians view “online” events as gatherings, fellowship, or services. This is all a gross perversion of what God intended for the church. We know that none of these things are fellowship, but we continued to act as if they were. To our shame, when we finally found some courage to meet (or, if we’re honest, when the state allowed us to meet), we continued to enforce mask and distancing mandates. We showed that we really don’t care if true fellowship occurs—where believers can interact with one another, see each other’s faces, and act as family—we really only cared about continuing to present a façade of Christianity. We did have good motives and intentions. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Truth be told, we caved to the pressure. Our actions are a stain upon the true church’s testimony concerning the doctrine of Christian fellowship.   

We’re sorry we conformed to the world. Christians are supposed to look different from the world. The fear that characterizes so much of our world, amplified to the extreme during the coronavirus, is unbecoming for a true Christian church. We know that we have been charged to not be conformed to this world (or “age,” see Romans 12:2). However, we found the temptation too strong and the potential cost too high for us to have our minds transformed during the coronavirus. Instead of standing as a city upon a hill as a light for a lost, confused, and scared world, we acted just like everyone else. Just like the pagans in the plagues of the second and third century, we encouraged you to stay away from others.

We understand if you now view Christianity as simply a pie-in-the-sky religion that has no real practical consequences for life. We lived as if that was the case. You might not believe us now—and we can hardly blame you based on how we have responded—but that’s not true Christianity.

We’re sorry we made our faithful brothers and sisters—those churches that stood firm from the very beginning of the COVID lockdowns—look like outliers. While most of the professing church conformed to the world’s thinking, a faithful remnant of congregations did not soil their garments with the fear and paranoia of the world. These congregations are worthy of godly admiration. But even when we had these godly examples right before our very eyes, we made them look like the extremists. We told you that we were doing the loving thing by not allowing the church to meet together. We made it look as if the true churches were unwise, unloving, and uncharitable. We made it look like those churches that followed God’s Word and honored the individual’s conscience were fools. We showed you that forcing congregants to wear masks and stay away each other was the “loving” thing. We’re sorry. We simply didn’t have the courage or the backbone to make such a stand. Part of us admired those churches that actually lived out the Christian faith, but we just felt much more comfortable in the safe place of conformity to the world. We preferred hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” from our governor than from the Lord Jesus Christ.

We’re sorry we misrepresented Christianity. We made it so painfully easy for you to misunderstand Christianity. We made it shamefully confusing as to what a true church really is. We made Christianity look like another version of worldliness and humanism. We did this because we based our decisions not on God’s Word, but on the shifting sands of the culture around us. We took the powerful, courage-inducing message of Christianity, and, like cowards, we hid it in the sand. We made physical safety and political correctness more important than the spiritual wellbeing of souls headed for an eternity in either heaven or hell. The message of the gospel is that your soul is of far greater value than anything in this life. Instead of faithfully proclaiming that message, we shamelessly peddled an insipid and effeminate version of Christianity. America, that is not what Christianity is. What you saw from the vast majority of professing churches was worldliness. We’re sorry we didn’t have the strength to show you true Christianity.

We’re sorry we made Christianity look like a pansy religion that causes her adherents to be unwilling to face the consequences for faithfulness. We had centuries of godly examples of faithfulness to God’s Word despite serious consequences and we simply ignored them. We made it seem like our situation—with a virus which has an incredibly low death rate—was worse than anything that has come before us. We pretended that our situation was so “unprecedented” that the worthy examples of church history could be admired but not emulated. We pretended the coronavirus was worse than the plague that occurred in Germany when Luther was unwilling to stop meeting with believers. We acted as if it was worse than the outbreak the Asiatic cholera in London when Spurgeon kept meeting with Christians. We admit that was just an easy way for us to avoid the cost of discipleship. We have done a really good job of looking to church history for motivation, but we have done a really bad job of following in their footsteps.

But even more than the examples of church history, we had God’s precious Word and the everlasting gospel. True Christianity causes people to be willing to suffer the consequences for faithfulness to Jesus. The true church is composed of those who are willing to suffer loss for the sake of Jesus (Mark 9:34-38) and those who love “not their lives even unto death” (Revelation 12:11). True Christianity involves “counting the cost” (Luke 14:25-33). It is a message which is so powerful and beautiful and moving that its followers will “count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:8). We pretended like we still believed that. We pretended like we would still lay down our lives for Jesus if we had to, all the while we were unwilling to even meet with fellow believers because we might get sick or fined. Sometimes, it’s a lot easier to say you’d die for Jesus, than it is to actually live for him.

