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A few helpful resources before you vote…

Here are some resources and quotes I’ve found helpful in thinking about this years election…

I highly suggest that you check out Jonathan Leeman’s article: “What Makes a Vote Moral or Immoral? The Ethics of Voting.” And I found Justin Taylor’s article “The Case Against Pro-Lifers Voting for Joe Biden” helpful too. Taylor quotes John Piper: “No endorsement of any single issue qualifies a person to hold public office. Being pro-life does not make a person a good governor, mayor, or president. But there are numerous single issues that disqualify a person from public office.”

I recently read David Platt’s helpful book, Before You Vote: Seven Questions Every Christian Should Ask. You should buy it right now on Kindle. Here are a bunch of quotes from that book:

“This world is not a democracy. This world is a monarchy, and God is the King.”

“In the end, what’s most important, and what I am definitively advocating for based on God’s Word, is the realization that how we use our vote is a matter of faithfulness before God. For our vote is a unique privilege and responsibility that God has entrusted to us by his grace, and God calls us to use every means of grace he grants us to love him above all and love our neighbors as ourselves.”

“Even if we lose every freedom and protection we have as followers of Jesus in the United States, and even if our government were to become a completely totalitarian regime, we could still live an abundant life as long as we didn’t look to political leaders, platforms, or policies for our ultimate security and satisfaction. We can still have hope, peace, joy, and confidence regardless of what happens in our government, as long as… we look to Jesus alone for these things, and all of our hope hinges on him.”

“We are not worried or panicked about elections, no matter how important they may seem… Instead, we seek the kingdom of Jesus and his sinless righteousness with true peace and total confidence in his supreme reign. After all, we know that throughout history, leaders have risen and fallen. Presidents have come and gone. Through it all, one King alone has remained constant, and he is not up for election. Regardless of what president is chosen in our country, Jesus will be in control of it all.”

“According to God,… my concern in voting should not just be for me and my children but also for others and their children.”

“A clear takeaway from the book of Jonah is that we are to work for the spread of God’s love in all nations more than we are to seek safety, security, prosperity, and comfort in our own nation.”

“By God’s grace, we have been given so much as citizens of the United States of America. For all that God has granted us, we should be deeply grateful. At the same time, we follow a King who commands us to lay down our rights and use the grace he has given to love our neighbors as ourselves. This, after all, is the essence of the gospel that has saved us.”

Read More…

Christian Status

As Christians, Jesus is emphatically our Leader and Lord and His Kingdom is not of this world. His Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom made up of people from Sierra and Senegal, Armenia and America, China and Czechia, Portugal and Pakistan, Mexico and Mali (and many many more). America is not and never will be Israel. And the paradigms and parallels that we try to place on America that are meant for God’s people will never work because they are not theologically accurate. 

Christians belong to an entirely different kingdom. Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world. The paradigms that people have that have Americans or Christian Americans as the promised people is gravely wrong. God’s promise to bless the nations is not a promise to America, it is a promise fulfilled in The Son of Abraham, Jesus. All the nations of the earth are blessed in and through Him.

Christian citizenship and allegiance first belongs to our Lord Jesus’ Kingdom, and only secondarily to any merely earthly kingdom. Our hope also needs to visibly be in the Lord Jesus, the supreme Lord of the universe that actually suffered as a servant for His subjects, and not in any earthly power. We work for change and we work with sacrificial love, but we do not have our hope wrapped up here.

As Christians, it is also important to remember, we work primarily at the heart level as Jesus did, and as surgeons do, not mainly on the symptoms level. Our overarching desire is to change the cause, pull the root. We believe primarily in transformation from the inside out and not mainly in the mere reformation of society. We don’t want to rearrange the furniture on the Titanic, we want as many passengers rescued as possible. We don’t mainly want to save America, we mainly want Americans saved. So, even while we work for progress on the policies we believe in, our hope is not in them. We know, as it says in the book of Revelation, the new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven; it is not constructed here (21:2).

The Christian hero and hope is a seemingly powerless middle-eastern refugee carpenter with olive skin that was crucified as a criminal and rejected outcast. That’s who Christians identify themselves with and place all of their hope in. Not in the seemingly powerful people, politicians, or political parties who have technology and Ph.D.’s, money and influence, beauty and charisma. 

