Pastor and author John Piper is urging Christians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and to resist “peer pressure” from political allies who may oppose the vaccine, saying in a new column that “God alone owns us.”
“Don’t be enslaved by fear of man. Don’t be enslaved by the fear of breaking ranks with ideological allies,” he writes in the column, which was posted on his website.
“You are free,” he writes.
Piper, the founder of Desiring God and the chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary, says in the column that his goal is to “encourage Christians to be vaccinated” if “they can do so with a good conscience and judicious medical warrant.”
“The people I have especially in view are those who are not vaccinated because of fear of being out of step with people they respect, and in step with people they don’t admire,” he writes. “My message to them is simple: You are free.”
Piper quotes federal and state data showing that more than 90 percent of COVID hospitalizations and deaths are among those not fully vaccinated. Worldwide, he says, 4.5 million people have died from COVID-19.
Roughly 80 percent of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, including 95 percent of Americans 65 and older.
Many Christians, he says, have resisted the vaccination due to fear of being considered out of step with their political allies. Such fear, he says, is unbiblical.
“Your conscience is increasingly clear. It says, ‘Get vaccinated.’ But there is this niggling fear of looking left-wing, or progressive, or Democratic, or compromised, or woke! So, my message to such folks is this: ‘The children are free!’
“Each of us stands or falls before his own Master (Romans 14:4). ‘Live as people who are free.’ Free from the fear of man. Fear of being labeled. Fear of being called a compromiser. Fear of being doubted as not really part of the courageous resisters – especially when you know that thousands of those resisters really are courageous, wise, and thoughtful,” he says.
Christians, he writes, are “freed from the fear of man — left or right.”
“‘The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe’ (Proverbs 29:25). The fear of man lays a freedom-snatching snare. Why? Because the fearing soul is already snared. Already caught. Already bound, enslaved. I call you to something better. ‘For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery’ (Galatians 5:1). Not a government yoke, not an anti-government yoke. Not a left-wing yoke, not a right-wing yoke.
“You are free to say with integrity, ‘My decision to be vaccinated is not a political decision. It is not right-wing or left-wing. It is a biblically informed act of love.’”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.