Martin Luther said, “A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.” We presented Christianity as a religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, suffers nothing, and is worth nothing. We’re sorry. That is not true Christianity.

We’re sorry that, even after a year of this, we continue to misrepresent what actually happened. Our evangelical leaders continue to write things like, “Approximately one year ago, North America was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic. Its impact has been so devastating that we’ll only know the full extent years from now. We lost the ability to worship corporately for a time” (emphasis added). We’re sorry we keep perpetuating this lie. We know it’s not actually true. We didn’t lose the ability to worship any more than first-century Christians in Rome lost the ability to worship because they could be thrown to the lions or burned alive as human torches. We didn’t lose the ability to worship any more than the 16th century Separatists lost the ability to worship because the crown forced them to attend state-sanctioned services.

We’re sorry we keep presenting it like this, but it is just so much easier for us to tell ourselves that this was beyond our control and we were “forced” to no longer follow God’s clear command. It’s easier for us to keep telling ourselves that we did the right thing, and we had “no choice” but to follow the government’s mandate than it is for us to acknowledge that we sinned. Again, we’re sorry. We continue to mispresent not only the Christian doctrine of following Jesus and the fellowship of the saints, but also repentance.

We had so many good things to say to you and to share about the gospel, but we simply chose not to live them out. It wasn’t forced upon us. We had the ability to continue to meet, but we chose to fall in line with the world. We presented Christianity as if it is no different than any other social club.  We have no grounds now to critique those “worldly churches” that provided “online services” prior to the coronavirus. We have no grounds now to critique a shallow, take-it-or-leave-it approach to true Christian fellowship.

The message we offered during the coronavirus was cheap. It cost us nothing, it asked nothing of you, and it offered nothing to the watching world. It’s painful to say it, but the world would have been better off without most professing churches during the past twelve months. She would have been better served by a small remnant of those faithful churches, accurately representing Christianity, who believed in Jesus and were willing to face the consequences for that belief.

Jesus once warned his followers about the scribes and Pharisees. He said this: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice” (Matthew 23:2-3). America, that’s us: the leaders of the professing evangelical and Reformed church. By and large, we preached one thing for years. And then, when the rubber met the road, we did something else. Please, take Jesus’ advice regarding the scribes and Pharisees and apply it to us. Please don’t do what we did. Please don’t emulate us. We preached to you, but we didn’t practice. We told you of the glorious gospel of Jesus, and the infinite worth of faithfulness to Jesus, no matter the cost, and then we capitulated, without even a fight. We listened to the voice of Fauci instead of the voice of the Shepherd. Our church leaders acted beyond the authority granted them and told their congregants that they could not gather as a corporate body, and when they could, that they had to wear masks.

America, unless you saw one of those true churches that stood on God’s Word—unwilling to cancel fellowship, unwilling to force her congregant to cover their faces and stay away from each other like pagans during a plague—then what you saw this past year was not Christianity. It was worldliness dressed up in Christian garb. True Christianity offers you something different than the world does, but true Christianity will cost you. And there will be consequences. What you saw from most of the professing church was a fearful and cowardly display of the fear of man and the love of this world. If you are willing, please give us another chance. And if we continue to act as we did, without acknowledging how we sinned and admitting our fear, than go find a group of Christians that are willing to face the music for the faithfulness. Find a group of Christians who will meet together as followers of Jesus, without covering their faces in fear. Find a group of Christians who live out their faith. There you will find true Christianity.

This post was initially delivered in the form of a sermon, available on SermonAudio. To read more about the coronavirus and the gathering of the church, read Chris’ book Essential Service, available as a free download here.


  1. Amen. Thank you for sharing this, brother. There were millions of lost souls who saw the injustice of the government infringing on our rights, and instead of churches offering the answer for why these souls were correct in their assessment of this injustice (and welcoming them to learn how this righteousness finds its true meaning in Christ), churches stood on the side of tyranny.


