Is social distancing or other mandates such as masks compatible with scripture?
1. Social distancing, gathering restrictions, and forced shutdown mandates grant the government power over the church. Christ is Lord over and head of the church-not the civil government (Matt 22:21). The government is not to make rules for the church and when the church complies without a fight it emboldens and fuels further tyranny and persecution. Matt 22:21 says give to Caesar what is his (taxes, etc) but give to God what is His…the church, worship, etc. Does social distancing or any other mandate arise to the level of affecting a church body’s usefulness, integrity, fellowship, worship, and ministry. I would submit that social distancing rises to that level as outlined below.
2. Long term shut down orders banning or restricting gatherings of believers cannot be followed and still be considered in line with scripture (Heb 10:25, Acts 2:42, Acts 2:46). Additionally, self isolation is not considered wise (Proverbs 18:1).
3. Social distancing was not applied in the ministry of Jesus. He touched (healing, foot washing, etc). He walked with others, ate with others, and taught crowds. This is despite the fact that disease outbreaks were a threat then, too. (Matt 8:3, Matt 17:7, Matt 20:34, Luke 5:13, Luke 22:51 are a few). Possibly the only example of social distancing is scripture applies to lepers-but not to healthy people.
4. Social distancing discourages loving one’s neighbor. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27). Is social isolation and distancing really in line with the ideas of loving the brethren and fellowship with the brethren in the NT? Government has been clear that what started as 15 days to slow the spread is now the “new normal” for the foreseeable future. The Bible seems to suggest the opposite of social distancing with the body of believers.
5. Social distancing reinforces a spirit of fear (2 Tim 1:7 and Matt 10:28). The fear of catching disease can easily deter people from attending church and fellowship with other Christians. Fear of the Lord should be emphasized and what example are we setting for our children to live in such fear? God did not give us a spirit of fear-that is not from the Lord. Social distancing divides and conquers the church community. It causes us to view one another with suspicion-as dangerous disease spreaders that must be kept at a distance.
6. Social distancing is social engineering. We are being trained to behave more like herd animals, easily controlled by the state. In short, we are being trained into total compliance to a godless state. However, we must only give total compliance to the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor 10:5). We must not be mind-controlled; as Scripture says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2a).
7. Social distancing is an admission of inconsistency. The churches don’t enforce social distancing for the flu or other such diseases. Why the sudden shift? We should be the beacons of truth and consistency. Bereans should not embrace whatever we are told automatically in the face of inconsistency-but should search the scriptures.
8. Social distancing impedes church attendance, fellowship, and impedes spreading the gospel. When interaction is minimized so are opportunities of witness and ministry. We are being trained to operate as if the temporal world is more important than the eternal things of Christ. (John 12:25)
9. Social distancing negatively impacts child development and creates socially stunted adults who operate more like machines than humans. We have many parental instructions as parents to raise our children with great care (Eph. 6:4).
10. Colossians 2:23 – These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
Masks and self severity has no value-especially when there is virtually no danger (masks, social distancing). It’s dehumanizing, discouraging normal human interaction, despite the fact that God designed us in His image. Lost and hidden are positive and needed smiles, facial expressions, hugs, positive physical interactions, etc.
The more oppressive this evil system becomes the more clear it appears to conflict with Biblical Christianity.