April 26, 2020

Dear Members of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors,

My name is Dean Davis. I am a 72-year-old retired pastor. My wife and I have lived in Sonoma County for nearly 40 years. We love our home and our community. I am writing to thank you for your efforts to protect our county during COVID-19 epidemic, but also to express some deep and growing concerns.

Let me begin with the thanksgiving. The coronavirus was indeed “novel.” Back in January we knew little about its behavior or degree of lethality. Reports from Wuhan, Italy, and later New York, were alarming. It is understandable that leaders at all levels of government would turn to epidemiologists and public health officers for counsel, and that, at least for a season, they would follow their advice implicitly. I believe all involved acted in good faith, seeking to protect the citizenry. In the absence of better information, stern protocols, including SIP guidelines/orders, made sense. Having some personal experience with the challenges of leadership, I am well acquainted with “the lonely howl of the top dog.” So I sincerely thank you for leading us as diligently, patiently, and conscientiously as you have sought to do.

That said, my primary purpose in this letter is to express a deep concern. Stated simply, it is this: I now believe that the continued shuttering of small businesses, the closing of schools and parks, and the prohibition of gatherings for worship, service, and recreation, is doing great harm to what the Bible refers to as the shalom of our community: its overall physical and spiritual well-being. In other words, I believe that there is more than one way to sicken and die, and that lasting victory in this battle will only be secured if we constantly keep this crucial fact in full view.

Permit me to unpack that last paragraph a little further.

While I make no claim to expert medical knowledge, it seems clear enough now that the COVID-19 virus—as opposed, say, to the Spanish flu, the Asian flu, or the Hong Kong flu—is not especially lethal. Yes, it definitely poses a serious threat to the elderly, and to younger victims with certain underlying conditions. Such persons should, of course, be conscientiously protected. But again, nationwide, and certainly in California, well over 99% of those who contract this virus will recover. Most will experience mild to moderate symptoms, and some will not even know they have it. As the young and healthy recover, herd immunity, our best defense against future epidemics, will be established; indeed, it is now clear that in California this has already been achieved to a significant extent. Happily, hospitals are now well equipped; a number of treatments are already preventing deaths and mitigating symptoms; others should soon be on line, including, we hope, a vaccine. Importantly, a comparative study of world and national data shows that we cannot necessarily ascribe low death rates to early lockdowns, or high death rates to late lockdowns. Other factors, such as weather, air quality, age of the local populace, the overall health of the community, and the extent of herd immunity, appear to be involved. On this score, California and Sonoma County seem especially blessed. We should take good advantage of this mercy.

More could be said on this point, but here is my conclusion: There may indeed be an occasional pandemic of such severity as to justify a severe and protracted economic lockdown, but this is not one of them. Accordingly, many are now asking, “In locking down the economy as we have, did we overreact?” Well, given that we knew so little about the virus, perhaps not. But now that we know so much more, we dare not continue down this path.

Permit me, then, to share a few personal thoughts about how we might best preserve the temporal shalom of Sonoma County. In sharing them, I will refer to some of the basic teachings of the Bible. This will give you a window into the thinking of the thousands of Christians living in our area. It will also reveal how sweetly biblical teaching accords with common sense notions of human flourishing.

Shalom requires work. God himself worked when he created the universe. In Paradise he gave mankind work to do. In the Mosaic Law he ordained that his people work for six days of the week, then rest on the seventh. Christ entered the world to work for our redemption. The message of Scripture is: Work is essential for human flourishing. The implication is: Forcing people to remain idle at home can only undermine their shalom.

Shalom requires commerce. God created mankind to be a family, and each family member to have gifts and talents that the others need. The health of the family depends upon the free exercise of these gifts, and also on the free exchange of goods and services that results from them. If an entrepreneur or proprietor follows his dream and starts a business which contributes in any way to the shalom of his community, who is to say it is “nonessential”? Most assuredly it is essential to him and his family, and may well be to others as well. God means healthy commerce to create wealth, security, and peace of mind for one and all. Therefore, to forbid commerce is to destroy personal and corporate shalom.

Shalom requires freedom. God has created us with the gift of freedom and personal responsibility. In our hearts we know that we are, and should be, ultimately accountable to him. Sensitive to this important truth, our founding fathers affirmed that the Creator has endowed us with an inalienable right to liberty. Accordingly, they gave us a constitution and social order that sought to maximize human freedom, while minimizing the possibility of soul-crushing tyranny. All across the country people are now resisting the heavy hand of government as experienced in these shutdowns. They feel, correctly, that draconian regulations are depriving citizens of their personal freedom and responsibility to make wise, balanced, and loving decisions in response to this virus. In curtailing our freedoms, such regulations injure our shalom.

