A well-known theologian says the key to ending the pandemic is to change the minds of evangelicals about the Covid-19 vaccine, and he hopes to do just that.
Curtis Chang, a senior fellow at Fuller Theological Seminary and the founder of Redeeming Babel, this month launched a website, ChristiansAndTheVaccine.com, that includes short, easy-to-understand videos that answer common questions evangelicals often have about the vaccine. Among them: Should Christians take the vaccine? Is the Covid vaccine the mark of the beast? Should pro-lifers be pro-vaccine? Is the Covid-19 vaccine safe?
“The pathway to ending the pandemic does go through evangelicals. And let's be even more precise: It goes through white evangelicals,” Chang told Christian Headlines. “That's what all the numbers say about where the vaccine hesitancy is the strongest. But the secular world – both the media and secular public health agencies – they do not understand that [evangelical] world, and they don't really empathize.”
Barely half (54 percent) of white evangelicals say they will “definitely or probably” get the vaccine, according to Pew. It’s a percentage that’s lower than Catholics (77 percent), black Protestants (64 percent) and atheists (90 percent).
Chang is an evangelical who backs the vaccines.
He is a faculty member at Duke Divinity School and a former senior pastor of an Evangelical Covenant Church in California that he still attends. He also served as campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and has done mission work in Soweto, South Africa.
The videos, he said, are designed to be shared on social media. They’re also intended to assist local pastors who may be hesitant to discuss the vaccine from the pulpit, he said. Each video also includes a transcript.
He believes the videos fill a void.
“In our current polarized environment, pastors are incredibly cautious to avoid speaking on any public issue in which there could be division or disagreement in their congregations,” Chang said. “The reason I created those videos is I want to save pastors from the work of having to engage in all those conversations. They can just say, ‘Hey, watch this video.’”
Photo courtesy: Hakan Nural/Unsplash
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.