    1. So by your reasoning, Mr Hume, you would not cancel a worship service at the same time a category 5 hurricane is going to make landfall in your coastal town? Different from your position. Absolutely not. You think God can’t minister to us in an emergency outside the walls of a church? Your God is too small.

      This is one of the silliest articles I have read in my 45 years as a born again Presbyterian


  2. Amen! Well said! God bless you, brother! This mentality started long ago. Unfortunately, state education (which the church has also willingly submitted to) has succeeded. After two+ generations of being indoctrinated on what to think instead of how to think, we just obey the god of this world as we have been trained. We are more afraid of what kills the body than of what kills the soul. Maybe the Lord is in the process of separating the wheat from the tares. I am ashamed of how the church responded. It is an embarrassment. Thank you for being faithful and for your boldness.


    1. Thank you for this, I totally agree that churches, are not using their God given authority against the evil powers of darkness and are falling into a deadly trap, making the church no different than the world. I am greived in my spirit. What must we do ? I still have prayer meetings and Bible studies in my home as I refuse to do it over zoom etc. Again what can we do ????


  3. I completely disagree. As a Christian nurse who has worked this pandemic, Christians who have disregarded the science and been disrespectful of the medical guidance are what have caused others to fall away from the church. I’m the mother to 3 young adults who are disgusted by the church due to commentaries such as this one, as well as Trumpism. I enjoyed your writing, but your message is something I wholeheartedly disagree with.


    1. Thanks for reading and commenting! Since you mentioned Trump, for the record I never voted for Trump (or Biden, or Romney, or Obama, or McCain). I have a book about voting from a biblical perspective that will be out soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So Christians aren’t supposed to vote? That is silly. And so is this 7-part apology. Christians gathering to worship in the face of persecution is COMPLETELY non-analogous to temporarily suspending in-person worship because of a pandemic.

        We are supposed to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. That means staying healthy and uninflected by a virus which couldn’t care less about our theology.

        George Washington ordered the vaccination of all his troops, and he did so as a Christian.


    2. As a nurse, please specify “science.” Do you mean the IHME model that started all this panic? Do you mean Dr. Fauci, the CDC, the WHO who flipped flopped more times than a fish out of water? Do you mean all those in authority who do follow their own guidelines? If so, I suspect you are referring to scientism rather than science. Science is based on data. Scientism is based on speculation and opinion (i.e. not fact) with an agenda in mind. The data shows that states with the strictest lock downs and strictest mask mandates have the worst stats. Can you say Michigan? There are control groups to prove this. Can you say Sweden? I’m a mother of six children and it is comments like yours that cause serious distrust in the medical profession. Nothing in the article said to disregard responsible behavior, which you are imposing on the author. I suspect if your children “are disgusted” by a group of believers who want to follow and worship Christ, fellowship with one another, and commune with the Lord, there is a deeper [spiritual] problem than just virus concerns. Please study the ALL the data and ALL the facts.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. A big problem with the Covid issue in the church is the un-Christian way we tend to judge each other over Covid decisions. I don’t mean it’s wrong to say a church or individual did wrong in response to the pandemic. I mean that we should avoid the withering contempt towards one another so commonly characteristic of political discussions. It’s not just one side. People dismiss those who wear masks as having no faith, sheep, sold out to Fauci. People dismiss those who refuse to wear masks as stupid, uneducated, sold out to Trump. We need to exhort one another in love, considering what would be most helpful to ourselves if we were the ones in sin.


