New Warhorn Media post by Tim Bayly:
We sometimes talk of the people of Israel taking over Canaan. They didn’t. Canaan took over them.
I am thankful for all that you have written here, Pastor Tim, and how you’ve been consistently saying it for a long time. I say amen to the notion that COVID has been discipline of God’s people, and judgment upon a godless land, and I am thankful for the light you continue to shine on our hatred of authority, our relative indifference against the slaughter of the unborn, and our hypocrisy as relates to sexual sin.
I do have some questions, though. And I know you’ve been answering objections for months now, so forgive me if I’m asking you to restate things you’ve already stated.
I follow the line of reasoning that Christians need to recognize COVID as God’s discipline – and that part of this discipline involves God chastening us to submit to our civil authorities. Not only do I follow this, but I agree with it. I just can’t decide to what extent, and what the practical outworking of that is then supposed to look like.
What would you tell Joe Christian, like me, about the new planned OSHA vaccine mandate? Should I lay all of my reservations aside (e.g. moral objections concerning vaccine R&D and origin; the fact that I’ve already had COVID; concern about setting a moral precedent, etc.), and just accept the vaccine now as God’s discipline? In other words, would your counsel to us be that we submit to President Biden’s vaccine mandate as the idolatrous Israelites submitted to Moses and drank the gold of their idolatry (Exodus 32:20)?
Do you believe that submitting to vaccine mandates is part of our repentance toward the church’s historical indifference on abortion?
Lord willing we will have a statement that answers these questions out next Wednesday. In short, I think the answer is generally “no” to these questions.
Same with me, dear brother, and the work is hard. As Joseph says, a bunch of us are hard at it and hope to have more to say in the coming week or so. It does seem to me that everyone has chosen places for themselves and/or their congregation where their submission is less than full, and we ourselves have, also. It’s safe to say no one is submitting fully and no one other than Matt Trewhella is shouting that he’s ready to put a bullet in the head of the civil authorities. The OSHA mandate is overreach, I think, but if so, it’s entirely in line with overreach that we’ve been living under for decades, just concerning OSHA. Does that mean we should put up with this one?
No, I don’t think so, so I was pleased to read this morning that governors are filing federal lawsuits against it. That is one remedy we would all agree on. Another is the ballot box. That too we would all agree on. Should this or that woman or man in our church give up this or that job over it? Tough decision, and although elders and pastors should have wisdom in the particular for those under their care and that wisdom might not be the same in every case, the real itch men have is whether their elders and pastors are ready for armed resistance. Honestly, I don’t think anything short of that would satisfy the agitators within the reformed world that (I for instance) am anything other than a pious compromised quietistic coward. So I suppose I’ll have to prove my principles and courage by hopping on the bus sometime somewhere… Love,
What happened to this country? We said we’d never forget 9/11 but here we are.
(This isn’t a dig at you, Pastor Tim, just a lament for the country of my birth.)
I think there’s a partial answer in these passages. At the same time, in an attempt to be as accurate as possible, both with Scripture and with assessing what takes place in one’s own day, I think there have been ways in which many (individual hearts, at very least) have turned to inquire of the Lord for His answers to the calamities of our times. It may have the look of some strong imperfections but I doubt that’s anything new.
It almost feels like everything in society (and not just our own) is on a knife’s edge between profound and almost unfathomable judgement and the beginnings of great revival. Perhaps that puts us in a very Scriptural position, for right after the passage above one finds this:
And right before the passage one finds this:
In both instances, our King is the one who is most fundamentally at work in and through the affairs and turmoil of man.
That (simple OSHA over-reach) and the more immediate, current outworking (of crazy COVID application) will NEVER stop. It will only grow until there is fundamental change (toward ill or good.) I’m tempted to cite something from somewhere in “Lord of the Rings” about a growing darkness intent on enveloping all of middle-earth but I think I’ll wait on that and just cite more from Isaiah because it expresses some of what I think the dynamics of situations like what we’re experiencing as a whole society entail, and also doesn’t leave room for any part of us to be let off the hook.
There’s a non-symmetric nature to certain dynamics, in other words. Whether in physics (boiling and freezing points, or the collapse of structures to use the example of Isaiah) or in the collapse or even the revival of peoples, not everything will be observed according to a uniform gradualism. And often, there’s much more going on that has remained relatively unobserved as well, accentuating the seeming suddenness. Thankfully, our Lord observes all!