The Ominous Feel at End of Week Five:
Twenty Random Thoughts Regarding the Present Crisis
By Dr. Jim Garlow
April 16, 2020
Five weeks of “shelter in place” are ending. The sixth is now beginning. There is something going on, and it is not all good.
- THE ADMINISTRATION: Contrary to his never-ending critics, the President has done a remarkable job.
- GOVERNORS AND MAYORS: As one follows the stories nationally, it appears that government leaders have overwhelmingly provided great leadership.
- EXCEPTIONS: Some, however, have become tyrants. One News Now headlined one article with the ominous words, “Despotic Tendencies Surfacing During Pandemic…” Sobering at best. Terrifying at worst. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) along with Mayor Errick Simmons of Greenville, Mississippi have become the poster children for horrific abuse of power. The video recorded by Pastor Charleston Hamilton, Jr. of the King James Bible Baptist Church in Greenville, with his church surrounded by numerous police cars and officers, is one of the most chilling videos recorded demonstrating blatant abuse of the First Amendment.
- KEY ISSUES: During this unprecedented time, we have to think clearly. There are certain questions to ask: (a) Are the government leaders shutting down churches due to their message, their presentation of the Gospel, and biblical truth? No. Generally, not. It is to prevent disease. (b) Is the government singling out churches? Generally, not. Almost all businesses are being shut down. However, there are exceptions where government leaders have targeted churches, and their innate bias and disdain has shown. One drive-in theatre was allowed to remain open, but when a church tried to have a drive-in service they were wrongfully refused. In those cases, lawsuits should and are being filed.
- BOILING UNDER THE SURFACE: These kinds of abusive actions by the Governor and the Mayor mentioned above, along with others in other states, have resulted in open protests and lawsuits. The sensing is that Americans are not going to be confined to their homes much longer. At the end of week two, I spoke openly about the fact that people had adjusted well, making it feel like a type of vacation, or “stay-vacation.” I stated that week three is going to feel differently. And once we go past one month, citizens are going to find more forceful ways to express their displeasure. That is happening. This is going to boil over. Soon. If leaders do not adjust.
- MAINTAINING A BALANCE: There is another side, however. One pastor openly defied the government. He boasted about doing so. Subsequently, he contracted Covid-19 and died. We have to walk carefully. There is a fine line between faith and presumption. Another pastor defied the government with a sense of bravado. There is a vast difference between faith and arrogance.
- THE THREE FREEDOMS: There are three freedoms that run together, in a type of triad or triumvirate: Political freedom, economic opportunity, and religious liberty. When one of these rises in a nation, the other two tend to follow. (Exhibit A: All the nations which escaped the tyranny of Communism in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s.) The “shelter in place” rule has canceled entire elections, thus the political. Not good. Economics and commerce has ground to a halt. Not good. The ability to assemble for religious worship is not permitted. Not good. Although one can make the case that the “shutdown” was needed for a time, Americans in general and Christians specifically will need to rise up and pushback for both Constitutional rights and the biblical expression (limitations) of government. These are extremely serious times. Once government seizes power, it rarely gives it back. I thank God we have our current president who understands the value of economic principles and has been a most outspoken advocate of religious liberty. Future leaders are going to use this moment to exercise abusive power. Be prepared to resist it.
- GOVERNMENT FUNDS: Can churches receive government funds? (I wrote an entire article on this, posted at www.WellVersedWorld.org.) The answer is that they are not biblically prohibited from doing so. (See the article for other “landmines.”) However, expect the radical secularists to use this moment to viscously push for churches to lose their tax exemption because (they will say) “you churches received tax dollars during the Coronavirus crisis.”
- BLASPHEMOUS DEFIANCE: The most revealing moments in this entire five-week period was Governor Andrew Cuomo’s arrogant claims, “God didn’t do it. Faith didn’t do it… We did it.” What an absurd moment. What an ignorant statement! Question: “Who gave you the breath to function this very day, Governor?” Answer: God.
