Thou Shalt Be Vaccinated: When “Love Thy Neighbor” Does Not Fulfill the Law


Editor’s Note: Our friends at Crossway have generously allowed our readers this month to download a free copy of D.A. Carson’s important work The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God. We hope this resource will help you understand the manifold love of God.

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6)

“Instead, speaking the truth in love…” (Ephesians 4:15a)

Over the last three years, the command to “love your neighbor” has been applied in many ways, and unfortunately, most ways have been divorced from the overall context of Scripture. One disturbing example is the command’s application to the COVID-19 pandemic: first in terms of submitting to arbitrary government lockdowns, then to the mandatory covering of our faces, and most disconcerting to taking the vaccine—all in order to “love our neighbor!”

In this article, I will focus on the latter issue. Others at Christ Over All have and will address lockdowns and masks, and the ways in which acquiescence to these demands was anything but loving, especially in light of the devastating social, spiritual, and economic consequences that have resulted from these measures. In fact, if we are honest, the church, following passively behind their political leaders, acted contrary to the truth we already knew. From history, we knew that lockdowns and masks don’t stop the spread of a respiratory virus, a truth that has been confirmed in recent studies (see here, here, here, and here), yet we willingly obeyed government mandates that resulted in more harm than good for our neighbors and God’s church.

By far the most serious misuse of the command to love neighbor has been our government’s insistence that everyone be vaccinated regardless of age, medical condition, pregnancy, natural immunity, etc. Sadly, this sentiment was voiced by many “leaders” in the evangelical church, while those who questioned the “science” were mocked and scolded by many Evangelicals. For example, those who signed the “BioLogos Statement: Love Your Neighbor—Get the Shot!,”[1] insisted that “love” obligated all Christians to get vaccinated regardless of their situation. Refusing the vaccine was tantamount to sin, and refusal to get the jab was most definitely deemed a violation of “love your neighbor!”

1. See the BioLogos Statement in its entirety here.

Rejecting the Vaccine in Hindsight

Writing now in hindsight, we can see how flawed this logic was. For starters, in Scripture, the command to love your neighbor is never divorced from the context of truth. Love is never left undefined; it’s always practiced in light of the truth, which was precisely the problem when people applied this principle to taking the vaccines without question. For what we now know about the truth of this vaccine (which doesn’t necessarily apply to other vaccines) is that it causes more harm than good, as I’ll show below. As such, if we truly love our neighbor, Christians should lovingly warn others of its serious consequences, which is the opposite of what we were told.

No doubt, people are free to take the vaccine (assuming they have full disclosure of its risks), but it does not follow that “loving our neighbor” requires everyone’s vaccination. In fact, given what we now know about the vaccine, we can make a strong case that to truly love our neighbor would be to abstain from taking it any further (until it’s thoroughly tested and improved). Moreover, we should strongly oppose any further government mandate of the vaccine, especially when it has reached a popular following of sacramental proportions.[2]

2. Sacramental elements of the COVID-19 vaccine could be seen when New York Governor Kathy Hochul wore a “Vaccinated” necklace and candles were sold celebrating Anthony Fauci as a modern saint.

As the old adage goes, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Nowhere is this saying truer than with the vaccines offered for COVID-19. Since the vaccine (along with its endless boosters) was first unveiled over two years ago, we have discovered that almost every claim about it was either exaggerated or false. Here are some disturbing examples.

