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The Prism: NI, Covid Passports and The Free Offer of the Gospel.

20/11/2021

The Prism – NI, Covid Passports and the Free Offer of the Gospel

In this episode of The Prism, I want to look at an issue that has recently emerged in Northern Ireland, where I live.  The Executive of the local Assembly, by a vote of just 6 people, (There’s 10 ministers in the assembly) has mandated the use of ‘Covid Certification’ – a vaccine passport, for entry to venues where people will gather, including concerts, cinemas, restaurants, and so on. Only the ‘fully vaccinated’ will be permitted to enter such places, and venues must enforce the diktat, or face a one thousand pounds fine.  Their objective, apparently is to stem the flow of Covid infections and thus prevent overcrowding in the hospital system.  The implications of this new pass will be huge.  Already, firms are cancelling their Christmas functions, with one venue reporting that they have lost £50,000 of bookings overnight.  

Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay

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The implications for society are even more drastic. People’s social lives will be curtailed, human interaction prevented, thus impacting mental health, and general wellbeing, but perhaps even worse, and for the purposes of this podcast, what we need to focus upon, is the creation of a two tier society, the medical discrimination that the Pass will bring about, the stigmatisation through the the creation of a ‘second class’ of people.  The ‘unvaccinated.’  This episode is not about the Coronavirus, – I’m not denying its existence or downplaying its seriousness.  It’s not about the efficacy or the risks of the vaccine either.  It’s not about politics either and very importantly, this is not about eschatology.  There are good Christian brothers and sisters who are wary of the Covid Pass because it seems to be a fulfilment of the warning in Revelation 13:16-17  They fear that the covid pass may well be the device that leads to the so-called ‘mark of the beast,’ that emblem of the one-world government system of the last days, which indicates allegiance to an ungodly system of economics and social control.  These are matters for separate discussion and debate.  This podcast episode is about the spread of government control into our lives, and particularly when that overreach and control extends into areas of faith, into the church, when it affects the Kingdom of God, an area in which the state has, or should have, very little, if any, jurisdiction at all.  And that’s where the danger lies.

Government power grabs, in my opinion, are rarely ever relinquished. Why a QR Code?   Once the government has this technology in place, and once the QR Codes are being automatically scanned at the entrance to buildings, what’s to stop the use of this technology spreading to other areas of life?  It’s a Covid Pass now, – but it holds the potential to eventually become a ‘good citizen’ pass, where access to life is controlled by the government, where your behaviour, measured by the government’s standards is rewarded or punished by access to or denial of what used to be called ‘freedoms.’   And while now the Covid Pass is to be used in only some venues, concerts, hospitality, hotels etc. what’s to stop that list from being extended?  To more essential areas of life, – to healthcare for example.  If you think that can’t or won’t happen, just take a look at the way social control happens in Communist China; a system of rewards and punishments, in line with compliance with state dogma and diktat.

And what if the Covid Pass was extended to include churches?  Would we then exclude ‘The Unvaccinated’ from the free offer of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  Would we be asked to deny them access to the good news that Christ died for sinners, so that they can be snatched from an endless eternity of punishment for their sins?  On a popular Radio Show on Radio Ulster, on Thursday 18th November, just a single day, not even 24 hours after the NI Executive decision to introduce the Covid Pass, an influential presenter was calling for the Pass to be extended to churches.  And that’s exactly what this podcast is about.  When the Lockdowns were imposed on society, the churches meekly complied, even though the Lockdowns caused immense societal and personal harm.  Would they comply again?  

Is there a case study for this in the scriptures?  There is, of course.  For the good and well-being of ancient society,  and to prevent the spread of infection, people with leprosy were treated with a form of medical apartheid.  They were the sub-humans, the untermenschen of their day.  The untouchables.  Let’s think about lepers and the fear of infection.  Let’s take an example, – one of many.  A leper who we find in Matthew chapter 8:1-4.   This man’s life was greatly impacted by his leprosy.  Basically his woe came from two issues…

  • He was an outcast from society.  This was because of the stigma of leprosy. Think if its effects.  Its symptoms.  The leper was utterly repulsive, when a Jew saw a leper in the distance he would turn round and run.  
  • He was an outcast from the synagogue.  This was the most serious aspect of his illness, for the leper wasn’t allowed to attend the temple or the synagogue.  He was forbidden.  Lev 13:45   King Uzziah is another example.  2 Chronicles 26:21. 

How great is his need.  Is it any wonder that lepers were the underclass, the sub-humans, the untouchables, the medically discriminated of their day.   

But what was the attitude of Jesus to these ‘medical outcasts?’ 

