Advice & resources
In view of our challenge statements, we offer the following recommendations. These are not a part of the statements themselves, but our own interpretation of how wisely to respond to our times:
Start with personal repentance & reform
Of first priority, we must turn back from our personal complicity in lawlessness. We must humble ourselves before God, seek his forgiveness, and confess any:
- Lingering or besetting sins in our lives;
- Hesitance to do boldly what we know to be good and true;
- Willingness to go along with what we know to be wicked and false;
- Other compromises we have allowed against the holiness that Christ requires.
We must further determine to continually conform our lives to God’s law, to build our households in his service, and to establish a legacy of children who will do the same. Only then can we be found qualified to build God’s house.
Hebrews 12:1–2; Ephesians 4:22–24; Romans 6:6; Colossians 3:8–9; 1 Corinthians 9:24–27; James 1:21–22; 4:6–10; 2 Chronicles 15:2; 1 Timothy 3:4
Make good-faith efforts to reform your church
A church is a body, and separating from it should be undertaken no less lightly than amputing a limb. A member of a church has a duty to that body, and should follow the process laid out by our Lord for seeking the repentance of errant brothers. Therefore, if your church is compromised, you should not immediately remove yourself, but rather approach your pastors and lay before them your case. While you are welcome to use the facts and arguments from our challenge statements, we would counsel you not to simply share this website—doing so may be interpreted as inflammatory. We also cannot speak to your specific church situation. Better to use your own words, humbly but boldly laying the facts about COVID-19 before your pastors, alongside God’s requirements for them as rulers in his Church.
If they will not listen, and you are able to gather two or three others to press the matter, this is the next step. If they are still unrepentant, and you are able to bring it before the church, that is the final step of our Lord’s process for seeking repentance. After this, if the church itself will not listen, you are free.
Zechariah 1:3; Malachi 3:7; Ezekiel 18:32; 33:6; Luke 15:20; 17:3; Ephesians 4:25–32; Matthew 18:15–17; Leviticus 19:17; James 5:19–20
Separate from any church that will not repent
As part of every man’s pursuit of personal holiness, he should allocate his time and strength wisely. He should therefore not give his strength to futile efforts of reform. If he is in a church that, after having heard his case, refuses to perform its duties to Christ, and remains plagued by credulousness, cowardice, or corruption, he should conclude that it has lost its lampstand. The process our Lord lays out in Matthew 18 requires that you treat such a church as apostate. In practice, regardless of their intentions, they are asserting the right of the State over Christ. In so doing, they are functionally denying him as lord, rejecting the gospel of his kingship, repudiating him as head, and taking a different god. No one who intentionally rejects Christ as head can be a member of his body. Therefore, no church that persistently and conscientiously asserts the right of any other power over what Christ has claimed can be part of the true Church. They are cut off from the kingdom of heaven, are objects of his wrath, and are destined to destruction unless they turn and repent.
Romans 6:16; James 4:4; Matthew 6:24; Luke 6:40; 11:23; Acts 2:36–38; 2 Corinthians 11:12–15; Galatians 2:4; Philippians 1:5; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1; 1 John 5:21; Psalm 37:28, 34; Romans 11:22; Revelation 21:8; 22:15; 1 Corinthians 16:22; Colossians 3:14; Galatians 1:8–9; Ephesians 4:15–16; 1 Peter 2:7–8
Christ himself is clear that those who honour God with their lips but teach as doctrine the commandments of men, are hypocrites, and worship him in vain because their heart is far from him. What is a church doing, but this, when it teaches as the doctrine of worship the commandments of the State? Similarly, no cowards nor idolaters will inherit the kingdom, but their part is in the lake of fire. What is a church, if not cowardly and idolatrous, when out of fear it submits to the State as head, instead of Christ?
Ephesians 5:15–16; Matthew 15:7–9; John 19:15; 1 Samuel 8:7; Revelation 2:5; 21:8
God is judging our nation, and judgment begins with the house of God. One of the repeated patterns of judgment in Scripture is God’s hardening of people in their sins, blinding them in order to give them over to these. Therefore, if a church will not hear the word of her Lord, we should assume she has been put under this kind of judicial stupor. No one can stay God’s hand, so trying to reform such a church would be futile, a waste of energy—and worse, may even be fighting against God himself. We should therefore, after diligently seeking reform, “come out from among them.” We cannot remain as members of a body who will not have Christ for its head. And we cannot make them take Christ for their head. Far better to give our strength to the urgent and neglected work that God has commanded as primary: of laboring beside those who have not bowed the knee to Baal, to reform our nation through the Great Commission.
