Covid, Church and Government
Covid, Church and Government
I was born in the 50’s. I have lived through a few difficult and tragic events. The Wahine Disaster, a couple of economic shocks, the Christchurch earthquakes, the mosque shootings, etc but I haven’t lived through a world wide Economic Depression or World War. Until last year. Covid-19 spread like a wild fire to every country on the globe. For the first time in my life I was living through a world wide catastrophe, a global pandemic that has had an impact on every person alive including most recently a ‘brand spanking new born baby’ right here in NZ. In fact some have likened it to a war, a war of massive impacts fighting an ‘invisible’ enemy. Some commentators are already saying that Generation Alpha (born 2010-2024) will otherwise be known as ‘The Covid Generation’.
As one consequence (of many), I haven’t known such interest in The Government of our country……..here in Aotearoa, New Zealand and in deed all countries of the world. This interest is shared by nearly all of a countries citizens and for very understandable reasons. For example here in NZ, the country nigh on stops at 1.00pm a couple of times each week to listen to the 1.00pm ‘stand up’, where our Prime Minister and Chief Doctor brief the nation about Covid-19.
Needless to say, this interest has also been amplified amongst Christians and rightly so. Covid-19 has had a significant big impact on the Church in NZ and around the world.
From where I sit and at this present time most Christians by far are still ‘more or less’ supportive of our Government’s responses (policy settings) to this pandemic. For example most Christians are already fully vaccinated or plan on being so. Like me, it hasn’t been an easy decision but on balance we trust the Government and our science and medical experts enough to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
As I write there are a couple of Christian Leaders who are very unhappy with the Government and there recent policy settings around Alert Levels. There is no doubt that they speak for a larger group(though a very small %age overall). These folks are quite out spoken about the Government ‘restricting or stripping away’ our freedoms. A few are protesting in the public arena and/or supporting such action.
Yesterday I wrote to a letter to a group of pastors all of whom are my brothers and sisters in Christ including Brian Tamaki and Peter Mortlock. I have added it below and it is self-explanatory.
We are living in strange times that’s for sure. At times like this we are called upon to wrestle with truth from fiction. I’m sure we are all engaged in that pursuit at present like never before. Where we land will highly likely be slightly different, perhaps greatly different.
You will be aware that there are 100’s of pastors and Christian leaders, perhaps 1000’s in NZ who are supporting the Government measures in respect to Covid-19 policy settings. I am one of them.
I am fully vaccinated. Most of my Christian friends are as are my kids and their wives. Some are about to get the second jab. That said, I truly understand why some folks are ‘vaccine hesitant’. No judgement from me.
I am struggling hugely to interpret the current measures the Government (which includes Dr Ashley Bloomfield and NZ Public Health Dept) as a kind of ‘cloak and dagger’ attempt to control New Zealanders and permanently restrict our freedoms.
Like many of you I’m following this discussion very closely and I see no evidence of that and neither does the Opposition in Parliament as far as I can see. Further, based on overseas experience we here in NZ are doing pretty much what a lot of countries are doing in the so called free West, aren’t we?
Can I ask you please? Could we as the Christian Community wait a little longer before we ‘get worried’ about the stripping away of our freedoms? Rather, could we together come out in support of the Government until it is obvious to all that our freedoms will not be restored after we reach 95% vaccination rates?
With every good wish.
Alan Vink is currently the Executive Director for LeadershipWorx. Prior to this role he has been the Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ (WillowNZ), a Baptist pastor (23 years), Bible College teacher, and church consultant.