Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. -- Psalm 23:4 (ESV)
We wrote last week about the perfect storm brewing in America right now. We have decades of purpose driven church theory infecting the body of Christ that has created waves of cult of personality pastors. These pastors think they are the reason for the draw instead of Christ. They have the stately homes, huge book deals and in some cases television shows. They are the Pharisees of old with all of the power within their local religious system even if it is subordinated to the state. The second storm front is the emergence over the past 20 years of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), with their dominionist platform. The dominionist looks at the carnal and conflates it with the spiritual. They worship this world and more specifically, this country. Why wouldn't they? Here they run mega churches of personal stardom and in the next life they will have to answer for it. This has resulted in the current state of the siloed church in America. Little fiefdoms dot the evangelical landscape. Sure they talk a good game about being united but each individual church is just that, individual. These pastors have generated a reliance upon the church building instead of Jesus.
Then along comes the third storm front, the coronavirus. With almost two million infected and over 100,000 dead, this scourge has literally stopped the world dead in its tracks. The number one breeding ground for the viral spread is large gatherings of people, because so many asymptomatic people could actually be carriers, spreading the virus further. As such the responsible local governments have decided to temporarily disallow large gatherings of people, including churches. And the NAR dominionist crowd went nuts. I mean completely bonkers. In Florida there was an infamous false teacher who was arrested for violating his county order and holding service for 500 people anyway. When I say false I mean ridiculously heretical. This is the guy that invented the "drunk in the spirit" heresy as well as the holy laughter movement. He is a cancerous tumor upon the body of Christ for decades with untold numbers of people being led to hell due to his teaching. Yet he has become the poster child for this imagined persecution. That is how badly the NAR infects the mind. That you would stand with Rodney Howard-Browne and fight for his right to lead more people to hell. That is how you know you care more about the carnal politics of this world then you do about the Gospel.
Browne however is a lightweight of craziness apparently next to Pastor Tony Spell. This Louisiana pastor appears to want to become famous at the expense of his congregants. He held service last week and was arrested for it. That led him to a national platform to play out the NAR persecuted church narrative for all to see. While he had some pretty ridiculous things to say then, he has now tripled down in an interview with TMZ as reported by the Daily Wire and other sources. Let us walk through the reporting from the Daily Wire and apply common sense and biblical values to his insanity.
"On Wednesday, TMZ uploaded a video in which they interview Pastor Tony Spell, the leader of Life Tabernacle Church in Central, Louisiana. Spell has made a national name for himself in recent weeks as he has continued to hold large church services despite state social distancing orders. TMZ asked Spell what he would say if a congregant died of COVID-19 having attended a Life Tabernacle gathering. "Would you feel like you have blood on your hands or no?"
Spell replied, first quoting scripture. "Yea, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil for God is with us." The pastor then added that "the Bible teaches us to be absent from our bodies is to be present with the Lord. So, like any revolutionary, or like any zealot, or like any pure religious person, death looks to them like a welcomed friend." -- Pastor Tony Spell