On COVID Restrictions, Vaccines, and Trucker Convoys

We cannot – and certainly will not – make peace by trying to minimize our love for Jesus for the sake of being at peace with those who do not love Him. But we do unnecessary violence to the cause of peace when we invent new points of division with other believers for the sake of unity with those who share our opinions but not our faith. 

Continue reading…

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.”

Matthew 10:34-36

What Jesus speaks of in Matthew 10:34-36 sounds a lot like what many families – church families as well as biological ones – are experiencing right now. We have disputes about restrictions, division over vaccines, and disagreements regarding the trucker convoy. 

But Jesus is speaking here of the inevitable division between those who follow him and those who don’t, between those who believe the gospel and those who reject it as truth, and not about the unnecessary division between people with different opinions about COVID restrictions, vaccines, and trucker convoys.

Maintaining the Unity of the Faith

You can believe that restrictions were necessary or too extreme, that vaccines are crucial or unneeded, that the trucker convoy is a great good or a dangerous endeavour – you can believe any of these things and still be united in Christ with every other person who genuinely follows him. And in the interest of protecting this precious unity, regularly examine your own motives and words.

Are you making these secondary issues primary, thereby destroying the unity of Christ’s body for reasons not found in God’s word?

Are you making your personal opinions on these matters the measure by which other believers are judged unfaithful and unworthy?

Are you twisting the Scriptures, even subtly, to support your political aims?

Are you adding insult to disunity by slandering the very ones who follow Christ just as they do?

These practices must stop. 

Your Primary Unity

If you are someone who follows Christ, you are in unity with all those who also follow him. This unity with other believers must be primary over unity with anyone else. To adopt secondary issues as primary ones is to compromise your loyalty to the gospel. And to go further and elevate these secondary issues to primary ones is a betrayal of the gospel itself.

The coming of Jesus and the commitment he commanded is a necessary flashpoint in many families. The light of this flash should illuminate the truth that Jesus says we cannot follow him if our loyalty to any person, protest, movement or ideology is greater than our love and loyalty to him.

Let There Be No Fellowship of Light With Darkness

So when he who is the Truth divides one against another, we must choose to follow Him instead of making temporal peace with those around us. He alone can change their hearts. We cannot – and certainly will not – make peace by trying to minimize our love for Jesus for the sake of being at peace with those who do not love Him. But we do unnecessary violence to the cause of peace when we invent new points of division with other believers for the sake of unity with those who share our opinions but not our faith. 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join the conversation on Facebook…

Photo by Rhys Moult on Unsplash

The Sin of Trusting in Politics For Salvation

The motive behind many of the cruel critiques of political leaders does not seem to be the securing of a more peaceful and quiet life. It seems to run more along the lines of securing political power and then retaining that power going forward. This is a very wrong turn. To be involved in politics, of course, is no sin, but to trust in politics for salvation certainly is.

God is always at work in human affairs for the good of his people and the glory of his name. This should inspire our confidence when we face the tough circumstances of the present and those yet to come. It is up to us to trust him, seek him, and act according to what he has revealed to us about his will.

The wisdom contained in God’s word is sufficient; we need no new revelation. We need no new instructions, especially when so much of what has already been commanded is not obeyed. What is needed instead is for us to return again and again to the timeless wisdom of Scripture, which is as relevant to us today as it was to those to whom it was originally written.

Praying For Politicians

Here is something he reveals in 1 Tim. 2:1-2: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

It is difficult to pray without hypocrisy for those whom you curse outside of your prayer time. Love, the Apostle Paul tells us, is the supreme virtue. Yet over these last years, while much truth has been spoken, too rarely has it been spoken in love. This has been especially evident in the overheated responses to the actions of leaders in politics and religion. As we go forward, we must commit firmly to the biblical principle that critique is in bounds, but cruelty is not. 

Disrespecting The Authorities

In Canada, it often seems we are a little bit proud of how disrespectful we are of our governing authorities. This is certainly not the example of God’s servants in scripture, and so I think our attitudes about our relationship with and behaviour towards those who govern us could use a few corrections.

