When it comes to Christians and vaccination, there’s a lot of controversy, especially as it pertains to the Covid vaccine.
In this post, I would like to share Franklin Graham’s counsel on the vaccine, followed by my own.
This has become a real hot-button issue in the Body of Christ. I hope that by the time you finish considering our two viewpoints, you will have liberty in your heart to follow the LORD on the matter according to your faith.
Here’s what Franklin Graham says regarding Christians and vaccination:
“The internet is full of articles, theories, data, and opinions concerning the COVID-19 vaccines—both positive and negative. There’s a lot out there for you to read. I have been asked my opinion about the vaccine by the media and others. I have even been asked if Jesus were physically walking on earth now, would He be an advocate for vaccines.
“My answer was that based on the parable of the Good Samaritan in the Bible, I would have to say—yes, I think Jesus Christ would advocate for people using vaccines and medicines to treat suffering and save lives. In this Scripture passage, Jesus told about a man beaten and wounded, lying on the roadside as religious leaders passed by and didn’t help. But a Samaritan, considered a social outcast of the day, becomes the hero of the story when he stops and cares for the injured man—pouring oil and wine, which were the top medicines of the day, on the man’s wounds. We also know that Jesus went from town to town healing “every disease and sickness.” He came to save life—to offer us eternal life.
“Did Jesus need a vaccine Himself?
“Of course not. He is God.
“So, my own personal opinion is that from what we know, a vaccine can help save lives and prevent suffering. Samaritan’s Purse has operated COVID-19 emergency field hospitals, and we have seen the suffering firsthand. I also have staff and their family members who contracted the virus and spent weeks on a ventilator and months hospitalized as a result—I don’t want anyone to have to go through that. Vaccines have worked for polio, smallpox, measles, the flu and so many other deadly illnesses—why not for this virus?
“Since there are different vaccines available, my recommendation is that people do their research, talk to their doctor, and pray about it to determine which vaccine, if any, is right for them. My wife and I have both had the vaccine; and at 68 years old, I want to get as many more miles out of these old bones as possible!”
After Franklin posted this post about Christians and vaccination on Gab.com, there was a firestorm of responses. Most were not charitable toward him and his viewpoint. In fact, a lot of them were downright nasty.
My response regarding Christians and the Covid Vaccine:
After reading Franklin’s take and those of many others, here is my response as it concerns Christians and vaccination, in particular, the Covid vaccine:
It might be helpful if we could dial it down and contemplate scripture on this matter: “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters” (Romans 14:1). Maturity in our faith means that we recognize that some matters are disputable. Such is the case when it comes to the vaccine.
It’s NOT disputable to those who advocate FOR the vaccine. It’s also NOT disputable to those who are AGAINST the vaccine. Each side is fully convinced that they are right. But we must be gracious in acknowledging that there are people on the other side of the issue who are just as certain that they are correct. We must learn to state our case without getting personal and attacking others. Be gracious toward one another.
Even though I don’t plan on taking the vaccine, I would never attack Franklin personally the way some have in this post. He has a different viewpoint and expressed it as well as he was able and I really appreciate him for that and respect him.
The idea in Romans is to avoid making harsh judgments over disputable issues. The issue of the vaccine may not be in question to you, but it may be to others. As Christians, we must learn to be gracious and to make allowances for our differences without becoming hostile and judgmental. Learn to argue without being argumentative.
Romans further states: “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food” (Romans 14:19-20). In this instance, we could just as well insert “vaccine” for “food,” as follows: “Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of [a vaccine].”
We need to maintain our unity and brotherly love in Christ, even when we have disagreements over disputable matters. Of course, some things are beyond dispute. If you want to preach another Gospel than that of salvation through Christ alone, see-you-later! Scripture is clear on this. It’s not quite so clear on things like vaccines.
Scripture teaches that whatever is not of faith is sin (Rom. 14:23). Our endeavor should be to seek the LORD’s direction in the matter and be led by our faith. Some may become convinced that the course of faith is to take the vaccine. Others may become convinced that the course of faith is to abstain from the vaccine. Franklin is of the former. I am of the latter. But I still love and appreciate Franklin.
-Pastor Randall Lassila, Renew Church
How to you feel about the Covid vaccine? Please join the conversation and let us know.
