The Government is considering introducing Covid Status Certification, and it has been suggested churches could use them as a way to open again fully.
This seems such a good idea that I have a further proposal: Leprosy Status Certification.
(Thread) 1/
Leprosy is a very serious disease, and highly infectious; many believe it can be spread just by touching. 2/
Now the last thing we want to do is spread leprosy. So to touch lepers would be a very unloving thing to do; we risk catching it, and maybe spreading it (asymptomatically perhaps) to others. The church, if it takes seriously Gods’ call to love, can’t risk doing that. 3/
So if we want to offer God’s unconditional love and welcome to everyone, we need to make sure that those with leprosy don’t come to Christian churches. 4/
In fact that’s not enough; some careless people could have been infected but not yet have any obvious skin lesions or nerve-insensitivity injuries. Such irresponsible individuals pose a risk to the rest of us, who have carefully taken all the necessary precautions. 5/
How can we proclaim that Jesus’ mercy is unconditional, that he welcomes the outcast, and offers healing to the sick in body and soul, if people have to run the risk of catching such a nasty disease if they come to hear it? 6/
So I propose a ‘Certificate of Leprosy Antigen Negativity’ (CLeAN), whereby socially responsible people can certify that they have never eaten or drunk with, or in some way been a companion of, lepers. 7/
Or the kind of people who tend to become lepers – Tax collectors and prostitutes, for example. (Mark 2:15-17) 8/
We can then ask people to show their CLeAN papers or app at the doors of our churches, and we could exclude those without them from our assemblies. 9/
An alternative would be to allow the un-CLeAN to enter, but require them to sit on the floor at a safe distance from the rest of us (James 2:3). 10/
This will make the Church a great demonstration to the rest of society of the unconditional love and welcome of Christ. It may be that wider society could follow our lead by making shops, pubs and other venues similarly welcoming to all. 11/
Because it would lovingly avoid the risks associated with not only touching lepers, but touching anyone would *could* be a leper. 12/
After all, it is what Jesus would have done.

Matthew 8:3

(PS: In case it’s not obvious, this is satire. Please note I’m not opposing sensible precautions against infection in church services, nor encouraging anyone with good reason to think they may be currently infected with Covid to attend church.)

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More from @MPWRoberts

5 Jan
The new lockdown in England, while it (and the pandemic itself) brings great hardship, is a great opportunity for the church to proclaim the gospel. (Thread) /
Christ brings hope in the face of despair; life in the face of death; joy in the face of mourning; blessing in the face of hardship; delight in the face of disappointment; good in the face of evil. So hard times are always the right time to proclaim Christ. /
The main evangelistic event, the centrepoint of our witness to the world, is the worship of God's gathered people, the church. And praise God, he has moved our government to permit gathered worship to continue. /
Read 8 tweets
18 Jun 20
A thread on the UK Lockdown and the theology of church and state, in which I argue that we do not need the permission of the state before we hold church services.
The church and the state hold separate commissions from Christ, to proclaim and apply the gospel and the law respectively.
I wrote about this a couple of years ago, not imagining that we would be in a situation where the state has banned churches from meeting.
Read 18 tweets
23 Sep 19
We only appreciate how very very big God is when we think of him as very very small. Here's why - from Mary's song, the Magnificat (Thread).
Mary's poem (Luke 1:46-55) is all about 'magnifying' the Lord: not making him bigger, for that cannot be, but (like looking at a galaxy through a telescope) expanding his size in our hearts and minds so that our thoughts of him get a little nearer to who he really is.
Mary spoke of God's greatness in classic Biblical terms: his power in defeating the powerful and evil, his mercy towards those who fear him, his faithfulness to his covenant. The Old Testament supplies many examples of these things. God is indeed very very big.
Read 20 tweets
14 Sep 19
Sinclair Ferguson: if the children of believers aren't included in the new covenant promise, it doesn't even qualify as a covenant. Why not? My summary of his argument: (Thread)
God created mankind with particular blessing on marriage and children. This blessing is included in the covenant he made with Adam in Eden.
The satanic attack on man and his sinful response issued in the covenant curses of Eden, which particularly applied to these two blessings: the marriage relationship, and the bearing of children.
Read 10 tweets
27 Jun 19
'Sexual liberation and political tyranny are ontologically coupled', says Robert Jenson. Here's why (thread):
'there is in fact a casual connection between sexual disorder and general civil and political disorder...'
Because 'there is one and only one place where the synchronic and diachronic dimensions of community intersect: the heterosexually based family...
Read 9 tweets

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