Are Pastors Who Defy COVID-19 Safety Measures for Their Church Toxic Leaders?

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All across the United States, there are church leaders who are refusing to practice social distancing claiming it is their Constitutional right for church congregations to meet to worship God. (See First Amendment quote below .) May God bless the church groups who are keeping the people safe.

It is my opinion that shepherds have a spiritual, moral and ethical responsibility to protect the flock from harm. Those preachers who are putting their congregations at risk may have toxic power and control issues that need to be explored versus love for one another and for the love of God.

 

First Amendment -Religion…
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…

 

You can choose to keep scrolling and reading the NEWS worthy examples of current pastors trying to buck the government or SKIP to the bottom of the post for information by credible experts on church leaders who abuse their trusted positions and how to recognize a toxic church pastor.

This No Non-cents Nanna is overloaded with examples of the controversy regarding abuse of authority in church and state: how will you decide?

This No Non-cents Nanna will share headlines with links to news reports about churches who continue to meet despite state orders to Shelter-In-Place. I will give resources that give insight to toxic leadership at the very bottom of this post. Before I give references to Church that may have toxic leadership I will share some examples in the news and bible references on safe/ good shepherds..( I survived toxic leadership when my loving home-town church was taken over by a cult leader.-see more No Non-cents Nanna posts.)

 

 

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. where are the weak links in preventing the spread of COVID-19?

 

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In my opinion packed houses of worship are broken links who are putting our neighbors are a greater risk. Are these defiant pastors demonstrating love or are they toxic? I have my opinions, but, don’t know all the facts. I am not a judge nor a jury.

Each person is a congregation will have to seek God for the answers themselves. (See Toxic Leadership Section in this blog to better inform yourself.)

Disclaimer: I am NOT a lawyer. I can not give legal advice. I can quote with credits to the source. I was an RN- thus I have medical knowledge within my field of expertise.,but, I do not intend to diagnose, treat nor prescribe to anyone. This post offers my opinion (IMO) and my interpretation of Biblical scripture. I was raised as a Christian. I know the Bible fairly well, tho I am not a licensed minister.

You are free to pick and choose what you like and leave the rest.

With that said…

  • Pastors of churches are not licensed to practice law. They are not licensed to practice medicine, either. (See below definitions of practicing medicine and law)

Why then are all these religious people with…

  • …pastoral licenses making legal decisions and medical decisions for the people of their congregation?
  • …is the congregant free to disobey the church leader by following CDC guidelines to shelter in place or self-isolate?
  • …or are church members fearful of shunning; told to leave their church or even fear of going to Hell if they do not follow the leading of the pastors?

 

Ask yourself this: are you and other members of the church becoming closer to God, personally, are growing in spiritual maturity and freedom by sitting in a pew? Are you free to make your own choices about when, where, why and how you worship? Are you able to question church authority?

You do not need a religious leader to interpret the First Amendment for you. Read it yourself with an open mind and wisdom.

First Amendment – U.S. Constitution

First Amendment – Religion and Expression
Amendment Text | Annotations

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

https://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment1.html

 

Where is the First Amendment does it say that a religious leader has all the freedom he wants to coerce his congregation to make unwise/ unsafe actions to assemble based on his/her ego? (“The right to read, hear, see and obtain different points of view ” is a First Amendment right as well.)

I would guess that if your preacher/ pastor, priest, rabbi, etc wants to request a permit to protest the current COVID-19 limitations for social-distancing then maybe they should apply for a permit as a protestor. (This just a thought since I am not a lawyer nor a law enforcer.)

The Bible does not tell you to do this either. ( See Bible quotes below.)

 

… The amendment protects not only the speaker, but also the person who receives the information.

But the right to free speech is not absolute. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the government sometimes may be allowed to limit speech. For example, the government may limit or ban libel (the communication of false statements about a person that may injure his or her reputation), obscenity, fighting words, and words that present a clear and present danger of inciting violence. The government also may regulate speech by limiting the time, place or manner in which it is made. For example the government may require activists to obtain a permit before holding a large protest rally on a public street.

https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/first-amendment-freedom-of-expression-and-religion/

 

 

Something About Faith

Personally, I see that faith without corresponding action is a problem when it comes to not spreading corona respiratory droplets around from person to person unknowingly being contagious in the community infecting others who are doing essential business.

  • What if someone’s faith is weak? Should cause them to stumble?
  • What if someone has faith, but, they have health issues that make them more vulnerable?
  • Who are “we” to judge another person for their faith that “we” may spread COVID-19 to others when we look and feel well, but maybe contagious?

 

James 2:14-26 New King James Version (NKJV)

Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without [a]your works, and I will show you my faith by [b]my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is [c]dead? 

 

On a Positive Note:

Is the coronavirus an act of God?

Faith leaders debate tough questions amid pandemic

…the title of his khutbah, or sermon, at the Islamic Center of Southern California would catch some people off guard. “Thank God for the coronavirus,” read the headline, which made more than one Muslim in the audience do a double-take.

…Ricci explained what he meant: Thank God for this reminder that we are not in control and must always be dependent on God. Thank God for this reminder that we should be grateful for all things – for groceries, toilet paper, good health. Thank God for reminding us life is fragile…

…prominent mosques in the USA, Ricci is one of many faith leaders around the world helping their congregations navigate the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus, which has killed more than 66,000 worldwide, infected more than 1.2 million and crippled the global econom

…questions about whether God created coronavirus – or if it’s God’s will for the virus to flourish or if it was sent as some sort of punishment – abound. Many faith leaders say this is not a punishment, and they challenge their followers to find God even in suffering.

…test of faith but a “solidifying agent of faith,” he says. “When you’re in difficult times, that’s when you actually get to practice faith.”

