Many speak of the inability to receive the vaccine due to religious reservations. I would contend that, at least in Christianity, if anything is done for religious reservations it must be grounded in our theology.
But to be fair to the argument, many things are done because of religious reservations. The key for most Christians however is that those things are found in scripture or in the natural revelation of God.
Religiously Exempt from Oppression
For example, I have religious reservations against oppression. But this is not because my religion says so. It is because my theology in both scripture and the natural world are consistent with the belief that, biblically and naturally, oppression is wrong. Almost in this same vein, there has been great argument amongst the church about not getting vaccines because it is against their religion. I would like to put that to the test today.
If this is the case, there will be both scriptural and natural arguments to point to, similar to my oppression example. But it goes a little deeper than that.
A “Religious Exemption”?
The first issue is calling it a “religious reservation”. if this was the case, there would need to be documented doctrinal reasons for not getting the vaccine in the Bible or at least in the specific religions dogmatic documents.
Since Evangelical Christianity seems to be the largest denomination in this argument, we will use it as the example. It does appear the group with the largest reservation on religious basis is evangelical Christians- and among this group there are some interesting facts
- No mainline evangelical denomination has a documented doctrinal aversion to any vaccine.
- In a recent media poll the following two questions were asked to evangelicals.
- I believe that getting the vaccine is important because it helps everyone.
- Getting the vaccine is a way to live out the religious principle of loving my neighbor.
- 43% of white evangelicals said yes to both
- 56% of black evangelicals said yes to both
- 61% of Hispanic evangelicals said yes to both
- many of those surveyed stated the greatest reservation against the vaccine on religious grounds is possessing eternal life. This is very similar to Mississippi governor Tate Reeves who said of covid- “When you believe in eternal life, you don’t have to worry about these things”
So lets be clear of the reasoning… I should not get a covid vaccine because it shows I do not have faith in the fact I have eternal life.
The verse continually pointed to when I discuss this with others is John 10:28-30
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. my father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my father’s hand. I and the father are one.”
Here is the problem, the verse is an encouragement verse meant for those concerned about death. if death doesn’t concern you, you don’t need this verse. So if the argument is “I wont take a vaccine because I have eternal life”, the use of this verse is pointless because you say you don’t fear death
Fascinated with Eternity
We have become so fascinated with eternity, we don’t care about the here and now and the people in the here and now. We must understand the consequences of our words. When we say things like what is said above, we are literally saying that we are willing to spread a disease and kill people because we have salvation, and so need not be concerned. But there are logical outworking’s of this statement that fly in the face of our faith and religion.
What about the unsaved? what about all that making disciples? You cant save them if they are in a coffin. The truth is that this is not about theology or religion, its about you.
- If your anti-vaccination that is your personal choice, but don’t bring God, or even the Christian religion into it. Dogmatically, biblically and theologically, I only know of two Christian denominations that would come close to being consistent if they didn’t get the covid vaccine, the Amish and the Jehovah’s Witness. And even in their views, its a dogmatic religious decision, not a biblical one.
- For as many verses about getting to eternity there are triple those for loving and caring for your neighbor here and now. Scripture consistently points to the fact we are to be involved here and now and love the people here and now. Here are three verses that lead us to concern for others rather than concern over our own eternity
- Mark 12:31- love your neighbor as yourself. there is no commandment greater than these.
- 1 Corinthians 10:24- no one should seek there own good, but the good of others
- Philippians 2:3- do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. rather in humility value others above yourself
With these verses in mind I pose the following questions for your consideration:
- How can you love your neighbor as yourself if your willing to kill them to prove your faith. Willing to put your own life at stake so that you can have eternity? What about all the good you have been called to do in the here and now?
- How are you seeking the good of others when you are willing to spread a disease that is killing 2k a day in the US? If it is good to others that you wear a mask or get a vaccine, why wouldn’t you?
- there is nothing more selfish than caring only about your own eternity- and about your own life. As Christians we have grown so concerned about ourselves and where we are going we have completely forgotten about those around us that need Jesus, and by proxy, our love and concern
If you don’t want to take the vaccine, that is fine. If you don’t want to wear a mask, also fine. But don’t use the tired excuse that its about your religion, dogma or theology. Just be honest with us and yourself. Its about you and personal preference. you are making a preference decision, not a glorious decision for Christ and His church.
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