I saw a very worrying graphic — sermon notes, would you believe — spruiking “IMMUNITY AGAINST CORONAVIRUS.” I’m not going to post it because it’s so misleading it shouldn’t be a consumable in today’s religious market.
There were elements of truth within this material, but how it is presented is deeply concerning when vast numbers of ambivalent people already aren’t taking COVID-19 seriously.
Let me pick up on just three aspects from the full infographic which present grave concern and completely manipulate the truth.
1. “Immunity against coronavirus” – it is bizarre to the extreme to suggest that faith provides the final solution for all who believe — against COVID-19. It is a false teaching because it states a three-worded lie as a scientific truth. In other words, this assertion that faith can protect someone against a highly transmissible virus is easily disproved by basic medical science. For any Average Joe/Jo, they read these three words, skim the rest of the page, listen in to 5 percent of the message and come away thinking “the blood of Jesus protects me 100 percent from this pathetic virus.”
The reality couldn’t be further from this.
2. “I am not a target for any virus” – if you put yourself in harm’s way, I’m afraid to tell you, there’s a very high risk you’ll come to grief. In the sermon notes, this is presented as point 7. It’s one of the punchlines. It’s true, viruses are indiscriminate. But the thrust of this teaching is dangerous to the degree that most people won’t understand all the nuances. The teaching therefore will agree with their spiritual bias that they’re bullet-proof. People who have these attitudes may typically have lazy attitudes to crucial public health initiatives and spread the virus all the more. That’s the concern with this teaching. It would be safer to say, “COVID-19 is already targeting you if you underestimate it, and you will probably get it eventually in any event.”
3. “I declare that no virus can prosper against my cells...” – the rest of this “declaration” says, “because they’re not subject to the voice of a stranger or the subtlety of a lying thief.” Read that again. And again. Read that to a microbiologist or an epidemiologist. They will motion the “cuckoo” sign to you. It’s beyond the pale. Nothing can provide us immunity from anything other than a vaccination and even vaccinations aren’t perfect. There is no system of faith or medicine that can provide such an assurance that a virus can’t prosper against our cells. Just because we say “I declare” does not mean we can defy science. Nobody can defy observable science. In this way, science is fact, and therefore, ironically and very inconveniently, it is truth.
Some Christians have a morbid fear of fear itself. Rather than utterly respect the power and sweep of a virus like COVID-19, they would rather present a veneer that suggests nothing can harm them, nor will they ‘fear’ this killer of millions because they believe fear is sin. The fear of the Lord is not sin.
We must stand vigorously against this kind of teaching, because it lulls people into a cultic form of belief, and when people do start dying, it will occur because “they lacked faith.”
And there enters the frame, spiritual abuse. Such spiritual abuse puts faith beyond the ordinary person, and it makes faith “magical”.
Faith is about fortitude amid this crisis. Faith is attainable through trust in Jesus alone, no matter what happens, even if the virus were to take us all the way to meeting him.
People who teach these false doctrines tickle ears of those who cannot reconcile that faith can’t have the final word over science.
We must remember who owns the science — yes, that’s God! We cannot control God. The faith system that says IMMUNITY AGAINST CORONAVIRUS insists it can control God. It can’t!
This fact forces us to revere God all the more, because right now, for perhaps the first time in our lives, we’re all sitting up to attention. Now is the time to pray and to do all we can as a civilised society to use all the science at our grasp to overcome this nemesis.
True faith believes that we, as a society, can get through this crisis, if we rely on God and the wisdom provided.
The blood of Jesus was spilled to cleanse us from our sins and reconnect us with the Father. In that and in that alone is the power of the blood. It is sufficient.