…67th chapter of the Quran, verse 2: “He who created death and life – to test you – as to which of you is better in conduct. He is the Almighty, the Forgiving.”

Quote from Omar Ricci khutbah at the Islamic Center of Southern California

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/04/02/coronavirus-god-christain-jewish-muslim-leaders-saying-deadly-plague/5101639002/

 

While numerous religious leaders of various beliefs challenge followers to be dedicated to following God/ Allah more deeply in times of adversity. there are some leaders who are encouraging risk-taking actions that seem to be more focused on meeting a possibly abusive pastor’s need to be the center of attention. This contrast is showing and even harder to see when people are in the habit of blindly following a leader without questioning his motives?

Unfortunately, some churches operate with abusive tactics that are not in line with the Bible or other religious books teach about love.

I personally own a copy of Churches That Abuse by Ronald Enroth

In this book are anecdotes about churches and leaders in trusted positions who “crossed the line” morally, ethically and spiritually to take advantage of the people they claimed to be guided spiritually. ( My words) So much resonated with my own experiences with toxic church leadership.

Churches That Abuse – Wikipedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Churches_That_Abuse

Churches That Abuse, first published in 1992, is a best-selling Christian apologetic book written by Ronald M. Enroth. The book documents cases of churches and other organizations said to be spiritually abusive and the effects these groups have had on their members. The author says that spiritual abuse can take place in the context of doctrinally sound, Bible-preaching, fundamentalist, conservative Christianity“.

Aug 06, 2008 · Ronald Enroth identifies what is meant by “abusive churches.” Then, he describes abusive churches, using the ten identifying traits of control-oriented leadership, spiritual elitism, manipulation of members, perceived persecution, lifestyle rigidity, emphasis on experience, suppression of dissent,…

When Ronald Enroth wrote the best-selling book Churches That Abuse, he touched a nerve with many people who had experienced the pain inflicted by fringe churches and religious groups having authoritarian or other hurtful styles.

 

Helpful Quotes from Churches that Abuse by Ronald Enroth …

libertyforcaptives.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/…

Helpful Quotes from Churches that Abuse by Ronald Enroth Compiled by Stephen Smith “This book is about people who have been abused psychologically and spiritually in churches and other Christian organizations. Unlike physical abuse that often results in bruised bodies, spiritual and pastoral abuse leaves scars on the psyche and soul.

Churches that Abuse | Natasha Helfer Parker

www.patheos.com/…/2015/11/churchesthat-abuse.html

Nov 10, 2015 · Ronald Enroth is a Christian sociologist who has written much about religious movements – in particular when churches cross the line into what would be considered cult-like behavior.

 

We Are Following the Leader- but should we?

The quote below is from a business marketing perspective.

The truth is that churches should be marketed by their fruits.

Believe it or not, churches and other places of worship are marketed. That is another post topic, perhaps. Do you thinking is possible that some pastor’s marketing goal is to make the NEWS promoting their versions of faith? ( We can not know for all of them who are defying the orders for COVID-10 social-distancing to flatten the curve. We will have to wait until history is written on this subject.)

 

Why are you following this leader?

In this first quote, the author is writing about the boss in the workplace. I think a toxic boss is more palatable to start thinking of toxic leadership than it is to talk about someone’s church leader who is the supervisor over people who work or volunteer for the church.

We live in culture where “self” is king. When it comes to marketing your business online, over self-promotion can actually hurt more than help. Instead of focusing on promoting yourself..focus on what they need and want to hear? …

This is where empathy comes in. By asking questions about the people you want to reach and taking the time to understand their worldview, you can then share your message in a way that connects …look to the needs of others.

Let’s be honest…your story is for your customers, not you! They have the ultimate decision on whether or not to connect with you…

…your story must be authentic! … If you lie or tell your story in an unauthentic way, people will find out and then you’re done. Be true, tell YOUR story in a way people can embrace it. “All marketers are storytellers. Only the losers are liars.” – Seth Godin

Marketing …mainly about exposure. The broader exposure you got, the more likely you were to succeed. Today, because of the internet, everyone has exposure. As a result, there is more noise than ever before.

https://www.smamarketing.net/blog/lesson-learned-from-altmba-on-business-storytelling?utm_content=bufferea32c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest.com&utm_campaign=buffer

While pastors seem to believe that they are demonstrating FAITH- the world is watching- your authenticity may very well have been exposed!

It seems to me that churches who are packing the pews during this health scare should be asking themselves, “WHY?” For public safety, we need to be practicing our faith at home while self-isolating. What is the REAL reason that you are so pig-headed about demonstrating your rights to assemble during COVID-19 pandemic?

– We the people need to pray seriously about the “Foolish man who built his house upon the sand.” Matthew 7:26

Large religious groups may not have a foundation to keep stable footing…and by the way, who told you to ignore public health warnings?

If everyone is doing what the church leader tells you to do by faith – what would Jesus do?

Our grandmothers used to admonish us, “So what if all your friends are jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. They are ALL stupid. I won’t let you out of the house to go to that bridge. You’re grounded to your room.”

 

Matthew 7:26

23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

 

 

What are you afraid of if you stay home from church?

I believe that if you stay-at-home practicing Social-distancing like a good neighbor you are showing love for your neighbor.

Ministers, Priests, Pastors, Preachers; Evangelists, Prophets, Apostles are human beings who have chosen to take on a great responsibility to spiritually nurture fellow human beings so that we the people can spiritually stand on our two feet before God Almighty/ a Higher Power. NOT A one of them knows everything.- beware if they claim to know everything with special access to God. ( What is your pastor’s license to practice? (See below Practicing Without a Licence.)

Do we really need a person to hold our hand in order to pray or worship? I don’t think so. Not if the church leader has done his/ her job responsibly- you can pray all by yourself.