I want to thank Pastor Randall Lassila for his beautiful post on this subject. Open-mindedness and dialogue are essential to achieving peace and mutual edification.
I am a layman. I’m not an expert. I’m not a doctor. But God has afforded me the time, energy, and fortitude to attempt to learn as much as possible about this virus and the associated pandemic over the past year and a half.
So, I would love to pass along what I’ve learned in the goal of mutual edification to whoever has the inclination to read this. All glory is due to God; only the mistakes are my own.
As this pandemic unfolded, I could only think of how a tragedy unfolded on December 26, 2004. The morning after Christmas, a tsunami killed over a quarter million people on the Indian Ocean coastline, mostly in Indonesia.
Conceivably, a warning system could have been implemented to save many of these lives as the 9.1 earthquake was detected. Although some only had minutes, others had hours of lead time to travel to higher ground. My understanding is warning systems existed in the Pacific Rim but not much of any warning system existed around the Indian Ocean on that tragic day.
Respiratory viral pandemics seem to run their course over about 18 months. However, these are only the large waves that infect and kill naïve populations in large numbers. A naïve person (in the technical sense) is someone who has not been infected with the novel pathogen or been vaccinated.
I predict SARS-CoV-2 (which is the virus that causes COVID-19) will become endemic like other coronaviruses: OC43, 229E, NL63, and HKU1. So, it will eventually spread and infect the vast majority of the world’s population over the next several years. That is to say, I predict smaller waves will persist for years, possibly in perpetuity.
In naïve populations, COVID-19 (the disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2) has proved to be quite deadly with millions worldwide lost already, most unable to travel to higher ground before becoming infected.
The United States is flush with supplies of BNT162b2 (Pfizer), mRNA-1273 (Moderna), and other great vaccines. After examining the data, I guesstimate those who choose to vaccinate are about 3 or 4 times less likely to be infected, about 20 times less likely to suffer symptoms (95% efficacy equates to 95:5 or 19:1), and perhaps 100 times less likely to suffer hospitalization or death (99.2% of US deaths from COVID-19 were in unvaccinated individuals in June 2021) than a naïve individual. Vaccinated individuals are also less likely to transmit; however, my guesstimate is that transmission is only lowered by about half (again, I’m only a layman here).
Our immune systems are quite different from individual to individual. Many naïve individuals handle the virus well without long lasting morbidity (injuries or chronic health issues) or shortened life expectancy. However, it seems that pretty much every concern about rare side effects of certain vaccines (blood clots, heart issues, as examples) are usually much more likely with COVID-19 itself (usually by orders of magnitude more likely, it seems at least 2% of COVID-19 survivors have the heart issue that is otherwise rare with vaccines and the blood clots which are quite rare with certain vaccines are perhaps 40 times more likely with COVID-19 itself… risk is always relative).
So, from what I’d researched, it was a very clear decision to get vaccinated as the virus and disease continues to circulate in the United States and around the globe. I am seeing tremendous hope and progress as vaccination has insulated the United States from otherwise additional deaths as many have found higher ground and greatly reduced their individual risk whilst diminishing social, economic, and hopefully spiritual costs to society.
Pope Francis’s homily on Easter 2020 wished that we spread the contagion of hope. I no longer feel inured with the likelihood of sickness and death in my family now that we all have been vaccinated. The risk is still there, but it has been greatly diminished through the grace of vaccination and enhanced community immunity through mass vaccination campaigns.
So, my call to action is in tune with Pastor Randall Lassila and Reverend Franklin Graham. I deeply appreciate their grace in messaging. I’d reiterate Reverend Graham’s words, “Since there are different vaccines available, my recommendation is that people do their research, talk to their doctor, and pray about it to determine which vaccine, if any, is right for them.”
Conceivably, some had minutes, some had hours to retreat to higher ground when the tsunami struck, if they were able to receive proper warning, attuning their senses to the inevitable with the right information. We were blessed to have weeks, months, and now years to prepare for this viral wave. The many societal encumbrances like masking, closures and distancing are now quickly fading away, but water still runs downhill. I’d like to invite others aboard the arc of vaccination should your faith guide you towards that decision.