The year 2020 has been dysfunctional, as we all know, and it continues to get weirder and weirder.
Why? Why would I ask such a question?
I ask that question because I know God the Father is in control of all things, including allowing bad things to happen.
God is just in doing so since we are all under the sentence of death. The Human Race is headed for God's garbage dump. His grace and love have delayed judgment so that we have a chance to be saved. He allows this light tribulation to wake us up to our mortality, helplessness, and the things that are displeasing Him.
God is merciful in giving us a second chance, yet we need a push. His governing of the world is geared to wakeup as many people as possible to their plight so that they will accept His salvation in Jesus Christ. And He especially is endeavoring to get the attention of His churches as well as to refine us.
Therefore, I have been asking myself this: Why would God allow the government to close churches?
Here is an answer that I have decided is the correct one: It is to purge the church.
Definition of a purge by Merriam-Webster Dictionary
1a: to clear of guilt
b: to free from moral or ceremonial defilement
2a: to cause evacuation from purge the bowels
b (1): to make free of something unwanted
It goes on but I think the definitions above cover the subject.
Most American Churches are far from the biblical model. Have you noticed how difficult it is to find anything in the New Testament that even remotely resembles what we call the “church?” The only reason we call it “church” is because of a bad translation in the King James Version of the Bible. The more accurate translation would be the “fellowship” or the “assembly of believers” or even "the get-together." They met outside, in rented halls, but mostly in homes, under trees, and down by the riverside for three hundred years before the Roman Empire high-jacked the church and built buildings and pulpits. The Reformation reformed theology but not the form of the church.
The Bible gave us this model of the church (read assembly) for a reason. Although I do not interpret this as a mandate to meet outside or in rented halls, I do see it as a message that the "church" is not where we meet but the fact that we do meet. Just as God is a Trinity, so the church is many who are one.
A "local" church is the people of God coming together regularly--weekly seems to be optimal--for fellowship, encouragement, prayer, Bible study, and exhortation.
The Biblical church was lean and mean. It had minimal organization because the real work happened in the workplace and in the community. The fellowship meeting was the pep rally, the prayer meeting, and the learning and encouraging time.
Here is my point, and my hope, in all this: The true believers will grow during this light tribulation we call COVAD. Many false believers will fall away. Churches, as we call them, will turn more and more to prayer and fellowship. The “reefs in our love feast” (Jude 12) will leave. Please God, let it be.