Updated: Jun 23
These are my observations regarding the direction of travel that many (not all) churches have taken in recent times and especially during the pandemic. My intent is not to throw stones or cast judgement on who is or isn't a Christian. I have no interest in poisoning anyone's well.
What I have witnessed, over the pandemic, is that too many Christians have put undue trust in the world. Few have questioned our governments or made efforts to test what they are being told. I believe we are at a critical juncture, both for humanity and the Church. As I shall explain, my understanding is that the world is both labouring under a delusion and deceiving many. Its evident the majority of Churches have conformed to the world over the pandemic. They have complied with everything they have been asked to do. Without skepticism, without question, without testing.
If you are a Christian reading this and affronted by my heretical suggestion that the powers of this world could and would deceive you - then I strongly encourage you to read on.
This article does not cover all the facts or fictions to do with the pandemic, it would be much too long, but you can find articles and resources on this site that explore and challenge the official narrative.
How the Church is split over Covid
At this moment there is a fracture developing over the subject of Covid within Churches. You may have witnessed it yourself. You may have Christian friends who are sincerely skeptical about the pandemic and others who are immovably convinced. If you are on the world's side of the fence, the Covid heretics may have tried to convince you that you are being lied to. Maybe they refuse to wear a mask, are unvaccinated or have even stopped attending services. Maybe you have fallen out with fellow Christians over this.
Currently Christian Covid-skeptics are a minority. In the main, Christians are happy to mask-up, implement social distancing zones among the pews, promote cashless payments (cash is dirty and infected we're told), and do, as it happens, exactly what the world tells them to do. In fact, they literally don't feel any conflict at all, nothing untoward, they agree and follow the 'rules'. They believe it is what a Christian should do .
Since vaccinations started we have had churches and pastors promoting the jab to their churches, the Vatican has already welcomed vaccine passports. For almost 18 months, little if any critical comment came from the top. Only recently, a small encouragement, 1250 Church leaders issued an open letter questioning the ethics of vaccine passports and their place, as if there should be any, in the Church.
Aside from these more recent breakaways, the Church continues to follow the narrative religiously (sic). Imploring congregations to obey the rules and get vaccinated. In the United States, many faith leaders have even refused to endorse vaccine exemptions for their flocks.
I have met Christians who are not troubled by any of this and even agree with the coercive and divisive measures now being used to cajole and demonise 'refusers'. For many in Europe, not having the jab has lost them their jobs, access to shops, a social life, higher education and some services. In Austria; house arrest, fines or imprisonment for the unvaccinated is about to become a reality. This is already impacting on our brothers and sisters who have chosen to remain unjabbed.
Overall there is silence from the Church, which I assume is really a tacit endorsement. Few church leaders have made critical comments about the vaccines, lockdowns, vaccine passports or the imposition of mandates. They have not spoke out about the damage wrought by lockdowns or the march towards a world where rights and liberties are being redefined. Silence.
Christians have become enablers and willing participants in the most extraordinary transfer of power, from citizens to the state. Churches are aiding and hastening a global ID system (vaccine passports), cashless society (card payments only) and a new sub-class (the unvaccinated). There is an empty void where there should be spiritual discernment and alarm. I think it entirely possible that churches could prohibit unjabbed Christians from attending physical services in the future.
What is going on and why has the Church become such a willing partner in all this?
Its evident, to me, there are two camps of thought on the pandemic:
1. Christians who accept everything they are told about the pandemic and this comes exclusively from official sources. These they deem to be the most trustworthy and honest. They believe by following the rules and getting vaccinated they are 'loving' their neighbour. These make up the majority (I have Christian friends in this camp). Many view their obedience as an alignment with Romans 13 (more on this later). The mere suggestion that they may be deceived is quite unthinkable to them.
2. Christians who do see a problem are skeptical of what they are being told. These Christians have looked for another viewpoint and found it in testimonies from numerous scientists, doctors, professors, nurses and individual witnesses. They have spared no effort in sifting for facts about the pandemic that have either been ignored or deliberately buried. They have sought to prove these up with fellow Christians. By testing what the world has told them, many have drawn the conclusion that the pandemic is a deception, even a sign we are at the very end of end-times. They therefore cannot submit to all the state is asking them to do because this conflicts with a higher duty to follow the truth. They are also growing in number.
I am in camp 2 (if you hadn't already guessed). Throughout this article, my aim is to explore the culture and justifications, as I see them, behind camp 1.
How did so many Christians end up putting so much trust in the world?
There is no point in denying it, a great number of churches and Christians have modified their appearance, approach, language and even doctrine to get along with the world. In doing so they have become agreeable sorts; polite, inoffensive, some are fighting climate change, chasing down social injustices (yes, even BLM), others have gone as far as celebrating LGBT lifestyles.
