May 29

Pastors, Polemics And Pandemics


Still 'fine-tuning' our process. You can get to the original article HERE

NOTE: THIS ARTICLE is a reprint from the blog of reverend Kevin Rogers of New Song Church in Windsor, Ontario and is reproduced here for your convenience. You can visit the his blog called "The Orphan Age" HERE.

2019 to 2022 will be remembered in history as a time when
the whole earth shook with fear, uncertainty, and great suspicion. We are
living witnesses to a three-year winter without Christmas, and some are
wondering if we can trust this spring thaw.


For followers of Jesus, what is the Spirit saying to the
church in the early months of post-pandemic recovery?


Based on what we have been through collectively, how do we
now position ourselves for a new season in God? The whole world may be losing
hope, but the Kingdom of God must continue to find and cultivate it.


In a time of unrivalled uncertainty, Paul would write these
words to the people following Jesus:



Romans 8:

22 We
Know That The Whole Creation Has Been Groaning As In The Pains Of Childbirth
Right Up To The Present Time. 23 Not Only So, But We Ourselves,
Who Have The Firstfruits Of The Spirit, Groan Inwardly As We Wait Eagerly For
Our Adoption To Sonship, The Redemption Of Our Bodies. 24 For
In This Hope We Were Saved. But Hope That Is Seen Is No Hope At All. Who Hopes
For What They Already Have? 25 But If We Hope For What We Do
Not Yet Have, We Wait For It Patiently.

26 In
The Same Way, The Spirit Helps Us In Our Weakness. We Do Not Know What We Ought
To Pray For, But The Spirit Himself Intercedes For Us Through Wordless Groans. 27 And
He Who Searches Our Hearts Knows The Mind Of The Spirit, Because The Spirit
Intercedes For God’s People In Accordance With The Will Of God.



I groaned inwardly throughout these years. I’m sure you did,
too. As the months turned into years, I became more acquainted with weakness
and grief. And yet, I continued in hope.


There were days when churchgoers questioned my leadership
for not being more forceful about the pandemic restrictions and guidelines.
Others felt that I should say more and do more to resist government overreach
and the restriction of religious freedom.


There were days when my wife and I had heated debates about
what I should or shouldn’t do. More than once I was in despair as forces beyond
our love for one another crept in to disrupt and steal our joy.


It spilled over into other family connections and
friendships. It became less and less safe to hold an opinion without being
dismissed and overturned for holding a different view. Conversation became a
high-risk minefield to navigate and so many decided to stop talking.


Early on, I met with my leadership team in the church to
determine how we would position ourselves for uncertainty, public safety and
most importantly spiritual care through social media, personal communication
and reduced gathering sizes.


Early on, I determined that I would not use my platform to
give medical advice or to foment disunity. Within the same congregation, there
were precious people that were polar opposites in their view of the pandemic,
MRNA vaccines, politics, and the place of religion in the public sphere. 


I am not a doctor, but I am called to be a soul doctor.


The politicians said, “We’re in this together”, but
as time wore on, we began to wonder whom they meant when they said ‘we’.
Liberal, NDP or Conservative?


I set my mind and heart to nurture and care for the
spiritual development of people and the unity of the body of Christ. We needed
to stay together with our own diversity of opinions and emotional reactions to
all that troubled us.


In the denomination that I am part of, we had a leadership
conversation about how to anchor ourselves in the Scriptures as we pastored our
churches. The core passages that we landed on were Romans 12, 13 and 14.


Romans 12 – your body is a
living sacrifice presented to God. Not just your own body, but the body of
Christ represented in the local church.


Romans 13 – submission to
non-Christian authorities in order to be a faithful witness.


Romans 14 – there is
variable conscience on divisive matters. Love is the rule for non-violent
resistance and conscientious objection.


Excuse a moment of theological nerdiness here, but many
religious people have felt threatened by the world, the governmental authorities,
and the Church itself. Whenever this happens, you see a rise of apologetics and


There are scriptural underpinnings for having reasoned
arguments with those who believe in false doctrine and heresy. The New
Testament apostles were enmeshed in sorting through true and false concepts of
the Christian life.


Whereas Christian apologetics is likened to defence,
Christian polemics can be likened to offence. Apologetics and polemics are
ultimately flip sides of the same coin


However, defensiveness and offensiveness can degrade into
contempt, disunity, and self-righteousness when they are not grounded in
sacrificial love.


When polemic was borrowed into English from French
polemique in the mid-17th century, it referred (as it still can) to a type of
hostile attack on someone’s ideas. The word traces back to Greek polemikos,
which means “warlike” or “hostile” and in turn comes from
the Greek noun polemos, meaning “war.


See also....
Showdown At The Summit



Inspiration, mRNA Vaccine, Rev Kevin Rogers

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