VACCINE REQUIREMENT FOR CHURCH?
Dear Church and readers,
We write to briefly outline our position regarding a vaccination requirement for church attendance.
We, and our Presbytery, see no biblical justification to divide the church of Jesus Christ along the lines of vaccination status. We will therefore welcome all – the vaccinated and the unvaccinated – as Jesus himself would welcome all who come to him. We believe this is a true and commendable expression of Christian love and unity, because the Gospel has overcome those barriers which bring divisive conflict to humanity (Galatians 3:26-29).
Our desire is to express this welcoming heart with love and respect. Many have made a conscientious decision to get vaccinated, some intend to get vaccinated, while others choose to remain unvaccinated. Whatever decision each individual/families make, we are not to pass judgement on one another or exclude them from Christ, his Church, or Christian worship. As Paul instructed, "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... Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. (Romans 14:1-5)"
We humbly ask that we encounter one another with genuine love
and respect, whatever our personal vaccination decisions.
The elders are eager to share further information about reaching this decision. As a starting point, you may like to contact Bruwer. He would welcome a cup of coffee with you to discuss this. We also offer these basic navigating convictions:
Should the church obey the government?
In general, our Scriptures teach Christians have a submissive attitude toward our governments. And hence, the majority of Christian churches obeyed initial lockdown measures, etc. But Christian submission to civil government is not absolute, and our highest allegiance always belongs to God.
Second to this, God has not given the government the right to interfere with ecclesiastical (church) affairs. Our confession summarises this well - "Civil magistrates may not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven; or, in the least, interfere in matters of faith." When the government oversteps – as a vaccine requirement for church attendance would – it is biblically warranted to resist such intrusion into church affairs.
Are the church leaders 'anti-vax’?
Let it be said clearly: The church leaders are not anti-vaccination. We give thanks to God for ethically obtained medical breakthroughs, including those vaccines which do not rely on aborted fetal tissue for research or production. May God continue to bless humanity with such advances in life affirming healthcare.
Will the church actively promote vaccination?
The church has no authority or obligation to promote vaccination regimes. We preach salvation is found in Jesus Christ – crucified for sinners, bodily resurrected, and now reigning as the rightful Sovereign over the nations. This is the central message of the Christian church. We want to keep focused on this.
Please accept these are only brief summaries of our convictions. We are available to you for further discussion. Let’s grab a coffee and talk as friends and fellow believers in Christ.
We issue this statement in a spirit of love for you and a sincere desire to promote unity among the Christian church. All are welcome. All may come to hear about Jesus Christ and enjoy the privileges of fellowship within the gathered church. Let us shrug off the devilish impulse to withhold the welcome we so generously and graciously received from God himself.
With great love and prayer for you,
on behalf of all the elders
(Bruwer Vroon, Paul Henry, Andrew MacPherson)
Statement prepared on 8 October 2021