1 Peter 4:17; Jeremiah 25:29; Ezekiel 9:6; Amos 3:2; John 12:36–43; Isaiah 6:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:11; 3:13–15; Exodus 7:3–5; 9:16; 1 Kings 22:22; Ezekiel 14:9; Revelation 17:17; 18:4; Romans 1:24–32; 2:8; 16:17; 2 Chronicles 13:12; Acts 5:39; 1 Corinthians 5:9–13; 2 Corinthians 6:14–18; Matthew 10:14–15
While this may mean separating from people whom we judge sincere in trying to love God and neighbor, we must put our faith in God: that he is polarizing his Church to provide us a way of escape from the temptation to lukewarmness. In Christ’s gracious providence, we are no longer able to claim his headship and still please the world. We must choose his side, even if those we love do not, for “he that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,” and “if any man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
Psalm 1:1; 40:4; 101:3; 125:5; Deuteronomy 29:18; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Revelation 3:16; James 4:4; Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26; 2 John 10
Pray for those you separate from
As we all labor in this work, we must remain faithful in prayer that God would grant repentance to compromised churches and their members. We should earnestly desire this, knowing that there is a fearful expectation of judgment for those who have trampled the law of Christ. We must also be ready to forgive those who later repent, receiving them back as brothers and fellow-laborers, without bitterness or further division.
Daniel 9:3–19; Nehemiah 1:4–8; Ezra 10:1; Hebrews 10:26–31; Matthew 5:9, 46–48; 10:14–15; Luke 12:47–48; 2 Peter 2:21; John 9:41; James 4:11–12; 2 Timothy 2:25
Join or plant an uncompromised church & stand up for Christ’s rule
This includes preaching the gospel, doing apologetics, engaging in civil disobedience—but most of all, going to church regardless of what the State says about it. Refuse to wear a mask. Refuse to be vaccinated. Travel freely. Have no part in the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather even expose them. Learn your legal rights, but even more importantly, do not let God’s law depart from your mouth.
Acts 5:29; Matthew 10:16–39; James 1:12; 1 Peter 3:14–17; Ephesians 5:11; Joshua 1:8–9
Gathered worship is not an incidental feature of the Church; it is a defining one. Christians who refuse to participate in it, or try to replace it with online meetings, should not expect a commendation from the Lord. We must make participation in a faithful church the top priority of our lives, even if it means relocating.
Hebrews 10:23–26; Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 11:25; Matthew 6:33
If you are not able to find a church, Repent NZ was created to help you. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are creating a resources section for this website. Until then, check out:
- Worship is Warfare
- Worship as Our Warfare
- Not Enough Faith To Worship
- All of Life Is Worship
- Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions.
- Voices For Freedom
- New Zealand Bill of Rights Act
- New Zealand Human Rights Act
- Free To Be Church
- National Religion lecture series by Gavin Beers
- The Religious Significance of Covid
- Romans 13 and Civil Disobedience to Unconstitutional and Unjust Laws
Appendix: Guidelines for honouring disobedient magistrates
The governing principle of our attitude to the magistrate is to keep in view God’s de jure authority, rather than the magistrate’s de facto authority.
In other words, the office is over the man. We owe honour to the magistrate because we owe honour to God, and he is God’s servant. Because we honour God’s authority, we honour the man appointed to the office of representing that authority; but we honour him differently depending on whether or not he is faithfully representing the authority by faithfully executing the office.
When a man is faithful in the office, there is a direct connection between the honour due the office, and the honour due the man. When he is not, the connection is broken, and it is our duty to honour the office (i.e., the authority of God), by calling the man to repentance, and respectfully resisting him when necessary.
We do this, not because we are rebellious, but because we are submissive—to God—and the magistrate is rebellious. We honour him by refusing to participate in, aid, or abet his rebelliousness against the God we are both supposed to serve.
Although it is possible to honour the office while dishonouring the man, as Paul did by sarcastically “not recognizing” the high priest in Acts 23:5, this should be reserved for extreme cases. As the word “honour” would imply, our default posture to the magistrate should be respectful—even when we are resisting him (Ex 22:28). Thus we do not resist violently, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual (Mt 10:16; 2 Cor 10:4–5). The ministry of the sword belongs to the State, not to the Church. The Church cannot solve the problem of the State rebelling against Christ, by rebelling itself in taking up a ministry not granted to it. Rather, we resist peacefully by:
- Praying for the salvation of our magistrates (1 Tim 2:1–4; Ezra 6:10);
- Obeying them and doing good to them when we can (1 Pet 2:16; Mt 5:41);
- Ignoring their unlawful commands when we cannot (Acts 5:29);
- Fleeing from their unlawful use of the sword (Mt 10:23; Acts 9:23–25);
- Publicly holding them to their own laws (Acts 16:37–39; 22:25–29);
- Bearing witness to Christ before them when we are arrested (Mt 10:18–20; Acts 24:24–26; Phil 1:12–14);
- Fearlessly enduring to the end for the sake of the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Mt 10:22, 26, 31, 39; 2 Tim 4:7–8).
As we take up the duty of speaking to our magistrates about God’s demands on them, we should make it our practice to do so sincerely. This means we can be neither obsequious (pretending a respect for them which we do not have), nor contemptuous (villifying them beyond cause)—but rather frank and direct, fearing God, and desiring their repentance.
We must not to be swayed from this by the many Christians, influenced by the spirit of our age, who will interpret this as “rude” or “unchristlike.” God has provided a model for our speech in his Scripture—the recordings of the many words spoken by his prophets, apostles, and his own Son. To deny that we should imitate how they “spoke truth to power” is to deny Christ’s lordship over our speech, and the sufficiency of Scripture for the good work of calling our magistrates to repentance.