What the Church Needs to Know About Covid-19 {Part II}

Covid and the Spirit of Fear

There is a demonic spirit of fear suffocating the Earth. You know I’m right.

The Spirit of Fear is destroying relationships and tearing the Church apart. Unvaccinated grandparents are being told by their children that they can’t see their grandkids and not to come around. Bizarrely, vaccinated members of your church are fearful and distrusting of their unvaccinated brothers and sisters.

But Christians, in particular, are not supposed to fear. We’ll get to that in a minute.

Where is all this fear coming from? Here’s a recent cover from Newsweek:

The “Doomsday Variant.” Doomsday! It asks, “How worried should we be?” How worried. Not “Should we be worried?” Worry is presumed. But when you read the article, it admits there is no doomsday variant. It just says that experts “can’t rule it out.” It’s mere speculation. It might have been helpful to mention that on the cover, don’t you think?

Anyway, I disagree. There IS a doomsday variant. The doomsday variant is fear.

This Spirit of Fear has caused a tsunami of worldwide terror and destruction:

In a huge new study, just published, of FIVE MILLION Covid-19 patients, guess what is now tied for first place as the most likely predictor of mortality once someone goes in the hospital? Fear.

Number one used to be obesity. No surprise there. But fear has crept up the charts, and is now tied for number one, with obesity. Fear and anxiety-related disorders:

So, your risk of dying if you are hospitalized with Covid is +30% if you’re obese and +28% if you have any “anxiety and fear-related disorders.” Those disorders weren’t even on the list a year ago. I predict they will take first place soon, if they haven’t already. In other words, I expect fear and anxiety disorders will soon be the NUMBER ONE predictor of mortality if a person is hospitalized with Covid-19, if not already.

The Spirit of Fear is literally killing people.

The scientific literature is BLOWING UP with fear and anxiety-related issues.

Worst of all? The children may be the largest single group of victims of the Spirit of Fear:

Clinically-elevated symptoms of pediatric depression. Clinical levels. In 25% of kids. Think about that for a minute. Kids are wondering what they have to live for. And nobody’s giving them spiritual counseling or — most importantly—hope. What proportion does that have to reach before we start paying attention to that problem? 50%? 75%?

Only fifteen children have died from Covid in Florida in a year and a half. But a quarter of all of them are suffering from clinical levels of fear and depression. Think about that. That is a spiritual problem.

The hospitals are filling up with people who are experiencing life-threatening levels of anxiety. Here’s one example I received recently from a doctor in the largest hospital chain in Massachusetts:

Unprecedented demand for procedural and acute mental and behavioral health servicesUnprecedented. In other words, it’s never happened before.

Here’s the thing. A Spirit of Fear is a SPIRITUAL PROBLEM. It’s not a medical problem. It’s not a biological problem. It’s not a political problem. And it’s not a scientific problem. It’s a spiritual problem.

If only we had some kind of worldwide organization that was devoted to addressing spiritual problems. We sure could use something like that, for a time like this. Let me know if you think of one.

Christian Theology Teaches That Fear Is a Sin

Jesus told us not to fear anything. Ever.

Phillippians 4:16

So park that idea for a moment. The Spirit of Fear isn’t just tearing families and congregations apart. There is a major disconnect between the pulpit and the pew:

I’ve already shown you that the vaccines are becoming more questionable by the minute. But a lot of pastors and priests are still pushing the shots from the pulpit. This is increasing fear, not addressing it. A lot of your members don’t want the shot, don’t trust the ungodly people pushing it, and can’t get even their most basic questions answered by anyone in authority. They are coming to the Church for spiritual comfort and leadership — and they aren’t getting it.

You want a recipe for making the Church irrelevant? This is it, on steroids. Pastors, I love you, you are my brothers, but if I hear one more sermon about five takeaways from the Book of Joshua while a Spirit of Fear is crushing the Church, I think I might lose my mind.

The pastor is talking about how wandering in the desert compares to my marriage relationship, and I’m looking around the church and seeing people who are terrified they are going to lose their jobs because they won’t take the vaccine. Parents who are frantic because they promised their kids there would be no more masks this year and now must break those solemn promises. People with chronic health problems who are terrified the hospitals will stop treating them just because they won’t get the jab. Others who are scared because they did get the jab but are now hearing they have to take boosters all the time or they can still catch Covid and die. Which they were promised would not happen.

And, meanwhile, just what are pastors telling all those people seeking spiritual counseling and comfort in your church about all those spiritual and practical fears? Nothing, that’s what. Why not? I’m not sure, but I think it’s because they’re scared too. Scared to take a position. Scared to speak out. The Spirit of Fear is crushing them.

The Church is ASLEEP! WAKE UP!!

Last summer I widely offered to represent any church in my county, for free, to get the churches reopened. Nobody called.

