Flashing Your Pass at the Lord's Table
A Real Tough Time
Elder and Deacon boards have had it "tough" recently. They weren't ready to answer the questions that a state-imposed vaccine pass would foist upon them, so after much deliberation and being close to sweating drops of blood (so they tell us), many have decided that faithfulness looks like is the path of least resistance and have chosen to deny the unvaccinated access to the same table as the vaccinated. And for their pinch of incense and display of statist piety, the vaccinated will be asked to wave their passes before the pagans before partaking in the body that was broken for them and the blood that was poured out.
I know that all the segregators and dividers reading this will reject how I've framed their idolatrous worship. I can hear their humpfs. How could I know that they would object to my words? Because they have always used squirm language to compromise biblical truths, and when someone uses plain words to describe their actions it exposes them, and they don't like that.
"Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them."
Weasel Worded Emailers
So Covid arrived and they did what they do. They strung all the right Christianese verbiage together to imitate the real deal and hid their disobedience with soft words and nuance.
Let me offer some more plain words. This "season" has been "tough" for them, not because the Bible isn't clear on what they should be doing in the face of these government mandates, but because it has been harder than ever to appease the whims of the culture and at the same time maintain the appearance of scriptural conformity. Weasel words aren't working as well this time around. They've worked to appease their own consciences, but not the consciences of some of the simple, straightforward Bible readers in their pews. Those true saints see that in this "season" we have been called to persecution from the state, unlike anything we've experienced in our lifetime.
The way that the mandate overseers are currently using their words to appear orthodox (and at the same time cutting off any dissenters) is by constantly preaching the supreme virtue of unity. Ironic isn't it. Apparently, we must be unified as we divide. After acknowledging that it is impossible to please everyone, they will say that we must be careful not to allow division to take root in the hearts of our congregation while we uproot and divide our congregations in the flesh.
Unfortunately, being a bunch of soft disciples of nice-ianity (the kind of Christianity that has been taught for several generations now), very few have obeyed Ephesians 5:11 and called them on their crap. No one has been banging on the door of their segregated church buildings demanding to be let in "In the name of Jesus," the builder and head of His body, the Church.
Division Is Good
Contrary to what they are teaching us, unity is not our highest goal. As dismembered body parts, we shouldn't pretend that the separated are united by some invisible love string. Instead, we should highlight the real divisions and point out those who are mutilating the bride. Our present divisions can serve the church if we understand the good ends that God has intended for them. Paul had this to say to the Corinthian Church regarding their division.
"For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized." (1 Corinthians 11:18–19)
Paul took issue with many things in the Corinthian church, one being the division in the body, but it has to be said that their division was better than ours. At least their division didn't keep them from coming together. Their division manifested itself when they were gathered. We don't get to see the haughty "clean" ones shuffling around the fellowship room avoiding the unvaccinated, trying to find untainted, or at the very least, vaccine-sanctified and mask-filtered second-hand air. We don't get to see some going in and some being kept out. Everything is sorted out via email during the week.
Elder boards would benefit from seeing the manifestation of their decisions on the Lord's day. If my church were not allowing me to enter the church building, I'd ignore the email and turn up with my four kids. I'd make them turn us away so that "the genuine among [the church] may be recognized." I would gather at the entrance with the two or three other unvaccinated families and do what Paul told Timothy to do.
"Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear." (1 Timothy 5:19–20)
The New Zealand Church's current capitulation to the Jacinda regime has shown us where the lampstand will be (or has been) removed. Division is necessary because, for Christ's followers, it clearly marks out those who are serving another master. These are the churches we need to call to repentance. And if they don't repent, we need to flee from them rather than unite with them.
And this is how we will love them. They do not realise it, but it is not the Lord's Supper that they are having behind closed doors. Paul, after acknowledging that division was being maintained and accepted in the body of Christ, said "When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat." (1 Corinthians 11:20) They were actually performing some other ritual that had the appearance of the Lord's Supper. A ritual that imparts no spiritual blessing but instead brings judgment on those who partake of it.
"For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged." (1 Corinthians 11:29–31)
One important thing to note about this passage is that the individuals who eat and drink are not being asked to discern the body and the blood, but just the body. I take this to mean that we must discern how our partaking of the Lord's Supper impacts the body of Christ, His Church. The judgment that comes from God upon individuals is His way of purging unacknowledged sin from the body for the benefit of the body.
"But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world." (1 Corinthians 11:32)
Sadly, while trying to keep from being sick, God will make them sick. We love them, as Paul did, by warning sinners within the church of the judgment that comes to the unrepentant. Hopefully, some will understand the gravity of their terrible decision, and in the fear of the Lord repent with this warning.
The unbeliever will scoff at this, but I believe the Bible when it says that God makes people sick and die for sinfully partaking of communion. I don't need to know the scientific mechanism that God will employ to bring this about for me to believe it. And I'm not going to speculate here how God will do it either, but as sure as the sun rises, there is judgment coming for the apostate church and our nation. May God preserve a faithful remnant through the coming years, so that there will be some Christians left to clear the rubble and build something greater than what came before it.
Some of you would have been tracking with me up to this point but are going to find it hard from here on out. But I have to share how my rarely held view of eschatology helps me navigate these hard times. All my faithful premillennial brothers, please hear me out.
I'm not optimistic about New Zealand's near future, but I am a postmillennialist, which means that I believe history will one day tell of our nation's current apostasy as a small bump in the road that led to the conversion of the whole world. In the end, this land may not be called "New Zealand", but it will be Christ's. When Jesus gave us the great commission to disciple the nations, He sent us out to claim the nations that the Father had already given Him.
"Ask of me [the Father speaking to the Son], and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession." (Psalm 2:8)
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations..." (Matthew 28:18–19 Emphasis added)
One of the nations that were given to Christ by the Father were the people on this little piece of real estate at the ends of the earth. And since the late 1800s, New Zealand, after most of the nation had bowed its knee to Christ, has regularly confessed that we are at the feet of the God of nations with our national anthem.
"God of Nations at Thy feet,
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land."
But this confession will do us no good today because in our hearts we despise His rule. He will not defend us if we continue killing our unborn babies. He will not defend us if our government, being approved by the popular vote, continues to steal and redistribute our nation's wealth. Unless we repent and submit ourselves to the wisdom of our Creator, He will ensure that we will fall by our own devices. Repentance is our nation's greatest need. No positive political change can last in a nation when it is full of men and women who do not seek God. We must know Him. If we want to live in a "freeland" we must learn His "law of liberty" and obey it (James 1:25). And the glorious postmillennial hope is that, through Spirit-empowered gospel preaching, this will certainly happen since it has been prophesied and "the zeal of the Lord of hosts will do it." (Isaiah 9:7)
"They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious." (Isaiah 11:9–10)
If you would like to know more about the postmillennial worldview I'd recommend that you watch this documentary for starters. If you have any other questions feel free to reach out to me. I'll try to respond to you all or at least point you in the direction of some other good resources.
With everything I've mentioned above on our hearts, a brother of mine, Bnonn Tennant, and I have launched a new website for the church of New Zealand as we hope to have some small part in seeing this nation's return to the God of nations. This website will have Challenge Statements to sign, articles, and teaching resources, and we hope it will be a way for those who have a like mind to connect and build for a better future. We would love it if you could check it out.