Further, we should not even lead people to believe that our hope is in people or any earthly power. “The hope within us” that is supposed to be communicated and seen is that Christ is Lord (1 Peter 3:15). It may not always look like He is in the world around us, but the reality is that He is. Jesus rose from the dead and demonstrated in space and time that He is Lord and He is coming back soon. It is also important to remember that when we tell people about our hope in Messiah Jesus, that we do so “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

When the onlooking world sees Christians, they should see we have hope that transcends this world. “Christ in us”—not a mere person, policy, or political party—is the “hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). The exiles spoken of in Hebrews made it clear (11:14) that “they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God” (11:16). May that be clear for us too! May we make it abundantly clear that we are looking for and longing for the country the Lord has prepared for us (v. 14).

Societal Analysis

It’s very interesting and perplexing to me that as a society we want and we are begging for and demanding what is good. We are acknowledging that things are very wrong in society. That seems to be the case no matter where you are politically, whatever side you find yourself on.

We acknowledge there’s a problem, but as Plato pointed out a very long time ago, good people make for a good society. That seems to make clear sense. Yet, society seems soiled. Thus, we have found the problem, and it’s me.

When someone is sick there’s a medical analysis. This entails five different elements:

  1. The Ideal (of what’s healthy)
  2. Observation (of symptoms/signs)
  3. Diagnosis (or analysis of disease/disorder)
  4. Prognosis (or prediction of cure/remedy)
  5. Prescription (or instruction for treatment/action for a cure)

I believe that society is in need of an analysis. What are we observing? What’s the problem? Can it be fixed? If so, how?

We are observing a lot of problems or symptoms: violence, racism, inability to patiently discuss important issues, pride, etc. What is the disease? The disease seems to be a problem with people. Many people lack goodness. What’s the cure? We must be good. What then is the solution? We must learn to be good. That is the prescription. That is the treatment.

This seems very shallow and very simple. But it is not. Stick with me.

If we want a good society, we must have good people. Yet, I’m not sure we even have an understanding of what “good” or healthy even is. Do we even have a starting place for what constitutes good or healthy? If not, how could we possibly arrive at a prognosis or prescription let alone be in a place to give a diagnosis?!

The English writer and philosopher, G.K. Chesterton, once said, “What is wrong is that we don’t ask what is right.” We have no way by which to measure what is wrong and what is right. That is an obvious problem. You can’t build much with a standard that’s not standard.  

If good individuals make for a good society, as seems to make sense. Perhaps the first and foundational prescription is to return to the conviction that there is such a thing as “good.” And not merely what is good for the subjective individual, but a good beyond and above us that corrects us.

In any field of work you have to have a standard, a means to measure; a way to know what is healthy and what is not. We have an idea of when one is overweight because we understand that there is a range of healthy weight. How can we prescribe a cure when there is no standard for what is good or healthy? And how can there be hope when there is no standard of healthy?

We, as a society, for the most part, don’t have a clear way to say what is good. And we don’t have a pathway to make good people. If anything, we have many conflicting things shaping people. Porn is prevalent and it makes objects of people and materialism is too and it plays down the importance of people in place of the value of objects. Ours is a conflicted society. 

I believe the disorder in society comes from a plague more destructive than any pandemic, and that plague is sin. Its signs are everywhere. In my heart and actions, and yours too.

The diagnosis is deadly if not dealt with. The plague exponentially increases if not dealt with. It wreaks havoc on the scale of the Tsar Bomb. It leaves devastating effects on generations. It leaves gaping holes in individuals and is the downfall of society if not dealt with.

The prognosis, however, thankfully reveals that progress is possible. But it will be slow and painful. And it entails admitting there’s a problem; a problem, a plague, not just out there in the world, out there in others, but in me.

When someone observes a ghastly problem and knows the cure we inherently know the right thing to do in that case. It is to cure. Humans often fumble around talking about problems and we hustle around trying to cure. But all the while only grasping at what it meant to be truly healthy. We half see and so we get the diagnosis, prognosis, and prescription wrong. We always have.

