Thursday, June 25, 2009

Obama Is a Homophobe?

Campaign promises are usually just that...campaign promises. Why we ever believe politicians is beyond me. But even so, most politicians will not usually go in the complete opposite direct of a promise, at least not in a way that makes them look really bad.

In this New York Times Opinion piece, Obama's administration is said to have "submitted a disturbing brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is the law that protects the right of states to not recognize same-sex marriages and denies same-sex married couples federal benefits." What arguments were put forth? Homophobic arguments. The article states,
The brief insists it is reasonable for states to favor heterosexual marriages because they are the “traditional and universally recognized form of marriage.” In arguing that other states do not have to recognize same-sex marriages under the Constitution’s “full faith and credit” clause, the Justice Department cites decades-old cases ruling that states do not have to recognize marriages between cousins or an uncle and a niece.
The argument put forth by Obama's administration was considered hurtful. "Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization" also responded by stating,
“I cannot overstate the pain that we feel as human beings and as families when we read an argument, presented in federal court, implying that our own marriages have no more constitutional standing than incestuous ones.”
The Opinion piece went on to criticize the Administration.

If the administration does feel compelled to defend the act, it should do so in a less hurtful way. It could have crafted its legal arguments in general terms, as a simple description of where it believes the law now stands. There was no need to resort to specious arguments and inflammatory language to impugn same-sex marriage as an institution.

Although I have argued similar points, homosexuals as usual, completely miss the point. They simply define the debate in such a way as that no serious debate can take place. Their position and presuppositions must be the quick sand...I mean foundation from which we all must argue (Just listen to James White's debate with Barry Lynn and John Shelby Spong). But even Obama's Administration apparently sees the major flaw in all of this.

I must confess I have no idea why the Administration took the position it did. I have no idea if they are consistent in their fundamental principles or if they were just looking for a political way out (I think the latter is most probable). However, in doing so, they have only reinforced their political opponent's arguments and have undermined the philosophical "work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act in Congress."

Let's face it, if God's created order can be redefined to support homosexuality, then why not incestuous relationships?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Smokeless Culture Will Be Closer To God

Baptist Press reported,
President Obama signed into law June 22 legislation giving authority to the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products for the first time.
Apparently the SBC feels good about themselves.
The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and other advocates for the new law applauded the bill's enactment.
So what does religious liberty have to do with applauding the removal of the Tobacco from the hands of American citizens? I wonder how many people will be saved by a duty that has nothing to do with the church.

Do we really need a Religious Liberty Commission? This may very well be a good example of the confusion of responsibilities between church and state. How can this not lead to politicizing the church?
ERLC President Richard Land served as one of the leaders of the religious coalition that backed the legislation for several years. Other organizations in the 25-member Faith United Against Tobacco included the United Methodist Church, American Baptist Churches USA, National Council of Churches, Seventh-day Adventists, Presbyterian Church (USA), Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Islamic Society of North America.
The SBC is able to work with the ABCUSA and other Liberal denominations? I guess maybe the political/religious Left and Right may actually be united over something?

Monday, June 22, 2009

All of Christ's Work Is Perfect & Unified

Pastor Cory Kitch has another review of the book, The Shack. Read here. His review is quite helpful at explaining some of the false views of God and man that so many have. The problem with this book is not so much the book itself but the fact that so many Christians are reading it and thinking it is a good book.

I'd like to add some thoughts to this portion of Cory's post.
Papa: “Forgiveness does not establish relationship. In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me, but only some choose relationship. … When Jesus forgave those who nailed him to the cross they were no longer in his debt, nor mine. In my relationship with those men, I will never bring up what they did, or shame them, or embarrass them.”

What you have here is, unfortunately, a fairly common understanding of what Jesus accomplished at the cross. Unfortunately, it’s so wrong. Humanity, as William Young sees it, has been put in a neutral place because of what Jesus did on the cross. Because Jesus died on the cross, humanity is now in a place to act on their good nature and choose Christ, or act on their bad nature and not choose Christ. What’s wrong with this assumption? Where do I begin?

