Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland – Church Interests Committee
Updated Advice re Coronavirus / Covid-19 issued 23 March 2020
[Please note that this advice was issued before the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on Monday evening, 23 March, which required the immediate closure of all places of worship.]
In this rapidly moving and distressing situation, the Church Interests Committee (CIC) has taken account of the strengthened language of the UK and Scottish Governments since it issued its advice at lunchtime on Saturday 21 March, and now updates its advice accordingly.
It has become a key part of Government policy for slowing the spread of the virus among the population that everyone, not just the elderly and the vulnerable, should “stay at home” for all but essential reasons. The CIC recognises that the Scriptural sphere in which governments operate includes such lawful endeavours to safeguard the nation’s health.
Therefore, whilst it does not wish to interfere with the rights of Biblical Church government, the CIC strongly urges Ministers and Church courts to close church buildings for a temporary period, and reiterates to all the people of the Church the government advice to “stay at home” except for essential reasons.
While it is a Biblical obligation ordinarily to maintain and attend public worship, these are not ordinary times. God is not bound to any particular place for dispensing His blessing, and when people are unavoidably separated from the public means of grace, He is able to compensate by blessing them in private. No doubt His people will be longing for the day, if they are spared, when they can assemble together in His house as before, and will be praying to the Lord of mercy to halt the progress of the virus, and meanwhile to bring gospel blessings to many souls throughout the world.
“When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday” (Psalm 42:4).