A sister told me that a Christian unfortunately died of the novel coronavirus. However, a believer who knew her assumed that there must be something bad in her which caused the "discipline of God".
He was deeply convinced that Christians shall be safe and free from the disease because God is powerful.
The individual phenomenon reflected a wrong theological concept, which is that Christians are immune to suffering.
The idea holds that the powerful and loving Lord must pull out his children from danger. As a result, Christians won't get sick; even if they suffer from diseases, they will eventually be healed. For those sick believers who are not cured, they must have erred in their speech or spiritual life.
Nonetheless, God has never promised that Christians will be spared from sufferings or remain safe in disasters, the reason being that the world is filled with calamities after the fall of man and nobody can escape that law.
During a plague outbreak in Xiamen in April 1910, many people died, including a missionary named Dr. Johannes Abraham Otte.
Despite taking safety measures, the doctor was infected and passed away at the age of 49. But his service to sick people won recognition from Christians and non-Christians, acclaimed as a man of nobility.
About a century later, some non-Christians who are fond of the culture of Gulangyu, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in Xiamen, held a memorial service for the doctor. He was even called "Norman Bethune of Xiamen".
From this case, we cannot conclude that any Christian who dies of a pestilence has ungodliness. This rhetoric is cold-blooded and against the truth.
Some emotionless Jewish people held a similar opinion when Jesus was crucified on the cross: he must have sinned against God... But that is not exactly the perspective of God.
As the prophet Isaiah writes:
"Yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed." (Isaiah 53:4-5)
This contrast shows that our legalistic view is not pleasing to God; instead we should imitate Jesus and mourn with those who mourn.
We must abandon this prosperity gospel and convey condolences for deceased Christians. May the Lord receive their spirits and comfort their families and friends.
- Translated by Karen Luo