Essential institutions providing the basic necessities of life, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, etc., have been permitted to stay open.
Social-distancing measures have mandated that institutions that do not provide the basic necessities of life close their doors as part of the overall effort to reduce the spread of the birdemic virus.
This led Dr. Charlton to the following logical conclusion:
Ergo: Churches have been officially classified as inessential: declared so by the government; and their inessential nature is fully-agreed (without any peep of official resistance, or even reluctance, or demand for time-limit) by the church leadership.
In other words, churches around the West have basically declared that they place material considerations above spiritual considerations. They have also shown a perplexing willingness to bow down to and obey secular authority without the slightest protest.
As Dr. Charlton points out in his post, Christian churches have basically announced that for the duration of this virus lockdown, man can live by bread alone.
Of course not all Christians have a problem with the church closures. Most regard it is a prudent measure and are keeping the faith alive at home at the personal/family level. Put another way, the vast majority of Christians are looking to ride out the storm and will be more than happy to return to their respective churches when the birdemic blows over.
But here's a question - Is that the best course of action for a serious Christian to take?
This question started me thinking about the whole notion of the separation of church and state, that is the philosophic and legal tenets that designate the political distance between religion and the nation state. The principle of keeping an arm's length underpins the entire concept of separating church and state.
As I understand it, the idea is to keep the institutions separated from each other thereby ensuring a sense of political neutrality that allows for the functioning of various organized religious institutions with the underlying insistence that these religious institutions refrain from pushing whatever religious authority they possess onto the public sphere or, more specifically, onto the secular running of the state. By the same token, the state would refrain from encroaching upon the authority of the church within the religious sphere.
Although this sounds achievable in theory, the practice of church and state separation reveals some rather uncomfortable truths. The state had abandoned its position of neutrality long before the birdemic crisis erupted and has succeeded in encroaching upon the authority of the church in the religious sphere in many meaningful and fundamental ways. Christian churches, in turn, have tended to acquiesce to these secular and material encroachments, almost without fail. Conversely, they have rarely launched any religious encroachments against the state in return.
Simply put, the separation of church and state has more or less been a one-way street of the secular state impinging upon the church and the church capitulating to the secular state.
Rather than being neutral, the secular state has proven that it is fundamentally antithetical to the church. Conversely, the church has proven it is not fundamentally antithetical to the secular state.
At a higher level of analysis, the secular state is antithetical to God. If the church understands that the state is antithetical to it and does not respond to this opposition in an appropriate manner, then what is the church's real position on God?
Christian churches in the West were presented with a real and rare opportunity when the birdemic crisis broke out. After centuries of going along with and caving into the secular state, the churches were presented with a once-in-an-era opportunity to substantiate their legitimacy, validity, and authority. Put another way, they had a chance to prove themselves to their congregations and, most importantly, to God.
And they blew it.
The actions Christian churches have taken demonstrate one thing above all else - the separation between church and state is a sham. The church and the state are one - and in this most comfortable of unions, it is the religion of the state that rules.
State religion has decreed that man shall live on bread alone. By closing their doors to their congregations, churches have essentially confirmed the secular state's axiom.
Man shall indeed live on bread alone.
Serious Christians understand the opposite is true. Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Which is why all serious Christians need to question whether the mouth of God still resides within churches.
If not, then churches truly have become inessential.