COVID-19 : What should be the Christian response to lockdowns?

In Britain in the wake of Covid-19 there has been widespread acceptance of lockdowns as being an appropriate response to the situation of a serious outbreak of an acute respiratory virus. Christians of course are good citizens and endeavour to uphold the law of the land. 

This does not mean, however, that it is wrong for believers to ask for scientific evidence to substantiate the suitability of lockdown measures. It would be to bury one’s head in the sand to deny that there are, for example, many scientific research papers readily available suggesting that lockdowns do not in fact achieve the desired result of saving lives (see, for example,…/). 

A fundamental problem which must never be lost sight in consideration of the national response to Covid-19 is that Britain has become a thoroughly secularised society with no understanding of the providence of God or of the doctrine of the Fall, which teaches that we no longer live in the paradise which Adam and Eve initially frequented, but in a world marred by sin. 

That marring includes extremes of nature, and sickness and disease, and always will. Viruses will never be eradicated in a fallen world. Yes, we all do all that we can to alleviate suffering, but a God-ignoring society is mistaken, if it thinks that it can remove the consequences of the Fall by means of mere human skill and ingenuity.   

With the mainstream churches generally focusing on ‘woke’ issues such as ‘equality’ and campaigning for ‘minorities’, along with all the other social justice issues so beloved of cultural Marxism, the sovereignty of God over the affairs of men is a truth simply not heard of or known about by the majority in society. The Lord Jesus Christ, however, proved by His earthly ministry that He has power over all disease. This is an aspect of His omnipotence within the Trinitarian Godhead. 

Man in contrast thinks that he is in charge of the world. He even thinks that he can control the climate! He has lost all sense of humility before His Maker, and so he cannot bring himself to acknowledge that it is the Almighty who controls viruses, not the State, or scientists, or pharmaceutical companies. 

The problem is also man’s inability to understand the Biblical concept of ‘the world’, which is the technical term for the whole anti-God philosophical system which prevails outside of faith in Christ. A major characteristic of ‘the world’ which the Bible especially warns against is its power to make everyone conform (e.g. Romans 12:2). 

To question the wisdom of lockdowns means going against the powers that be, the majority opinion in society, the received wisdom of our time, and the message given out daily by the media. Thankfully, by God’s grace, when one becomes a Christian, one begins as a matter of course to question vigorously “the wisdom of this world” (1 Corinthians 3:19). 

It is incumbent upon Christians to think issues through in the light of Biblical teaching. Such questions might be the following : Is it God’s will that perfectly healthy people do not go to work, and do not have normal interaction with other healthy people? There are no Biblical indications that plagues and diseases are reasons for healthy people to abandon their God-given duty to carry on working. Indeed, the apostle Paul teaches in 2 Thessalonians 3:10,

“This we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat”

Does the Lord desire preachers to refrain from going into the open air to proclaim Christ’s truth to a needy world? Is it His will that gospel preachers who minister in public places are silent at a time when a God-rejecting society is full of fear about health issues?

Is it God’s will that there are no open air places of public gathering where a declaration of God’s truth can be heard, because people have been confined to their homes, even when in such open air places social distancing can be easily and safely maintained?

Is it morally right before God for cancer and heart-condition treatments to be postponed in hospitals so as to focus on Covid-19 treatments? Is it morally right before God for the treatment of a seasonal respiratory virus to be prioritised over the treatment of other life-threatening conditions?

There is a great need for a respectful and courteous debate on these matters. There will be differing views even amongst Bible-believing Christians on the suitability of lockdowns. There is surely a place, however, for rational and amicable discussion. 

As we have stated, in the unbelieving society around us most support the lockdown principle, but that does not mean that there should be no sensible questioning of the science behind lockdowns, which is much disputed, in the same way that Bible-believers desire a sensible debate about the disputed scientific evidence concerning evolution and the earth’s origins.

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