Binding consciences by banning masks

Jesus warns in Matthew 23 that the Scribes and Pharisees do everything “to be seen of men.” The Pharisees would “make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments” to publicly proclaim their righteousness. For the Pharisees at Global Vision Bible Church, their broad phylacteries are their bare faces as they refuse to wear a mask – or allow anyone at their Sunday morning worship to wear a mask. As Jesus says in Matthew 6, they have their reward.

For the sake of argument, let’s accept the premise that masks do not help stop the spread of COVID-19. Even then, there is no harm in someone deciding of his own free will to wear a mask. A church should not be binding people’s consciences with an extra-Biblical command. There is no basis in Scripture to tell people they may not wear a mask in corporate worship. Instructing them to stay in their cars because the church believes in “faith over fear” is something a cult would do.

It is one thing to defy a mask mandate from the civil magistrate. There are churches who have refused to mandate that people wear masks, but would not prohibit someone from wearing a mask if he chooses to do so. It is another thing entirely to order people in your church not to wear them. By doing this, Global Vision is being just as oppressive and heavy-handed as the government officials they criticize.

Throughout this pandemic, many people have worn masks not out of fear for their own safety, but out of love for their neighbors and not wanting to spread a disease to a vulnerable person. A significant percentage of COVID-19 cases are either mild or asymptomatic – meaning someone could contract the virus without ever knowing it. That is one of the things that makes it so dangerous – that a healthy person who never develops symptoms could spread it to someone who is vulnerable to it.

It is none of the church’s business weather someone wears a mask or not. It is most certainly none of the church’s business if someone decides to be vaccinated. The pastor loudly demanded “do not get vaccinated” from the pulpit in a recent sermon. Again, this is not what a church committed to Biblical doctrine would do. This is what a cult looks like – binding the consciences of the church body with extra-Biblical commands to advance the pastor’s personal political agenda.