Note: This transcript is taken from the Stand in the Gap Radio program originally aired on March 16, 2020. To listen to the program, please click HERE.
Sam Rohrer: Well, hello and welcome to Stand in the Gap Today. This is our Monday edition, the beginning of a very busy week and coming off, as you know, a very eventful weekend. I’m Sam Rohrer, and I’m going to be joined today by Pastor Keith Wiebe and Pastor Joe Green. They will be the cohost today on the program. We have a lot to go through. Since we were on this program together last week, all of last week was really eventful. We know that on Friday specifically we were talking about what we’re going to do today on this program, our lives, the lives of our nation, your lives, my life have all been impacted significantly, haven’t they? With what appears before us, they’re going to be impacted even more in ways we probably don’t know.
Sam Rohrer: Depending upon where you live in the United States and since people listen to this program in all 50 states, basically depending on where you are, there have been varying levels of impacts from this Communist Chinese coronavirus I’m calling it that is disrupting life not just here, but around the world. The stated goal of the president and the health task force headed by vice president Pence and the various state governors, the goal is to slow down the speed and the height of the peak of infected persons requiring medical assistance. That’s the goal. Nothing that is being done with all the quarantine, all these kinds of things at all is geared to eliminating the virus. It’s to lessen the speed and the impact.
Sam Rohrer: Just so you know that that’s really what the strategy is all about. While there are some people who still don’t believe that the virus impacts or anything to worry about, those numbers are shrinking. The fast growing numbers in Europe, which are doubling about every six days or less, that’s the model as those who were looking, the epidemiologists and others who are looking at impacts, they’re looking at that and saying, “We don’t want to happen here what is happening there.” The full expectation is that we here in the United States are about 15 to 30 days behind that. If you look at what’s happening there, the idea is that this becomes less. That’s the goal. That’s what’s the stated goal. At this moment, the number of infections and mortalities to this virus in the US are low.
Sam Rohrer: It’s about 3,800 confirmed cases, actually that number has gone up quite a bit, but approximate deaths are about 60. As more people are tested, those numbers will likely change and they’re going to change by the day. I’m not going to dwell on that. But certain governors, like the governors of Ohio and Illinois, have ordered the closure of all restaurants, cafes, and other nonessential businesses for at least two weeks. Since I put this together, Connecticut, New York and one other state up there have all just in the last little while done the same thing. Others have banned gatherings of groups of 250 or more, in some cases, 500 or more in places like California that has included churches by law. In other areas, it’s been somewhat voluntary.
Sam Rohrer: But the concern is that the virus will affect our freedoms and this changes the impact on both our health and our freedom. I’ve chosen as a title today for the program, Corona, The constitution, and The Church. Now, in the next segment, we’re going to get into just a moment, we’re going to have a special guest Attorney Jeremy Dys from First Liberty. That’s the nation’s largest nonprofit legal organization dedicated to exclusively defending religious liberty for Americans. He’s going to be with us. We’re going to talk about certain guidelines that they have put into place for churches and other entities, and we’re going to talk about that at that point. But for right now, I want to welcome and Keith Wiebe and Joe Green. Man, I want to get right into it.
Sam Rohrer: Keith, I’m going to ask you a question first. In these days, ladies and gentlemen, I can tell you that leaders across the country when we are considering whether the state or the federal government imposes limitations that affect our mobility or affect our ability to gather together in groups of 250 or 500 and some will be, last summer, we’re going to be down to a hundred including church settings, there becomes an issue and a question. They are different state to state. California has prohibited gatherings of that type and they have specifically included churches. Pennsylvania, the governor here did not specifically include churches, but he encouraged churches not to gather. In Ohio, the governor, Governor DeWine, exempted churches, but still saying use discretion, be careful what you do.
Sam Rohrer: The result is people are working through a process of deciding what should we do biblically, what should we do constitutionally, what should we do morally, and these things are going to be continued to be worked out as we go along, but certainly the issues of religious freedom are something that are impacted. Now, just about a minute between both of you, Keith, what did you do here in West Virginia and West Virginia at this point is the only state that hasn’t had someone identify positive for the virus, but what happened at your church yesterday? What decision did you make?
