By Elias Chakabwata PhD
I would like to contribute to the ongoing topical issue of vaccines and the Church. I am surprised at the way some Church leaders are engaging themselves into scientific enquiries yet they don’t have any medical background. May I state from the onset that the challenge I perceive is that of men and women who have delved into an area which they are not familiar with.
Vaccines have been used in the history of mankind and have saved many lives. A quick example is the polio vaccine that the majority of us in Zimbabwe were injected when we were born. Did that translate in to the Satanic mark of the beast 666?
Smallpox was managed through the use of vaccines and many lives were spared. History to some extent repeats itself because man does not learn , a few years ago the HIV/AIDS virus bombarded mankind.
Some Church leaders cum “Doctors” discouraged people from taking medication on the pretext that they had prayed for them for divine healing.
I am a strong believer in divine healing. May I hasten to say that the Lord Jesus Christ healed 10 lepers and told them to go and show themselves to the priest.(Luke 17).
The high priest was like a medical officer who would then certify that healing had taken place. Jesus was not afraid to get the miracle verified by the responsible authorities. In the same vein when a person is prayed for a church leader must allow the same person to go and get cleared medically.
It is a pity that many lives were lost a few years ago because some of the Church leaders would not allow them to continue on their medication until tested and cleared by medical personnel. Now with the advent of Covid 19 I am concerned we are going to see a replay of such scenarios where people will be denied medical help because their leader has misconceptions concerning the vaccine.
Church leaders need to realize that each time they open their mouths God’s name is on the line. It is high time congregants learn to distinguish the word of God from the opinion of men. It is not always that a church leader is sharing the word from God sometimes the leader may share their own biases on a subject depending on their background and culture that informs them. More so level of education may distort a well-planned sermon.
God’s word is true and flawless but the instrument God uses to deliver His message need to be careful to be sensitive and know when to refer certain issues to others who may have a better understanding so that we don’t bring the name of the Lord into disrepute by subliming our ignorance under the cover of anointing and being led by the Spirit.
The same pastors or church leaders who are preaching against the vaccine right now are in their homes wearing masks fearing the virus as well. If they are powerful as they would like us to believe why can’t they come out in the open like G. Lake who asked scientists to put deadly virus on his skin and watch them die under a microscope.
Church history is littered with men and women who walked mightily in divine healing including the likes of T.L Osborn, Kenneth Hagin, Catherine Kuhlmann and many more others. Why are we not seeing the same level of power that these men and women displayed ?.Closer home we had our very own Enoch Gwanzura and even Bengu across the Limpopo.
Some Church leaders have resorted to eschatology which is a doctrine of the last things. They claim that the vaccine is a mark of the Beast 666. Yet a closer study of the issue which they are running to town with indicates the mark of the beast is coming after the rapture! In any case can the liquid become solid when it gets into the body, because the vaccine is in liquid form.
May God help us.
Some have argued using the pictures of containers written “Africa Only.” These pictures are circulating on social media platforms. One needs to understand that when the vaccines were approved some countries with financial muscles went on to purchase the drug and even made future purchases eg for the next 2 years.
What it means is for the next couple of years Africa won’t be able to access the vaccine because it is already purchased. So the powers be intervened and paid money to have vaccines made for Africa as well and these have to be marked to make sure they are not smuggled into the European countries or the Americas!
Now here comes church leaders who don’t want to research but enjoy putting everything into the realm of the spirit and they start issuing statements which reveal gaps in their knowledge and thus causing those with the know how to discredit the Church and dismiss it as a bunch of uninformed people just because of a few people.
My submission is as long as these church leaders are in hiding and not displaying the healing power of God, vaccine is the way to go. Unless these men and women bring a better option, for now let’s go scientific. My worry is Church leaders who commit hermeneutical arm-twisting, which results in exegetical suicide and ultimately homiletical homicide!
There is a difference between faith and presumption. Noah was told to build an ark by God if he had not done so today we would be reading a different narrative. Paul when he received a message that some people wanted to kill him was lowered in a basket from the room where he was to safety.
God expects us to use and apply our mind intelligently. In the meantime let’s sanitize, maintain social distance and mask up while trusting that the good Lord shall curtail the pandemic and bring it to an end.
Elias Chakabwata PhD D.D is a Bible scholar and a social scientist