Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, leader of Revival International Ministries and The River at Tampa Bay Church in Tampa, Florida, was arrested Monday for what officials say was the violation of a “safer-at-home” order. The good pastor dislikes not seeing crowds even as Corona wreaking havoc around our nation.
Pastors like Rodney argue that we should not be afraid of viruses or any other evil, just trust God and continue life as usual. This view is unbiblical and dangerous. God is sovereign over the affairs of our world. But God does not tell us to ignore government and public health officials. We should rather obey government (Romans 13).
I pray before I drive, but I still should follow the road signs, speed regulations and traffic rules. I pray when I get sick, but I still follow the directions of my physicians. I pray for my food, but I still go to work to earn a pay check in order to buy my groceries. I pray for my exams, but I still put away my video games and study hard for the exam. There are two dimensions to our life: Divine sovereignty and human responsibility.
While we trust God to take us through this pandemic, we should also respect human authorities like government and public health officials. We should not be defying government like Pastor Rodney. Rather, like Samaritan Purse, we should obey the government and help the government to let us serve the suffering masses around us. Following these pastors will lead people to early graves. Beware!