Many Canadians have reached out to their church to sign a religious exemption form for vaccines. These requests have suddenly come to many churches and possibly organizations, and I know that pastors and churches are working through their responses.
As a contribution to that discussion, I want to name a number of occasions where I would not sign a religious exemption form. While this article won’t answer every question, I hope it helps you think through the question in your setting.
First, when there is no religious exemption possible
Provincial vaccine requirements may not allow religious exemptions. In which case, signing a form might simply set someone up for disappointment since there is no legal mechanism that the form supports. For example, in Ontario, there are only two valid exemptions from the vaccine passport system, and religious conscience is not one of them.
Obviously, someone could argue on the basis of charter freedoms that a vaccine passport system infringes upon rights and divides society in ways which gainsay our goals of a just society. But that discussion lies outside the specific question of signing a religious exemption form. If there is no avenue for its use, then signing it probably would not make sense.
Some locations such as schools may have a mandatory vaccine policy in which a religious exemption could be valid. In which case, you may consider signing it.
Second, when the request is not religious in nature
If you feel that signing a form makes sense, ask whether or not the issue is in fact a religious liberty question. It may be that someone desires to avoid a vaccine and the passport system on the basis of individual freedom. In such a case, it probably would be better to contact a local MPP/MLA or other appropriate person. Pastors and Christian leaders have obligated themselves to Christian ministry, and have not typically understood themselves to be primary leaders for civil liberty.
Missionaries regularly travel to countries that require a whole set of vaccinations. Short-term missionaries often get vaccines in order to visit countries. These regular patterns strongly suggest that vaccinations as such do not fall under regular patterns of religious freedom. Rather, they fall under the category of civil freedom.
Third, when the request comes from someone outside your congregation
A pastor recently mentioned that signing such forms could be a liability for Christians. As a pastor, signing a form for someone under your care may make sense. You are one of their spiritual leaders.
But signing the form for someone outside of your care means that you genuinely cannot know their reasons for the request. And you may find yourself signing forms for persons whose religious conscience you cannot verify. At the end of the day, a shepherd knows his sheep. He does not know the sheep of the world (that’s Jesus’s job as “the great shepherd of the sheep,” Heb 13:20).
Mark Matthias says
However, I would say, I find it utterly impossible to live in this world and adhere to the values of a fallen world, within reason — what constitutes ‘reason’ has to do with whether it contradicts God’s precepts in any way.
Yes, we know what happens to men who live literally like Jesus and His disciples throughout the ages — their lives are anything but comfy, spiritually, and or physically. Yet we are either of the world or with the Son of God, which leads to our conformity and the subsequent transformation of our minds as time passes.
Under that circumstance, I would ask myself what would I do; and what would be the criteria upon which I would make my decision. The theological picture is inevitable.
The temporal picture appears to show the leadership of this world preparing to pirate the world into a global dictatorship. Who would say that notion is completely out of the question? It seems even more possible when we review the war between the devil, God, and His children that began in the Garden and is raging right through the Birth Pangs — Matthew 24:8 — ” But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains.” There’s no mystery about the ‘last days’.
Thusly, I have to consider where all of what’s going on leads.
The world governments also appear to be successfully removing Judeo-Christianity from the face of the earth. How can I trust their motives concerning our lives?
Worse comes to worst and I and my family are proverbial toast. But when I compare the mode of operation of the world’s leaders how can I not consider, for example,
Rev. 13: 7-8
“It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority was given to him over every tribe, people, language, and nation. 8 All who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been [b]written since the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slaughtered.”
“And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. ”
Can I separate the question of this post from the overall spiritual darkness of this very dark world?
Obviously, there’s a strong similarity in the way the rulers of this world proceed in their dealing in world affairs. And I don’t believe the things they are doing or insist upon are for the health and well-being of the citizens of the world. One person suggests:
“Globalists have influenced big pharma to put this computer-like software in a person’s body/computer when they vaccinate people (this is the first stage in the process of making a person’s body act like a computer).
This is why some people, not all, are having adverse reactions, getting sick, being magnetized, dying, etc.
God didn’t create the human body to be turned into a computer or a computer-like machine.
God created the human body to reproduce its own kind.”
All I can say is I’m listening intently to both sides of this blatant divide in this world’s affairs. So there’s no question that I believe in religious exemptions unless it’s purely inconsequential — there’s also the reality of those who walk in the Spirit can be provoked by the Spirit in certain circumstances, which will be backed up by Scripture. The warfare is spiritual…
John 16:13: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” I believe our discernment (1 Cor. 12:10) covers many areas of life.