Sunday, March 15, 2020

4th Commandment or 6th Commandment—Not Either/or, but Both/and

Why was it that more than a month after South Korea had SARS-CoV-2, roughly half of the cases in that nation were from one Christian congregation?

I am passionately devoted to gathering for public worship. I'm not even a "morning and evening" guy so much as a "morning and evening and before and between and after" guy—think Eutychus and such.

I think that the Westminster Larger Catechism got the 4th commandment right,
and that there are not nearly so many "deeds of necessity" as people think and that the "deeds of mercy" ought to follow Christ's own deeds of mercy in being particularly aimed at enabling and relieving those whose conditions are hindering them in worshiping Him.

But I still think that if you had the opportunity to know better, being a "patient 31" (see the article) violates the 6th commandment.

There are many types of providential hindrance to gathering that are not tantamount to forsaking the assembly (consider shut-ins, for instance). And, because I also happen to think Westminster got it right on the 6th commandment as well as the fourth, I considered myself providentially hindered today.

If you are wrestling with these things, I encourage you to consider as well as you can from the Scripture and the help of your elders, and out of love to God and brother, just make a decision according to conscience. And let those who have done so be slow to judge others who did the same and came to the other conclusion.

For more on ways I think that we should be responding, you may wish to read yesterday's pastoral letter (with apologies to many pastors and Sessions, whose letters and thoughts informed and shaped my own).

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