    3. The medical profession has been brainwashed. They follow big Pharma rather than Jesus Christ. Many Christians like myself can’t even get medical treatment because of the fear that exist from people like this nurse and other doctors who trust Pharma more than God. It’s pathetic and needs to be Repented of ! CDC even admits only 6 percent of all listed Covid deaths were actually due to Covid alone!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It is clear from this article that Mr. Hume is very sincerely devoted to following Christ, and he means well. He wants to challenge or encourage American believers to be faithful, courageous and obedient in their walk with God. But there are a few things here that are troubling:
    1) He implies or states that those who have responded to gov’t Covid mandates differently than he has have done so because of sin—unfaithfulness, disobedience, worldliness, cowardice, etc.
    2) He states that churches that followed mask and distancing mandates did so because they “really don’t care if true fellowship occurs,” and that they “only cared about continuing to present a façade of Christianity.” What does this mean? It means that churches that followed mask and distancing mandates were not real Christians, and are, essentially, on “the road to hell.”
    3) He states that those who followed Covid mandates did so in order to conform to the world.
    4) He states that churches who followed Covid mandates did so based “not on God’s Word, but on the shifting sands of the culture around us,” and they “peddled an insipid and effeminate version of Christianity,”—not “true Christianity.”
    5) He states that churches who followed Covid mandates did so because “that was just an easy way for us to avoid the cost of discipleship.”
    6) He states that churches who followed Covid mandates did so because they “listened to the voice of Fauci instead of the voice of the Shepherd.”
    7) Finally, in his last paragraph, he states that what such churches did “was not Christianity. It was worldliness dressed up in Christian garb… [it was] a fearful and cowardly display of the fear of man and the love of this world.”
    Hume does not mention what the Bible teaches about Christians’ submission to civil authorities in Mark 12:17, Romans 13:1-7, Titus 3:1, or 1 Peter 2:13-15. Note that Jesus, Paul and Peter taught these things in times of civil authorities far worse than what we have (Nero!).
    The leaders of our church studied God’s Word, prayed, discussed our options, and chose to submit to the authorities conditionally and for a limited period of time. We were NOT submitting to them out of fear, worldliness, unfaithfulness or idolatry; rather, after many hours of prayer and discussion, we did so out of obedience to God’s Word in the passages above. The authorities did not totally forbid us from doing what God has commanded, nor did they command us to do what God has forbidden. So we did the best we could with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, regarding the Covid restrictions as temporary inconvenience, not forced disobedience. Our pastor has explained these things to the congregation.
    Hume would now be wise to apologize to his Christian brothers and sisters for accusing godly people of sin, of evil motives, of not even being Christians. I, for one, would be eager to forgive him for his error and thank him for His passion for God’s kingdom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. I have addressed the government aspect in other posts and in my book. Bottom line, I do believe it was sin to cancel the meetings and sinful to force congregants to wear masks and stay away from each other. Therefore, it would be disingenuous for me to call it something else. There may be true Christians that did so, but such actions are unbecoming of a true Christian church.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Personally I agree with much of what has been said. On the subject of compliance with government mandates like masks the mandator needs to first provide data to support their mandate, like peer reviewed scientific studies instead of just making an arbitrary decision that everyone wears a mask then if the data makes sense I think it reasonable for Christians to comply.
        This applies to all these mandates. Show me your homework. Hold your mandate up to a critical light and see if it stands up to scrutiny. Prove that staying 6ft apart is effective and show the data. Until then your mandate is unreasonable and no thinking person never mind Christians should comply.


      2. You determine obidience to what’s “reasonable” or “scientific”, neither of these qualifiers are mentioned any where in scripture, nor do we see that by example. Was it “reasonable” for Jesus to be crucified, Peter and Paul and thousands others to be arrested, tortured, murdered?
        The only time that a Christian can disobey the authorities is when they directly violate God’s person and Law, and whether or not it’s scientific or not is not a criteria, where’s your source, it appears to me it’s out of the rugged individualism of the American “right ism”. Don’t miss understand if a gov’t violates their own laws and those of justice then all manner of legal appeal should be made but while the appeal is being considered all should obey the authorities and see it as an opportunity that would not otherwise be there to proclaim the gospel. Acts 16 and 22


      3. I’m sorry but I think he is judging people. Maybe he needs to go read the Bible. The Bible says where 2 or more are gathered, I’m in there mist. I’m sick of people acting like I’m not a Christian because I’ve had the vaccine. I don’t really care what they think. I don’t have the time to name friends and other people I know that died without the vaccine. God gives us a brain to think for ourselves. I don’t need his judgment.


      1. They willingly chose not to meet to keep a deadly virus from spreading–especially in the early days when no one knew how easily it would spread or how deadly it would be. This was an act of love for one’s neighbors. If it is sinful to “lie about what happened,” then it is sinful to spin their motives and assume pastors and elders were sinning in the choices they made.