Rather than be regarded as 'aliens' in the world, many Christians desire to get along with it. To those looking in on a modern church there is less of a distinction than ever between a world-friendly Christian and a regular 'good' person - or dare I say, an unbeliever.
This seemingly innocuous shift has had a profound and neutralising effect on the Church. By being so like the World, by this I mean fighting its causes and aping its behaviour, Christians have become 'friends of the world'. This is worrying. The Bible clearly states, 'A friend of the world is an enemy of God'. We are commanded to be in the world but not of it.
A useful litmus test for a Christian's relationship with the world is this, John 15:19: "If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."
How many people have you encountered in your walk that hate you for your witness, for telling the truth and trying to live as best you can for Christ? If your honest answer is "none" or "I get along with everyone" - then it may simply be because the world loves you 'as its own' or that for the sake of agreeability you never make a stand.
To maintain a clear spiritual perspective we need to be mindful that the world is not our friend, it is our enemy.
All this should be Christianity 101 but not anymore. This surreptitious mission creep has, I believe, compromised the integrity of the Church and put it to sleep. It has caused Christians to trust in the powers of the world, more than they would if they remained aloof and skeptical.
But things have taken a turn for the worse. As we have seen, the pandemic is not wholly responsible for this schism in the Church but rather has exacerbated one that already existed.
When trust in worldly power leads to supporting evil and the promotion of lies
This uncritical tendency and conformity among Christians coupled with excessive trust in the world and carte blanche obedience has, I believe, resulted in a loss of discernment. Simply put, the discernment 'muscle' is rarely used and has withered.
Romans 12:2: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
Isn't it interesting that both "conformity" and "discernment' are mentioned here in the same verse. It is both a warning and an encouragement to "test" in order to discern what is the will of God, good and perfect. Conformity to the world is the underminer of these things. We must seek constant renewal of our minds to keep us from conforming to the traditions, jingoism and idols of this world.
In the US, the majority of Christians supported the war in Iraq which saw many atrocities. The war led to further campaigns that broke-up of the Middle East and resulted in a mass exodus of refugees from these devastated territories. The justification for the Iraq war was later shown to be laden with falsehoods (Weapons of Mass Destruction). Sold to us by our leaders and governments. So how can we trust them? My answer is, we shouldn't, we have never been commanded to trust government. We are told to trust in God not princes.
No safety in numbers. Truth is not exclusive to worldly power or the majority
One thing is for certain, there is no safety in numbers, being in a majority counts for little. For a Christian to think they are doing the right thing because everyone else is doing it is a mistake. Christ encourages us to enter through the narrow gate because the path to destruction is "broad" and "many go in".
That governments lie should not be something up for dispute, we are not children. The Bible describes "kings" plotting against God and warns of "spiritual wickedness in high places". Do we need to be reminded that Satan is the Prince of the World?
If rulers and their sages (even church leaders) become our principle source of truth we are not acting wisely, we risk submitting to a lie or worse, becoming liars ourselves. Everything and everyone must be tested against scripture.
Doing what is right and true before Christ must take precedence over doing what we are told
We've all heard the phrase 'just following orders'. It is a mode of thought that has justified some of the most extreme and murderous behaviour ever witnessed. Mostly because it is used as a form of absolution from individual responsibility.
When we blindly follow orders from our governments, we are at fault if we do not check what we are being asked to do. Perhaps the first questions we should ask as a Christian are "is this the truth?" and 'will this cause me to sin?'. These are by no means the only qualifiers for whether it is right to obey or not.
The power of authority, lies and Milgram
The famous Milgram experiment demonstrated that people could be coaxed into doing terrible things, such as inflicting pain on another human, if they were given an order to do so by an authority figure in a position of trust. This figure then lied to the participant and told them that the person they were inflicting pain (electric shocks) upon was in no danger. The experiment revealed that the participant could be encouraged to illicit a lethal dose of electricity to the subject simply because they were told it was 'OK'.
Christians have been told that by following the rules they are doing the right thing, they know this to be true because their trusted authorities tell them so.
Authority does not have the monopoly on truth
Let's bring this back to the pandemic for a moment.
In April 2020, the highly regarded epidemiologist John Ioaniddis of Stanford University announced the results of his serology study, in which he determined that the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) of Covid was in the "same ballpark as seasonal influenza". His extensive study was later peer-reviewed and published by the WHO in October 2020 but you never knew, because the media and governments never told you. This was not the truth you were meant to hear. The study has never been rebutted or retracted, yet still the world tells us Covid is a terror to which we must all submit.
