Modern church approach to Coronavirus superior to early church response to plague
With many countries in lockdown as a result of the Coronavirus it was only a matter of time before Christians started comparing the modern church’s approach to that of the early church’s response to the Cyprian Plague (249-262 AD).
This second pandemic, thought to be a disease related to Ebola, was named after the Bishop of Carthage, who gave a colourful account of this disease in his sermons:
“The intestines are shaken with a continual vomiting; the eyes are on fire with the infected blood; that in some cases the feet or some parts of the limbs are taken off by the contagion of diseased putrefaction.”
At its height this epidemic is estimated to have killed 5,000 people a day in the city of Rome alone. His fellow bishop, Dionysius of Alexandria, commented on the pagan reaction to the plague:
“At the first onset of the disease, they pushed the sufferers away and fled from their dearest, throwing them into the roads before they were dead and treating unburied corpses as dirt, hoping thereby to avert the spread and contagion of the fatal disease; but do what they might, they found it difficult to escape.”
However, whilst non-Christians fled to the country, the Christians remained and Dionysius recounts how the Early Church responded to this plague:
“Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbours and cheerfully accepting their pains,”
“Naturally, many of these early Christians died from this plague because they didn’t understand about germs and viruses,” explains Pastor Bob, “that was irresponsible! Who knows how many people they cross-infected! How does that honour Christ?”
“They only took that action because the government did nothing so it’s not culturally relevant to us today,” comments renowned theologian Dr Grey.
Pastor Jenkins adds, “With the advances of modern medicine and a democratic government, there’s no need for Christians to lay down our lives to show sacrificial kindness. We can best support others by following the advice of the medical professionals by staying at home and praying for people from a distance. The government is more than able to sort out the rest.”
This sensible modern day approach has meant that Christians have been protected from the needless deaths caused by the early church’s response.
Christian Blogger, Chad adds, “Our approach is also far more humble, whereas the Early Church Bishop, Eusebius, commented that the Christians’ ‘deeds were on everyone’s lips, and they glorified the God of the Christians’ we have seen people praise nurses and glorify the god of free healthcare for all which is a far better outcome.”
Figures suggest that this new approach has seen the church protected from a massive influx of new converts which plagued (no pun intended) the Early Church after their sacrificial service during the…err…plague.
“Steady growth is the way to go, prevents newcomers sittin’ in people’s chairs, not knowin’ how to act proper or even havin’ to sit too close together. Heck! That ain’t gonna help nobody,” concludes Pastor Steve.
Reporter: John Spencer aka Not the Bible