OPINION: John W. Whitehead - COVID-19’s Challenge to the Christian Church: What Would Jesus Do?

Whitehead
Whitehead

In every age, we find ourselves wrestling with the question of how Jesus Christ—the itinerant preacher and revolutionary activist who died challenging the police state of his time, namely, the Roman Empire—would respond to the moral questions of our day.

For instance, what would Jesus do in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic?

Would he disregard social distancing guidelines to visit and tend to the sick and dying? Would he take the assets belonging to those massive megachurches—the expensive real estate, the lucrative bank accounts—and put them to work where they can do the most good right now, tending to the sick, housing the homeless, and providing for the needy?

Would he advocate, as so many evangelical Christian leaders have done in recent years, for congregants to “submit to your leaders and those in authority,” which in the American police state translates to complying, conforming, submitting, obeying orders, deferring to authority and generally doing whatever a government official tells you to do? Or would he defy government shutdowns to hold church worship services as some have done?

It’s a quandary, all right: what would Jesus do?  

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John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute,a Charlotteville, Va.-based civil liberties defense organization. He is the author of four books, including Battlefield America: The War on the American People, and host of the Freedom Under Fire podcast.