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September 3, 2020

Maine NAR Pastor Marches His Sheep Right Into the COVID Woodchipper

By Anthony Wade

Christian hirelings making Christianity stupid again...


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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep - John 10:10-15 (ESV)

In the tranquil shadow of Mount Katahdin sits a quiet little town that could just be Anywhere USA. Millinocket Maine is the definition of a small rural town where folks all know each other and embody community. Another astonishing fact until recently was they had zero COVID cases. While they saw big cities like New York struggling they prayed and felt somewhat insulated from the problems that dense populations have experienced with this killer virus. Perhaps that made the threat seem less real to the residents of Millinocket. Who could blame them really? It probably made them perfect victims for the rampant disinformation campaign waged daily on social media. Most do not realize there are political forces at work that believe downplaying the virus gives the president his best chance for reelection. These forces spread false information and wild conspiracy theories throughout Facebook and the Internet. These falsehoods have found a home and willing partners in the apostate church system. The purpose driven church has developed a system of cult of personality pastors who are essentially hirelings, as described by our key verses for today. These men are not shepherds but rather hired hands. Not only would they never lay down their life for their sheep but they ultimately do not even care about the lives of their sheep. As the bible says they are hucksters peddling God's word for profit. Mega-church heretic Andy Stanley once demanded that the church stop using the word shepherd because it has no cultural significance. A true hireling if there ever was one.

So Millinocket was the scene for a wedding on August 7th. There were 65 family and friends who gathered to celebrate the nuptials. Reports are that there was clearly no social distancing nor mask wearing. The next day it is reported that one person reported symptoms. They turned out to be highly infectious and asymptomatic. So they thought nothing was wrong and they now have started a super-spreader event that has infected at least 123 people and caused outbreaks at a local jail and a nursing home 200 miles away. That is how this virus works. One woman has already died and she did not even attend the wedding. Up until this point this is just one of thousands of sad COVID stories. Of good people who simply did not take great enough care and are now paying the price. It is at this point however that the story takes a turn for the worse. The officiant of the wedding was a pastor from a Baptist church in neighboring Sanford, Maine. In the face of these facts, Pastor Todd Bell went ahead with indoor church services anyway. The above link is to an article about this sad tale and the absurdities coming from the mouth of a man who instead of shepherding his flock may have led them to slaughter. So, let us reason once more together through the insanity gripping the church today:

'The officiant of a now-infamous wedding in Millinocket gave a defiant sermon during an indoor church service on Sunday, just a day after Maine's CDC announced it was investigating a coronavirus outbreak among those affiliated with the Sanford church. Todd Bell, the pastor, portrayed Calvary Baptist Church, which he leads, as being on the front lines of a culture war, battling against a "socialistic platform" that mandates mask-wearing and distance learning in schools. "I'll tell you what the world wants all the churches to do," Bell said during one of two Sunday services, which the church posted on YouTube. "They want us to shut down, go home, and let people get used to that just long enough until we can finally stop the advancing of the Gospel." Bell's comments echoed some of the political talking points that President Trump and others on the right have used to decry coronavirus restrictions. At a rally in New Hampshire on Friday night, for example, Trump lamented that Democrats "don't believe law-abiding citizens can go to a church together. You can't go to church anymore."' - Boston Globe

This is so sad. This is the real damage the NAR dominionist teachings can do to local churches. This man is told on Saturday that the Center for Disease Control is investigating a COVID outbreak among those that attend his church and he decides the Christian course of action is to expose his entire congregation to the virus. Why? Because he wrongly believes he is a warrior in an imaginary culture war. That is NAR dominionist speak. They teach that they have to conquer seven cultural mountains as opposed to focusing on the Gospel. His mind is so far gone he actually believes that people who think you should wear a mask and kids should be protected by using distance learning are secret socialists. Apparently, this cabal of secret socialists want the church to go home and stay home so the Gospel will not be advanced. As the Globe correctly points out, Bell's source just may have been this president who often stirs his base up by making such absurd claims. When will Christians stop being the stupid people? This is a secular newspaper that is simply quoting the rantings of a deranged pastor. They do not even need spin or add opinion. Bell's own words make him sound like a raving lunatic not tethered to reality.

"The Aug. 7 wedding at which Bell officiated in East Millinocket has been linked to 123 coronavirus cases in Maine, the largest outbreak in the state, as well as to the death of Theresa Dentremont, an 83-year-old woman who did not attend the event. Many of the participants in the wedding, including the bride and groom, went silent as the fallout grew, switching their social media accounts to private. But Bell's sermon on Sunday, at his church 225 miles south of the scene of the wedding, was fiery and unrepentant, indicating just how politicized the coronavirus has become, even in communities that have been affected by it. At times, he seemed to delight in provocation, saying that he hoped media outlets would watch the service. He did not respond to a request from the Globe for comment. Churches have been political battlegrounds during the coronavirus, as well as occasional hot spots, with more than 650 cases linked to houses of worship and religious events since the pandemic began, according to a New York Times database in early July. On Sunday morning, a 15-person choir assembled onstage at Calvary Baptist, maskless, and sang hymns. The state of Maine says "cloth face coverings must be worn by all attendees when physical distancing is difficult to maintain" at worship services and also that "choirs are strongly discouraged." When asked by the Globe whether the Sanford church was violating state rules, the Maine CDC said only that there was an ongoing investigation into the outbreak." - Boston Globe

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."'

Yes, men have reviled you pastor because you deserve to be reviled. What you are of course omitting from those verses is blessed are those who are reviled on my account. This is Jesus speaking of course. You are not being reviled because of anything Jesus has said. You are reviled for things you have said. You are reviled because you knew that you and six other families attended a wedding which became the largest super-spreader event in your state and you still held church anyway. You are reviled because you have proven yourself to be nothing more than a hireling, hiding behind verses you do not understand to achieve political and carnal goals.

You are reviled because of this horrible statement you make in closing. That you think it would be good to spread this virus amongst people trapped in gambling addictions. Yes, sin is wicked but so is being heartless and cruel when you are supposed to tend to the sheep of the Lord. When you consign them to misery, suffering and even death to make an uneducated, moronic political statement, you should be reviled. Your arrogance and indifference are not faith. They are malice wrapped up in the flag with a bow of piety. I take comfort in the fact that you will answer one day for every sheep that was entrusted to you and your canned political talking points will ring hollow and fall to the ground before you. I leave you with the words of Job:

Will you speak falsely for God and speak deceitfully for him? Will you show partiality toward him? Will you plead the case for God? Will it be well with you when he searches you out? Or can you deceive him, as one deceives a man? He will surely rebuke you if in secret you show partiality. Will not his majesty terrify you, and the dread of him fall upon you? Your maxims are proverbs of ashes; your defenses are defenses of clay. - Job 13:7-12 (ESV)

Reverend Anthony Wade - September 3, 2020

Authors Bio:
Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.