Are You Saved? The New COVID Gospel

Yes, we have actually got to the place, with all the hysteria and fear over this virus, that the traditional understanding of sin and salvation are now being thrown in the air. They are being replaced by a new COVID Gospel.

You may have thought that there are no new sins – just the plain old standard ones like murder, theft, lying, etc.

Well, it seems that some folks have managed to create a whole new sin: the sin of being unvaccinated.

Sadly we have gotten to the place where some believers are basically arguing that fully submitting to medical mandates is somehow tied to being a good Christian.

Indeed, one wonders if some of these folks now believe this to be a requirement for salvation!

Two millennia ago, the Apostle Paul had to chew out the Galatians because they were adding to the gospel. They wanted to add works of the law to their salvation by grace through faith. Paul asked them:

‘Who has bewitched you?’ (Gal. 3:1).

There have always been temptations to add to the gospel and to make salvation dependent upon various works that we might perform.

Now we have those who have hesitancy about various health mandates being viewed as subpar Christians – maybe not even Christians at all.

The New COVID Gospel

If you have questions about the efficacy of masks, or lockdowns, or the new Covid vaccines, you are looked at like some sort of despicable heathen.

You are treated with contempt by some of these ‘Christians’ as they try to make you feel like you cannot possibly be saved. You are now a heretic who dares to differ from this New Gospel of theirs.

In the old days, one could ask if a person was actually saved if they had not been baptised or had not done certain religious works.

Now we have a new test for Christian orthodoxy.

And we have the zealous COVID evangelists preaching their gospel to the unclean unconverted. Sadly, I have had to deal with many of these evangelical Pharisees.

I know of too many of these folks who are utterly obsessed with the Rona jab, and they spend all their time attacking and denouncing any believer who dares to ask honest questions and show the least bit of hesitancy about them.

They are convinced that we are all evil, deluded conspiracy theorists who must repent and get saved – saved to the New COVID Vaccine Gospel.

Vaccine Passports and Churches

Thankfully, many Christian leaders are standing against all this nonsense, including the matter of the state forcing churches to ban the unvaxxed from entering churches.

I wrote about this very alarming matter recently.

This shocking new development should greatly bother every true Christian out there. And some are speaking out.

Sydney church leaders like Archbishop Anthony Fisher of the Catholic Church and Archbishop Kanishka Raffel of the Anglican Church have both taken a strong stance against this.

The latter for example said this:

“Jesus is Lord of all, and his gospel is a gospel for all. A ‘No Entry’ sign at the door of the church is wholly inconsistent with the gospel preached inside. Neither race, gender, ethnicity, age, nor economic or educational status – or vaccination status – are to operate as divisions within the Christian community or barriers to the fellowship we share because of Jesus.”

David Robertson on Vaccine Passports

A Scottish pastor, now based in Sydney, David Robertson, recently wrote a piece on these issues that is worth quoting from:

Getting vaccinated may be an act of love (although it could just as easily be an act of fear, self-preservation or guilt), but love is never compelled by law.

Those who are vaccinated are protected against the virus. Granted it may not fully protect them from getting or passing on Covid, but the evidence so far suggests that it greatly diminishes the possibility of serious illness or death. Therefore, if you are protected from the virus, why are you scared of other people, who through their own choice, have decided not to take it? If you fear the vaccine does not work, then why did you take it, and why insist that everyone else you meet has to take it? The Church cannot be bullied by irrational people who demand that others should be excluded in order to cater for their fears.

If we want to insist on total safety, then we should probably close down all public worship gatherings. That way we would ensure that no-one ever caught anything from another person in church. Plus, think of the lives that would be saved by not travelling or risking going outside – where there may be a lion! (Proverbs 22:13 “the sluggard says, ‘there is a lion outside! I shall be killed on the streets.”)

As for the public witness, the Church is not a business, and we are not so much concerned for our own reputation as others. I remember once being told that our church welcoming down and outs was a bad witness because it encouraged ‘these sort of people’ into ‘our’ streets. Do we really want to go down that route? Businesses may choose to exclude – does that mean churches should follow suit? Perhaps our new Woke Jesus says, “come to me, all you who are weary and vaccinated, and I will give you rest…and yea, the unvaccinated shall be cast into outer darkness”?

A few years ago, a young couple came into our church, weathered and bruised by drugs. The first thing they said to me was, “Hi, we’ve got Aids, can we come in?”. Maybe for the ‘safety’ of the congregation I should have said no? Instead, we said, ‘of course’ and we welcomed them, the same as we would welcome anyone else. There may be circumstances where refusing entrance to a sinner into a church could be right, but these are few and far between, and certainly do not include the sin of refusing to be vaccinated!

But what about the government ordering us? Don’t we have to obey government? Are there no limits to that? It may be that in an authoritarian tyranny we don’t have any other option. We are not under that kind of State – although the signs are that we are heading in that direction.

However, while we are part of what remains of Western Christian-based democracies, we need to remind the State that it is not absolute. There is a line. When the State tells the Church who can and who cannot come to church, we simply say ‘no’. Thus far and no further; you are way over the line.

Churches need to be preparing and campaigning on this now. It will be too late when the enabling laws are passed. (I note that as I write this the Anglican and Roman Catholic archbishops of Sydney have both expressed their opposition to mandating vaccination in order for people to attend places of worship).

We must tell government now that there are no circumstances in which we will obey any government dictate which tells us how, when and who can worship. The spiritual independence of the Church, and the Headship of Christ over the Church, is the principle on which my denomination, the Free Church of Scotland, was founded. It is one we should not give up.

Whatever our church, surely if all Christians stood together and declared we will not give to Nicola, Boris, Joe, and Scott what is Christ’s, then our governments would have to listen. Or have we already gone too far down the rabbit hole?

Conclusion:

Terrific stuff David. Well said! Let me offer one final word here:

In a great article titled “Will the Unvaccinated Be Saved?” Jane Stannus discusses these matters. She concludes with these words:

“Unleashing a panicky witch hunt on the unvaccinated wouldn’t just be cruel and illogical. It would, and already has, set child against parent, brother against sister, neighbor against neighbor, worker against worker. It is an act of violence against the fabric of society—a greater evil, it seems to me, than the shared suffering of disease.”

Beware those who come to you preaching another gospel.

___

Originally published on CultureWatch. Image by Nathan Bingle on Unsplash.

About the Author:

Bill Muehlenberg is married with three sons, and ministers as an apologist and ethicist in Melbourne, Australia. He was one of the main drafters of the Canberra Declaration. Bill has a BA with honours in philosophy (Wheaton College, Chicago), an MA with highest honours in theology (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Boston) and is currently completing a PhD in theology.

Bill is a prolific author and a much sought-after media commentator. He has been featured on most Australian television and radio current affairs programs. Bill teaches ethics, apologetics and theology at several Melbourne Bible Colleges. He hosts his own blog CultureWatch, which features Christian commentary on the issues of the day.

3 Comments

  1. Vivienne Williams September 22, 2021 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    Totally agree, but the question remains, have we gone too far done the rabbit hole?
    It’s only 2 weeks
    We need to flatten the curve
    We need to protect the vulnerable
    We need to stamp out this evil disease
    We need to confine these evil stupid people “anti vaxers”
    Who is next? The booster avoiders
    People who question
    People who think

  2. Lyn Grindley September 22, 2021 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    Great article Bill. Totally agree. We must stand together.

  3. Leona Isterling September 25, 2021 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Africa is begging for the vaccine.
    What is with the refusal to get vaccinated?
    God uses doctors.

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