Some people demanded that we unsubscribe them, and I suppose that others simply unsubscribed themselves.
Several people took the opportunity to share their reasons for disagreeing with my position on the vaccine and to send me even more links, and some had some good points. It is a complex, evolving issue, and there should be room for disagreement without anger and division.
I was not trying to get everyone to agree with me. I simply stated my opinion on the vaccines for those who care to listen. And on the vaccine issue, we can only have opinions, as there are no absolutes. In the churches we should be able to have opinions and express opinions on anything, but we should not be divided by opinions. That is the teaching of Romans 14. We must stand on God’s Word and on God’s Word alone, and the only divisions in the churches should be divisions based clearly and strictly on Scripture.
I had some very simple goals with that report: First, to share some of the ways that I personally test these things and some of my own conclusions so far for those who care to hear; second, to warn about being captured by social media frenzy and the endless stream of conspiratorial things that are whirling around; third, and chiefly, to emphasize that God’s people must focus their attention on the things God has instructed us to focus on (e.g., evangelism, building strong churches, building strong homes, prayer, Bible, separation, holiness, being ready for Christ’s return, not fretting). That has been my theme from the beginning of Covid. Regardless of what one believes about the vaccines, this emphasis is right, and I know that I will not regret my exhortations along this line at the judgment seat of Christ.
I did get a few strong emails from people who wanted to attack the messenger (ad hominem) and who seem to have advanced degrees in missing the point and straining at gnats and swallowing camels. The following are examples:
“You are, at best, appallingly naive or, at worst, purposely lying. I will never trust you again for your irresponsible reporting on this vaccine (which is not even a vaccine).”
“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Sad to see this email from you, but based on your previous pro-vax position, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.”
“What an appalling diatribe. Condescending, rude and offensive from a supposed man of God.”
Most of the communications, though, were friendly and positive, even from those who disagree with my take on the vaccines. Following are some of these:
“Hello brother Cloud, I just wanted to thank you for the stance you've taken on the COVID vaccine, the article you posted this morning was very eye opening for me and really helped me understand where our priorities should be. I understand that there will be a lot of opposition from many of the people that follow you, and I hope I can encourage you to keep fighting the good fight of faith. You and the reports that you write have been a great encouragement and a help to me over the last couple of years, I am thankful for all that you do for God's children and pray that you will continue to serve the Lord with all of your heart.”
“Thank you Brother Cloud, I needed that!”
“Even if someone makes a different decision or has a different view, why would that inspire anger? That’s what I find odd. Here’s the thing: you’ve been providing enormously sound Bible study materials for decades. You’ve been diligently working to see people saved on the mission field and to aid churches to stay strong. Why would this issue cause anyone to look past that? Foolishness. Your position is rational. Even if it weren’t I’d not let it matter to how I feel about your given your lifetime of service, which has been critical to me.”
“Thank you for this post, I’ve needed this so much.”
“Thanks for the excellent article. I am going to forward it to our church members.”
“Thank you for this very thorough examination of a timely and important subject.”
“Thank you, brother! This article is spot on. May it help churches get their focus back on the Great Commission and on Christ. I can think of one church--the best one in its area--that essentially went from preaching the Word to becoming a conspiratorial Super PAC. The large majority of the community can’t go there now; only unconverted people who are conspiracy theorists would be comfortable. I am afraid that there are many like that all over the country--a real Satanic conspiracy to turn churches away from what needs to be their focus. ... Anyway, thanks again for the spiritually refreshing and accurate article on what churches should do with COVID, and for being willing to endure what is, almost certainly, going to be a lot of pushback.”
“Thank you for your email on vaccines. It is refreshing to hear balance and common sense on the matter coming from a Christian leader. Most others are either silent or loudly anti-vax. As I meet people who are confused, I may pass this along. Your thoughts about spiritual focus are spot on. If we neglect the basics when times get harder, we are the greater fools.”
“Amen. Thank you!”
“How I appreciate your daily emails. Sometimes I am very overwhelmed with even the news sources I trust. Thank you for a clearly studied out, thoughtful answer to the questions you receive. Time and again I thank God for someone who prayerfully and thoughtfully presents the truth. Keep up the good work and God's work.”
“Amen, and amen. We are not given the spirit of fear. We are not Americans first and Christians second. We must be vigilant against distractions aplenty. I am glad I do not have to understand all that Satan is doing in these last times, but merely have to believe and follow what God has revealed in His word, then trust Him for the rest, and continue with the last standing order, to spread the Gospel and disciple those who accept Christ. As a layman, other believers ask me about COVID, JFK, UFOs and conspiracy theories. I tell them I cannot give time to these, if they do not contribute to the reason why Christ left us on Earth after salvation. Some will retort with the command to be wise as a serpent. But then, I remember Paul, as you cited. In the end, I must keep my focus on the last standing order of Christ. So, everywhere I go, I am either hearing about COVID or being persuaded to otherwise give my time and attention to current events. But what about the lost? How many opportunities to witness have I missed by being distracted by someone's face mask, guilt-inducing pro-vax t-shirt or angry anti-vax ballcap, or vaccine passport (or lack thereof)? Satan is the master of distraction, and I have no hope at all of comprehending a safe route around all of his plans and human servants, so, as you wrote in your article, I must hold to the One driving history and allowing whatever He sees fit. I am His servant, not the navigator of my own destiny. My fear is not of mankind or anything in Creation, including COVID or its vaccines, but rather in He who holds my soul for eternity, bound for a timeless place where no illness or distraction will keep me from the One who saved me.”
“Thank you for your email. You are correct on many things that have been at the forefront of our Churches and your emphasis on seeking our Lord during this time weighs on my heart. Many have wasted countless hours arguing about the issues stated. We must trust the Lord Jesus Christ and watch and wait for His return AND live for Him who died and rose to give us life now and forever. Thanks for your research and insight. It has settled some things for me!”
