Now that it’s popular to say that church gathering is essential, Jonathan Leeman and Collin Hansen have a book to sell you! The Gospel Coalition and 9 Marks (x) have a joint venture in the book, Rediscover Church: Why the Body of Christ Is Essential which came out in August. The obvious question about the consistency of their messaging remains and Leeman attempts to address this inconsistency in a podcast with his coauthor.
Leeman refers back to his position condemning John MacArthur stating that the church must gathering, believing there to be more wiggle room. He conspicuously ignores his previous stance on the matter that pushed churches to lockdown. In early May, 2020, Leeman wrote:
My personal judgment? I see no reason to think the government will single out churches—and I believe, it possesses a compelling reason to ban all gatherings in order to fulfill its basic function of preserving life. So churches should submit to government restrictions on gathering for the foreseeable future. Plus, Christians should utterly exhaust all ordinary means of legal recourse before contemplating disobedience.
And there’s one more reason to obey the government’s ban on gathering at this present moment: I believe it aids our witness. It shows care for the community and love for our neighbors. It shows that we care about their good, too, not just our own.
The government has no such authority and therefore churches are not obliged to exhaust all legal means. They are however commanded to gather.
This verse held true in March of 2020 and still holds true today, for God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jonathan Leeman was among the many who advocated the church lock down. And judging by the only 2020 article on TGC written by Hansen on this issue, since he mostly does podcasts, he was pro-lockdowns as well.
At last their only defense is to claim that lockdowns were a providential hinderance in order to main logical consistency then and now. But Leeman’s own words contradict this sentiment. Leeman articulated that the church’s witness would be bolstered by shutting down, not that the church was providential prevented from gathering. Perhaps Hansen is more consistent on his view, but nonetheless, those who advocate church gathering being essential now while advocating for lockdowns then have zero credibility on this issue without repentance, and even with repentance should rightfully stand behind those who had faithful resolve from the beginning.
For Jonathan Leeman and Collin Hansen to capitalize off changing sentiments is nothing more than a shallow and shameless grift.