I believe, however, that hope is not lost. I believe Messiah Jesus, the Healthy One, has brought the cure. He who did not have the plague took our problems, our sin, upon Himself on the cross. He showed us the cure, it is Himself. It is love. Death is the only answer. Death to self. We must die to self, we must love.

We must turn from our prideful and sinful ways and trust in Jesus our loving cure. Jesus gives us 1) the ideal of healthy, 2) the observation about what’s wrong, 3) the diagnosis, 4) the prognosis, and 5) the prescription. Without the provision of those five elements the only prognosis is death.

Better News Than Politics

How does the good news of Jesus speak to politics?

First, I think it’s important that we see and agree that the good news that Jesus brings is better news than politics has ever or could ever bring. Let’s look at a simple outline of some forms of government that God’s people have been under in the Bible:

  1. Government by God (in Eden)
  2. Oppression and Slavery (in Egypt)
  3. Tribal Leadership
  4. Monarchy
  5. Exile
  6. Roman Rule

Out of the six forms of government only one was perfect: Government by God. And even that got messed up because of human sin. Representative democracy as good as it is, is not perfect and never will be. It has worked well. But it is important that we realize that it will never be perfect.

Jesus brings better news than politics can ever bring. Jesus gets us back to perfect government by God. And He does so by giving His very own life. Jesus will make things forever right (Rev. 21).

Let’s not put our hope in any political promise. Let’s hope in Jesus and in His Kingdom. Jesus is the true King and Savior.

Second, the gospel tells us our ultimate citizenship is somewhere else. As Christians, we live knowing that we don’t have a permanent home here. We’re looking for the forever and perfect home that is to come (Heb.13:14 cf. 10:34; 11:10, 16; 2 Cor. 5:4), a home prepared for us by Jesus Himself (Jn. 14:2).

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Moral Order

The world has a moral order. Many are unwilling to concede that truth, however. But the world functions as if that is the case. Let’s take my kid’s classroom as an example.

In my kid’s classroom there is a telos, or goal for which the students gather. There are also specific means that are employed to reach that end.

The whole education system is predicated upon the goals of teaching things that are deemed important for the betterment and healthy functioning of the individual student and society. Various means are employed to best meet those goals. There are subtle disagreements of course. For example, people have disagreements over the best forms of discipline. But there is overarching agreement across America.

Think of the quintessential school. Perhaps for you it’s John Adams High from Boy Meets World or maybe Bayside High School from Saved by the Bell. Regardless, there is a quintessential school. There is something that is aimed for, something that is ideal. Read More…

A Pre-Civil War “Conversation” on Slavery

Introduction

In writing this I read and analyzed two pre-Civil War articles.[1] The first article we will look at argues in favor of the continuation of slavery. The second article is written in response to the first and argues for immediate abolition. After looking at both articles we will look at the differences between the two articles.

My thesis is that some, like Buck, advocated for the continuance of slavery mainly based upon the belief that slavery was permitted because it was similar to the slavery permitted in the Old Testament. Others, however, like Pendleton, argued against slavery because they believed it was inherently dissimilar to Old Testament slavery.

In Favor of the Continuation of Slavery

Since “the subject is one of great moment in its moral, social and political bearings”[2] Buck decided to write on the subject. “So that… [people] may be prepared to act conscientiously and intelligently, and have no occasion to repent of their action when it is too late to undo it.”[3] So, it was “under… these considerations [that Buck] consented to prepare a series of articles.”[4]

Buck says, “God approves of that system of things which, under the circumstances, is best calculated to promote the holiness and happiness of men; and that what God approves is morally right.[5] Buck then talks about the “nature and design of Human Governments.”[6] He says, “In searching the divine record, therefore, we shall find that form of government which, under the circumstances, was best calculated to promote the moral and social happiness of the people, was sanctioned and approved by God.[7]

The first form of government was the patriarchal, which Buck gives a brief analysis of. Next he lays out what he sees as being established through his belief that God has a good purpose for human governments. First, he says, “God has beneficent and gracious designs to be accomplished in behalf of the human family.”[8] Second, God is happy to use human and governmental instruments. Third, it is in accord with God’s infinite wisdom “to promote his beneficent and gracious designs in behalf of our lapsed and degenerate world.”[9] Fourth, a very powerful and enlightened leader is best suited to bring about the good that God intends for humanity.

Read More…

A Few Thoughts On Genetic Engineering (part one)

Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 10.26.23 PMThe topic of genetic engineering makes me think of the movie Universal Soldier where the soldiers were genetically engineered to have superior strength and heal quickly. The Boys from Brazil is another movie that has genetic engineering as part of the plot. In this movie there are ninety-four clones made of Adolf Hitler and sent to different parts of the world. Examples of plot twists and possible plot twists could be multiplied. Those examples are all fictious.

What is not fictious, however, is the reality of genetic engineering. So we  must realistically consider genetic engineering and its ethical implications. Specialists from varied backgrounds agree. Take these examples:

Megan Best has said: “Genetics will have an important role in shaping society in the future because it increases our understanding of how disease occurs and how treatments work differently between individuals. It promises new ways to improve the health of the population.”[1] “Full of promise, full of challenges—we will all be involved in the genetic revolution before we know it.”[2]

George Church, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, said in 2016 regarding genetic engineering that “It is urgent that citizens around the world inform themselves and participate in this rapidly moving set of decisions.”[3]

“Prominent voices in the genetic technology field believe that mankind is destined for a genetic divide that will yield a superior race or species to exercise dominion over an inferior subset of humanity. They speak of ‘self-directed evolution’ in which genetic technology is harnessed to immeasurably correct humanity—and then immeasurably enhance it. Correction is already underway. So much is possible: genetic therapies, embryo screening in cases of inherited disease and even modification of the genes responsible for adverse behaviors.”[4]

The way we think deeply matters. Adam S. Cohen says this in his essay, “Harvard’s Eugenics Era”: “There are… forward-looking reasons to revisit this dark moment in [Harvard’s] past. Biotechnical science has advanced to the brink of a new era of genetic possibilities. In the next few years, the headlines will be full of stories about gene-editing technology, genetic ‘solutions’ for a variety of human afflictions and frailties, and even ‘designer babies.”[5]

Read More…

Is abortion morally justifiable?

Background of Roe vs. Wade

Roe v. Wade was decided 46 years ago on January 22nd 1973 by a vote of 7 to 2[1]. The court affirmed the legality of a woman’s right to have an abortion. The court held that the some of the Texas statutes violated the right of privacy. They held that a woman has a right to have an abortion under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.[2] Since then there have been approximately 61million surgical abortions in the United States.

Justice Henry Blackmun wrote an opinion that stated that the restrictive abortion laws (from Texas and Georgia) were unconstitutional.[3] “Blackmun’s opinion stated that because of uncertainty about the medical and moral status of the fetus, the state could not adopt a particular theory of when life begin—they could not decide, for example, that because life begins at conception fetuses have the same rights as newborn infants.”[4]

Although some deny that Roe established a right to abortion on demand, that was its practical effect, as The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States says.[5]

The Natural Perspective on Abortion[8]

We live in a country that is extremely cautious about labeling everything; least something so terrible happen as someone burn their tongue on hot coffee or slip and fall on a slippery floor. We want to protect ourselves from lawsuits but we also want to protect human life.

We live in a country where the height and depth of our steps are regulated, where when our building and property isn’t up to code if it doesn’t have a certain height of handrail. We are cautious people.

We enforce speed limits and fine jaywalkers. We take precautions and enforce caution. We have an administration that monitors our food. We do this to protect our tongues, our bellies, and our lives.

Yet, we also throw caution to the wind as a country. We say we don’t know when a human baby becomes a human baby and so abortion has free reign. Michael S. Gazzaniga, professor of psychology at the University of California, said in an article in the New York Times that “We all seem to be in agreement that there must be a point at which moral status should be conferred on an embryo or fetus.”[9] What we don’t agree on, however, is when that moral status should be conferred.

It seems to be though, that in America we rightly side on the side of safety. It seems wiser and more in line with what would seem is the American conviction to say if we don’t know when life begins we should be cautious. After all, we enforce the height of handrails and fine jaywalkers so it seems unreasonable to not be cautious in regard to the most vulnerable. However, it seems in our country that “have it your way” is more important than caution when it comes to unborn humans.

People often bring up the fact that “we don’t know when life begins” but in light of the precautions we take all across America that is really a non-issue. Our government regulates where we can cross the road for safety’s sake but is not safe or cautious with regard to the “intersection” of abortion.

