"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hos. 4:6a, ESV).
"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth" (John 16:13a).
"[L]et every good and true Christian understand that wherever truth may be found, it belongs to his Master." —Augustine, On Christian Doctrine II.18
"All truth is from God." —John Calvin
Our world is full of information, all of it immediately accessible with just a few keystrokes. It is at times overwhelming and can be very confusing. Just last week, the Department of Homeland Security announced the formation of the Disinformation Governance Board to "protect national security" by combating "misinformation and disinformation" pertaining to, among other things, "COVID-19 vaccines."
As followers of Jesus, we know that He is the way, the truth and the life. But how does that apply to nontheological areas of daily life, especially in these supposedly "unprecedented" times? How do we know the way to go, the truth to believe? The last two years have been pervaded by fear: fear of catching, spreading or dying from COVID. Our lives have been reordered around this fear to the point of restricting the breathing of toddlers and allowing our elders to die alone. In 1 John 4:1, we are warned "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." In 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV), we are admonished that "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (author's emphasis). Our Creator gave us physical bodies as well as souls and provides for the needs of both, whether through explicit revelation or the ability to use reason to logically apprehend scientific truth. Unquestioning, blind belief in "experts" on spiritual or temporal matters is never taught in Scripture.
Informed consent is a fundamental principle of both medical ethics and law, which requires that a patient have sufficient information before making a decision about his or her medical care. The Nuremberg Code was articulated in response to the German torture of Jews during World War II, and the first of its 10 points states:
The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision. This latter element requires that before the acceptance of an affirmative decision by the experimental subject there should be made known to him the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonably to be expected; and the effects upon his health or person which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment. The duty and responsibility for ascertaining the quality of the consent rests upon each individual who initiates, directs, or engages in the experiment. It is a personal duty and responsibility which may not be delegated to another with impunity.
Though the term "experiment'" is used, this principle also applies to every medical procedure that occurs in the United States today.
In direct contradiction to the premise of informed consent, the implementation of COVID responses has restricted the power of choice (via lockdown, preventing the use of FDA-approved drugs), used coercion (via threat to employment or denial of services without proof of vaccine), used fraud/deceit (the FDA approved Pfizer's vaccine after only 108 days of data review, but attempted to block that data from public release for 20,000 days—or 55 years—until a lawsuit mandated otherwise) and employed far-overreaching dictates (the CDC claimed authority to impose a nationwide rent moratorium and mask requirement for transportation). Yet dissent for any of these or other methods dictated by "the experts" within the last two years has elicited cries of "grandma-killer, superspreader, selfish science-denier."
In February of 2020, Drs. Kirk and Kim Milhoan were completely immersed in ministry as pastor and pastor's wife of Calvary Chapel South Maui, Hawaii, doing worldwide medical missions via their nonprofit For Hearts and Souls and actively practicing in the medical fields for which they were trained: pediatric cardiology (Kirk) and pediatric cardiac anesthesiology with assistant clinical professorship (Kim). When government orders limited the regular operation of church services, they pivoted to serving the community via a seven-day-a-week food pantry that routed through the sanctuary. As they waited in line, needy people listened to worship music and were met by members of the congregation who offered listening ears and even hugs to those impacted more by loneliness than illness.
As they watched their church not only survive, but thrive, while doing the complete opposite of social distancing, Dr. Kim became curious as to the medical community's experience with COVID. She searched out other professionals online and at the clinics she worked; she read journals and opinions by experts in the fields of epidemiology and virology. What she observed began to diverge with what she had been taught as a medical practitioner: the majority of her colleagues seemed motivated mainly by fear, did not tolerate questions, and reacted to differing views with name-calling instead of rational discourse based in fact. Dr. Kim, knowing the scientific method to rest upon an endless retesting of hypotheses, came to realize something was amiss.
Further research into the origins of the measures being recommended (masks, social distancing, lockdowns) or prohibited (early treatment, the use of approved, repurposed drugs, risk stratification) revealed they had never before been utilized for pandemic response. As she studied the mechanism of the vaccines that were made available, she realized the technology they employed was completely different from all prior vaccines, predicated on inducing the body to manufacture the exact spike protein that is the most dangerous part of the coronavirus. When she brought these concerns to her husband, he asked that she keep them private until he could evaluate the data for himself. He was, after all, a pediatrician who had always considered "vaccine hesitancy" a danger to the populace at large. Also, at this point in the pandemic, any deviation from the approved narrative could mean job loss, professional disgrace and public shaming as conspiracy theorists or worse.
When Dr. Kirk similarly became convinced that the data did not match the information being disseminated to the public via news outlets, influencers and governmental health agencies, they both decided to pursue the truth at all costs. As Christians, the two knew that their allegiance to Jesus, the ultimate truth, far outweighed any personal or professional status. Furthermore, in this matter, knowing (or not knowing) scientific truth would have a tangible, physical impact for many.
Their efforts led them to a partnership with Dr. Lorrin Pang, the head of the state Health Department's Maui District Health Office and a former consultant for the World Health Organization. Although Dr. Pang had been overseeing the local pandemic response and vaccination effort, he agreed with the Kirk and Kim that the information being made available to the public was not sufficiently evidence-based, and much being withheld or discredited was actually necessary for people to make informed decisions for the prevention and treatment of COVID. They also created a local chapter affiliated with the Global COVID Summit (gcsmaui.org), a worldwide alliance of scientists and physicians committed to speaking truth about COVID pandemic research and treatment. They have participated in panel discussions and conferences with like-minded colleagues and appeared as guests on podcasts, employing all means available to make truth available to the public. Just as Deuteronomy, and subsequently Jesus, required "every charge ... be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses," *(Matt. 8:16b, ESV) not just one, the Milhoans have refused to succumb to the current mantra of "trust the experts; believe the science."
Predictably, a result of their attempt to promote discourse via the Pono Coalition for Informed Consent, the Hawaii Medical Board filed complaints against both Dr. Pang and Dr. Kirk Milhoan in August of 2021, accusing them of "providing misinformation." In April 2022, both complaints were cleared with no action taken.
2 Timothy 4:3-5 warns that "The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." Drs. Kim and Kirk live this daily, as they continue to practice medicine and minister to their community with the goal of sharing truth that gives freedom from fear and leads to life, both temporal and eternal.
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Jennifer Stefaniak is a flight attendant for a major U.S. carrier. She lives with her husband and her 19-year-old cat in Orlando, Florida, where she enjoys nearly complete constitutional freedom but is unable to escape the perils of sunburn and mosquitoes year-round. She looks forward to a permanent and glorious eternal dwelling prepared lovingly for her by Jesus, the author and perfecter of her faith.
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