CRCNA Stance on Religious Exemptions for Vaccination

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The CRCNA denominational offices have been asked about Religious Exemption requests for those wanting to be exempt from what may be required vaccinations by various institutions. In consultation with several staff as well as the President of Calvin Theological Seminary, we provide the following note:

A review of our denominational history would show that the CRCNA has not previously provided a religious exemption to people who ask to be exempt from being required to receive a vaccine as a condition for study or work.  

At the same time, people who desire such an exemption may work through their local, state, provincial government or employer requirements on this issue, including following any process by which the religious exemption is to be claimed.  

As Christians we are called to work through the authorities that God places in our lives on such issues. Thank you for the interest people have expressed in wanting to know how to navigate in these times.

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Though the Three Forms of Unity do not devote much ink to Christian liberty and conscience, the Westminster Assembly did.  There are many places in the Scriptures to inform your decision and undergird both a Biblical and constitutional case against compulsory injections.

Westminster Confession of Faith XX.2

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in anything, contrary to his Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship. So that, to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands, out of conscience: is to betray true liberty of conscience and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.

Confer;

Romans 14:23b

For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

Additionally;

James 4:12 

There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

Acts 4:19 

But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

Psalm 146 (as set in both the 1912 Psalter and the 1959 Psalter Hymnal)

Put no confidence in princes,

Nor for help on man depend;

He shall die, to dust returning,

And his purposes shall end.

 

 

I read your “stand” on religious exemption. How can I see this very polite response as a stand? I cannot see it as anything else but a non-stand.

Has fear for the anti-vaccine members in our church now paralyzed scripture? Does one need to consult a president of the university to come to this non-response?

Has scripture nothing to say about how we should seek the wellbeing of our neighbours and get vaccinated if our heath allows it? Is it not an opportunity to witness? Strange. Where is the sola scriptura or do university presidents now fit that authority, that role?

If this the best we can do while thousands of lives are lost or forever changed. Has our church changed sides from being in the light and letting it shine, to the darkness of conspiracy myth?

Sorry, but I experience this as a great letdown by our leadership.