March 16, 2020 is the day in which President Donald Trump largely caved to the demonic forces surrounding him. Anthony Fauci had just lied to Congress about his views on COVID-19. And the administrative state was listening to pandemic models created by modelers who believed that we only have 9 years left to live because of global warming.
Overnight, the Branch Covidians became the largest religious group in the United States. They consisted of atheists, environmentalists, communists, Democrats, Republicans, and even church goers. They had their own pope, Anthony Fauci. They had their own canon of acceptable models, scientific studies, and cherry-picked data. They had their own salvation/soteriology with masks, social distancing, lockdowns, and the vaccine. Above all, it was an eschatology. They genuinely believed that this was an apocalyptic level event.
The Branch Covidian religion would kill people, destroy businesses and livelihoods, and be the greatest threat to liberty globally. In return it would give Big Pharma billions and untold control over our lives. It would give its followers a newfound purpose. They truly believe that they are saving lives by masking, social distancing, staying home, and taking an experimental vaccine. They believe themselves holier for their adherence to CDC guidelines. In the name of protecting the elderly, they treated them like prisoners, only worse because they released prisoners during all of this.
The Bible is clear on how the world will end, with room for debate on the exact order of operations. The Bible is exceedingly clear that Christ, not the Pope, nor Caesar is head of the church. However, we saw that churches disagreed in their actions. They not only closed their doors, they also barred their small groups from gathering. In direct opposition to Acts 5:29, churches cited Romans 13 in participating in unconstitutional edicts. They conceded and affirmed that the government had the authority to ban churches from gathering. Not only was Romans 13 misused in an American context, it was also used to promote heretical ecclesiology. Christ is head of the church. There is no equal.
Instead of following the Bible, the American church groveled to the government, in many cases pleaded to let them reopen. But Jesus declared in Matthew 28
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
He begins by declaring all authority has been given to Him, not some. And this authority is on earth, not just in heaven. The church disagreed. Jesus didn’t really have that authority when there is a virus with a 99% chance of survival. We have a mission. Many churches treat Sunday morning as the mission field and therefore abandoned their own mission field without hesitation.
Churches justified assuaging the Branch Covidians by stating that this was only temporary. One year later, the church grovels to the state with ungirded loins. In Daniel 6 we see the proper response to “temporary” edicts that render onto Caesar what is to be rendered onto God.
10 Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. 11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God.
The temporal nature of the wicked edict had no bearing on Daniel’s faithfulness. We are to fear God, more than we fear men. But American church is lacking in its meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15). But we are abundant in our timidity and fervently lukewarm. Churches were so quick to close their doors and just as quick to take that PPP money from the government. And for the most part the pattern and correlation is that churches that accepted PPP loans peddled the Branch Covidian lies.
We learned two major lessons moving forward with the Great Commission. The first is that the church, the universal body of believers is a lot smaller than we thought it was. The number of people who claim Christ but preached the Branch Covidian religion was astonishing. The number of professed Christians who lived in fear instead of hope for God’s wonderful providence is really telling. The second lesson is just like the first. We learned that the mission field is a lot larger than we previously assumed.
As a religious minority in the age of the Branch Covidians, the church in the United States needs to gird its loins and recommit its ecclesiology to Christ and not Caesar. The church is the physical assembly of believers. We have a mission to disciple and spread the gospel. We should not be putting barriers like masks, social distancing, capacity limits, vaccines, nor lockdowns in the way of proclaiming the gospel and fulfilling the Great Commission.
Indeed. Church also must become far less about the preacher’s notoriety, speaking prowess, the performance of a service and must instead focus far more on the Bride and her health, her walk, her gifts, her standing before Christ.
Ha! Branch Covidians! That was brilliant.
I cannot take credit for coining it. But I do want to popularize it.