LHBC, COVID-19 and a CHRISTIAN RESPONSE to GOVERNMENT

As Elders, we are incredibly grateful for the body of believers the Lord has brought together here at Living Hope Bible Church. The love for the Word, desire to fellowship, visible spiritual fruit and growth, as well as the joy of simply being together is refreshing. These have been unprecedented times in which we live. Never, in our imagination, would we have conceived of where we are today.


With everyone stuck at home, the TV, internet, newsfeeds, YouTube, and social media platforms have been exploding with facts and opinions, as well as provoking words such as "martial law," "overreach," "tyranny," and "police state." The words of the founding fathers, the church fathers, and history are invoked to support different positions. Sermons, seminars, and articles have been circulated, often with a tone of combativeness. Then there’s the hoarding; Wal-Mart's CEO first said it was hand sanitizers, then toilet papers, and now there’s a run on hair clippers. Earlier this month, people were required to wear a mask when shopping at Costco, and now people are expected to wear masks anywhere they go or risk ostracism. Some have lost their jobs while others have lost their businesses. People have family and friends who have fallen ill, and some have even lost loved ones. 


It's no wonder that people are confused and frustrated!


How should we, as Christians, respond to these trials, stay-at-home rules, and our government? We realize it has been difficult for many of you. For some, it is easier than others. We desire to lay out for you what we believe to be:

  1. A Biblical perspective of government and Christian conduct   
  2. An Application of the Washington “Stay At Home Order” as it affects LHBC (FAQ's below)
  3. A proper godly response

Why is this important? Because we’ve heard a lot about the need for people to defer to various authorities such as the Constitution, Dr. Fauci, and multiple experts. But our supreme authority is the Word of God. The proper question is what does the Bible say?


So we hope this will be edifying, helpful, and above all, pleasing to the Lord.



I. A Biblical Perspective of Government & Christian Conduct


In the NT era, Rome was the governing authority. The Roman government was involved in open immorality in multiple forms: pagan idolatrous worship, and Caesar's deification and worship.


Rome ruled by the power of the sword, quelling uprisings, forcibly taking advantage of others (Matt 5:41), unjustly exacting money from people (Luke 3:14), taking bribes (Matt 28:12), and killing many people by crucifixion. Crucifixion was the Roman method of capital punishment because it was, perhaps, the most excruciating, painful and prolonged death at that time. One would be brought to the edge of death without dying to extend the suffering and pain. People did not die because of the crucifixion itself. They died from suffocation because they could no longer push themselves up, on the cross to take a breath. 


Not many years before Jesus and the disciples came to Caesarea Philippi, 100 men had been crucified in the area. A century earlier, Alexander Janneus had crucified 800 Jewish rebels at Jerusalem. After the revolt that followed the death of Herod the Great, 2,000 Jews were crucified by the Roman proconsul Varus. Crucifixions on a smaller scale were common, and it has been estimated that perhaps some 30,000 occurred under Roman authority during Christ's lifetime. [1] It was not at all uncommon for a body to be left upon a cross either to rot or to be eaten by predatory birds or animals. [2][3] Contemporary records show that crucified men often lived two or three days before dying. [4]


It was under harsh Roman rule that the Apostle Paul writes these words:


Romans 13:1-7, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”


[1] John F. MacArthur Jr., Matthew, vol. 3, MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1985), 49.

[2] C. Schneider, TWNT III (Eng. Tr. 1965), pp. 411 f., citing Horace, Epistles I, 16, 48; Petronius, Satura 111.

[3] William L. Lane, The Gospel of Mark, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1974), 578.

[4] Ibid., 579.


(1) Paul recognized Rome as a legitimate government


Some voices have misinterpreted v. 4, “for it is a minister of God to you for good” and said, “our state governor is not doing ‘good’ by not letting people work. People are suffering. Therefore, it is an illegitimate government and we need to fight back and resist.”


Yet, Paul recognized Rome as a legitimate government despite, what we would call today, “human rights abuses” and “abuse of power”.


In fact, Jesus said to Pilate in John 19:10-11, “So Pilate *said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?” Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above.” As brutal, corrupt, and immoral as Rome was, which set up temples and called Caesar a god – Jesus acknowledges God set Rome as the governing authority!


(2) Paul recognized ALL authority as having been established by God


Romans 13:1, “For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.


Whether a governing authority is good or evil, it has been established by God. This is repeated in two different ways so that we don’t miss the point. God raised up Pharaoh (Rom 9:17), Assyria, Babylon, Rome, and other wicked idolatrous world powers, many of which did not permit 'free speech', 'human rights,' or 'justice.' Yet, all were given that power and authority by God. V. 1 is obvious in its reading. There are no exceptions. 


