After spending several months arguing that church isn’t really essential and that face masks are an act of loving your neighbor, the abuse of the second greatest commandment of God’s law continues with the argument that Christians have a moral imperative to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Hershael York is the Dean of Theology of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He tweeted this:
I find the eisegesis from a Dean of Theology disturbing. To break this down quickly, the Isrealites who who struck with venom had no other means of rescue than the miracle that God provided. There are zero parallels between this and the current COVID-19 situation, whether we are talking about masks or vaccination, a disease with an exceedingly low IFR, one we have to be tested to know if we have, is hardly comparable to deadly snake venom.
But The Gospel Coalition likewise commenced its descent down this path of forthcoming articles. Paul Carter after writing that Christians should wear masks and social distance if they set out to protest lockdowns, now writes that getting the vaccine is loving your neighbor.
More obviously related to the question of whether or not to get the vaccine would be the many biblical injunctions to love our neighbour as ourselves. The Apostle Paul said, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10 ESV).
As Christians we should strive not to be known as the people whose refusal to take a vaccine (should our family doctors recommend that we do so) delayed our progress as a society against this virus. If our family doctor advises us to take the vaccine there is no compelling biblical reason for us not to and a great number of obvious biblical principles suggesting that we should.
Imagine being so naiive that you think this goes away when we take the vaccine. The media is even telling you that is not the case. COVID-19 will go away when we stop testing for it. Since there are now at least three strains, (four according to the Baltimore Ravens) the ever mutating virus will continue showing up for years to come and positive PCR tests with it.
As for the doctor argument, we should be completely willing to say no to doctors pushing vaccines as they are salesmen on this front. There are no biblical principles to suggest we should take a vaccine that we do not need, just as there are no biblical principles to compel us to take a seasonal flu shot. This is a pastor abusing the text with soft minded nonsense that he has not thought out.
If the Bible compels us to take the COVID-19 vaccine, then it would be a sin to refuse. But Paul Carter here does not say that.
I would remind any congregant asking me for pastoral counsel that there will be a world to reach on the other side of this pandemic. There will be friends, neighbors, and loved ones to evangelize who are all watching us now as we navigate this last stage of COVID19. If they see us caring more about our liberties than their safety, we may have a harder time having Gospel conversations with them going forward. If they see us getting our information from conspiracy news sites on the internet they may be less interested in attending Bible Study with us once this pandemic has finally passed.
We need to take thought NOW for what is noble in the sight of all.
While the decision to take a vaccine, or not, is primarily a medical decision, how you handle that decision and how you communicate that decision will have a missiological impact in the days, weeks, and months that lie ahead.
The flip side of Paul Carter’s words is how will people react if they see the church disregard personal liberties and embrace the tyranny of the state? Paul Carter does not address this outcome of his logic. Note: this is also the same logic used to shame Trump voters. According to Big Eva our witness is judged by how pagans view it and not God.
People are sinful and power corrupts. If the government discovers that people are willing to do a great many unpleasant things in the interests of public safety it is possible and perhaps even likely that some people will attempt to exploit that willingness to enact legislation or to take certain measures that will have far-reaching effect on our lives and liberties as citizens.
That is a hazard to be aware of, but it isn’t an argument against taking the vaccine.
Yes it is. Tyranny is a valid reason to refuse to take it.
This is not an article of the Apostles’ Creed. In the same way that I do not believe that the vaccine is the mark of the beast, neither do I believe that not taking the vaccine identifies a person as an unbeliever. Good Christians who love Jesus and read their Bibles will make different decisions about the various COVID19 vaccines over the next 3-6 months.
According to Paul Cart, refusing to act lovingly towards your neighbor does not identify a person as being an unbeliever.
Within the church be prepared to experience some delays in resuming your personal service if you decide not to take the vaccine. Many churches will no doubt require volunteers working with children or seniors to show proof of vaccination before returning to their duties. This is not discrimination, this is merely the reality of making hard decisions, in difficult times with finite information and understanding.
Be gracious to your leaders, considerate toward your fellow members, and mindful of your neighbours watching on.
Paul Carter evidently has no consideration since he is floating the idea that churches will (or should) mandate the vaccine for ministry. This is passive aggressive coercion to put a vaccination as a requirement to serve in the church.
This conversation is just beginning and it will not be a very logical debate, packed with Scripture. Instead it will take the words of Jesus out of context and misapply them in our current situation.