Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you,' and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" - Matthew 4:5-7 (ESV)
The COVID crisis has wreaked physical havoc across the world and spiritual havoc throughout the church. The mega church model that worships cult of personality pastors was not built for virtual services. The unbiblical tithing model, which is usually less than 15% compliant during regular times, must dwindle to nothingness during times of such economic and health uncertainty combined with not physically being in church. The result is pastors across the land have banded together to violate Romans 13, mangle the Constitution and the bible all to argue that they should be allowed to hold services. This despite the fact that a church setting is a literal petri dish for the spread of this virus. Even the once revered John MacArthur has joined the cacophony of unreasonableness as he throws his sheep into the woodchipper of the Corona Virus. Then there are the NAR dominionists who willingly sacrifice their sheep on the altar of political expediency. Their singular focus is the reelection of the current president who has taken the position of essentially ignoring the virus. One such rabid dominionist is John Burton and his latest bible butchering can be found linked above. Let us reason once more together through his summation of how COVID has exposed an unbelieving church.
"Scrolling through Facebook, I happened upon a simple yet interesting post. One of the comments was even more intriguing. "Show me the verse in Scripture that says God heals everything but coronavirus." A sharp-witted respondent typed: "Matthew 13:58 (ESV): 'And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.'" That's the sobering answer I alluded to. Instead of boldly standing in authoritative opposition to a wicked threat, the common reaction of so many of today's American Christians seems to be unbelief. Those who are to be driven by fearless faith are instead shaken by the winds of the world." - John Burton
Burton's opening gambit is a sleight of hand. No Christian I have ever seen doubts that God CAN heal. The issue is if God WILL heal. Not according to John Burton and the mandatory healing on demand folks. People like Burton and Bill Johnson believe erroneously that God MUST always heal us. They do not understand scripture in concluding this and in doing so rob God of His sovereignty. God always decides what God is going to do. If God must always heal then why do Christians get sick and die? Burton would say that falls on the faith of the believer, which is a most insidious and odious accusation. Nothing like kicking the sick while they are down. The real sleight of hand however is Burton making an argument the wisdom of avoiding the virus is akin to a lack of faith for what God can do IF you contract the virus. Unless he is arguing that Christians should simply not care if they contract COVID because they know they have God in their back pocket to magically heal on demand. If that is the case, Burton needs to go back nine chapters in Matthew's Gospel, where he will find the key verses above. This is of course taken from the temptation of Christ where the devil suggests Jesus jump from the pinnacle of the temple because God had promised to bear Him up in Psalm 91. Jesus sharply rebukes by simply using the word - thou shall not put the Lord to the test. The same rebuke needs to be applied to the John Burton's of the world and this thinking that we do not have to be concerned about catching COVID because we have God in our back pocket. Not to mention this attitude shows callous indifference to who we might spread the virus to before we compel God to heal us.
'"Where then did this man get all these things?" And they took offense at him" (Matt. 13:56b-57a, MEV). A lack of faith most certainly results in a lack of mighty works. Matthew 13 makes that clear. The preceding verse reveals the root of their unbelief: offense. In our current crisis I'm stunned and saddened by the reaction of supposed Christians to the few who are rallying the troops to arise in faith and healing. These cries for the church to confidently confront the spirit of the age and to believe without wavering in the healing power of Jesus are being met with resistance. How can that be? Where did this man get all these things? That's the question being asked by doubters when people of great faith proclaim the Word of God. Just who do you think you are? What type of hocus-pocus are you communicating? Don't you realize how scary this virus is? Your lack of concern is foolish. Your so-called faith is dangerous to our nation's health.
It's true; we are living in a day when many in the church are quicker to trust in science and medicine than in the Word of God. Facts trump faith in today's secularized society.' - John Burton
Let's separate correct biblical interpretation from leveraging the bible to support your dominionism. It is certainly true that faith is central to healing. No question. Every time Jesus healed He said it was because of their faith. What would be the point to praying for God to heal you if you do not believe He can? The difference is John Burton is selling that God MUST heal you and that remains rank heresy. In John Burton's world there is no room for wisdom with faith. The problem is that he is placing faith in a different Jesus. His Jesus serves him. His Jesus must do what he commands. Who is God in that scenario? Burton is. Is there room for belief in God and belief that this virus is scary because it has killed over 160,000 Americans? Can't we be wise and have faith? The bible certainly says so. Burton's rhetoric is dangerous. It convinces people that they are impervious where they are not. It is the kind of nonsense that leads a man to go to church with the virus and infect 91 people in one service, as was reported in Ohio last week. It is the kind of unbiblical bravado that leads a Virginia pastor to hold service when authority told him not to and he then catches the virus and dies. If your faith is in something you created then it is a danger to the national health. Facts are being portrayed negatively? Since when is faith the abandonment of truth?