(3) We are to subject ourselves under governing authorities and not resist


Even though Rome was brutal, immoral, idolatrous, and cruel, Paul writes:


Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God;


The phrase “be in subjection” is a military term and was often used to refer to soldiers who are under a superior officer. It is in a grammatically imperative form; meaning, it is a command – not a suggestion.


The Bible does NOT say “be in subjection”… “resist…and oppose the ordinance of God”….

  • Only when the government can make a convincing case that you agree with
  • Only when the government is not overreaching
  • Resist the ordinance of God; otherwise, freedoms will be taken away
  • Resist the ordinance of God because, governments will grab more power like the Nazi’s
  • Resist God’s ordinance simply because these new regulations simply do not make sense, are unfair, and are a violation of constitutional rights

The Bible is very clear and unambiguous. In fact, v. 5 says, “Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.


The two positive reasons for being in subjection are (1) avoiding punishment for breaking the law and (2) not violating your conscience.


We acknowledge it's not easy. It’s not easy to lose a business, lose your job, and lose freedoms we’ve enjoyed. We are all struggling in different ways, some more than others, but still the Bible is clear.


In fact, it became even harder for Christians from the time Paul wrote Romans a decade later. In July, AD 64, Nero burned Rome, blamed the Christians, and empire-wide persecution of Christians began for the first time. Christians were arrested, covered with the hides of wild beasts, torn apart to death by dogs, nailed to crosses, or set fire to and, in the evening, burned to serve as human torches.


It is around this time that Apostle Peter writes in 1 Peter 2:13-16: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. 


Once again, in the face of outright human rights violations and crimes against humanity deserving of the world criminal court at the Hague, Peter’s instructions are not:

  • Take up arms and fight for religious freedom
  • Mobilize Christians to rally against Rome
  • Demonstrate and protest

Peter recognized Rome as the government and his words to persecuted Christians (some who were being burned, used for sport, and torn apart by dogs): “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution.Why? “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.


By submitting and doing what is right rather than protesting for religious liberty from Rome’s persecution, they were to “silence the ignorance of foolish men.


In fact, he writes in 1 Peter 2:17, “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.


This is far from the attitude which is often displayed in our culture today.


We are to subject ourselves under governing authorities and not resist.


That being said, there is one Biblical exception that is also clear from many examples.


(4) When believers are instructed to disobey the Lord, we are to obey the Lord


There are a number of examples of godly individuals who continued to obey God despite governmental laws

  • Daniel 3: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refusing to worship the golden image
  • Daniel 6: Daniel continuing to pray to God despite the proclamation that one cannot pray to anyone except for Darius
  • Acts 4:18-20; The Apostles commanded by the Jewish leaders not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus: “And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.

In these instances, they sought to obey the Lord, while still showing respect for the governing authority.


In summary, all governing authorities will be imperfect, but all are established by God and deserve our respect, honor, and submission. The only circumstance given in the Bible in which we are called to disobey our governing authority is when we are asked to disobey the Lord.


LHBC’s elder board has taken a significant amount of time, energy, discussion, and prayer related to this subject. With careful thought given to the Scriptures, we have unanimously decided to submit ourselves to our governing authorities.



II. Application to LHBC and Washington’s Stay At Home Order FAQ’s


Q1: Are you saying that we should never say anything when we disagree with the government?


A: No. We are thankful that our country has processes and orderly procedures by which we can respectfully ask questions, give feedback, change the rule of law through our court system, and vote. All of those means can be conducted in an orderly and peaceful manner. Respectfully seeking clarification or compromise helps in a win-win situation.


For example: After the Governor issued his "Stay Home Stay Safe" order, there was much discussion as to the application of the law to churches. Churches were not on the “essential” business list and there was no stipulation that people in the church could gather at all for churches to stream services. Pastor Joe wrote a respectful and kind email to the Governor's office the next morning (Tuesday) asking for explicit permission for one or more to gather at church to live stream services. A prompt response and clarification related to live streaming to a church congregation was requested.


You will find his answer here in his own words for the application of the law at a video conference on C-Span (Wed) (2:30-3:45 minutes in). Specifically, religious institutions are an exception to the law. They can have a “certain number of people present at the places of worship to ensure that online remote services can be afforded to their flocks." The Governor's office also wrote back and said,


"Preventing future cases will require the work of all of us. In the Governor’s words, ‘This is a time to take common-sense, proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of those who live in Washington state.’”


In short, we can have a common-sense approach to providing live-streamed services to LHBC.


