Land of the Mandated, Home of the Vaccinated

Mandating vaccinations opposes freedom

The Bible tells us that Christ set us free for the sake of freedom. In Galatians 5:1, God’s word states, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” If as followers of Christ, we desire to remain free, we should first find freedom from our sins. Secondarily, we should secure the physical freedoms He has blessed us with as well. For example, we should maintain the freedom to choose whether or not we are immunized.

For various reasons, there are those who believe that vaccinations should be mandated by the government. Mandating vaccinations opposes the freedom that God has already given us in order to choose to glorify Him with our bodies. We’re responsible and accountable to God for what we eat, drink, and medicate ourselves with. Gods word declares, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Mandating vaccinations is unreasonable

Most Christians and of course most Americans are aware that there are known risks involved with not receiving vaccinations. What may be understood to a lesser extent is that there are also known risks involved with receiving vaccinations. According to the National Vaccine Information Center, there are serious health concerns associated with measles vaccine reactions. “As of November 30, 2018, there have been more than 92,844 reports of measles vaccine reactions, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths following measles vaccinations made to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), including 457 related deaths, 6,902 hospitalizations, and 1,736 related disabilities. Over 50 percent of those adverse events occurred in children three years old and under.”

There are additional risks to those who have pre-existing medical conditions, such as autoimmune disease and genetic mutations. Since there are risks to being vaccinated, the “shut up and take your vaccines” argument isn’t really helpful or valid. It would be great if there were a reasonable explanation as to why it would be a good idea to allow our government the power to force people to get vaccinated but it’s doubtful one actually exists. Vaccinating ourselves and our children is our decision to make based on our relationship with the Lord and how we apply His word to our lives. On the other hand, forcing people to vaccinate is simply unreasonable.

If You Don’t Like Abortions, Don’t Get One

Don’t remove God from the discussion

It’s a catchy title, right? If you don’t like it when live human babies are destroyed in the womb, then just don’t do that to your own unborn babies. This Huffington Post article originally from March 3, 2016 argues that legalizing abortion makes women more safe. “Abortion is not about opinion. Legalizing abortion is not a question of beliefs, taboos or religion— all that should not even be part of the conversation. Abortion is a question of public health, and it must be dealt with as such.”

Removing God from this discussion is an interesting suggestion. If there is no moral standard higher than ourselves and how we feel or think, than it seems as though we could make an argument for destroying any form of life. It seems like it’s much easier to just ignore God’s word when we’re faced with a discussion about human life. Yet in Exodus 20:3, God’s word declares, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” In other words, we should consider God’s word in everything we do.

If we really want to consider public health, maybe we should include unborn children in that discussion. We should also discuss the fact that at least some abortions are carried out due to the inconvenience or shame a child would present to families. We should be encouraged to respectfully challenge anyone who suggests we leave God out of the pro-life/pro-choice debate. God should be in the forefront of our discussions, especially when it comes to matters of life and death. As Jesus said, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…” Matthew 6:33

All life should be valued

The above referenced Huffington Post article provides some interesting statistics based on annual numbers worldwide. “The World Health Organization estimates that 211 million pregnancies occur each year. Approximately 87 million of these pregnancies occur unintentionally. Of the total number of pregnancies a year, around 46 million end in abortion. Around 40 percent of these are carried out under unsafe conditions; 47,000 women die as a result of unsafe abortions each year. Surely, this is not what we want for our women.”

There’s a few things to consider in regards to the way those statistics were presented in that article… 1) The statistics seem to be used to effectively demonstrate that the lives of 47,000 women are somehow more important than 46 million babies. Why are we arguing about which life is more important? Aren’t all lives important? 2) The statistics also seem to be used to effectively demonstrate that unsafe conditions for women ultimately trump unsafe conditions for babies. 3) The statistics don’t seem to account for the fact that even when abortion is legal, conditions for women can still be unsafe.

The overwhelming majority of abortions aren’t unsafe for the mother. Most abortions are conducted when the mother’s life is in no real danger at all. In most instances, it’s only the child’s life that is at risk, obviously. That being said, we should value all forms of human life. Instead of making a case for one life having more value than the other we should spend our time finding solutions for making pregnancy safer for both women and children. If you don’t like abortions then encourage others not to get one if at all possible.

It’s Time for Christians to be Courageous

Courage is commanded

Worry and fear can sometimes cause us to be apathetic to our faith and the people around us. Apathy often leads to destruction. Looking at the Church in the United States of America today, it’s easy to see that apathy has crept into the minds of many believers. Barna conducted a survey that demonstrates this point well. “When asked if they have a personal responsibility to share their faith with others, 73% of born again Christians said yes. When this conviction is put into practice, however, the numbers shift downward. Only half (52%) of born again Christians say they actually did share the Gospel at least once this past year to someone with different beliefs, in the hope that they might accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.”

It’s easy to become caught up with our fears when we focus on the results instead of our responsibilities. Instead of being so discouraged by the bad news in this world, we should fix our eyes on the one who offers hope. We need to start paying closer attention to what God’s word tells us rather than what the world tells us. It’s in His word that we learn about His command to be courageous. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Courage points people to God

Jesus demonstrated courage to the fullest by dying on the cross for our sins. Consider the fact that Jesus preferred to not suffer the consequences of our sins when praying to His Father. Yet understanding God’s will, Jesus willingly and courageously endured extreme suffering and ultimately sacrificed His life for us. Some Christians are martyred for their faith but not all Christians suffer to that extent.