  • We were told that the vaccine was 95% “effective,” but this is false. We now know that the vaccine (and its boosters) don’t stop the transmission of the virus and that any protection against the virus is temporary, hence the reason for repeated boosters, contrary to normal vaccines. Furthermore, since the introduction of the vaccines two years ago, nearly everyone has been infected with the virus, often multiple times (including the vaccinated!), which demonstrates that the claim that vaccines “stop the spread” is simply false.
  • We were told that the vaccines were “safe,” which also is not true. Recent studies have demonstrated that the more doses one takes the greater risk one has for becoming infected again, which means that increased doses are causing damage to one’s immune system. This is why vaccinated people are experiencing higher rates of infection than the non-vaccinated. As Michael Tomlinson rightly notes, “This may be the first time in history that governments promoted a vaccine for over two years that increased your risk of becoming infected.”
  • However, it’s even more serious than this. Adverse reactions caused by the vaccine are now so prevalent that they can no longer be denied or ignored.[3] Daniel Horowitz lists twelve safety signals that demonstrate that the vaccines aren’t “safe.” For example, 17% of children experienced some cardiac symptom after the Pfizer shot; there has been a 20% spike in excess deaths in England and Wales; the FDA admits elevated risk for heart attacks, blood clots, and pulmonary emboli; two studies reveal that the mRNA shots are stimulating the creation of “tolerating” antibodies (IgG4) in contrast to “neutralizing” antibodies (IgG1-3), which explains why vaccinated people continue to get the virus even though they are vaccinated; and VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System) analysis reveals 500 categories of injuries with greater safety signals than myocarditis.
3. For a summary of some of these concerns, see Sharyl Attkisson, “(Updated) Exclusive Summary: Covid-19 Vaccine Concerns”; Steve Deace and Daniel Horowitz, Rise of the Fourth Reich (New York: Post Hill Press, 2023).

Rejecting the Vaccine in Real Time

All of this we now know in hindsight, which entails that the mantra to “love your neighbor” by getting vaxxed was completely false and wrongheaded. But the truth of the matter is that even without this evidence; we should never have pushed this mantra in the first place. From the outset, we should never have bound people’s consciences to take the vaccine by tying obedience to Jesus with taking the vaccine. That is true for both our government and influential church leaders who demanded total compliance to their mandates. On this point, Ardel Caneday will address how the conscience relates to these mandates later this month.

For now we can ask, Why should we have rejected forced vaccination in real time? Here are some reasons to consider (all of which we knew from the outset).

  • The vaccines were never properly tested and only functioned under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Without proper testing, no government or church has the moral right to demand that we inject our bodies with something that is unknown in terms of its overall effects. Also, when we consider the newer mRNA technology used in the vaccine, combined with the pro-inflammatory nature of the lipid nano particles delivering the mRNA, the polyethylene glycolcasing around it causing autoimmune and allergic reactions, and other ingredients that were never properly tested, people were well within their moral and civil rights to not take it. To love our neighbor requires a proper application of “informed consent” and the upholding of “bodily autonomy.” To violate these areas for a vaccine that is not fully vetted is not loving one’s neighbor; it’s ultimately allowing for the potential harm of people, which is the opposite of love.
  • The full legal immunity given to pharmaceutical companies should make anyone pause. When companies and governments are not held responsible for what they make, given human sin and the desire for power and money at any costs (which has occurred since Genesis 3), and the speed at which they rolled out the vaccines without proper testing, people are within their rights to refuse the vaccine until further testing and verification occurs.
  • Before the vaccines were ever rolled out, we already knew that the IFR (Infection Fatality Rate) for the virus was around .27% (and much lower for most people, especially children), which is similar to a severe flu season. Furthermore, we also knew, when “misinformation” was not being censored or rejected by legacy media, that the virus could be treated well by proper dosages of Vitamin D, Zinc, Vitamin C, Quercetin, and other safe treatments.[4] All of this meant that for most people, there was no reason to take an experimental vaccine that had not been fully tested, and which not long after its rollout began to reveal many serious adverse effects.
4. Anecdotally, in personal conversation with one of the signers of the BioLogos statement, it became apparent that this brilliant scholar had never heard of the simple steps of taking Vitamin D, Quercetin, Zinc, and Vitamin C.
  • The confusing and even contradictory claims of the government also rightly gave many people reasons to think twice before taking an experimental vaccine. We were repeatedly told that the vaccine was “safe and effective”—and we soon discovered it was not. We were told that natural immunity was a mirage—something that contradicted years of immunological science and a proper understanding of God’s creation of our immune system. After all of these false claims, people were certainly within their rights to refuse the vaccine, and it was not an unloving act to do so.

