Leading our congregation at BRAVE Church in this past 18 months has been one of the most challenging seasons since we became a church on November 7, 2010. Social upheaval, political unrest, and the world’s polarized response to the COVID-19 virus have only added additional stress to an already challenging task of leading God’s people in unity.
From the inception of our church we have always asked people, under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word, to make the best decisions for themselves and their families as they see fit. This Christian liberty we have as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ allows us to think and to act differently about matters such as drinking alcohol, tattoos, Halloween, owning guns, political affiliation, wars, and even vaccinations, without causing division in the church. Our church is comprised of a variety of opinions on these matters, but we all center on the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord over all, which brings us the unity that can only be found in the Church.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, we have asked people to seek the Lord and make the best decisions for them and their families regarding mask-wearing, social distancing, political affiliations, and vaccinations. As a church we have responded in love to everyone regardless of the personal decisions they have made for themselves and their families.
As the Senior Pastor of BRAVE Church in Englewood, Colorado, I am deeply concerned about the current threats from government, universities, or private employers that mandate the taking of the COVID-19 vaccine. This mandate violates rights of conscience and of religious liberties of people of faith. These troubling mandates not only are in clear violation of the Scriptures but threaten the very fabric of the United States Constitution.
One of BRAVE Church’s foundational beliefs is that the Word of God teaches us that all human life, including the lives of unborn babies, are created in the image of God.
- God is the author and creator of every life. John 1:3 tells us that “through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.”
The Bible also instructs us that all life is precious to God. We rely upon these Scriptures for this belief.
- Psalm 139:15-16: “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
·Job 10:8-12: “Your hands shaped me and made me. . . . Did you not . . . clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews?”
·In Jeremiah 1:5, God says about his prophet Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
- Luke 1:41: “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb.”
God hates the destruction of innocent human life. God’s Sixth Commandment prohibits wrongfully taking someone’s life (Exodus 20:13). God tells us in Proverbs 6:16-17 that he hates the hands that shed innocent blood.
Abortion is plainly and simply something that God hates. It is the shedding of innocent blood and the unjustified destruction of one of God’s precious creations – a baby created in God’s image.
Importantly, we are informed that all U.S. offered COVID-19 vaccines were either tested on or developed from and tested on cell lines derived from aborted babies. Therefore, based on the clear commands of Scripture, a faithful follower of Jesus has an absolute right – a right secured by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution – to refuse to accept any medical care or treatment, including COVID-19 vaccines, that violate that person’s sincerely held religious beliefs regarding abortion.
Secondly, there has not been time or evidence to clearly demonstrate that COVID-19 vaccines have been helpful in slowing the spread of the virus or are risk free to those who take the injections. Furthermore, the FDA has still not approved the vaccine and the CDC guidelines have been inconsistent and still continue to change on a daily basis. Therefore, we believe that it is prudent for conscientious objectors to the vaccine to be allowed their Biblical and Constitutional right.
BRAVE Church does not believe that a faithful follower of Jesus should be punished by an employer or a Board of Directors for following that person’s conscience. All employers should be willing to provide reasonable accommodations for such individuals. For example, the State of Colorado requires regular testing of employees who have not had COVID-19 vaccines.
If any BRAVE Church member is faced with such a mandate, BRAVE Church supports the right of that person to pray and seek God’s guidance on what to do. If so led by the Lord, BRAVE Church supports that person’s right to seek a religious exemption from any employer vaccine mandates.
Upon filling out the request form below, BRAVE Church will provide a written letter to the individual that records the individual’s request to his or her employer for an exemption on religious grounds.
TO SENIOR PASTOR JEFF SCHWARZENTRAUB
As a follower of Jesus and based upon my sincerely held religious beliefs, I object to being required by my employer to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of my continued employment. I understand that, while BRAVE Church is able to support my right to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine based on my sincerely held religious beliefs, BRAVE Church cannot give legal advice and cannot assure me that my employer will not be legally determined to be able to mandate that I receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Nevertheless, I seek BRAVE Church’s support in my request to my employer for a religious exemption from any such mandate and to reasonably accommodate me in alternative ways.