Met with a man this week about a real estate matter. We hadn’t really talked since he used to write speeding tickets for a town we both worked for.  Then we got sick. 

He’s into business now and also pastors an independent church with Assembly of God roots. 

We took care of business, then talked for awhile.  He gave me permission to excerpt our conversation. 

We covered a lot of ground and ended up swapping medical stories.  Will write more another day, but we first talked virus. His church is still meeting.  Mine isn’t.  We explained to each other why. 

He stressed our right, duty, and privilege to meet. Put a lot of weight on each person deciding for himself or herself. If someone gets sick and dies, he/she gets sick and dies by faith.  We account to God, not the government. 

Without telling him he was wrong and gonna burn in hell, I told him that my church’s leaders see it as loving our neighbor. With so much still unknown about the virus, we don’t want to cause anyone harm. And we form that regard for others by faith.  The government has plausibly asked us to cooperate for inoffensive reasons.  We are choosing at this point to cooperate. 

It’s not irrelevant, but it’s also not dispositive that our decisions to meet, not meet were reached after different decision-making processes. In his church as Pastor, he alone made the call.  In my church, 6 Elders did. 

This disagreement is an example of how believers, presumably earnest and Spirit-led, can reach different conclusions about things that matter.  A truth borne out in our lives everyday, but too often not championed. 

I am so glad we serve a God whose grace is sufficient.  He extends it to us.  We extend it to each other.  In those times we make decisions by faith that could or could not be better, God’s grace is sufficient. 

D Jackson