Presbytery of the Southeast Resolution on Vaccine Mandates

Presbytery of the Southeast Resolution on Vaccine Mandates

At its October 15-16, 2021 stated meeting, the Presbytery of the Southeast passed a resolution intended to be a help to those in our congregations who have liberty of conscience concerns related to federal, state, and corporate polices that require the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition for employment. That resolution is similar to the one adopted by the RPC session on September 29, which may be found here.

The PSE’s resolution reads as follows:

Whereas, the Holy Scriptures command “Honor your father and your mother,” (Exodus 20:12), which requires willing obedience to the lawful commands and counsels to all those who “by God’s ordinance, are over us in place of authority, whether in family, church, or commonwealth” (Westminster Larger Catechism, 124);

Whereas, God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, has ordained civil magistrates, to be, under Him, over the people, for His own glory, and the public good: and, to this end, has armed them with the power of the sword, for the defence and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evildoers (WCF 23.1);

Whereas, the Holy Scriptures teach humble and righteous submission to governing authorities, whether civil, ecclesiastical, familial, or vocational (Romans 13:1-2, 1 Peter 2:13-15, Hebrews 13:17; Ephesians 6:1-9), this does not require absolute obedience of those in authority, but only “to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience’ sake” (Westminster Confession of Faith, 23.4, Westminster Larger Catechism 127, 128, and 130);

Whereas, the Holy Scriptures command “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13), which requires “all careful studies and lawful endeavors to preserve the life of ourselves and others” and forbids that which “tends to the destruction of the life of any” (Westminster Larger Catechism, 135-136); this teaching requires the careful stewardship of the body and the judicious use of medication and medical procedures (Westminster Larger Catechism, Q. 135), including the decision to take or to forgo a vaccine in the interests of one’s bodily wellbeing

Whereas, the long-term effects of all Covid-19 vaccines are unknown and impossible to know at this time, Scripture enjoins prudence (Proverbs 22:3) and preserves the personal and family responsibility to make such decisions according to wise counsel (Proverbs 24:6b);

Whereas, the Holy Scriptures teach that our “body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” purchased with the blood of Christ; that we are not our own but belong body and soul to the Lord Jesus Christ and must glorify God in our body and in our spirit, since they are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 7:23); this teaching also requires the careful stewardship of the body and the judicious use of medication and medical procedures (Westminster Larger Catechism, Q. 135), including the decision to take or to forgo a vaccine in the interests of one’s bodily wellbeing;

Whereas, the Presbytery of the Southeast is seeking to provide for religious exemption for explicitly theological, moral, or ethical reasons, and is by no means prohibiting any from pursuing vaccination if they so choose;

Therefore be it resolved that the Presbytery of the Southeast of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church support her members – whether in local congregations, members at large, or the ministers within her bounds (Form of Government, XIV.1) – who desire to pursue religious/ conscientious exemption from mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations by providing the aforementioned sincere theological, moral, and ethical grounds for such exemptions.

A PDF version of the resolution, as it was communicated to the sessions of the presbytery, can be downloaded here:

Vaccine Mandate_Resolution_PSE.

 

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