Editor's Note: This is the sixth of a nine-part series, with a new installment presented every day in Charisma Digital Daily. You can access the previous story here. These articles are excerpted from Stephen E. Strang's God, Trump and COVID-19, which is now available to purchase. Click here to learn more.
We are dealing with many new realities as both Christians and Americans. It seems that we are in uncharted territory. To be honest, it almost seems right out of what the Bible said would be coming in the latter days. Everyone is adjusting to new terms, such as social distancing, a rapidly changing and volatile economy, and an uncertain future in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us have battled with feeling scared or worried and are facing a loss of a job or income. Is this the new normal? Or will this just be a season? These are questions even some of America's top faith leaders are praying about and asking the Lord right now.
One of the few times I went grocery shopping, I noticed that most grocery stores were out of many staple items, thanks to the virus. I had never seen anything like that before except for when I endured a few hurricanes down here in Florida. This is different. This is all over the nation-all over the world. We all had a hard time finding toilet paper, fresh meat, canned goods, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, rice, and flour as this panic has continued to grow.
At this time more than ever, the importance of living out biblical faith while also taking the findings of those in the medical field seriously has become increasingly clear. Jim Bakker must have felt the same because on February 6, just days before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus spread a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern" and a month before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, he talked about it on his show. Some of Bakker's critics, who never miss an opportunity to bash him, have done so again, mainly online, over COVID-19.
His guest on The Jim Bakker Show on February 12 (just as everyone was beginning to talk about this new Chinese virus) was Dr. Sherrill Sellman, a board-certified integrative naturopathic doctor. They had recorded the show six days earlier and talked about Silver Solution, a product Bakker has offered for more than ten years.
After his humiliation with the collapse of the PTL Network, Bakker has supported his ministry not only through donations but by offering Christian books and resources he believes in. Silver Solution is known to boost immunity, and I've used it myself. Bakker and Sellman began the program (which you can see online) that day by saying the product had not yet been tested on this new coronavirus, yet the implication was that it would strengthen your immune system. Somehow that was twisted into accusations that Bakker was selling a cure for coronavirus, and the fake news media went crazy. People suddenly remembered Bakker went to prison in the 1980s, and now they were saying this "huckster" was at it again.
In hindsight it would have been better for Bakker and his guest not to have mentioned the word coronavirus on the same show as a health product. But the virus was new, and I assume Bakker thought he was being helpful. The attorney general of Missouri issued a cease and desist order. Bakker complied and even offered to refund money, but that didn't satisfy his critics. The internet suddenly exploded with condemnations of Bakker. Finally I decided to write an op-ed on Charisma News setting the record straight.
I opined that from my perspective of covering him for four decades, I believe Jim Bakker is a sincere man who merely wants to spread the gospel and help people. Has he made mistakes? He's the first to admit it. And he's paid a high price for those mistakes. I believe the Lord has humbled him.
This controversy over Silver Solution is just one account of how the media have targeted Christians and ministries during this time to continue their anti-God narrative and secular, progressive attacks.
Eventually the COVID-19 pandemic will end, this controversy will finally be settled, and I believe Jim will also be fully vindicated. I also believe he's right to emphasize how a strong immune system contributes to good health, just like my friend Dr. Don Colbert, a Spirit-filled medical doctor and Charisma House author. Dr. Colbert is just one of a host of Christians right now in medicine, basic research, and public health who are using their God-given gifts to understand and fight this disease.
I believe strongly that God has given us a powerful and miraculous immune system to fight off the possible trillions of viruses in the world. Many of today's processed foods and GMOs directly target our immune system. This only solidifies the case to build our immunity and practice wisdom in our eating habits.
Dr. Colbert told me that, first of all, as Christians we must approach this pandemic with faith and not fear. We must pray Psalm 91 over ourselves and our families: "Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter and from the deadly pestilence" (Ps. 91:3).
"Read the Word out loud over yourself and your family every day, and then receive that word by faith and don't live in fear," Colbert said. I would add that we should plead the blood of Jesus over ourselves and our loved ones each day and truly put on the full armor of God. After all, in many ways this is what we have trained for.
But that doesn't mean that following practical advice isn't important. And understanding some basics of how viruses operate will alleviate some of our fears about the coronavirus. In the early days of the pandemic we knew little about the symptoms or how the virus was spread or even how bad it would be. For example, some people freaked out over having a runny nose or productive cough, not realizing they likely didn't have the coronavirus, which produces a dry cough.
As the virus news started to spread, many people felt they may have had it. But most of it was psychosomatic. I remember hearing Vice President Pence say in one of his briefings that nine out of ten people tested for the virus (fearing they had it) tested negative. But people became increasingly worried, and some even panicked over regular cold or flu-like symptoms. At the time, testing was not easily accessible, and people had been listening to the dire predictions of the news and the media's apocalyptic models.
Many had felt that President Trump was going to use his Emergency Powers Act authority to close down the country, but instead, he set up a task force that consequently gave Americans a set of guidelines to follow and empowered the states and local governments in accordance with the Constitution and intentions of the founding fathers. Initially the guidelines were meant to be for fifteen days, but they ended up being for 45 days to slow the spread.
To be continued in God, Trump and COVID-19. To purchase the full book now, click here.
Never miss another Spirit-filled news story again. Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.
Three Summer Deals from Charisma: