June 14, 2024

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June 14, 2024

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Calvary Chapel Pastors In New Zealand Band Together To Urge Prime Minister To Reconsider Vaccine Mandate

In a letter written to NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Calvary Chapel Pastors in New Zealand banded together to urge their government to reconsider the implementation of vaccine mandates and certificates.

The new Covid Protection Framework (“traffic-light” system) in New Zealand, which is set to go into effect on December 3rd, will require churches to severely limit their attendance unless they agree only to allow the vaccinated into their churches.

“We at all the Calvary Chapels here in NZ are resolute not to turn away anyone due to vaccination status,” Pastor Jim DeLor of Calvary Chapel Waimate, one of the signatories of the letter, told Harbingers Daily.

The pastors wrote the letter, according to DeLor, to spell out the church’s belief that the decision to be vaccinated “is a matter of conscience and people should not be made into separate classes for their decisions.”

Harbingers Daily obtained a copy of this letter through Steve Jones, Pastor of Calvary Chapel Hamilton, who was also a part of the joint statement.

In their letter, the Pastors insist that the church cannot both follow Christ’s Biblical mandate to care for “the ‘whosoever’ of society,” and the government’s mandate to turn away the unvaccinated.

“As pastors in New Zealand, we are praying for you and your government at this challenging time as you seek to navigate our nation through the current Covid-19 pandemic,” They told the PM. “We pray for ‘all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness’ (1 Timothy 2:1–2). We do, however, have serious concerns with your government’s implementation of vaccination mandates and certificates.”

“As pastors in the church, our mission and calling are clear. We are to act as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ by shepherding, loving, serving, and caring for whosoever is in need. The ministry of the church and the Christian gospel is to the ‘whosoever’ of society and is not determined by ethnicity, language, age, gender, orientation, education, social status, nor vaccination status,” the Pastors underscored. “In fact, it is often the church that ventures out to serve and care for the marginalized of our society. Our overarching concern is that the proposed system of vaccination passports directly hinders our ability to serve the ‘whosoevers’ of our society, and our country will be the worse off for it. Our desire is that the church be allowed, without let or hindrance, to meet and minister to all, for all, and with all.”

The first concern listed by the Pastors in the letter is that “individual conscience regarding vaccination is being coerced and threatened through the use of vaccination mandates and certificates.”

“Christians believe that the conscience, that internal part of us that impartially judges our own actions, is given by God and is a key means by which God speaks to us. It is a serious thing to force a person to go against their own will and judgment on a matter,” they warned. “Government should respect the important function the conscience has in aiding a person in worshipping God and living in obedience to the state.”

The Calvary Chapel Pastors insisted that the members of their church, which consist of both vaccinated and unvaccinated, have varied reasons why they have made their decision.

“Some have genuine moral concerns with the manufacture and testing of the vaccine. Others are concerned with adverse side effects and the lack of long-term safety data. Many have reservations about the use of mRNA technology and would gladly receive a more traditional vaccine,” they wrote, adding that their unvaccinated congregants “are not trying to be obtuse, belligerent, or obstructive but, rather, for a range of reasons their conscience cautions them against being vaccinated.”

“An individual’s decision on this matter of conscience medical issue is personal to them and should be respected. Sadly, there are those in our churches, and many in society at large, who must now decide between their conscience on the one hand and keeping their job on the other. They must submit or be sacked,” they lamented. “The Bible tells us that work is good and ordained by God. To pit a person’s conscience against their need to work and provide for themselves and their family is, in our view, unethical and immoral. For many in society, the decision forced upon them is a cause of great anxiety, despair, and fear for their future.”

The Church leaders pre-emptively warned against a future decision by New Zealand’s government to usurp the freedom of parents by expanding the mandate to include children five to eleven.

“God has entrusted parents with the responsibility for raising, caring for and making decisions on behalf of their children,” they asserted. “Some parents will jump at the opportunity to have their children vaccinated, as is their prerogative. Many parents will, however, be understandably hesitant and others ardently against having their children vaccinated.”

