The Communion for Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC) has officially put the government on notice. The association of churches, founded in 1988 with notable members including Peter Liethart and Douglas Wilson, holds to Calvinist soteriology and Protestant benchmarks of faith. The denomination (for lack of a better word) has more than one-hundred churches nationwide.
Written by Virgil Hurt, the presiding minister of the council, wrote and published the following…
Dear Mr. President, Congressmen, Senators, Mayor, and Civic Leaders in the USA and Abroad,
I am writing to you as the Presiding Minister of Council of the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC), an International Denomination.
We have been praying for you and continue to do so. May the Lord grant you His wisdom as you make decisions in this time of trial.
First of all, thank you for the care and concern you have shown for the citizens who elected you, and for your attempt to do what you believed to be best for the public good in light of the available information at the time.
It is now apparent that our initial information was incomplete. The pandemic is not what we all thought it was going to be. This is understandable. It was new. We all thought it was a dire threat and we all responded to protect the lives of our citizens, and our congregants, as we should have. It is now clear that the stated rationale for these temporary, emergency actions, “to flatten the curve”, has been achieved, and that these temporary measures are no longer necessary. If we continue on the current course of action of extreme mitigation, things may get much worse, as we fear they most certainly will.
President Trump was right to say that the cure cannot be worse than the disease. In fact, it is. The pandemic did not justify putting millions of people out of work and locking down businesses and churches for the indefinite future. It is now time to open up for business, return to work and return to the worship of the Triune God.
While Covid-19 is among us and members of our churches have been harmed by the disease, the much larger damage to our members has been done by cutting off the means of supporting the lives of their families. In our churches, we have few Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations or deaths. However, we have many people whose ability to support the lives of their families has been greatly damaged through the loss of wages and damage to their businesses. For us, the cure has been far worse than the disease.
We encourage you to consider the immense damage that will be caused by continuing down this current path of a closed economy. The lost livelihoods, closed businesses, and the isolation of our congregants, is a tremendous loss to the health and well-being of our society. This damage will only worsen the longer we stay on the present course of sheltering in place and keeping the economy and houses of worship closed. Dangerous social unrest is the likely result of staying on this course.
We have a great concern for the lives and health of our members as well as those in our communities. Many in our churches are elderly or are in a high-risk category for Covid-19. Those individuals and their families, pastors, leaders and physicians, are the ones to make the best decisions about how they should live during the spread of this disease. If this were a great plague, a direct threat to the health and lives of all of our congregants, as many of us initially thought it was, we would be glad to continue to comply with reasonable measures to mitigate the spread. However, it is now clear that it is not the plague and we are not prepared to continue to comply with extreme mitigation efforts.
Our desire is to be obedient to the civil magistrate. However, we must also do what we believe God expects of us, what is best for our people and our communities, and what our consciences dictate. For our American members, The U.S. Constitution rightly affords us these rights of speech and assembly because they extend to us from God, Himself.
The citizens of the United States and our congregants are already beginning to strongly feel the need to get back to regular living. While we do not currently have a date after which we will no longer comply with the extreme restrictions, we believe the time is now at hand for our leaders to stand down from the extreme isolation efforts, and the date after which we will no longer comply, is soon approaching, in days or weeks, not months.
Our response in the churches has been to humble ourselves, confess our sins, the sins of the church and the sins of our citizens and governments. Please join us in humbling yourselves before the Lord Jesus.
We call upon the grace and mercy of God to give us relief. Death is an enemy, the last enemy that will be destroyed by the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We acknowledge this. While we despise death, we do not fear death, because for us, to live is Christ and to die is gain. May God grant us repentance, and as we confess and repent of our many sins, we trust that He will be gracious to us and heal our land.
In the service of King Jesus,
Presiding Minister of Council Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC)