Why Reformed pastors won’t use Covid to preach the Gospel
Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”
Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins… And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” -Acts 2:37-40
Why haven’t Reformed pastors filled our nation the past eight months with Gospel messages like this given by the Apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost? Why haven’t Reformed podcasters and preachers appealed to those living in great fear over Covid to repent and believe in Jesus?
We’ve had a perfect opportunity. Death has been much thought about, and feared. Partners and married couples of a certain age have been holed up in their apartments and homes for many months dreading any loss of their sense of taste or smell. Grandchildren have been kept away from grandparents indicating fear of death trumps even the most basic joys of life.
These fellow citizens of our fatherland really, really don’t want to die, but there are no prophets of the Lord explaining why they’re right—preaching to them what they can do about it.
Instead, our Reformed pastors have filled our nation the past eight months with the Gospel of political salvation through civil disobedience of public health laws and countless protests that we have our rights and the civil authorities over us have no authority over us because public health laws are tyranny.
It’s been embarrassing, actually. Some of us had thought being a pastor was a privilege because we were called to preach the Gospel, and we thought everyone knew what that Gospel was—that Jesus Christ has been given all authority in Heaven and on Earth and one day soon will return in power and glory to judge all men, so flee the wrath to come by repenting and believing in the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.
But alas, this message is precisely what our Reformed church and her pastors are not saying, teaching, writing, or preaching. Thus social media is filled with simple Christians joining in the belligerating and not uttering a word about sin, righteousness, and judgment. About fleeing the wrath to come. About our desperate condition and need for Jesus to save us from this wicked generation. Neither pastors nor people are taking the fear of Covid as their starting place to proclaim the fear of God; to proclaim it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that His judgment.
Yes, this has been our perfect opportunity; but no, Reformed pastors have not used the fear of Covid death to proclaim the salvation of Jesus.
Every year or so, I’ll send a link to something on Warhorn I think is worth friends’ attention, personally emailing a number of them with the link and an appeal to them to read it. This past year the Warhorn piece I asked friends to read was this addressed to Baby Boomers which used Covid to call them to faith in Jesus.
The piece begins:
My dear fellow Boomer, we have had our time in the sun but now it’s time to die. This is the message God is sending us through this present coronavirus. He is calling us to prepare to meet the great Judge of all the earth. But what are we doing, instead?
Stewart Brand is asking people to tweet their advice about COVID-19 and ventilators; whether or not they’re worth it? If he gets sick, should he allow them to put him on one? Eighty-two years old and this is pretty much what we’d expect of Brand: talk about tools right to the very end.
But is death—physical death, that is—our very end?
Decades ago, I remember listening to Dylan doing a radio interview with a Brit who wanted him to tip his hat to reincarnation…
This piece had some likes and circulation, but none to speak of from pastors, podcasters, and writers I’d emailed who present themselves as the leaders of the Reformed church. It didn’t bother me personally—I’m too old for that—but it did mystify me. Off and on through the succeeding months I’ve thought about it and wondered why?
Then, last week talking to Pastor Dave Curell, it became clear.
Reformed pastors and podcasters won’t love those trembling behind their doors and windows, hunkered down from fear of Covid, by preaching the Gospel to them because even acknowledging these souls’ fears of Covid would give some legitimacy to Covid they absolutely refuse to give.
If they gently approached those living in fear of Covid, speaking to them of death and judgment, and Gods’ forgiveness of sin through His Own Lamb, it would appear to their constituents they had thrown in the towel on opposing the real tyranny of our present world—which isn’t the Devil and his demons, but Democrats and liberals who right now are out there stealing our country and our rights.
So we’ve sacrificed the prophetic voice of men of God preaching the Gospel for the political voice of men of postmillennial aspirations for a renewed American exceptionalism.
It’s a terrible day when men who grew up in Evangelical homes before coming to a Reformed understanding of Scripture think they must abandon what their fathers actually did right, which was to proclaim sin and repentance and judgment, calling all men to believe the Gospel. It’s a terrible day when Reformed pastors think political reform is the real action where real men stand and fight.
Preaching the Gospel is much bloodier and much more difficult. Ask the Apostles and Luther and Calvin.
We should embrace real suffering by confessing our faith—not in civil liberties, but freedom through the Son of God Who has delegated to us His ministry of reconciliation. If you’ve sold out the Gospel for politics, just admit your sin to our Heavenly Father once more, and return to preaching His Gospel.