- CONNECTING OF DOTS: The above was said by the same Governor who – on the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, of all days – signed into law that a baby can be killed up to the very moment of birth. Horrific. To add to the offense, the New York anti-human life Legislators cheered – yes, openly cheered – at the thought of their new murderous legislation. The One World Trade Center in New York City lit up in the color pink that night to honor the legalized killing. Think of it! The building should have been lit in red, mourning the blood of innocent babies that was flowing under the streets of the city! The building that was rebuilt over the “9-11” ruins of the World Trade Towers, taken out by Islamists resulting in thousands of deaths of innocent adults in the past, was lit up celebrating the deaths of thousands of innocent babies in the future! For one month, I have been careful not to speak this next thought, the proverbial “connecting of the dots.” But with Governor Cuomo’s stunning, self-adulating and idolatrous “God-didn’t-do-it” declaration, I will now break my self-imposed silence. I will state it as a question: Is there, by chance, a spiritual “connection of dots” that needs to be made between the “spirit of death” released on New York State by the much celebrated “murder-of-babies bill,” and the horrific outbreak that has happened in that one state? How does one explain that one single state out of 50 has more cases and deaths than any of the other 49 states or any of the 193 countries of the world? How is that possible? Is it their high population? Hardly. There are plenty of countries and states that have higher populations. There are four states that have a higher population than New York State. There are 58 countries that have a higher population than New York State. Could it be because New York City is so populated? No. There are seven cities that have higher populations than New York City. Could it be because New York City has so many international travelers (thus bringing disease)? No, there are six global cities that have more international travelers. Why New York State, and specifically New York City? I don’t know. But I do know that the Governor and Legislators of the state shouted for joy when they passed a bill to murder babies, even the second before birth. And this same careless Governor announced that pro-lifers were not welcome in his state. If pro-lifers are not welcome, who is welcome? Pro-death-ers? Apparently. Has the Governor – a man who is trying to save the lives of Coronavirus patients, but who legislates to kill babies – invited the “spirit of death” into his state and his city? I have one word for Governor Cuomo: “Repent!” We should pray for this man.
- ISRAEL: This is going to look like an outlier. Some will say, “Why did Jim insert ‘Israel’ into this list?” The discerning will know. The Holy Spirit can show the others. Allow the Bible to speak for itself: “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land…” Joel 3:1-2. Let me repeat this: Let no nation divide the land. April 25, 2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of the San Remo (Italy) Declaration regarding Israel. Read it. I used to live in Texas where the highways were dotted with signs that read: “Don’t mess with Texas.” Well, “don’t mess with Israel.” Don’t divide it’s land. Ever!
- THE CHURCH – EVANGELISM: One of the encouraging things during this season is that the church – via technology – is presenting the Gospel to so many more than it could have reached pre-Coronavirus. Pastors who have previously preached to 500, for example, are now reaching 1,000s. That is good. But beware, there is a “landmine.” Keep reading.
- CAUTION: Pastors struggle with attaching their self-worth to how many attended their weekend services. That is not good. The self-worth of a pastor should be attached to the cross of Christ Jesus, not to how many came or did not come to weekend services. It is said that more pastoral resignations occur on a Monday than any other day of the week. Why? Feeling defeated over the attendance. The problem of measuring the value of a local church or the anointing of a pastor by the attendance is a travesty. It is a trick of the evil one to get pastors to bow at the altar of “nickels, noses and numbers.” However, during the Coronavirus crisis, pastors have had much greater audiences. That is, on its face, good. However, look deeper. (a) The virus will someday end, and “views” will drop. (b) Substituting number of “views” for attendance is addicting and puts pastor in a spiritual cul-de-sac. Beware.
- THE CHURCH – HEALING: While the evangelism of the church has been encouraging, I am quite surprised that – with hundreds of thousands of people sick – there has been no observable, church-wide emphasis on teaching people to pray for the sick. Considering that Jesus spent his time in evangelism, healing and deliverance, this boggles my mind. Perhaps it is happening and I am just not hearing of it.
- THE CHURCH – DELIVERANCE: Considering the increased reports of domestic violence, child abuse, depression and suicide, it concerns me greatly that there has not been an increased church emphasis on deliverance. I recognize that mainline evangelicals tend to have little emphasis on “casting out demons” as that is not considered of great significance. However, given the pain of our communities, I am surprised that I have not heard of local congregations being equipped to do what Jesus did. Perhaps it is happening and I am just not hearing of it.
- HEAVEN: Given the fact that thousands are dying, and the nation is given daily “death reports,” I am perplexed that there is not more teaching on heaven. Perhaps it is happening and I am just not hearing of it.
- REPENTANCE: For the first month, I was concerned that the only strong cries for repentance were coming only from intense intercessors. Positively, there does seem to be a broadening of this call. For the record, this is the cry God is waiting for.
- LEVEL OF CONCERN: I sense that people are really concerned economically, that they could run out of money. I sense that people are really concerned health-wise, that they could actually contract the virus. However – and I say this cautiously, hoping I am wrong – I do not sense, yet, a “holy desperation” for God. Perhaps it is happening and I am just not hearing of it.
- CRESCENDO: Will food shortages come? I do not know. Will civil unrest come? I do not know. But if – or when – food shortages come, and if – or when – civil unrest comes, people will, at that time, have a “holy desperation.”
- GOD: Last September, Regnery Publishers released my newest book, God Will See You Through This. My reason for mentioning this is not to make a book commercial. My reason for stating this is – after spending months writing the book, and months doing interviews on the book – I am thoroughly convinced that God will truly see us through this.