CHURCH LOCKDOWN: We believe…
By Richard Baird, head of Church and Culture at dia-LOGOS
In the light of many voices that demand ‘Christian rights’ in a season of uncertainty, we at dia-LOGOS would like to respond as follows:
As a ministry, we want to acknowledge the work done by the Coronavirus Command Council and especially the leadership given by our State President, Mr.Cyril Ramaphosa during what has been a very testing time. We would like to assure the presidency and his advisors of our continued prayers and support, according to Scripture, so that that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (2 Timothy 1:2). We pray for wisdom on this uncharted road and guidance in these uncertain times.
With the Delta variant, the virus is transmitted more rapidly, and the infection rate is happening far more quickly than in the second wave. This means that there will be greater pressure put on our medical professionals and health workers. The health system will undoubtedly become severely strained. In this light, we believe the latest lockdown call to be a realistic response within the reality we are facing. It represents a desperate means to restrict the possible spreading of this indiscriminate virus and for saving precious lives.
We do not deny that there has been mismanagement and had things worked out better and according to the proposed plan prior to this point, then we would probably be in a different place.
But we are not. And it is very easy to criticize with the benefit of hindsight.
As a ministry we believe that our focus as children of God is not the rights of the church, but the witness of it. As a ministry, we cannot presume to speak for the whole church in South Africa because that would be a lie, but we are saddened that the basis of church culture has shifted from sacrificial servanthood to demanding privileges. We mourn the fact that unity seems to be shifting from doctrine to the politicization of issues, and this has become an excuse to speak to one another, and to those in government, in an uncivil manner and harm the broader witness of the church to the world at large.
We further believe that the church is not being shut down, because that can never happen. Instead, the church is being encouraged to examine herself on how we can best serve the community and be the church. In pandemics past, the witness of the church shone because people helped one another.
We believe that God meant it when He called us to be submissive to the governing authorities. There is a vast difference between speaking prophetic truth to power and being rebellious and demanding submission to the church because we disagree with how governance has taken place. As it says in 1 Peter 4:14&15 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.
We believe the best approach in times like these is to fervently pray for those in authority, to pray for those serving on the frontlines, pray for wisdom in how to live, seek to be a blessing in whatever way we can, and to engage in spiritual introspection.
We believe this season of uncertainty provides an opportunity to bless the state by rolling up our sleeves and helping in whatever way we can to combat this pandemic at a local, provincial, and national level.
We believe that it is our spiritual duty (Romans 13:1) to be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God and we, therefore, believe that the state is not the enemy: Satan is.
We believe we have a greater chance of winning people in power over through acts of love as opposed to words of antagonism. Ultimately we must remember that our hope and trust has never been in earthly authority, but in God alone.