I’ve already written about Jim Bakker’s attempt to pass off an ordinary colloidal silver solution as a cure for COVID-19. Alex Jones made similar claims for a silver toothpaste.
Those claims are absurd. Colloidal silver has been around forever, and it hasn’t been shown to cure much of anything. These guys are stooping to old-timey patent medicine hucksterism to pay the bills.
However, in the U.S. there are Christian ministers who are far more imbued with the spirit than Jim “Buckets” Bakker. And they really are able to defeat the new coronavirus.
In no particular order, here are just a few of the brave souls who have bucked worldly authority to save their people in this time of uncertainty and darkness:
Pastor Tony Spell of Life Tabernacle Church (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
Spell has defiantly disregarded an emergency order by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards that banned public or private gatherings of more than 50 people. He argues that if Target is allowed to stay open, his church should be allowed to stay open. Anything else is religious persecution. He declared that his congregation will continue to gather in the hundreds, and will carry on with the spiritual healing practice known as “laying on of hands” (touching the sick or disabled while praying over them).
Spell knows what he’s talking about, because members of Life Tabernacle Church have been cured of HIV, AIDS and cancer during his services.
Have these cures been investigated and documented by healthcare professionals? Well, no, but they don’t have to be confirmed to be real. A true man of God, like Tony Spell, is not going to lie to protect his only source of income.
It is true that to date, Spell has not actually cured anyone of COVID-19. That doesn’t mean he can’t.
In the meantime, I’m sure it’s safe for hundreds of people to pile into his church, hold hands and breathe all over each other three times a week.
Jerry Falwell of Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia)
Bakker’s Moriarity has never claimed to be able to cure COVID-19, but he does think it’s silly to be “wringing our hands” over a disease that has killed and sickened hundreds of thousands.
After Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, restricted gatherings of more than 100 people, Falwell’s Liberty University announced a decision to offer online courses to its students in lieu of keeping the campus open. Instead of shutting down, however, Liberty welcomed 1,900 students back after spring break. Though students attended classes online rather than gathering in classrooms, they shared dorm and dining facilities freely.
Within two weeks, Liberty had its first COVID-19 case and a dozen other students were displaying possible symptoms.
Most of the students subsequently left campus. Non-essential staff remained there because they were not given an option to work from home. We don’t know a lot about the situation, because staff members have been strongly discouraged from speaking to the media.
This is all very much in line with Biblical precepts. As Jesus said (maybe I’m paraphrasing): Snitches get stitches.
Gerald Glenn of the New Deliverance Evangelistic Church (Richmond, Virginia)
Glenn declared himself an essential service and kept drawing crowds to his church throughout the month of March. During his March 22 service, he proudly announced, “I don’t care about your opinion.”
He congratulated himself and his parishioners for being “controversial” in the face of restrictions on large gatherings and boasted that God is greater than any virus.
Gerald Glenn was hospitalized with COVID-19 in early April and was dead by Easter Sunday. His wife is currently ill with COVID-19.
Their thankless daughter, who clearly does not love God like her dad did, has asked people to take the situation seriously and make efforts to avoid being infected with the disease that killed her father and threatens her mother’s life.
Rodney Howard-Browne of The River (Tampa Bay, Florida)
When the governor of Florida cracked down on large gatherings, Howard-Browne refused to buckle to what he calls globalist tyranny. As far as he’s concerned, all disease specialists are working in concert to interfere with his religious freedom and that’s all that matters. He refused to suspend services at The River and was arrested at the end of March for violating public health orders.
Howard-Browne posts most of his 3+ hour sermons online for all the world to see, but to prove your devotion to him, it’s very important that you go to his church in person. Don’t ask why. Just do it.
This may seem like lunacy, packing people into your megachurch during a pandemic, but you have to understand that Howard-Browne has privileged, inside information about what goes on in this wicked world. For instance, in 2017 he informed his congregation that Hollywood types sacrifice and eat children. He knows this. We don’t know how he came across this information, but he has it. He has even been a guest on Infowars.
Plus, he has a secret weapon. In a video posted to his YouTube account on March 29, Howard-Browne assured everyone that his church is safe because he had installed thirteen machines that can “basically kill every virus in the place.” To date, he is the only person in the world who possesses such machines. We don’t know where they came from, how they work, or why they are not being used literally everywhere else on the planet. But you have Pastor Howard-Browne’s word that they are fully functional.
That should be good enough for you. If you don’t trust this man, maybe you’re the problem. Maybe you’re just, as he suggests of anyone who follows COVID-19 directives, a “pansy.”
The River’s insurance policy has been cancelled and services are no longer being held. Maybe the machines are down for repair.
Howard-Browne still reaches thousands with his Twitter tirades against health authorities and George Soros, though, so it looks like the Lord’s good works will be continuing.
Thousands of other ministers did shut the doors of their churches, even churches that have been in operation for decades or centuries. They were sad to do it. For some, it was an agonizing decision. But they know that limiting public gatherings is not religious persecution, a secular challenge to the strength of faith, a politically-driven hoax or a chance to show off their magical healing chops. This is a temporary measure meant to protect their precious congregations – families, seniors, the next generation of church leaders and everyone else.
These churches are continuing prayer circles and Bible studies online, staying in touch with elderly members via phone or email, and broadcasting sermons and hymns every Sunday. Drive-through confessionals have been set up. Where there’s faith, there’s a way.
These innovative church leaders know their congregations will not be permanently dispersed by a pandemic. If anything, they will grow stronger as members learn that physical distance cannot destroy a community built on love, trust and empathy. These ministers can’t cure a virulent disease, but they can be the rocks that they set out to be when they entered the pulpit.
They are the real heroes.
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