Pastor Jason Murphy
Reason for Compliance
Updated: Mar 29, 2020
Those who know me are shocked that I would cancel “in-person” church services and opt to do “virtual church”, or stream a church service on-line. I must admit, I struggled with making the decision. The Bible commands our church attendance. (Hebrews 10:24-25) Church attendance is a priority for a believer, and is an outward proof of one’s faith in Christ. (1 John 2 & 3) Church attendance is a Christian discipline, a means of grace, and is vital for one to grow spiritually. (Ephesians 4:11-16)
Church is also a place where we learn to serve, love, and put the well-being of others ahead of our own. (1 Corinthians 12 & 14) So, to all those who are shocked that I made the decision. Please allow me to explain my reason for compliance.
Considering the rapid change and developments surrounding the coronavirus, I was forced to reconsider my decision to have “in-person” church services the last two weeks of March, or beyond if deemed necessary. I thought about it, prayed about it, sought wise counsel, consulted with medical personnel, and studied the situation. The following are my thoughts on the matter.
God created both Church and Government. Both institutions have their roles and functions. Both are needed to have a healthy, safe, and secure society.
The government does not have the authority to cancel, or to even suggest cancelling, services if their ultimate purpose is to stop the church from preaching the Gospel, or to control what the church does or does not preach. If that was the goal of the government’s request, we would continue to meet in order to preach. (Acts 5:17-29; Acts 12) However, if the goal is the public safety and well-being of its citizens, then they do have the right (Romans 13; Leviticus 13 & 14).
It appears, (at the moment, but the future will reveal the true motive) that the government’s purpose in requesting that churches, and a host of other institutions, limit their meetings for a short period of time is indeed for the public health. The goal seems to be to contain, and ultimately stop, the spread of COVID-19 in our area.This request and goal does fall within the government’s role and responsibility.
Therefore, Grace Chapel will comply. Every great creed of the church, such as the Westminster Confession of Faith for example, would agree with our decision. The WCF states, “God the Supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be under him, over the people, for his own glory and the public good (Romans 13:1-4; 1 Peter 2:13-14). It is our Christian responsibility ‘to obey their lawful commands’, and to be ‘subject to their authority, for conscience sake.’” (WCF 23:1 & 23:4)
God is in control. His Sovereignty can be perplexing, but we must realize that He is working in and through His people, even while working in society at large. He will bring good out of this for His people, and He will get the glory. (Romans 8:28)
Pray for each other, and in so doing we will be connected in spirit until we are able to meet together again. Until then, “may the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
We are living in unprecedented times. Keep the faith. Stay tuned...