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My body my choice. Is it just a way to avoid being responsible?

My body my choice! It feels like it’s being used for lots of things these days. Not getting vaccinated. And by extension, not vaccinating kids. Getting an abortion. And by extension, in a similar manner, not having kids. Of course, there are arguments made on both sides of both issues. We’ll look at both. However, I want to add another dimension. Christianity. Why? Because it makes things much more clear. And, by extension, much more volatile.

Is it really an issue of my body my choice?

my body my choice - or - your body my choice
Your future, but my choice of what your future will be!

Let’s get right to it. The question isn’t really the one we think it is. We think it’s our body so we get to choose. But it really feels like the actual desire for some, especially the conservative Christian right, is something quite different:

Your body – My choice!

As the adjacent image says, your future is in the direction of the arrow, but, I control what that arrow leads to.

Let’s get something else out there right away as well. Something I don’t usually bring up ’til later.

Should we, as Christians, be controlling what other people do?

I don’t know if many Christians know about the passage below. If they do, I don’t know how many understand it. Or maybe don’t even care about it.

Expel the Immoral Brother!

Expel the Immoral Brother! Even the title should tell us, Christians that is, what follows is related to other Christians. I repeat – other Christians. Paul’s use of the word brother isn’t as general as common usage is today. It meant other Christians. Period. Therefore, when we read the passage, it only applies to people who are Christians.

It’s about Christians relating to other Christians. It’s not about Christians relating to, or controlling, non-Christians.

1Co 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? 3 Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. 4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

OK – that’s not part of either point of emphasis for today’s topic. However, the thinking behind it certainly is. Since we often don’t look at things today in the same light as they did back then, let’s take a look at the point Paul was making.

“Drive Out the Wicked Person from among You”

The first problem that Paul highlights is the case of a man in the Corinthian church who is living in a sexual relationship with “his father’s wife”—not his own mother but a subsequent wife of his father. (From Paul’s scanty description there is no way of knowing whether the father had died or divorced this second wife; the Corinthians of course knew the particulars of the matter.) As commentators universally note, the woman surely was not a member of the community of believers; otherwise, she too would have been subject to the disciplinary action that Paul orders in verses 2–5 and 11–13. Horrified by this relationship, Paul labels it porneia (sexual misconduct) “of a kind that is not found even among the Gentiles” (5:1).

Notice, the woman wasn’t subject to disciplinary action. Why not? Because she was not a member of the community of believers. In today’s terms, she wasn’t Christian. And since she wasn’t Christian, those believers, in what we’d call a congregation today, didn’t subject her to disciplinary action.

Wow. Do we do that today? If anything, I’ve seen examples where the “believing” man gets off while the “unbelieving” woman is punished! I invite you to check out. Does Christianity really say wives submit to your husbands? for one example where a husband and wife were members of the same church, the husband was abusive, and they excommunicated the wife for not submitting to her husband. Mind-blowing. But true.

The word ethnē, translated by NRSV and most English versions as “pagans,” is Paul’s normal word for “Gentiles” (i.e., non-Jews). His use of this term here offers a fascinating hint that he thinks of the Gentile converts at Corinth as Gentiles no longer (cf. 12:2, 13; Gal. 3:28). Now that they are in Christ, they belong to the covenant people of God, and their behavior should reflect that new status.

When we become Christians, we are expected to behave differently than before. While it’s true we won’t be perfect, we should be better. And we should at least be striving, although not reaching, a life of perfection.

In this case, however, the offending church member is not only failing to live up to the standard of holiness to which Christ’s people are called; he is doing something that “even Gentiles” would find reprehensible.  [1]Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians (pp. 80–81). John Knox Press.

But in this case, the man failed. Miserably.

Paul then continues.

1Co 5:6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

1Co 5:9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

There are a couple of different ways to look at those several verses. Here’s a look at some of them.

The most startling aspect of Paul’s response is that he does not merely condemn the perpetrator of this unseemly affair; instead, he scolds the community as a whole for their complicity in the matter: “And you [plural] are arrogant [“puffed up,” the same word that we have already encountered in 4:6, 18]! Should you not rather have mourned, so that he who has done this would have been removed from among you?…

Your boasting is not a good thing” (5:2, 6a). It is difficult to say whether Paul means that the Corinthians are boasting in spite of the immoral man’s conduct or because of it.

