This past Monday, August 3, 2020, Albert Mohler, Jr., in the second part of his Monday through Friday report known as “The Briefing,” addressed an article that appeared in the New York Times titled, “Churches Open Doors and the Virus Sweeps In.”
This portion of his briefing was titled, “Why Is the Media Negatively Portraying Churches in the Pandemic?” After reading the transcript, I thought it a worthy question to ask and answer.
The article in the Times claims that, “More than 650 coronavirus cases have been linked to nearly 40 churches and religious events across the United States during the pandemic.” I agree with Mohler, “For Christians operating from a biblical worldview, every single human life is precious,” but in America with 4,771,236 active COVID-19 cases, that 650 represents less than 0.00014 percent of those cases.
The math does not seem to justify the half page attack in the New York Times. This prompted Mohler to comment, “This tells us that there’s something behind the story other than the math. There’s indeed something behind the story other than the story.”
Given the political bent of the New York Times and that white Evangelicals are all considered Trump supporters I think the “story other than the story,” is obvious. But I do not think the issue here is purely political, there is a spiritual aspect to all of this.
When Jesus’ disciples question Him about future events in chapter 24 of Matthew, He tells them in verse 9, “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.”
I think most people, based on the direction of our culture and disavowal of all that is holy, believe the Bible to be about a lot of spiritual mumbo-jumbo, “pie in the sky in the sweet by-and by.” What they seem to miss or ignore is the Bible has a lot of simple practical advice that if heeded is the best advice for human flourishing, “down on the ground while we’re still around.”
When we disbelieve or ignore God’s directions and problems arise unbelievers grow resentful and frustrated. Rather than thinking they may have it wrong and maybe they should change their ways, they cast about for someone to blame. This is not the first time in the history of the church that it has become the scapegoat during plagues and troubled times.
I have observed that when people turn their back on God, it is not long before they turn on one another much like the riots we are witnessing today that devolve into destroying or stealing other people’s property and killing.
So when the church stands with Biblical truth on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgenderism, it is no wonder that such counter-cultural views draw the ire of those who believe differently.
I wonder if the New York Times will as conscientiously report on the active COVID-19 cases coming out of the reopened casinos in Nevada?