RMCNews … The nation and the world are divided when it comes to the health crisis called COVID. The nearly two years of living with this disease that has claimed many lives, left children orphans, wrecked financial status, and cost countless jobs, have left us divided. Is there even a middle-of-the-road when it comes to this situation?

It is essential to distinguish the pandemic as a health issue, and not a spiritual one. It is also important to remember that everyone has strong beliefs, and we are called to love our brothers and sisters even when we might strongly disagree with them.

Recently NewsNuggets reached out to RMC health ministry director, Rick Mautz, to discover how the health ministry department is approaching this health crisis while remaining neutral on masks and vaccinations while respecting individual choices.

“The first point I want our members to understand is that I am the health ministry director for all of our members. I care about your health and the personal choices that you make regarding your health practices. The health ministry department and the Rocky Mountain Lifestyle Center will always try to give you the most accurate and science-based information that is available,” Rick Mautz commented.

“Personal choices and freedoms, while following the laws of the land, are vital for every member” Mautz states.

“I believe strongly in the freedom of each person to make their own health decisions, which might involve getting a vaccination or wearing a mask in public places. However, I also believe that it is our Christian duty to follow the laws of the land unless it requires us to violate a biblical principle. Civil authority is there for the protection of our community members, and according to Scripture, is to be honored, whether we agree with it or not.”

He recognizes that there will be a time when following civil laws will not be possible because it violates the Ten Commandments.

“There will come a time when civil authority will pass laws and mandates that will violate God’s laws, and we must ‘obey God rather than man.’  But to rise up against laws that do not go against God’s laws just because we disagree with them is to give unnecessary trouble before its time.”

Mautz cautions members on only researching or listening to one side. He encourages everyone to be open-minded to the viewpoints of others.

“For any issues that arise, we need to study carefully and be open-minded on each side of the issue, making a prayerful decision that you believe God would honor. Studying only one side of any issue develops tribalism, which usually makes it difficult to be kind and loving to those holding a different view. It would have been impossible for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to fall on the early church if they were not willing to listen to other views and to allow the Holy Spirit to bring about unity amid multiple views.”

Mautz believes the division the world is facing is preparing the church and God’s people for earth’s final chapter.

“The health issues we are experiencing may be a dress rehearsal for practicing these principles necessary for the latter rain and the development of a people that reflect the character of Christ. Not because we have no standards and have no opinions, but that we are willing to listen to each other and willing to change when reason and the facts lead us that way.”

As a corporate church in North America, when it comes to these issues, members have guidance. Concerning vaccinations, COVID vaccinations, as well as others, the church states that there are no religious exemptions according to the Seventh-day Adventist faith (see https://www.rmcsda.org/north-american-division-position-on-requests-for-religious-exemptions-to-vaccine-requirements/ ).

RMC has asked all pastors to follow the local, county, or state health guidelines for mask mandates, social distancing, and capacity limits.

Mautz has a standard for all members to follow on issues that might divide us, “Whether I agree with your position on health and your health practices or not, I will defend your right to your opinion.”

–RMCNews; photo courtesy of Pexels