To Mask or Not to Mask … That Is the Divisive Question

by | Sep 28, 2020

Masks are dividing churches all around the country.

Some church members are willing to continue following government COVID-19 mandates to wear masks during worship services. But other members view masks as an intolerable interference in their worship of God and a dangerous precedent for increasing government overreach.

These tensions are especially acute in states or cities where governing authorities seem to be imposing more severe limitations on worship services than on other public gatherings.

The elders in my home church have spent many hours talking with members to hear their concerns and discuss ways that we can respond to these issues in a sensitive and biblically faithful manner. As a result, the vast majority of our members have decided to support our decision to continue following our state guidelines for masks and social distancing.

Other churches may face more intrusive government mandates, and some church leaders may decide to take a different course than we have. Even so, I would like to share the letter we have written to explain our decision, which I hope will be of value to other leaders as they navigate these same issues. As you will see, our letter explains our conclusions and convictions regarding these five key issues:

  1. The reality of the pandemic
  2. The motives of our government leaders
  3. The effectiveness of masks
  4. The Bible’s teaching on submission to civil authorities
  5. Why our church has been so shielded from COVID-19

To read the letter, click here.

~ Ken Sande

Group Study Resources

One of the best ways to equip your people to work through controversial issues constructively is to use our new group study materials to teach them the key principles of relational wisdom, which are designed to help people “get upstream of conflict.” These resources are now available at a 50% discount on DVD, flash drive for smart TVs and through web streaming.

Reflection Questions

  • In your opinion, why has the issue of masks become so emotional and so divisive within the church?
  • As you reflect on the New Testament Epistles, what issues caused similar divisions in the early church?
  • In what ways did early Christians seem to mishandle their differences on these issues?
  • How would the principles in the following passages help Christians to engage one another in a God-honoring and constructive way as they seek to resolve their differences over masks or other current cultural or political issues? Matt. 5:9; Matt. 7:12; Phil. 2:1-11; Col. 3:12-17; Rom. 12:17-18; Rom:14:1; Eph. 4:1-3)
  • How could each of the six skills of relational wisdom improve your ability to play a constructive role as your church navigates these issues?

Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like, including as a discussion paper for your staff, a small group study or a Sunday school class.

© 2020 Ken Sande

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