Keith Wiebe: Well, we felt like we had a responsibility to our community and to our people in terms of their health, and we made some adjustments in our services. We still had worship service. We have leveled services and so we had the two worship services. We did suspend Sunday school because of so much interaction between children and the social distancing was just impossible in that context. We encouraged our people to be involved in the online portion of the service and, if I may say, in the online giving because obviously something like this affects the church and its ability to function financially. We did not cancel services. We continued. We are now evaluating our leadership is what happens next weekend, next Sunday with our services then.
Sam Rohrer: All right. You held it, you made some changes, offered some creative alternatives. Joe Green, you pastor a diverse church within a center city location in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. What did you choose to do with your people yesterday?
Joe Green: We still went ahead with service as normal, but we also encouraged everyone to use reasonable precautions. We also wanted to be a service because some of the schools in our area are closed so some of our elders are volunteering. When I say elders, I mean leaders volunteered to even provide daycare for school aged kids who aren’t going to school. We also had our food pantry to make sure that we’re supplying some staples for our elderly and other families. We wanted to make sure that we didn’t allow the fear to kind of overtake us, but also just be that community center that I believe the church has supposed to be.
Joe Green: We went on with services as usual, but I did also encourage all the reasonable precautions that all of us should take, but also to make sure we spent this time in prayer and trying to lead our community in the way that they should look at the these things.
Sam Rohrer: Excellent, Joe. All around the country, pastors and churches chose to do varying things. Some just like you heard here with Keith and Joe. Others canceled and put things online. A lot of different things. All of these are part of the consideration-
Sam Rohrer: Welcome back to Stand in the Gap Today. I’m Sam Rohrer accompanied today by Keith Wiebe and Joe Green and a special guest we’re going to bring in in just a moment, Jeremy Dys, who is the First Liberty special counsel for litigation and communications. Our theme today is this Corona, the coronavirus, the constitution, and the church because all that is happening right now is impacting and touching on all of these things, corona, our health, the constitution, the law and the church, our moral and biblical duties. They all come together at some point or another. As I was thinking about the program and thinking about our nation, every nation goes through times of great difficulty, so it should not surprise us that it is time for us to go through some difficulty.
Sam Rohrer: From the great impact of the Civil War… Think about this, but Civil War, over 600,000 Americans lost their lives, but there was also the Spanish flu, not a war, the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918 immediately following World War I. World War I, about 117,000 American soldiers lost their lives, but for the Spanish flu outbreak, in America alone, 675,000 people lost their lives to what was then a novel flu, meaning it was a new flu to which people did not have natural immunity, later designated Spanish flu.
Sam Rohrer: But major weather events have precipitated civil government to temporarily limit the mobility of citizens in our country, not just as it happened there in the Civil War, not just as it happened in the Spanish flu outbreak, but across this country, and sometimes mandates, if we think about it, that hundreds of thousands of people actually leave their homes, as in the case of advancing hurricanes. Well, in such cases, the logical question always is, well, how serious is this threat and who determines that level of threat? Does civil government have the moral and constitutional right to limit travel, public gatherings, and other association? How does this impact our US constitutional right of the First Amendment to worship and association and assembly?
Sam Rohrer: Of course, how does the church respond in times like this? From a civil and biblical perspective. These are questions that are presenting themselves all across the country to serious students of history, constitutionally committed citizens, and biblically-based Christians. We’re going to walk through just a little bit of that today right now. As I said, I’m going to invite in right now Jeremy Dys who is special counsel for litigation and communications for First Liberty, which you can find at their website, FirstLiberty.org. Jeremy, thank you for being with us today.
Jeremy Dys: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Sam Rohrer: Jeremy, you guys are busy because these questions are coming up and I know you’re getting them from around the country. You and I have been in discussion for the last few days relative to what First Liberty could do in assembling a basic set of guidelines for pastors, for religious leaders and I’m going to put it in there constitutionally committed citizens in regard to these actions, these mandates by either state or federal government that’s impacting our mobility and our ability to gather in some cases somewhat within even the churches.