We must take “due diligence” in other matters or be held morally responsible because if we don’t we are morally responsible. To not be “safe” and “cautious” in regard to human life we know is wrong. In America, we have reduced speed limits outside of schools because we desire to do due diligence and protect our children and youth. We enforce lower speed limits near schools not because we know someone will get killed if we drive above a certain speed but because life is precious and we thus take precautions to protect it.[10]

The sentence for vehicular manslaughter in a school zone is obviously a worse offense then if the manslaughter happened outside of the school zone. In fact, if the manslaughter happened in a school zone it can take the charge from second degree to first degree. Yet, in the example of the first degree and second-degree manslaughter the guilty person did not necessarily proactively act upon or intentionally kill yet they failed to do due diligence and be cautious and thus they are rightly held accountable.

In other words, what should stop “pro-choice” people from being “pro-speeding-in-school-zone” people? There are some choices we don’t have. And shouldn’t have. We shouldn’t have the right, and don’t have the right, to speed in school zones. We shouldn’t, but do, have the right to destroy unborn babies. We sadly have the right to abandon caution and crush small human skulls within the protective womb of a mother because we are not sure that what is inside the mother’s womb constitutes human life. When we are “unsure” in any other case, we would “err on the side of caution.”

We have briefly considered what I have labeled a natural argument against abortion. We seek to protect life in all sorts of circumstances even though we don’t know when a certain situation will be lethal or not so that same logic should apply to abortion. If abortion could possibly destroy human life than it is morally unacceptable.

Now let’s turn to the…

The Biblical Perspective on Abortion

As we have already seen, Genesis 1:26-27 tells us we are created in the image of God. Second, Exodus 20:13 tells us, “Thou shall not murder.”

However, are these texts enough? Or could people object that that is all well and good but what is inside a woman’s womb is not a human? What can we say about that question from Scripture?

Exodus 21:22-25 says: “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. [23] But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, [24] eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, [25] burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe” (See Grudem, Politics According to the Bible, 159-60, 160n2 and Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life, 718-21).

There are quite a few things to note on this significant passage. Notice what the result is if there is no harm to the child (see v. 22)? Just a fine. However, what happens if there is harm? “Life for life,” it says. Notice that this still means it is an accident (the men were striving together and hit a pregnant woman) but the punishment is still “life for life.” The baby inside the pregnant woman’s womb is seen as human life. In other cases of accidental manslaughter, this was not the mandate but provision of “house arrest” and protection was made. Therefore, this shows the seriousness of protecting unborn life. If God has such hatred for the accidental death of an unborn child what is His reaction to intentional death? (see Jer. 7:30-34).

Psalm 51:5 says: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Remember the context? David is repenting of his sin. What is David saying here? He is saying he has a sinful nature inherited from Adam. He is not saying it was his mother’s fault. Note, “Sin in Scripture is a personal quality, never an impersonal one. It is never a property of things, only of persons” (Frame, DCL, 722). Thus, we see here a very strong argument for personhood beginning at conception. If he had a sin nature in his mother’s womb then it follows that he was a real human being with a soul. “Fetal tissue” or any type of tissue or an inanimate object for that matter are not sinful, people alone are sinful. Do you see the conclusion here? David was a person, a real human person, in his mother’s womb.[11]

We see in Scripture that we should take precautions so as to avoid the possible destruction of life. Deuteronomy 22:8 says: “When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring the guilt of blood upon your house, if anyone should fall from it.”

Thus, even if you are not entirely persuaded by these arguments the principle that we see in Scripture should lead you to not agree with abortion. As Frame says, “Even if the above arguments are only, say, 80 percent certain, they make it highly probable that abortion destroys human lives. And God’s law clearly tells us not to take that risk. So our practical response should be exactly the same as if we were persuaded 100 percent.”[12]

To illustrate this point imagine I go hunting with you. We go out into the thick woods and after a while I hear rustling in the grass so I do what any hunter should do, I don’t hesitate, I point in that general direction, and fire a few shots hoping I hit my intended target. Would you hunt with me very long if that was my practice? No, because you would be either too scared or dead. Do you see the principal? You don’t just shoot at any rustling noise because a human could be making the noise and not a deer. We take precautions to protect life!

