The overwhelming majority of churches in The Bahamas have been in lockdown mode since March, with the Minnis administration putting in place curfew measures aimed at restricting the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on First World countries such as Italy, Spain, China and the United States.
An outbreak in The Bahamas would be catastrophic, with our Third World healthcare system.
Virtually every sphere of the Bahamian society has been negatively impacted by COVID-19, inclusive of the church.
As a corporate body, believers are enjoined by scripture to meet regularly to worship, fellowship and partake of the Eucharist, which is a symbolic reminder of our Lord’s vicarious death on the cross of Calvary two millennia ago.
Both the church and government are divinely established institutions.
Both have different roles to play.
Protestant reformer Martin Luther argued that while the government ministers to the outward man, the church ministers to the inward man.
With approximately two months since the implementation of the weekend curfews, some clergymen are now expressing concerns that the Minnis administration is infringing on the prerogative of the church to hold corporate worship service.
I will not speak to any particular clergyman, but I am beginning to wonder if certain ministries have an underlying motive in publicly opposing the Minnis administration.
I don’t think it is political. I believe it is monetarily motivated.
Some men of the cloth are missing the tithes and offerings which poured into the church coffers each Saturday and Sunday.
In fairness, there are many godly pastors who labor in the ministry because of their love for the Lord and his church. And then there are others with ulterior motives, who are only in ministry to collect a fat check.
Ministry is big business. Church is big business.
I know of one pastor of a 500-member church who earned about $72,000 annually, not counting the outrageous financial perks the church gave him and his family.
All this pastor had to do was buy food, as the members virtually paid for everything else.
I know of another of a 20-member congregation who paid himself a whopping $1,500 weekly salary, despite the church only having about $7,000 in savings.
It is stories such as these that help one to understand why The Bahamas is teeming with churches, despite the myriad of moral and social issues plaguing us.
As a Christian, I believe very much in giving to the ministry in order to help in advancing God’s kingdom agenda on Earth.
Believers are instructed by 2 Corinthians 9:6-7; Philippians 4:14-19; Deuteronomy 16:16-17 and Malachi 3:8-12 to give, as such is an act of worship.
The issue thousands of Bahamian parishioners face today is that they have no income coming in, with the unexpected loss of thousands of jobs.
Consequently, even had Minnis allowed churches to hold corporate worship services, few parishioners would be able to give anything, other than an offering from their NIB-issued unemployment benefits.
Like everyone else, pastors who are stuck in the age of the Neanderthals must simply learn to adjust and adapt by becoming computer literate and utilizing Facebook Zoom, YouTube and other media outlets to get their Bible messages to their quarantined members.
Also, those taking issue with the weekend curfews should shame the devil by speaking the truth.
Most Bahamians are quite aware of the underlying motives behind the protests. It has absolutely nothing to do with corporate worship, as believers can do that at home like the first Christians did in the Book of Acts.
You are not fooling anyone.
— Kevin Evans