Love Lets The Truth Be Told: Three Lessons to Learn

Obviously, much more could be said. The amount of data that is now emerging about the danger of the vaccine is vast, even the disturbing truth that the pharmaceutical companies and the government (including Anthony Fauci)[5] knew before the vaccines were made public that they were not “safe and effective” at stopping transmission. We have also witnessed the suppression of truth regarding early treatments, natural immunity, and the attempt to discredit courageous doctors who spoke up and opposed the established narrative. But what lessons should the church learn, especially as we prepare ourselves for what may come in the future? Let me focus on three lessons.

5. In 2021 Fauci said that vaccinated people become “a dead-end for the [Covid-19] virus,” which is to say that transmission would be “extremely unlikely.” However, he co-published an article in 2023 that refers to common knowledge data from another vaccine program that contradicts his claim, “Until the emergence of COVID-19, influenza had for many decades been the deadliest vaccine-preventable viral respiratory disease . . . Over the years, influenza vaccines have never been able to elicit durable protective immunity against seasonal influenza virus strains, even against non-drifted strains. . . . As of 2022, after more than 60 years of experience with influenza vaccines, very little improvement in vaccine prevention of infection has been noted” (David M. Morens, Jeffery K. Taubenberger, and Anthony S. Fauci, “Rethinking Next-Generation Vaccines for Coronaviruses, Influenzaviruses, and Other Respiratory Viruses,” Cell Host & Microbe 31, no. 1 [January 2023]).

First, “love your neighbor” must always be defined in terms of the truth. Regarding the issue of vaccines, what was missing in all of the rhetoric, demands, and mandates was the truth. Those who did question the established narrative on the basis of truth have been vindicated. But the lesson going forward is that the church must learn to value truth over error, and in the words of Rod Dreher’s book, we must “live not by lies.” Christians must pursue the truth, and it’s not loving my neighbor to demand that they do something contrary to the truth. Sadly, our government and many church “leaders” were wrong on this point.

Second, although governments are ordained by God and to be obeyed (Rom. 13:1), their authority is not unlimited and our obedience to them must never be contrary to the truth. Their responsibility is to uphold what is good, but when they do not, and when they demand that we act contrary to the truth by harming our bodies, we have the right, indeed the duty to say no. We live by the truth of God’s Word, and when government mandates result in our harm or the harm of our neighbor, the loving thing to do is to resist them and to disobey.

What was surprising, and disconcerting at the same time, was how easily Christians trusted their government leaders without question, especially in face of all the growing evidence to the contrary. It’s as if we have never learned from the past. After all, less than 100 years ago, leaders in Germany joined together with the medical establishment to pursue crimes against humanity. Similarly, the Tuskegee Experiment marks a terrible abuse of power in our own country, when government-funded doctors experimented on blacks from 1932–72. Do we think that our government, whose worldview has no basis for upholding human dignity and value, is not capable of doing this today? Do we actually take the doctrine of sin seriously? Have we learned nothing from history?

Third, it’s time for the church to wake up regarding the precise time that we live in. Possibly in previous eras, we could have trusted government leaders more since they lived off the borrowed capital of Christianity, but this is no longer the case. In fact, it was perfectly understandable that many Christians innocently trusted government and medical authorities, but now this trust has been broken. Going forward, we must trust and verify. As the church, we need to recommit to the truth of God’s Word, and to apply love in the context of truth. As the church, we must prepare for the future, and realize that those who rule over us are not governed by the same concern for human life and dignity. The time we live in requires vigilance and courage to stand for the truth in the midst of a world of lies and deception. The great need for the church today is follow the exhortation of Paul: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2). Indeed, to love God and our neighbor rightly demands nothing less.



  • Stephen Wellum

    Stephen Wellum is professor of Christian theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He received his MDiv and PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the author of numerous essays, articles, and books. He is also the co-author with Peter Gentry of Kingdom through Covenant, 2nd edition (Crossway, 2012, 2018) and the author of God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of the Person of Christ (Crossway, 2016).

Stephen Wellum

Stephen Wellum

Stephen Wellum is professor of Christian theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He received his MDiv and PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the author of numerous essays, articles, and books. He is also the co-author with Peter Gentry of Kingdom through Covenant, 2nd edition (Crossway, 2012, 2018) and the author of God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of the Person of Christ (Crossway, 2016).