PANDEMICS AND THE CHURCH AND STATE IN HISTORY
It is helpful to hear from a Christian scholar from Nigeria as we often get caught up in our individual nation’s politics and lose sight of our global Christian witness, purpose and history. Here Dr. Bernard B. Fyanka, Redeemer’s University Ede, Osun State Nigeria, provides an insightful analysis of the church and state as both encounter a pandemic.
The conclusion to his analysis states:
” In my opinion, the central agitation of the church with regards to this pandemic and possible pandemics in the future should have been over the designation of the churches as entities providing essential and emergency services. This characterization should be based on the original basis of the relationship between the church and state in which the church is viewed as a charitable organization providing medical, social and spiritual relief to communities.The emphasis of the church should not have been on rights to congregate but rights to work inparallel status with doctors, nurses, police, and other emergency services in providing much-needed relief. Finally, as opined by the catholic church, ‘the Church has direct authority fromGod Himself over the exercise of religion and the meaning of faith and morals. But this authority does not preclude cooperation with legitimate governmental entities in fostering the common good, which in fact is required by the Church’s own moral teaching.”
Free Methodist Bishop Emeritus David Kendall notes: “Dr. Fyanka’s point, as I understand it, is that the church is not called to protect and advocate for its own rights,