It seems to me, that any religious leader who can not seem to trust his congregation to pray at home, to worship at home, to read the Bible at home is looking for attention for himself/ herself – not for God. If this is true this toxic leader may not be in your best interest for spiritual growth with a dependence on God, but your dependency/ addiction is on the self-appointed human church hierarchy. IMO

Are you afraid of what the pastor thinks? Will he be so angry with you for rebelling that he will kick you out of your Christian social network? You can lose your support system if you question the pastor’s wishes. God decides heaven of Hell- not a person.

Are you in fear of showing whose directions you respect more?

Bucking the system: Shunning, submission and Jesus

“When you earnestly seek to do what’s right, inside a system you do not recognize as broken…blindsided.”
“When you implicitly trust leaders who depend on the system for power, image and funds, you’re asking to be betrayed.”
“Seeking to do right, you’re apt to expose what someone in power does not want to be seen – to endanger what they’re determined not to lose. And once you do that, you’re likely to be branded as unsubmissive and treated as a traitor.”
“Not seeing what you need to see, you won’t have a clue what’s going on.”

“…who claim to want what’s best for you…strip you of community, identity…you may still believe them trustworthy. You may bend over backward to show them you’re trustworthy too.”You may think you have no other valid choice – especially if you see no future…”

 

But Jesus didn’t entrust his life to them. He knew them inside and out, knew how untrustworthy they were. He didn’t need any help in seeing right through them. (John 2:24-25 MSG)

Jesus saw.

He saw when people had perverted what God had set in place. He recognized when leaders entrusted with God’s flock instead used their positions to manipulate and dominate others and to benefit themselves.

He knew when self-seeking permeated a culture God had called to be his own.

https://www.keytruths.com/bucking-the-system-shunning-submission-jesus/?fbclid=IwAR3–ol8k4hcjC9g8fp6J0E6KhCgesK3p-Ixj4Wk6F80JfcycdkWZyRY8PI

 

  • Why are churches and some businesses that are not essential defying CDC recommendations and local government orders instead of seeking Godly Wisdom?
  • Check out the first Passover. That, to me, was clearly a Quarantine and Isolation, was it not?

 

What is the meaning of the first Passover?

  • Answer: Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is a Jewish festival celebrating the exodus from Egypt and the Israelites ’ freedom from slavery to the Egyptians. The Feast of Passover , along with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, was the first of the festivals to be commanded by God for Israel to observe (see Exodus 12).
  • God sent ten plagues to persuade him. With the final plague, God promised to strike dead every first-born son in Egypt at midnight on the fifteenth day of Nissan.

    The Lord provided instructions to Moses so his people would be spared. Each Hebrew family was to take a Passover lamb, slaughter it, and place some of the blood on the door frames of their homes. When the destroyer passed over Egypt, he would not enter the homes covered by the blood of the Passover lamb.

    These and other instructions became part of a lasting ordinance from God for the observance of the Passover Feast so that all future generations would always remember God’s great deliverance.

What is Passover? – gotquestions.org

www.gotquestions.org/what-is-Passover.html

 

 

 

Is It Faith or Love or Hardness of Heart?

 

In my opinion, I think that name-calling (pansies), especially by a church pastor, is rather immature. It that how he controls his congregation – by verbal abuse?

Check out the news article below.

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Pittsburgh-area pastor says he plans to organize an outdoor “Woodstock”-like Easter service to protest the stay-at-home orders to prevent coronavirus.

Conservative Christian Pastor Jonathan Shuttlesworth made the announcement on social media Tuesday.

“…We’re gonna hold an outdoor Easter blowout service. Not online. A national gathering. You come from all over, like Woodstock.”

https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/04/01/pittsburgh-pastor-to-hold-woodstock-like-easter-gathering-despite-coronavirus-pandemic/?fbclid=IwAR0CJhmNHfN-jbqw2a7ZPDec5QXYmM7425vZHAU9SIidt5yHfOwcKbs5n9A

 

If you open the article to read and watch the short clips of this pastor- WARNING! offensive name-calling. Do I have to ask if this was spoken in love?”

My response to this man’s comments is I Cor 13- the Love Chapter. (Below are I has edited short en lists of the characteristic of toxic leaders.)

 

1 Corinthians 13:4

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 

The incident below occurred March 31, 2020.. the words looked “bewildered” struck me.- From reading the article I understand that the pastor thought they were practicing “social-distancing”.

I really have to wonder if these people fully comprehend the seriousness of this virus, COVID-19 that has so many unknowns. 

If I were still a practicing RN I would address in a nursing care-plan the need for patient teaching due to Knowledge Deficit. I would give social work referrals when patient teaching was out of my scope of practice. As medical professionals we do not expect patients to know all about their health issues, so we take the time to teach them and given then printed facts instructions.

I wonder, how informed church pastors are? Are they afraid of things they do not understand- so they fake it rather than ask for help?

i have to say that the mainstream news is confusing when they seem to quote out of context. and then there seems to be more FAKE news floating around share by people who are only trying to help. ( Please verify the facts from other sources and be sure to pass along the URL to the source before sharing .)

It is unfortunate that so many people of faith feel their Constitutional Rights to practice their faith are being violated. Perhaps they are not getting a clear picture – Are some Cherry-picking from the Constitution or the Bible?

I can copy and paste quotes from the Bible and the Constitution of the United States, too, and I have done so in this post to express my opinion to disagree with these die-hard preachers defying common sense to stay at home rather than gather. I contend these rebels misusing Jesus ‘ name are sorely misinformed, misguided, and not thinking of the safety of the people they profess to lead in biblical teachings.

