Ever so often someone’s penned words emphatically capture your concrete feelings about a subject or an issue. This how I felt reading The Reason for God by Timothy Keller in 2009. Back then, I had just finished reading The God Delusion by Atheist Richard Dawkins and I wanted to read a definitive rebuttal. Kellers penned words did just that.
Today you only have to type in Coronavirus and Christ on google to see millions of blog posts, videos, and articles begging for your attention. Some claim to have new knowledge and revelation about the virus, some suggest looking back at previous periods of crisis in the church and learning from how we overcame them. They are all desperate attempts to make sense of what seems like a very confusing and senseless situation. Whilst there may be millions of links, not all links are created equal and not all of them deserve your attention and consideration. There are many falsehoods and lies online and we must do our best to reject the impulse to read them.
The questions you may be asking is well, which one should get my attention? The truth is I don’t know. However, in deciding here are thoughts which you may want to consider.
Is it Christ centred and Biblical?
Find resources that are based on the Bible. Some responses on the internet are simply not biblical and are more akin to fiction than a biblical response to a global pandemic. Where are the most bible saturated resources that make much of God and less of my thoughts in exploring these issues?
In a time of uncertainty, people can often begin to submit to the impulse to pursue novel and mystical. However, search for resources that make much of God’s voice and little of us. This is what Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper says,
“My voice is grass. God’s voice is granite. “The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever” (1 Pet. 1:24–25). Jesus said that God’s words in Scripture “cannot be broken” (John 10:35). What God says is “true, and righteous altogether” (Ps. 19:9). His word is, therefore, a firm foundation for life. “You have founded [your testimonies] forever” (Ps. 119:152). Listening to God, and believing him, is like building your house on a rock, not on sand (Matt. 7:24).”
He establishes the bible as a rock and a solid foundation and builds a response to COVID-19 with this knowledge in mind.
Is it richly Biblical?
Look for resources that are not only based on the bible but dwell richly in the scriptures and use them to build every single argument. This is what Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper says,
“Similarly, there is a divine sweetness in the glory of God in the message of the Bible. It touches a part of us that we know was put there by God. “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Ps. 119:103). “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Ps. 34:8). This is a real seeing and tasting. It is not make-believe. It sees and tastes what is really there.”
So when Jesus says, “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35), and when the apostle Paul says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Tim. 3:16), and when the apostle Peter says, the authors of Scripture “were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21), our heart says yes. We have tasted and seen. We know. And the knowing is well founded. We are not leaping in the dark.
Our whole soul resonates with the biblical shout “The sum of your word is truth” (Ps. 119:160). “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens” (Ps. 119:89). “Every word of God proves true” (Prov. 30:5). When this happens, the whole truth of God washes over us, even in the face of the coronavirus. It comes with incomparable comfort: “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul” (Ps. 94:19). “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Ps. 34:18–19).
Look for resources that make much of God’s sovereignty. Resources which affirm that God has the FINAL say over every situation, your life, and your death. Sickness and sin. It is his word that is final. This is what Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper says,
“All things.” Not some things. And “according to his will,” not according to wills or forces outside himself. In other words, the sovereignty of God is all-encompassing and all-pervasive.
He holds absolute sway over this world. He governs wind (Luke 8:25), lightning (Job 36:32), snow (Ps. 147:16), frogs (Ex. 8:1–15), gnats (Ex. 8:16–19), flies (Ex. 8:20–32), locusts (Ex. 10:1–20), quail (Ex. 16:6–8), worms (Jonah 4:7), fish (Jonah 2:10), sparrows (Matt. 10:29), grass (Ps. 147:8), plants (Jonah 4:6), famine (Ps. 105:16), the sun (Josh. 10:12–13), prison doors (Acts 5:19), blindness (Ex. 4:11; Luke 18:42), deafness (Ex. 4:11; Mark 7:37), paralysis (Luke 5:24–25), fever (Matt. 8:15), every disease (Matt. 4:23), travel plans (James 4:13–15), the hearts of kings (Prov. 21:1; Dan. 2:21), nations (Ps. 33:10), murderers (Acts. 4: 27-28), and spiritual deadness (Eph. 2:4-5)— and all of them do his sovereign will.
Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper is a book all Christians should consider reading. It is utterly convincing, inspirational and deeply sobering.
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