Not only that, when there are societal issues that intersect with Biblical teachings, the church has every right to speak Biblically on how those issues are to be addressed Biblically. Anyone who has been at LHBC since last year knows we've discussed a multitude of topics head-on in our Biblical Ethics series. The "straw-man" argument that contends that "to submit" means to never biblically address government issues or issues relevant in society is just that: a false idea and "straw man".


In fact, there are ample opportunities for concerned Christians to be involved in public service, hold government offices, and influence public policy. There are legal and appropriate means to affect public policy in a God-honoring manner, and Christians can individually choose to be more or less involved in those spheres of service while being a law-abiding model citizen.


Q2: How long should a church wait before disobeying the government? It’s been months now!


A: The contingent factor is not “time” (as in how long). The contingent factor is “why” (as in the reason). For example, if a domestic terrorist were to set off a radioactive ‘suitcase’ or ‘dirty’ bomb contaminating a large area inclusive of the church, the government might shut the area down for years because of radioactivity. Few would say, “It’s been three months and we should gather even though the rocks in the parking lot are glowing.” It might be years before decontamination could occur. So it’s not a matter of ‘time’ but a matter of ‘why’.


Q3: Don’t you think that the government is overreaching its power and discriminatory?


A: Obviously, many people feel that way. In mid-May, Elon Musk reopened Tesla in California and filed a lawsuit against Alameda County, CA contending overreach or discriminatory policies. We’re sure there are many examples of government overreach around the country – even against churches. Even then, the Biblical response is still the same as outlined above.


Q4: Shouldn’t we fight for our constitutional rights?


A: As in the first question, we are blessed with processes and procedures by which we can respectfully appeal decisions in this country. Until such means as injunctions are overturned, Biblically, we are not to take the law into our own hands.

We need to be careful not to equate constitutional rights with Biblical principles in what we fight for and how we respond to the government.


Q5: If we don’t fight for our rights, we will lose them and give in to tyranny just like the German churches did to Adolf Hitler.


A: As we’ve learned in Biblical Ethics – we are not to put the clear commands of Scripture aside and make decisions based upon a ‘perceived outcome’. The teleological approach (ends justifies the means) is not Biblical. It should be noted that many Protestant churches in Germany were very nationalistic and had some anti-Semitism in their theology. See here for a history of the German Churches and the Nazi State: https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-german-churches-and-the-nazi-state


Q6: Freedom is the right of every citizen and we should at least fight for that, shouldn’t we?


A: In Biblical times, legionaries could exercise the right of ‘requisitioning’ or ‘making demands on’ people such as forcing Simon to carry the cross for Jesus. 

 

A Roman soldier had the right to force a civilian to carry his pack for a Roman mile – which was a little shorter than our modern mile. That law was designed to relieve the soldier. This was, perhaps, the second greatest thing Roman soldiers were hated for (outside of fighting against them). Jews hated being “requisitioned” like a pack mule for their oppressors. But Jesus didn’t teach them to rebel or fight for their freedom against Rome. Instead, in Matthew 5:41, “And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two.” When you are taken advantage of by oppressors, go above and beyond in kindness – carry his weapons and equipment for two miles.


We need to understand that we are all under some authority from the time we are born, in school, a church, city, state, and nation. We are always under authority and that authority rightfully restricts our freedoms for the greater good of the community.


For example, there was a day when

  • car seats were not required in cars
  • you didn’t have to wear a seat belt
  • motorcyclists didn’t have to wear helmets
  • Years ago you could drink and drive, and beer was “liquid food”

Now, it would seem foolish to most if someone was protesting with a sign that said, “I should have the right to drink and drive and drive as fast as I want on the freeways!”


Restricting freedoms for the protection of the community can be a good thing.


Imagine if you boarded an airplane for a flight from Seattle to Miami with your children and there were no restrictions on smoking. Would you support the rights of others to smoke in enclosed spaces? What if you were the smoker? What if you believed that smoking does not cause lung cancer, second-hand smoke is not dangerous, is fake news, and it is government overreach against the tobacco industry?


Whatever you believe, the Bible gives us a principle to live by:


Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.


1 Corinthians 10:24, “Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.


As we face this pandemic, think of the immune-compromised, the elderly, and those with underlying conditions as King County puts out guidelines. Think about others and your testimony in addition to yourself.


Q7: Okay, I understand all of that. But here’s the issue: (1) It's not as bad as previously thought. In fact, there seems to be a lack of evidence that compels me to believe the government isn’t just flexing its authority and overreaching. That answers your “why” criterion above. They’re not protecting anyone anymore. (2) They are restricting our worship (which God commands in Hebrews 10:24-25) and what it means to be a church. Worship must be in-person, so we should meet and defy the government.