 

Baltimore pastor vows to continue services despite coronavirus-related restrictions and visit from police

BALTIMORE SUN 
MAR 31, 2020 

When he spoke to the officers outside, one asked whether he had “read the governor’s order” — a reference to a directive Gov. Larry Hogan issued March 19 limiting the size of gatherings in the state to 10 people or fewer.

When he asked officers to explain why they were there, Gwynn said, they looked “bewildered,” declined to answer, and called a superior.

Lt. Suzanne Fries had advised the officers on the scene to “shut down the gathering,” according to an incident report supplied by the Baltimore Police Department.

 

I was flabbergasted when I first read about this act of willful defiance…as an old RN and an old Christian, I simply can not agree with this church decision. In public interest large gathering is not safe health-wise. This news report below was the prompting for me to put together this post.

I personally do NOT believe that the United States government is persecuting Christians for ordering to Shelter in Place, self-isolate or limit large gathering. IMO

In order to be as fair as I can, I have included numerous quotes with a variety of news reports with a difference of believes / opinions and Biblical references

Central pastor defies governor’s orders to restrict size of gatherings,

welcomes hundreds to church service

Life Tabernacle Church in the City of Central, located in East Baton Rouge Parish.

Rev. Spell says he does not believe his congregation is at risk of getting COVID-19.

“It’s not a concern… is politically motivated. We hold our religious rights dear and we are going to assemble no matter what someone says.”

…those violating the governor’s proclamation could face prosecution as a last resort. Reverend Spell is not concerned …boasted he had an even larger crowd this past weekend, days after the governor’s proclamation was issued.

“I had 1,170 in attendance Sunday,” Spell said. “We have 27 buses on Sundays picking up people in a five-parish area.”

…more than 1,000 people who attended Sunday were in various parts of the church….a large portion of them were gathered in the main worship area of the church that day.

What were these people thinking? (Or have they been brainwashed to not think? Does this Rev make all the decisions for them? )

Here is an example where I must ask this: ‘Why are individuals, and heads of households of families NOT thinking for themselves? (See section on Toxic Leadership. near the bottom of the post.)

I also noted Spell in a video on the above links stated that people were being held of HIV and cancer. Of course, I want to see proof of healings. Who has the medical records with diagnoses before and after the healings?

Yes, I believe in miracles – Yes, I believe that God answers prays and I believe “faith without works is dead.”

I also know that there are people who diagnose themselves from a list of symptoms. I am also aware of FAKEs, FRAUDs, bible peddlers who exploit people. I’m not saying this Spell guy has not seen miracles of God- I simply want to see documented proof. And how about you seeing the documented proof? Did you know that medical records are legal documents? And if let’s says nurse or doctor did not ‘chart” record in that patient’s chart what they did for the patient legally it was not done.”

I would hazard a wild guess that if a person was healed of a medical condition they would be able to produce down medical records. Show me the legal documentation fo a particular disease if a Faith Healing Evangelist claims to have healed people. Are these church leaders to be trusted with what they claim? I don’t know. Do you trust their validity or integrity solely based on anecdotes?

Is there a pattern of behavior of half-truths with your leader?

Below is only one example of many religious frauds: does it apply to any of the pastors in the news feed I have quoted and referred to? I have no idea. But, I would ask for medical documents to prove his claims. Faith healing is one thing; recovering for whatever reason is something faith healer may or may not take credit for. Please, think about this.

 

John Oliver Exposes Shady Televangelists Fleecing Americans …

www.thedailybeast.com/john-oliver-exposes-shady…

Apr 14, 2017 · God heal me.’”Oliver then played a video of Gloria Copeland, who hawks a series of “healing faith” products, suggesting to her congregation that it’s better to pray then to seek medical …

 

Did the law agree with Rev Spell or not?

Pastor of La. church charged, accused of disobeying governor’s order

Police chief says decision was ‘reckless and irresponsible’

Central pastor charged, vows to continue holding services

CENTRAL, La. (WAFB) – The pastor of a church in Central, La. will be charged with six misdemeanor counts of disobeying the powers of the governor…

…Central Police Department issued Mark Anthony Spell, pastor of Life Tabernacle Church in Central, a misdemeanor summons for six counts of violating the governor’s executive order (LA R.S. 29:724E) following his decision to host multiple large gathering

Spell believes this order violates his right to religious freedom.

“This is a scary time for our nation. Our religious freedoms are under persecution and attack,” Spell said. “This is an attack on all Christians across the world.”

Chief Corocoran though, says that’s just not the case.

 

In Florida

After you glance at the next news quote I want to share some links to stats about what is happening in Florida concerning COVD-19

 

PUBLISHED: 
UPDATED: 

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Florida officials have arrested the pastor of a megachurch after detectives say he held two Sunday services with hundreds of people and violated a safer-at-home order in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

…Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne turned himself in to authorities … He was charged with unlawful assembly and violation of a public health emergency order. Bail was set at $500 …released after posting bond.

“Not only did the church comply with the administrative order regarding six-foot distancing, it went above and beyond any other business to ensure the health and safety of the people,” said a statement from Liberty Counsel, Howard-Browne’s law firm. “Contrary to Sheriff Chronister’s allegation that Pastor Howard-Browne was ‘reckless,” the actions of Hillsborough Country and the Hernando County Sheriff are discriminatory against religion and church gatherings.”

The church has said it sanitized the building… attacked the media for “religious bigotry and hate”…said the church enforced the six-foot distance rule between family groups, made sure the staff wore gloves, gave every person who entered hand sanitizer, among other things.

https://www.10tv.com/article/florida-pastor-arrested-accused-violating-safer-home-order-holding-sunday-services-2020-mar

 

Do I have to ask were there any high school basketball games allowed? Aren’t senior proms being canceled? And what about High school and college graduations that students have looked forward to for years? Aren’t they emotionally essential?