Sam Rohrer: That being the case, let me start right out with this, if you don’t mind, does the state, get very basic, does the state either federal or state governments, do either one of those possess the constitutional, and I’m going to assert in here the moral authority, the constitutional and moral authority to limit peaceful assembly such as church gatherings, such as what we’re seeing right now as the result of the coronavirus?
Jeremy Dys: Let’s go back and review this through kind of a biblical lens and remember that government is something that was not man’s idea. It was God’s idea to begin with. We start with that and the church being God’s idea also, of course, as something that we understand has a special place I suppose in God’s heart and he’s given certain authority to the state and he’s given certain authority to the church. At times those two may overlap, but usually they’re in separate spheres of authority and that’s good, that’s proper, and that’s right. That’s why we have and that was why we insist upon this separation in the right sense of the term, the separation between the authority of the state and the church and how the church has that influencing authority over the state itself, but the state does not reciprocate in kind.
Jeremy Dys: In other words, the church is allowed to be able to actually influence or affect the state in most ways. Now that said, the church certainly recognizes or should recognize that the state has a legitimate governing authority and it wields the sword, as Paul talks about it, with just authority in the right times and in the right ways.
Jeremy Dys: But to get directly then to your question, does the state then have that authority in times of national crisis or in this situation international pandemic to be able to curtail rights that we would otherwise insist upon under our First Amendment, which had been attached, of course, to our own humanity and our creation, the answer to that question is sort of or maybe how my law school professors used to put every hard question or answer every hard question I would ask, they would say, “Well, it depends,” and that’s the case here as well. Let’s first off say that the church needs to continue to maintain its mandate to serve and care for its community.
Jeremy Dys: This is a good time for a church in the face of a global pandemic to be what it has always been, except it gets to be a little more on center stage because there’s a lot of needy people out there right now. There’s a great physical need and there’s a design behind the church to care for its people and for its people then to care for the world as well. This is the time for the church to do that very thing. I’m eager for the church, as you guys have described it already, to be doing what it does best, caring for one another and caring for the community around them. But that means that they’ve got to be able to be free to do so, doesn’t it? Well, okay, so there’s a pandemic out there and you’ve already articulated the different large gathering bans that are in place here.
Jeremy Dys: The state does have the authority to say, “Look, we need to have those large gatherings curtailed.” What it does not have the ability to do is to kind of pick and choose who it wants to curtail. I think we’ve seen kind of a clunky start to this quarantining and social distancing thing. If for instance, here in Dallas where I’m at, the city mayor put out a proclamation that they would have a ban on large gatherings of over I think it was first 250 people, but then they exempted certain things. They exempted the airports, but you can kind of understand why that would be the case. They then exempted schools and movie theaters, but all other public gatherings of 500 plus were banned. Well, that doesn’t make any logical sense, does it?
Jeremy Dys: Are you telling me that churches are somehow less germ ridden than schools and movie theaters? Well, of course not, but at the same time it makes no legal sense either. There’s no difference in terms of raw neutrality between a building that houses 500 churchgoers and 500 moviegoers. There’s no difference between those two. If we have the desire to have it challenged or if a church were to push back on all this, I think there’s a case to be made. In other words, the state has the ability to burden your religious freedom, even substantially burden it, but only after they demonstrate that they have done so in the least restrictive means possible and that they have a compelling interest for doing so.
Jeremy Dys: I don’t think you’ll find a court in the country that would disagree that a pandemic on this scale is anything but a compelling interest. I think you’re going to find most courts agreeing, yeah, they’ve got a compelling justification for doing this maybe in the state justification, even a compelling one to make sure that large gatherings are prevented. But at the same time we can insist that our government be much more tailored to what they’re doing. In other words, they can’t say, “Churches you can’t meet, but movie theaters you can.” That makes not a logical sense nor legal sense. We have the right to remind our leaders that that is the standard we’re going to hold them to.