The Bible clearly teaches that humanity is not in a neutral state. Even reason teaches we are not in a neutral state. Just think about any relationship you’ve ever had! Not choosing to do someone good or love someone implies the opposite does it not? Take a look at what the Bible says about human nature.
If you have read this Blog at all, you will know that I have noted many Evangelicals have departed from the doctrine of Substitutionary Atonement. Don't get me wrong. Most still use the terminology. Yet they have become inconsistent with the Biblical truth of Christ's work.

The idea, that everyone has their sins forgiven at the cross while not having a "relationship" with Jesus, is to miss who Jesus really is and what He has done. Now Cory has already nailed the neutrality issue and God's sovereign work, so I will not repeat that here. It must be kept in mind that theologians may distinguish between aspects of Christ's work, but we must never divorce them from one another. There is a unity in the different teachings of Scripture. Here are a few problems when this is denied.

1) Terms have meaning.

If Christ is our Substitute and He actually bore our sins, and if everyone's sins have actually been imputed to Christ, the logical conclusion is that all will be saved or Universalism. This teaching is self destructive. If we are going to universalize the Biblical text in an unBiblical fashion, then we need to face the end results.

2) Imputation is lost.

If Imputation is to have any meaning at all, we must be consistent with what has actually happened at the Cross.
2Co 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
And again,
Rom 5:18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
These verses are about the great exchange. Our sins were born by Christ. Even though He did not commit sin, He was punished as if He had. He was imputed or credited at the Cross as a sinner in our place. His righteousness now belongs to His people/us.

If we say that every person has had their sins forgiven already at the cross, then this teaching is lost and the basis for Justification and even Original Sin is gone.

3) Union with Christ is denied by those who believe "we are already forgiven, just believe and get to heaven."

On the cross there is a union of the elect with Christ in His life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. To insist that man is morally neutral is to say that Christ has unified Himself with non-elect people in His death on the Cross. He has paid their sin debt, and they yet still go to hell (something which no one has explained why they go to hell).
Rom 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Rom 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
Rom 8:30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
Rom 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
Rom 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Rom
8:33 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies;
8:34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
Scripture is clear. When Christ died, his people died. When Christ was raised, His people were raised. This is no hypothetical union or substitution. This is a reality which comes to His people through faith.
Col 2:12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
4) Faith in Christ is denied as the means which forgiveness is received

To say we are already forgiven before we believe is problematic. It is true that at the cross Christ actually procured the forgiveness of sins, but this is a Calvinistic doctrine, not a free-will doctrine. For those in union with Christ do have their sins dealt with perfectly. In time the elect come to faith by the work of the Spirit through those who preach the Gospel proclamation. The elect hear the Good News and turn to Christ in faith.
Rom 4:5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,
Rom 4:6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works
5) Faith becomes divorced from Christ's work.

Faith becomes something we work up within ourselves instead of something Christ procures for His people. It is precisely because of the work of the Spirit in applying the finished work of Christ that we believe. If Christ had only hypothetically died for us, then we would be dependent upon ourselves to trust Christ. This idea separates us from Christ's Person and his work.
Phi 1:29 For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake
It is through faith that we receive the righteousness of Christ, and it is a gift of the Triune God.

6) Christ's High Priestly Role is undermined.

As our High Priest, Christ intercedes in behalf of the elect of God. Are we seriously going to consider that when Jesus prays to the Father in behalf of those for whom He died, that somehow the Father will miss someone? Is it really possible that Jesus could offer, in prayer to the Father, His own sacrifice and somehow that sacrifice only be hypothetical?
Heb 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Did He or did He not perfect forever those who are sanctified by His one offering?

7) The doctrine of Election is denied.

I will state this simply. If everyone is elected or that we elect ourselves, then no one was elected. As the villain said in the cartoon movie, The Incredibles, "When everyone is super, then no one will be."

Obviously much more could be said. My point is simple. We can not divorce all of the aspects of Christ's work. Distinguish, yes...separate, no.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Is This Justice?

The MP3 sharing software problem is one that philosophically baffles me. On the one hand, artists have rights over their copyrighted material. I may no more copy a book written by a famous author on this blog than I could steal money from a bank. On the other hand, Biblically speaking, if I steal a gallon of milk, I can't be fined thousands of times what the milk is worth. There must be justice that fits the crime.