“Thank you Brother Cloud for putting together this very well-informed and thought out email! I was just thinking and praying two or three days ago that I hoped you would put out a report on the vaccine because I’ve been considering it. So I appreciate the Lord working in you.”
“Thank you for this.”
“Thank you so much for your detailed and prayerful research. I pastor a small independent Baptist church ------- and even there it is divided on the issue with very strong opinions on both sides. I preached on the first five verses of Romans 13 with a plea to search one's heart when applying this call for submission to reasonable calls by our local governments. This is in spite of the fact that [some members of our church have died of or been very sick of Covid 19]. Thank you again and may God continue to bless your ministry!”
“I just wanted to send a note of thanks to you on the article about vaccines and vaccinations! I appreciate all the time that you spent going over all the news concerning the matter. ... I am thankful that you would take the time and give some clear and sensible advice on this matter. Thank you once again and may God continue to bless you and your ministry.”
“A super piece, Bro. Cloud!”
“I believe that what you have said about this subject is absolutely right! Our churches should focus on God’s Word! Thank you for your sound comments and excellent advice! Our pastors need to keep their churches focused on God and His Word! Thank you and keep helping and lifting up God and helping people to study God’s people and those who need to know our Savior!”
“I whole-hardheartedly agree. And it's way too early for anyone to know anything about these vaccines. So I don't begrudge yours or anyone else's opinion. It should be an individual choice based on each person's circumstances. And I just wanted you to know that I'm not on any social media platforms and don't form my opinions based on what's there or any wacko conspiracy theorists either. I'm just an avid reader of everything I can get my hands on, including many of your works. I just think I'm pretty good at reading people and the things they write and say. I'm very careful and I don't get fooled very often. May God continue to bless your work. I really do consider you a modern day prophet and I will stack up your Biblical focus with anyone. Thank you again for your time and consideration.”
“I just want to say thank you for your email that you just sent out today. I have been experiencing depression for the first time in my life during this year. It came in waves, sometimes lasting for a few days, weeks or two months at most. ... Your article is an answer to my prayer and helped give me peace, and for that, I thank you.”
“Hello Brother Cloud. EXCELLENT article!”
“Again, thank you for this! You will likely lose support over this. But Christians are dying unnecessarily. I know two fairly young Christians in the hospital, in bad shape, because they were ‘not afraid of Covid.’”
“This was very well balanced. Thanks.”
“Thank you for a clear and reasoned response!”
“Thank you so much sir for the valuable and encouraging teachings form the God's word. God bless you abundantly.”
“First, I want to thank you for your many fine Bible studies, commentaries and resources that I have used over the years. They are outstanding resources and I am so thankful for how God has blessed you and blessed me through your work. I recommend you to others and send your supplies as gifts to people to introduce your ministry to them and they have told me how much they have enjoyed what I have sent them. Thank you, also, for your recent email. The rebuke was good and I know that this Covid/vaccine issue has taken too much of my time. I do think that I needed to spend some time on this issue, though, as there were decisions I needed to make and I have children and grandchildren which would never take the time to investigate things.”
“Thank you for your article about ‘A Word About Covid Vaccines’; each of my children were encouraged by it. I also have photocopied the ‘What Can We Do in the Face of Anarchy?’ article and hand it out to as many people as will take it. Many prayers and much love and appreciation for your ministry, Keep on Keeping ON.”
“I appreciate your common sense coverage of Covid. God gifted us with brains and I think He wants us to use them with His Wisdom and Prudence and not for blind foolishness. Through submission and fear of Him thankfully He often keeps or corrects me from my fleshly foolish tendencies.”
“I'm writing in response to your newest article about COVID vaccinations. I am on the other side of the fence regarding my willingness to take the vaccination, nonetheless, these things should not be an issue regarding serving Christ, preaching the Gospel and going about the Lord's business in our day to day lives. The problem with politics and conspiracies is not so much that they are or are not true, but there are so many different opinions and the truth can not be wholeheartedly ascertained, unlike the Word of God, which is trustworthy (2 Pet. 1:19) and in today's world probably the only thing we can know for sure, aside from the fact that the sky really is blue. So the problem isn't necessary you holding an opinion that the vaccine is safe, effective and could be a good option, versus my opinion of withholding from a vaccine. With all do brotherly love and respect, for you are certainly an example of a Believer who one could look to as a good example of wholeheartedly following Christ (1 Tim. 4:12), yet you had stated quite some time ago that COVID was not much worse than the flu and now you know some who have died from it. We as Believers must wholeheartedly stand firm when preaching the Word of God (2 Tim. 4:2) and while I also mention things that are politically charged, I must say that the problem with that is on behalf of the hearers who apparently are more adamant in their political and other ideological beliefs than they are in standing firm in the Lord. So if Believers had a truly Christ-like attitude and wholeheartedly followed the Bible, these divisions would not interrupt the Church, but would rather just be side opinions. Thank you for your faithfulness in Christ.”
[Comment from Bro. Cloud about this last communication: When I said that Covid wasn’t much worse than the flu, that was at the beginning of the crisis in early 2020 when we didn’t yet know much about it. I corrected that. I have carefully reported on the actual statistics that have allowed us to know exactly how deadly it is, both the original Covid and the delta version. As I stated in the most recent report, I have concluded that the Covid crisis has been somewhat overblown and mishandled on one hand (e.g., in my opinion it should not have resulted in draconian lockdowns and could probably have been mitigated by readily available treatments that were rejected as politically incorrect). At the same time, Covid is not nothing, as millions have died and many continue to die.]
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