by Robert Tuttle, 27 August 2021
1. The vaccine has not been approved by the FDA, has not completed necessary trials. and the long term effects of the vaccine are unknown. [Update: The FDA has now approved the Pfizer vaccine, although it has still not completed the long term trials, and the long term effects of this vaccine are still unknown.]
2. The efficacy of the vaccine is now known to be short lived, lasting less than one year, thus necessitating the need for additional vaccines every few months for an indeterminate period.
3. The vaccine does not prevent infection, but can only promise to minimize the effects of the virus.
4. Those vaccinated are still able to carry the virus and pass it along to others.
5. The vaccines are well known to have various side effects, ranging from mild side effects such as rash, swelling, and flu-like symptoms; to severe such as anaphylaxis, myocarditis, pericarditis, cardiac arrest, blood clots, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and death. While these severe reactions to the vaccines have occurred in only a very small percentage of those receiving the vaccine, those who are vaccine hesitant are simply not willing to take such a risk to only possibly prevent a viral infection that the vast majority of people survive without lasting negative effects.
These two groups of people (those embracing the vaccine and those rejecting the vaccine) are equally convinced of their respective positions, and neither is willing to change or compromise. Some of those embracing the vaccine have expressed a desire to see mandatory vaccines and vaccine passports. Some of these have also expressed a desire to see extreme measures taken such as forced vaccinations, complete ostracization of the unvaccinated by society, and even forced isolation of the unvaccinated into camps. Such extreme positions, especially when publicly vocalized, have served to create a tense and acrimonious atmosphere between the two camps.
Numerous private companies and corporations, as well as many government entities have enacted mandatory vaccines among those who employed by them, and also those who patronize these companies. And now the Church has entered into this fray, with some churches opting to take the position of requiring a mandatory vaccine and proof of a vaccine (vaccine passport), as well as a mask, distancing, etc., in order to attend in-person worship services. Many of these same churches had also suspended in-person worship services for more than a year due to the pandemic.
Scripture is clear and explicit that in-person worship and fellowship is mandatory. Hebrews 10:23-25 reads,
"23 let's hold firmly to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let's consider how to encourage one another in love and good deeds, 25 not abandoning our own meeting together, as is the habit of some people, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:23-25 NASB)
And we see this mandate to meet together in worship and fellowship being practiced in the early first century church in the Book of Acts:
"42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all the believers were together and had all things in common; 45 and they would sell their property and possessions and share them with all, to the extent that anyone had need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved." (Acts 2:42-47 NASB)
And in the church in Corinth:
"26 What is the outcome them, brothers and sisters? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. All things are to be done for edification." (1 Corinthians 14:26 NASB)
See also Colossians 3:16 and 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
Then there is the issue of Communion, or The Lord's Supper. Some churches have opted to commemorate Communion online, virtually, with the church pastor video recording himself taking the bread and the cup, with the assumption that people are watching, and doing the same in their homes. However, in the Book of Acts we see what the standard practice of the Church is to be regarding Communion:
"7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight." (Acts 20:7)
As you can very clearly, plainly, and explicitly see, Christians are mandated by God, according to His holy word, to gather together for worship, fellowship, and for Communion. Refusing to follow this mandate of God is a sin. It is open rebellion against God. Refusing to allow Christians to follow this mandate, or hindering their ability to follow this mandate is also a sin.
No doubt some will object, saying the Covid-19 virus is dangerous and highly contagious. Using the Covid-19 virus as an excuse, saying the virus is dangerous and we must avoid those who either are or might be infected is not a valid excuse. Beginning with Jesus Christ Himself, and as seen throughout the life of the Church, communicable disease has never been viewed as a valid excuse to avoid others. Jesus made it a point to physically approach, and touch, people who were infected with highly contagious diseases such as leprosy (Mark 1:40-45). Since then, countless Christians throughout the ages have followed the example of Jesus, and they have intentionally exposed themselves to highly contagious and in many cases dangerous infections as they ministered to those suffering with those infectious diseases, caring for both their fellow Christians, as well as unbelievers. And it should be pointed out that being in contact with an infected person is no guarantee that we too will become infected.
As we enter into this new phase of the Covid-19 pandemic and the implementation of mandatory vaccines and Covid-19 passports, all Christians must ask themselves where are we placing our trust? Are we trusting and obeying the Lord? Or, are we trusting and obeying the government?
Let me close with two passages of Scripture. Joshua 24:15 and Acts 5:29.
"15 but if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served, which were beyond the Euphrates River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15 NASB)
"29 But Peter and the Apostles answered, 'We must obey God rather than men.'" (Acts 5:29 NASB)