In the latter case, they would be flaunting their new freedom in Christ by celebrating this man’s particular act of defying conventional mores (this would explain why in 5:6a Paul uses the noun kauchēma [“a boast”] rather than kauchēsis [“boasting”]); this is not as far-fetched as it might sound, for in this same section of the letter Paul chides them for trumpeting that “all things are lawful for me” (6:12).

In the former case, on the other hand, they would be heedlessly boasting in their own spirituality and wisdom while tolerantly ignoring a flagrant moral violation in their midst.

Either way, Paul insists that the community has moral responsibility for the conduct of its members and that the conduct of the individual members (even private conduct between “consenting adults”) affects the life of the whole community. Later in the letter, Paul will explain this truth by using the image of the “body of Christ”: “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (12:26). Here in 1 Corinthians 5, however, Paul simply assumes the reality of corporate responsibility.  [2]Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians (p. 82). John Knox Press.

After explaining why the entire church bears some responsibility for what’s happening. Paul gets to the points that especially apply to our my body my choice examination.

1Co 5:12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

In verses 12 and 13, Paul makes two separate conclusions. Unfortunately, today, we often only reach one of them, and then apply it to everyone. Again, that’s not what Paul did.

  • Conclusions about non-Christians
    • What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?
      • If it’s not Paul’s place, who are we to think it’s ours?
    • God will judge those outside.
      • Do we believe it’s our place to take over what God claims for Himself?
      • More on that in a moment.
  • Conclusions about Christians
    • Are you not to judge those inside?
      • Yes, it is our place to deal with situations within the church. Within the body of the believers.
    • Expel the wicked man from among you.
      • There is an expectation, although not stated here explicitly, that someone in the leadership of the church will/did have discussions with the man. That’s part of the disciplinary process. Expelling someone from the congregation comes if the person refuses to repent and change their ways.

Summary – Should we, as Christians, be controlling what other people do?

If we, Christians, are not to judge non-Christians, it hardly seems likely that we should control what non-Christians do. At least, not on the grounds that an activity is not Christian.

So with that in mind, let’s look at our two topics. Abortion and vaccines.

Abortion – My body my choice

I don’t believe there’s any question about the reality that the Bible teaches abortion is wrong. Even the unintentional killing of a baby is to be punished by death, going all the way back to Exodus. It’s part of a section that many laws related to various types of injuries. Therefore, I only included the relevant verses for the injury/death of an unborn child.

Personal Injuries

Ex 21:22 “If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

Keep in mind, this is an accidental scenario. Intentional abortion clearly fits into the life for life situation.

I also have to believe this applies to the mother, the doctor, and probably everyone else who knowingly/intentionally participated in the process.

Yes, this is Jewish Law. But then, Jesus never said anything to indicate this law may have been taken off the books for Christians.

However – we Christians must also keep in mind that this is God’s Law. As much as we might/should disagree with anyone else who has an abortion, we are not to judge anyone who isn’t Christian.

Let me put that another way. We don’t need man’s law in order to follow God’s law.

We don’t need human laws to follow God’s laws!

Abortion – Your body my choice

There’s another consideration. Murdering a person is wrong. It’s against God’s law and against human laws. For better or worse, our human courts can’t keep a consistent thought on whether or not an unborn child fits into the category of a “person” when it comes to the statutes on murder.

Again though, this is human law, not God’s law. People change. Human laws change. God does not change.

Because of that, I don’t see where we, as Christians, have the right to force God’s laws on everyone else. It goes against what Paul wrote to the Corinthian church.

It also seems to go against what Jesus said to His disciples when He sent them out to preach the Good News.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

10:2-4 pp — Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16; Ac 1:13
10:9-15 pp — Mk 6:8-11; Lk 9:3-5; 10:4-12
10:19-22 pp — Mk 13:11-13; Lk 21:12-17
10:26-33 pp — Lk 12:2-9
10:34, 35 pp — Lk 12:51-53

Mt 10:1 He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
Mt 10:2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Mt 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9 Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10 take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.
Mt 10:11 “Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15 I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
Mt 10:17 “Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Mt 10:21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
Mt 10:24 “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!
Mt 10:26 “So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Mt 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
Mt 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
“ ‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
Mt 10:36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

Mt 10:37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Mt 10:40 “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”

I included the entire passage for context, but the key for us today is below:

Mt 10:11 “Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15 I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Jesus didn’t tell His disciples to force His ways on people. I know, historically we’ve done exactly that. Far too often. And with deadly consequences. But still, it’s not how Jesus told us to act.