The United States Military goes by an ROE (Rules of Engagement).  They, for instance, have to have positive identity before they engage an enemy force. Or they have to use escalation of force.  Our military personnel take great precautions to not destroy innocent life, even to the point of putting their own self in great harm, and yet in our own country we do not take these same precautions with our unborn. We do not have “positive identity” and yet many are okay with taking life. Should we not rather take great precautions even if we are not exactly sure when life begins? If we as a country make people put handrails up on their own house and enforce all sorts of other codes, should we not also protect the unborn even if there is disagreement when life begins? 

It is also important to consider DNA. John Frame points out that “From the point of conception, unborn children have a full complement of chromosomes… Therefore, the child is not ‘part of his mother’s body.’ His genetic makeup is different from hers. So we should not treat the unborn child as we treat hair or fingernails, or even as we treat organs like the gall bladder or liver. The unborn child is a separate and unique human being.”[13] It is also important to note that a baby’s heartbeat begins on the 21st day after conception.

Some say the problem is that the child is dependent on the mother and that the mother then has the choice to abort. Yes the child is dependent on her mother yet the child will also be dependent after she is outside of the womb and that in no way gives her mother the right to kill her. Though there are helpful scientific observations, “Personhood is a metaphysical, religious, theological, and ethical category, not a scientific one. There are no scientific observations or experiments that can detect a difference between a person and a nonperson.”[14] Yet, as we saw above, if we have a ROE for combat how much more should we go to great lengths to protect unborn human life?! 

What about pregnancies resulting from rape or incest? These situations, though few (around 1% or less of all abortions), should be treated with much sensitivity and love. However, the child should not be punished for the sin of the father (Deut. 24:16).[15]

The Sanctity of Human Life

Human life is sacred. This truth is grounded in the Bible. The Bible teaches us that humans are made in the image of God (very often referred to by the Latin imago Dei). This truth is seen in various places in Scripture (Gen. 1:26-27; 5:1-3; 9:6; 1 Cor. 11:7 Col. 3:10; James 3:9) but the most prominent is Genesis 1:27: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

So, Christians are called to have concern for and show compassion to all people. Humans–all humans–have great worth! We have worth beyond what we do, we have worth in who we are. We also are to follow the model of Jesus who showed concern for all people.

The Christian Call to Action

The Bible calls us to action. The Bible calls us to stand up for the oppressed (Is. 1:17) and to speak for those who cannot speak (Prov. 31:8-9 cf. 3:27).[6]

God clearly condemns injustice (Ps. 9:8, 16; 10:16-18; 11:7; 33:5; 36:6; 37:6; 45:6; 101:1; 103:6; 106:3; 112:5; 140:12; 146:5-10; Prov. 18:5; 21:15; 29:7; Is. 1:17; Is. 9:7; 30:18; 42:1; 51:4-5; 56:1; 58:6; 59:15; 61:8; Jer. 21:12; 22:13; Ezek. 34:16; Hosea 2:19; 12:6; Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:8; Zech. 7:810; Matt. 12:18; 23:23; Lk. 11:42; Rom. 3:22-26; Rev. 19:11). God loves justice and, conversely, hates injustice. God has compassion for those who suffer injustice—everywhere around the world; He judges and condemns those who perpetrate injustice, and He seeks active rescue for victims of injustice.[7]

1 John 3:18 exhorts us: “let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” So, we must not just talk but we must also act. But, we must act with compassion and care. We must extend grace and kindness to people.

We mustn’t have a holier-than-thou mindset that sets us up as perfect. That is far from the truth. We all do wrong. The Bible says everyone is a sinner. But it also thankfully says that whosoever goes to Jesus in faith and repentance can receive new life and be saved by the grace of God. 1 John 1:9 gives us all hope: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

We must extend grace, forgiveness, and hope to those who have had an abortion. How can we not extend grace when God has extended such lavish undeserved grace and kindness to us?! (see e.g. Matthew 18:21-35)

Conclusion

Christians are called to love and compassion. We are to love and extend tinder care to people who have had abortions, are thinking about it, or those who are going to have an abortion or abortions. We, however, are called to speak out against injustice. This will require prayerful wisdom and dependence upon the Holy Spirit; but we must, as our faithful predecessors (like John the baptizer and the Apostle Paul), stand up for justice. And we must do so with grace and candor knowing that we are not called to be the moral majority since we are sojourners and exiles and this is not our home. We must also speak up for those who cannot speak even while realizing it is the gospel that is the power to salvation and thus heart change.  