Where there any SAT tests allowed to be given? Is the library and the YMCA is Florida shut down? Do any of those people who would participate in a school athletic event believe in worshiping God?

I do not know the answer for sure. But, I would have to question the allegations of “…discriminatory against religion and church gatherings.” AND “religious bigotry and hate”..I am not a lawyer nor am I a bigot. Personally, I believe the Bible never demands that people meet in a large gathering at a church building. 

Matthew 18:20 “KJV “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. “

‘”Churches in Ohio, Kentucky, and Louisiana have continued to invite worshippers in recent days as at least a half-dozen states offer some degree of exemption for faith in their orders to shutter nonessential activity during the pandemic.” According to the Associated Press.

 

What Does the Bible Say About Persecution?

Are you bothered by the statements, “discriminatory against religion and church gatherings.” AND “religious bigotry and hate”. as much as I am?

Can you tell me where in the bible it says to curse those who “persecute”? “

Didn’t Jesus say to obey the law of the land?”

This feels to me like a child when disciplined arguing with a parent by calling then ” a pooh-head,” in order to gain some power and control leverage.

Is it possible that these pastors who are defying Social-Distancing are twisting the Scripture and the law for their own agenda?

Is it possible that these pastors are not qualified to make such public health decisions by telling they’re congregations to basically “thumb their noses” at the government’s decision to protect the public?

Romans 12:14-17

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 

`5 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil.

 

When Jesus was on trial and on the cross “He opened not his mouth.” I simply can not grasp the magnitude of difference in the level of persecution of Jesus and being denied assemblies of over 10 people due to a highly contagious epidemic. Can you comprehend the vast difference, too?

 

Question:

Should churches comply with government mandates to not hold worship services during the coronavirus pandemic?

By Richard Land, Christian Post Executive Editor

“…debates about whether or not churches should comply with government mandates to suspend worship services and related church group activities as the country seeks to stem the spread of the incredibly contagious coronavirus.

  • Many have said, “Yes, we have an obligation to obey the civil magistrate for conscience sake” (Rom 13:7).
  • Others have responded, “No, we have special freedoms and protections under the First Amendment, and our ultimate loyalty must be to Jesus, not the state!”
  • Are Christians being good citizens by complying with the government’s attempts to protect the public welfare of the citizenry, or do we exercise our freedom of conscience and trust that God will protect us from the potential health consequences?

Click the link to read Dr Land’s reply…

https://www.christianpost.com/news/ask-dr-land-should-churches-obey-govt-on-no-church-services-during-coronavirus.html

  • The state is not singling out churches and telling them and them alone to cease assembling for worship. They are banning all gatherings.
  • banning assemblies is … to protect all citizens from serious physical harm.
  • No freedom in human society is “absolute.”
  • In spite of freedom of speech, it is against the law to yell “fire” in a crowded theater unless there is indeed a fire. Why? It is to protect innocent people from being trampled in a panic.

 

 

Why the Secrecy?

I understand the right to privacy. Would you think that the members of the church would have had a burden to pray for someone who tested positive for COVID-19 who wished to remain anonymous?

But, with a mega-church of 6,000 precious lives – why the secrecy? (Secrecy can be a sign of toxic leadership. Or is it a shame that prevented them from accepting a disease? I don’t know.)

What about the responsibility of the shepherds to care for the sheep?

 

Pastor of Chicago Megachurch Tells Staff to Keep an Outbreak of COVID-19 Among Pastors & Staff Secret

…The lead pastor of Calvary Church of Naperville—a megachurch in the Chicago suburbs with an attendance around 6,000— this week told his staff to keep secret news that an assistant pastor…tested positive for COVID-19 and pneumonia and was “seriously ill.” …“have had symptoms but are improving.”

The email added, “For our privacy and for the peace of mind of our church family, we and the leadership team ask that this news be kept in confidence within ou

…staff member said that when several staff objected due to concerns about infection, Sloan asked them if they wanted to remain “essential,” because if not, that could change.

Pastor of Chicago Megachurch Tells Staff to Keep an Outbreak of COVID-19 Among Pastors & Staff Secret

 CURRENT PAGE:CHURCH & MINISTRIES | FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2020

43 people fall ill at Pentecostal church after revival,

10 test positive for coronavirus

By Leonardo Blair, Christian Post Reporter

The Life Church of Glenview, said at least 43 of the approximately 80 people who attended a March 15 service at their church have fallen ill and everyone who has been tested for the new coronavirus has come back positive for the virus which has already killed more than 1,470 and infected more than 97,000 people nationwide.

“…They all haven’t tested but whoever gets a test done ends up being positive, and we all have the same symptoms. It’s just not easy. …when you’re a leader and a pastor of a precious church and we all got infected together,”

Church leaders said the meeting was held days before the governor’s stay-at-home order.

LoCascio …and visiting evangelist had just attended a ministers’ conference in the Chicago metropolitan area, where the coronavirus cases have been exploding,

…posted a video on the church’s Facebook page explaining that she has been treating her husband with garlic.

The World Health Organization says that while garlic is a health food and might have “some antimicrobial properties.” There has been “no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.”

https://www.christianpost.com/news/43-people-fall-ill-at-illinois-pentecostal-church-after-revival-10-test-positive-for-coronavirus.html

 

(Should a church be giving medical advice? Scroll down below.)

Coronavirus in Illinois updates:

Here’s what happened March 27 with COVID-19 in the Chicago area

 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE 
MAR 27, 2020  9:08 PM

Officials on Friday announced eight more deaths in Illinois related to the new coronavirus and 488 more cases statewide, raising the death toll to 34 and the number of known cases to 3,026 since the start of the outbreak in January.

