Today is Good Friday. It’s a day we remember when Jesus gave His life as a ransom for many.
I’m writing after receiving my 1st covid vaccine. I can’t say that it was a pleasant experience, receiving side effects that knocked me off my feet for 24 hours. Still, that’s not the reason I’m writing. The reason I’m writing is to help you as I recount my thought process in deciding whether to get vaccinated or not.
What’s the problem?
You might ask .. why is there even a debate? Well, according to some research up to a quarter of people are hesitant to get vaccinated (this increases up to 72% if you are in a BAME minority group). So what are the most common factors for Christians to consider and how did I navigate these issues?
Issue #1: We Should Trust God
The Bible time and again exhorts us to place our faith and trust in God rather than men. I think we can say “Amen” to that. However, the Bible doesn’t say that God always works supernaturally. In fact, that would be a denial of the way that God works through the physical world He created. We don’t do the same with food and yet we go to the supermarket each week and purchase it – we don’t wait for it to arrive “trusting God” will feed us. He feeds us by working in the physical world. And we give thanks every mealtime to acknowledge that “every good and perfect gift [ultimately] come from heaven”.
So the Bible endorses medicine and the work of doctors. We love the fact that our church family has those working in medicine and we thank God for them. We trust that God works through them.
Issue #2: YouTube Says …
There are so many conflicting theories online – not just YouTube. According to some, Bill Gates, the Illuminati and Kayne West are all involved. Some theories seem more Biblical, saying that the vaccine is the fulfilment of the “mark of the beast” from Revelation 13:15-17. I find that those who promote “discernment” are actually the ones that have fallen for some of the most outlandish claims, to even suggest that Covid is a myth. Christians we must stand for what is true which also means rejecting that which is false.
Issue #3: It’s Unsafe
This is probably the most legitimate concern. The speed of the vaccine getting approved, as well as news reports about blood clots as well as the claim that the technique used might alter our DNA in some harmful way. This way I rationalised my fear was to think about it based on risk and benefit. In my life, I’ve had three operations requiring general anaesthetic and none of those were free from risk. They had side effects. Like those, the regulatory bodies that oversee such things have given assurances that it is safe. I have no reason to distrust the regulatory bodies aren’t being honest.
Issue #4: Abortion
Here’s a big issue that we need to consider: some Christians take the view that it would be ethically wrong to accept the Covid vaccination because it has been developed and tested using cells derived from historic abortions. John Piper is one who has called for Christians to renounce the vaccine. He states that we would be “complicit in the desecration of dismembered human beings”. Others argue that we would be endorsing and supporting the ongoing practice of abortion.
This takes serious consideration. I’m pro-life. I think abortion is a sin. The World Health Organisation estimates that 55% of total global deaths were down to abortion, far outnumbering those killed by Covid. So how did I conclude that the vaccine was ok?
Well, let me say first that it is completely right for Christians to fight against this immense evil, which is a violation of human rights far greater in scale than slavery or the holocaust. And yet, we should consider many other medical procedures in the same light and also reject those too. Here’s what I mean …
Regardless of some popular theories, the vaccines are not manufactured from foetal tissue. The vaccine development process utilised a cell line (HEK-293) derived from an abortion performed in 1972. A past sin. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were not directly developed using this cell-line, but it was used in the testing phase. These are past sins that we should stand up against. For the issue was this .. much of what we know about organ transplants is because of the Nazi experiments on Jews in the 1930s. I dare say that we would not reject a lung transplant based on the past sins of the Nazi’s? If someone came to me and told me they had a sexually transmitted disease I would tell them to go to a doctor and get treated – even though the USA conducted medical experiments on African-Americans who had sexually transmitted diseases. The 1972 abortion, Nazi and US experiments are past sins and should shame any society.
However, let’s be consistent. I have no problem with you rejecting the vaccine so long as you are also prepared to reject the MMR vaccine, most medical procedures and the treatment of STIs. We also have to reject all products in our house that were made through slave trade – even the publication of our English Bible’s in china because of the persecution of the Chinese church.
I am not making a case that every Christian gets vaccinated. I’m suggesting that we should have a robust, well-informed reason not to be. I hope you have found this article helpful