Top 3 Reasons Some Believers Are Resistant to Vaccines

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My dear friend for decades, Senior Pastor Ricky Texada of Covenant Church in Texas, in his prime with no serious health issues, was suddenly hospitalized last month. A few days ago i spoke at his memorial service. He leaves behind a shocked congregation, a beautiful wife and two exceptional sons, both star athletes and committed Christians.

Even after I contracted a mild case of COVID last October, I didn’t really know how serious this virus was.

COVID took his life. As a result of this tragic loss, the severity of the virus becomes more real. Presiding over a funeral and praying with a grieving family is usually heartbreaking. Yet recent funerals seem different, in that some people feel a fear that accompanies them.

If you are planning a funeral for someone who died in a car accident, few people in the room walk away fearing it. But you add a layer of concern with COVID because there are unknowns. “Wow, it’s really close to my house now. Am I safe? I was at home with this person and haven’t had him yet. What should I do?”

Fear is ultimately the thing we need to tackle. I grew up in a family that did not trust medical science, in part because of beliefs that misapplied Bible teaching. My parents were saved in a Holy Pentecostal church, who believed that you alone seek God in prayer for your healing. Members were not allowed to see a doctor. They were sincere people, but lost.

Today, I believe in healing through prayer and also believe that God provides healing through the drugs and treatments that doctors prescribe. A good doctor always fights for life. They are always there to help people and, as their Hippocratic Oath states, to do no harm.

Sometimes healing doesn’t come by any means. In these cases, a truth resonates in Scripture that says, “Secret things belong to the Lord. (Deuteronomy 29:29) When I don’t understand what’s going on, God always has a plan. So I have to trust God. A synonym for faith is trust. It is the hardest side of faith.

Although it is easier said than done, when fear comes to attack it must be fought with faith.

Top 3 Reasons Some Believers Are Resistant to Vaccines

Being connected as a pastoral figure to churches across the country, today I see three reasons for vaccine resistance among some Christians.

Number one, you might call hyper-patriotism. Part of what defines America’s culture is robust individualism. They say, “We don’t want to give up our freedoms. So, thank God, the government is not going to mandate me to have a vaccine. Related to this, some resist because of what their favorite political candidate has said or not. The truth is, this is a fight to save lives against a deadly virus, and it is not political football to play.

The second is fear. Sometimes people don’t want the vaccine because it is given with a needle, and they are afraid of it. Others may be scared because they read online that the COVID vaccine could cripple them or some other claim. While the internet has given everyone a microphone, much of what is said is not true. A friend recently told me, “I don’t know about sight recovery for the blind, but the internet has certainly allowed the dumb to talk. He said jokingly, yet the spread of disinformation reflects a serious lack of discipleship.

Third, it’s for some kind of faith reason. “I just trust God,” people say. As sincere as it sounds, it can be a shroud of fear. I believe and thank God that he has given us medical breakthroughs to save lives, including penicillin, cancer treatments and, yes, even vaccines against this coronavirus.

These reasons for resistance are not new. As a child, I had not received any vaccine. When I was 14, my family moved to Houston and school wouldn’t allow me and my siblings to go. Finally, we obtained the vaccines required for public health reasons. In some contexts, vaccines were then mandatory as they are today.

Personally, I decided to get vaccinated against COVID, in part because I am convinced that the benefits outweigh the risks. Everything we do has a risk-benefit ratio. You may decide not to go to the store to buy food because you could be killed in a car accident. But you’re going to starve if you don’t get food. The benefits of going to the store are far more than the risks. Everything you do for a living involves weighing such factors.

As a minister of the gospel, I have a higher reason. Often times I preach in another state or nation. Increasingly, we will not be able to travel without being vaccinated… and I don’t even mean that it will be a mandate from the government. Many churches will require it of their staff – certainly, those who care for children – and even guest speakers. It’s about serving the flock.

When I see it all on the horizon, it’s not worth fighting the COVID vaccine. For me, building resistance is not a mountain worth dying on.

Mike Hayes is the founding pastor of Covenant Church in Carrollton, Texas, and is president of Covenant churches, a network of more than 50 evangelical churches across the country.


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