Vaccinations and the new normal

Recently I have become aware of two government guidelines. Scripture teachers will be required to be vaccinated before returning to teaching face-to-face (in Level 2 restrictions). The second regards preschools. All teachers, including our St Luke’s teachers, will be required to be vaccinated.

All of this is forecasting clear signals. Freedoms in the future will be greater for the vaccinated. Flights and travel, working in specific industries, attending large sporting events will all require evidence of being fully vaccinated.

Churches have not as yet received notice that vaccinations will be required for attending public services. But you can imagine that is likely, and consistent with what we see so far.

Should a Christian get vaccinated? Let me rehearse the arguments that I have heard. Some say Yes – it is part of caring for and loving your neighbour. Covid is a socially transmitted disease. You being vaccinated means you are much less likely to infect others.

Others say yes – it is part of being a good citizen who cares for the wellbeing of all and obeying the authorities that God has established (Rom 13:1).

Some say no – on one of two grounds. Allowing the government to restrict our rights undermines our freedoms, and it sets a dangerous precedent. Freedom of the individual is not just a Western, but a Christian value. As I read scripture, rights are things you give up for the good of others, more so than things you demand yourself (1 Cor 9:1-12).

Still, others say no – my body is a temple to the Holy Spirit, and I should be vigilant about what I allow into it. I do not find myself persuaded by this argument. I don’t know exactly what is in the typhoid vaccine I receive before travelling, or in a tetanus booster. I trust the medical system. The body as a temple argument does not prevent me from receiving these injections.

Not all will agree with me, and that is fine with me. My sense is this. However serious you think Covid 19 is, whether or not you believe the government is overstepping its authority, whether or not you agree with how Covid has been managed to date – all of these questions are somewhat irrelevant.

It is likely that if you wish to attend face-to-face church in the future, lead a ministry, or go away on a senior’s bus trip, you will have to be vaccinated. Combine that with the line of reasoning that is loving your neighbour by being vaccinated, and I suggest the case is strong. Unless you have medical advice that you are not an appropriate candidate for vaccinations, I encourage you to prepare for church under the new normal by receiving the jab.

Rev David Rietveld

Senior Minister


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