Just take a step back and see this timeline. Pastor Bell officiates a wedding in nearby Millinocket Maine, as do several of his congregants. By the end of the month there are 123 confirmed cases that came from this wedding and the CDC tells him that the investigation includes his church. A true shepherd would immediately be concerned for his flock. An NAR hireling however, would be more concerned about a perceived cultural war and making a statement by using the lives of his sheep as bait. Bell's fiery, unrepentant sermon reminds me of the Virginia pastor who said the virus was fake and designed just to hurt the president. He went to New Orleans to "cleanse it from its sin" but instead caught the virus and died shortly after. Look, this virus does not care how you vote, how you look, or even if you believe in it or not. Churches have been battlegrounds for COVID because the apostate church is led by hirelings who have bought into the purpose driven model. We have convinced ourselves that this tiny sliver of an hour and a half on Sundays is the church. As a minster of the Gospel I can tell you that this hour and a half is the least that defines us as the church. We might prefer the corporate gathering and it might be the preferred biblical method but that does not mean we cease being the church just because we lose the hour and a half. There are 166.5 other hours in any given week. It is what we do during those hours that makes us the church.
"Gib Parrish, an epidemiologist in Maine, said that, based on what the Globe described of the service, the Sunday gathering appeared to increase the risk of participants contracting the coronavirus. "If there are people who are likely to be positive in that group, then having an extended period of time together -- particularly if they're close by, [and] they're not doing anything in terms of physical distancing or wearing masks, if they're singing or shouting or talking loudly -- those are activities that are known to facilitate transmission of the virus," Parrish said. Bell said in the sermon that the church was discouraging people from coming if they were sick and advising them to quarantine at home." - Boston Globe
We just don't get it. This is why pastors should not be making epidemiological decisions for their churches. That Bell did not get it after what just happened is staggering. This all started because one man, who was not sick, went to a wedding. Turns out he was sick and did not know it. That is one of the fouler points about COVID. You can walk around asymptomatic for 14 days and be giving it to everyone you come into contact with. Obviously people who are sick should stay home but it is the ones who appear fine but are not that are silently killing over 180,000 people in this country. Remember Millinocket had ZERO cases until one guy went to a wedding. What Gib Parrish is describing here is correct. Churches are virtual petri dishes for virus spread. There are real reasons why Governors around this country have tried to ban church gatherings. It is not some deep state attack or some grand persecution. Please, stop being the stupid people.
The pastor also warned his congregants that a vaccine against the coronavirus would include "aborted baby tissue," an issue that some religious and antiabortion groups have seized upon in recent months. A number of vaccines, including those against rubella, chickenpox, and shingles, were manufactured using fetal cells from elective abortions decades ago, but the cell lines that continue to grow the vaccines are now generations removed from fetal cells. In April, a group including committee chairmen from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged the Food and Drug Administration not to develop a coronavirus vaccine using cell lines that originated from fetal cells. Bell said that instead of trusting a vaccine, he would put his faith in God, "the one that has the power to remove pestilences."
Once again poor teaching and theology. Just because God can do something does not mean He will or must do it. God can heal but He does not all the time. God can protect but He does not all the time. He also expects us to operate with wisdom. Pastor Bell is not speaking about faith but rather superstition. What is worse though is he is leading his sheep to slaughter. This reminds me of the woman in Kenneth Copeland's congregation who came down with cancer. She refused to seek any medical advice and instead kept upping her tithe to show "faith." This went on right up to the moment she died of cancer. It was not lack of faith she died from but lack of doctrine. The truly sad thing here is Bell cannot see his own logical disconnect. He claims to refuse a vaccine on "pro-life" grounds but does not care about the lives of his sheep at all.
"The CDC said on Saturday there were at least five confirmed cases involving people who attended the church, and that anyone who had attended services or vacation Bible school at Calvary was potentially exposed. Bell said on Sunday that all five people who had tested positive were out of quarantine and doing "fairly well." "I officiated the wedding. It was a beautiful wedding," Bell told his congregation. "Six families from our church went there. We never expected to get COVID. Nobody expected to experience the things that happened because you went to a beautiful wedding like that." He situated his and the church's response firmly on political ground, saying that he had told Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, during a Zoom call on Friday that he was a "liberty lover." "I want the people of God to enjoy liberty," Bell told the congregation. "If they want to wear a mask, wear a mask . . . If you want to have the liberty to have done your own research -- that masks are kind of like trying to keep a mosquito out of a chain-link fence . . . if that's what they choose, I'm a liberty lover." (There's a growing body of evidence that masks are effective at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.)" - Boston Globe
No Pastor. People who have been paying attention would expect to potentially experience COVID at an event such as a wedding. The level of beautifulness does not mitigate the virus. "Research" does not include seeking out political opinions that confirm your warped worldview. I say this because the notion that masks do not work is the opinion of a jackass. Now, normally a jackass only affects themselves but as a pastor you lead people. They look to you for advice, guidance and direction. You have chosen to lead your sheep right into the COVID woodchipper all for your silly and nebulous notion of "liberty." There is no liberty in killing your sheep. There is no liberty in being attached a ventilator. Pastor Bell is not a "liberty lover." He is a politics lover. He is a NAR dominionism lover". Ultimately, the NAR folks are lovers of themselves and this world. That is why they are constantly chasing this false understanding of revival. Of course what gets lost here is any sense of the Gospel. Where is Jesus in all of these machinations? What happens to His witness? Why would anyone unsaved bother to hear what you have to say about God if you are so distorted about the things of this world? All they have seen is a man in charge of the well-being of others show callous indifference for them in favor of his political talking points.
'It's not surprising that political affiliations have become connected to coronavirus behaviors, said Martha Lincoln, a medical anthropologist at San Francisco State University. "Epidemics are particularly political, because unlike other kinds of health experiences in society, everyone is aware of them. By nature, they're public events. They're often happening very quickly and creating a lot of anxieties that bring a lot of other social, political, and economic anxieties to the surface," Lincoln said. Bell, in the videotaped sermon posted on YouTube, said he had received negative pushback for officiating at the wedding and used a story of hostile comments on social media to riff on Matthew 5:11-12: "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven." "Men have reviled me," the pastor told his congregation. Bell described someone on social media who had seen that he was flying to Oxford, Maine -- he is a pilot -- and commented that he was probably going to spread COVID at the casino there. "Be a good place to spread it," Bell said. A congregant cheered in the background. "Gambling has killed more people and ruined more homes and destroyed more things in our society almost than liquor or pot or pornography," Bell went on. "Gambling is wicked."'