I am certainly not a health gospel proponent. With Paul saying how much bodily weaknesses he had had to experience and endure to the chagrin of some of the apostle’s opponents who saw Paul as weak, sickly and one with not a great deal of charisma (2 Cor 12). Yet no one who reads Paul would not think Paul as a healthy and robust person, having to walk hundreds of miles, across mountains and valleys and sailed from sea to sea. My one hour ferry trip to Pulau Banggi in Oct 2019 was enough to give me a few night mares of sea-sickness which I experienced, even a short journey from Singapore to Bintan (1.2 hours).My brother who was in his first year at Law and I in my final year knew how much I suffered when we flew back to New Zealand from KL, a flight of more than 10 hours. I had to break my trip and stayed over in Auckland before catching the next day’s flight back to Christchurch. But yet those who know me will see someone who is robust and healthy and by God’s grace I was healthy over the past duration of three years since my return to KK in February 2019 and throughout the pastorate of two years which ended December 2021. I did not have a cold or fever, and often in the midst of the most trying of circumstances when Covid-19 raged on, I walked in safety as if an invisible hand guided me.
It was not so when I pastored the Ranau church. I fell ill in my third week (Jan 2015) and went to the General Hospital for a course of antibiotics. And also in March when the ATA (Asia Theological Association) vetting team came visiting and I had to attend to interviews and preached while still in pain and feverish. I had another bout of flu in November, thankfully did not prevent me from multiple Christmas services (20 sermons) from late November to New Year 2016.
What am I getting at? I serve by the grace of God and I know how weak my bodily constitution is and it is through weakness that the power of God is made perfect. So when Covid 19 vaccination exercise came about, I know I could not simply follow the crowds and I had to seek the Lord’s will. One should present one’s body as holy sacrifice and no one should without thought take an injection that might have some adverse effect. As a saying goes, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”.
As for me, it is totally wrong to insist on vaccination as a requirement of service or to be asked to “rest” from active ministry. Theologically, spiritually, morally and legally it is wrong to enforce vaccine mandates unless there is clear proof that the vaccines are safe. As much as it is claimed to be safe until today, there have many multiple cases of side effects, including from some of my closest friends in the pastoral ministry. I will desist from speaking more and I know as I go into my late fifties, I need to watch my health even more, but at the end of day, it is by the grace of God from beginning to end.