North Point Community Church pastor Andy Stanley, who on July 14th declared that his church doors would be officially closed until the new year, announced that they would slowly start to open up some of their churches in the next few months, having their first adult in-person services in almost a year.
During Stanley’s July announcement that the 40,000 member megachurch was closing, he cited risk of their congregants getting COVID-19 as the primary factor (with fear of giving a subpar “worship experience” as a secondary one). He pointed out that if anyone attending church in any of their services got the virus, Northpoint would be responsible for all contract tracing, which from their perspective would be impossible to track and trace successfully.
Since then, he has repeatedly argued that it would be unloving and a bad witness for his church to open up, getting defensive and prickly when people chide him for it, such as when John MacArthur called him out.
Yet it appears that he changed his mind despite an even greater difficulty to contact trace and protect his people.
On the day that Stanley announced North Point was closing due to coronavirus fears, there were 2462 new cases and 24 deaths.
Now, on the day they announced a staggered reopening, there were 8924 cases and 164 death, numbers which are expected only to rise in the next few months, leading one to wonder about his logic for closing in the first place given the magnitudal change.
This is especially true in light of the comments by Bill Willits, North Point’s executive director of ministry environment, who told The Christian Post:
Our other campuses will be reopening when we can ensure a safe experience and adequate spacing for adults, students, and kids at the same time…
So we are starting with a staggered approach focusing on our children and student environments. Of course, anything we do is predicated that there [will not be] a rise in the number or severity of COVID cases, school closings, and hospital bed limitations.”
They closed the church when the numbers were low, started opening when they were 4-6 times worse than when they closed, and now are saying they may abandon their plans to reopen if the cases get worse?
That makes about as much sense as when Stanley said that “God did not command people to gather for church.”
Willits further revealed they are slowly starting to accept limited services for students at 3 of their 7 churches, with the possibility of starting some services for adults in February or March in the Browns Bridge, East Cobb, and Woodstock City locations, with the other congregations left to rot in ecclesiastical purgatory until God knows when.
We can only hope by then that most of the congregants have left to find biblical churches in the area and that when North Point reopens, they find their attendance at least cut in half, the consequences of their sin and disobedience on full display for the world to see.
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