Joe Green: That’s great. Jeremy, in your guidelines, First Liberty’s second guideline reads temporary, even applied restrictions may be permissible, I think it’s important for the sake of the discussion that we define what temporary means. With that being said, you haven’t mentioned the term temporary in your guidance. Is there any limit to how long temporary can be, and is there any restriction on the size of the assembly?
Jeremy Dys: Well, look, temporary is… I think we just go with what the common definition of the word temporary would be and that would be defined in a negative sense as being not permanent, right? As long as there is kind of an end in sight to this whole thing, then I think they can insist upon the ban on large gatherings and whatever that may be. Just as a kind of a more prudential note here as well, but let’s not forget that God has given us government for our good and we have thankfully in most situations staffed our government with officials who are for the most part fairly wise.
Jeremy Dys: Maybe there’s a rabbit trail we could follow at another time there to remind ourselves for future elections how important it is in times of crisis like this to have very wise God-honoring individuals that are within those positions of authority so that they make the appropriate decisions on things, but that’s a discussion for a later day. Right now what we want to remind ourselves of is that we can turn to the government or we ought to turn to the government to look for answers to these large pandemic problems and how they play out at the national, international, even the local scene. Yes, temporarily it could be two weeks, two months, or longer. I don’t know that the courts would be really in agreement if something were to last years and years.
Jeremy Dys: That seems a lot more like a permanent situation than it is a temporary one in any sense of the term temporary. But if for instance, this pandemic were not to be able to be contained somehow and in fact, it went worse, maybe a two year limitation would be okay, but I really would doubt that that would be the case because at the same time the courts would have to insist upon the government presenting the compelling justification. So long as they can maintain that compelling justification, and that is a really high standard to meet in normal circumstances, they’re not going to allow this to drag out forever and ever. Right now, what’s the latest CDC guidelines?
Jeremy Dys: I think it’s a ban on 50 people and going out perhaps eight weeks. That’s temporary enough and I think compelling enough to probably be okay.
Sam Rohrer: All right. Jeremy Dys, great information for our segment here. Jeremy Dys, First Liberty special counsel for litigation and communication. We’re talking about guidelines for the church and religious leaders and constitutionally committed people in light of the coronavirus impositions that are being placed upon-
Sam Rohrer: Welcome back to Stand in the Gap Today. We’re now at our midpoint. I’m Sam Rohrer and accompanied today by co-hosts Keith Wiebe and Pastor Joe Green and our special guest in this program, Jeremy Dys. He is the First Liberty special counsel for litigation and communications. They have a website at FirstLiberty.org. Acquaint yourself with them. They’re in the forefront of a couple of legal entities that are out there watching out for our constitutional purposes, but they are probably the lead organization that focuses expressly on religious freedom. That’s why Jeremy is on with us today and they just put together some guidelines for church leaders in particular and others and we have posted that on our website that you can go and pick that up. I would encourage you to take advantage of that.
Sam Rohrer: Our theme today is corona, meaning the coronavirus, the constitution, and the church. We’re doing this because with the imposition of limitations on people’s mobility and assembly, it brings this health issue forward, precipitated by action of civil government, which then automatically affects our freedom to assemble, our freedom to be mobile, and all of those things then bring together these fine lines that move between the duties and responsibilities of government and the church and the rights of the citizen with necessary demands that certain circumstances can bring upon a nation. We’ve seen it done in hurricanes where people have been told to move from their homes. We’ve seen it in snowstorms. Now we’re seeing it in a matter related to health, but it’s causing a lot of discussion to go around.
Sam Rohrer: We’re trying to provide some guidance on that here today on the program. The right and the duty of civil government to take those actions as Jeremy talked about on the other side to protect the safety and the lives of citizens, I’m going to say is to some extent always a little subjective. That’s why he said, if you were listening to it, it depends, and I think that was probably a right way to say it because it may not always, the decision of government, the decision of really anybody, may not be agreed to by all other people. That’s why part of the reason why we’re talking on this program, why biblically as we look at this thing, we are told as Christian citizens to pray for those in positions of civil authority, reason being that we might live quiet and peaceable lives.
