Kingdom Fellowship Weekend 2021
The following is the talk given at the Kingdom Fellowship Weekend, August 2021. I did expand it a bit, since I was constrained for time at the conference.
I REALLY appreciate what the brothers have just presented. These are subjects we can really get behind in a unified voice and spirit.
But what I’m going to present now is a complex issue in which I sometimes I feel like I’m caught in the crossfire between the Hatfields and McCoys: Are you Fer or Agin’ Vaccines ??
Many of you will be happy to know that I’m NOT an Anti-Vaxer, others will be ready to get up and leave right now because of that. OTOH still many others of you will be happy to know that I’m not a Pusher Uuuuhhh… Vaccine Pusher and yet more will be ready to get up and leave because of that. To those that remain, I’d like to thank you with the words of our Lord, “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.
There have been many great Patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob quickly come to mind, but I can’t recall any of them being physicians. So I belong to that increasingly endangered species of physician that believes in NOT telling you what to do in a patriarchal manner, but in providing you with information - and perhaps a little advice - and praying that you make Godly decisions from that in a clean conscience through the Holy Spirit.
In this era of COVID, vaccines are big news. But I have specifically been asked to address the issue of the use of fetal tissue used in the production of vaccines. To be brief: this is a fact, not conjecture, not conspiracy theory, that aborted fetuses have been used to develop and produce certain, mainly childhood vaccines: Rubella, Hepatitis A, polio, and now some COVID vaccines.
It started in the early 1960s when a scientist took a previously healthy aborted female fetus (which means offspring, or little one), dissected out the lungs, and started to grow them in a lab. Under these conditions, the tissue can keep growing almost indefinitely, producing a huge amount of tissue. This tissue is then infected with a weakened form of the targeted virus. This culture is then purified, then used to produce a vaccine which is injected into patients, stimulating a person to produce antibodies to that specific virus. If a person is then exposed to the usual, full strength virus, the antibodies will attack it it, so then preventing infection. (To be sure, vaccines are 85-95% effective - but NOT 100% effective.)
There have been some objections to this objection over using fetal tissue, even in our circles, and I hope to go over a few of those briefly.
- No further abortions are needed: While it is true the original abortions happened many years ago, science has developed an insatiable appetite for new lines. The cell lines are NOT immortal, and genetically start breaking down after 40 doublings. If there is no conscientious objection, unbridled science acquires an insatiable appetite for more tissue and more abortions. There have since been established a number of new cell lines, each requiring many abortions to develop, often by competing companies, since these lines of humanity come under copyright laws.
- It’s no different than if a homicide victim donated his body to science: While I would agree that this would NOT be an ethical problem - if he signed his own donor card, or if his family agreed to it. But what if it was a family member that ordered the hit? Would that be ethical? This is the case in using aborted fetal tissue, where the mother usually signs the order. Proper consent is no small problem today: Christians in China are executed and their body part harvested without proper consent. This is also real and is no conspiracy theory.
- The fetal tissue that was present in the original abortion is no longer there: The idea behind this objection is that because the original tissue doubled over an over again, the original is no longer there. This is true on a cellular level - those original cells would not be presently identifiable (though many of the original molecules are still present, though recycled into new cells). The problem with this argument is that all of us - without exception are no longer physically the same - even on a cellular level, aside from some neurons that don’t regenerate, are not who we once were as babies. Yet at the same time our humanity is not in question. At what point, then, did the fetal cell lines lose their humanity?
- There are ethical guidelines that prevent the abuse and commercialization of using fetal tissue: It is true that the NIH has strict policies governing how the tissue is obtained (i.e.: partial birth abortions, and not for profit processing). However this only applies to NIH studies (California set aside a billion dollars in the past to skirt this very issue), the policy is not really enforced (one investigative journalist was charged with multiple felonies for invasion of privacy when he uncovered schemes of charging exorbitant fees for “processing” and violations where live dissection was being performed). (1, 2, 3)
- This is an act of sacrificial redemption: The idea is that the abortion was bad, but there is now a sacrificial good coming from the vaccines the abortion produced. While it is true that God can make something good come out an act of disobedience, it is unfathomable that grace can give license to further disobedience and sin. As we have seen, the result of society benefiting from abortion tainted vaccines is more abortions. Furthermore, any sacrificial act worthy of God’s redemption must be a voluntary act. Our volunteering the life of another (the aborted baby) caries no more weight than a death row inmate offering the life of an innocent civilian to take his place.
- We have benefited from injustices of the past, such as colonization, so why not benefit from this injustice? The problem with this line of thinking is that it assumes that our present and future behavior is inextricably hard wired to the sins of the past - of our fathers. It makes huge assumptions about the supposed acts of our fathers and it even if true, it negates the blessing of redemption. Since most of these vaccines have ethical alternatives, it would be equivalent to saying that “since there was discrimination in the past, it is OK to continue discriminating” - instead of choosing not to.
- Lastly, and most problematic is the spirit of moral relativism in our day. The apostle Paul states in Gal 5:9, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Of these vaccines, it has been said, it happened a long time ago, it’s done with, there are worse things in life, let’s just move on. We have heard these words before, and we should carefully consider where this leaven will lead us. It reminds me of a leadership conference I went to a few years ago put on by an otherwise staunchly Christian Protestant group. In it, the subject matter somehow migrated to the topic of scrambled eggs. The minister was actually speaking about divorce and remarriage: It happened a long time ago, it’s done with, there are worse things in life, just move on. He said, “You can’t unscramble eggs.” Much to my shame, I didn’t speak up, but I now know I should have said, “But I know Someone who can and does!”
So this ultimately leads us back to the theme of this conference: How do we “Spread Life in a Culture of Death?” In regard to vaccines, we know that just like with divorce and remarriage, God can unscramble eggs, though the process may involve great hardships, and stir up great scorn. Nonresistance does NOT mean non-conflict. It has been said that "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” In this day and age of the cancel culture, taking a stand may cost jobs, freedoms, and the esteem of our friends and neighbors. But have we gotten to the point of apathy where we can so easily dismiss what God calls an abomination - the shedding of innocent blood? I pray not.
But to the souls in the world seeking an alternative to the fatalism of the day, if we are perceived as making vaccine decisions out of a spirit of self sacrifice and service to the Lord, God can use us fools and revolutionaries to “Spread the message of life in a culture of death.”
I read a bumper sticker today that said, don’t put a question mark where God put a period. Paul says “We are fools for Christ’s sake; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honorable, but we are despised.” Which camp are you in?
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