The world headquarters for the Seventh-day Adventist Church has addressed COVID-19 Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations. The Southern Tidings is sharing highlights, but the entire statement as well as the Church’s stance on vaccinations can be found online: https://adventist.news/en/news/covid-19-vaccines-addressing-concerns-offering-counsel.
Following are excerpts quoted from the statement about important concerns or questions raised by Church members:
Mrs. White’s Experience: Ellen White modeled practical prevention in the face of the lethal disease in her era — smallpox — and took the immunization herself, as did those close to her.
Mark of the Beast: One recent view … has put forward the theory that the upcoming vaccines produced to combat COVID-19 belong to a process of control that will lead to the application of the mark of the beast. It should be noted, however, that Adventists hold to the conviction that the end-time controversy will center on the law of God, and particularly on the fourth commandment (Revelation 14:12). Moreover, the third angel’s message will warn against the reception of the mark (Revelation 14:9–11) and will enlighten humankind as to the issues involved …. it should be made clear that Seventh-day Adventists understand the “mark of the beast” to be not a literal mark, but a sign of allegiance that identifies the bearer as loyal to the power represented by the beast.
Animal Products: … the consumption of unclean food and blood (Leviticus 11:1–20; 17:11–12; Acts 15:20) do[es] not apply to vaccines for the obvious reason that vaccines are produced as medication to save lives, not to serve as food. [Also, COVID-19 vaccines are vegan, and contain no animal nor fetal tissue.]
Preservatives: There are no preservatives in these two COVID-19 vaccines, which is why they require deep freeze/freezer facilities for storage….
DNA/mRNA: mRNA … technology has been used in medical treatments for the past 15 years. The vaccine enters … the fluid within the cell, where it stimulates the production of antibodies to fight the SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein. Since it does not enter the nucleus of the host cell, it does not change the DNA or genetic structure/function.
Church Stance on Vaccinations: The Seventh-day Adventist Church places strong emphasis on health and well-being. The Adventist health emphasis is based on biblical revelation, the inspired writing of E. G. White … and on peer-reviewed scientific literature. As such, we encourage responsible immunization/vaccination, and have no religious or faith-based reason not to encourage our adherents to responsibly participate in protective and preventive immunization programs. We value the health and safety of the population [and] … “herd immunity.”
Vaccination Exemption: We are not the conscience of the individual church member, and recognize individual choices …. The choice not to be immunized is not and should not be seen as the dogma nor the doctrine of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Controversy and the Church’s Mission: Using the introduction of a vaccine to stir up an eschatological scenario of spiritual and cosmic proportions, or to oppose it on the basis of a faulty interpretation of Scripture, only distracts sincere believers from the real prophetic issues and the Adventist Church’s commitment to proclaim the gospel.
The Church’s statement reiterates, “The decision to be immunized or not is the choice of each individual, and should be taken in consultation with one’s health-care provider …. We ultimately rely on following biblical health practices and the Spirit of Prophecy, and following God’s leading in our lives, which will bring us peace and assurance in our decision making.”
Amireh Al-Haddad is the religious liberty and public affairs director at the Southern Union Conference.
Southern Union | March 2021