 ______________________

[1] Mr. Justice White, with whom Mr. Justice Rehnquist joins, dissenting, said, “The Constitution of the United States values the convenience, whim, or caprice of the punitive mother more than the life or potential life of the fetus” (“United States Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade: Majority Opinion and Dissent,” p. 224, in Contemporary Issues in Bioethics, Tom. L. Beauchamp and LeRoy Walters eds.).

[2] “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (section 1). Ironically, the 14th Amendment, which says, “nor shall any State deprive any person of life,” has used the 14th Amendment to do just that.

[3] “The opinion divided pregnancy into three periods, or trimesters. During the first trimester the woman had an essentially unrestricted right to choose abortion in consultation with her physician… During the second trimester, when according to medical experts abortion posed a greater threat to a woman’s health, states could regulate abortion to protect her health. Only in the third trimester was the state’s interest in protecting the potential life of the fetus great enough to warrant severe restrictions on abortion” (Kermit L. Hall, ed., The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, 740). “In essence,” Leonard H. Glantz says, “the court ruled that, during the first trimester of pregnancy, the state could have essentially no role in the regulation of abortion; that in the second trimester, the stacte could regulate abortions in ways designed to further maternal health; and that after fetal viability (not the third trimester), in furtherance of the state’s interest in protecting fetal life, the state could prohibit abortions except those that were necessary to protect the life or health of the pregnant woman” (“Abortion: A Decade of Legal Decisions,” p. 228 in Contemporary Issues in Bioethics).

[4] Ibid., 740.

[5] Ibid., 741.

[6] We should also realize that the problem of abortion cannot be fixed by mere legislation (abortion was happening when it was against the law and infanticide has sadly been around for thousands of years). Legislation is important, even if the fundamental problem is deeper.

[7] Gary A. Haugen, Good News about Injustice: A Witness of Courage in a Hurting World, 83. Regarding the crusades see Rodeny Stark, “The Case for the Crusades” in SBJT 20.2 (2016): 9-28 and his book, God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades. Much of secular society, however, does not have a reason to condemn injustice. Nietzsche actually lambasts Christianity and compassion and Dawkins seems to think compassion and justice are just mistakes. He says, “Could it be that our Good Samaritan urges are misfirings”? By Dawkins account we have “programmed into our brains altruistic urges, alongside sexual urges, hunger urges, xenophobic urges and so on…. We can no more help ourselves feeling pity when we see a weeping unfortunate (who is unrelated and unable to reciprocate) than we can help ourselves feeling lust for a member of the opposite sex (who may be infertile or otherwise unable to reproduce). Both are misfirings, Darwinian mistakes: blessed, precious mistakes” (Richard Dawkins, the God Delusion, 252-53).

[8] Ken Martyn wrote an interesting essay called “Technological Advances and Roe v. Wade: The Need to Rethink Abortion Law,” pp. 235-39 in Contemporary Issues in Bioethics. Martyn, writing in the 1980s, argued that there are advantages of defining the beginning of life in terms of brain function. I personally believe that life starts at conception and that the principle of the sanctity of human life should cause us to defer to protect life even if we are unsure when life actually begins. However, I believe that Martyn makes a good argument that should be employed to argue that abortions should at least not take place after it has been shown that embryos have brain function.

[9] https://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/books/chapters/the-ethical-brain.html

[10] There is such a thing as child endangerment, as there should be. Parents can (rightly) get in trouble for merely endangering their child. Why? Because human lives are innately precious and we must take precautions to protect human life. We do not even have to talk about the destruction of innocent human life; the endangering, or failure to take “due diligence,” be cautious, with human lives alone is a moral atrocity. We are anything but cautious, in contradiction to so much of the American way, when we literally go into (i.e. proactively act upon) the protective life-sustaining womb and destroy the unborn baby.