Sam Rohrer: In reality, what we are seeing unfold before us is not quiet and hopefully it will still stay peaceable, but it’s definitely unsettling. We pray for those in authority that God would give them wisdom. We also know, as Jeremy said, when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice. It does my heart really good to see vice president Pence and his team in prayer about their actions on this issue. That’s very, very comforting. It doesn’t make the decisions they’re making, I’m telling you, any less difficult, but God’s help is needed. The president called for a national day of prayer yesterday. It was appropriate. It was good. Those are good things. But looking to the church, talked in the last segment about the authority of government, but keeping in mind the church.
Sam Rohrer: In times of civil emergency, what can the church do? How can the church and families work together with civil authority to achieve order? Jeremy, I want to go back to you right now just because in your guidelines, which are available on our website at americanpastorsnetwork.net or standinthegapradio.com, I think it will be in both places, your first point, which you did start on last time, religious institutions should continue to serve their local communities. Here’s the question, churches in the pulpit have always led the way, Jeremy, in our nation’s history in matters of freedom and liberty. Can you explain a little bit more of what you were thinking about the attitude and the leadership that is needed by the church and church leaders in days like this?
Jeremy Dys: Well, I think there’s a lot that can go into that and really I don’t want to interfere too much with the authority of that pulpit and with the decisions that will be made a bunch of elders and deacons and other church leaders about what that means for your local body, but maybe there are a couple of little practical things that we could think about here. Number one, the situation right now is one that is largely being sold on a panicky level. Throughout history, the churches have been the ones, and our other houses of faith, but mainly churches have been ones that have led the way in providing peace and comfort and care. In other words, we need a lot of calm right now, and I’m not just talking about toilet paper.
Jeremy Dys: We need people to really relax and to get a renewed sense of calm that there is going to be something beyond this, beyond today. I think people are going to look to not just the government, and probably less to the government, and more to their local pastor or their neighbor who is a Christian or whomever it is, somebody they’re going to look to. They’re looking for peace right now and they don’t know where to find it. I think that’s number one. Look, there’s going to be… If every expert is right on this, that there’s going to be people near you that are going to be ill and there may be even people near you that will lose their lives through this, God forbid.
Jeremy Dys: But if there are, this is a time for us to be able to show the love that the church has been known for throughout its history, to go into places that are infested with disease even and care for those. There’s no time here to be stupid about it. Don’t go and expose yourself purposefully or take other precautions. In other words, don’t go and not wash your hands today. That’s a pretty simple one guys. We can do that, but make sure we are out there caring for, first, one another. We’re told in scripture to care for one another first within our membership and then look to the broader community as well. This is the time for the church to really serve and to provide that level of calm and peace that is so necessary and frankly probably won’t be found within the government halls there to be provided.
Jeremy Dys: When we say go and continue to serve your community, that’s a little bit about what we’re talking about. Don’t stop being the church. Go ahead and be the church. Provide education, provide the teaching, provide the calm and the peace that is necessary and that you are able to provide in the uniquely way that you’ll being able to provide it. You may have to adjust that some. I wonder how many churches for the first time ever yesterday live stream their services. Maybe Facebook and YouTube are gearing up again for next Sunday and providing more bandwidth to be able to do that. I hope so, but let’s continue to find ways as the church to be able to provide these critical peace-giving services that are going to be needed really over the next two, four, six or eight weeks.
Keith Wiebe: Jeremy, thank you so much for what you and Liberty Counsel are doing. Your ministry is so important, particularly during days like this, and I appreciate it so much what you just said about the leadership responsibility that the church has. I think that has always been their responsibility. We have taken it in varying ways. That’s dear to my heart. I’ve spent over half a century in pastoral ministry. In our church, we adjusted services some yesterday. Our leadership is already been in discussion today about what happens this weekend, next weekend as this thing moves forward. There are people who are skeptical of the increasing demands of government to put restrictions on assembly and mobility, particularly in some cases, church gathering.
Keith Wiebe: I’ve done some reading this last week about the Spanish flu, the experience in 1918. When restrictions were put in place, churches certainly were impacted then. Is there anything in the restrictions that are being put in place now or being discussed that either goes beyond what happened in 1918 or anything that from your perspective is potentially an infringement upon our First Amendment religious liberty rights? Ought we to be afraid at this point or are we still somewhat in line with what happened back in 1918?
Jeremy Dys: I think we can only depend upon the history books and the reports at the time to know. Neither of us I think were around during that time, so we can’t tell from firsthand experience thankfully what that was like, but I think you and I may have read the same article on that. I was rather encouraged by the local church that is specifically related to Washington DC where they were asked to do basically what’s going on right now, prevent gatherings of 250 plus for a short period of time. That did reduce quite drastically. It reduced a much more severe flu, the Spanish flu, during that time, and that was good. I found it very interesting the pastors there had I think the same reaction that many of us have had. The initial reaction was, “Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute.
Jeremy Dys: We’ve got a guaranteed right of free exercise of religion and the right to peaceably assemble that’s never been challenged as far as we know in our nation’s history. Now you’re asking us to do this?” The gut instinct was to push back and rebel and say, “No, we’re not going to do that.” The pastors got together and they reasoned with one another. What came out of that according to local reports was a unanimous decision by the pastors in the city of the District of Columbia, Washington DC, to go on record as to be cheerfully compliant with the requests of the health department, and so they did so. In fact, they first started meeting… They stopped indoor meetings altogether.
Jeremy Dys: They went to outdoor meetings, and the health department came back and said, “Look, we need you to stop those as well,” and they agreed to stop those as well. What resulted from that was a great reduction in the transmission rate and ultimately led to the end of that threat some months later. I think at least from that lesson in history we can learn, yeah, it’s good for us to listen and depend upon the experts that are in our governmental health agencies, but also I think hidden within that is that unique respect that should be there between government and state. As the government asks us, we’re able to comply because we wants to cheerfully submit the government where they have a lawful authority to so operate.
Sam Rohrer: Jeremy Dys, thank you for being with us today. Jeremy Dys, First Liberty special counsel for litigation and communications. Their website, FirstLiberty.org. Go there. A lot of great information on our website, the guidelines that they have put together for pastors and churches. God bless you, Jeremy. Thank you for the work that you do.
Sam Rohrer: Well, as we move into the final segment now, we’re going to, of course, close this program in prayer. I am going to be asking Keith and Joe to both give one fundamental, basic biblical principle that can help us to navigate certain days.
Sam Rohrer: I’d also like you to know that the set of guidelines that First Liberty has put together that we were just talking about with Jeremy Dys will be, if it’s not done right now, will be posted on our two Facebook pages, Stand in the Gap Radio and American Pastors Network. They’ll both be there, and they will be available as well on two Twitter locations, @StandRadio and @Stand_Radio and @AmericanPastors. It’ll be on those two locations in addition to our website at AmericanPastorsNetwork.net, to make yourself available to that information as it’s simple, it’s not totally comprehensive, but it gives you three basic essential principles. I’ll just repeat them for you.
Sam Rohrer: Their guidelines are this, religious institutions, churches, should continue to serve their local communities as God has intended. Number two, temporary evenly applied restrictions by the state maybe permissible and constitutional, but temporary, although that term is not totally defined. It can’t go on forever. It’s got to be limited. Then number three, extraordinary state action to limit the peaceful gathering of American citizens must also be temporary. Now, both of those, churches gathering and assembly, that’s all part of the First Amendment protections. Go there. You can pick up more of what they are saying.
Sam Rohrer: Well, the unfolding circumstances surrounding the coronavirus is something unlike most that are alive now have ever seen.
Sam Rohrer: I haven’t seen anything like this in my 60 plus years, yet plagues and major natural disasters which have claimed the lives of millions dominate history. History is replete with plagues and all kinds of natural disasters and all of them are unsettling for those who are there at those times. They are times that require and these are times that require in my opinion a fixation on unchanging biblical truth. We’ve got to go there because that’s where our hope is, that’s where our feet should be established, biblical truth. We need to have a firm grasp on our nation’s constitutional protections and limitations of the powers of government, and that’s why we had Jeremy on to talk to us about that. We have to know what those are.
