By David Goodwin
The news erupted last week when Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins clarified a statement he made about COVID-19. On a podcast called “10 Questions with Kyle Brandt,” Cousins was accused of expressing a “cavalier attitude toward the coronavirus.” He advocated wearing mask to make other people comfortable and safe, but that, for himself, he would take his chances—that he wasn’t fearful about the virus. In his clarification, his Christian faith was evident: “I have peace. I don’t believe I control the outcome of my life.” There are many things out of my control, but obviously my faith is at the foundation of my life, and I trust the Lord to handle things.”
During a conversation I had with a Christian college professor a few weeks ago, he didn’t seem concerned about the virus. “If I get it from one of my students and die tomorrow, I will have died blessed to do what I love to do, what I’ve been called to do.”
These are not the stories we hear from many Christians in leadership. Most Christians are drafting behind the fear and concern that pervades America right now. Many advocate wearing masks and being careful out of love for our neighbors. These are good and true things. But these things should not define our response to COVID as Christians. We should act like we know who holds the keys to death and hell. Many churches are still not meeting in person. Some Christian parents are fearful to send their children back to school. And, the level of fearfulness sometimes seems to exceed that of unbelievers. When John MacArthur opened his church, some Christians chastened him for “endangering his flock.” What we really see is a pastor who models a gospel that is real — a Savior who holds the keys to death and hell.
As Paul says in Timothy, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control. He goes on to say “share in the suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Tim 8-11)
Wouldn’t it be a powerful witness if the world were amazed that the church of Christ wore masks and followed the rules, perhaps sometimes even to a greater degree than expected, insofar as those did not prevent our worship? But they also saw a church that would not fear? A church that carried on with worship and school and family life in a way that said “we are not afraid. There are no risks. There is only God’s sovereignty.”
God does not call us to be foolish. I don’t plan to get on an elevator in the COVID ward of my local hospital without a mask. But what an opportunity we have! What an opportunity to show that we believe the promise of the Gospel—a life free from fear. ACCS schools are, for the most part, open. As we program our fall, we should be modeling how our Christian communities live consistently with the Gospel. Let us be lights for our true home, and not compromise our missions out of fear.