“The risk of Covid-19 to children is extremely low and some have legitimate vaccination safety concerns (such as those seen in the withdrawal or age limitation of the Moderna vaccine in certain Scandinavian countries and the suspension of the second Pfizer vaccine in Taiwan for younger age groups). These are fair reasons for parents to not want to have their children vaccinated,” the letter states.

“Some argue that the children must be vaccinated to protect adults. In a healthy society, concern for children’s safety is paramount. To use children as a shield for the protection of adults, when children are at minimal risk from the virus, is immoral,” they argued. “We are not doctors, scientists, or public health experts, however, prudence would say that, when it comes to our children, utmost caution should be taken, and we would exhort that you let the dust well and truly settle on the science before making consequential decisions regarding our most vulnerable.”

“Parental choice and freedom from coercion in this matter is essential,” they maintain. “It is one thing to coerce an adult’s conscience regarding their own employment, but it is another thing altogether to pressure parents in to have their children vaccinated against their better judgment. While no such policies have yet been proposed, we are compelled to say pre-emptively that the prospect of differentiation and discrimination between vaccinated and unvaccinated children in primary and intermediate schools, because of their parent’s decision, is unconscionable and must not be allowed to take place.”

The Pastors were disturbed by the restrictions the “traffic-light” system places on churches, specifically under the most severe “red light” category, which they state will “will outright stop churches from being able to meet corporately.”

“Throughout this pandemic, a fine reference to New Zealand as ‘a team of five million’ has often been used. The church, however, has a different description given by Jesus Christ and that description is of a body,” the letter explained. “The church is a body, made up of many different but each important members, with Christ as our head. As Christians, our unity and commonality is not found in ethnicity, wealth, class, gender or, for that matter, medical status, but our unity is found in Christ (Galatians 3:28).”

“We believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that salvation from sins is found in Him alone. He is our Lord and our Saviour, and we are one in Him. As such, it is untenable for us as church leaders to separate our churches into the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, for the Bible knows no such distinctions. Likewise, when it comes to the non-Christian, the good news of salvation is freely available to all. Jesus touched the lepers; He ate with prostitutes, and He communed with the despised tax collector. Jesus was known as the friend of sinners, and He came for the undesirable, the outcast, the ‘whosoevers’ of society. As Christians, we cannot discriminate against people along medical lines. We appreciate that not all church leaders think the same as we do on this. Perhaps they will divide or close their doors to a certain class of person, but we cannot,” they contend.

For these reasons, under your traffic-light system framework, our churches will not utilise vaccination certificates and will remain open to all,” the Pastors state. “Even as Christians are called to pray for those in authority, the Bible instructs us to be in submission to authority as we recognise that those in authority are appointed by God (Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2). In seeking to submit, and while still abiding by our religious convictions, this does mean that our ability to meet as churches is significantly impaired.”

“For larger churches, a green-light mixed gathering of vaccinated and unvaccinated with a 100-person limit is problematic. An orange-light 50- person limit is challenging for many more churches. A red-light 10-person limit will outright stop churches from being able to meet corporately,” the church leaders clarified. “It is at this point that the discrimination will be palpably felt. The vaccinated will be able to go about their business, for the most part, without missing a beat. The unvaccinated, however, and those that are happy to associate with them, will be severely restricted, including in their ability to practice their religion.”

“The church has a crucial role in society,” they continued. “Practically, the church provides immeasurable support, assistance, guidance and encouragement to both Christians and non-Christians. Spiritually, the church, through sharing the gospel, provides hope for all for this life and the life to come. If anything, in challenging times the church should not be suppressed and shut down but rather be freed up to work and play our part in ministering to the many practical and spiritual needs of those struggling during this pandemic season.”