YahooNews reported a story of a woman that has been fined $222,000.00.

An attorney for the recording industry, Tim Reynolds, said the "greater weight of the evidence" showed that Thomas-Rasset was responsible for the illegal file-sharing that took place on her computer. He urged jurors to hold her accountable to deter others from a practice he said has significantly harmed the people who bring music to everyone.

Now usually, when companies are sued for large amounts that people don't deserve (like the hot coffee incident with McDonalds), the lawsuit is intended to make certain large wealthy companies change their ways. Since they have large amounts of money, it is argued that large settlements are needed as punishment to get them to change their ways.

However, how does a woman that is "a 32-year-old mother of four from the central Minnesota city of Brainerd" have the amount of money that they are demanding from her? As she said,
"There's no way they're ever going to get that."
Obviously, the ridiculous amount is unjust and unlawful. But it gets even better. When you check the basis for the charges, the plaintiffs admit something that is stunning.

The recording companies accused Thomas-Rasset of offering 1,700 songs on Kazaa as of February 2005, before the company became a legal music subscription service following a settlement with entertainment companies. For simplicity's sake the music industry tried to prove only 24 infringements.

So this is the heart of the matter. It sounds terrible that she offered 1700 songs. They sought to prove only 24 infringements. They then admit,

Although the plaintiffs weren't able to prove that anyone but MediaSentry downloaded songs off her computer because Kazaa kept no such records, Reynolds told the jury it's only logical that many users had downloaded songs offered through her computer because that's what Kazaa was there for.

So they admit they have not a shred of evidence for their charge. Yet they fined her more than she could possible repay and far more then what the songs are worth. This isn't justice. It is extortion. Like the drug trafficking problem, the government goes after the user instead of the dealer, which in this case, is Kazaa.

Sibley urged jurors not to ruin Thomas-Rasset's life with a debt she could never pay. Under federal law, the jury could have awarded up to $150,000 per song.

Justice requires proper proportions for crimes committed. When murderers are getting away with murder due to technicalities, this case seems to prove that our society's thinking is a little backwards. Please, notice the phrase in the above quote, "up to". This is to allow freedom for common sense. Apparently, this jury has none.

So why write about this? I think this is a case that illustrates how far we have come from a sound Biblical perspective on the world. It is one thing to have frivolous lawsuits against giant companies. It is quite another when big companies go after the "little guy".

All of this seems quite surprising in a culture that seems to have gone off the deep end in their hatred for big corporations. It just proves one thing. The love affair between politicians and big money will never end. I think I have to agree with Riddlebarger on this one.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Drawn By the Father

Some time ago, a Jehovah's Witness and I were talking about how one is saved. I asked him if he knew that if he were to die tomorrow, would he have enough faith to have eternal life. He responded by saying that "No one can know for certain."

I then quoted John 6:35-39. To which he responded, "Well, that is your interpretation." Now keep in mind that I only quoted it. I did not say what I thought it meant. So in other words, even those who would twist Scripture to mean something it doesn't mean, he could not avoid the plain and obvious water tight logic of Jesus' presentation of God's sovereign Grace in salvation.

Several years later I discovered Dr. James White's book, Drawn By the Father. In this video Lane (a fellow channel rat) does a brief interview with Dr. White about the book.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Triumph of the Lamb

I am now the proud owner of two commentaries on the book of Revelation. The first one I purchased years ago is The Revelation Record by Henry Morris. Morris' framework is not only Dispensational but also some kind of King James Onlyism. It is one thing to claim that Revelation chapter 4 is a picture of heaven after the rapture, it is quite another to dispute textual critical scholars because Erasmus was somehow inspired to give us the basis of the King James Version.

Nevertheless, what was really interesting about Morris' viewpoint is that he attempted to interpret the book of Revelation in the same way that he interpreted Genesis. For those of you that may not know Henry Morris, he has been considered the father of the modern biblical creationist movement. As I see it, Henry Morris' approach to the Bible is a reaction to the theological liberalism of the 19th and 20th centuries. His interpretational method was a "literal whenever possible" approach, which is a swing in the other direction.

