Let me get some things out on the table right from the start. I am an Evangelical. I am conservative. I believe in small government, low taxes, and liberty. I am a one-exception (life of the mother) pro-lifer.
I think Ronald Reagan was one of greatest presidents we have ever had, and I supported Pat Robertson in the 1988 presidential primary. Except Nos. 7 and 8, I previously held all the views I criticize below.
What changed my mind was (1) deciding I was no longer going to get my political opinions from a political party or television network and (2) attempting to carry out Biblical and kingdom presuppositions to their logical conclusions. So, you can call me wrong, but don’t call me a liberal. What I hope I am is a Christian whose politics are rooted not in Fox News or MSNBC, the Republicans or the Democrats, but the Bible.
With that in mind, here are 10 things American Evangelicals are wrong about:
Should you get the COVID vaccine? I understand the concerns of those who are reluctant. I was reluctant at first, not because I knew anything about the vaccine but because I didn’t.
I’ve always been vaccine hesitant. Until last year, I never even got a flu vaccine shot. I just figured that intentionally injecting any part of a virus into my arm was something I should avoid if possible (I didn’t realize mRNA vaccines do not use any part of the virus). Besides I was young enough not to worry about the flu killing me. Also, with the COVID vaccine, I wanted to wait and see about the possible side effects.
In the end, I decided the risk from COVID-19 was far greater than the risk of side effects from the vaccine. I read the conspiracy theories and the now debunked myths about the vaccine, but in the end I made the rather unremarkable decision to trust the experts.
I don’t ask politicians for medical advice, and I don’t ask doctors for advice about my politics. If I went to the doctor because I had blood in my urine, and the doctor gave me his diagnoses, I wouldn’t say, “No offense, Doc, but I would like to get a second opinion from a politician.” The CDC, Dr. Fauci, and my doctor, all agreed about the need to get vaccinated, and just like if I got opinions from three different doctors all giving me the same diagnoses I would trust them, I decided to trust the experts on the vaccine.
Well, I am now fully vaccinated and past my 14 day waiting period.
Last week was my first week back in a live church service since the pandemic began. I was asked to preach at a church in a different city on the subject of work, which I was happy to do. But before I agreed, I asked if they were following best practices regarding the pandemic; I didn’t want to be part of encouraging a super-spreader event. Fortunately, they were doing it right, requiring masks, social distancing, and operating at a reduced attendance capacity.
Today, I return to a live church service at my church for the first time since the pandemic began. I am proud to say my church has done it right, conducting services solely on line for months and then starting back with live services at a reduced capacity, with temperature checks, social distancing, and masking requirements, while still maintaining the service online for those not vaccinated or comfortable yet to return.
What my church has done during the pandemic has been governed by consultation with a medical advisory team made up of physicians and medical professionals, application of CDC guidelines and best practices, and prayer. I believe it has been a Spirit-empowered approach. Here’s what I mean.
I ask this question seriously and not rhetorically.
Maybe it’s the pandemic. Actually, I am sure it’s the pandemic. But the pandemic is merely the context not the cause. I’m talking about what I’m hearing my Christian friends say, what they text me, and what they post on Facebook, specifically about wearing masks.
You see, I live in Texas, and our governor, one birthed from my noble profession, a former lawyer and judge, one who should know better, has lifted the mask-wearing mandate in Texas. Some of my Christian friends are thrilled because they think masks don’t mitigate the spread of Covid-19 and actually do more harm than good (“breathing too much of your own CO2, bro”). They’ve obtained these opinions from politicians, not from health care professionals, and that, to me folks, is C . . . R . . . A . . . Z . . . Y.
I mean who among us goes to the doctor because they notice blood in their urine, and when the doctor gives his diagnoses says, “Doc, no offense, but I think I will get a second opinion from my politician”?
As we brace for the battle that is sure to come as vaccination becomes available to the general population, I thought some Kingdom history might provide perspective on the issue.
Small pox epidemics had occurred approximately every 12 years in New England in the late 1600s and early 1700s. Smallpox was a merciless killer and disfigurer, particularly of children. In the early 1700s the disease missed a cycle but then appeared again in Boston in 1721. This time, however, there was a man, a learned man, a learned, Kingdom man named Cotton Mather.
Mather was a polymath. He was the youngest student ever accepted at Harvard (11 1/2 years old). He published over 350 titles during his lifetime on subjects as diverse as the Bible, history, medicine, politics, and the demonic. He could write in seven languages. Mather was also the first American to be inducted as a Fellow of the the Royal Society in London, the most famous scientific society in the world. Mather set up schools for Indians and African Americans. He was also a Puritan and minister of the largest church in New England.