EDITOR: Allow me the opportunity to express sentiments on a matter of pertinent. The article, “Pastor rejects Covid protocols,” which was published in the Searchlight newspaper dated September 17,2021 is unfortunate, to put politely. After almost two years of the covid-19 pandemic and it’s resultant negative consequences locally, regionally and internationally, one can’t help but be alarmed at such reckless and irresponsible behavior. And to compound the drama, the culprit is a pastor who ought to know better. To conclude that taking vaccine, wearing masks and social distancing are sinful is one of two things; outright ignorance, or lack of knowledge as to what constitute sin.
There could be no doubt that the reasons the pastor cited for rejecting the established protocols as provided by the Ministry of Health, notwithstanding the government, has absolutely nothing to do with the Bible. Further, far removed from being a revelation from God. While biblical revelation is not static, God does not contradict himself. To blatantly disregard the health measures designed to mitigate the spread of the virus, and with the same breath claim to be acting under divine guidance is beyond imagination. This is evidence of a need for spiritual reformation, that the individual in question is out of touch with divine reality.
The Bible leaves no stone unturned relative to our civil responsibility. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisted the powers, resisted the ordinances of God, and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation,” Romans 13:1-2. Correctly interpreted, everyone, including religious leaders is expected to obey civil authority. If, however, the powers that be demands that you choose between God and man, the Christian must choose to obey God. “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, we ought to obey God rather than man,” Acts 5:29. Apart from such situation, which is not presently the case, everyone is obligated to abide by the laws of the land. We hope that in due course the pastor will come to his senses, abandon his twisted religious opinions, and obey the health requirements designed to protect and save lives.
Having said that, it must be noted that the position of the pastor in question does not in any way represent the local pastoral fraternity, or the local clergy. From all indication, it is solely a personal and individual stand. Barring few unintentional, and occasional lapses, generally speaking, the local clergy-most, if not all pastors-have adhered too, and continue to adhere to the prescribed covid-19 protocols at their religious gatherings as provided by the Ministry of health. The clergy is cognizant of the social, economic, mental, educational, psychological challenges, to name a few, brought to bear upon the global community by the covid-19 pandemic. Hence, it is doing all in its powers to help end this crisis. One can’t help but hope that the pastor in question will amend his conduct, act more responsibly, and don’t let pride override common sense. In the end, he has more to gain than to lose.
The Watch Dog