Take a look at the web pages of mainstream Christian magazines. There’s nothing helpful about dealing with Covid-19 and the Spirit of Fear. Not one thing.

Wow. The top article is about medical marijuana. During a pandemic of fear that is literally killing us and tearing the Church apart. And that one article about Covid saying churches shouldn’t write exemption notes isn’t too helpful to alleviate terrified members’ worries about losing their jobs, is it? I’m guessing reading something like that makes folks more terrified.

Great job, Christianity Today.

Here’s the one article in the front page of the Christian Post.

There’s not even anything about Covid close to the top. You have to scroll down the screen to find it:

The “Post-Covid-19 Workplace?” Post-covid? Really? Is the Christian Post in a different dimension in the multi-verse? Could they possibly get any more disconnected and irrelevant? That’s an honest question. We’re not post-anything. Not even close. We’re just getting started.

The world is on fire! Wake up, Christian Post! Vaccine mandates are erupting worldwide and people don’t like it. They are terrified:

Meanwhile, WHERE IS THE CHURCH?? Oh, churches are being so, so careful to toe the government’s line, so they don’t get shut down:

What’s the government’s advice to the Church?

Why is the Church scared of these ungodly men?

Why? That’s not what our Savior said we should be:

DO NOT FEAR THOSE WHO CAN KILL THE BODY. FEAR HIM WHO CAN DESTROY BOTH SOUL AND BODY IN HELL. Come on, Pastors! Wake up! Stop fearing and cow-towing to these petty dictators!

You might be thinking, but what SHOULD I be doing? I’m glad you asked.

What Should Pastors With Guts Be Doing?

We need our pastors and priests to get some guts. There might not be a lot of time left. It feels like we’re in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter, and we just realized that we were playing football.

Have you seen all these great Youtube videos of moms, down at the school board, tearing those officials a new one?

Now, that is some entertaining YouTube right there, am I right? Good stuff.

But here’s my first question: Where are the MEN?

Yeah. They’re nowhere to be seen. Why? Because they’re afraid. If they stand up and stand out, they’ll get canceled, fired, shamed.

Okay. Here’s my next question: Where are these moms’ brothers and sisters from the church? Why aren’t their brothers and sisters down there at the School Board supporting these moms? Huh. I guess we don’t support each other anymore. My bad.

My last, and most important, question: WHERE ARE THE PASTORS??

Pastors, why aren’t YOU down there at the school board supporting your moms? I thought the kids were the future of the Church and all that? Or is that just a marketing slogan? You want the kids to come to the Church, but you won’t go down to the school board and fight for them. Does that seem fair to you?

How about Critical Race Theory, pastor? They are teaching kids that the Church is racist. Do you have any problem with that? Do you think it is good? Just? Virtuous? Do you think things are going to work out well for the Church if that goes on for very long? Are you waiting for the women to fix it for you?

Pastor, I love you, but you have lost your way. Your flock is wandering in the forest.

Okay. That was some tough love. What does finding your way look like?

First, Churches MUST Start Dealing with Covid

We have to start fighting the Spirit of Fear. The Spirit of Fear has to be vanquished from the Church before it can be defeated in the World. You must start at home. You have to immediately start talking about these issues and pointing out the ungodliness and the fearful spirits and encouraging people and bringing your people together.

You have to start leading.

I know, I know. But Jeff, you ask, how do I know what to say? There’s so much misinformation out there. How do I know what is right and what is wrong?

Pastor, I don’t know what to tell you. If only there were some kind of omniscient source of wisdom somewhere that we could tap into. That would be helpful, right? Let’s look around, and see if we can come up with something.

The Church must immediately become relevant.

The only thing people are thinking about right now is Covid. All the problems I’ve already named plus unimaginable fears about what’s coming next. And that’s all you should be talking about, too. All the time. Every day. Until this thing is over. They need to be told not to fear. And they need to be told how not to fear.

But Jeff, you say, I only have them for a few hours on Sunday. Then the world gets them the rest of the time. So I feel like it’s hopeless, there’s nothing I can do.

Pastor, PLEASE. That’s the Spirit of Fear talking. You still aren’t getting the idea, are you? If you’ll go down to the School Board and deliver a fiery sermon, someone will record it, and you’ll be on YouTube and get a MILLION VIEWS. You have to get out of the Church. Go to where the people are. You’ve never had a better opportunity, not ever.

GET OUT OF THE SAFE COMFY CHURCH! GET INTO THE WORLD! DO IT NOW! You have to start publicly pushing back against government overreach, ungodly men, evil, and attacks on people’s freedoms. Why? If you can’t think of a godly reason, how about self-preservation? Once the other freedoms are lost, what do you think will happen to religious freedom? They’ve already shown they are willing to shut your Church and leave the bars, marijuana dispensaries, and strip clubs open. Fight it now before it gets any stronger.

