Second lockdown will create 'fear and isolation', says church leader

(Photo: Unsplash/Pedro Ramos)

Evangelical theologian Dr Ian Paul has warned that a second lockdown could create more problems than it solves.

The popular Christian blogger and Grove Books editor is one of the signatories to an open letter pleading with the respective governments of the UK not to close down churches for a second time. 

He told Sky News' Kay Burley that the Government "can't simply think about this virus in isolation" and must rather "consider all the implications". 

He said the lockdown was having a "huge effect" on people and that the Government needed to think more about the "spiritual dimension of life".

"[Lockdown] creates fear, it creates isolation," he said. 

"Those who are living on their own, those who are poor and don't have the luxury of large places to live in and gardens to visit, they disproportionately suffer." 

He went on to suggest that it was misguided of the Government to plan its response around any notions of 'beating' coronavirus.

"One of the things the virus has done is confront us with our own mortality," he said. 

"People die of diseases and we need to put the risks of Covid in the context of the fact that today in Britain, typically, 1,698 people will die tragically, and we need to look at the wider picture of what this is telling us." 

He added: "The spiritual dimension of life is really important. The Christian Church has a message of hope to offer the world." 

Over 800 church leaders and Christians from many different denominations have signed the letter to Boris Johnson and the first ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland pleading with them to keep churches open. 

In the letter, they warn that coronavirus restrictions are already having a "powerful dehumanising effect on people's lives, resulting in a growing wave of loneliness, anxiety and damaged mental health". 

They stress their support for "proportionate measures" to reduce the spread of Covid-19 but add that they "cannot support attempts to achieve these which, in our view, cause more damage to people, families and society – physically and spiritually – than the virus itself".

Another signatory to the letter, evangelical commentator David Robertson said that while it was possible for churches to worship online, not being able to gather together would be "a major hinderance" to its wider work. 

"We should be free to meet together, taking the appropriate precautions," he said.