How not to respond to a pandemic: Protestant Edition
A preacher in Central, Louisiana must think that he is better than Jesus.
From Fox 44, 22 March 2020:
“The Life Tabernacle Church hosted 1,825 people at their Sunday morning service. 26 buses were used to pick people up from around the Baton Rouge area and transport them to Sunday service. Pastor Tony Spell says the way to handle a pandemic is through the healing hand of Jesus. That is our command, they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.
Social distancing did not happen at the service, held outside. All 1,825 people were spread across the campuses seven buildings. Throughout the service parishioners could be seen touching each other and closely gathering, very few wearing masks or gloves. Spell says if anyone in his congregation contracts covid-19 he will heal them through God.”
Now, compare Tony Spell’s approach to religion to the following passage in the New Testament.
“Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
Not even Jesus would approve of gathering 1,825 people together during a pandemic.
So, how is the senior pastor of America’s largest church responding to the Coronavirus?
From ABC News:
Throughout the USA, churches large and small have gone to online-only services in response to the pandemic. That is because the leaders of those churches agree with Jesus when it comes to testing God.
Sure, they believe in the possibility of divine healing. However, they know better than to put people in unnecessary danger.
Nothing in the Bible prevents churches from exercising prudence when a health crisis threatens the public.
So, why would Tony Spell risk the health of hundreds of people by having them bused to his church during a pandemic?
Well, I can’t read Spell’s mind, but I can hazard a guess as to what motivated him.
Parishioners may not know how to give money to Spell’s church through electronic means. So by busing them in, Spell gives them opportunity to give money via checks and cash.
No, I do not know for certain that Spell is motivated by money, but I can’t rule out the possibility, either. Twisting Bible verses to gain followers and money is nothing new. History is rife with examples of clergy manipulating people to give money by making claims that contradict the New Testament.
The “Wanted” posters say the following about David: “Wanted: A refugee from planet Melmac masquerading as a human. Loves cats. If seen, contact the Alien Task Force.”