The final concern conveyed in the letter to the Prime Minister was the division of society by vaccine status, which is a disastrous mistake the Pastors reveal has Biblically addressed ramifications.

“Friends, families, and colleagues in workplaces are dividing. The tone and level of rhetoric, particularly towards the unvaccinated, is heating up. They are fast becoming ‘othered’ persona non grata. And yet, an unvaccinated person is not the same as an infected person,” they underscored. “Both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated can contract the virus and pass it on, with one recent study showing that the vaccinated are just as likely to spread the delta variant to household contacts as the unvaccinated. Studies are increasingly showing that vaccine efficacy does not last long.”

“Common sense also says that, while Covid-19 symptoms may be clearer and contagion last longer in the unvaccinated, the risk of the vaccinated being silent spreaders, unaware that they have the virus and are passing it on, is very real,” they write. “Certainly the significant increase of Covid-19 cases in highly vaccinated countries such as Singapore and Israel, to name a few, indicate that the virus is spreading significantly among both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated and goes against the supposed logic of vaccination mandates and certificates. Such considerations do make one wonder if the measures being put in place in New Zealand are as much punitive as they are about public health.”

The Pastors added that the Prime Minister herself has “freely acknowledged that the implementation of vaccination certificates will create two classes of Kiwi.”

“Jesus Himself said that a house divided against itself will not stand (Matthew 12:25),” they explained. “On your successful election night in October 2020, you promised to govern for all New Zealanders. More likely in mind at that time was the left versus right divide. We ask that you now follow your promise and show kindness in governing for both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.”

They then urged the Prime Minister to reconsider her “approach regarding the implementation of vaccination mandates and certificates.”

Freedom of conscience should be respected. Unity should be prioritized over policies that cause division,” they concluded. “We pray that the words of New Zealand’s national anthem, undoubtedly the best in the world, would be true at this time. Particularly the second verse which is so appropriate to the days in which we live: ‘Men of every creed and race, gather here before Thy face, asking Thee to bless this place, God defend our free land. From dissension, envy, hate, and corruption guard our state, make our country good and great, God defend New Zealand.'”

Pastor Jim DeLor told Harbingers Daily that there has currently been no response to the letter by the Prime Ministers’ office.

David Fiorazo in a recent article implored more Pastors, as ambassadors of Christ, to break their silence on vaccine mandates and government overreach.

“Our freedoms will not last and the gospel could soon be outlawed if the majority of Christians, pastors, and concerned citizens remain casual observers, too busy to either know what’s really happening or to do anything about it,” he warned.

The vaccine mandates that have immerged across the globe at the expense of personal liberties are recognized by many as a stunning harbinger of events spoken of in Biblical Prophecy.

Revelation 13:16-18 states that during the Tribulation the antichrist will cause “all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast.”

In a recent sermon discussing the approaching mandate, Pastor Steve Jones explained to his congregation that what they are seeing is a “taste” of things to come.

“What we are seeing is a lot of revelation coming to life. What is it going to be like in the end times? Well, this is a taste, it’s not happening now, but this is what it’s going to be like, being forced to do things. Just wait,” he said. “Those who are going to be here [during the Tribulation] are going to be forced one day to take the mark of the beast [Revelation 13:16-18]. Now, that’s going to be a whole different world from what we have now. But the concept of being forced and told you have to do something… this is just a teaser of the real thing which will be somewhere in the future. So these are exciting days indeed to be alive on the planet earth, as we see many things happening around us.”

“I’d encourage you to keep close to the word of God and keep close to Christ. We need to walk in His nearness and presence daily, let the word of God come alive in our hearts, and share the hope with those around us,” he encouraged.

“The world is wondering what is going on, and rightly so,” he said, adding that those distraught and confused by our day should “have a look at the back of the book; the answers are all in there.”

To read in full the Calvary Chapel Pastors letter to the New Zealand Prime Minister, “Conscience Matters – Vaccine Mandates & Certificates” — Click Here

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