I am stuck (safely) at home in the Philippines. My family was supposed to fly to the US tomorrow, but we are under “enhanced quarantine” here and we had to cancel our flight.
Therefore, I am working on my book, “Mission to Samaria” during this time.
Here, church gatherings are ended for a now. Some argue whether to defy legal mandate. Some point to the early church and passages to obey God not man. Others point to passages that suggest that obeying government leaders IS obeying God. I don’t believe one should pick one part of the Bible while rejecting another. Faithfulness to God involves honoring our leaders, but still recognizing that we are ultimately judged by our honoring God, NOT the leaders.
I also know people who say that moving church gatherings from big buildings to small home gatherings is right and good because that is what the early church did. But that is flawed in two ways at least. First, we are called by God to be the 21st century church NOT the 1st century in the 21st century. Second, the primitive church met in houses out of economic and political necessity, not as an ideal. In fact, the early church first tried to gather on the temple grounds until driven out.
I do think that the early church is a model for us but in a different way. They showed how to endure in a hostile political climate. They gathered and communicated in creative ways, not being tied down to set structures. They defied government when they had to, but also tried to minimize the animosity.
The church today has options like at no other time. We can meet virtually, we can move and communicate, and we can create communities in almost any circumstance. We can share our faith in words and deeds like no other time in history as well. It is a wonderful time to creatively support the good task of protecting lives.
We need to develop the 21st church, not cry that the 20th century church is under attack. We can learn to do this from the 1st century church… Not by repeating what they did, but seeing how they creatively had dealt with impediments.