Sam Rohrer: These are times that provide an opportunity and a necessity for ]each citizen, particularly each Christian citizen, to read, to study history, to consider the facts, to help separate truth from deception to be leaders in their own right. These are times when it’s proper to seek counsel from truthful experts, to consider and study as did the Berean in the New Testament days. I think there are times to pray for the understanding of the times as possessed by the sons of Issachar in the Old Testament days. How can we, in simple terms here, put a couple of principles into place? If we say the Bible has the answer for all issues and it does, we’re going to look at a couple of them. Joe, and let me go to you first. Just go to the very basic.
Sam Rohrer: If you could think of one of the most basic biblical principles that you can identify right now that can help guide the Christian’s response to what is happening and may unfold before us, what would you say?
Joe Green: What we tried to stress yesterday in our service, we went through Psalms 91 and that fear is in opposition to faith, and we have faith in God, we trust God that he’s in control of everything. As we gathered together, we re-instilled the fact that fear is the opposite of faith and that we believe that when we come together and gathered together to pray, along with taking the reasonable precautions, that God will intervene and that we will be okay. We trust in God. He’s the source of all things, and we don’t allow fear to shape and mold our behaviors in our biblical worldview.
Sam Rohrer: All right, excellent. Keith, let me go to you and ask you the same question. What would you say?
Keith Wiebe: Well, I would say, Sam, I think what Joe said was so much right on target. What I would say somewhat connects to that because it’s obvious as we move forward in this that churches are going to have to make adjustments in how they use the term provide their services, spiritually speaking, to their people. They will not be able to meet together as much. There will not be as much face-to-face kind of contact, but a major component of what a Christian needs. In Hebrews I think chapter 10 verses 24 and 25, in the exhortation not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together suggests that we need one another.
Keith Wiebe: There are tremendous one another’s in the New Testament. There must be a maintaining of what my pastor calls connectivity among all of us as members of the church family, between the pastor and his people, and that electronically is so possible today whether it’s via texting, whether it’s email, whether it’s social media, even whether it’s video, kind of communications one with another, but we have to really maintain… I think particularly I’m thinking of that in terms of church leadership of maintaining their connectivity with their people so that while perhaps we are not meeting together in the same way we did, perhaps not at all. We yet are connecting with one another.
Keith Wiebe: I think that portion of what a church does, what a Christian does is as essential, maybe more so, in these circumstances than it is in what I guess we would call more normal circumstances.
Sam Rohrer: All right. Keith, I think that is excellent and Joe as well. I’m just going to take and add two in as well. The two things that come to my mind, ladies and gentlemen, are these. Number one, we are always to pray for those in positions of authority, correct? That we might live a quiet and peaceable life. Increase your prayers. Increase your prayers for those who are in positions of authority. Number two, think in terms of obeying those who have the rule over us, not rebelling. There are going to be those who are going to say, “Rebel, rebel, resist, resist.” Just as Jeremy said, there was a council of pastors back in 1918.
Sam Rohrer: The first response was better resist, and they said, “Wait a minute, wait a minute. If we’ve got a problem, let’s work together and let the church exhibit the love, the compassion, the reaching out, the carrying out of the gospel, and the communicating of the hope that lies within us.” Work on that first. A time may come, if you get a government out of bounds like in China, we’re not there yet. We’re not talking about that. Let’s think in terms of submitting to those in civil authority. They do watch for our souls, but bear in mind, that question will go on that basis first. Thank you, Keith and Joe, for being on the program today. Tremendous information. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being with us. Hopefully we’ve provided some helpful instruction to you in these perilous type days that we’re in.
Sam Rohrer: Go to the Lord in prayer, be on your knees, know the word, live it and live it out, and be the kind of hope that the world’s looking for. Stand in the gap for truth.