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Can Christians Pursue “Religious Exemption” to Abstain from the COVID Vaccine?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
October 14, 2021 6:30 am

Can Christians Pursue “Religious Exemption” to Abstain from the COVID Vaccine?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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October 14, 2021 6:30 am

Episode 815 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

Questions in this Episode

1. You have said that the Trinity was not torn apart at the cross, but how is this possible when Jesus cried out, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?”

2. How do you feel about taking a religious exemption for the Covid vaccine?

3. Why don’t the Jewish people still offer animal sacrifices?

4. In Revelation 21, it says that in the New Jerusalem there will be no more death, but in Isaiah 65 it alludes to the idea that there may still be death in the New Creation. Can you explain this?

5. How do I defend my theological positions when talking to Seventh-Day Adventists?

6. I was reading 2 Kings and in chapter 2:23-25 there is the strange incident of Elisha cursing a group of boys and 2 bears killing them. I do not know how I could explain this if someone asked me about this disturbing incident. It seems very random and cruel to punish the boys for calling him “bald-head”?

Please can you help me understand it?

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Hey, Pastor Adriel here, and we want to hear from our podcast audience specifically. Give us a call at 1130 Pacific Time, 833-843-2673. That's 833, the core with your question about the Christian faith. Well, hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day.

And no, we are not afraid to take on tough questions here on this program. We'll be doing that today. You can call us right now with your question at 833, the core.

That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. You can watch Adriel right now live in the studio on YouTube and send him a message that way. And of course, you can always email us at

First up today, let's go to Connor, who left us a voicemail. I was listening today, and there was a question regarding how Jesus descended into hell, and how the Holy Trinity has never had separation from one another. But I was also confused when Jesus was on the cross, and he says, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? I was wondering if you could just clarify that a little bit, what it means when he said that the Father turned away, and if there really was a separation, or how that looked.

Thank you very much. Hey, Connor, thanks for that question. A really important question, because sometimes I think you'll hear people make statements, preachers make statements like, you know, the Father abandoned Christ on the cross, or even hated, you know, his son, that kind of a thing, you know, making him a sacrifice for sin. And I think it's really important that when we're thinking about the atonement of Jesus Christ, what he did for us on the cross, that we don't compromise our doctrine of the Trinity in the way we articulate the doctrine of the atonement. And so, yes, Jesus on the cross quotes from Psalm 22, where the Psalm is said, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me, Matthew 27, verse 45, Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land, until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour, about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani, that is, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

So however we understand this, I think one thing we have to be real clear on is that you don't have here a rift, a division within the persons of the Holy Trinity, such that our doctrine of God was compromised or destroyed. In fact, Jesus made it clear that the Father was not going to abandon him at the cross. Think of what he told his disciples in the book of John in John chapter 16. He says to them, this is in the context of the upper room discourse, John chapter 16, verse 32, he said, Behold, the hour is coming.

Indeed, it is come when you will be scattered each to his own home and will leave me alone. Now the hour is a reference to Christ's redemptive work on the cross. It's something that we see throughout the Gospel of John. He says, when that hour comes, you disciples are going to leave me.

Of course, we know that that's what happened. They abandoned him there on the cross. Yet, Jesus said, I am not alone, for the Father is with me, John chapter 16, verse 32. Christ there on the cross is speaking in our place, as our substitute, taking our sin.

He can rightly say, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me, insofar as that's the case. But we don't have a rift between the persons of the Holy Trinity. We have to make sure that we have an orthodox understanding of the work of Christ on the cross and an orthodox understanding of the Holy Trinity and the persons of the Holy Trinity, how they relate to one another.

Jesus was offering himself up willingly in love for our sakes and through the power of the Holy Spirit. So it's really important that we don't get that confused. Appreciate your question, Connor, and thank you for giving us a call. Hey, Connor, thanks so much for listening to Core Christianity. We really do appreciate it.

One of the ways you can ask us a question is by going on Facebook, go to our Facebook page and submit a question that way. Here's one we received from Todd. He says, How do you feel about taking a religious exemption for the COVID vaccine?

We're getting right to it, Bill, right away. Well, there are a couple of reasons I've heard that Christians will give for seeking religious exemption. I think the primary one being the question of, you know, were these vaccines developed using fetal cell lines from aborted babies or from an aborted baby? Now, the vaccines themselves, like the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine, do not contain fetal cells in them.

