When I started working with engineering students at The University of Texas at Austin, I was surprised at the number and range of acceptable answers to some engineering questions, depending on the students’ judgment, including the safety-margin that they considered.
You may be similarly surprised either when you get a second doctor’s different opinion regarding diagnosing and treating the same medical matter or when policymakers propose different solutions for the same problem.
Especially during these days of the coronavirus pandemic, we thank God when those who govern us faithfully fulfill their vocations using the best-possible scientific and medical advice. But, we also recognize both that such officials can be motivated by inappropriate political objectives and that their decisions may be limited by inadequate data and analysis or be made with either too much or too little caution.
As Christians we should avoid playing, as it were, Monday-morning scientist or policymaker and instead give scientists and policymakers their proper respect, though doing so is complicated by their conflicting and changing coronavirus conclusions and policies. As Pilgrim’s Gospel Reading for tomorrow reminds us (Matthew 16:21-28), Christians’ vocational focus should be not on human things but on Godly things, not on secular truth but on spiritual truth.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Truth (John 14:6), and He speaks the truth, and so His Word is true beyond any and all doubt. Jesus wants His followers to be united in true teaching and practice (John 15:7, 10; 17:8, 17, 20-21), and, yet, such unity does not exist, primarily because some do not continue in the teaching and practice put forth by His Word (Romans 16:17-18). The problem is not with God’s Word but with sinful human beings.
The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (1 Corinthians 3:19). We should not make science or policy, scientists or policymakers, our “god”. But, above all, we should fear, love, and trust in the Triune God, Who reveals to us Himself, the salvation from sin that He has accomplished for us in Christ Jesus, and how we, with repentance and faith, can receive that salvation through His Word and Sacraments.
For the Fall Quarter starting tomorrow, Pilgrim’s Sunday morning Adult Bible Class will be considering these and other Biblical considerations related to the coronavirus. All are invited and welcome either to join us live at 9:30 a.m. (in-person or electronically) or to listen later on-line.
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.