Tony Perkins slams churches still gathering

during the pandemic, calls action ‘defiance of common sense’

By Leonardo Blair, Christian Post Reporter

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins slammed churches that have continued to gather as the coronavirus pandemic explodes across the county, calling their action a “defiance of common sense.”

…recent report by The Christian Post about 43 members of The Life Church of Glenview in Illinois falling ill and at least 10 of them later testing positive for the coronavirus after a revival service earlier this month, Perkins said it was irresponsible and should not be treated as an example of defending religious freedom.

“At this point, holding public church gatherings in the midst of a public health crisis is not a defense of religious freedom — it is a defiance of common sense and the care of your congregation. Spread the Good News, not the virus!”

https://www.christianpost.com/news/tony-perkins-slams-churches-still-gathering-during-pandemic-calls-action-defiance-of-common-sense.html?fbclid=IwAR1GnVcKLbiKUSYMlk0Kbi4fTeyKIXIZYYw6KH-LBGQsDPopFNfgZIzlMgI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lord is My Shepherd

 

What Does It Mean to Be a Shepherd Over the Flock?

FROM  Oct 04, 2017

www.ligonier.org/blog/what-does-it-mean-be…
In the first place, to be a shepherd over the flock of sheep means that it is the shepherd’s responsibility to lead the sheep. If anyone has observed the behavior of sheep who are left unguided, …constant supervision of a shepherd,…sheep tend to move willy-nilly…
…text in Acts …the leaders of the early church was to equip the laity so that the ministry of the gospel could be effected through their labors…metaphor of the shepherd who cares for his flock…defines the work of the local pastor.
…reasons why so many pastors have compromised the preaching of the gospel…been so fearful that they would lose their jobs by being bold in their preaching and passionate in their concern for the sheep…one eye on the sheep and the other eye on those who hire and fire them…
…the first responsibility of the pastor to make sure that the sheep under his care are fed, nourished, and nurtured by the whole counsel of the Word of God.

 

Here are three resources to get you started on learning more about Spiritual Shepherds according to the Bible along with various interpretations.

.

21 Bible Verses About the Sheep and the Shepherd – Heather C …

heathercking.org/2015/04/27/sheep-shepherd-verses

Apr 27, 2015 · “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will …

 

What was a shepherd in the Bible? | GotQuestions.org

www.gotquestions.org/shepherd-in-the-Bible.html

Jan 02, 2020 · Question: “What was a shepherd in the Bible?” Answer: A shepherd during the time of the Old Testament was often, but not always, a child. Whatever his age, the shepherd’s job was to protect his flock and guide them to good pastures with plenty of food and slow-moving, easily accessible water.

 

 

 

Life, Sickness, Death

NoNon-centsNanna on Life, Sickness, and Death

 

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2) … I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work. (Ecclesiastes 3:17)

Read more: https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/do-we-have-an-appointed-time-of-death-does-god-know-when-we-will-die/#ixzz6Ibn7tuEo

 

Is COVID-19 a plague brought on by God? I don’t know.

You can read in the quote (click the link to read the full article) the answer given by Got Questions with biblical reference.

I believe that each one of us as individuals must take a good hard look at ourselves. Turn within to seek from whatever source of spirituality or source of wisdom that you embrace – rather than blindly following one man’s word. ( See section on Toxic Leadership)

To get you started I sighted several sources. I do not necessarily endorse any sources. Take what you want and leave the rest. I love to research- I am a human being-not a guru with unlimited wisdom.

 

Is this the End-time?

I don’t know nor does anyone but “only God knows the time or season”. I do know that this CAN be a time to make positive changes in our lives.

What does the Bible say about pandemic diseases/sicknesses …

www.gotquestions.org/pandemic-diseases.html

Mar 25, 2020 · The Bible says the equivalent of “do not fear” over 300 times. Second, be wise. Take reasonable steps to avoid exposure to the disease and to protect and provide for your family.

… many to ask why God allows—or even causes—pandemic diseases and whether such illnesses are a sign of the end times.

…Old Testament… God brought plagues and diseases on His people and on His enemies “to make you see my power” (Exodus 9:1416). He used plagues on Egypt to force Pharaoh to free the Israelites …while sparing His people … (Exodus 12:1315:26), thus indicating His sovereign control over diseases and other afflictions.

…God also warned His people of the consequences of disobedience, including plagues (Leviticus 26:2125). (Numbers 16:49 and 25:9).

Since no one knows the time of Jesus’ return, we must be careful about saying global pandemics are proof that we are living in the end times.

The Bible says the equivalent of “do not fear” over 300 times. … be wise. …reasonable steps to avoid exposure to the disease …protect and provide for your family. … look for opportunities for ministry. …people are fearful for their lives…always speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

 

 

Why Do We Get Sick? | What the Bible Says

www.jw.org/…/magazines/g201304/why-do-we-get-sick

WHAT PEOPLE SAY. Many believe that sickness is simply a quirk of human evolution. Others think that mysterious forces, such as evil spirits, are the cause of our health problems. WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS. According to the Biblewe get sick as a result of the first human rebellion against God.

 (Proverbs 23:20) God’s Law code given to ancient Israel included measures that would control and in some cases even prevent diseases. The Law also incorporated specific safety regulations for the prevention of injuries. (Deuteronomy 22:8) Clearly, the Bible encourages us to take care of our bodies and take reasonable measures to protect our health.

 

 

Is it illegal to practice medicine without a medical license?

  • In general, a person practices medicine when he or she tries to diagnose or cure an illness or injury, prescribes drugs, performs surgery, or claims he or she is a doctor. Sometimes, activities that might be considered the unauthorized practice of medicine are legal even when performed by people without a medical license.

 

What is a Toxic Leader?

