“Be careful criticizing the bride that Jesus died for,” said my mentor in response to a student’s criticism of a particular large church. In the not new but currently trendy challenge of deconstructionism, my mentor’s wisdom is even more profound. The intended nebulousness of defining … Continue reading Abusing Jesus and His bride
You’re using what Bible!?
“Why on Earth are you using the New Living Translation!?” said many a friend of late. This question is asked for good reason. Being an ardent believer in expository preaching, a functional equivalent translation does not seem to fit that belief. Personally, I even questioned … Continue reading You’re using what Bible!?
The way up is up…
Long ago in the last century I heard a sermon with the premise of “the way up, is down.” The idea is that humility and servant hood is the way to be great. More and more I question the paradoxical idiom. Why? I think the … Continue reading The way up is up…
Living by faith and let’s go Brandon
My last article dealing with the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” had interesting responses. There are some who loathed the article because of what the phrase specifically refers too. Others said they felt heard by a pastor for the first time. We should not discount pushback … Continue reading Living by faith and let’s go Brandon
How can a Christian say Let’s Go Brandon?
Pastors, people saying let’s go Brandon don’t need your critique. They need hope. Too often we foolishly call out matters that are best left alone. Grievously, we don’t call out things the Bible has a bigger issue with. I recently read an article decrying Christians … Continue reading How can a Christian say Let’s Go Brandon?
Engage: Solutions to getting involved
Should I take a stand on public matters that are political when I am a church? This is a question, in various forms, asked of me in the last month. In my prior article on this topic, found here, I address areas where repentance is … Continue reading Engage: Solutions to getting involved
Engage: Repent from apathy or neglect
Should I take a stand on public matters that are political when I am a church? This is a question, in various forms, asked of me in the last month. Many pastors are challenged by the issues of our day. Should stances be made in … Continue reading Engage: Repent from apathy or neglect
When a mandate stands against your conscience
What does one do if they are required to get a vaccine when it stands against their conscience? As a Pastor, this is a question I am often asked. There are things the Bible clearly instructs to do. There are things that the Bible clearly instructs us not to do. But what about things the Bible does neither? These are matters of conscience. Such matters are by conviction, and not convenience. If having the vaccine goes against your conscience, it is sin to do such. If not having the vaccine because you do not like needles, that is a convenience issue, and it would be wrong to not follow the regulation. If your conviction is that you should not get a vaccine, to not sin against God you should refrain.
Obedience to governing authorities
Romans 13:1-5 instructs us to obey governing authorities as a matter to keep one’s conscience clear. A clean conscience is the driver, and the role of governing authorities is to promote good and punish evil. When authorities go outside God’s role for government, we obey God rather than governing authorities. Do authorities have the right, biblically, to require a vaccine is a gray area. As a general rule, the Christian should obey, until the requirement goes against the Bible or one’s conscience. It is incongruous to obey the governing authority for a clear conscience when obedience goes against your conscience.
Disobedience governing authorities
While the rule is to obey governing authorities, there are exceptions to that rule. For example: when death or harm could occur (Exodus 1-2, Joshua 2), consumption is defiling (Daniel 1), unbiblical worship (Daniel 3), sharing the Gospel prohibited (Acts 2-8), prayer denied (Daniel 6), assembly denied (Hebrews 10). While this list is not exhaustive, the underlying principle is “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29).
Loving one another
There is no requirement to become vaccinated in the Bible. The Bible does command us to love one another, as Romans 13:8-10 teaches. Getting a vaccine is a way we can love one another, but does not equate to a mandate. Some Christians are choosing to not show proof of their vaccination to stand in solidarity with those whose conscience does not allow for vaccination. Out of Christian love, they got vaccinated, and out of Christian love they are acting as if they were not vaccinated. The reason is to support people being able to live according to their conscience.
Conscience is important to the Christian
Romans 14 illustrates and helps us navigate matters of conscience. The goal is to build people up and not argue over matters the Bible does not make explicitly clear. In Romans 14 the case was whether to eat meat. We should be willing to give up our rights to help build up those who have a weaker faith, and we should not feel guilty about doing things we feel are right, when the Bible does not give a clear answer. The bottom line is to not do something that would violate your conscience, or force someone to do something that violated their conscience.
Violating our conscience is sinning against God
Romans 14:23 in the ESV states that “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” This sums up the argument of how we should act from Romans 12 through 14. Apart from what the Bible says we should or should not do, our conscience is the driver. The phrase “is condemned” is written in an emphatic form in the original language. This means to act against your conscience is to clearly sin against God. The reason is our action does not come from our faith conviction. The last phrase of verse 23 broadens the issue beyond meat, and applies it to all matters of conscience.
~Pastor Ty Woznek, Rev., M.Div, Herald of Christ
I just accepted the Lead Pastor position of Heartland Church in Norfolk, NE. Kelly, the family, and I look forward to our next ministry assignment. Watching the Boyz grow up these last 10 years in Michigan is a true joy. We have many friends we … Continue reading Onward
While preparing for worship with the church tomorrow, the idea of dominoes came to mind. This week was interesting and did not go according to plan. While easy to be frustrated, I was, circumstances proved otherwise. Each thing that started as a frustration revealed things … Continue reading Dominoes