(Daily Wire) In September, Wheaton College dean Ed Stetzer interviewed National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins on his podcast, “Church Leadership” about why Christians who want to obey Christ’s command to love their neighbors should get the Covid vaccine and avoid indulging in misinformation.
For those not familiar with Stetzer, he’s not just a religious liberal arts professor and this wasn’t just another dime-a-dozen pastorly podcast. To name just a few of his past and present titles in the evangelical world, Stetzer is also the executive director of the Billy Graham Center and the editor-in-chief of Outreach media group. He was previously an editor at Christianity Today and an executive director at LifeWay, one of the largest religious publishers in the world. That’s to say nothing of the dozen-plus books on missions and church planting he’s authored.
In short, when it comes to leveraging high evangelical offices to influence everyday Christians, arguably no one is better positioned than Ed Stetzer. You may not know his name, but if you’re a church-going Protestant, it’s almost guaranteed your pastor does.
Which is why, when Stetzer joined a line of renowned pastors and ministry leaders lending their platforms to Obama-appointee Collins, the collaboration was noteworthy.
During their discussion, Collins and Stetzer were hardly shy about the fact that they were asking ministers to act as the administration’s go-between with their congregants. “I want to exhort pastors once again to try to use your credibility with your flock to put forward the public health measures that we know can work,” Collins said. Stetzer replied that he sometimes hears from ministers who don’t feel comfortable preaching about Covid vaccines, and he advises them, in those cases, to simply promote the jab through social media.
“I just tell them, when you get vaccinated, post a picture and say, ‘So thankful I was able to get vaccinated,’” Stetzer said. “People need to see that it is the reasonable view.”
Their conversation also turned to the subject of masking children at school, with Collins noting that Christians, in particular, have been resistant to it. His view was firm—kids should be masked if they want to be in the classroom. To do anything else is to turn schools into super spreaders. Stetzer offered no pushback or follow-up questions based on views from other medical experts. He simply agreed.
The most crucial question Stetzer never asked Collins however, was why convincing church members to get vaccinated or disseminating certain administration talking points should be the business of pastors at all.
Christians and Conspiracy Theories
Stetzer’s efforts to help further the NIH’s preferred coronavirus narratives went beyond simply giving Collins a softball venue to rally pastors to his cause. He ended the podcast by announcing that the Billy Graham Center would be formally partnering with the Biden administration. Together with the NIH and the CDC it would launch a website, coronavirusandthechurch.com, to provide clergy Covid resources they could then convey to their congregations.
Much earlier in the pandemic, as an editor at evangelicalism’s flagship publication, Christianity Today (CT), Stetzer had also…
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Editor’s Note. This article was written by Megan Basham and published at the Daily Wire . Title changed by Protestia