Now that vaccines for Covid 19 are becoming available, we have a new question, “Should I take it?”

There are strong opinions at AnchorPoint on both sides of that question, mostly focused on how great the danger of the disease is if caught, and the safety of the drugs. I’m a pastor not a prophet. It seems that some of our most healthy folks have had to spend more time in the hospital, while some more “at risk” folks have done quite well. Thankfully, we have had no Covid deaths at AnchorPoint. You can decide if taking the vaccine is wise for you. And pray. And, as for the safety of the drugs, you can do your own research. And pray.

The vaccine question I would like to answer is about their possible link to using the cells of recently aborted children. I wanted to lean into this question, even if it isn’t an issue with our two currently available vaccines. It could be for others going forward. I owe some of what follows to an excellent article by John Piper on the www.desiringgod.org site.

The Bible teaches that all people, regardless of color or age, are created in the image of God. Therefore, killing people, born or unborn, for research and experimentation should be abhorrent to us all. Of course, avoiding a vaccine because they used an innocent baby to develop it doesn’t bring the baby back. But it does make a statement of discouraging the use of innocent babies in research. Plus, you can sleep better. Our Christian conscience is then preserved while we demonstrate that Christ is our King. That’s all good.

Now for our two current vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna. One of the clearest and most honest answers to the question of using aborted cells I found came from this article in the Nebraska Medicine.

In short, neither the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines used fetal cell lines during the development or production of their vaccines.

But cells were used. And it gets complicated. Here is how it worked.

In 1973 fetal tissue was taken from the kidney of a healthy girl in the Netherlands. Over the last few decades, fetal cells were grown in a laboratory from this tissue. So, they are no longer cells directly from the baby, but cells grown from the original cells. The cell line is called HEK 293. These fetal cells were not used to develop or produce the vaccines, but they were used in the confirmation phase to insure the vaccines work. I suppose it is a bit like those first people willing taking the vaccine to see if it worked.

When Reinaldo read through my article, he brought up that Catholic Universities have been struggling with this issue for some time. They are using what they call “degrees of separation” to help determine what would or would not be ethical. For the cells used in these vaccines it has been so long and far since the fetal lines started that it is no longer an issue for them. You can read a full article from back in 1999 about how they try to make these ethical decisions here. Reinaldo also mentioned at some point everything we purchase has some evil in the past associated with it.

Considering the cells used in these two vaccines were not fetal cells, but cells grown years later, and that they were not used for either development or production, I don’t believe I would be promoting the use of fetal cells in research or development of vaccines if I took either of these current vaccines. Some other vaccines coming down the pike look to be different. If you disagree with me, I understand that too, and in that situation, I would not suggest you take it and violate your conscience. I’m a pastor, not a Pope.

I had a Catholic friend whose key reason for being Catholic was because they had someone to tell them what to do on debatable issues. “That’s the problem with you evangelicals,” he would say, “you all go to the Bible and make up what you believe for yourselves!” In a way, he was right. That’s the beauty of evangelicalism. We know we have direct access to God and His Word. He speaks to us. He wants relationship. Issues like this can then draw us to Him, instead of just to a church leader. Of course, going to God isn’t to “make up what you believe,” but to determine what God Himself thinks, so that we can believe and agree with what is ultimately True.

Whether it is masks, meetings or vaccines, lets go to God and His Word. The process of getting to know Him better as we seek an answer is more important than the answer we seek.

Just out, this article from Christianity Today; Three Bioethical Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccines.

The three questions they attempt to answer are:

  1. Does getting a vaccine made using cells from aborted fetuses violate pro-life convictions?
  2. Is mRNA technology safe and ethical to take?
  3. Do we have a Christian obligation to get a COVID-10 vaccine?

And finally, for those interested, here in NM you can register for the vaccine here, and see the order in which they’re scheduling people here.

As we go through these discussions, let’s remember: “in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity”

This Sunday we plan to be in Philippians 2:19-3:1. I hope you find a way to join us!

Prophet, Pope, Dan