A1: Regarding (1) overreach and (2) the lack of evidence as a basis for "why." Q3 addresses the overreach contention. The lack of evidence supporting the "why" question may be true or false. Yes, this is a contagious virus that can be very lethal. But it is not just an American problem; the virus has spread worldwide as even our missionaries can testify to. There are certainly areas, communities, and states that are harder hit than other areas. There is yet to be clarity as to whether the contention: "This is not a bad problem" is true or false. 


A2: Regarding the restriction of worship. Part of this sentiment would be accurate, while part of it would not. First, “Worship must be in-person.” That would not be an accurate statement. We live lives of worship and worship is not confined to one location, nor can worship only occur with others. Individuals can worship at home. Solo missionaries in an unreached people group without a community of believers around can still worship and honor the Lord. Shut-in elderly folks can still worship with us online in a God-honoring way. A family that has been hit hard by COVID-19 where two of the children have died and are quarantining themselves can still worship the Lord at home. 


Can worship be done virtually?


Yes, in the sense of what we are doing now on Sundays. Is it actually worship? Yes. Obviously, it wasn’t in the mind of the author of Hebrews because only in-person worship was possible.


But there is a part of what it means to be and function as a church that is much more difficult and not at all ideal. Given the circumstance of this pandemic, we can still hold worship services that are pleasing and God-honoring.


We are not saying that this is ideal nor recommended. However, sentiments such as: “Genuine worship can only happen when people are physically together” would not be accurate, nor would we agree with the idea that “every time we gather to worship online, we are sinning against God.”


For a more detailed exposition of the context and grammar of Hebrews 10:24-25, see the section entitled “Must We Commit Civil Disobedience to Assemble for Corporate Worship?” by Dr. Jack Hughes here: https://www.drivennails.com/for-everyone/the-christian-response-to-the-covid-19-virus-pandemic4282020


Q8: So what are the marks of a genuine “church”? How do you define “church”?


A: Wayne Grudem writes, “In large measure there was agreement between Luther and Calvin on the question of what constituted a true church. The Lutheran statement of faith, which is called the Augsburg Confession (1530), defined the church as “the congregation of saints in which the gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments rightly administered” (Article 7).[5] Similarly, John Calvin said, “Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to Christ’s institution, there, it is not to be doubted, a church of God exists. [6]…But another reason exists for including the sacraments as a mark of the church. Once an organization begins to practice baptism and the Lord’s Supper, it is a continuing organization and is attempting to function as a church. [7]


LHBC’s doctrinal statement echoes that same sentiment, with the expansion of the idea of genuine fellowship as the early church practiced in Acts 2:42: “We believe that the establishment of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures. All believers are to associate themselves together in local churches. The purpose of these churches is to glorify God through worship, instruction of the Word, fellowship, prayer, practice of the ordinances (water baptism and the Lord’s Supper), and proclamation of the gospel to the world. (Matt 28:19-20; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor 11:23-34; Eph 4:1; Titus 1:5; Heb 10:24-25)”


We believe fellowship is an important mark of the church because believers are called to exercise the “one another’s” of the NT and the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit for the building up of the body of Christ.


Luther and Calvin would never have conceived of having to parse the words “associate” or “assemble” because the potential of virtual worship was non-existent.  


However, the important question is: Can the marks and practices of a true church be exercised virtually?

  • Preaching and teaching of the Word: Yes
  • Prayer: Yes
  • Fellowship: Yes, but much more difficult and limited
  • Communion: Yes
  • Baptism: Yes, but….

** If the government requires strict social distancing that would prohibit baptisms, we would then obey the Word of God and continue to practice baptism.


Again, while not ideal, we would not say that having a virtual worship service is sinful or disobedience towards the Lord.


[5] Quoted from Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom pp. 11–12.

[6] Calvin, Institutes 4.1.9 (p. 1023).

[7] Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 865.


III. A Proper Godly Response


Q1: What should and can we do?


A1: The Bible commands us clearly to pray. 1 Timothy 2:1-3, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior…


The goal of our prayers is so that we can lead ‘tranquil and quiet’ lives in all godliness and dignity.  


A2: Be understanding: Realize that our Governor is in a very difficult position. If he opens things too soon and a lot of people die, he is blamed. If he opens it too slowly and the economy collapses, he will be blamed. Either way, too fast or too slow, everyone has an opinion and there is plenty of frustrated opponents against him either way. Our government leaders must make tough choices and we need to be understanding.


We don’t think that these restrictions are against religious gatherings in particular. They are simply in place for all large group gatherings in general. The restrictions have closed down all schools, sporting events, weddings, funerals, beaches, and any other large venue where people gather close together. The government has a plan for reopening again in the weeks to come, which is encouraging.