God will deal with those who reject His Word. God doesn’t need us to judge non-believers. He will. In His way. At His time.

Ultimately, if we choose to participate in the legal discourse, which is all well and good, I don’t believe we should be quoting the Bible and God’s law in the process. Acting as a regular citizen is one thing. But when we act as God’s representative here on earth, we answer to a higher authority for the things we do and don’t do. More on that towards the end.

Vaccines – My body my choice

So let’s move on to vaccines. Once again, we have a dilemma with an apparent difference between God’s Law and human laws.

First off, human laws actually do give the government the right to make people get a vaccination. Not while it’s in trials or approved for emergency use. But once it’s approved for general use, it’s absolutely legal to mandate vaccines.

The excerpts presented below are from Human Cell Strains in Vaccine Development.

We may not like that, but it’s true. In fact, most of the population of the U.S. has had vaccines for that very reason.

Two main human cell strains have been used to develop currently available vaccines, in each case with the original fetal cells in question obtained in the 1960s. The WI-38 cell strain was developed in 1962 in the United States, and the MRC-5 cell strain (also started with fetal lung cells) was developed, using Hayflick’s technology, in 1970 at the Medical Research Center in the United Kingdom. It should be noted that Hayflick’s methods involved establishing a huge bank of WI-38 and MRC-5 cells that, while not capable of infinitely replicating like immortal cell lines, will serve vaccine production needs for several decades in the future.

The vaccines below were developed using either the WI-38 or the MRC-5 cell strains.

Hepatitis A vaccines [VAQTA/Merck, Havrix/GlaxoSmithKline, and part of Twinrix/GlaxoSmithKline]

Rubella vaccine [MERUVAX II/Merck, part of MMR II/Merck, and ProQuad/Merck]

Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine [Varivax/Merck, and part of ProQuad/Merck]

Zoster (shingles) vaccine [Zostavax/Merck]

Adenovirus Type 4 and Type 7 oral vaccine [Barr Labs] *

Rabies vaccine [IMOVAX/Sanofi Pasteur] *

* Vaccine not routinely given

Researchers have estimated that vaccines made in WI-38 and its derivatives have prevented nearly 11 million deaths and prevented (or treated, in the example of rabies) 4.5 billion cases of disease.

Very few of us in so-called developed countries haven’t had one or more of those vaccines. As such, the only “excuse” for not getting a vaccine, other than allergies and the like, is the religious exemption.

The Christian exemption from vaccines

However, the religious exemption for Christians is, I believe, somewhat tenuous. It’s on shaky grounds. Why? Because it ignores something that Christians believe, in order to avoid something we just plain don’t want to do.

Let’s start with one from Catholics, going back to German Measles.

Groups that object to abortion have raised ethical questions about Plotkin’s rubella vaccine (and other vaccines developed with similar human cell strains) over the years.

Because of its position on abortion, some members of the Catholic Church asked for its moral guidance on the use of vaccines developed using cell strains started with human fetal cells. This includes the vaccine against rubella as well as those against chickenpox and hepatitis A, and some other vaccines. The official position according to the National Catholic Bioethics Center is that individuals should, when possible, use vaccines not developed with the use of these human cell strains. However, in the case where the only vaccine available against a particular disease was developed using this approach, the NCBC notes:

One is morally free to use the vaccine regardless of its historical association with abortion. The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine. This is especially important for parents, who have a moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children and those around them.

So that’s the objection from Christians. Even if the vaccines themselves don’t have aborted fetus cells in them, vaccines are developed from cell lines that began with fetus cells from elective abortions.

So, in a sense, I get it. Abortions are against God’s will. Therefore, whatever comes from those cells must also be against God’s will.

