Pastor's Corner

March 2021

Christian Ethics and Participation in Evil

Last month, I wrote that all of the presently available coronavirus vaccines involve some degree of participation in the grave sin of abortion, since they all make use in some way or another of cell lines derived from aborted children. I suggested that it would be more morally defensible to receive only those vaccines that use such cell lines in their testing, not in their development. Since then, I’ve done more reading and reflecting on the issue, and I’d like to share some additional thoughts.

We know instinctively as human beings that there could hardly be a worse conceivable crime than killing and destroying a child. We also know as Christians instructed by the written Law of God that He strictly forbids killing, which of course includes abortion. We therefore will not choose to kill our own children through abortion. But to what extent can we cooperate with others in their sin of abortion without becoming guilty of that sin ourselves? For example, if you had a friend who intended to have her child aborted but needed a ride to the abortionist’s office to commit the crime, would you provide the needed transportation? If a friend of yours needed to pay an abortionist’s fee to kill her child, would you give her the money needed for the procedure?

These questions are fairly straightforward, because they involve your active, direct, voluntary, and intentional contribution of the means necessary to bring about the abortion, strictly for the purpose of the abortion itself. You may tell yourself that you’re doing it in order to show that you’re a good friend, or to spare a loved one additional pain beyond that associated with the abortion itself and the surrounding circumstances, but those would all be ancillary motives. The chief and most direct purpose of your contribution of a ride or cash is to procure the abortion and to kill and destroy an innocent child.

But what about when your participation in abortion becomes more remote? For example, we all pay taxes. Some of those tax dollars are used to pay for abortions. Does that make us complicit in those abortions? Here our contribution is not active, but passive; not direct, but indirect; not voluntary, but under compulsion; not intentional, but contrary to our own intent (unless, of course, we intentionally vote for those who promote public funding of abortion). Furthermore, we pay our taxes not for the purpose of providing abortions, but for the purpose of avoiding fines and jail time, and for the purpose of maintaining a functional society. God even commands that we pay our taxes: “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed…” (Rom. 13:7). Through our taxes, we are participants in abortion, but we are remote participants. Our participation is so remote, in fact, that we would sin more by not paying taxes than we do by paying taxes that are subsequently used, in part, for evil purposes.

In fact, by participating in our economy at all, we become remote participants in virtually endless evils. By purchasing cheap Chinese goods, we benefit from the evils of the Chinese Communist Party. By dealing with Google, Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, and all the rest of “Big Tech,” we participate in the evils they promote. By paying to consume content from our entertainment providers, we participate in the indoctrination that they engage in to remake our views on marriage and human nature contrary to plain reason and the Word of God. We cannot entirely escape participation in evil, but we can keep our participation remote.

What is the alternative to remote participation in evil? If we wished to have no participation in society’s evil, we would have to leave society altogether. That is not the will of God, and it is certainly not what the first Christians did. They remained in their wicked society and sought to transform it. Ultimately, they did transform their society in some fundamental ways from which we still benefit. The evils of their remote participation in society’s wickedness were outweighed by the benefits of their direct participation in society’s betterment.

Let us strive for the betterment of our society: for just laws, for the maintenance of righteousness, and for the hindrance and punishment of wickedness. When our society begins requiring us to participate directly in evil, such as expressing approval of same-sex marriage and transgenderism or actively celebrating and supporting abortion, then we will have to take our stand and suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from Jesus. But in our present situation, let’s use our votes and our wallets to the extent we are able to combat evil and participate in the common good.

To come back to the coronavirus vaccines, by receiving them, we directly participate in efforts to combat the coronavirus, even as we remotely participate in the evil involved in their testing, and in some cases their production. If you are comfortable receiving the vaccine, and if one of the less ethically produced vaccines is all that is available to you, my counsel would be to receive that vaccine with a good conscience—but if you have a choice, go with Pfizer or Moderna. Meanwhile, note that virtually all common medications, including Tylenol, are tested using cell lines from aborted children. Rather than withdraw from participation in modern medicine, let’s use whatever means God has given us to advocate for change in the way our society, and our medical system, is run. Let’s strive for a society where human life is treated with the sacredness that it deserves. God grant us a just society, forgive us our sins for Jesus’ sake, and bring us safely into His heavenly society, where perfect righteousness dwells and His holiness—and ours derived from Him—is perfectly upheld.

God's Blessings to All!

Pastor Neuendorf

 

 
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