When Jesus was sending out His disciples to preach the Gospel, the Lord gave them some very strange advice, He said:
16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16 ESV)
Many struggle to interpret what Jesus meant by this. Biblically, the serpent was portrayed as crafty and deceptive when it tempted Adam and Eve to fall into sin. Meanwhile, the dove was considered clean, a picture of innocence and the Holy Spirit.
So how do these two conflicting metaphors work together?
I think the glue that brings them together is that the disciples were being sent out as sheep among wolves. The church has enemies. We need to understand how this enemy works and be as crafty when it comes to dealing with them. But this craftiness needs to be balanced with the innocence of doves meaning we can’t use this craftiness to take personal advantage of others.
A couple recent stories may portray this balance at work.
As part of this sheep among wolves analogy, many are convinced some governments are using the COVID-1984 lockdowns to purposefully target churches while allowing other businesses, such as casinos, to function without similar restrictions. Yet from a COVID-1984 standpoint, there is little difference between how churches and casinos practically operate.
So how are believers to craftily play this game?
In Ventura County, California, Rob McCoy, the pastor of Godspeak Calvary Chapel decided to briefly turn his church into a strip club after a court ruling in mid November granted California strip clubs a temporary restraining order allowing them to reopen based on First Amendment rights.
Don’t churches have similar First Amendment rights?
Following the advice of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee who first suggested doing this, McCoy told his congregation he was turning last Sunday’s service into a strip club in order to make the service legal. With accompanying music, and a roar of laughter, McCoy removed his tie and tossed it into the congregation.
He then went on to preach a sermon about how governments are using COVID-1984 to increase their persecution of the church.
Now this will not necessarily stop governments from clamping down on churches, no. But what it does do is expose governments’ hypocritical treatment of churches.
It is a public relations battle. How can strip clubs be allowed to open on First Amendment grounds and not churches?
And a similar thing happened in Nevada over the summer when churches were only allowed to have a maximum of 50 people attending a service, while casinos could function at 50% capacity.
If casinos can open employing social distancing requirements and wearing masks, why can’t a church?
So in July, two Nevada churches decided to expose this hypocrisy by holding services at a casino and a Walmart store, that do not face similar restrictions as churches.
And these acts exposing the hypocrisy of some governments may be positively impacting public opinion. A recent October survey revealed that over 60% of Americans do not have a problem with churches reopening in violation of government lockdowns.
READ: Pastor turns church into ‘strip club’ to avert lockdown order AND Christians Sidestep Coronavirus Restrictions By Meeting In State-Approved Venues AND Americans increasingly comfortable with church defiance of COVID-19 restrictions: survey