A3: Respectful Feedback to the Governor: If you wish to express your thoughts to the Governor, you can submit your thoughts via the state website. Again, it is good to be kind and understanding with constructive suggestions rather than argue a point or complain about tyranny. For example, you might ask him if churches might be allowed to fully open earlier with social distancing rules for the good of the community. Churches provide much needed services for the community's greater good, like encouragement and support for the unemployed, counseling, and spiritual guidance. Long rambling emails are not helpful.


A4: Be Patient and Tolerant to Preserve Unity: Ephesians 4:2-3 reminds us, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,  being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The struggles and stresses we are all facing are very real and understandable. Let’s be sure to show extra patience and tolerance so that the unity of God’s church is preserved without division (1 Cor 1:10).


A5: Focus on godly character & winning people to Jesus: It is notable that under the abuses of Rome, three major figures in the NT (Jesus, Paul, and Peter) did not seek to fight for rights, personal freedoms, or fight against the governing authorities. Why? Because “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12) Their focus was on winning the lost and proclaiming the truth. Yes, they did oppose false religious teachers who were leading the people spiritually astray, but they submitted themselves to the governing leaders even when mistreated. Paul, for example, was falsely accused of breaking Roman law. He and Silas were beaten badly, imprisoned and put in stocks. Were they railing about the ‘tyranny’ of Rome? Were they complaining about their unjust treatment? Did they say, “Enough! If we don’t fight back, the few freedoms we have will be taken and Rome will be like Assyria!” No. Acts 16:25 says they were “praying and singing hymns of praise to God.


A6: Model for your family what a godly attitude is like (from Pastor Joe):


“I’ve met pastors who have been truly persecuted; imprisoned, beaten, choked, and tortured for their faith. I’ve visited underground hidden churches where true believers would gather because the government has specifically targeted the church. And I still remember the words spoken to me 32 years ago by a persecuted house church pastor who simply said to me, “Don’t forget about us.” The attitude that seemed to be most prevalent among them was: Humility. Not defiance or rebelliousness. A humble spirit. Our country has little understanding of what governmental persecution is truly like in other countries.


During this pandemic, I’ve personally known many people both inside and outside of our church who have lost their jobs, businesses, or loved ones. I know of families where both the husband and wife have lost their jobs. They’ve been unemployed for a long time now. I’ve been visiting one husband’s wife who has contracted brain cancer and only has about two weeks left to live. Another husband I know of has already died. Most of these individuals are not Christians. One characteristic I’ve observed is that out of more than a dozen families or individuals, none of them have complained about the government or their employer. If non-Christians can show regard for the government when they’ve lost jobs or loved ones, shouldn’t Christians model the same attitude?


One person I called told me their spouse lost their small business during this pandemic and they lost 70% of their income. They have four young kids most in grade school. I asked them how I could pray for them. Did they ask for prayer for income, their jobs, or for good health? No.


The response was something like: “Pastor, I just have a lot of joy! I have so much praise to God. I am thankful and you can praise God.”  


Surprised, I said, “Yes, we all have much to be thankful for because we have more than we deserve. Do you have your needs met?”


“Yes, Pastor. We have enough to put food on the table every night…and when we have any left over, we try to give it away. You can pray that I might continue to have a heart full of joy.”


I thought: “That is the kind of heart the Lord wishes us to have.” James 1:2-4, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.


So focus on our spiritual battle - having a godly attitude and winning souls for Jesus.”


Q2: When is LHBC going to gather again?


A: It is the decision of the elder board to follow the plan of our government. There is a proposed plan from the Governor and timeline given by the Seattle Times found here if all goes according to their Phased Schedule (dates have been updated):

  • Phase 3: June 22nd (Monday) - larger gatherings of < 50 people
  • Phase 4: July 13th (Monday) - gatherings of > 50 people

This might mean that on the Sunday following Phase 3 (June 28), we might have in-person worship with a smaller group of attendees.


Then, on the Sunday following Phase 4 (July 19), we might have our first normal church gathering without size restrictions.


We are working on a transition plan. Depending on our governor’s office, perhaps we can gather sooner rather than later. We know it’s been hard on the church and everyone. There seems to be more questions than answers and it can be unsettling. We know, however, the Lord knows and cares for you all. We hope you can understand that LHBC’s elder board wishes to be Biblical with the decision we have made and submit to our governing authority.


In the meantime, let’s be joyful, patient and tolerant, preserve the unity of the church, grow together in Christ, and make the most of every opportunity to win souls for the Savior.


Soli Deo Gloria!


The Elder Board of LHBC