Update on Coronavirus

As promised, the executive leadership has made a decision regarding our direction for the rest of the Spring semester. See below for our communication to our students. I am thankful that Phoenix Seminary can continue its mission during this season, even if it is not our preferred mode. Please continue to pray for the Seminary, our students, our donors, and the churches in Phoenix. These are trying times but they can be the perfect opportunities to show Christ to the watching world.

Dear Phoenix Seminary community,

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives and our institutions, and there is no apparent end in sight. Because uncertainties remain, we want to give you clear direction for the remainder of the semester.

We care about you and your well-being during this time. Please reach out to your professor, Student Service Adviser (SSA), or me if you have needs or prayer requests. We want to come alongside your local church to help you through this period of trial.

This is a time for shepherding. Our purpose has never been clearer. I pray you are taking what you are learning and applying it to the people who are hurting and scared in your life.

Brian Arnold signature

Dr. Brian J. Arnold
President, Phoenix Seminary

Christians and Coronavirus

How should Christians respond to the coronavirus? From what I see and hear, there is growing panic, even in the church. But fear is not the Christian way. The Apostle Paul reminds us that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7).

This reminds me of the story of John Wesley. He was on his way to America to evangelize but had the suspicion that he was not yet converted himself. And on that voyage across the Atlantic, a sudden and fierce storm arose, tossing the HMS Simmonds back and forth across the waves. Wesley feared for his life.

What shocked him, however, was the German Pietists on board the vessel called the Moravians. No matter how rough the seas became, they sat fearless, singing songs of praise and entrusting themselves to God’s providence. After the storm calmed, Wesley asked one of them, “Were you not afraid?” and they replied, “I thank God, no.”  Then Wesley continued, “But were not your women and children afraid?” The Moravian answered: “No, our women and children are not afraid to die.” Wesley had never seen such calm in the face of danger, and it changed his life. Not long after he came to saving faith in Christ.

As Christians, we can have the calm spirit of the Moravians. People are watching how we respond to this pandemic. Is our hope in this life like the rest of the world? Or do we entrust ourselves to a God of providence who commands even microscopic viruses? Should we take precautions and use wisdom? Absolutely! Should we panic and fear? Absolutely not.

The reality is that I cannot add a single day to my life. Neither can you. God recorded how many days we would have before we was born. As the Psalmist writes: “in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16).

My goal is to testify to God’s greatness for as many days I have and then to go to glory with him when those days are over. As Paul said, “we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:9).

Let’s show the world that we believe this! Let your faith be far greater than your fear.

Brian Arnold signature

Dr. Brian J. Arnold
President, Phoenix Seminary