As to the first statement, there’s no question. Abortion is against God’s will. As we saw, it goes all the way back to Exodus. Furthermore, by extension, it can be carried back to Genesis. You probably know at least a little bit about Cain and Abel.

Cain and Abel

Ge 4:1 Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Ge 4:6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

Ge 4:8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Ge 4:9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Ge 4:10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth. ”

Unlike the example in Exodus, where the death of the unborn child was an accident, this is flat-out premeditated. The Law didn’t exist yet, so there wasn’t a physical death penalty for Cain. And yet, look what happened.

Ge 4:13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

Being separated from his family. In a very real sense, from God as well, given the curse put on Cain by God. And it was all too much for him. But there’s more.

Ge 4:15 But the LORD said to him, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain , he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the LORD’S presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

Even after what Cain did, there was still some mercy for him from God.

The rest of the passage is a family tree, of sorts. But I included it because of the very last sentence.

Ge 4:17 Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.

Ge 4:19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute. 22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah.

Ge 4:23 Lamech said to his wives,
“Adah and Zillah, listen to me;
wives of Lamech, hear my words.
I have killed a man for wounding me,
a young man for injuring me.

Ge 4:24 If Cain is avenged seven times,
then Lamech seventy-seven times.”

Ge 4:25 Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” 26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh.
At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.

Already, here in chapter 4 of Genesis, people were calling on the name of God. It’s not like God appeared out of nowhere when He sent Abram off on his trek to become the father of many nations. Or when God told Noah about the impending flood and saved his family, along with some of each kind of animal. No, God was with Adam and Eve in the Garden. And yes, they did get removed from Eden. But during their lifetime, people followed God (again). For more on Adam, Eve, and Eden, please check out Why were Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden?

What’s the problem with the Christian exemption from vaccines?

With all that in mind, what is the problem with Christians claiming a religious exemption from vaccines? Doesn’t my body my choice make sense?

Well, there are at least a couple of problems.

First of all, we, Christians, believe all knowledge is from God. Yes, knowledge can be used for corrupt purposes, but is knowledge that saved so many lives really corrupted? Sadly, that’s a debate that may never be decided this side of Heaven.

The other reason why the Christian exemption is shaky is this. Christians also believe that God can bring good things out of something that was meant for evil. Where does that come from? The poster child for that belief is Joseph, one of Jacob’s sons. I’m working on a separate article just on that one topic. I’ll put a link in here when it’s published. In the meantime, to give you a clue about it, the title is Did God really rescue Joseph? Or was Joseph just lucky?

The passage that all of this is centered on is the one below. If you’re not familiar with the events leading up to this moment, it’s a rather long sequence in Genesis. It runs from Genesis 37:1 all the way to Genesis 50:26. You can use the links to read it online if you’d like. But the point is made, even without all the background, in this passage.

Joseph Reassures His Brothers

Ge 50:15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

Ge 50:18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.

Ge 50:19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

The bottom line is that Joseph’s brothers sold to slave traders. That’s in Genesis 38. Finally, after various ups and downs, the conclusion is reached in chapter 50. And Joseph tells his brothers, whose original intent was to kill him:

“Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

So, my question is this. Do we really believe that God can work something into good that started as something evil? Or do we think this is just make-believe? Or it’s for times gone by, but God can’t do it anymore?

Did God really rescue Joseph? Or was Joseph just lucky? will go into this in greater detail. It’ll also get into some New Testament references.

Here’s the thing about believing, or not, that God can turn evil intentions into something good. If we believe it, as all Christians should, then what’s the objection to vaccines that were derived from fetal cells? In Genesis, many people were saved by God intervening in the events Joseph’s brothers put in motion. If saving millions of people with vaccines is good, and if knowledge that’s good comes from God, who are we to say that God didn’t intervene in the process of developing vaccines to “teach” someone how to save millions of lives by using fetal cells to accomplish something good?

It’s something we need to work out for ourselves. That’s we, as in Christians. Hopefully, we do it with objective research into both science and the Bible. And we do it with the Holy Spirit of God. Most importantly, we don’t do it holding onto our personal biases as if they’re the most important things.

