The Government and Covid-19

We have recently experienced something which none of us will have experienced in NZ, the government ordered churches not to gather for worship. Of course, they did not single out religious groups alone to be closed down, but for the first time that any of us have experienced in this context, we were forbidden to meet for worship. Questions arose in our minds about the rightness of this act, and these questions were multiplied as we hit the various alert levels, and especially as we were coming out of the stricter levels into those with more freedom. Questions like does the government have the right to command us not to meet, shouldn’t we practice civil disobedience? Or, if the government is inconsistent in their practice and give more liberties to non-religious groups than religious, are we then allowed to disobey? Or, how long is too long for us not to meet before we decide enough is enough? And when they allowed us to meet, would we allow them to place restrictions upon us like forbidding communion? With Christian examples of some of the early Christians refusing to obey government restrictions to meet under the persecution from Rome, or the examples of early Christians ignoring common sense practices of quarantine during plagues to minister to the sick, some were wondering if we were doing the right thing by not meeting and observing social distancing.

Today as we complete our analysis on our experience of Covid-19 we are going to look at what the bible says about the relationship between the Church and State. We will look firstly, at the state’s responsibility, and then secondly, the church’s.