Thursday, August 26, 2021

Why (in part) I Sincerely and Deeply Religiously Object to Current Sars-Cov-2 Vaccinations for Myself and My Family

N.B. this article presumes knowledge of and adherence to the Westminster Confession of Faith and Westminster Larger Catechism as accurate summations of Scripture teaching. Those who do not sincerely hold to every part of these cannot be expected to understand how and why my objections are sincerely and deeply held, but this ought not hinder them from respecting the religious sincerity and depth of my objections.

It is becoming apparent that I will need to be giving people the reasoning behind my deeply and sincerely held religious objection to the sars-cov-2 vaccines that are currently available in my country. And, if I am sincerely opposed to the vaccine itself, then I am all the more opposed to its being mandated for others, which actually makes it morally worse to receive it, since I am then complicit in this violation of the conscience of other believers. If the fifth commandment requires of superiors that they not demand that which violates the Scripture-informed conscience of their inferiors, then I also have a duty as an equal not to participate in or comply with such a demand. Thus, even if one is not convinced for himself of the sixth commandment violation, he may yet conclude that his brother's conscientious objection makes it a fifth commandment violation to participate in that which has been mandated.

As the reader can already see, there are myriad considerations for the morality of participating in mandated vaccination at all. The following are a few considerations that are specific to the question at hand. Especially in the third section, which introduces the violation of the sixth commandment with respect to one's own life and health, much more could be said about current approaches to researching, manufacturing, marketing, and administering vaccinations in general (not just with respect to sars-cov-2). However, this would get us into the weeds of what is really a different and unnecessary question than I am trying to answer here.

The biggest problem with sars-cov-2 vaccine mandates is that one can legitimately conclude that he is violating the sixth commandment by receiving the vaccine, regardless of which brand he receives.

One can legitimately conclude that he is violating the sixth commandment by receiving the vaccine, because babies were murdered for the research, development, testing, or production that brought us each of the vaccine variants available. As horrible as it truly is to differentiate between how murder-dependent a vaccine is, I give a little more information below. It was collected some months ago, but going back to lifesitenews, etc., to try to re-produce sources has proved difficult, likely due to "user error." I really never expected to share anything publicly, so this boils down to private notes.

BNT162b2 (Pfizer) used research dependent upon HEK-293. This is an old fetal cell line from a baby that was murdered 48 years ago. As far as I know, fetal cell lines were not used for development, testing, or production.

mRNA-1273 (Moderna) used various fetal cell lines both in development and in testing. The fact that the Moderna offering is much more effective than the Pfizer one presents a microcosm of the moral problem as a whole: is a greater reliance upon murder worth a greater effectiveness in medicinal therapy?

JNJ-78436735 (Johnson & Johnson) uses a cell line from a baby murdered 36 years ago in ongoing production.

One can legitimately conclude that he is violating the sixth commandment by receiving the vaccine, because current vaccinations increase the likelihood of becoming a super-spreader to others. This one takes a little more technical reading ability to understand, because it is based upon this study

Basically, current vaccinations trigger an immune response that produces primarily serum and secretory IgA antibodies. This helps the vaccinated person if he is infected, because he is likely to have a much milder case of the disease. However, this has not been correlated with increased mucosal IgM or IgG antibodies. 

So, the virus may replicate and be expressed in even greater quantities in a person who does not even feel ill. For the young (<60?) to prioritize increased mildness at the risk of becoming significantly more dangerous to others, and especially to the elderly, is significantly questionable from a sixth-commandment perspective.

One can legitimately conclude that he is violating the sixth commandment by receiving the vaccine, because of increased long-term risk to his own health and life. The Mayo Clinic tracking study recently published in Yale University's medRxiv periodical showed an overall effectiveness, from January through July, of 86% for Moderna and 76% for Pfizer. However, for just the month of July this was down to 76% for Moderna and 42%(!) for Pfizer, meaning that Jan–Jun was actually much higher, and the decline in effectiveness has been much more precipitous. 

Despite the cleverness of the new therapies, there is good reason why we have never vaccinated for the common cold, a substantial portion of which is caused by viruses similar to sars-cov-2 (albeit without the gain of function). The emerging data suggest that we are still not able to vaccinate for what is basically an augmented version of the common cold. This may be disappointing to some, but I don't see how it can be surprising.

Much has been made over the last few days of "official" FDA approval for Pfizer, but little has been made of the fact that it also requires findings of long-term and pregnancy studies in 2025 and 2027. This highlights that we thus far know very little about long-term effects, and even when those findings are in, it will not have been very "long-term." 

But it seems to me that there may be rather serious risk. I think that it is indisputable that auto-immune disease has increased significantly for the past thirty years during which I have been observant/aware of such things. It is unique/ingenious that rather than introducing a foreign body for itself to be attacked, these vaccines actually cause the body to produce that which the immune system then attacks. However, with auto-immune response an increasing threat to our health, I suspect that unnecessarily provoking it may have serious, unintended consequences. Besides this, there may be many other risks that just cannot be suspected, because we have not yet observed the outcome and cannot even begin to theorize about mechanism for that outcome. 

So, we have an unknown but possibly significant risk, which is greater for the young (who, on average, have a "longer-term" risk assessment to make), and a quickly decreasing benefit. As risk increases and benefit goes to zero, risk/benefit ratio goes to infinity. One might reason that benefit is not going to zero; but, taken with the two previous considerations of participating in the disregard of lives already taken, and possibly disregarding the lives of those who remain, it is questionable as to whether there is currently "benefit" at all.

