We live in an age of scientism and rationalism. To suggest that a viral disease has a spiritual identity appears on the face of it ludicrous. But look at it this way. Yes, the coronavirus is an intracellular organism, an infectious agent. Its composition and agency are observable. But its identity as a pathogen can also be spiritual, if we look at what results from its presence. COVID-19 does more than cause physical suffering. There are also spiritual ramifications.
We are all learning that there are profound social and financial costs to COVID-19. Travel, consumerism, the stock market, even toilet paper are collateral consequences. But consider the spiritual impact. For the first time in America’s history, churches nationwide have been shuttered. Sunday morning congregational worship is non-existent. A tiny virus has hindered corporate prayer, worship, and giving.
I understand the necessity of stopping the spread of disease. But whatever the motive, the facts are incontestable. Many churches and Christian ministries are fighting for survival, including us. Tithes and donations have dried up. Mission programs are stifled. Mortgages and rents are coming due. Marginalized Christians who irregularly attended church, now have an excuse to stay home, and many won’t be back. They’ll fall victim to all kinds of evil without the support of a preaching pastor and a caring community. That’s what I mean when I say that this virus is spiritual in nature.
There may be some good things that come of this. Families will spend more time together at home. People will learn to live without professionally performed praise music. Some pastors may get more real about human need with less emphasis on feel-good theology. But if this pandemic lingers, the fallout is going to change the face of American Christianity into something unrecognizable at present. Our ministry, for example, is being prohibited from ministering deliverance in person by way of seminars because of social distancing edicts. The devil’s got to be happy with that. We’re fighting back with weekly live-streaming ministry on YouTube. We still meet privately with people for encounters at our ministry center in Phoenix, Arizona. And we cast out demons daily on Skype. We’re determined that if coronavirus is spiritual, we’re going to wage spiritual warfare more than ever!