Sometimes there's some confusion about that. We're talking about how they were developed, the testing stage of the vaccine. And ironically, there are a ton of medicines that we use every day which used fetal cell lines in their research and development.

Medicines like acetaminophen, you know, albuterol, aspirin, ibuprofen, Tylenol, Pepto-Bismol, Tums, Zoloft, Claritin, Sudafed, Benadryl. I think if you're going to be consistent, you need to be sure that you aren't taking those medicines as well. If you're basing your religious exemption on, well, I don't like that there was testing involved with these fetal cell lines. But here's my big question. Is this really a genuine religious scruple or is it more of a don't tread on me, don't tell me what to do or how to live my life reaction to something that the government is doing? Or is it based out of fear, right, like due to concern about vaccine side effects, which scientifically speaking, I think they've been minimal, although there have been some severe cases that I've heard about. I don't want to dismiss people's genuine concerns, but I do want to say this.

And again, I think this is important. Don't say that you have a religious issue with the vaccine when it may really be more of a personal or political issue with it. I've heard of situations where folks are, you know, they don't want to get the vaccine. They don't go to church, but they're contacting churches and pastors seeking religious exemption even though they don't attend any church. And my thought is you should probably get religious first before you start seeking religious exemptions. And again, I'm not wanting to minimize people's fears or concerns for personal liberty. I'm just saying don't use Jesus as a tool. And I feel like there's a lot of that going on. I'm not saying anything, you know, we can get into the vaccine mandates and whether or not those are good things, wise things, the pandemonium that's ensued because of all this.

I'm just saying let's be honest as we're having this conversation. Jesus isn't there to get us out of a bind with the government. He's there for you to submit your life to, to worship him. He's there to forgive your sins. That's why we go to Jesus. And I think that's the most important thing. And I think sometimes that can get lost in all of this. And so, Todd, appreciate that question and God bless you.

This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Halloween coming up here in just a couple of weeks. And every time we get to this time of year, people start talking about things like Satanism and are there demons and even, you know, are there angels and demons fighting a battle that we don't see? And actually, we have a free resource we want to tell you about that gets into a lot of that information.

Yeah. I mean, the quick answers to those questions are yes, you know, there are demons and there is a spiritual war that we're all in. But there is a lot of confusion about spiritual warfare today and angels, demons, that kind of thing. And so that's why we have this resource. It's a free resource, nine frequently asked questions about angels and demons. And really, it was a resource that we produced here at Core Christianity to help sort of wade through some of the confusing information that's out there on this topic. And so get a hold of this free resource.

And Bill, you can let them know how to do that. Unfortunately, there's a lot of bad teaching when it comes to angels and demons. And so we really wanted to clear up and look at it from a biblical perspective.

And we've done just that in this free PDF download. You can find it by going to slash questions. Again, forward slash questions. Look for nine frequently asked questions about angels and demons.

Let's go to Linda, who's calling in from Oklahoma. Linda, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? My question is, if the Jewish people have not accepted Jesus as their savior, why is it they no longer have sacrifices to God for their sins?

That's a great question. And the simple answer is because there's no temple for them to sacrifice in. The temple was destroyed in 70 AD. I remember a couple of years ago, it happened to be the celebration of Yom Kippur. And I was hanging out with some friends. And one of the guys there was Jewish. I think he was a reformed Jew.

I think that's what he called himself. And he was talking about Yom Kippur. And I asked him, like, hey, typically on the Day of Atonement, you read the book of Leviticus, chapter 16, and there's this sacrifice with the scapegoat and all these things going on.

What do you do on this day? Because there's no temple. And he said, well, you know, we just sort of treat it as a day of reflection and repentance and sort of spiritualize all of those things. But the reality is, Linda, there is no temple for them to sacrifice. And that's why you don't have any more of those animal sacrifices. And the destruction of the temple was something that Jesus prophesied about. The reason there's no more temple, really, is because Christ fulfilled everything that those sacrifices pointed forward to. And so it's really an opportunity for us, and we're having conversations with our Jewish friends, to be able to talk about the atoning work of Jesus Christ.

The author of the Hebrews, he brings us up in Hebrews, chapter 10, beginning in verse 1. He says, Since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come, instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshippers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year, for it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. The argument there is, hey, look, while the temple was still standing, they had these sacrifices, these annual sacrifices, and all those sacrifices went to show was that this system doesn't really work.

