Reverend Lucifer Satan of Woke Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri recently offered his support. Just like Dr. Right Rev. Nimrod Covid Vaccine of the Church of Satan in Hell. The state of this latter congregation has not been noted, but I assume Kansas. The two “ministers” claimed e-mail addresses from hell.com. Does that mean they’re still using AOL?
These, and a few other obviously fake names, were submitted as “signatories” for the recent word and manner clergy statement urging Christians to get vaccinated against COVID-19. We removed them from the list. But the names of more than 230 true pastors from across Missouri are listed on the statement. The courage of their collective witness of more than 15 denominations that span the theological and political spectrum remains inspiring. More importantly, it could help save lives as media coverage of many states newspapers, TV channels, radio showsand even national electrical outlets helped amplify the message.
But with all the fake news and cynical politics infecting our culture during the pandemic, it’s no surprise we’ve heard fake pastors peddling lies. The Reverend The End is Nigh did not leave a church on the form, instead writing “Jesus is the way, not the vax”.
Strangely, I agree. Jesus is the way. But it is disappointing to realize that this cowardly commentator fails to recognize how vaccinations are a way for Christians to obediently follow Jesus’ command to love our neighbors. Where the anonymous reviewer mistakenly perceives a conflict, hundreds of pastors see an opportunity for discipleship.
In addition to fake signers, I’ve also received emails, phone calls, and social media posts from people criticizing us for encouraging vaccinations. Demonizing our efforts, however, will not stop us from trying to save the lives of people made in God’s image. Indeed, we are concerned for the welfare of these naysayers even as they refuse to care about others.
Much of the anti-vaxxer rhetoric from those who profess to follow Christ seems to focus on the message of “faith over fear.” Some churches even tenuous “faith over fear” rallies to protest health measures.
And after a Methodist church in New Orleans, Louisiana put “Love their neighbor, get vaccinated” on their church sign, a vandal last week spray painted instead of “vaccinated” and wrote “Faith over fear” and “Revelation 13:17”. The latter appears to be a verse read only in the Awakened Baptist Church since the Bible book is spelled without an “s” at the end.
The real verse, Revelation 13:17, warns against the “mark of the beast.” But itSurely that cannot be what the vandal meant. To read the verse literally, as most conservative Christians would have it, would lead us to believe that the mark will be on “their right hand or forehead.” If anyone is aiming for either of these two points with your COVID vaccine, please see a doctor!
Of course, the Bible teaches us that we must have faith rather than fear. But it is also teaches “Do not put the Lord your God to the test. And there are many times in the Bible where having faith rather than fear means doing something to save lives.
Noah didn’t jump out of the ark and into the floodwaters just to prove he had faith over fear.
Jochebed did not keep her newborn baby Moses at home just to prove that she had faith rather than fear.
The enslaved Hebrew people did not fail to put lamb’s blood on their doorposts just to prove they had faith rather than fear.
The sick Israelites in the desert did not refuse to look at the bronze serpent just to prove that they had faith rather than fear.
Young David didn’t walk naked without a sling toward Goliath just to prove he had faith over fear.
Joseph didn’t keep Mary and baby Jesus in Bethlehem just to prove he had faith rather than fear.
So when I hear someone say they won’t get vaccinated because they have “faith rather than fear,” I’m tempted to respond with the founded indignation of James: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no actions? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes or daily food. If any of you say to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed’, but does nothing for their physical needs, what good is that? »
Scripture too promises “The truth will set you free.” Here is some truth: We will not be safe from this pandemic until we finally and completely reject the lies, distortions and misinformation about vaccination. Let’s have faith over fear, but also put that faith into action by wearing our masks, practicing social distancing and getting vaccinated so we can end this pandemic.
That is why I will continue to join hundreds of pastors in Missouri and beyond to preach this good news. In the meantime, my message for Reverend Lucifer? “Get behind me, Satan!