The Gospel Coalition (TGC) continues to stake out the worst possible position on the ongoing ecclesial drama surrounding the novel coronavirus, releasing an article advocating for churches to institute vaccine passports and relegating those ‘others’ who do not want to get vaccinated or who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons to “online church” in the name of ‘loving one’s neighbor.’
This is hardly surprising, as TGC has been notoriously simpy when it comes to these matters, alternating between being completely silent about the infringement of religious liberty, and gaslighting their audience by claiming the government has not engaged in hostilities or persecution of the church during the last 18 months. Heck, if anything the state has been a perfect gentleman the entire time.
TGC Canada Again Argues that Their Churches Aren’t Being Persecuted,
TGC Author: Believing in ‘Big-Government Overreach’ Is a Denial of ‘Objective Reality’,
TGC Author: Christians Have Endured No ‘Hostility’ or ‘Ill-treatment’ From Govt During Pandemic
In a new post by Meagan Best, who is the Director of the Ethicentre Centre, she dedicates large portions of the article to advocating for the safety and efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine before turning her attention to vaccine passports. Here, she holds two propositions to be true: 1) “restrictions imposed by the state on an individual’s liberty are justified only to prevent harm to others” and 2) “unvaccinated individuals present a risk to society.”
She ‘refutes’ the notion that Hebrews 10:24–25: “…not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing… is applicable our current pandemic situation, arguing that it cannot be used as a prooftext for the insistence of gathering together:
The kind of “meeting together” that the verse encourages as a vehicle for mutual encouragement does not necessarily require large, weekly, extended, indoor gatherings. There are other ways in which we can fulfil the purpose of the exhortation in this verse.
She acknowledges that some people may not want to get the vaccine on account of a conscience issue, but that when it comes to church:
The conscience of those who remain unpersuaded by those arguments should be respected, but respecting a person’s conscience does not automatically confer on them a right to act in a way that endangers the health and safety of others.
Best concludes that because the unvaccinated don’t have a right to endanger other believers who have loved their neighbors by being double-dosed, they need to be prevented from gathering with their brothers in sisters in Christ, with these vaccine passports the way to go:
Given our responsibility to love our neighbors and prioritize the interests of the most vulnerable, there are good and persuasive reasons for us to support and implement a system in which proof of vaccination (or medical exemption) is a standard requirement for attendance at large indoor gatherings such as church services…
…But this should not mean that we exclude those who have not been vaccinated from the fellowship of the church or from the circle of our ministry. If a regime of vaccine passports is to be with us for some time into the future, then our energy should be expended not on fighting against it but on finding safe, inclusive and responsible ways to gather and minister within such a context. One obvious option would be to advocate for a system that permitted those who remain unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated to produce evidence of being COVID-negative as a condition for church attendance. Another would be to continue and expand the range of online opportunities for Christian fellowship and online communication….
…It should be entirely possible for us to practise both our call to minister the gospel to all people and our responsibility to love our neighbours and care for the vulnerable, without requiring one of these commitments to trump the other.
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