Question:

Brethren,

I really appreciate the wealth of information contained on your website and it has been very helpful and insightful. I do have a current concern with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been a few articles in your archive where some have inquired about proper worship as individuals as opposed to being in the assembly. For instance, someone had written about worshiping God over the internet and your writers did an excellent job of explaining that worship must occur when we come together (I Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:17-20; 14:23; Ephesians 5:19 and, of course, Hebrews 10:23-26). However, with the COVID-19, we are being ordered, or strongly encouraged, to avoid group assemblies over ten people to avoid the spread of this virus. For this reason, since we are physically unable to "come together" due to these circumstances, our congregation has live-streamed a skeleton service with five brothers involved while practicing social distancing protocol. For those who are present, we sing, pray, preach a sermon, take communion and ask members to mail or pay online their offering. I've heard some preachers explain during this type of service that taking communion from your home during the live-stream is all right since we've come together through social media. I'm not sure that I'm convinced by that thought. Initially, I informed the congregation that we would not take communion but some were insistent on doing so for conscience sake. I did not forbid them from doing so but explained that I did not believe it to be a requirement under these circumstances.

Since our actions are temporary, does it appear our service is not in spirit and not in truth? I felt our actions were appropriate and I based it on the first-century churches worshiping from their homes on occasions (Romans 16:3-5; I Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2; Acts 16:25; Revelation 1:10; Acts 28:30-31).

Please provide some additional insight into this matter, if you can.

Thank you.

Response:

Jeffrey,

Thank you very much for the four articles, which were exceptionally helpful. I shared all of the articles with our elders since one of them was really struggling with us not having a full assembly, though he has canceled worship on a number of occasions when our area received some heavy snowstorms. I also shared the first article with the entire congregation and it was a game-changer. They were very, very receptive to that information - perhaps, because it was not originating directly from me.

Again, thank you for your timely followup.

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