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Should Churches Defy State Orders?

Should Churches Defy State Orders?

Many of you have heard the news about prominent churches defying State order and meeting indoor for worship and other prominent churches declaring that they will not meet again in 2020 though they are allowed to meet in some capacity. As many of you have commented or asked, I thought it would be helpful for you to know how the leadership is processing this issue.

 

1. We Don't Want to Add to Friendly Fire

One of the things that I am sad of is the division occurring in the Church between those who are meeting in faith and those who are not meeting out of love. It has become too easy to be critical of those whom we disagree with because we feel they lack love/faith. As a rule of thumb, we will not contribute to division by criticizing other leaders/churches in private and in public. I will continue to read, listen to, attend conferences sponsored by many of these leaders because I believe they are holding to their perspective out of their desire to honor God.

 

2. There May Be a Time When The Church Should Practice Civil Disobedience

I want to be clear that our elders are not blindly following every government guidance as that can be confusing and contradictory. We also understand that there may come a time when the church will need to exercise civil disobedience in the same way that the underground churches in China do. If we felt that the government was prohibiting worship and the proclamation of the gospel, Living Hope would join the voices of those who would say that "We must obey God and not men. (Acts 5:29)" For now, we believe we have been inconvenienced, but not prohibited.

 

3. We Prioritize Safety & Witness

One of our guiding principles in decision making has been safety - safety of our members and the safety of our community. We feel that we have a duty to love our church and our community by doing our part in not being a part of the problerm. We have not only followed the State's guidelines but scrutinized our own operations and have gone above and beyond what is required of us. Because of the abundance of caution in our implementation, we would also say that our church, even during indoor gatherings, is safer than most hospitals. We believe this attitude not only keeps our church safe but serves as good witnesses to those around us.

 

4. We Want You to Love God & Others

But our highest principle has been and will be to love God and love others. And though online worship has been wonderful for many, we also crave in-person gatherings. God may call us to spend time in solitude for a season, but He also created the human soul to crave in-person interaction and worship in community (Hebrews 10:24-25). Without in-person gathering, we worry about the general spiritual deterioration of our people, our children and our community.

And so we gather when we can do so safely with those who feel comfortable. On Sunday, September 6, we will hold our first Outdoor Service at 9:30 and 11:30. We are blessed with a large patio (about twice the size of our sanctuary) that can accommodate safe and comfortable worship. If things go well, we are hoping to meet regularly outdoors for adult worship and youth worship. Please stay tuned.