A Reformed Commentary on the Pandemic of 2020 – June “Standard Bearer”

sb-logo-rfpaThe June issue of the Standard Bearer (produced only once per month in June, July, and August) is now out (in print and digital forms) and the editorial by Prof. B. Gritters is a timely commentary on the pandemic that continues to sweep the world and affect our lives in every aspect. Not one of us has been exempt from the effects of COVID-19, and the consequences of the dreaded virus are vast, touching our lives in ways we never could have imagined.

As Christians we view all of life – our trials too – through the lens of God’s Word, and because the Reformed faith is the clearest expression of the truths of the Christian gospel revealed in the Word, it is Reformed theology that presents the best commentary on what we are seeing and experiencing. This Prof. Gritters demonstrates in his article titled “Reformed theology’s commentary on the pandemic of 2020.” He states this in his opening comments:

What is written about the pandemic in the secular press these days is a mix of helpful comment and some very noxious propaganda. What is written in the Christian press is sometimes more helpful and is what this editorial wishes to be. Here, I propose that Reformed believers can look at the present crisis in the light of Reformed theology and take lessons from all six ‘chapters’ of Reformed doctrine. Let the breadth of our Reformed faith form our thinking about, and govern our reaction to, the present distresses.

And so he looks at the “present distresses” caused by the coronavirus under the headings of Theology (the doctrine of God), Anthropology (the doctrine of man), Christology (the doctrine of Christ), Soteriology (the doctrine of salvation), Ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church), and Eschatology (the doctrine of the last things – saved for the next editorial).

In this post, let’s take excerpts from two section – theology and soteriology – and listen and learn from the glorious truths of our Reformed faith as they shed light on the pandemic.

It is grievous to hear Christians deny the sovereign control of God over the pandemic. As one young writer recently pointed out on our Young Calvinists blog (https://youngcalvinists.org), world-renown theologian, N.T. Wright, mocks the confession that Reformed believers make of the sovereign God who does His pleasure (Isa. 46:10) in the pandemic. Wright belittles “some Christians” who “like to think of God as above all that… in charge of everything…. That’s not the picture we get in the Bible.” Rev. Wright does not believe the Scriptures, for “our God is in the heavens, he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” Wright cannot subscribe to our Belgic Confession that “nothing happens in this world without his [God’s] appointment” (Art. 12). Guilty as he is of the “damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God regards nothing, but leaves all things to chance,” Wright does not have the “unspeakable consolation” that we Reformed Christians have. We confess that this sovereign God watches over us “with a paternal care.” So are we patient in today’s adversity? If we, Reformed believers, confess that in adversity the doctrine of providence makes us patient (Lord’s Day 10), are we being patient these days? Are we praying for patience? Are we “letting patience having her perfect work” (James 1:4)?

………………………………..

So the Reformed faith confesses in Lord’s Day 9, that God “will make whatever evils he sends upon me, in this valley of tears turn out to my advantage; for he is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing, being a faithful Father.” At every baptism, Reformed believers confess in the Form for Baptism that our Father “averts all evil or turns it to our profit.”

One great profit is God’s sanctification of us. More and more we loosen our grip on earthly things and cling to God and heavenly things, think less of this life and more of the life to come, hate the sins that plague church and world and love truth and right. Less and less we have aspirations for this side of the grave; more and more we hope for heaven. In the body we groan, waiting for our final adoption, the redemption of our bodies. “We believe… the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting!”

Are you living in that hope? Have I expressed that hope to others, to help them?

Merciful God, quicken our Christian hope and purify through these troubles!”

If you want another peek inside this issue, visit this blog post of the RFPA.

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