  1. He TOUCHED them.  Jesus did not practice any form of social distancing.  In that passage in Matthew 8:1-3, after he had been preaching to his disciples in his famous ‘Sermon on the Mount’ he came down into the plains to find himself confronted by a leper.   3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean.  He TOUCHED a medically unclean person.  Jesus the perfect, spotless Son of God, placed his hands upon a leper.
  2. He FELLOWSHIPPED with them.  In Matthew 26:6 we read, “Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,”  That would have involved more than a quick socially distanced visit.  That would have involved reclining at a low table with the leper, and eating a meal together.  And others were present too. For the same passage records that there were women there, one of whom broke some ointment over him as he ate,  26:7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.
  3. He DIED for them!  This is the very heart of the gospel.  The leper in the Scriptures is symbolic of the condition of all of us.  We are all lepers.  in the Bible the leper is a type of the sinner, for we have the same symptoms. We too are repugnant before God, for our sin has affected all of our parts, just as the lepers symptoms affect all our senses, so everything within us up is corrupted by sin, and obnoxious in the sight of God.  And we are outcasts, for we are separated from God because of our sin.Yet is was while we were still lepers before God that Christ died for us.  He gave his life on the cross for sinners., whose every attempt at righteousness is like a filthy, soiled, leprous garment in the sight of God.  Yet Jesus touches the untouchable. He still does!  After all, he touched the untouchable when his grace and mercy reached me, and you too if you are ransomed by his grace and love.  His touch always performs a great miracle. When Jesus touched the leper, he was cleansed. It was a MIRACLE!  Yet there is a far greater miracle wrought by Jesus, every time he cleanses a filthy sinner from their sins.
  4. He expects us to Imitate Him! In Matthew 10:8, he tells his disciples to Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.  We are to reach out to those who in the eyes of society are medically unclean, with the good news of the gospel.  And we are strictly commanded by God’s Son, the Lord Jesus, that we are to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.  Matthew 22:37  

And that brings us back to our current issue.  The issue of Covid Passes for people to enter church buildings, to hear the Good News of the Gospel.  While we believe that Christ will save all those who are truly his, – we are tasked with bringing the message of salvation to every man, woman and child in the whole human race. We are not to discriminate.  Illus. The Asylum Seeker.  We do NOT discriminate, or bar people from our buildings or from our gatherings, no matter how unacceptable or untouchable the government or society deems them to be.  Like our Saviour himself,  we reach out our hands to those regarded as ‘untouchable’ by society, to ‘the unvaccinated’ as much as to lepers.  We must never turn anyone away from our church doors.  We must welcome sinners, as Jesus did.

I suppose there is a COUNTER ARGUMENT, because lepers can’t help being leprous.  It is an illness.  Covid, on the other hand, has a vaccine, – so, one might argue, just take the vaccine, and everything will be fine!  But that just brings us to another issue.  It’s the issue of bodily integrity.  The question of who owns your body, and we covered that issue in an earlier podcast in this series.  Your body belongs to the God who created it, and for the Christian, that is something we do not have permission to ignore.  Paul wrote,  1 Corinthians 6:19-20   Now you can see the challenge here.  If my body is NOT my own, but belongs to God who made it, and who now indwells it, I need to think very carefully about accepting an experimental substance, a novel treatment that has never been tried on humans before, and is being offered as a ‘vaccine’ – even though no vaccine has ever worked on the body as the Covid vaccine does, making changes to the human mRNA.  Now that doesn’t mean that a Christian shouldn’t ever accept the Covid drugs!  It just means that the believer must make a fully informed choice.  Some will consider that the new prophylactic drug is acceptable.  Others will have some concerns, perhaps centring around the ethics of its production and manufacture from, in some cases, the tissue of aborted foetuses.  Or perhaps the concerns that the drugs haven’t yet been fully tested, having received only emergency authorisation. Or perhaps the suffering that some people experienced after the original doses are making some people wary of a similar reaction. The key is that the decision must be made by YOU and you alone.  You are responsible to God – it’s your right to decide – not the government’s.   

The Covid Pass is no doubt a tactic of the nudge units and Psy-Ops people who inhabit the dark corridors of government these days, who want to inveigle you into taking the drugs.  A ploy to help the undecided to go to the vaccination centre, just to get some of their life back.  That’s a despicable tactic.  Especially since the facts remain that the drugs being offered don’t stop you from catching Covid, and don’t prevent you spreading it!  

So, let’s sum up.  Covid Passes are immoral – they are wrong on every count.  Here’s why:-

  • Covid passes segregate society into two classes, the Vaxed and the Unvaxed, – the privileged and the underclass, and will create tensions between them. 
  • Covid passes, as a nudge to get people to accept the Covid prophylactic drugs is an invasion of individual bodily integrity, – an attack on each person’s God given right to decide what to do with their own body.  And worst of all:-
  • Covid passes if applied to churches would be a direct attack on the responsibility of the visible church to fulfil the great commission to take the gospel offer of forgiveness in Christ to every single human being, – that must be totally repudiated.

What do YOU think?

© Bob McEvoy November 2021

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