We have been continuing to monitor the continuously developing situation regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. These statements we are producing on the situation are meant to keep the members of our body informed of the responses of the church, as well as give you some perspective and hope!
Our consideration of this challenge begins by recognizing that God is Sovereign and He sits on the throne as the King of all creation. This pandemic is not a surprise to Him: He has allowed it – for His purposes, not ours. Christ told us that we would have trials and tribulation, and that He has overcome the world (John 16:33).
We are commanded as Christ’s Church to represent Him as a light to the world (Matthew 5:14). We serve the King of Kings and we believe the Church’s example to the world during a crisis should reflect that. Our testimony (both as a Church and as individual believers) has its most significant impact during times of crisis. We must be very deliberate and wise in our attitudes and actions. The world will watch us and we will be judged. Our faithfulness to God’s Word is the most significant testimony we have.
We further recognize that God’s Word is explicitly clear on its command for local churches to meet together. Hebrews 10:25 says “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” This passage makes a very clear point – we are not to hide and discontinue our meetings as a body when things become difficult and tribulation ensues – we are to meet “so much the more”. We do not recognize any governmental authority to override God’s clear command in His Word for the local church to meet. Historically, our right to meet has not been curtailed by the government, in spite of numerous pandemics (Small Pox, Cholera, Tuberculosis, Russian Flu, Spanish Flu, Asian Flu, Measles, Polio, etc.), or invasion (war of 1812), or civil war, or any other national crisis. God commands us to assemble – man has no authority to stop that.
However, based on Romans 13, we recognize that the government is ordained by God to do us good (and they are unlawful if they do evil). In accordance with that, we believe we should consider all government laws, orders and edicts as they relate to the church for our “good” and do not violate God’s Word as valid and submit to them.
Our current plans and response follow:
We are discontinuing all services until further notice.
As you are staying home, we encourage you to take the time you would normally be with the body at church by listening to one of our messages posted on sermonaudio.com/antiochreformed.
Please continue to give in your tithes and offerings by mailing a check to the church to our PO Box (DO NOT use the street address), which is listed on your bulletin or at the footer of this document. The church still has ongoing expenses and bills that must be paid!
If you have any needs during this time (whether sickness, anxiety, resources or financial), please contact an Elder so that we can help.
Be sensitive to the needs of your neighbors, extended family members, coworkers and friends. Many will not have enough provisions. Some may lose loved ones. Others will be seeking answers. Many will be afraid. You have the help they need – let your light shine!
We are continuing to monitor the situation and the status of our body of believers, and will make further adjustments as necessary and will communicate those to each of you.
Most importantly, please be in fervent prayer about all aspects of this situation.