For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." -- Matthew 18:20 (ESV)
The influence of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) within the modern church is like an infection coursing through the blood stream of the bride of Christ. It is a malignant, cancerous infection that has not only gone relatively unchecked but has been embraced by people who do not even know they are dying spiritually. Along with this comes a level of carnal entitlement through an enforcement of a victimization model of thinking. NAR hucksters take a biblical concept, such as persecution, and apply it to the American church where it does not belong. Being forced to hold church services underground lest you be arrested is persecution. Being given a choice of renouncing Christ or face beheading is persecution. Look at our brothers and sisters in China, Iraq or the Sudan if you want to see the face of persecution. Not having baby Jesus in the town square for Christmas is not persecution. Having the government say that you cannot force children who may not be of your faith to say your prayers every morning is not persecution. Insisting that corporate gatherings, such as church services, must cease during a world-wide pandemic is not persecution. It is simply common sense and the church is sorely lacking it in these end days.
Let us first deal with the reality of the pandemic. As the global numbers careen towards a million infected and 50,000 dead, there are some who still insist this is all a hoax or some kind of grand political conspiracy. Unfortunately, this moronic and demonic point of view is held by many in the Christian community. I know people who have died from this virus. It is very much real. If you honestly think this was cooked up as a political attack at an event hosted by Bill Gates, which was preached at a sermon this past Sunday in Florida, then you are beyond help.
Then there is also history to examine. J. Lee Grady has a new article that explains the history of the Spanish flu, which killed 50 million people worldwide, or 4% of the world's population. Public gatherings, including church services, closed for several weeks and guess what? The church survived. The leader of the Church of God said at the time:
"The government closed all churches and public gatherings of every kind. We missed four Sundays, but commenced again last Sunday. ... During the last few weeks, many people have died of influenza. It is remarkable, however, how few of our people have died with it."
And from the Assemblies of God:
AG leaders wrote: "All churches, missions, etc., including the Assembly of God, are closed because of the scourge of Spanish Influenza that is raging in the town. ... We are finding it a splendid opportunity to devote additional time to prayer for our missionaries, and for the soldier boys [who were fighting in World War I], and for rain all over the world in this time of the Latter Rain. Where assemblies are closed, let the saints devote the time they would spend at meeting to the Word and to prayer."