This approach to the Book of Revelation is simply unwise. You can not force upon a text the kind of literature you want it to be. Revelation is not written as a historical novel. It is apocalyptic literature.

Having now read through Riddlebarger's books on eschatology, I am now continuing on with Dennis E. Johnson's, Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary On Revelation. Johnson raises the problem that Dispensationalists see. Johnson writes,
Some have felt that in interpreting all biblical prophecy, whether in the Old Testament or in Revelation, the objectivity of the interpretive process and the historicity of God's acts could be safeguarded by assuming that prophetic speech should be interpreted literally where it can possibly be taken literally and symbolically only in texts that label images as symbolic or in which literalness yields an impossible or contradictory meaning.
Now this sounds good. If you have ever discussed passages of the Bible with a Christadelphian, you know how spiritualizing biblical texts can lead in almost any direction the interpreter wants to go. The bible becomes a waxed nose ready to be shaped into our own image. However, as Johnson points out,
In Revelation, however, a literal-where-possible mode of operation raises more problems than it solves.
Johnson then goes on to explain some of the problems. Seeing that the problems remian for both sides, what do we do? Johnson offers seven "Principles for reading Revelation. Here they are in order.

1) Revelation is given to reveal.

2) Revelation is a book to be seen.

This next one is important. He writes in page 12,
What then will anchor our interpretation of this highly symbolic book to the meaning that God intends it to convey?
3) Revelation makes sense only in light of the Old Testament.

4) Number count in Revelation.

5) Revelation is for a church under attack.

6) Revelation concerns "What must soon take place."

7) The victory belongs to God and to His Christ.

There is also a footnote that I saw expanded upon in Riddlebarger's book, A Case For Amillenialism. It explains the four levels of meaning throughout the book.
The first level is linguistic, or what the words,clauses, sentences, and paragraphs mean in the linguistic setting of Hellenistic Greek. The second is visionary: the visual experience of John that is portrayed and described in the language. The third is referential: the persons, forces, or events in history to which the images that John saw refer or point. The fourth is symbolical: what the visionary level of meaning, the images John saw in his visions, are revealing about the referential level, the persons, forces, events that the images symbolize.
So far, I am impressed. Having been part of Dispensational churches for many years, it is difficult not to take Revelation literally while recognizing that it is not a book to be interpreted literally in the Fundamentalist sense. I think the radically different approaches will greatly alter what one sees from the text. As I attempt to plow through this book, I will try to offer some insights from the author as time allows.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stick With Stupid Pet Tricks

Over the years I have wondered about David Letterman's humor. Is he becoming more radical for the Political Left, or am I just becoming more Conservative? Whatever the case, I found this Fox News story interesting. Here is a portion.

Letterman, in his monologue Monday night, noted that the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate attended a Yankees game during a trip to New York City, where she was honored by a special needs group. Letterman referred to Palin, Alaska's governor, as having the style of a "slutty flight attendant."

The "Late Show" host also took a shot Palin's daughter, while poking fun at the Yankees' third baseman.

“One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game," Letterman said, "during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.”

I have yet to figure out the Political Left. First I am constantly being beat up by Leftists that sexual freedom is the norm, and I am outdated in my views. Do not Liberals teach our little girls and boys how to use condoms? Do they not encourage kids to practice "safe" sex? Isn't it outrageous when we bigoted old fashioned people explain that abstinence is God's design until marriage?

So why make fun of Governor Palin's daughter? Why wouldn't he be encouraging her to express her sexual freedom? Instead, Letterman calls Palin a slut and implies the same about her daughter.

I doubt Letterman really has a moral stand on this and probably doesn't care one way or the other. He is obviously using humor to point out what he thinks is hypocrisy. Yet he is flat wrong and reveals that he stands among the wicked. We could go into the faulty logic and reasoning that underlies Letterman's statements, but the Left doesn't even seem to know they have presuppositions. In fact, we are not supposed to even question their self-righteous attitudes nor are we to call them down from their lofty heights from which they perch to judge religious bitter gun clingers.