I have been guilty of this disrespect on occasion as well, and I have had to reshape my thinking and behaviour. The help we need in this area of our lives is found in Scripture. The words of Scripture and the examples of the stories we find there clearly expose many of us who think we have a license to speak and act disrespectfully to those who govern us. (Especially if they belong to a party with the wrong colour election sign, right?)

God’s Ambassadors

In 2 Cor. 5:20 we are called God’s ambassadors. We should act in ways befitting an ambassador. This means that we represent the one in ultimate authority in front of those who wield his delegated authority. And when we find we must speak up against something the governing authorities are doing, we do so as God’s representatives and we do so out of concern for God’s glory and for their souls.

The motive behind many of the cruel critiques of political leaders does not seem to be the securing of a more peaceful and quiet life. It seems to run more along the lines of securing political power and then retaining that power going forward. This is a very wrong turn. To be involved in politics, of course, is no sin, but to trust in politics for salvation certainly is.

Today’s featured image is available as a photo or canvas print. Please visit my store on Facebook for details.

Points of Interest (2020-06-03)

My Expert Opinion / The Law of Unintended Consequences: Shakespeare, Cobra Breeding, and a Tower in Pisa / What Are God’s Purposes in a Recession? / Preaching under the smile and the smiting rod / Coming undone: What COVID-19 pandemic policies have done to our psyche

Alan Jacobs – My Expert Opinion (Snakes and Ladders)

“Americans have never more desperately needed reliable knowledge than we do now; also, Americans have never been less inclined to trust experts, who are by definition the people supposed to possess the reliable knowledge.”

“My suggestion to journalists, then, is simple: Never use the word ‘expert.’ If you are tempted to say ‘We talked to an expert,’ say instead that you talked to an immunologist, or an epidemiologist — and then take a moment to explain what an immunologist or epidemiologist actually is.”

The Law of Unintended Consequences: Shakespeare, Cobra Breeding, and a Tower in Pisa (Farnam Street Blog)

“Many people who experience a rodent infestation will stop feeding their cats, assuming that this will encourage them to hunt more. The opposite occurs: well-fed cats are better hunters than hungry ones. When the British government offered financial rewards for people who killed and turned in cobras in India, people, reacting to incentives, began breeding the snakes. Once the reward program was scrapped, the population of cobras in India rose as people released the ones they had raised. The same thing occurred in Vietnam with rats…”

John Piper – What Are God’s Purposes in a Recession? (Desiring God)

“God is sovereign, which is why you can speak in terms of purposes. God is sovereign over these things. He foresees them all. He causes or permits them all. And when he foresees and he causes or permits, it is always by design. So, whatever comes to pass comes to pass by God’s design, however it comes to pass.”

Andrew Roycroft – Preaching under the smile and the smiting rod (Thinking Pastorally)

“Have we forfeited the opportunity of silence in our pulpits by becoming new heroes of the story in an online realm? Ought we not to have cried out to God to show us what he would have us do in our souls, before we called in technology to show us how to run our services? Have we rushed to solutions when our first note ought to have been sorrow?… Shall we leave lockdown more technically competent, and no more spiritually sensitive?”

Sharon Kirkey – Coming undone: What COVID-19 pandemic policies have done to our psyche (National Post)

“According to the survey, one-quarter of Canadians are experiencing moderate to severe levels of anxiety. A similar proportion felt lonely occasionally, or most of the time, in the past week; 20 per cent reported feeling depressed. Women, parents with children at home and younger adults, the 18- to 39-year-olds, are faring worse than others. Nearly one-quarter of the 1,005 people surveyed between May 8 and 12 reported binge-drinking in the past week. Significant numbers reported feeling nervous and edgy, or having trouble relaxing. We’re feeling easily annoyed and irritable, the survey tells us. We’ve spent an unhealthy number of days over the past two weeks worrying ‘something awful might happen.’”

Have your say: