What did Martin Luther and Charles Spurgeon have in common? Both Christian leaders dealt with the challenge of plagues and pestilence, in their day. Luther, the 16th century German Reformer, and his wife, Kate, ministered to the sick when the Black Death descended upon their city of Wittenberg. Spurgeon, one of England’s finest preachers of the 19th century, was a 20-year-old young pastor, when a cholera epidemic swept through London.
The mortality rate for COVID-19 is high, but the rate was even far worse for the Black Death (up to 1 out of 4 people died) and London’s cholera (around 5.5 percent).
I recently read a great article by UK author Glen Scrivener, that briefly chronicles these and several other examples of how Christians faced plagues, pestilence, and pandemics in the past. Today’s coronavirus pandemic is new to many of us, but we have much to learn from believers who lived before us, who can show us examples of how followers of Jesus sought to love others, in difficult and scary times, and how the church was able to survive such challenges.
Along those same lines, I also read a great article by C.S. Lewis, whereby you can substitute the word “atomic bomb” with “coronavirus” and gain some of the Oxford don’s encouraging insight. Below is a video podcast featuring Glen Scrivener expanding upon the themes in his article.