We have to keep on doing the same thing over and over again. The blood of bulls and goats really can't take away our sins. Then he says, Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me. In burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. I said, Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.

Jesus and his once for all sacrifice was the fulfillment of that temple system, and so they don't sacrifice because there is no temple, and we as Christians don't have these kinds of sacrifices because the once for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ is sufficient to do away with all of our sins. The book of Hebrews is very powerful for us to really understand that difference between the Jewish sacrificial system and what Jesus has provided for us with his death on the cross, and so it's something all of us should be reading, right? Absolutely, and just an encouragement for you to pick up the book of Hebrews. It's referred to as an exhortation.

Some people think it was a first-century sermon, an early Christian sermon. The beautiful thing about it is it's all about how Jesus is better. He's better than the Old Testament priesthood, the Levitical priesthood. He's better than the angels. He's better than the Old Covenant.

He's better than Moses. It really is sort of a picture of what preaching should be today is this exhortation that fixes our eyes on Jesus and on his greatness, and so if you want a book of the Bible that's going to do that for you, it's the book of Hebrews. You're listening to CORE Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We're still taking your calls. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, we'll take calls for another eight minutes or so, so jump on your phone right now. Here's the number.

It's 833-THE-CORE, and you can always leave a voicemail as well, 833-THE-CORE. Let's go to Betty in Battle Creek, Nebraska. Betty, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? I've been trying to read the Bible, and I started in 86 reading it daily, you know, in a one-day Bible, and I'm stuck on Revelation 21 says that when the new city is brought down, Jerusalem, there'll be no more death. But Isaiah 65 has about dying young and the old dying, and so are they going to die or aren't they?

Thank you for that question, Betty, and praise the Lord. I love to hear that you've been digging into the Scriptures every day for so many years, and I want to clear this up for you. So you have these two passages of Scripture that describe the new heavens and the new earth, the one a prophecy given in Isaiah 65 and the other, really this fulfillment that we see in Revelation 21 as our eyes are directed to the end of the story, the end of redemptive history, where you have the new heavens and the new earth ushered in. And we read there in Revelation 21, you know, I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. The sea was no more, and I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more. Neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

It really is just this beautiful, beautiful picture. But then you look at Isaiah 65, and it seems to, you know, you have this language of, in verse 20, for example, it says, No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die at a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. And so the question is, is there a contradiction here?

And I would say no. We just have to think about how often the prophets spoke. And so the prophets are speaking, Isaiah is speaking here, at a particular time. And he's painting a picture of this beautiful existence that God is going to bring about. And he's picturing it as this lush life, long life, God's provision, God's love, God's presence.

There isn't going to be premature death anymore, that kind of a thing. But I think we could take it a little bit less literally, understanding that this is a sort of prophetic speech, as he's helping us have this picture of what the new heavens, the new creation is going to be like. But the reality is there is going to be no death there in the new heavens and the new earth. And that's something that I think is clear there in Revelation chapter 21, more clear even than maybe there in Isaiah chapter 65. And that was also something, this no more shadow of death, that's also something that Isaiah prophesied about elsewhere. And so Isaiah, as a prophet, also pictures the new creation as this place where death is fully and finally conquered. And so you don't have a contradiction between Isaiah and John in the book of Revelation.

And thank you for that question. May God bless you as you continue to study the Scriptures. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. You can always leave us a voicemail 24 hours a day with your question about the Bible or the Christian life. The number is 833-THE-CORE. Let's go to Corina in St. Louis, Missouri.

Corina, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, thank you for taking my call. I have a serious situation. My mother-in-law and her daughters have been raised Seventh-day Adventists. And while me and my husband were going out, you know, she tried to push me that way.

Well, I was raised Evangelical Christian and thank goodness we've been married for 21 years and my husband has pulled in my direction and we now, you know, go to a local church with our children. But my mother-in-law is constantly trying to make us see our error or make us think that we're sinning. And it's sad for me because she makes us feel like we're acting wrong. And I don't know how to combat that or what I should say to her or how to convince her. I know, but I can't get through to her.

So I guess my question is, how can I do that? Yeah, it's always difficult, especially when it's a family situation, Corina. And so I want to take a moment to pray for you. Obviously, right, we want to be gracious, we want to be loving. Some of these conversations may be that she's wanting to have doctrinal conversations, theological conversations. I think it's important for you to understand what the Word of God teaches and why you believe the things that you believe. Well, we want to reason with each other from the Scriptures. And so if the issue is, you know, worshipping on Sunday instead of on Saturday, I think there are a number of passages you can point to. Acts chapter 20, 1 Corinthians chapter 16, that the earliest disciples of the Lord Jesus in the book of Acts, in the New Testament, they were gathering together on the Lord's day, on the first day of the week in commemoration of the fact that Jesus had risen from the dead.

