Reflection

From Pastor Bob DeMoor

Where Do We Get These Notions?

So we’re at loggerheads as to whether or not we should have a passport system for Covid 19. Can/should we exclude people from visiting public places, businesses, and churches in person if they are not fully vaccinated?

The arguments I have heard on both sides of this debate are telling. We assume naively that on either side we are agreed on our basic assumptions, which we aren’t. What I mean is that we seem to believe that we agree with each other when we use terms like freedom, rights, and responsibility. We don’t.

For one example, consider the evangelical anti-vaxxer living in Texas. This person strongly believes in individual freedom and her right to choose and refuse. What she doesn’t realize is that her understanding of freedom is shaped a whole lot more by the American Constitution than by her Christian faith. Her counterpart in, say, the Netherlands, would have a very different understanding of that concept. And I blush even to state the obvious: the way a Taliban mullah understands the word “freedom” is light years beyond that.

We could probably save ourselves a great many words and a great deal of emotional energy if we would begin our conversations by finding agreement together on what we mean by the words “freedom,” “rights.” and “responsibility.” What does the Bible say? What are the biblical concepts that shape our understanding of those words?

As Christians we need to do some very careful Bible study on that because that understanding will help us find a common path beyond rants, chewing each other’s ear off, or throwing gravel.

While mining Scripture to find agreement on those concepts is an important and worthy goal, I do realize that it’s not so cut and dried either: at least one of those three words (freedom, rights responsibility) doesn’t even appear in Scripture at all.

Can you guess which one? Do you know where that concept even came from? Worth finding out before the next conversation about vaccine passports. Oh, and, of course, remember to always, always speak your/our/God’s truth in humility and love (Eph. 4:15).

Bob De Moor