Pastor, what exactly are you waiting for? An invitation? A sign? THIS is your sign. THIS is the message you’ve been waiting for. Now stop waiting, and start acting. God has given you pastors the greatest shield and talent that he’s ever given any ordinary class of human beings.

People — critics— say about me, all the time, “don’t listen to that guy. He’s just a lawyer.” So let me talk to you as a lawyer.

You are protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution better than any other citizen. There are more 9–0 Supreme Court decisions in favor of religious liberty than any other issue. They will come for you last. You can say just about anything with impunity. They can’t officially touch you. They might send thugs to threaten and intimidate you, but if many of you are activated, they won’t bother. And if you organize your church, you can resist the thugs anyway. That strategy only works to silence the one or two vocal pastors who pop up here and there. If there is a large group, there’s no point to it.

So, pastor, what are you doing with this awesome First Amendment talent that God has bestowed on you for a time such as this? I’ll tell you what you’ve done with it. You’ve sealed it in a mason jar, hidden the mason jar in a bushel basket, and buried the bushel basket under the olive groves.

Now, good and faithful servant, what will you tell your Creator on that glorious day when He asks for an accounting of how you used the talents that He gave you? I sure hope you’ll have dug them up and put them to work by then.

Pastor, we are in a war. It’s here. It’s in our cities, our neighborhoods, and our churches. You are a wartime pastor. Start acting like one. What were good and faithful pastors doing in World War I? In World War II? There were lots of people dying during those wars. Did we give up? Hunker down. No. We attacked the enemy head-on, no matter the cost.

The enemy is the Spirit of Fear.

You should be organizing your churches. Get EVERYONE down to the school board meeting, the county commission meeting, the city council meeting. Get your folks to start working together! Lead them!

Start getting ready for what everyone can see is coming. The time for churches to provide widespread medical care is nearly here. Unvaccinated people won’t be able to be treated at the hospitals. They won’t even be let in the front door. It is already happening. The Church will have to take care of them. Are you ready for that?

Your members are going to be fired from their jobs. They may have trouble finding any gainful employment. They’ll need help. A kind of help you haven’t ever dealt with before. And there will be a lot of them.

You are going to be feeding people who will be cut off from food, for one reason or another. Community is going to become a life-and-death issue. Don’t wait for it to get here. Start getting ready now.

You must start calling out evil and ungodliness wherever it appears. And it’s all over the place. It’s a target-rich environment. You saw what happened in Afghanistan. What’s happening over here is Afghanistan on steriods. The same ungodly people who orchestrated the Afghanistan debacle are in charge of the pandemic.

And please stop calling deaths from Covid in your Church a “tragedy.” That is heretical. Christians don’t believe death is a tragedy. Death has been defeated. We celebrate when our brothers and sisters go to their reward, when their time of suffering in this vale of tears is over. It is NOT a tragedy. That is the Spirit of Fear talking.

I leave you with this, two scriptures from the Book of Revelation.

The cowardly are first in the list to be thrown in the the lake of fire. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not calling you a coward. I’m showing you that even in the end times He wants us to fight, to be our best and bravest selves. Better to die in this world than experience the fate reserved for cowards. God doesn’t want us to be cowardly, even if these are the end times.

And, speaking of the end times, there is another heresy to address. Some Christians think that the World is coming to an end, so we can just sit back and wait to be delivered from it, and watch the show. But not so fast:

WAKE UP!!! Strengthen what remains! Some will fall away, but some, a few, have not soiled their garments! God’s not finished with the Church yet! Wake up, as you have been commanded! Do it RIGHT NOW.

I have a live version of this presentation that I give to groups of pastors. If you’ve read down this far, then you know that this is a critical message. Get me a group of pastors of any size and I will present the message to them on Zoom. For a big group I will do it live. I’ll move whatever I have to move in my schedule to do it.

Epilogue

For my whole life, I’ve been troubled by the image of the Lord spitting out the lukewarm church. How could I be not lukewarm? What does that even mean? What do I have to do? Do I have to go become a missionary in Africa? Do I have to hold a sign on the street in New Orleans?

I don’t worry about being lukewarm anymore. I am ready to talk to Him now, about all my adventures on His mission. It’s done. I have a feeling of peace and comfort that surpasses all understanding.

And it’s because last year I got into the crosshairs, just as He was directing me, in spite of all my fears and anxieties. I’ve never been a public figure, not ever. But I put it all on the altar. And He has blessed me beyond imagination and given me this platform.

Pastor, this is your time. This is your chance. It’s the best opportunity in our entire lives to be not lukewarm. You are a wartime pastor and I hope that you, like me, will rise and answer the call.