JD Hall, the founder of Protestia, wrote a brief yet pointed op-ed arguing that being a pastor, in 2021, is not hard. This hot take deserves an examination. The context of JD Hall’s words is how churches have navigated lockdowns. This is a subject I have written plentifully about. On the one year anniversary of 15 days to flatten the curve, I wrote:
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.
JD Hall takes a similar, if not identical, stance to myself. A key distinction is he gives zero room for excusing pastors. And he speaks with the credibility of being a pastor. His letter, in its entirety, reads:
Don’t let your preacher tell you how hard it is to be a leader right now, in terms of navigating current regulations, lockdowns, or mandates while yet remaining faithful to the Lord.
It is not difficult. It is not complicated. It is not nuanced.
The lines have never been clearer. The path has never been so obvious. The case has never been this cut-and-dry.
Caesar is not head of the church. Take your stupid masks off. Remove the social distancing signs. Send a note to the health board telling them to pound sand, and continue with the Lord’s work as usual.
The issue is only “complicated” when you desire to equally please both God and tyrant.
In twenty-one years a pastor, I have never had such clarity in regards to the mission and direction of the church. Obey Jesus. Ignore tyrants. Rinse. Repeat.
It’s not that complicated.
I think this is one of those issues where one man’s inflammatory remarks push the Overton Window wider so that others can speak out about this pressing issue of ecclesiology. In other words, my commentary on how pathetic it is for pastors to grovel to the state seem rather tame. From the perspective as a pastor, JD Hall is putting his vocation on blast.
It has never been as simple, in my lifetime to be a pastor. Does that make the job easy. Yes according to Hall, but not necessarily, according to myself. There is a difference between simple and easy, despite the fact that “hard” and “complicated” are often overlapping attributes.
Dying for the faith as the Stephen, the first martyr did, was simple. This does not mean that it was easy. And while the difficulty of defying government imposed ecclesiology is no where near martyrdom, especially as the risk of death is nonexistent and imprisonment rather low, taking the first step has made many who have accepted the call weak in the knees.
This needs to be called out. We cannot have churches run by Branch Covidians. That is an entirely pagan religion. We need pastors with balls, and I uses that term to highlight my belief in male eldership. Being unwilling to suffer in the slightest is effeminacy. Such softness, malakos, is unbefitting of the biblical office of elder.