Shalom requires recreation. The Bible teaches that God graciously reveals himself to us in nature, thereby refreshing our spirits. It also states that we need time away from work in order to eat, play, celebrate, and otherwise interact so as to be renewed for further work. Such recreation is essential. You cannot close parks and beaches, eliminate sporting events, or forbid the various forms of social gathering, and hope to preserve shalom.

Shalom requires worship. This is, of course, of special concern to Christians. The Bible instructs us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. It tells us to receive Holy Communion together. It brings us together to celebrate baptisms. It encourages leaders to practice hospitality, and to lay hands on the sick and pray for them. It even tells us to greet one another with a holy kiss! Christians cannot believe that God would cancel his own holy ordinances by means of a virus. Nor can they believe that government has the right to do so. Indeed, the Bible tells them that from time to time they may be required to practice civil disobedience; to “obey God rather than man.” Already, Christian leaders around the country are challenging local governments in court over this issue. Other people of faith will surely do the same. Christians cannot allow a virus or an ordinance of man to deprive them of the unique species of shalom that flows to them through the corporate worship of God.

I am mindful that some of our leaders, and many of the citizens of Sonoma County, do not share my faith. However, the purely secular and scientific literature, as well as common sense, affirms the point I am making here: Shutting down the economy destroys personal and corporate shalom. Objectively, it entails the loss of employment, income, health insurance, savings, pensions, investments, property, and access to such basic necessities as food, water, electricity, medical care, and safe transportation. Subjectively, it leads to fear, loneliness, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, crime, and suicide. This is why I fear that in the end the consequences of a protracted economic shutdown will prove more lethal than this virus itself. And as time passes, the destruction will increase exponentially. For multitudes there will be little chance of a swift recovery; for many there will be no chance of recovery at all.

Here, then, based on the concerns listed above, are some recommendations that make sense to me:

1. In your deliberations, seek balance. By all means remain attentive to protecting citizens from the virus, but also consider how to protect them from the dangerous consequences of a protracted shutdown. For every one (older) person who dies from this flu, there are now nearly a thousand (younger) persons who are unemployed: I would urge you to remember them all. Accordingly, I recommend that you set up a Coronavirus Recovery Task Force that will include not only health officers, but also businessmen, economists, psychologists, teachers, law enforcement personnel, and clergy. Wisdom and victory come with a multitude of counselors.

2. Avoid edicts and threats of punishment, but instead issue recommended guidelines. Give individuals, businesses, churches, and other voluntary associations the liberty to embrace, modify, and/or implement these guidelines as they think best. Trust in the wisdom and good will of your fellow citizens as much as you do in your own.

3. After publicizing reasonable guidelines, reopen the parks, beaches, and golf courses to the public.

4. Given that Sonoma County is in an excellent position to reopen its economy, join together in asking Governor Newsom to give greater freedom to each county to do as they think best for their own unique situation.

5. Consider asking all county employees to take a cut in salary, in order to express solidarity with the unemployed.

6. Consider the possibility that in allowing a pandemic to visit our community, God is calling us not destroy our shalom by shutting down our life together, but rather to examine our hearts, behavior, priorities, and public policies, to see if they have been infected by sin.

7. Consider also the possibility that one of the great privileges and responsibilities of governmental leaders is to call the citizenry to personal soul-searching, prayer, repentance, and a deeper relationship with God as best they understand him. Our forefathers did this for generations. Should not our city fathers do so today?

I want to close by saying yet again that I am are grateful for your service, praying for you daily, and eager to help in any way I can. Thank you so much for hearing my heart and considering my thoughts.


Dean Davis


Note: I would like to thank Calvin Beisner for vetting this letter and making helpful suggestions. d

Note: Here are several links to articles and video clips that I have found helpful in sorting out a Christian response to this epidemic

Dr. Scott Atlas on the Priority of Herd Immunity 

Suppressing Speech Obscures the Truth 

Eight Reasons to Reopen the Country

Mapping the Mortality Maze

Note: I recently submitted this letter to the Press Democrat, our local newspaper. Please join me in praying that they will publish it. Also, please feel free to send it to your own local newspaper in any form you are comfortable with. Let us together redeem the time, for the days are evil, but full of opportunity.