Now if you doubt I am overstating this, this paragraph proves my point.
In a statement to, Palin accused Letterman of making "sexually perverted" and “inappropriate" comments that she doubted he would “ever dare make” about anyone else’s daughter.
Let's see Letterman make racial or sexual jokes about Obama's daughters. "Oh, but he's the President", you might say? Well, she is the governor of Alaska. Oh that's right, Alaska doesn't count to arrogant fools in New York. So apparently it's ok to go after a woman with sexually harassing jokes...jokes that would get anyone fired in today's corporate world and would normally bring the wrath of a Left Wing media. Instead Letterman will get a do-over or a pass.

I think the man should go back to doing stupid pet tricks.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Doxology in the Lord's Prayer

During our time together as a family on the Lord's Day, we once again looked at Jesus' teaching on prayer (our 5th week and my kids are still wondering how we are able to dig so much out of one verse). My daughter noticed that her version of the bible (the NKJV) had an ending that neither mine nor my son's had. The NASB's version includes her "variant" in brackets.
Mat 6:13 'And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]'
So I was forced into a great teaching moment. Why are there variants? Well, I know I am an odd duck for actually attempting to teach my children about the transmission of the Biblical text, but we now live in a society where this is no longer something Christians may remain ignorant, especially with Bart Ehrman's books in full circulation.

Today I received my hard cover edition of Philip W. Comfort's New Testament Text and Translation Commentary. It is just full of great "commentary on the variant readings of the ancient New Testament Manuscripts and how they relate to the major English translations." So now if you are wondering why the newer translations such as the ESV and the NIV have "removed" (speaking like an irrational King James Onlyist) this part of the verse, you will read some very helpful answers, of which I'd like to share a portion from the section dealing with Matthew 6:13.

First, Comfort explains that there are manuscripts that omit the reading. Then he goes on to explain that there are 6 variants of the reading and offers them for you to compare.

Variant 1 has only the "amen".

Variant 2 has "because yours is the power forever."

Variant 3 has "because yours is the power and the glory forever. Amen."

Variant 4 has "because yours is the kingdom and the glory forever. Amen."

Variant 5 has "because yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."

And this is the most fascinating. Variant 6 has "because yours is the kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit forever. Amen."

So what is the explanation for the inclusion of these variants into the text of Scripture? Since most of us live in a historical vacuum, we miss the rich Christian heritage that has given to us the wide manuscript tradition. For instance, most Christians are totally unfamiliar with the Didache. It is a work that circulated during the age of the Apostolic Fathers (church leaders right after the Apostles). Comfort writes that "the longer form [Matthew 6:13] probably came from the Didache (also known as the 'teaching of the Twelve'), which was written in Syria or Palestine during the early second century."

If you are still wondering why this doxology was included into the text of Matthew's Gospel if it was not was not a part of the original autograph, then consider the last portion of Comfort's commentary upon this text.
"...the ending has become so ingrained in Christian tradition that it has not dropped from use in private prayers or in public worship--with the exception of the Roman Catholic churches. When reciting the Lord's Prayer, most Christians do not stop after saying 'but deliver us from evil.' Most go on to say, 'For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.'

Why do people feel compelled to end with this assertive doxology? Probably for the same reason that motivated some early scribes to add it. This profound prayer invites a glorious, uplifting conclusion--especially in oral reading."
As Wesctott and Hort are cited as saying,
[the] doxology originated in liturgical use in Syria, and was thence adopted into the Greek and Syriac Syrian texts of the N.T.
To this day, after having learned quite some time ago that the text is not a part of the original reading, I am still prone to pray in this manner. Why? Am I being unfaithful? No. I am simply moved as most Christians to recognize the wonder of God's sovereign grace in our lives.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

"What If" Is For Children

The horror of abortion cannot be rightly confronted, much less corrected, by means of violence and acts outside the law and lawful means of remedy. This is not merely a legal technicality -- it is a vital test of the morality of the pro-life movement.
Even though I agree that this issue must take into account God's sovereignty and His right to set up governments to restrain the evils of mankind, the question is not as simple as Mohler makes it sound.

