Drive through Communion and Contribution drop off hours—and/or Contribution Pick Up Services…

No Joke. One congregation with whom we have worked for some time had members asking is they could have a drive through communion. Of course the elders denied the request.

Another congregation in our general area cancelled all services (several have done this) but wrote a tear-jerking letter to the members imploring them to drive by the building Monday—Thursday 9:00-4:00 to make their contributions. They also offered to arrange pick up of the contribution (and delivery of the Lord’s Supper) if needed.

Now Brethren—there seems to be a lot of action being taking in stark disobedience and disregard for the Bible (Col. 3:17; Lk 6:46).

Yes, “expedient” gatherings (bible classes, Sunday PM and Wednesday evening classes; gospel meetings etc.), are discretionary. The elders acting in the area of expediency can choose to have or not have the above events (and others like them). But no one among us is authorized to set aside scripture and the powerful truths taught therein (Gal. 1:6-9).

The first day of the week worship service is not a matter of expediency. It is a Bible truth that is to be believed and practiced just as consistently as the Bible doctrines of baptism for the remission of sin and the one church (Eph. 4:4f). A good reading of 1 Corinthians (especially 11:18, 20; 14:17, 7:17) along with Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:26 and Hebrews 10:24-26, make it very clear that at least once on the Lord’s Day the entire congregational assembly is required for of a local congregation (as overseen by her elders, 1 Pet. 5:2, Heb. 13:7,17).

God set forth this assembly as a requirement and in this assembly five acts of worship are defined and expected to be engaged. “When ye come together into one place.” In other words, this is the “assembling of ourselves together” and it involves partaking of the Lord’s supper (along with the other acts of worship), upon EVERY first day of the week.

Brethren, all of my life I have heard preachers and members ask the question “What are we going to do if the government ever outlaws our assemblies?” and the answer always given was “We will meet any way.” Well, well. It looks like many lied. Or to be a little more gentle I would say they have fallen victim to what the Holy Spirit styled, “From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling. Desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor whereof they affirm” (1 Tim. 1:6-7). 

My heart’s sincerest hope is that most of these brethren simply haven’t thought these things through properly. We preach all things work together for good for them that love the Lord (Rom. 8:28), Yet rub our palms in panic. We wear clothing with the affirmation that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13). Yet sit in the corner and fret. What are we doing?

Note some dangerous and damning implications in ignoring God (disobeying God) relative to assembling and worshipping…

(1) God can’t possibly expect us to put ourselves in danger to obey the truth. Our first century brethren (and many since them) died by the hundreds rather that give up the truth. When the governments of their day outlawed following God’s instructions and teaching God’s doctrines they did any way (Acts 5:29, “we ought to obey God rather than men.”)

(2) If the reasoning of shutting down worshipping God on the grounds that someone who attends might get sick is sound—then the church will never open again. There are 100’s of diseases that are spread by human contact. At the least we would have to disband in October and re-open in April—after flu season came and went. God knew/knows—about viruses, and bacteria, and disease and yet in His Omniscience—commanded that we gather and worship weekly (Heb. 10).  

(3) If a future administration decides that global warming is so dangerous that we need to disband all public worship assemblies to reduce our carbon foot print; Since the technology exists to stream preaching it will not hurt anyone; Are we going to comply? 

(4) Thursday Gov. Abbot issued an executive order about certain businesses shutting down. I have received over 100 phone calls and texts relative to this in the last couple days. One rumor was that churches were going to be fined if they met. I sent an email to the governor’s office on Thursday (apparently many others did too). He addressed the state Thursday night and specifically stated that churches were exempt from the order.

That means the highest ranking official in Texas– with all the current information about our state’s condition—specifically and by name exempted churches. Panic is not the peace that passeth understanding. He also alluded to the First Amendment affirming that it is unconstitutional (against the law) to make such a proclamation.

Amendment 1—Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances.”

But what I am primarily addressing is much bigger than a governmental emergency. It is the heart of Christianity. Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself (Dan. 1:8) the three Jewish slaves unapologetically told the king of Babylon that they would not bow … now matter what he threatened (Dan. 3:16). And in Daniel 6, after Daniel heard about the law forbiding worship of the true God, OPENED HIS WINDOWS AND PRAYED IN PUBLIC ANYWAY (Dan. 6:10).  

We do not ask the government’s permission for anything we teach. We do not ask the government’s approval for any scriptural practice in which we engage. We bow before God and there this list ends. Thankfully due to the common sense of our Governor we are not at odds with the State of Texas. But if that day ever comes some had better give some contemplation to Joshua 24:15 and Exodus 23:2 (“choose ye this day…” and “thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil”). As long as the New Testament teaches us that we are to worship God together on the first day of the week the faithful of God will do so.

May God deliver us from the spirit of compromise that has so willingly been adopted by so many who should know much better. There is no “honorable way” to disobey God.      

                                                                                                                                   Michael Light