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  • Writer's pictureMark Whitten

Whether One May Flee from a Deadly Plague [part 2]

This is part two to an abridged version of Martin Luther's pamphlet addressed to the Reverend Doctor Johann Hess, pastor at Breslau, and to his fellow-servants of the gospel of Jesus Christ, adapted for the Corona Virus of 2020 and any subsequent biological terrors released upon the earth henceforth, by Mark Whitten April 27, 2020. Unless indicated by quotation marks, the text is primarily paraphrased and/or adapted.

Likewise, those who serve in public offices and critical capacities, such as mayors, judges, sheriffs, first-responders, medical professionals, food suppliers, and other workers essential to infrastructure and the orderly operation and maintenance of our society should remain at their designated posts until the threat has subsided or another can take his or her place. This too is evidenced in God's word, in that it sanctions secular authorities to rule, protect, punish, and preserve society. The apostle Paul teaches in Romans 13:4 that "The governing authorities are God's ministers for your own good."

To abandon one's community, that he or she has been called to serve in such a crisis, and expose it to other dangers such as fires, riots, looting, violence and every other manner of crime, would be unconscionable, cowardly and considered a great sin in the eyes of God. A community abandoned by the people it relies upon most during a crisis, would be an idyllic environment for the enemy to exploit for his murderous purposes; one in which he could wreak much unchallenged havoc. In the context of the local or national "family", Paul issues a stern admonition, "Anyone who does not provide for his own family denies the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." [1 Timothy 5:8]

As a concession, if in great weakness, the public servants and essential workers decide to flee in fear, or for the legitimate concern of immediate family, they may do so if a capable substitute is provided for to "make sure that the community is well governed and protected" in their absence.

Whatever applies to these two offices as mentioned above (church and public servant), should also apply to persons who are in a relationship of service or duty to another person. For example, someone who works in hospice, critical care or regularly looks after the elderly, the infirmed, the disabled, or orphaned children should by no means abandoned their commitment to serve and help those who cannot help themselves. Nor should an employer whose business can be sustained during crisis, abandon his or her employees to joblessness unless suitable provision for their care can be made in his or her absence. For it is God's command that servants be obedient to their masters "...and by the same token, masters...should take care of their servants." [Ephesians 6:5-9]

Likewise, mothers and fathers are bound by God's law to care for their children, and older children to care for their aging parents. In the same sense, paid public servants such as health department workers, children and family service workers, tax collectors, clerks, constables, road workers and public utility personnel, etc. should not flee unless capable substitutes are in place and and ready to fill the vacated position.

To be continued...

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