As a Conference we believe we are here to serve our members and those within our community. And so, issues that confront society are relevant to us and need to be addressed.
The current topic on the list of most governments and people in our communities is the Covid Vaccines. Should we vaccinate or not? I am so thankful that this is not a question of salvation. In other words, whether one chooses to vaccinate or not will not determine their eternal destination. I have listened to both sides of the argument. There are strong proponents for vaccination among our membership. They even give moral and biblical reasons why one should receive the vaccine. On the other hand, there are those who are against taking the vaccine.
When it comes to vaccination, we as a conference hold to the position of the world church, which states:
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church places strong emphasis on health and well-being. The Adventist health emphasis is based on biblical revelation, the inspired writing of E.G. White (co-founder of the Church) and on peer-reviewed scientific literature. As such, we encourage responsible immunisation/vaccination, and have no religious or faith-based reason not to encourage our adherents to responsibly participate in protective and preventive immunisation programmes. We value the health and safety of the population, which includes the maintenance of “herd immunity.””
What we have sought to do as a conference is to share as much information as we have with church members regarding the facts of the vaccines; and through the Health Ministries, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty departments, answer questions on this subject. We have been very careful not to allow our own biases to interfere with the facts as presented. Everyone has to make an informed decision whether to be vaccinated or not.
We have had well-meaning members from the medical profession who have argued that we should use our office to encourage all members to be vaccinated. We have also had other medical professionals who have argued for us to discourage members from being vaccinated. However, we have maintained the following position:
“We are not the conscience of the individual church member and recognise individual choices. These are exercised by the individual. The choice not to be immunised is not and should not be seen as the dogma neither the doctrine of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
As a conference, we reject the conspiracy theories that say the vaccines will change one’s DNA. The notion that there is a tracking device in the vaccine, to keep an eye on us, is also a conspiracy theory that we reject. Some have erroneously linked the vaccine to the Mark of the Beast of Revelation 13. This is also rejected by the South England Conference.
It is particularly interesting to know that during Ellen White’s day, where smallpox was at epidemic levels, we read from her book Selected Messages Bk 2, p303:
“You will be interested to know, however, that at a time when there was an epidemic of smallpox in the vicinity, she herself was vaccinated and urged her helpers, those connected with her, to be vaccinated. In taking this step, Sister White recognised the fact that it has been proven that vaccination either renders one immune from smallpox or greatly lightens its effects if one does come down with it. She also recognised the danger of their exposing others if they failed to take this precaution. [Signed] D. E. Robinson”
It is my hope that we will prayerfully consider this matter seriously and, with the guidance of our health practitioners, exercise our freedom of choice.