My body my choice – Christian versus non-Christian

I think we’ve seen plenty to show that as Christians, we really have no Biblical basis to intervene in what non-Christians do. We are not to judge them, in our capacity as Christians. God reserved that for Himself.

However, if we want to act as private citizens, not as Christians, that’s our prerogative. However, again, we should still remember something Jesus said about His citizenship, and therefore about our citizenship as Christians.

Jesus Before Pilate

18:29-40 pp — Mt 27:11-18, 20-23; Mk 15:2-15; Lk 23:2, 3, 18-25

Jn 18:28 Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

Jn 18:30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

Jn 18:31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”
“But we have no right to execute anyone,” the Jews objected. 32 This happened so that the words Jesus had spoken indicating the kind of death he was going to die would be fulfilled.

Jn 18:33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jn 18:34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

Jn 18:35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

Jn 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Jn 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Jn 18:38 “What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”

Jn 18:40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion.

Jesus said, My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.

And therefore, we should realize, since Jesus is our King, and our ultimate living place is part of His Kingdom, then we should obey Him. Our task is to bring people to Jesus. Not to alienate them from Jesus. We must be cognizant of that. We must obey that. And we must consider our actions and words in that light.

Our bodies are subject to God’s laws.
Non-Christian’s bodies are not. And it’s not our place to judge them.

What Should Christians do about this my body my choice versus your body my choice problem?

There’s a lot on what we shouldn’t do.

  • What should we do? I can think of three important things right away.
    1. Fulfill the Great Commission.
    2. Love people, including non-Christians.
    3. Show mercy, including to non-Christians.

Jesus commanded us to do those things. If you need it, here are some of the passages.

The Great Commission

Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Love for Enemies – Matthew

Mt 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

The Calling of Matthew

9:9-13 pp — Mk 2:14-17; Lk 5:27-32

Mt 9:9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

Mt 9:10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

Mt 9:12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Conclusion – My body my choice. Is it just a way to avoid being responsible?

Christian versus non-Christian

My body my choice – those words really do have different meanings depending on whether the speaker is Christian or not.

For Christians, my body my choice means I will do with my body what God commanded me to do. I will treat it as a temple of God. I will follow Jesus’ teachings and commands when it comes to my body.

Ignoring God’s law is either outright rebellion or an attempt to avoid responsibility. Probably both?

For non-Christians, my body my choice means people should be free to do what they want with their bodies. It also seems to mean, oftentimes, that human laws are going to be ignored. However, it doesn’t mean God’s laws will be followed. Non-Christians never made any promise to Jesus to obey Him in any manner! Yes, there are overlaps between God’s law and human laws. But still, one is instituted by God while the other is copied from God nut instituted by people.

Ignoring human law is frequently rebellion and/or an attempt to avoid responsibility.

Christian to non-Christian

We’ve seen that our responsibility, given by God, is to reach out to non-Christians. Not alienating them is a good start. Because if we do, then we can’t do anything else. We can’t do the other things God commanded us to try to do.

Christians should at least try to talk to others about Jesus. That’s not going to happen if they hate us for interfering in their lives with things like these. We shouldn’t be the problem.

Christians should love everyone. Even our enemies. And yet, we so often develop such a strong mutual hate that this can’t happen either.

Finally, when a non-Christian does want to know more about Jesus, we should be ready, willing, and able to welcome them. But we can’t if we hate each other.

We can’t if we’re not willing to forgive them. We must remember, we consider some things to be sins. But there’s probably no such feeling on the part of a non-Christian. They never made the promises to God that we have.

Jesus told the Pharisees, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I can’t help but feel He’d tell us the same thing, although with a bit of a twist. Jesus desires mercy, for sure. But today, rather than sacrifice an animal when someone else has an abortion, we do seem all too willing to sacrifice their soul, because we want to turn them into murdering felons and send them to jail.

How about we Christians just focus on being Christian? On welcoming everyone, even people who think vaccines are from the devil. And Even those who are involved in the abortion process.

After all, once we weren’t Christian either. Where would we be if our mutual-hate society kept us from being able to talk to a Christian? In other words, where would we be if the world was like it is now when we decided to find out more about Jesus?


Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay


References

References
1 Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians (pp. 80–81). John Knox Press.
2 Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians (p. 82). John Knox Press.

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