Add to this the fraudulent registration of deaths 'with Covid' from 'any' cause and the death toll becomes a deception in itself. A case driven pandemic with the net cast wide to draw in any death yielding a positive PCR test. This is no accident, its is deliberate and deceptive but so many cannot see it or refuse to. Discernment is required.
The fruit of this deception is the devastating long-term cost to people's lives. The 'shock-therapy' of lockdowns and other measures are quite literally killing people and dividing society.
I have personal experience of this. A close friend's mother died of cancer in her own home because she was fearful of becoming trapped in the hospital system and separated from her family. My friend believed she could have been saved or her life prolonged in hospital, but who would want to risk a lonely death by remote video link?
Suffer thy neighbour
Just like Milgram, by participating in the great Covid experiment Christians are actually doing harm while being told their actions are 'good'.
How are Christians loving their unvaccinated neighbour if they approve of, or stay silent while they lose their job, access to healthcare or education? Will they continue to do and say nothing when their neighbour is fined, imprisoned or can't even buy food (yes, that is coming)?
What about Romans 13?
Paul's words in Romans 13 declare that it is right for Christians to submit to government. It is good for us and society as a whole. This is true of course. What witness would it be for Christians to rebel, revolt and break the law?
However, there are some nuances and exceptions that I believe are leading to its misapplication by conforming Christians.
Romans 13 does not obligate us to put our trust in governments (powers of the world) or believe everything they tell us. Nor does it mean we should obey every rule without question. Truth and discernment are what is needed to stop us from falling into a living Milgram experiment and doing what is wrong and sinful, while thinking it is what God wants us to do.
There are many excellent examples in scripture of how individuals chose to disobey rulers in order to uphold what was righteous before God. In Daniel's example, he submitted and remained respectful to King Nebuchadnezzar, but he did not obey an edict that would have caused him to engage in sinful activity (idol worship). His higher duty to the Lord and his statutes trumped those of the state. Daniel submitted to the punishment for his intransigence without complaint, being thrown into a furnace. He was not disputing this arrangement, the power structure that God had placed him under was the one he submitted to. Daniel simply refused to obey a rule that would have caused him to do something wrong in God's eyes.
These questions of obedience and their limtitations in respect of Christians are finally being addressed. Two years into the pandemic, church leaders are beginning to grapple with these issues. How far does the Church go in following the dictats of the state? Is it Christ or Ceaser? Where and when should the line be drawn?
I would remind any world-trusting, unquestioningly obedient Christian of this: The "Man of Sin" will assume the reigns of government at the end of days, he will deceive the world, trample truth to the ground, and "cause" humanity to accept the Mark of the Beast. God himself will ensure that our worldly leaders hand over their kingship to him. It is God who enables this government to come into being. Are you going to obey the Man of Sin?
Remember also, in Thessalonians God sends a delusion so that all those who do not love the truth shall perish. Do these Christians, who are obeying every rule, have a desire for truth that burns inside them? Do they dig for the truth like buried treasure and love it more than their own lives? What about youself? Can you honestly say that you take every effort to test what the world tells you - or are you instead trusting the world (the science even) to tell you what the truth is?
If a Christian professes to love Jesus, then, through the renewing of their mind and by not conforming to the world, a love of the truth should be evident in their life. Jesus himself said "I am the truth". It is knowledge, wisdom and protection for a Christian but it's even more than this.
In the context of 2 Thessalonians 2:10, those who do not "receive the love of the truth" cannot be saved. Quite literally put, it becomes an obstacle to their salvation.
"and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved."
Failure to establish what is true, failure to discern the times (watchfulness), conforming and trusting rather than testing risks a sleeping church that no longer stands upon the truth. As sure as night follows day, these churches will not be able to tell the signs of Christ's coming. What sort of witness is this?
I'm reminded of the letter to the church in Sardis. Jesus strongly rebuked them for their lack of watchfulness.
The comfort blankets of a pre-tribulation rapture and preterist interpretations that falsely place unfulfilled prophecies in the 1st century have contributed to Christians mothballing their watchfulness. Certainly, many are not casting a critical enough eye over the affairs of this world.
I don't doubt that, because of all these blind spots, Christians are falling prey to a great delusion. Can a Christian be deceived, yes - of course. If this were not possible then why would Christ say "be not deceived". There are many instances in scripture where Christ exhorts us to be watchful and warns us not to fall asleep, the servant who does is punished. Let us not be that servant, but instead watch keenly and eagerly for our master's return.
Lord, I pray that you renew our minds and place a passion for the truth in our hearts. Break our conformity to the world that we be alert and watchful for your return at all times. Just as you commanded. Amen.