In conclusion, another believer is not necessarily under obligation to reason as I have. Still, it's clear that there may be many biblically ethical reasons to be conscientiously against receiving any of the current vaccinations. The fetal murder consideration alone may be enough. And, if it is possible for another believer to have genuine conscientious objection, then I must be opposed to mandated vaccination.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The Ordinary, Every-day Glory of Being a Covenantal Presbyterian

Believers, do you follow God's covenantal way of speaking in the Scriptures and dealing with His people through the ages, by praying and laboring in behalf of all those generations that will come from you?

My wife has an aunt who is into genealogy and just learned of another Hugenot family from which our children are descended. It would be interesting to trace our lineage to learn of the many godly ancestors whose prayers for their covenant progeny are being answered by His marvelous, redemptive grace in our lives. And it is marvelous to think of how those answers might continue to resound for many, increasingly-large generations to come.

Live a few faithful years in dependence upon Christ. Instill in them the faith by God's means and His Spirit's powerful application of it to them. Pray for your offspring. Be forgotten. God will not forget the prayers, the labors, or His promises to which you are responding.

And if you have no children, are you not yet participating in God's keeping of these promises to others? If they are kept only unto you is that faithfulness small? Even so, it is not only to you that they are kept. God's covenantal way of dealing includes within a congregation, whose families and children He responds to as you pray day by day, and whom also you strengthen as a body-part doing its share, by which share the rest of the body is being built up into Him (cf. Eph 4:11–16).

Friday, August 13, 2021

How an Article on Elitism/Classism in Homeowners' Associations Made Me (Again) Deeply Grateful for Family Worship

A friend linked to this article about a homeowner's association that conspired to get rid of a lower-class family renting a home in their neighborhood. Yes, we should beware any group with people in it, especially if it has some compulsory power over other people. But that wasn't my big takeaway from the article. Rather, I was stunned by this ancillary line from the midst of it: "One of the daughters, a middle-schooler, publicly “identifies” as bisexual and eagerly tries to share details about sexuality and the human body with my four children, all under the age of nine. Her outfits remind me of the ruckus over the 2020 French film Cuties."

My takeaway: because middleschoolers are now evangelists for perversion (in this case to four children under age 9), our children must be equipped with what to do when they begin to be verbally sexually assaulted (that's what we would have called this 20, maybe even just 10, years ago) in their driveways by prepubescent neighbors. It actually makes me thankful not to live in a neighborhood at all, to be honest.

If you do live in a neighborhood in 2021 America, your children have to be predator-aware. They have to have protectors (even older siblings, or at least older siblings-in-Christ) with them at all times.

In addition to that, our children need to be able to explain simply that we are created by God in His image, and that God made boys and girls to be different, and that how a man and woman come together is something that they don't want to hear about now, because they plan to discover it one day with their wife (or husband).

Our children should be able to call things wicked, to admit that they themselves are wicked, and to tell about the only good Man Who is also God—and that this man died for wicked people and welcomes them to be completely forgiven, if they will give themselves up and belong to Him instead.

At the earliest possible age, our children will need to develop the spiritual grace of charitable thought and speech toward the same people whose abominable ethics they will have to simultaneously ruthlessly assault

Frankly, I know few adults, even among elders in the church who are skilled in both of those aspects. The churches have been derelict in the training up of children for generations, and this new generation of children desperately need that training.

I know that I repeatedly bang the drum for family worship, but the above topics of needful instruction are the kinds of things you get opportunity to talk to your children about, right from the Bible, if you're just going straight through it in at least a couple different places. 

If you have regular family worship, and an article like this is fresh in your mind, it won't be more than a couple days before your Scripture-commanded habit brings you across a passage that at least gets you to the conversation in the right way. What else are you going to do? Hold a dozen family meetings a week, every time there is some crazy new thing in the culture? If you are one of the few who still has sit-down family meals with intentionally-led conversations by dad, you have another way in (and by all means, use it!), but it will lack the benefit of already being together under the Word as the topic comes up. 

If you're having regular family worship, you are already prepared for this in such a way as you could hardly improve upon tactically for your parenting. For example, if mom or dad is giving everyone a verse or more from Proverbs in the morning, and dad is leading some sort of systematic/longer family worship together in the afternoon or evening, you already have the necessary family meetings planned, and best of all they will already be established in the unassailable hope of the gospel.

There you are, dealing with something horrible and tempted to feel defeated in your spirit, but instead you will be doing so in the midst of having come to God through the blood and righteousness of Jesus. 

You will be doing so in the midst of adoring your all-wise, all-powerful, covenantally-loving, perfectly faithful God—conscious that your discussion now depends upon Him, and that your children's application of it and benefit from it depends upon Him. 

And you'll be practicing that dependence as your talking about such things flows from His own perfect and powerful Word. And you'll be crying out to Him for that benefit as you pray together. And you'll be singing your confidence in Him to give it as you sing together.

The fact of the matter is that every generation has desperately needed this family worship. Because every generation has desperately needed this redeeming God and Savior. And this is one of the great means by which He glorifies Himself before our hearts and works out His redemption and salvation in our lives.

So, I've got several things that I've been reminded that I need to address my children, ages 3 to 18, about. And, although I do feel in my soul the apostolic cry, "who is sufficient for such things?!," I'm glad also to feel the apostolic confidence, "our sufficiency is of God." He's got this. And family worship is a big, instrumental part of how.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The Body of Christ Needs Divine Strength for What's Coming

Just saw in a local social media group, "the body of Christ will need divine strength for what's coming." That's true. 

We also need divine strength just to repent from our sins. Or to believe the gospel and be justified in Christ. Or to worship in spirit and truth every Lord's Day together, or every day in our homes. Or to be content with nothing. Or to be content with an abundance. 

And that's just special/saving grace stuff. We need divine strength to use our minds, to breathe, even just for our atoms to hold together. 

When the Christian (and the church) begins to live his whole life as a continual dependence upon divine strength, he will be prepared for those prospects that arise that more intensely make us to feel the need for divine strength.