Onward Christian Soldiers! (ATP)
As Christians can we bibicaly ask for a “religious exemption” from getting the vaccine?
This is an interesting question, one that might cause some debate. As asked however, I am going to attempt to answer it from the Bible.
The debate over the vaccine is raging in our country, no less so in the church amongst Christians. Should this be? I would first put forth, ANYTHING that causes division amongst brethren is not of God but the devil. The devil loves strife, God despises it but, you want proof to this, right? Proverbs 6:16 & 19 says: “There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: …A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.” Peace and order define our Heavenly Father, therefore He hates strife. So what do we do when there are so many ideas about it?
Step back. 1 Corinthians 7:15 tells us, “…but God has called us to peace.” Yes I know, this scripture is referring to believers being married to unbelievers, however, the last few words are still clear, we are called to peace. Some things we simply will not agree on because we have consciences and what yours allows you to do (in line with God’s word), mine may not allow me to do (in line with God’s word). In an area such as this it’s best to agree to disagree and move on to something else.
People are arguing so many things but what I have witnessed, on all sides, is that most of the arguments are not based in much other than emotions, stirred up by shameless politicians. This I can say, the vaccine is not the mark of the beast found in Revelation 13. You might not like the idea of it, and you may be justified in that, but that does not mean you can make it something it clearly is not. Herein lies the problem. When people get stirred up in their opinions and emotions they go on a witch hunt and that is not right. Remember, God also hates a false witness.
So, what is the vaccine? It is medicine, or at least that’s what it’s sold to us as. Some people don’t believe this but truly, all we know about it is that it is indeed some kind of medicine. And this is where the debate might take off but if you hate that I’m saying that, at least try to hear what I am actually saying. I did not say it was good medicine or bad medicine, but simply medicine. I am not a doctor. Most people that I know also do not fall into that category. This being said, as we were making the decision whether we should get poked or not, we consulted people we trust, those we know personally who are in the field of medicine. When they told us what they thought, we made the best informed decision we could based on that knowledge and also what our hearts told us. We had complete peace in the decision we made (and I am purposely not saying what that decision is)!
So is the vaccine SCRIPTURALLY wrong? Let’s look at a few scriptures. In 1 Timothy 5:23 Paul instructs Timothy to take a little medicine (wine for the stomach). In Revelation 22:2 we see that near a river in the New Jerusalem God will build someday, is a tree whose leaves are medicine. In Isaiah 38:21 the prophet instructs Hezekiah’s servant to make a healing ointment. Colossians 4:14 calls Luke the beloved doctor, so obviously that’s not bad. 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 instructs us that, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.” And in Romans 14:23, “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and WHATEVER is not from faith is sin.” Of course, these are just a few of many scriptures but the point is, medicine in of itself is not wrong, and conscience goes a long way. I will say this about conscience though; if you are saturated with opinions of man (even your own), your conscience will not be able to lead you accurately. This trap gets many believers.
All of this said just to answer the question, “Can we ask for a religious exemption?” You can ask, but you won’t be able to back it up with scripture. Nowhere in scripture do I see anything that says we are specifically not allowed to take any particular medicine. In order to qualify for religious exemption on anything (and I am also not a lawyer), you would first have to prove that your religion is opposed to it. Christianity is not opposed to vaccines, or medicines of any kind, in and of themselves.
I want to leave you all with a simple thought, that has been playing over and over in my mind. When we decide we are going to fight something we need to ask ourselves this question: “Is this the hill I want to die on?” If you feel completely justified in what you do, then do so in faith and accept the consequences. When you stand before Jesus, you will know for sure whether you were right or wrong.