 

Here is my Pinterest Board description where I collect and PIn quotes and links

Is my church safe or unsafe? Is being religious healthy? Is the organization good company or controlling my life? Is my church or MLM a cult? Is leadership inspiring or toxic controlling? Is discipline loving or harsh?

I have been studying toxic leadership in religion for a few years now. I still have so much more to learn.

I have read that as many as 80% of church leaders have some toxic characteristics including traits of narcism.

(See the definition of narcissistic with examples below.)

 

Quotes about Leadership

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in our absence.” — Sheryl Sandberg

https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/photo-gallery/35464788/image/35464795/Leadership-about-making-others-better-result-your

 

Servant Leadership Scale eight dimensions of servant leadership:
Empowerment, Standing Back, Humility, Authenticity, Courage, Accountability, Interpersonal Acceptance, Stewardship
A servant leader is a servant first, ensuring other people’s needs are being met & their choices will benefit the least privileged in society.
#servantleader #leadership #service #courage #empowerment #standingback #humility #authenticity #accountability #stewardship #acceptanc

 

 

8. “When the leader lacks confidence, the followers lack commitment.” John C. Maxwell

34. “The measure of a leader is not the number of people who serve him but the number of people he serves.” John C. Maxwell

36. “The bottom line in leadership isn’t how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others.” John C. Maxwell

40. “There are five nonnegotiable characteristics that every effective leader must have: a sense of calling, an ability to communicate, creativity in problem solving, generosity, and consistency.” John C. Maxwell

41. “A leader is great, not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others.” John C. Maxwell

42. “The respect that leadership must have requires that one’s ethics be without question. A leader not only stays above the line between right and wrong, he stays well clear of the ‘gray areas.'” John C. Maxwell

https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/44-inspiring-john-c-maxwell-quotes-that-will-take-you-to-leadership-success.html

 

Toxic leaders abound in business. Toxic leadership can and does happen in Christian churches as well.

First look at the characteristics of toxic business leaders. -You will be surprised that these people have something in common with some church leaders. I am not here to judge- simple to make you aware that there can be wolves in sheep clothing that are so charming in your church. ( I did not want to accept this, myself, decades ago.)

8 Traits of Toxic Leadership to Avoid

Beware of these bad boss behaviors for your mental health.

Posted Jul 06, 2016

Jean Kim M.D.

1. Unwillingness to listen to feedback …emphasize their own desires and ideas at the expense of any receptivity or openness to what those who work with them have to offer.

2. Excessive self-promotion and self-interest …provide guidance and clear goals to their employees… not be at the expense of any other goal except their own self-advancement.

8. Bullying and harassment: In the worst-case scenario, a leader may become abusive and belittling to people around them, using foul language, threats, or coercion.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/culture-shrink/201607/8-traits-toxic-leadership-avoid

 

 

The Six Characteristics of Toxic Leadership

Toxic Leadership a Contextual Framework as:
“A process in which leaders, by dint of their destructive behavior (sic) and/or dysfunctional personal characteristics inflict

Toxic leader …motivated by personal ambition…positional power and their authority to deceive, intimidate, and coerce people…

…‘informal power networks’ ..take advantage of it. .. disguised as ‘mentoring’ people outside of their teams.

  1. Autocratic … maintaining tight control … intolerant of mistakes falsely assuming that the same mistake would not happen to them.
  2. Narcissistic …seek opportunities to build ‘empires’, taking on more responsibility if they feel it can make them look good.
  3. Intimidating …bully their subordinates …‘ruling with an iron fist’.
  4. Overly Competitive …They think that they have high standards and are inspiring.

http://www.leadershipforces.com/six-characteristics-toxic-leaders/

Serious and enduring harm on their followers, their organizations (sic), and non-followers, alike.”

 

This leader is someone who has responsibility over a group of people or an organisation…

  • abuses the leader-follower relationship
  • leaves the group or organization in a poorer condition after they have left.

Barbara Kellerman suggests in “Bad Leadership: What It Is, How It Happens, Why It Matters” [2004] –

  1. Incompetence
  2. Rigidity
  3. Intemperance – lack of self-control
  4. Callousness
  5. Corruption
  6. Insularity
  7. Evil

http://www.strategies-for-managing-change.com/toxic-leadership.html

 

 

FOURTEEN SYMPTOMS OF TOXIC CHURCH LEADERS

Most church leaders are godly and healthy. A toxic church leader, one that is figuratively poisonous to the organization, is rare. But it is that church leader who brings great harm to churches and other Christian organizations. And it is that leader that hurts the entire cause of Christ when word travels about such toxicity.

  • They rarely demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. Paul notes those specific attributes in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control.
  • They see almost everyone else as inferior to themselves. You will hear them criticizing other leaders while building themselves up.
  • They are manipulative. Their most common tactic is using partial truths to get their way.
  • They do not allow for pushback or disagreement. …someone does disagree …victim of the leader’s anger and marginalization.

https://thomrainer.com/2014/10/fourteen-symptoms-toxic-church-leaders/

 

I really liked the next article that I quoted. Not only did the author define toxicity well enough to help identify the problem, but, also gave possible ways to find a solution.

A Word to the Wise

While we don’t often think of churches as toxic or dangerous places, some caution that we should not automatically assume that every church is healthy. Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton wrote about this in their classic book, Toxic Faith, where they identify 10 negative traits in churches to watch out for.

  1. …toxic-faith system claim their character, abilities or knowledge make them “special” in some way.
  2. …leader is dictatorial and authoritarian.
  3. … lack objective accountability.

What should you do if you discover that your church is sick and that people aren’t being nurtured in love? … There are no easy answers because each situation is uniquely different. Understanding the problem may take months or years.

https://whenpeoplearekind.org/toxic-churches/

 

 

Do You Need a Licence to Do That?

