COVID Vaccine: To Get It Or Not?

Some employers are requiring vaccines or asking employees why they would like an exemption from being required to receive the current vaccines on the market. It is a strange time when health decisions have become so divisive. The question then is, “Why would I get the vaccine?” or conversely “Why would I not get the vaccine?”

Our world moves at breakneck speed sometimes and it’s often hard to know what the Christian should do. I’m sorry to say there is not a clear answer in this situation in regards to yes or no. Christians are free to receive the vaccine or not. One thing for certain is that the topic must not divide the church of Christ. Christians are able to come to different conclusions and we should not hold those conclusions against one another. Just like the church should not be divided by smoking, diet choices, exercise regiment, flu shot nor type of car one drives. Regardless of your decision, you’re still a sinner in need of forgiveness.

The reasons for division are legion but there is only one unity that reigns over all division, even the division of body and soul in death. The unity we strive for and given only by the Holy Spirit is unity in Christ. In some circumstances the Word of God is clear but other times we are to use our God given reason to make a decision and go forth in repentance and faith and we support one another.

Our church desires to speak not just as a lone congregation but also leans on guidance from the synod. The word “synod” means walking together. Walking together. Not dragging. Not coercing. Not pushing but a walking along together somewhat like a marriage. There is no coercion.

If a Christian would like to receive the vaccine for God pleasing reasons like good for their neighbor and honoring the authorities God has instituted, both 4th and 5th commandments, then they may do so without sinning against God. However if one thinks more about receiving a vaccine (no matter the type) more highly than receiving the forgiveness of sins in faith, then a person could be sinning against the first commandment. If one fears death more than God, or one believes their doctor more than the word of God, a person would be sinning against the 3rd commandment.

If a Christian would like to not receive the vaccine for God pleasing reasons, like the use of aborted tissue in the testing and development, violation of 5th commandment, then they may do so without sinning against God. However, if a person refuses the vaccine because they believe God will heal them no matter what, they would be tempting God.

If a person is not convinced to take the vaccine and their conscience is settled, then they must not be made to do so. If a person receives the vaccine they must not be judged. Neither taking the vaccine nor refusing the vaccine makes one righteous in God’s eyes. In the New Testament the topic of diet was of concern.

In Romans Ch. 14 St. Paul said,

“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.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”

So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”

A Christian should always approach every day in prayer and especially when a difficult decision is to be made. We should never blindly accept what the CDC, FDA, USA, a Dr., nor what the internet says without deliberation. We should as Christians practice discernment and use prayer.

Our society and the world in general is opposed to God. We are surrounded by a fallen world intent on death and destruction. Modern medicine for all its accomplishments has also caused much despair, death and sin (the response to COVID-19 as prime example). This has led to mistrust in authorities and also unfortunately leads some to not consider any outside opinions. This makes walking together in Christ difficult.

Thanks be to God that in Christ we are completely forgiven and drawn into “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God who is father of all”, even if the kids disagree on some things.

If you have questions feel free to reach out to me. I will also list some resources I have already mentioned in the past but am sharing again. May God give us perseverance against all the devil’s schemes and plans. May everything you do be to the praise and glory of Jesus Christ our Lord.

I am praying for guidance and peace for you. Please pray for the same for me and your fellow Christians in Christ and even your enemies.

See you on Sunday!

In Christ,
Pastor Ottmers