I would like to offer a Christian perspective on the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 3500 years ago God spoke through Moses to a despotic Pharaoh in Egypt, telling him, “Let my people go.” Nine times Pharaoh refused, until at last God sent a final plague by which all the first-born sons of Egypt died. God’s people, however, were safely quarantined at home. When the angel of death saw the blood of a lamb on the doorposts and lintels of their houses, he passed them by.

This story speaks comfort to us today. Ever since Adam’s rebellion in Eden, all are infected with the virus of sin. Most freely do we display its ugly symptoms, and spread the disease wherever we go. But in love and mercy, the holy God withholds his final judgment. Instead, with one hand he sends lesser plague after lesser plague, warning of the greater one to come. With the other, he sends the Lamb of God, whose righteous life and atoning death provide the one house into which we may safely flee. If we are quarantined there, the final plague will pass us by.

The coronavirus is but a prod to enter the house. The risen Jesus Christ is the house. In love, he bids us all, “Come home.” And most truly, his home is a glorious place to live!


Note: Not a week goes by that I don’t read one or two letters to the editor of our local newspaper decrying the supposed effects of man-made climate change. The fear is palpable, the proposals sincere, but the misunderstanding hurtful. In hopes of shedding some (biblical) light and warmth into people’s hearts, I decided to submit this short essay on the subject. Since our community is quite progressive, I felt it wise not to include too many Scripture citations. I did, however, want to introduce my readers to the biblical worldview, and to show how, in the face of so much alarmism and doomsaying, it has great power to calm our fears and fill us with hope. Opinion pieces in the Press Democrat appear under the heading Close to Home. To date, the article has not hit Close to Home. I’m praying it will.


Climate Change: A Biblical Perspective

My subject is global, but for Press Democrat readers it will strike close to home. In biblical perspective, I would like to address climate change.

Presently, a naturalistic worldview dominates public policy on climate change in California and elsewhere. Modern naturalism posits that the universe evolved through random physical processes. This hypothesis entails that our earth is extremely fragile, and that man, who is often viewed as a clumsy Johnny-come-lately, could completely destroy it if he’s not careful. Therefore an observed trend towards global warming, possibly caused by us humans, generates existential alarm both in naturalistic scientists and the people who listen to them.

The biblical worldview (BWV) posits that God is the creator, sustainer, and ruler of all things, including the weather. It also posits that man is his vice-regent on earth, specially appointed to develop and care for the home he has given us. Because of man’s fall into sin, God has temporarily burdened his originally perfect creation with various natural evils such as extremes of heat and cold, drought, storm, earthquake, etc. Ultimately, these “severe mercies” are wake-up calls designed to discourage nature worship and bring the wanderers home.

Sinful man can and does damage his environment, but the Bible assures us he can never destroy the earth. That prerogative is reserved for God alone, who has explicitly said he will preserve the earth in its regular cycles until the return of Christ (Genesis 8:22). Only then will he destroy it, after which he will create new heavens and a new earth, the eternal home of the redeemed (2 Peter 3). Knowing all this, Christian citizens are indeed concerned about environmental abuse, but also confident that man can never “destroy the planet.”

With these thoughts in mind, let’s look at climate change in biblical perspective.

Christians acknowledge that for the last 100-150 years there has been a modest warming trend. They point out, however, that within this time frame, and also throughout prior centuries, there have always been climatic fluctuations. Following the Medieval Warm Period there came the Little Ice Age. Back in the 1970’s a brief cooling trend engendered fears of a new Ice Age. Last winter a Polar Vortex clobbered the mid-west with record cold. Polar ice caps wax and wane. The BWV predicts such changes. They are normal for a world under divine care and discipline. Good and bad weather happen. We should try to hear what God is telling us in both.

Christians go on to emphasize what all honest scientists admit: It is difficult to ascertain the precise cause(s) of climate change. To say that the recent warming trend is caused solely by man-made CO2 is simplistic and highly improbable. 90% of greenhouse warming—so vital for life on Earth—is due to water vapor and clouds. As one scientist puts it, “CO2 is a bit player.” Furthermore, most CO2 is generated by sunlight interacting with the oceans. Human activity accounts for a miniscule 5%. If our contribution were truly significant, why the constant fluctuations of the last 150 years?

Knowing all this, researchers now look elsewhere for the causes of climate change. Many cite a demonstrable correlation between sun-spots, solar radiation, oceanic warming, and patterns in the weather. Others ponder the effects of natural weather cycles (e.g. El Nino), clouds, and volcanic emissions. Dr. Roy Spencer thinks climate change is normal, the result of “the climate system itself.” Christians conclude: Whatever the complex causes of climate change, they are in God’s hands, not ours.

Such considerations will shape our response to climate change. Here are a few policy suggestions I think would serve us well.

First, let’s lay aside all the climate alarmism and doomsaying. According to the Bible, they are not based in reality (or on faith), but only terrify the Greta Thunbergs of the world. God has said to the proud waves of the sea, “Thus far, and no further” (Job 38:11). They will obey.

Secondly, let’s keep in mind the upside of global warming: increased global greening and decreased desertification, relief from deadly winter cold, reduced energy consumption, and greatly improved quality and quantity of agricultural products. The folks at the CO2 Coalition invite us to see global warming as a blessing. Imagine.

Finally, and most importantly, let’s swiftly rethink our current attitude towards fossil fuels. In biblical perspective they are a fabulous gift of God, laden with manifold benefits. If we turn our back on them we will increase the cost of energy, curtail technological advance, and condemn the 2 billion people living in undeveloped countries to poverty, disease, injury, environmental degradation, and death. Oh, and one more benefit of using fossil fuels: We can get rid of those horrid windmills that blight our landscape and kill millions of our birds!

Here is a solemn tautology: Our worldview has a profound influence on the way we view the world. It determines how we see, think, feel, love, fear, hope, choose, and live together in our precious home. As we think about climate change, let’s think carefully about our worldview as well.1

Dean Davis
Santa Rosa CA

Dean is a retired pastor and the director of Come Let Us Reason, a Bible teaching ministry specializing in Apologetics and Worldview Studies


1. Material for this essay was taken from the little book Global Warming: A Scientific and Biblical Expose’ of Climate Change, published by Answers in Genesis (2016). For helpful information on the scientific, economic, and political aspects of this issue, please visit the website of The Heartland Institute, available here. Also, here is a fascinating and easy to use website showing that CO2 (along with fossil fuels) is actually a friend, and not a foe. Finally, here is a link to the Cornwall Alliance, and to the Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming.










Here is a letter recently published by the Press Democrat. Since tomorrow is Election Day, it is timely to think about these things.

Please join me in praying for God’s mercy upon our nation, and for a new crop of godly leaders. If we must reach critical mass, it would be good to have such leaders at the helm.



In physics, critical mass is the tipping point at which nuclear stuff blows up.

Today we are swiftly approaching spiritual and political critical mass. Activist judges, overthrowing the lawfully determined will of the people, think they can keep adding fissile material to the cultural pot. They cannot. Sooner or later it will blow up in their faces.

Here is Jefferson on critical mass: “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, all according to the laws of Nature and Nature’s God), it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.”

One day soon some brave governor, flanked by his legislature, will declare to the nation: “There is a time for saying, ‘We must obey God rather than man’; for following our conscience, our nation’s founding principles, our state constitutions, and the declared will of the people. That time has come. We will not submit to this Court. We will no longer kill our unborn children, nor sanction homosexual marriage. We do this, not out of hate, but love: Love for what is true, right, and best for America. Here we stand. God help us all.”


Dean Davis



You are the light of the world.

(Mt. 5:14)


This post comes fresh on the heels of a little victory: After submitting it on five separate occasions (twice in hard copy)—and personally calling the Editor three times—I finally prevailed on the staff of our (quite liberal) local newspaper, the Press Democrat, to publish a letter on a subject close to my heart: the sanctity of marriage.

In a moment, I will share it with you.

But first, an exhortation: Would you please give some prayerful consideration to becoming a habitual letter writer for Jesus?

The rewards are many.

It will deepen your grasp of the biblical worldview, forcing you to discern the proper application of biblical truth to the great issues of our time.

It will sharpen your skills as a researcher, thinker, and writer.

If your letters are published (and good ones usually are), it will give the Holy Spirit an opportunity to teach, convict, and encourage your non-christian neighbors.

God willing, it will nudge public opinion and the surrounding culture towards God and his truth, thus improving the quality of life in our community and nation.

It will encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ: As they see other believers thoughtfully, courteously, and fearlessly speaking up for the truth, they will not only be gladdened, but also emboldened to do the same.

And above all, it will bring pleasure and honor to the Lord.

Read More