The Phartford Files: Nation Newspaper Editor Calls on Church for ‘Help’
The editor begins by affirming that Barbados “continues to be a predominantly Christian society” and alludes to evidence of the same in the national anthem. To his or her credit, the editor makes it clear that the church is NOT the building or structure but the people who worship there. For pointing out this, we must thank the editor. Why so? Because not even some church goers understand this!
So let me elaborate on the editor’s point: the word “church” comes from the Greek word “ecclesia” from which we get the word “ecclesiastical” which means basically “having to do with the church”. Therefore, it is sometimes used as a synonym for “religious” or “clerical” or for “church” itself.
The original meaning of “ecclesia” then is, “the called out ones” which means the people (that have been called out as disciples). It is not the building. The point is very well taken.
Church Response to Covid-19
To be fair to the “church”, early on in the covid-19 pandemic, several ministers did indicate that the church is the people and therefore, continued offering services to those people online with Zoom and other technologies.
One of the reasons why many church goers do not even understand the point made above about the church is because simple things like these get overlooked in church meetings or assemblies because it is assumed that people know. Too many churches are more concerned about “preaching” (which usually means “shouting”) and less about “teaching”.
Most assemblies spend the bulk of their time in helping members, especially new ones, understand WEIGHTIER spiritual matters such as the meaning of salvation, the work of the Holy Spirit in guiding believers and the afterlife, to name a few.
Some assemblies also spend time in trying to build a church community and the more resourced assemblies try to help the surrounding communities. I have been a member of such an assembly so I am not speculating or guessing.
The editor devotes a whole paragraph to asking a “barifull” [?] of questions about the response of the church to the covid-19 pandemic. Clearly he or she is not asking about how the church organized for the “continuity of worship” for “services” during the covid-19 pandemic. Rather, the editor seems more concerned about the ESCHATOLOGICAL issues surfaced by the covid-19 pandemic.
Eschatology is “a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of humankind”. This includes teachings about “judgement and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind”. In other words, the editor wants the church’s help in understanding the meaning of covid-19 in the context of the final destiny of mankind!
This is not surprising at all. Sales of bibles escalated especially in the early days of the pandemic. Why? Because most people in Christian societies have already heard, PERHAPS MORE THAN ONCE, that humanity is set to have a rendezvous with the man whom God has appointed to both Judge and Rule the World, Jesus Christ himself. So naturally they thought this was “the end of the world” and got scared!
Perhaps they thought that by buying a Bible, even reading it, that it would “save them”. Now that is very funny! Why not go and buy a book on rocket science and ergo find work at NASA? See how ridiculous and hypocritical this is?
I know you think I am being overly sarcastic but if that is what is necessary to get people to wake up, expect more of the same!
Church’s Work Clear
For years “churches” in this country have been “open” (=not under lock down) and for years “the church” has spent endless effort, time and money trying to bring the gospel to this nation. Every radio station in Barbados carries at least one religious programme every single day of the week. All of these are paid for one way or another. Several carry programmes or “services” on TV. All of these have to be paid for.
All this has been going on, yet on average, church congregations are getting smaller! Now a covid-19 pandemic hits and suddenly everybody wants the church to be open and to “rise to the occasion!” To do what, exactly? Console people who have put their faith in “the government” or in “horses and chariots” or their job? I know I am sounding harsh but hold onto your seahorses for a minute because I am going somewhere with this!
Let’s cycle back to the beginning, dear editor. What do you and Barbadians mean by the expression; “Barbados is a predominantly Christian society”? I challenge you to respond on this blog.
I can tell you what it CANNOT mean! I CANNOT mean that this is a society of people who have heard the gospel and responded to it as required, by which I mean, in summary, the following:
1. Acknowledged that we are sinners
2. Acknowledged that Jesus Christ died for our sins.
3. Acknowledged that Christ’s way is the ONLY way out of God’s judgment on sin.
4. ACCEPTED the sacrificial work on the cross even if you do not understand fully understand all its divine legal (yes legal!) and other ramifications.
5. Submitted to the inner work of the Holy Spirit that begins once you have accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour and Ruler.
Some people call the above being “born again”. I am not particularly fond of religious clichés but if that helps, so be it.
Dear editor, the message of the above is what the church has been “preaching in season” (=no pandemic) and “out of season” (=in the covid-19 pandemic season). That is its mission given by Jesus Christ himself!
[Jesus speaking] Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matt 28:19 [New International Version]
I tell you dear editor, that if we stop preaching this gospel, the very rocks and heavens and the seas will cry out harder (they are crying now) and tell you this message in their own way!
The church is not a social club, although it would appear to be so for some DENOMINATIONS.
Does that mean we do not care about people’s bodies, family life, poverty etc? Absolutely not! The same Jesus who preached “Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” is the same Jesus who healed the sick, cast out demons, feed 5,000 one way and 4,000 another way and still had food left over! Comprehensive ministry, Mr / Ms Editor! Spirit, soul and body!
And that power of provision demonstrated by Christ is what true Christians (I make no apology for that phrase!) experience BECAUSE THEY HAVE OBEYED THE GOSPEL!
[Jesus speaking Sermon on the Mount]
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33 [New Living Translation]
When people were being laid off in the covid-19 pandemic, my son got a job! Needless to say I reminded him at every opportunity about this provision and how grateful he ought to be. Every day I start out by giving thanks for being on “the wake up list” once again and for all the provision around me. I don’t take it for granted!
If you think we have problems, consider the problems of the people in China, as the evil communist government there unravels under the might of the awesome weapons of the heavens and the gathering military forces of the west whose every existence (including ours in Barbados) the CCP has endangered by unleashing the covid-19 virus! If you are not up to speed on China see my blog entry here:
Media Dropped the Ball
While we are here dear Editor, why has your newspaper not reported on the CCP and its shenanigans vis-a-vis the pandemic? Why are people in Barbados so uninformed about the complicity of the WHO in the cover up and the spread of Covid-19 in the west? Why are the alternative narratives re. the wearing of masks not dilated in the media? Whose job was it that to report these things? I challenge to you to respond to these these charges on this blog so we can freely debate them!
Anyone Christian who is au fait with Bible prophecy can help you understand where covid-19 fits into the overall plan for the human race. But you dropped the ball in NOT reporting all sides of the issue!
Doers not Hearers
No dear editor, what people need to focus on is DOING what the Bible says: “Repent”. That is an action word; it did not say “know” as important as that is. It says: “Repent”. Therein lies the problem of this so-called “Christian society”; it is a hearer of the word and not a doer.
The people in Noah’s day heard him speak about the coming flood. For 120 years! They heard, so they knew! They scoffed and they jeered until the rain started to fall and Noah and his family entered the ark. As they say, the rest is history. That is why Jesus said this prophetically while here on Earth:
Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Luke 17: 26 – 27 [English Standard Version].
By the way, the remnants of Noah’s ark have been found! I publicized this on the blog many months ago. But here it is again:
I hope this was helpful Ms./Mr. Editor although I have lots more to say on the issues you have raised. But I’ll leave you with this:
If you think the covid-19 pandemic was/is a problem, you may not want to know what is coming next! This is what the church should be proclaiming at this time! And if that is what you are thinking, you are absolutely right!
The Church and Covid-19 is the title of the editorial in this Wednesday’s (mid-week) edition of the Nation Newspaper. I find the editor’s outpouring absolutely fascinating so I could not resist the temptation to respond.Submitted by Ironside