Townhall | May 27, 2020
“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”
There is a dangerous trend occurring in America towards those who believe in Jesus. It is no coincidence our church doors have been closed and our gatherings have ceased. This is how persecution begins. It often starts small, with an excuse people can buy into, but swiftly begins to morph and grow until people are forced into hiding if they dare call themselves a follower of Christ. We need only look to the persecution of Christians worldwide for an understanding of how dangerous it is to lose our rights. Civil rights gained and defended by the blood of Americans but lost through fear, negligence and inaction will not be easily recovered.
Recently, over 600 doctors wrote a letter to President Trump pertaining to the importance of opening up the country. They mentioned, “millions of Americans are already at triage level red…Suicide hotline phone calls have increased 600%…. Liquor sales have increased 300-600%, cigarettes sales have increased, rent has gone unpaid, family relationships have become frayed.”
To keep the doors of churches closed is to keep 70% of the American population away from the primary place they run to in times of difficulty. Congregations find comfort in knowing there is someone at the foot of the altar who can pray for them and stand with them in faith and support. If there was ever a time for Churches to fearlessly open their doors, it is now.
We are living in a time we in the 21st century have never known before, but it is not unknown to man entirely. When the plagues hit Egypt, the Israelites didn’t cower, quake, cry or crumble. They stood and kept standing until their freedom came. Why are we acting so differently to this “plague” than they did? Why are we turning from one another and refusing to come together, to encourage each other by gathering in our Churches and praising our Creator?
On Friday, May 22, President Trump issued a statement that all churches should be allowed to open. There is no longer any legal reason for the doors of the House of God to remain closed.
A pastor’s responsibility is to feed their flocks, to motivate and encourage their congregations, to lay hands on and pray for those who need help and to be the light in the midst of darkness. Keeping doors closed to people who need prayer, motivation, encouragement and guidance is not “stopping the spread” of an epidemic, but rather allowing fear, depression, suicidal ideation and addiction to sweep across the nation like a tidal wave.
Churches are to be the city set upon a hill, a city for people to run to for hope and strength. But, if the city is barred and locked to those who are searching, individuals have nowhere to run and no hope to cling to.
A new initiative of Save the Persecuted Christians called Return2Worship is motivating believers to gather and pray at their churches on Sundays, regardless if the doors are open or not, and many are writing letters to their pastors in order to motivate them to take the locks off the doors and allow them to gather again.