“No, Jesus would not require vaccine passports.”
Samuel Sey tweeted something recently that came as a shock for many christians. A church in Canada is going to reopen next month (after being closed since covid began) but with a twist, they will be requiring a vaccine passport for people to come in the doors.
The writer of the article, who is the pastor of the church, said that if Jesus been alive today, he would have done the same.
After appealing to science for his decision, the pastor made a shift into theology. He said Jesus would agree with him.
Theologically, the argument is stronger. To be a Christian is to model one’s life after Christ. Jesus always put others first. He gave up his individual rights for the common good and sacrificed for the sake of the weak. He loved others as he loved himself and would have surely done anything to best protect the unvaccinated children in his neighbourhood. A Christian ethic always puts the vulnerable first.
Not only is this argument not strong it is actually quite foolish.
Jesus consistently exposed himself to sick people. People with Leprosy (Matt. 8:2), fevers (Luke 8:38-40), blood discharges (Luke 8:43), demons (Matt. 5:1), and even dead people (Mark 5:21, Luke 8:40) were constantly approached by Jesus without regard for his own safety.
He could have healed everyone he came in contact with yet he didn’t. There were times where he chose not to heal people who needed it. (Mark 6:5) In fact, Jesus could remove not only Covid from this world in a split second, but all pain and suffering whenever he wants. But doesn’t.
Jesus’s mission was not to eradicate suffering in this world, but it was to suffer himself for the sake of the elect. (Heb. 2:9-10) He was willing to die for the sake of the lost! And He expected his disciples to follow suit! (John 15:20)
The only reason you might require proof of vaccines for entrance to a church service is because you have lost sight of the cost of discipleship and are controlled by the fear of death.
You should be willing to die for people to hear the gospel.
Paul said that for the sake of his people, Israel, he would be willing to be accursed in their place, if it meant that they would get to go to Heaven. (Rom. 9:3) And Paul believed in a literal eternal hell.
Every follower of Christ should be willing to suffer and die for the sake of expending our energy and our whole entire lives for the lost.
It is for this reason that it is shocking that there are churches that are forbidding people from coming to church. I know that this is a hot topic and that many people are sensitive about this. I am not against being careful and using wisdom, after all unlike Jesus, we don’t have the ability to heal people. But under no circumstance are we allowed to turn away people from hearing the Gospel and gathering with the saints.
We should be begging people to come, not banning them!
We truly need to pray for pastors around the world. These situations are not easy to navigate. We need to pray for churches to not be afraid.
We need to pray that elders who are afraid of dying, would remember their high calling and either repent or resign.
Sadly too many shepherds right now, instead of fighting away the enemy of their sheep, are dropping their staffs and running away, afraid to die.
If you should be willing to be speared in the chest to bring the Gospel to a tribe in Equador, you should be willing to be exposed to a respiratory disease that you have more than a 99% chance to survive.
This is not to minimize the fact that this virus does harm some people in a significant way, but it is to say that if the fear of death is driving you to make your decisions then you are not being a faithful shepherd.
We need to pray for much wisdom from the Lord. Obviously we don’t want to have a martyr complex where we expose ourselves and those around us to unnecessary risks, but we must, if we desire to follow our Lord’s example, be willing to expend ourselves for the Lord.
I can’t help but think of Peter who was told by Christ that he would die on a cross, (John 21:19) yet boldly declared Gospel, each and every time he had the opportunity, without compromise or concern for his own body.
By all means get vaccinated if you want, protect yourself as best you can, but never forbid people from hearing the good news. Elders, (and really every member of the church) go and preach boldly the word of God, leaving your life in God’s hands.