With the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic and the journey to find a cure, the question of vaccines has again risen to the forefront. In regards to the pandemic many people see the vaccine as a viable solution to help move forward towards ending the pandemic and bringing things back to “normal”.
However, everyone does not have the same viewpoint or opinion about vaccines. Some even wonder should Christians get vaccines? You might be wondering the same thing.
Some will say take it and others will say don’t take it. That does not help you if you are trying to make a sound and biblical decision. I want to be clear I am not a medical professional, so I am not trying to give medical advice. I am in no position to do that. I am simply trying to answer this question from a faith perspective and nothing else.
Should We Get Vaccinated?
While many people see vaccines as a normal part of life, there are many who don’t hold this view. The real issue of vaccination is not one of right or wrong, it is one of personal choice and preference. When asking should Christians get vaccines, we cannot make this a question of sin, judgment, or condemnation. In other words, you are not sinning if you get vaccinated and you are not sinning if you don’t.
Let me give you a biblical reference that you can use as a guideline to help you as you think about this topic.
“Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand” (Romans 14:1-4).
Here are 3 ways this can be applied in relation to vaccines.
1. It Is a Disputable Matter
Whether you believe Christians should get vaccines or you are on the other side, this is an issue that can be disputed. I would encourage you to follow Paul’s advice and don’t make it an issue you quarrel about. Don’t turn a decision of personal choice into an issue of right and wrong.
2. Accept the One Whose Faith Is Weak
In this scenario, the one who gets it could be the one with weak faith. The other side is true as well meaning the one who doesn’t get the vaccine could be the one whose faith is weak. Regardless of how you feel about vaccines, if someone feels differently you should not judge them or treat them with contempt. This word contempt means not to despise a person or show disdain towards them. In this matter you should accept the one whose opinion is different than yours. I think you would agree showing contempt or judgment helps no one and is not a display of Godly character.
3. God Has Accepted Them
The most important thing to remember is that the ones making this vaccination decision are not your servants, they are God’s. Whether you agree with their decision or not God will accept them regardless of how they choose. You should do the same.
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What Does the Bible Say about Our Health?
As far as our health is concerned, one thing to remember about our bodies is they are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). We have a responsibility to take care of our bodies as best we can and not abuse them. In this chapter Paul was referring to sexual immorality, but this principle can apply to anything that can be abusive to your body.
Let me be clear: I am not saying vaccines are abusive. What I am saying is that God wants us to be mindful of how we treat these temples he has given us.
Does the Bible Support Religious Exemption?
The idea of religious exemption is choosing to not take a vaccine for religious purposes. When some people think about whether Christians should get vaccines, they claim a religious exemption.
The truth is you could probably use the Bible to support taking a vaccine. You could also probably use it to support not taking one. Even though people can claim a religious exemption, the decision is still a personal one. Even if you use the scriptures to defend your position it will still come down to personal conviction. Remember it is not sinful to get a vaccine or to not get one.
Should Christians Get Vaccinated, or Not?
Part of the debate with vaccines is balancing the good of the person with the good of the community. I believe this is the one of the arguments that medical professionals use as to why you should get a vaccine. They have been proven to stop the spread of disease.
If you think back one hundred years ago, many of the diseases that killed people then have been eradicated with science and medicine and the use of vaccines. If you are arguing for the good of the community then you could argue that Christians should take vaccines because that could fall under the command of loving your neighbor as yourself.
However there is a large and growing segment of the Christian world who feel opposite of this opinion. For this reason there is no way to say definitively that Christians should or should not get vaccinated. I think it’s important for everyone to do their due diligence and be convinced what they think is the right thing to do. I know this may be an anti-climactic response, but I don’t see how you can come to any other conclusion that is not based in your own subjectivity. As Paul said in Romans allow people to make up their mind, accept them, and don’t treat them with contempt if their conclusion in different than yours.
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Why Do We Need Vaccines if God Protects Us?
In some circles there can be a tendency to despise the use of medicine. Does God protect us? The answer is yes. Yet there are ways and means that God uses to protect us.
For example, God put it into the hearts of men to create seatbelts which protects us in the event of a car accident. I think it is not only fair but safe to say that God does not despise medicine – he uses it and works through it. There are times when God will heal you miraculously without any medical intervention at all. However God will also use medical intervention to bring healing.
The same truth we considered earlier applies here as well. If you are sick and go to the doctor, there is nothing wrong with that. Also you must acknowledge that God gives us faith and wisdom. Faith is necessary to believe God can heal and wisdom is necessary to understand that he often uses medicine to do it. Whether God uses the power of medicine or his own power, they are both ways God protects you.
How Should Christians Respond to Anti-Vaxxers?
As I have mentioned earlier, there are some who are very much against vaccines. They are given a label as anti-vaxxers. To be an anti-vaxxer may cause a problem in certain scenarios such as school and education. Some school districts and colleges require vaccinations for kids to attend school.
The one word of caution I would offer is to be careful about where you gather your facts. You have a responsibility to test the information about vaccines that is out there. With the rise of information available, you have to sort through it to find what is legitimate and true. You want to make sure that you are making your decision based on the most reliable and credible information possible.
The question of should Christians get vaccines should be approached like so many other issues that are not black and white issues. Always err on the side of grace. Granted, there may be some who feel very strongly about this topic and that is their right. Just make sure you approach others who may be on the other side of your opinion with grace and accept them as the Bible calls us to do.
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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, teacher, author, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He has spent more than 30 years serving the body of Christ in various capacities and is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose. If you have ever struggled to try to find God’s will, this book will help you discover the different ways God leads you into his perfect will. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.