If we live courageously, by sharing God’s love boldly with the people we know, doing the work He has planned for us, and being an example of God’s love to our neighbors, we allow God’s light to shine through us so that others may have the opportunity to know Jesus. It’s vital that we drown our fears and our worry by refocusing our attention to the work God has given us.

Courage leads to a greater impact on culture

Generally speaking, our culture is lost in many ways. As a whole, our society idolizes celebrities and polarizing politicians, is overly-dependent on the government, and considers life as mostly a personal playground to fulfill all of our pleasures. Yet, many Christians have become apathetic towards our culture. This could be partially explained by the changes to our culture over the years. Christians have seen the decay of our culture and have given up hope.

While our hope shouldn’t lie in our culture, it should be directed towards it. Whether Jesus returns tomorrow or 1,000 years from now, our faith should always be demonstrated to our culture. Showing courage to a lost world can spark great changes. We should be running towards culture instead of running away from it, not to embrace the same lifestyle but to help shape it with Christ’s love. We should be encouraged that God is with us wherever we go and that will remind us to have courage, even while facing troubling circumstances.

Love

Ron Paul Revolution

Ron Paul ran for President in 2012. Obviously he didn’t win the election. In fact, he only finished 3rd in electoral votes in the Republican primary. While he wasn’t victorious there was some good news that came from his campaign. During his campaign his supporters coined the phrase the “Ron Paul Revolution” as the slogan for his campaign. Within the words of the slogan, the word “love” spelled backwards is highlighted with red letters. There may never have been a better word to focus on in any political campaign. Love!

Love

The U.S. government has a lot of issues, to say the least. There is no way to sugar coat this. Our system is broken and many of our governing officials are corrupt beyond measure. What’s needed more than anything in our government right now is love. It sounds over-simplified and unrealistic, but wow what a change it could make if our elected officials loved Jesus and loved people instead of valuing themselves and special interests above others.

What would our nation look like if members in Congress, Judges and even our President lived out these verses? What would our nation look like if we, as citizens, valued our love for one another more than we valued being right? “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

 

Why Pastors Should Preach About Politics

Why Pastors avoid politics

Many Pastors in our nation decline to preach about politics. There are likely many reasons for this, including the desire to not offend congregants and to not foster an environment of political debate. Some Pastors believe that since politics don’t change hearts for Christ, politics don’t have a place in Church. Some Pastors believe that politics and Christianity are mutually exclusive. Some Pastors are concerned about losing government benefits related to their tax status with the IRS. Regardless of the reason, Pastors should know the truth about politics. What are politics, exactly? Where did politics come from? What role should Christians play in politics?

For Pastors the greatest challenge related to preaching politics lies in understanding how politics are defined. Politics are so negatively viewed that many Pastors completely avoid preaching anything “politically related”. However, politics are so much more than just which party to vote for or side with. Politics should not be reduced to only the Republican vs. Democrat debate. Choosing not to preach about which political party is superior is certainly understandable. Similarly, preaching a sermon on which candidate to vote for, is not ideal since much of that discussion will vary based on a Pastors personal opinion.

Understanding what politics are

When claiming that He was God, Jesus offended the Pharisees. Yet, He had no fear of their reaction, because He was telling the truth. Therefore, if God’s Word discusses it, Pastors should too. And the truth about politics is, the Bible speaks to political issues and government. In fact, God created us to “rule” over the earth. “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Government was God’s idea, not mankind’s.

Politics are a natural product of Government. Dictionary.com defines politics as “the science or art of political government.” God established Government in the beginning (as He is our King) and He establishes our governing authorities (Romans 13:1). Since politics are the science of government, the two are linked. God’s word is full of political discussions related to the law, life, marriage, war, economics, and more. The Bible points us to a Savior, and it also gives us direction for how to govern our lives. This includes what our political views should be and which governing authorities we should submit to. Pastors avoid politics due to a false view of what politics actually are.

While it is correct to say that politics can’t directly change the human heart, that was never the purpose of politics. Politics exist in order for mankind to govern nations, not to save souls. And while salvation is obviously quite important and a large part of God’s Word, it is not the only topic the Lord cares about. Stating that salvation is the only important topic in God’s Word would ignore much of the Bible. Furthermore, while politics can’t save people, God can use politics to bring people to Him.

Pastors should preach politics God’s way

Encouraging congregants to vote is honorable, but there is more to politics than just voting. For believers, being active in politics requires having an understanding of the foundation of our government and how it operates, so we can apply related scripture (Romans 13:1-7) to our lives. It involves having a voice for the voiceless (Proverbs 31:8-9). It involves understanding who should take care of those who are in need (James 1:27). It involves understanding marriage (Genesis 2:24) and the value of life (Psalm 127:3). It also involves communicating with our governing officials, which opens up the opportunity to share the Gospel with them (Matthew 28:16-20).

The Bible speaks to all areas of our lives, including politics. Pastors can preach about politics (in a biblical sense) without giving their opinions. We should encourage our Pastors to have the courage to speak up about what God’s word says related to political issues and current events. A Pastor should care about politics to the extent that the world is able to witness God’s love for others in the political arena, yet Pastors should not care about politics so much that it becomes an idol (like anything else). Christians should be the light in politics and we need our Pastors to shepherd us in this. Although, this may require a better understanding of what politics are and perhaps a slight change in attitude about politics on the part of Pastors.