And so that's why we do it. And often when I get into conversations with people who say, well, why are you worshipping on Sunday instead of Saturday, I say, look, if it was good enough for the disciples, for the Apostle Paul, for the people who walked with Jesus, then it's good enough for me. And so I think there's a lot of confusion about this. So maybe as you are grounded in the truth of Scripture, you can have those conversations with her. But if they're not helpful and if they're not charitable, well, then you also want to be careful and make sure that you're not just wasting time or contributing to or participating in something that's not going to be very helpful.

You know, I think about what we read in Titus chapter 3, verse 10. Paul says, as for a person who stirs up division after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him. So sometimes that's what we have to do. If an individual is just, they're not really looking to have a genuine conversation, open to learning, open even to changing their opinion, they just want to argue and fight and stir up division. At some point, I think that the healthiest thing to do is to take a step back from those kinds of conversations. Maybe that doesn't mean taking a step back from the relationship.

We're just saying, look, we're not going to see eye to eye on this. If you're open to what the Bible actually teaches, we can talk about this. But it's not helpful and it's not healthy the way the conversation is going right now. And with that, I would also say just continuing to pray, continuing to pray for your mother-in-law, for that part of the family that the Lord would open hearts and eyes and that you would be able to ultimately have the kinds of conversations that are going to draw the both of you closer to the Lord. So let me pray for you right now. Father, thank you for Karina, Lord, and we know just how difficult these situations are with family and wanting to love our family, Lord God, as you call us to, and yet struggling at times to know how to do that and also getting into these discussions, Lord, that sometimes can be so draining and unedifying, Lord. I pray that you would bless Karina and the conversations that she has with her mother-in-law, Lord, that you would, by the grace of your Holy Spirit, give her wisdom, that you would create an atmosphere of true openness and a willingness to search the Scriptures and to be led, Lord God, by your word. Would you give my sister and her family wisdom about how to continue to move forward in this situation, and would you just open the heart of her mother-in-law, Lord, as she continues to search the Scriptures, Lord, give humility, give grace, we pray in Jesus' name, amen. Amen. You're listening to CORE Christianity.

If you would like to email us your question, here's our email address. It's Karina says, she said, I was reading 2 Kings, and in chapter 2, verses 23 to 25, there is the strange incident of Elisha cursing a group of boys and then two bears killing them. I don't know how I could explain this if someone asked me about this disturbing incident. It seems very random and cruel to punish the boys for calling him baldhead.

Please help me understand this. Bill, I know this is one of your least favorite Bible passages. It's the baldhead comment.

I'm slowly balding, so this is a hard one for me as well. 2 Kings 2, what you have here in this chapter is essentially this succession where Elijah, the prophet, basically hands the baton to Elisha, the prophet. The prophets had a very important role for the people of God, bringing the word of God to the nation of Israel. At the end of this chapter, we read, Elisha went up from there to Bethel, and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, Go up, you baldhead.

Go up, you baldhead. He turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Two she-bears came out of the woods and tore 42 of the boys.

From there, he went on to Mount Carmel, and from there, he returned to Samaria. They read this, and they think, What in the world is going on there? Well, a couple of things. One, small boys there could also be a reference to young men. We're not thinking these are five or six-year-olds. It could have been teenagers, maybe even older, so young adults. We're not entirely certain how old they were. They could have been older. The question is, was the prophet just upset because they're making fun of his appearance?

No, it seems like there's more to it than that. One, Bethel actually was the center of controversy in regard to the worship of the Old Testament. There was an idol that had been set up there in 1 Kings 12 by Jeroboam. It was this false place of worship. These young men are going to the prophet, and they're saying, Go up to Bethel, almost calling him to commit idolatry. The language of going up in Scripture often is used in the context of worship. You think of the Psalms of Ascent, going up to the temple of the Lord. It seems like they were calling him to idolatry, cursing him, and as a result, they're cursed. That's what we see there in 2 Kings 2. Thank you for that question, and may the Lord bless you. Thank you for listening to CORE Christianity. Join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-09 13:22:50 / 2023-08-09 13:33:10 / 10

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