Another pastoral letter: we are not statists & COVID-19 decrees are constitutional

New Warhorn Media post by Tim Bayly:


The constant refrain from certain quarters that quarantines are only to be of the sick is one of the most frustrating examples of false narrative in the last few months. Quarantines have never been only applied to the sick. Whole households was essentially the minimum level of quarantine, the moment one family member got the disease. Likewise whole ships when only a few on board were sick, whole towns, etc.

Why do these men refuse to acknowledge such simple facts? For crying out loud, the “Little House On the Prairie” TV show from the 80’s has an episode where one person in one family gets a dangerous disease and the town doctor immediately pronounces a town-wide quarantine. It’s not like it’s hard to look up the facts, but still leaders keep making these false claims.


I strongly agree with this. The plague ship is but one of many possible historical examples.

“Statist” is such a ridiculous and sloppy slur, I lose respect instantly for those who use it. 99.99% of humans have always agreed that the government should exist and enforce orders consistent with a pleasant society. Which orders are conducive to a pleasant society is a great discussion to have, but condemning 99.99% of all humans who have ever existed makes for a ridiculous and sloppy slur.


I’m curious as to whether anyone has responded to your articles/comments. All I’ve seen are assertions about masks, and complaints that they only get weak, emotionally driven argume ts against their ridiculous position. (I haven’t read Doug Wilson on this).

Hard to gauge, although it’s encouraging some of them held a congregational meeting to tell their sheep they are certainly and definitely and most assuredly NOT libertarians this past week. But among our own flocks, we have had very good responses, including especially repentance for rebelliousness against civil authorities. A siginificant number have expressed their gratitude incl a very gentle email saying thank you and acknowledging the sin from leader in my own congregation yesterday. Please pray for the Lord to teach us all His Word and work. Love,


Interesting reading this discussion from the other side of the “ditch”. In Britain, whatever challenges the churches face, arguments with the civil power over something like this is not one of them. In our case, it helps that a local senior public health official is a known Christian; so, when he speaks to churches and church leaders, he does so as someone known to be in the family of faith. Churches here are not meeting as yet, but we have still managed and providentially, “got by”. Your own experience will no doubt be similar.

Wow. This is disappointing.

Why not encourage your church members to investigate on their own and then be captive to the word of God and their OWN CONSCIENCES!???

Even in your own example of quarantining a whole family, it was limited to those exposed to illness at close quarters and it was time-boxed. Neither applies here. So frustrating to see yet more churches just falling hook line & sinker in line with the “flow” and WORSE binding the consciences of their flocks where Scripture does not bind. I sincerely hope if people come to your churches with their faces unveiled that they are welcomed. Can you imagine the Lord who touched lepers refusing to allow healthy but unmasked people to come and fellowship with other believers???

Did you not read any of the articles? You said that we should be "captive to the word of God’. That is exactly what Pastor Bayly is calling us to obey. It is impossible to be captive to the word of God and not submit to our authorities, even when we disagree with those authorities.


Perhaps sometimes. But you are not going to be able to make a case if you actually look at the historical record of quarantines.

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Yes, actually I can. BUT even if I could not, let’s appeal to common sense. Especially now that we actually know about germs and transmission and how disease is carried. We can test for antibodies, we can know the incubation period, etc.

Indefinite ongoing quarantine of everyone who possibly could some day get covid (which is what we had for months in the form of “stay at home mandates” and which many clamor to return to) is NOT comperable nor is it logical or sensible. It constitutes cruel & unusual punishment— it is totally unnatural.

We are called to submit to authorities in the right spheres, which means that we don’t blindly follow in areas where the leadership is not qualified to lead.

Health is part of stewardship, the responsibility of the family, not the state. And not of the church either.

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Can you show us in Romans 13 or 1 Peter 2 where it says to only submit to our authorities in the “right spheres”? Do you pay taxes? Do you wear a seat belt when you drive? Does your house follow fire and safety codes? Do you submit to the TSA when you fly? Why is it now all of a sudden that you’ve decided not to submit to your authorities?


A fascinating article, but it is off topic. As has been pointed out numerous times, the command to submit to your authorities is not qualified by “as long as you are convinced they are working from the most correct scientific understanding of how the world works.” Thankfully, it makes no claim that Christians should refuse to submit to authority.

As for the article, though there is much of it that is interesting and that I agree with, I’m afraid that it makes me sad with one falsehood that is typical of conservatives at the moment—and that in its second sentence.

“With the exception of a single death on July 13, no deaths in this nation of 10 million have been reported since July 10.”

The country typically reports no or almost no deaths two days out of every week. It’s almost like many countries and counties still believe in the weekend being two days off. And the data I’ve seen shows 10 deaths on the 13th and 27 today, and absolutely nowhere near the implied claim that deaths Have essentially stopped. Such false claims make me want to stop reading.


And reporting days are not days of occurrence of deaths. To see the deaths on each day, you need an epicurve. Even those can look very erratic which is why you must also use a moving 14 day average trend line.

Usually we name names, but the rebellion and railing against civil authorities in the conservative Reformed world has been so ubiquitous that it seemed best to keep things general and not single out one voice, only. Any fb page will demonstrate that ubiquity, and then just ask them which leaders/pastors/podcasters they think have gotten it right?

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It’s interesting to observe what men with real authority and responsibility do to resist what they believe to be executive over-reach.

Consider the Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron:

Cameron has tried to limit or block Gov. Beshear’s emergency powers. He’s been able to find lower court judges who agreed with his case, but the latest news is that the KY Supreme Court has issued a stay and wants to take more time to review the case.

Two takeaways:

  1. Cameron does not argue that the governor’s orders have 0 legal or constitutional basis. His arguments are those of degree. It’s about procedure. They are narrowly tailored. Why? Because sweeping arguments would get thrown out of court. They would be laughed at. If you stand with Moscow, that’s something to think about.

  2. The fact that Cameron has been able to advance his case this far means that the legal and constitutional issues are not entirely clear. They’ve been unclear in other ways at other places during the virus crisis. For instance, the U.S. Supreme Court decided a controversial case about California regulations adversely affecting churches, and four justices, led by Brett Kavanaugh, dissented. The dissenters presumably know something about the law. But their dissent was not grounded on the sorts of sweeping condemnations we see from many Christian Corona skeptics.

The lack of clarity suggests that there really is something different about what’s been going on. To say everything is clear, and there is no case for seeking to rescind these emergency powers, is also wrong.

Thanks for the helpful article, brothers.