    2. Thanks again for your willingness to share a few word. Here are some (brief) responses to each point.

      1) Yes, I believe it was wrong/sinful to cancel services and/or force congregants to wear masks and stay away from each other.
      2) It means they were not acting like true Christians. (“The road to hell is paved with good intentions” is a statement meant to point out that the best of intentions can lead to evil.)
      3) Correct. If the world wasn’t doing it, churches would not have all the sudden started to cancel services and forcing congregants to wear masks and stay away from each other.
      4) Correct.
      5) Correct.
      6) Correct.
      7) Correct.

      It’s important to remember that no matter how much we pray about something, think about it, and seek counsel, that doesn’t mean that our decision was right. The defense of “we prayed a lot about this” is no defense. Furthermore, many times church leaders respond to critiques such as this by saying, “You’re saying we are in sin and didn’t follow the Bible.” Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. It’s sort of like the scribes and Pharisees when they said, “Hey, you offend us by saying these things!”

      The civil magistrates have zero authority to cancel church fellowship or force church members to wear masks or stay away from one another. Church leaders caved and failed to act like men of courage. I know it’s painful to hear that, but healing and repentance can only come when we own our failures. If the professing evangelical church isn’t able to look herself in the mirror after the past twelve months and acknowledge her failure, then we are even worse off than we were before.

      Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it very much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for saying what I’ve been thinking. I had a dear friend who was imprisoned under Hitler for hiding Jews…while many of her “Christian” friends urged her to obey the government, she stood firm and saved dozens of lives. She was able to Biblically discern, while waves of people stood with their arms raised, barking “Heil, Hitler!” Ever wonder how so many were deceived by him? It’s happening again. Time to wake up!


      2. Thank you, Chris. In the first days of Covid mandates, our church continued to communicate and “meet” by phone and internet. The New Testament epistles were written to churches when their writers could not physically be with those believers. Communication and (limited) fellowship happened remotely. Within a few weeks, we were again meeting in person, though in smaller numbers. We wore masks (an inconvenience, but not a sin) and distanced ourselves every other pew, which meant that we had more than one service to accommodate everyone. We fellowshipped, loved, served and communicated. We sang, prayed and worshipped. We preached and studied the Word. We obeyed Hebrews 10:23-25.

        Our civil authorities have been established by God and are His servants for our good (Rom. 13:1-7), and we usually submit to them ‘for the Lord’s sake’ (1 Pet. 2:13). The exceptions to this are when they command us to do what God has forbidden, or forbid us to do what God has commanded. They DO NOT have any authority whatsoever over the CONTENT of our gathering (prayer, preaching, communion, singing, foot washing, whatever). The FORMS of our gathering, however, are not sacrosanct. They are not prescribed by God in Scripture. We are not told to have big meetings or small meetings, sit in a circle or in rows, songs before or after a sermon, Sunday morning or evening or whenever. Contrary to how you describe it, we never cancelled services–we altered them. And we never lied about what we were doing; we communicated (sometimes poorly) with our members about what we were doing. Our leadership (pastors and elders) met long and often to study the Word and pray about how we might obey God’s commands both in Romans 13 and Hebrews 10:25. We were not motivated by fear of Covid, fear of the world, or fear of the government; rather, we were motivated by fear of God and love of our people.

        Civil authorities are responsible (before God and man) to protect us from harm. When, temporarily, the authorities told us to abide by certain restrictions for our protection, we were willing to do so–temporarily. As soon as was safely practicable, we encouraged small groups to gather. We have some very old and very weak members who chose not to gather, so we served them in other ways. We were certainly inconvenienced, but we were never totally prevented from fellowship and worship.

        Chris, you do not know us. When Jesus spoke hard truths to the Pharisees, He knew them inside and out. He spoke the truth about what was in their hearts, because He knew. You are not offending me by speaking the truth about the hearts of our leaders; I am correcting your misrepresentation of our deeds and motives, because you are mistaken about us. We seek God’s glory, both in our submission to Him and in our submission to the civil authorities He has established. When we cannot do both, then, like you, “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

        May God grant you wisdom and grace as you continue seeking to do His will. May He be glorified in your faithfulness to His Word.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Just a question: – are unelected civil servants eg salaried public health bureaucrats; considered to be “civil magistrates” or in the language of Romans 13 (depending on the translation) – “higher powers”; “governing authorities”?
        Most of the Covid diktats (at least in Canada) have come from the civil service public health bureaucracy, not from elected bodies/representatives (provincial or federal). Many if not all of these “emergency powers” have been enacted without any parliamentary debate or analysis of collateral harms v cost by the provincial and/or federal parliaments; and have continued to be enforced even in the face of actual data – as distinct from modelling at the start of this pandemic, when little was known.

        There is at least one provincial premier who has abdicated all responsibility as an elected politician, and now follows all advice from the public health officialdom, who are following a “zero covid” strategy.


    3. I have some questions for Mr. Stebbins: Why was Paul beheaded? Why was Peter crucified upside down? Why were there so many martyrs during the Reformation? Were the Huguenots in sin for not submitting to Charles IX? Were all these saints in sin for submitting their conscience to the Lord by disobeying ungodly edicts?


      1. Hello Junius. Paul, Peter and others were martyred for preaching the Gospel. For four generations, my family has preached the Gospel in seven countries–sometimes in very dangerous physical, political or spiritual circumstances, so we do know about martyrdom. Two of our family and dozens of our dearest friends were killed for living and preaching for Jesus. There have been numerous times when we have had to make careful choices about which laws we would obey and which we would not, knowing that our freedoms and/or lives were at stake. When forbidden to do what God commands, or commanded to do what God forbids, we have disobeyed. But, like Jesus and Paul, we have often submitted to authorities (even Communist or Muslim authorities) when it came to morally neutral negotiables, such as taxes.


      2. Thank you for your reply, Jeff. It seems you have put the gospel in a box and even contradict yourself. Forbidding the church to meet is against the gospel. As Christians, we are to be responsible and self-governing according to the scriptures. We are also called to study. Anyone who studied the facts of the lockdowns and other mandates would see that this is not a neutral issue. The government does not have our best interest in mind. The government mandates are causing more physically and mentally. There is an agenda and it is contrary to the gospel. By your own admission we must do what is commanded. Corporate worship is a command. Civil authority over the Christian church/gospel/matters of worship is not. One more question, Jeff. While your church limiting capacity to worship, did they still ask everyone to still tithe? Did they encourage “online” giving? If so, shame on your church’s hypocrisy. I also remember reading about Jesus preaching to multitudes. I don’t ever remember Him saying, “75% of you go home!!! There is leprosy in the area!!!!” If this is the state of the church in America, we’re ripe for His judgment. God have mercy on us!


  5. I picketed at City Hall last year with a sign that read “Open the Churches”.
    I should have picketed the Churches .


  6. Again, love of Christ compels us to gather, obedience to His command submit to the authorities does not warrant not wearing masks, you’ve taken a matter and elevated it to civil disobedience, based on what, the authorities don’t have their science correct, it’s too demanding, it’s not fair, it’s taking away your rights? The gov’t during Jesus day was far more corrupt, unfair, perverted, unjust, giving misinformation, unbiblical, evil, than anything of our day but what does Jesus have to say of the government, “render unto Caesar what is Caesars, …” Not one complaint, not one mention of civil disobedience. The mask is a nonissue as to everything outside of church, in church I would encourage, not demand, that people not wear them during service, as we are designed to be “face to face”, “mouth to mouth” (II & III Jn.; Num 12:8)
    Assembly is a clear relational mandate, it should never be determined by anything man says., don’t make non essentials commands from God, like distancing, mask wearing. Especially if there’s a fellow saint or nonbeliever asking me to wear a mask or distance or not shake hands or cough in their direction or wash my hands, i will seek to serve that person, with consideration and compassion, not ridicule their fear, concern, or medical condition.
    Distancing and mask wearing and other measures do work or all the lessons from Pasteur and the trillions and trillions of surgeries done with mask, and other precautions are a farce, not needed, bad science. You have your focus misdirected regarding matters that are w/i the realm that God has given gov’t to determine.
    I personally have no problem taking my mask off and w/o any distancing sing, praise God aloud, hug, “face to face” and as mentioned i would encourage all in the church to do likewise, but do not demand this matter either way, God does not.


