Bioethicist Dr. Gilbert Meilaender published a short article in the Hastings Report questioning whether bioethicists should be making expert pronouncements about public policy. But if we can’t turn to bioethicists for answers, where do we turn? Our local pastors? Dr. Meilaender helps Matt, Alastair, and Derek think through the hard questions about masks, vaccines, and church. You will be interested to hear where they end up.

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The Dean of Lutheran Ethics [1:00]

What can bioethics contribute to the conversation about masks & vaccines? |  [2:36]

To Whom Then Shall We Go? [6:52]

Rule by Experts [11:18]

The Virtues Needed to Persuade [15:08]

Do churches have the authority to require masks or vaccines? [17:39]

A Potential Plan for Returning to Normal Worship Services [22:18]

The Moment When It All Went Wrong [25:57]

Rawlsian Minimalist Liberalism? [30:48]

UK Cult of Experts vs. US Distrust of Experts [36:38]

How much should pastors be asked to do? [39:20]

Vaccine selfies (wait for it…) [47:04]

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Follow DerekAndrew, and Alastair for more tweet-sized brilliance. Thanks to Timothy Crouch for keeping us organized. Thanks to Tim Motte for sound editing. And thanks to The Joy Eternal for lending us their music, which everybody should download out of gratitude for their kindness.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


  1. Despite Meilander’s expertise, I found this an unusually disappointing podcast because there was so little discussion of the ethical arguments for and against Covid vaccination. It was just assumed — understandably if only this hadn’t been about the ethics of it — that Christians should get vaccinated, and how best for the Church to sell that point.


    1. Well, yes, because everybody (save for those who for allergy or other medical reasons cannot be safely vaccinated) should, ideally, be vaccinated, Christian or otherwise. There isn’t a solid anti-vaccine point of view.


      1. I don’t disagree with that, but I think you missed my point: why invite an ethicist rather than an epidemiologist or rhetorician if the discussion is about how to persuade people of what we already know is true?


        1. I think I mentioned early on that we were going to do two episodes…and I thought I mentioned at the end that the second episode would take up specific questions about the *Covid* vaccines.

          We just finished recording that one about twenty minutes ago, and if the audio captured properly, it should be ready next Tuesday.


          1. Thank you. I look forward to it. Dr. Meilander has been on my radar since he published “I want to be a burden to my children” (maybe in First Things) decades ago.

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