Peter and the plague
Note: This is written to be a fictional, humorous allegory. Any similarity to any church, particularly independent fundamentalist churches in California is purely coincidental.
As the sun continued to rise on that Lord’s Day, the Apostle Peter closed his teaching:
“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.”I Peter 2:13-14
The congregation continued to listen intently, hearing the word of God.
“For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should silence the ignorance of foolish people.”I Peter 2:15
Suddenly Gaius raced into the home, panting as though he had finished a marathon.
“I bring terrible news,” Gaius panted. “A plague has struck the city and is causing panic. It is a plaque like no other in that it spreads without warning, particularly among those advanced in years.”
“What shall we do?” Dorcus asked.
“The governor is worried. He is ordering all citizens to stay a span away from anyone outside their household, and to wear veils in public to prevent the infirmity from spreading. He said he hopes that the physicians will soon provide an ointment to cure the disease.”
“We should pray for our governor,” Lucas said. “Perhaps God will use this circumstance to bring him to repentance for his sins.”
“No, we should ‘obey God rather than men’! Right pastor?” Barnabas asked. “Who is this governor to tell us what to do?”
“Amen,” exclaimed Rachel. “We are not bound anymore to the law, certainly not to laws from that pagan governor. Why, did you hear what edict he gave the other day?”
“What about freedom in Christ?” Barabbas shouted.
Peter then hushed the congregation and motioned with his hands for them to calm down in silence.
“We should live as people who are free, not using our freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”I Peter 2:16
“But the governor is an evil man,” Rufus replied. “He sacrifices to false gods and promotes perversion!”
“That’s right, he’s a fool,” Claudius joined in. “There’s no evidence that wearing veils will help. This is all about controlling people.”
“Yes, he wants to take away our freedom in Christ,” shouted someone else. “If we don’t stand up to that wicked man, he will destroy our church.”
“Of course! He’s out to destroy churches everywhere!
This ‘plague’ is only an excuse to stop churches from meeting.”
“Down with the governor! Away with him!”
Then Gaius spoke up.
“Brothers and sisters, wait. The plague is real. People are dying. Indeed the governor is no lover of Christ, but he seems to be doing this to protect citizens, our countrymen from dying. Perhaps…”
“Yeah, he wants to protect our citizens alright … from the GOSPEL!”
“Amen! That’s why he’s doing this, to silence us!”
“Down with the governor!”
“But what if we make our elders and the frail sick?” asked Deborah. “Should we not consider them?”
“I knew you were one of them … collaborating with wicked Romans!” accused Judas.
“She is not a collaborator,” Michael interrupted. “She is only concerned for the weak in our assembly. I am uncertain the veils will help either, but if by wearing one we’re loving even the least of these, then I think we should…”
“What do you mean, ‘we should’?” blurted Maximus. “No, if you want to wear a veil, fine, but don’t you dare tell the rest of us what to do! We have freedom in Christ!”
“That’s rebellion!” Marcus intervened. “Our governor has ordered us in this matter, and it’s to protect our fellow citizens. Do you disobey the governor when it comes to paying the tax?”
“Taxes are a different matter… and I hate paying them too.”
“DOWN WITH THE GOVERNOR! We should protest outside his palace, holding hands with no veils!”
“Yes! That will show him, that ungodly pagan!”
“Heaven forbid,” cried Abigail. “We would be seen as rebels and our witness for the Lord be tarnished!”
“Yes, what would it say to the rest of the brethren?” John said. “We might frighten some away by our reckless behavior. Pastor Peter, what should we do?”
“We should honor everyone and love the brotherhood…”I Peter 2:17a
“We are honoring everyone if we obey the laws from godly authorities … or at least the laws we agree with. But the governor is ungodly and I don’t believe in veils, so I don’t have to listen to his suggestions.”
“Suggestions? He gave an order, not a suggestion. Will you ignore a centurion’s ‘suggestion’? I think a command is a…”
“I don’t care what you think! The Scriptures are clearly anti-veil: It says, ‘the veil was torn in two’. See! God is anti-veil!”
“Now you’re twisting the Scriptures to say what you want it to say.”
“And you’re a twisted follower of the devil! Anyone wearing veils is of the devil!”
“First veils, then they’ll be demanding we offer sacrifices to their god! Our daughters will become prostitutes! We must save our children! Save our children!”
“Down with the governor! Down with the governor!”
“I’m not wearing a stupid veil! I feel perfectly fine and don’t have any plague on me.”
“The veil wearers can stay home! Anyone wearing a veil is in allegiance with the governor and an enemy of Jesus Christ!”
“Lo! How do you reason such?”
“It’s simple logic:
The governor is evil.
The governor has given an order.
Therefore, the order is evil.
See, simple logic.”
“I thought we just heard we’re supposed to be subject for the Lord’s sake, so that we would silence the ignorance of foolish people…”
“Silence? Those veils are only to silence us! And as for foolish people? Only foolish people wear veils!”
“Down with the governor! To stand against the governor is to stand up for Christ!”
“Did you see how that cowardly governor allowed the insurrectionists to raze our city? If he won’t stop insurrectionists, then he has no right to stop us!”
“He won’t stop insurrectionists because he’s supports them! We should rise up in kind and show him a thing or two!”
“Are we really following the example of the insurrectionists? Is that how we learned Christ?”
“You’d be afraid too if you realized how he’s out to get us! He’s just trying to shut down our assembly from meeting!”
“He may indeed and rightly shut down our assembly if we don’t obey him in this matter! Why provoke him without cause? We may find ourselves to be counted as rebels and disobeying not just the governor but God himself!”
“No, we’re not rebelling … we’re standing up for Christ, just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood against Nebuchadnezzar. Just as Daniel stood to pray publicly against Darius!”
“They stood against bowing down to idols and praying to the king. The governor hasn’t commanded that at all. If the governor gave a command like that, then yes, we must obey God, but in this matter…”
“No, he must be opposed entirely! To wear a veil is to support the governor. But if you want to stand up for Christ, you must renounce veil wearing. Wearing a veil means you’re against Christ.”
“How is it you think that wearing a veil is somehow being against Christ? Where does it say…”
“How dare you… why you’re against God and against the church! You have no share in this assembly!”
“We’ll pray for you … that you’ll turn from your veil-wearing sins so you can rejoin the brothers.”
“You mean I’m unwelcome if I wear a veil, if I obey the governor in order to obey God?”
“If you really wanted to obey God, you wouldn’t be so eager to obey that governor. I’ll be praying for you.”
“Indeed, we don’t agree regarding the veils. But can’t we just put aside our differences for the sake of the brotherhood…”
“No! Here is where we stand! If you were for Christ, you wouldn’t fear a plague.”
“’No plague shall approach your tent!’ I fear no plague! The plague is a complete lie!”
“The emperor is behind it all! It’s all about control. They’re trying to control us.”
“Brother, God is in control! We need not live in such fear of the emperor or the governor.”
“I wouldn’t fear the emperor if he wasn’t out to get me.”
“We should fear God and honor the emperor.” – PeterI Peter 2:17b
“That’s what you say! But I say we should obey God and renounce the governor!”
“Amen! Down with the governor!”
“Brothers, please! Why are we acting like this?”
“Because you’re on the governor’s side. Therefore you’re against Christ and against the church!”
“I am not against Christ! Christ himself submitted to his governor Pontius Pilate when He was crucified for our sins. Surely we can submit in this small matter…”
“If you trusted in Christ, you wouldn’t need that worthless veil!”
“‘The veil is torn in two!'”
“Down with the governor!
Down with the governor!
Down with the governor!”