The title of the statement could not be clearer: ” For the love of God and your neighbor get vaccinated! While the leaders of the various religions in France are mobilizing for vaccination, the Evangelical Protestants are also launching a vibrant appeal.
Friday August 6, the Evangelical Protestant Ethics Commission, which brings together the Baptist Federation, the Free Evangelical Churches, the Evangelical Reformed Churches as well as a representative of the National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF), publishes a text urging evangelicals to go get vaccinated.
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” The seriousness of the health situation (…); the level of disinformation conveyed on social networks, including by Christians; the degree of animosity which reigns on this subject which undermines the Christian fraternity in the Churches and human in our country… All these reasons lead us, Commission of Evangelical Protestant Ethics, to leave our reserve and to launch an appeal to sget vaccinated against Covid-19, as well as to make a number of theological, ethical, and fraternal updates », Announces the declaration published on the CEPE website.
Growing distrust of government and science
Pastor of the Union of Free Evangelical Churches and President of the CEPE, Luc Olekhnovitch says he has noted in recent months a growing distrust of government and science on the part of some evangelicals, fueled by sometimes unenlightened interpretations of the Bible. ” I read on Christian social media saying the vaccine was a sign of the Beast », He laments.
However, in his ministry, Luc Olekhnovitch can only testify to the devastation that the virus still causes. ” Last night [mercredi], I was still praying with a family whose 25-year-old daughter, five months pregnant, is in a coma after being infected. ” For him, we must act. ” This is no longer possible He repeats. He calls a meeting with the Evangelical Protestant Ethics Commission and a text is draftedurgently. “Because reluctance to vaccine is becoming seriously dangerous, consensus was very rapid within our committee. », Says the pastor.
While conceding that the principle of the health pass raises a certain number of ethical questions, the CEPE firmly denounces the fake news circulating on networks. To convince the most hesitant, she does not hesitate to justify her arguments by the Scriptures. ” No, getting vaccinated does not preclude the proclamation of the gospel. On the contrary, because vaccination promotes a free movement of people, favorable to the circulation of the Gospel! Argues the joint statement.
” I am often opposed to the argument that if I get the vaccine I don’t really have faith », Explains Pastor Luc Olekhnovitch, who takes the example of Nehemiah’s book. ” Nehemiah was governor of Jerusalem, he rebuilt its walls. When the city is beset by enemy armies, what does he do? He prays … and he puts sentries “Recalls the pastor who calls the faithful to resort to these” immune sentinels That is the vaccine.
A tool for pastors in the field
But the main theological argument of the commission remains that of love for neighbor. ” “Love does not hurt a neighbor,” says Paul. But not to be vaccinated today is to be a real potential threat for our neighbor. », Recalls the declaration. The CEPE thus hopes to be able to convince. ” Many faithful come to their pastor to ask their opinion on the vaccine, but some ministers do not dare to speak because the subject divides Christians, explains Luc Olekhnovich. From now on, they will be able to rely on this text common to several Churches.. “