Obeying God

If the government tells us we cannot meet in God's House (church) because of social distancing or any other reason, must we not follow God rather than man? I have searched the website and see nothing about the current situation.

Within a few hours of submitting your question, the WELS Conference of Presidents released the following question and answer.

How will congregations handle government restrictions on public gatherings?

Various governmental bodies have either advised or mandated that no public meetings with more than 50 people be held. Additional restrictions may be imposed in the future. Some may be asking the question, “Is this a time when we should obey God rather than men?”

A couple things should be remembered.

1. The Fourth and Fifth Commandments apply in a situation like this. We are to obey and respect the governing authorities as they carry out their God-given responsibilities, and we are to do all we can to protect our neighbors and keep them from harm.

2. At the same time God certainly desires that Christian gather together regularly for worship.

3. In limiting the size of worship gatherings, the government is not attempting to deny our freedom of religion. Rather, government authorities have issued mandates that they believe will protect citizens from harm.

4. Since all of these biblical principles are valid, it is legitimate for our congregations to strive to comply with governmental regulations on the one hand and, on the other, to find alternate means to enable God’s people to be fed with Word and sacrament.

5. Recognize that this is an extraordinary opportunity to let our light shine as congregations and their members look for ways to serve the people in their communities in Christian love.