  7. Wholeheartedly agree. I was a teen when my church went underground before it shut down its doors. Of course, that only happens over there, on those countries overseas that the church in America pray and have our little missions ministries to flourish. Church in America had no business to shut its doors before it went underground. Now it can barely survive the massive exodus of people moving where doors will stay open. I have moved on.


    1. No, the main reason one doesn’t believe is they do not believe God.
      Now does the body of Christ have a covenant to obey God and be a faithful witness, absolutely, just as Israel did, but just as with Israel if God’s church/saints are not faithful in their witness their main repentance is to God, not the world. Most of those failed “Christian” witnesses are not Christian and we need not apologize for them. God never misses any of His children, even if the church is not faithful.


  8. So thankful to have attended a church that did NOT conform to the COVID lies and cower in fear to “Caesar”.
    In spite of threats, lawsuits, scorn from the closed churches etc. we remained open…and thrived. Result…massive attendance increase including over 1,000 new members. Impact? Worldwide.


  9. O church, Christ doesn’t call you to assemble or not based on whether the world is correct on their “science” or government, He calls you no matter what. Do not become embroiled with the world on their sin instead “let them sin” while you continue in holy obedience. Rev. 22:11


  10. Thank you for this excellent article, I’m only sorry I have just read it but I live in England you see and wanted to say that all the issues you raise are magnified over here. We have no John Macarthur, James White or James Coates and many other good men across the pond that have made a stand against this insanity.

    Uk evangelicalism is effeminate and powerless and all that covid did was shine the light on and magnify a problem that already existed.
    Some of us are attempting to change things here;


    Lord bless you


      1. Thanks for replying Chris, if you could sign the statement and possibly link to it somewhere I guess that won’t hurt.

        The Lord bless you brother


  11. Hi Chris
    Interested to understand whether you believe that it’s an absolute that the physical gathering goes ahead no matter how serious a pandemic is, or whether you think there is a line of severity which might justify a temporary closure (though you don’t believe the current pandemic has crossed this)?


    1. As I mention in my book, I am focused on congregation-wide cancellations in this discussion. I do not think it is proper to cancel the gathering. Locations can be moved and individuals could choose not to attend, but that is not the same as cancelling the gathering for everyone. The worst that can happen is death, and death can be a threat when gathering in non-pandemic conditions, but the church should still gather.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Dear brother, thank yo for this message. I am in full agreement with you. We in Northern Ireland have acted in a similar way to most churches in the west and it has grieved me that we did so. I am far from guiltless in this matter. My own congregation did close for public worship for a few weeks (thankfully for only a few) and it has grieved me looking back that we even closed those weeks. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but had I thought for one moment that our own denominatuion would have closed the doors of its church buildings for so long I would have been much mor forceful in speaking out in favor of keeping our doors open. We did implement social distancing and the wearing of masks and again this is omething that I now believe was not necessary. We are indeed a “Snowflake” generation of Christians (self included). And I do believe that we did miss a tremendous God-given opportunity of making a powerful public witness for our Lord as his Church. May God have mercy on us. May I have you permission to reproduce your message in written form to pass out the members of my congregation. I will pass on the link to this message to several of my fellow pastors. Pastor Robert Robb Reformed Presbyterian Church in Ireland.


  13. I would like to ask if the author would consider it a sin to cancel services for a blizzard, hurricane, or other severe weather event that would make driving and travel unsafe? I am sure you would not say it would be a sin for a Christian who, while exhibiting no symptoms, knew himself or herself to be contagious with a potentially fatal disease, to stay home from church to avoid spreading the disease. When the Christians stayed in Rome during the plague, they did so to save the lives of others. By remaining in the city, they actually slowed the spread of the disease by not taking it with them to the countryside. They risked their lives to care for the sick. Those who left did so not to save others but to save themselves. At the beginning of the pandemic, we were being told that, if we didn’t shut everything down, hospitals would be overfilled, leading to preventable deaths. If gathering for church were only a matter of our own lives, (i. e. those who gather risk infection, but their decision does not really affect others)then closing would have been a sin. Instead, many Christians believed gathering would risk the lives of others, even those outside the church, possibly leading to a situation like that in Italy. It turned out that this wasn’t true. Keeping churches open didn’t overfill the hospitals. In my city, our church only closed at the beginning but stayed open even during the worst waves of the pandemic. In addition, many people who oppose quarantine restrictions cite a very low figure for Covid-19 mortality, something like 0.01 % for those without comorbidities. I believe the figure is higher.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The denial of medical treatments other than an experimental therapeutic delivered by injection and the coercion of people to take same, by all possible means (lotteries, prizes, trips, banning from everyday life; education and so on) is in contravention of every international treaty since Nuremberg. That is a situation that every church in the land should be speaking out against.