 

Pastors are licensed to preach, do funerals and marry people.

Preachers. pastors, ministers do not have the training nor a license to make medical decisions for you and your family nor t=do they have the training and license to interpret the law for you and your family.

As far as that goes, if you meet your doctor or lawyer in the parking lot of the grocery store they can not practice their expertise in the parking lot. An exception would be as a Good Smartian in an emergency such as someone got run over by a car. 

Please do not take this as gospel, medical nor legal advice. Check it out yourself from a credible source- not a blogger.

 

Define practicing medicine without a license

  • A physician has to obtain a license in order to practice medicine and practicing without a license is violation of law and constitutes a criminal offense. In addition to criminal prosecution, a physician who practices without a license will also face civil sanctions.
physicians.uslegal.com/physicians-practicing-withoutalicense/

 

What is the Unauthorized Practice of Medicine? – FindLaw

healthcare.findlaw.com/patient-rights/what-is…

The unauthorized practice of medicine occurs when someone gives medical advice or treatment without a professional license. The prohibition against the unauthorized practice of medicine is a precaution against people who would try to treat others without the proper training, or by using unproven methods which could harm or even kill their supposed patients.

 

Practicing Without a Valid License | Nurse Advisor Magazine

nurseadvisormagazine.com/…without-a-valid-license

Practicing medicine without a valid license, or the unauthorized practice of medicine, is a criminal offense that can bring about some serious penalties. The general public heavily relies on doctors for wellness and health, but unfortunately, the people we put our faith in aren’t always practicing ethically or legally.

  •  Nurse Advisor Magazine (Official)

 

I am not a lawyer in any way shape or form. I can read tho’.

From what I understand, I should not post on my blog legal advice. I don’t think it is legal, IMO, that pastor interrupts public health warnings, Federal, state and/ or local health and safety guidelines/ government orders for any persons who are members of a congregation. I believe each member has the right to decide what to believe or not to believe. ( Read about the separation of church and state as well as the First Amendment, again.)

If fact if I was in a church where a leader was deliberately defying orders that would keep every member of the flock safe I would question the leadership. (See Signs of Toxic Leadership below.)

 

Practicing Law Without a License | CriminalDefenseLawyer.com

www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/…

Anyone engaged in the practice of law without a license commits a criminal act. Practice of Law. Each state sets its own standards on it means to practice law. These definitions differ slightly, but they encompass the same types of activity. Holding oneself out as an attorney. Practicing law includes holding yourself out to the public as an attorney, lawyer, or someone entitled to engage in the practice of law. You cannot, for example, rent a building and use a sign saying that it is a law …

  •  Mark Theoharis

 

Practicing without a license – Wikipedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Practicing_without_a_license
Practicing without a license is the act of working without the licensure offered for that occupation, in a particular jurisdiction. Most activities that require licensure also have penalties for practicing without a valid, current li…

 

 

 

Does your pastor need a license to preach in your state?

I don’t know the laws of your state. But, you CAN ask to see the pastor’s credentials.

On what authority or even training does your pastor have that qualify him/ her to lead your church like a good shepherd?

I sure don’t know anything about your church. What I do know is that if you don’t know what training your pastor has and/or whether or not he/she can pass a background check, why are you asking?

How can you blindly allow a pastor to lead you into defiance of the law ordering social distancing in the interest of public safety? While that pastor leads you to be arrested or endanger your health? For what good reason? Because the pastor said so? Why are you not able to pray for wisdom from God all by your self in your prayer closet?

If asking puts your church leaders on the defensive- that may be a Red Flag.

 

Difference Between a Licensed and an Ordained Minister …

nacministers.com/answers-faq/licensed-vs…
The term implies that one of these institutions have granted them a license to practice ministry for a specified period time upon which there is a renewal process after expiration. The purpose of expiration is not to suggest that the licensed minister no longer has a calling. “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” (Rom 11:29).
…not intended to be leagl advice.

 

What I love about the quote below are the inspiring things anyone who loves the Lord Jesus CAN do every day without having to be in a church nor have a licence to minister. “Christians are “ministers” wherever God places them.”

I encourage you to click on the link below to grasp some of the wonderful things you CAN do as a Christian without attending a church service. 

Perhaps it is time to start some new habits as Christians. I know that “I want to be more than a Sunday-Go-To Meetin’ -Christian”, like the old Sunday School song goes.

Practicing ministry without a license | Jeffrey E. Miller

jeffreyemiller.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/…

Aug 26, 2014 · Practicing ministry without a licensePractice ministry without a license. If you’re around me long, you’ll hear something along those lines. It is my heartbeat, and the heartbeat of the church where I serve. God has given certain leaders to the church (Ephesians 4:11). Their job is to “equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12).

We’re not permitted to practice medicine without a license.

We can’t practice law in this country without passing the state bar exam.

Impersonating a police officer is a serious crime (I’m told).

But practicing ministry without a license? Absolutely!

Impersonate a minister today.

 

Well, there you have it: 12 hours of work, so far on how COVID-19 is playing an ugly roll amongst some religious groups and their leaders.

This post will be a work in progress as we hope and pray for a quick resolution and healing for the world. 

It seems to be a well-known assumption that mainstream news media has not been as accurate as we hope they would be on this COVID-19 pandemic. and oftentimes confusing. Therefore I must state that all of the quotes in regards to specific pastors and churches are made in good faith based on the information in the articles. Should anything need to be corrected I am more than willing to retract with an apology. Contact me, Malika Bourne the No Non-cents Nanna by PM on Facebook: Click HERE to pm me, please and thank you.

 

I am Malika Bourne the No Non-cents Nanna encouraging you to make good choices.

 

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