[11] See also: Psalm 139:13-16 (cf. Job 31:15-18; Ps. 22:9; Hos. 12:3; Gen. 25:23-26) says: “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. [14] I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. [15] My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. [16] Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” We could also look at Luke 1:35. Jesus too was a divine-human person from conception (cf. Heb 2:17-18; 4:15; Lk. 41-44 cf. 2:16). 

[12] John Frame, Doctrine of the Christian Life, 724.

[13] Frame, Doctrine of the Christian Life, 725

[14] Frame, Doctrine of the Christian Life, 726.

[15] Others say that if abortion is not allowed it is a wrongful restriction of freedom. However, I don’t think that makes sense. The government makes restrictions, isn’t that what we have empowered them to do? I do not have the freedom to drink and drive. I am not allowed to shoot guns at people, not even outside city limits… the government is restrictive… As we can see, the government restricts people and that is right and good. We should not be able to drink and drive, shoot guns at people, etc.

Is abortion morally justifiable?

Here are a few things I left out of the video…

Thinking and talking about abortion is very difficult but also important. I, therefore, ask that you consider what I say before discounting it. I have strived to consider the subject with compassion and candor. So, out front, I want to say two things: First, I believe abortion is clearly wrong and cannot be morally justified in any circumstance. Second, and very important, there is grace, forgiveness, and hope for those who have had an abortion.

We all do wrong. The Bible says everyone is a sinner. But it also thankfully says that whosoever—liar, thief, cheat—goes to Jesus in faith and repentance can receive new life and be saved by the grace of God. All our sins can be washed away. First John 1:9 gives us all hope: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It is vital that we all remember that there is grace, forgiveness, and hope for all!

And here are some statistics about abortion in America that I left out too…

  • Since 1973, there have been 59,000,000 reported and legal abortions. That’s more than the total population of California and Virginia.
  • There were 908,000 abortions in 2015.
  • 1/4 of American women will have an abortion by the time they are forty-five.
  • Reasons why women have an abortion:
  • 1% listed rape or incest
  • 6% listed potential health problems
  • 93% listed social reasons:
  • Abortion brings several health risks:
    • Breast cancer
    • Ectopic (tubal) pregnancy
    • Bad effects on future pregnancies
    • Becoming sterile
    • Sexual dysfunction
    • Mental health risks

Slavery and its defeat

At the time of the writing of the New Testament, in the Roman Empire, there were essentially three classes of people: The rich, the slaves (about half the population), and freemen. These “freemen” were free in that they were not owned by anyone, yet they often went hungry because of their “freedom.” Whereas, slaves sometimes had good masters and sometimes had bad masters.

Slavery in Rome was not what it was like in America 150 years ago.

“In Paul’s day, slavery was not based on race. Additionally, slaves had any number of duties and responsibilities, ranging from farming, mining, and milling to cooking, teaching, and managing. Furthermore, slaves were not infrequently freed from the shackles of slavery (a process known as manumission).

There is no mistaking the fact, however, that slavery in the Greco-Roman world was degrading, dehumanizing, and downright disgusting. Taken together, slaves were perceived and treated as property and were frequently subject to unimaginable punishments based on their maters’ malevolent whims. Indeed, Roman historian Cassius Dio tells of an especially cruel slave owner, Vedius Pollio, who had slaves who displeased him thrown into a pool of flesh-eating eels.”[1]

So, what was slavery’s defeat? Harriet Beecher Stowe said:

“The Christian master was directed to receive his Christianized slave, ‘NOT now as a slave, but above a slave, a brother beloved [Philemon 16];’ and, as in all these other cases, nothing was said to him about the barbarous powers which the Roman law gave him, since it was perfectly understood that he could not at the same time treat him as a brother beloved and as a slave in the sense of [unconstitutional] Roman law.

When, therefore, the question is asked, why did not the apostles seek the abolition of slavery, we answer, they did seek it. They sought it by the safest, shortest, and most direct course which could possibly have been adopted.”[2]

Paul’s system founded on Jesus the Christ—Jesus who came to serve and not be served—subverts any form of human oppression.[3] So, we see Paul lays the necessary groundwork for the emancipation proclamation. The gospel has changed the basic structure of the way Paul looks at the world and it should change the way we see the world as well. Read More…

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