      1. The comment was made as a question Pastor would you ever cancel a service if there was a blizzard or a fire or any other catastrophe I would ask the questioner tell me from scripture did God ever cancel the Passover the Sabbath did Jesus ever cancel a gathering with his apostles did he ever cancel the Tabernacle the synagogue he certainly cleansed it but if we could not because they should not meet but because of why they were meeting was ungodly. We we have become too used to thinking of a building as the church it’s not it’s the ecclesia that is the gathering of God’s children. So if a blizzard comes then gather in the homes if a fire burns your building down gather outside the building and pray and worship and give thanks to God if the government tells you you can’t gather you got to make a decision whether you’re going to follow man or God.


  14. I find that many of the people that claim churches should have stayed open and “value meeting together” are the same ones that see no value in Sunday evening church. If the preaching of God is so valuable to us wouldn’t we want to sit under as much of it as possible? And all the more so as the day approaches?


  15. Chris, I’m pretty late to this article and conversations (replies) as I’ve just read this this morning.
    I wholeheartedly agree with you.
    Not only is the current professing church teaching on civil authority aberrant, but one cannot even express a view contrary to church “leadership”, on this or any other topic without being labeled schismatic.
    The current church I’m a member of is all in on this Great Compromise as well as other very weak, defective teaching on other very important doctrines and practices.
    I encourage everyone to read Lex Rex, the Magdeburg Confession & Defense, and a little book titled The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates by Matthew J Trewhella.
    Connecting the dots on the subject of “civil” authority as it relates to history it is apparent that the professing evangelical church of today would have complied with the laws enacted by the Nazi government of Germany re the illegality of helping Jews flee persecution and death under the lawless reign of terror.
    There are so many examples in Scripture of disobedience to evil, lawless governing authorities from Moses (and his family), to Rahab, to Daniel, the Apostles, and the Church throughout history.
    It should embarrass church leaders that they are so silent (or is it just plain ignorant(?) on both Biblical history and subsequent church history regarding this critical issue.
    I look forward to reading more of your writings/sermons.
    Thank you and God bless you Chris,
    Gary Mitchell


  16. Thanks for demonstrating courage and standing for truth Chris.

    I was also dismayed that so many evangelical (and Reformed) churches quickly followed suit in closing their doors. Undoubtedly one of the temptations to which they succumbed was believing that as long as the Word was being proclaimed/preached (a Reformed emphasis), virtual gatherings were a reasonable substitute for congregating. Some pastors even attempted to keep the Lord’s Table virtually without actually gathering the flock, which seemed absurd! (“When you come together …”) I don’t see how we can be the eklesia if we aren’t gathering.

    Our family had been attending a gospel proclaiming church, but when this pandemic arrived, our leaders kept telling us that the right, responsible and compassionate thing to do was to stay closed and social distance from one another. Almost simultaneously, they also started promoting corporate guilt for systemic racism. (During the lockdowns, our pastor even gathered with protesters at City Hall instead of gathering the church together.) Had we seen this kind of repentance from those church leaders, I think we would have stayed in their fellowship. Instead we followed like-minded brothers and sisters to a congregation that stayed open and stayed on gospel point.

    It was also very disheartening not only to witness a lack of faith, but a lack of thanksgiving during this pandemic. This virus seems to have affected the elderly and those suffering from comorbidities much more severely, but the Spanish Flu claimed many lives among young adults and babies. As a father of six, I’m very grateful for God’s compassionate restraint.


  17. Oh, my. This column was so encouraging to read. One of my favorite statements is “I am not a human being having a spiritual experience, I am a spiritual being having a human experience. This has shaped my fearless life in a COVID era. I have been so disappointed in the church who have not championed faithful, fearless living but bowed to secular power. You are right -we haven’t lived an example as Christ followers.


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