COVID-19: A RESPONSE TO THE QUESTION OF VACCINATION
With the arrival of the various COVID-19 vaccines, well-meaning individuals are searching for answers. Should I take the vaccine when it is my turn? Will there be side effects? Will I be forced to take the vaccine? In view of these concerns and with the rise of vaccine hesitancy, I offer a response to this issue. Before doing so, however, it is my duty to clarify the position of Rhema Christian Ministries concerning vaccines. It is our position that choices concerning vaccination should be left up to the individual person or family. This is not a pastoral, theological, or spiritual matter. It is a private matter and not a public one. We further believe that this decision is one that should be undertaken prayerfully, in consultation with one’s family physician, and further supplemented by the advice of our various medical health officers.
Regarding the debates concerning pro-vaccination and anti-vaccination, I counsel against the temptation to embrace a conspiratorial approach to this subject. As with other subjects, our world is filled with many conspiracy theories; however, as Christians, we must be promoters of a better world and not advancers of conspiracy theories. Let us guard against the temptation to put the devil in everything. He must not be afforded the honor of omnipresence. He is not God and should not be wickedly deified as such, nor should his imprint be embossed on everything in this world. Remember, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof…” (Ps. 24:1). God is still in charge and we still have the authority to make sound choices.
Let us also remember that faith and science are not at war with each other. From the Latin “scientia” meaning knowledge, science or knowledge is first and foremost that which comes from God the omniscient One. We must be careful not to pit our faith against the many advancements made in the realm of the sciences, especially the medical sciences. Knowledge is never to be viewed as bad; rather, it is the way in which knowledge is appropriated that determines its ethical force. We have not fought the many advancements made in technology. We are all beneficiaries of the latest in smartphones, electronic devices, and media platforms. Neither have we not fought the advancements made in our current modes of transportation. From the latest automobiles to high speed and light rail travel, as well as supersonic air travel, advancements have made for a better and more convenient world.
Similarly, we should celebrate breakthroughs in the world of medical sciences. From better healthcare to safer childbearing practices, to the curing of diseases, we have been the recipients of prolonged lifespans and a better quality of life. For this we should say, “to God be the glory, great things He has done.” These advancements are the result of the many gifts that God has given to our world and we must avoid neanderthal views when it comes to global human advancement. God’s gifts are for our betterment and for His glory, thus “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17).
As a strategic part of a social impact organization with a purpose to make this world a better place, Rhema Christian Ministries does not believe it is appropriate for us to contradict the wishes of our federal, provincial, or municipal governments. We see ourselves as partners with our government in the quest to make this world a better place. Scripture reminds us to, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers…” (Rom. 13:1). As professing Christians, it is godly wisdom on our part to position ourselves as those who add value to society, never subtracting from its progress, and deferring to the Scripture only when the decrees of men run counter to the Divine will. In cases like these, we are compelled “…to obey God rather than men,” (Acts 5:29); however, this is not the case when it comes to the vaccines that are being rolled out. This moment is a choice, no different from opting for the annual flu shot.
I want to encourage us not to complicate this matter, nor to be found on the wrong side of history. We all long for the return of a sense of “normalcy” to our relationships, society, communities, and world. There is a yearning for the fellowship that comes with person-to-person interactions, the touch of loved ones and friends, the gatherings of the local church body in worship, the sitting and eating with close friends, and the reopening of our economies. To get there, we must be willing to do all we can to ensure a safer and healthier society. Yes, we commit this moment to prayer and to faith, but also to good works.
When it comes to vaccine choices, I will not tell you what to do. That will be a choice left up to you. I have, however, asked our team to provide you with information links for your personal review as you make informed choices about your health, the health of your family, the health of your community, and ultimately the health of our world. I wish you God’s Shalom during this season, with nothing missing and nothing broken in your lives. Our best days are before us, in Jesus’ name.
With love and warm regards,
Orim M. Meikle
For ease of access to government links on vaccines, click on the below:
- Vaccines and immunization: What is Vaccination?
- COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario | COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario
Below are the four (4) Vaccines approved for use in Canada. You can click on each to find out the specifics pertaining to it: