A Lutheran Conscientious Objection to Mandatory Vaccination

The following is the document I submitted as my religious exemption to mandatory vaccination. I must thank Dr. MacPherson at Bethany Lutheran College and Matt Cochran of The 96th Thesis for their assistance and feedback in crafting this document.


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Dear HR Representative,

I am exercising my right under the Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 12, to receive religious exemption to immunization due to my genuine and sincerely held religious beliefs. The following arguments are independent and severable. Should a vaccine be developed which renders one argument of this document invalid, that shall not affect the validity of the remaining arguments.

As a confessional Lutheran I subscribe to the Book of Concord[i]. This means that I hold the text of the Book of Concord to be a clear and correct exposition of the Holy Scriptures, not insofar as (quatenus) they agree with the Scriptures but because (quia) they agree with Scriptures.

The Family, the Church, and the State

Lutherans have a robust theology of the interaction between the state, the church and the family and the individual who exists in the state, the church, and the family.  We refer to this as the “Three Estates”. The family consists of a father, a mother and children, and the father as patriarch is to love their wife as Christ loves the Church [Ephesians 5:25] and to raise their children in the discipline and the admonition of the Lord [Ephesians 6:4]. The church consists of clergy and laity, and the state as elected members, civil servants and others chosen to execute government. Good government is not to be feared [Romans 13:3-5]. These estates do not exist in isolation and are to communicate with each other from their places of authority: the father regarding the family, the church regarding righteousness before God, and the state regarding civic righteousness. In the three estates the home is the fundamental unit from which all others are derived. Had man not fallen into sin, the church would not be necessary because Adam beheld God, and God spoke directly to Adam and Eve [Genesis 1:28-31, 2:16-18, 3:8-22]. Likewise, the government was not necessary because the family – Adam and Eve – were commanded to “fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” [Genesis 1:28]. But the fall into sin necessitated the regulation of righteousness before God, thus the church, and the regulation of civil righteousness, hence the state.

Article XVI of the Augsburg Confession states:

[T]he Gospel teaches an eternal righteousness of the heart [Romans 10:10]. At the same time, it does not require the destruction of the civil state or the family. The Gospel very much requires that they be preserved as God’s ordinances and that love be practiced in such ordinances. Therefore, it is necessary for Christians to be obedient to their rulers and laws. The only exception is when they are commanded to sin. Then they ought to obey God rather than man [Acts 5:29]. [AC XVI 5-7]

God demands my obedience to the state insofar as the state does not cause me to sin. When Martin Luther rejected demands of civil and ecclesiastical authorities of his day, he did not do so of his own account. Rather, he knew that he must obey the calling and commandments of Jesus Christ over and against any other authority. No Lutheran has any less an obligation in the fulfillment of his vocation.

Regarding my vocation as father in light of the Fifth Commandment, “Thou Shalt not Murder,” our confessions explain thusly: “We should fear and love God so that we may not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and befriend him in every bodily need.” [SC I 5]. When befriending our neighbor, Jesus admonishes us to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” [Mark 12:31]. Accordingly, this commandment pertains not only to the harm of others but the harm of self. As we highly regard our neighbor, we must also highly regard the lives of our families (our nearest neighbor) and ourselves. Given the nature of the COVID vaccines utilizing new mRNA technologies, we don’t know the long-term outcomes of vaccination. We do know that people react differently to the vaccine and some of those reactions result in personal injury or death. No mandate can absolve the father of his responsibility of weighing the consequences an adverse side effect or long-term vaccine effect has on himself or his children, therefore it is incumbent on each father to follow his conscience. Anyone convinced that these treatments offer more bodily risk than reward would be guilty of violating the Fifth Commandment by administering it to himself and a father guilty in administering it to his household over-and-against his own judgement.

Regarding my vocation as father in light of the Fourth Commandment “Honor your Father and Mother”:

God wants to have this included in this commandment when He speaks of father and mother. He does not wish to have rogues and tyrants in this office and government. He does not assign this honor to them, that is, power and authority to govern, so they can have themselves worshiped. But they should consider that they are obligated to obey God. First of all, they should seriously and faithfully fulfill their office, not only to support and provide for the bodily necessities of their children, servants, subjects, and so on, but most of all, they should train them to honor and praise God. Therefore, do not think that this matter is left to your pleasure and arbitrary will. This is God’s strict command and order to whom also you must give account for it. [LC I 168-169]

The fourth commandment is not only an admonition to children but describes the vocation of parents. As father, the bodily necessities of my household are my responsibility. It is no less true when it comes to medicine than in matters of food, shelter, and personal protection. The proper Biblical understanding of the authority of the state is that it flows from the authority God vested in the father:

In this commandment belongs a further statement about all kinds of obedience to persons in authority who have to command and to govern. For all authority flows and is born from the authority of parents. Where a father is unable alone to educate his rebellious and irritable child, he uses a school-master to teach the child. If he is too weak, he gets the help of his friends and neighbors. If he departs this life, he delegates and confers his authority and government upon others who are appointed for the purpose. [LC I 141]

As a father, if I am convinced that my government or employer is demanding that I harm myself in order to provide for my household, I am obligated to obey God rather than man and disobey the errant institution.

Can Good come from Evil?

All COVID vaccines in America are tainted by the use of abortion products. The J&J vaccine requires aborted fetal cells from the child who was murdered to produce the PER.C6 cell line as a required element in the manufacturing process. The Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines were tested against the child who was murdered to produce the HEK-293 cell line in order to seek FDA approval.

Abortion is a modern sacrifice to the ancient false god Moloch; the murder of children to gain worldly prosperity. The child in the womb is a human being endowed by God with a soul [Psalm 51:5] [Luke 1:41]. Abortion is state-sanctioned murder – the state failing to wield the sword in defense of its most vulnerable citizens – whose end is the prosperity of the mother who murders her child. Eventually modern “science” will discover the Biblical morality of our fathers as “science” discovers the signs of life closer and closer to conception. For instance, the recent approval by the Supreme Court of Texas’ “heartbeat bill” which pushes the abortion window to as little as six weeks. Given the nature of a woman’s menstrual cycle and how we detect pregnancy, this nearly eliminates the option of abortion from all but the most brazen and proactive of potential murderers, God be praised!

The ends of abortion cannot be used to justify the means. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” [Proverbs 14:12] Man cannot use the ends to justify the means – only God can, as we learn through Joseph “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” [Genesis 50:20] A Christian must, when it comes to his knowledge, abstain from promulgating the sin of abortion.

A fallacious counterargument is as follows: “If you won’t take a vaccine that uses abortion products, then you can’t use Aspirin, Tylenol or Ibuprofen, as they have been tested against abortion products.” This is a na├»ve non-sequitur, as all these products were FDA approved prior to the murder of the child to produce the HEK293 cell line (1972) or subsequent lines. What a federally funded researcher or graduate student does with a purchased product does not impugn the product so long as the research is not funded by the manufacturer. That is; purchasing a product and committing a sin with it does not make subsequent purchase of the product sinful.

In Conclusion

The Lutheran tradition started as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic church from within. Martin Luther did not desire a separate church, much less one named after him. However, as it became clear how corrupt the church of his time was, the distinction became required:

“For you will observe that the tyrants are not out merely to destroy Luther, but to wipe out the teaching… The person you can forget; but the teaching you must confess. Paul also writes thus to Timothy in 2 Tim. 1[:8]: “Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake.” If it had been enough here for Timothy to confess the gospel, Paul would not have commanded him not to be ashamed also of Paul—not of Paul as a person but of Paul as a prisoner for the sake of the gospel. Now if Timothy had said, I do not hold with Paul or with Peter, but with Christ, when he knew that Peter and Paul were teaching Christ, then he would actually thereby have denied Christ himself. For Christ says in Matt. 10 concerning those who preach him: “He who receives you receives me, and he who rejects you rejects me.” Why this? Because holding thus with his messengers, those who bring his word, is the same as holding with Christ himself and with his word.” [LW[ii] 36:266]

After Luther’s death our Lutheran forefathers in the city of Magdeburg were forced to write a confession[iii] which glorified God and provided for four levels of tyranny: the petty governor and lawless tyrant which must be endured in silence, and the coercive tyrant and the persecutor of God which cannot be endured and must be actively resisted. I believe that vaccine mandates exceed the threshold of what must be endured in silence and must be actively resisted.

“Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, just as we read;

But how much more so for the Lord God!

As long as he does the Lord’s will, and lives in peace,

Caesar’s office we must honour;

Should he transgress, he is no more

Emperor or lord, but an outlaw

And a bearwolf against which we must guard!”[iv]

This Lutheran tradition of resistance to tyranny has its roots in a proper exegesis of Romans 13 and the example of Peter, who wrote “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name [Jesus] under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:12] This in itself is a bold proclamation of Gospel truth; however, it becomes even more apparent how bold this statement was when you consider he was mocking a saying of the Roman empire: “Salvation is to be found in none other save Augustus, and there is no other name given to men in which they can be saved.”[v] This is treason! All Caesar asked for was a pinch of incense. Caesar didn’t care if you went home to worship the true God, so long as he got his pinch. But the true God is the only God: no pinch could be offered, and many faithful Christians died rather than offer it. Likewise, a pinch in the arm from a vaccine is akin to a pinch of incense to Caesar when a man’s conscience informs him otherwise. It is a sin to violate conscience: to go against a vitally held belief is to go against the faith [Romans 14].

A Lutheran who is convinced otherwise may judge differently; but our faith demands that we are convinced in our own conscience, and not compelled, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I stand convinced that the vaccine mandate is tyranny and receiving these vaccines would be failure in my vocation as father and a participation in the sin of abortion. Accordingly, my faith and religion bind me against submitting to this mandate. In the words of Martin Luther, “Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen!”


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[i] A copy of the Book of Concord will be furnished upon request. Confessions within the Book of Concord include the Augsburg Confession [AC], the Large Catechism [LC] and the Small Catechism [SC]

[ii] Luther’s Works, American Edition, Vol. 36 Pg. 266. Digital copy available upon request.

[iii] The Magdeburg Confession of 1550, Tr. Matthew Colvin, 2012. Available upon request.

[iv] A soldier’s song from the soldiers of Magdeburg, 1548.

[v] Ethelbert Stauffer, “Christ and the Caesars” pg. 88, Wipf & Stock, Eugene, Oregon. 1952.


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