To Vaccinate or Not?
That is the question for many. Another question is also circulating: how should I treat the unvaccinated (or vaccinated, depending on your perspective)? That’s an easier question to answer. You love them. It’s not complicated. The parable of the good Samaritan shows us that we are to love those who very well might be viewed as an enemy, not to mention Jesus’ own words, “love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.” Our calling is to love, because God loves us.
Now back to the title question: should I get vaccinated? As a pastor I can’t answer that question for you. I’m not a doctor or a scientist or an immunologist or a virologist. I have an opinion, but that’s all it is. Frankly, I’m troubled when I see other pastors urging their people to get vaccinated or not get vaccinated. Our job isn’t to give medical advice. What I CAN tell you as a pastor is this: submit to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7), unless they are in contradiction with God’s revealed will. If you want to make your case not to submit to a vaccine mandate (if one gets affirmed), then you need to have a Biblical reason to exercise civil disobedience. I have heard some site such reasons. Some are resisting because the available vaccines (so far) are either made from aborted babies or tested on them, and they view receiving a dose as complicit in abortion. Others resist because they are convinced by some experts that assert the mass use of the vaccine is contributing to the emergence of the dangerous variants. (There may be other biblical reasons for objecting as a matter of conscience that I haven’t heard, so forgive me if you have one.) The point is, there is Biblical warrant to get the vaccine and their is Biblical justification to not get the vaccine. Your calling is do all you do for the glory of God, which means to either get vaccinated or resist vaccination as a measure of your faith, “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”(Ro 14:23)
Now, how are you to treat those who don’t share your perspective? The Bible speaks to this too in Romans 14.
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (Ro 14:1–4).
So, my pastoral counsel is to love one another, regardless of vaccination status. This doesn’t need to be a taboo topic, as long as we discuss with grace and truth, and with humility. I would suggest that we do engage in discussion. After all, one man sharpens another just as iron sharpens iron…