Prominent pastor and author Tony Evans said in a sermon earlier this month that the emergence of different COVID-19 variants is God’s way of declaring to “medical science, politicians [and] people” that He is in control and He is talking.
Despite his belief that vaccines can prevent hospitalizations, the pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, said he opposes the mandates for vaccines because he said it is a personal choice whether someone chooses to get the shots.
“These variants aren’t just variants. … This is God showing medical science, politicians, people: ‘I don’t care what you come up with. I’m talking now,’” Evans said in a Jan. 9 sermon.
Evans cited 2 Chronicles 16:12 to state how the king of Judah, Asa, had a diseased foot that developed in his body.
“[Asa] kept looking to the physicians,” Evans said. “And he refused to look to the Lord. And he died.”
He continued that while “vaccines help,” he stressed that “you should have a choice — natural immunity or whether its therapeutics. We shouldn’t be mandated to put chemicals in your body, but you should be free to if you choose to.”
“Our issue is against mandates, not against vaccinations if you choose to, and there are a whole lot of biblical reasons for that,” he added. “People don’t know what to do, and stuff keeps changing because God keeps messing stuff up. If you don’t see that, if all you see is the medical thing, then you are fighting on vaccines and non-vaccines. ... Feel free to do what the Bible says. The whole Romans 14 says you are free to choose.”
“The whole chapter says you are free to choose,” he reiterated. “[Paul] comes to verse 23, and he says that ‘whatsoever is not of faith is sin.’ So whatever decision you make, be able to trust God with it. That’s the issue. ... People are going to make different decisions. … So you have to be comfortable and not be mandated.”
COVID-19 is “about something bigger,” he said.
“It’s about ... God showing the whole world: ‘I can shut this mama down whenever I decide to,’” the pastor said to applause from the crowd.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention forecasts a surge in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said earlier this month that most COVID-19 deaths are still from the delta variant. She said the “risk of hospitalization remains low — especially among people who are up to date on their COVID vaccines.”
The CDC maintains on its website that COVID-19 vaccines are “safe and effective.”
WebMD reports that a study from the United Kingdom shows that individuals vaccinated against COVID-19 are two-thirds less likely to be hospitalized after contracting the omicron variant than those infected with the delta variant. The U.K. data showed that COVID-19 vaccines are less effective against symptomatic infection from omicron compared with delta.
According to CDC data, omicron accounts for 99.5% of COVID-19 infections from Jan. 9 to Jan. 15.
But with Delta still accounting for many deaths in the U.S., WebMD notes that “two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine provides 79% protection against delta variant infection. It seems to be 96% effective against hospitalization if infected.”