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DHD: Pandemic decisions and other topics

Greetings!

Thank you for reading this week’s DHD! I pray you are healthy and thriving amidst this pandemic.

  1. Social media responses to pandemic decisions

Everybody seems to have an opinion on how society should handle the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been observing stay-at-home mandates since almost mid-March for the purpose of “flattening the curve” of the projected positive COVID-19 cases.

For the majority of these weeks, people have endured and found ways to work within these restrictions. Now, President Trump, governors including Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and other officials have announced standards and steps to progress from the stay-at-home mandate and to try getting the economy going, while also being conscientious of the ongoing effects of the virus.

People have decided to use social media, including Facebook, to express how they feel about these announcements. Some are rather emotional and extreme.

Many have been critical of Gov. Stitt’s announcement of allowing personal care businesses, such as barbershops and salons, to open by appointments starting today. They concluded that mayors would be obstinate against the governor’s decision.

I appreciate Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt and his response, demonstrating clarity and willingness to work with the governor and not get overemotional.

My favorite line in Holt’s comment was “It’s not that complicated, and it’s not that dramatic.”

My friend James Swain wrote a timely piece that can help Christians with handling social media. Check out his column, “Strengthen: Social distancing & social media.”

I appreciate Swain naming Prov. 12:23 as “the social media passage,” which says “A shrewd person conceals knowledge but a foolish heart publicizes stupidity.”

Here’s his application: “Sadly, I have found that when I react or respond to things in this nature it comes back on me. Discretion is often the better part of valor.”

  1. Guidance for churches

Now that churches are planning how and when to have in-person services again, Oklahoma Baptists leadership have put together a resource of considerations called “Reopening Our Church Buildings.”

These are approaches church leaders need to ponder before actually allowing their congregations to meet together again. I definitely appreciate the suggestion of making this a gradual, ongoing process instead of grand first-time “homecoming” return.

  1. Poor presentation of taxes

It is an election year. Every election year, there seems to be many commentaries of politics and Christianity, and some attempt to present objective viewpoints involving the modern political parties in America. I tend to loathe these “objective viewpoints” because they’re not always accurate. They leave aspects out.

I read one this week by Jonathan Leeman and Andrew David Naselli titled “Politics, Conscience and the Church.” It’s very lengthy.

I want to point out a passage I thought the writers covered poorly. It was on how Christians view taxes:

“Christians agree that the Bible condemns stealing. Some infer that a progressive income tax is unjust because it arises from coveting the wealth of the rich and therefore amounts to stealing. Saying the rich need to pay their ‘fair share’ doesn’t offer a standard by which to judge what counts as ‘fair.’ Others argue that a progressive income tax is better than a flat tax since Jesus said, ‘Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required’ (Luke 12:48). It is ‘fair’ because they don’t deserve the extra they have. The first group says that passage has nothing to do with tax rates, and the second group says it applies to all of life. Back and forth it goes. Christians make different political judgments.”

This commentary is absurd and unbiblical. Who are they to decide who is considered rich and “don’t deserve” what they earned?

Nowhere in the Bible can they find instructions to pay more taxes based on a person’s income, and the passage they used is totally out of context. “Much given-much required” can be applied to a person’s wealth, but biblical instruction directs giving through the church, not through government.

When Zacchaeus in Luke 19 decided to give back to those whom he cheated, did he go through the government to help the poor? When James wrote in James 1:27, did he mean for the government to help widows and orphans in their time of need? No, this instruction is for the church. To be exact, the instruction describes “pure and undefiled religion,” which is something people today will confirm is separate from government.

What bothers me is people such as Leeman and Naselli paint an inappropriate picture of Christians who have a conservative view when it comes to the philosophy of lower tax rates. They make a presentation that causes readers to conclude such Christians are greedy and don’t help the poor or needy.

On the contrary, most of these people who do have wealth give greater amounts of their money outside of taxes and support charities and Christian ministries, including the ones Leeman and Naselli represent. Applying the “much given-much required” instruction from Jesus in this fashion is much more effective, especially toward Kingdom work, instead increased taxes.

It is unfortunate Leeman and Naselli don’t present this properly.

  1. TB DHD

Three years ago, I did a DHD series on takeaways from Bible passages. On April 21, 2017, my DHD covered “Six takeaways from the widow of Zarephath and Ananias.”

I make the comparison of how the widow helped Elijah and how Ananias helped the Apostle Paul. I enjoyed reading this again, and it reminded me how God can use anybody to fulfill His purposes.

  1. Wax’s non-fiction list

Are you needing suggestions for your reading list?

Favorite blogger Trevin Wax offered this week his list of “Favorite Historical Non-fiction Books for Quarantined Reading.”

The book that fascinated me the most on Wax’s list was “1920: The Year of Six Presidents.”

“I was skeptical about this book,” Wax wrote, “wondering how one year could be interesting enough to merit so much attention. I was wrong.”

His brief summary packs a lot of intrigue about what happened in an election involving six would-be presidents.

  1. One of my favorite Mohler ‘Briefings’ ever

If you read my DHDs regularly, you know I enjoy Albert Mohler’s podcast “The Briefing.”

Tuesday’s episode on the Supreme Court justices may be one of my all-time favorites. The way Mohler breaks down the conservative and liberal justices could be a considered a prized lecture in a Civics class.

Especially don’t miss his conclusion:

“By the power of the gospel and the imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ to those who believe in him, on that day of judgment, we are not found innocent. We are not found not guilty. We are found—here’s the real miracle of the gospel—we are declared to be righteous because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone.”

Chris Doyle

Author: Chris Doyle

Chris Doyle is managing editor of the Baptist Messenger.

View more articles by Chris Doyle.

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