Coronavirus Lockdown — No Longer About Safety

II Samuel 23:3

The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.

It is the proper remit of government to provide for the safety of citizens.  I have tried to give the Scottish Government the benefit of the doubt, but recent events show clearly that the lockdown has moved beyond “safety”.

If it is safe for a divorced grandmother to have her grandchildren over to her home and give them a hug, why is it unsafe for a still-married grandmother to do so?  If it is safe for single parents to take their children to their grandparents’ homes and for those grandparents to give them a hug, why is it unsafe for married parents to do so?

This is one of many inconsistencies that show just how far this has gone astray.  The government has now decided that divorced people, and those who never bothered with marriage, have more rights than those who have remained faithful in their marriage.  This is obviously an injustice.

In general, Christians are to obey the law, not only in letter but in spirit.  When the spirit of the law has become capricious, and it includes restrictions on things that God has specifically commanded us to do, Peter’s statement that “We ought to obey God rather than man,” comes into focus.

The Scottish Government is putting Christians in a very difficult position.

About Jon Gleason

Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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6 Responses to Coronavirus Lockdown — No Longer About Safety

  1. Chris says:

    Jon,
    I agree, but I’m a bit lost.
    What laws/mandates are in force in Scotland? What do they say?

    We here in the states are feeling similar pressures. We are being placed into the crucible. With our US constitution, state laws, and then weekly mandates from state and local authorities, It is getting hard to figure out what and who/WHO/Who we are to obey.

    May God give us wisdom and courage.

  2. Shellie Smith says:

    Hi Jon,
    Do you think that we are bound to obey these ‘rules’ or ‘guidelines’ to the letter, even though they are not ‘laws’?
    I believe in respecting guidelines but at the same time using my discretion within reason and common sense. There are many variables within these rules, which the government has duly recognised. We therefore should be able to make some judgments as to how we apply these to our personal situations I would think.
    We’re in unchartered waters here and definitely need wisdom!
    One interesting thing to note about the church buildings opening up for private prayer is how long it took to bring that about.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hi, Shellie. First, most of these are laws. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2020/103/regulation/4/made

      For example, regarding places of worship:
      “(6) A person who is responsible for a place of worship must ensure that, during the emergency period, the place of worship is closed, except for uses permitted in paragraph (7).

      (7) A place of worship may be used—

      (a)for funerals,
      (b)to broadcast an act of worship, whether over the internet or as part of a radio or television broadcast, or
      (c)to provide essential voluntary services or urgent public support services (including the provision of food banks or other support for the homeless or vulnerable people, blood donation sessions or support in an emergency),
      provided that, in each case, a distance of two metres is maintained between every person on the premises (except between two members of the same household, or a carer and the person being assisted by the carer).”

      Now, that’s being amended to allow private prayer, but we’re dealing with legislation here — passed by ministers, not by act of the Scottish Parliament (the parliament authorised them to basically do whatever).

      Baptists believe in the separation of church and state. We believe the state has the authority to enact laws which we must obey. Baptists have also always believed that there are areas into which the state must not intrude, and in those areas, if the state does intrude, we ought to obey God rather than man.

      The example of Daniel in Daniel 1, who tried to find a creative solution to the conflict, is instructive, I believe. But he did purpose in his heart that he wasn’t going to let man’s law trump God’s law.

      If we can obey the Lord and still follow the letter of the law, we should. Where the government grants us leeway to use common sense, we should obviously do so.

      • Shellie Smith says:

        I can understand it is ‘law’ when it comes to public services and places. And there is a problem when it threatens our obedience to God. Like you said, using the examples in scripture can help us here. Praying for wisdom.
        It’s not law when it comes to our own personal decisions, such as using someone else’s bathroom or hugging our grandchild. Upon the opening of phase 1 Nicola Sturgeon stated as much, but warned that it could be put into law. The fact that she threatened that she would do that, seemed a step too far. When it comes to the guidelines that affect our own personal decisions regarding our family, I don’t feel bound to follow to the letter. I think the guidelines should be respected as a ‘guide’ in making decisions regarding our safety. Ultimately the government doesn’t have the authority of how we put those things into practise.
        Your thoughts?

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Hi, Shellie. Nicola Sturgeon uses the words “rules” and “permitted”. Her threats to legislate if she is not obeyed, and the power granted her to do so by the Scottish Parliament, effectively mean it is law, whether it is written legislation or not. The written legislation does give police power to enforce guidelines by requiring people to return to their homes or issuing on-the-spot fines.

        Does that mean we must obey? I mentioned separation of church and state, but the Scripture also authorised another institution even before those, the institution of the family. There are many verses about having a role in the lives of our family (and not just our immediate household). In these areas, I believe government only has a role in regard to protecting the life and safety of citizens (just as with church).

        I don’t have the right to shoot people in our church, or defraud them, and claim that “separation of church and state” means the government can’t do anything about it. Likewise, I don’t have the right to abuse my wife or children and claim it’s a matter for my home.

        But the things you describe are clearly not in that category. It is an intrusion beyond the authority that God has given government. To intrude, they need to demonstrate that it is necessary for safety. Their own actions demonstrate it is not. We need obey neither the letter nor the spirit of such laws when they interfere with what God has told us to do. For example, we are to be teaching the things of the Lord to our children and our children’s children. How can we do that if we aren’t allowed to be with them, or if the restrictions make it impractical?

        We should take appropriate precautions for safety, and that might well include self-isolating from our children and grandchildren for a time. But we are now four straight days without any additional cases in Fife, 2 in the last six days — it is not credible that these draconian measures are necessary.

        We do need to recognise that governmental authority is real and if we choose to disobey because of their wrongful intrusion, we may have to face consequences.

        There’s tremendous hypocrisy here, of course. If the Westminster government told Scots that they could have their grandchildren over but couldn’t let them inside to use the toilet while there (as we were told in Stage 1), the SNP would have been screaming about interfering in the private lives of Scots. They’d have been talking about the health effects of not letting children use the toilet and the mental health ramifications of embarrassing them by telling them to do it outside.

        I do have more to say on this — watch this space.

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