Mohler argues that "Christian citizens work within legal, judicial, and political means to persuade governing authorities concerning what is good, right, just, and honoring to God." However, Beckwith offers an interesting counter-argument in his book Politically Correct Death. What if there was a "clinic" in your city or town in which people were allowed to legally take their 8-year-olds and abort them. They go inside with the young person and come out without him/her. How many of us would wait even 30 seconds before we come to the conclusion that we would not only stop the person taking the 8-year-old into the building, we would probably use any means necessary.

So in essence what is the difference between what Prolifers believe about abortion of the unborn and the abortion of 8-year-olds? Beckwith answers this by distinguishing between prudential arguments and moral arguments. Because abortion of the unborn is accepted and legal, the killing of Dr. Tiller may actually hurt the Prolife cause. Therefore, one might justify his killing on moral grounds, prudential arguments should cause us to look for alternative actions.

Having said this, I believe the killing of Dr. Tiller in the foyer of his church was murder. It was not only prudentially wrong but morally wrong as well. Dr. Tiller needed to be arrested for having committed murder of thousands of children. The average citizen should be calling upon the government for justice in the place of those, who cannot speak for themselves.

The abortion debate has been going on for nearly 37 years. We have stood by while millions of our children were slaughtered. No politician is willing to stop this. The United States government is not going to stop this wicked evil. The Prolife movement is going to have to rethink this again.

What if a "clinic" for 8-year-olds were built right next door to Albert Mohler's church tomorrow? I have a gut feeling that Mohler would arrive to an empty building come Sunday morning. His congregation would either be protesting the "clinic" or they would be in jail for attempting any number of means of destroying such a place, no matter what "doctor" was inside.

So again, I think Mohler is right in many ways, but if someone is about to murder my neighbor, if I have the ability to defend this defenseless person from being murdered, what is the citizen of the City of Man's responsibility before God? How ought we to love our neighbor? It is precisely the "horror of abortion" that we need to confront.

God's Sovereignty or Man's Will?

Many years ago a movie was produced that explored the very question which Prolifers must contend. In the 1983 movie The Dead Zone, Johnny Smith, played by Christopher Walken, gains the ability to see the future in certain situations. During the movie Johnny Smith realizes he is able to not only see the future but has the ability to change it.

With this ability Johnny Smith shakes hands with a politician, who will become the President of the United States and purposefully bring the world into a nuclear holocaust. The rest becomes the obvious struggle. Does Johnny Smith have the right or moral obligation to stop this politician by any means, including his killing? The answer to this dilemma truly depends upon your view of the created order and the sovereignty of God.

Mohler is right when he says,
In the case of Dr. George Tiller, the governing authorities failed again and again to fulfill their responsibility to protect all citizens, including those yet unborn. The law is dishonoring to God in its disrespect for human life. The law failed to bring George Tiller to account for what should have been seen as crimes against humanity. But this failure does not authorize others to act in the place of the government, much less in the place of God.
It is a part of God's right to set up governing authorities and to bring them down. God is King and Ruler over the nations. God has decreed a purpose for all creatures. As a mere citizen, I do not have the right to overthrow the power and authority of God ordained governments. This is not only true for Christians, it has long been recognized by non-Christians as well. Without a governing authority, vigilantism would soon bring about utter chaos. We would lose the foundation for civilization and the basis for any law at all. This must be avoided at all costs.

It is the Evolutionist/Naturalist/Materialist/Atheist/Feminist that is the true danger to the issue. These viewpoints cannot account nor justify any basis for morality. They certainly have no basis for the Rule of Law and the institution of government (which is why we often see leaders of these movements calling for constant anarchy).

As citizens of the kingdom of man, whether Christian or not, we must respect the God ordained role of governments. We must also grasp that God has ordained evil in this present evil age. We must grasp that justice will always fall short until the Son of Man appears to judge the world in perfect righteousness.

Prolife = Christian?

The problem or the dilemma of the Prolife movement is really simple, and it is clearly seen in the killing of Dr. Tiller. If you took the time to read Mohler's post then you have read the majority response. Most Prolife groups come marching out after every incident such as this and say something to the effect of what Mohler says.
But violence in the name of protesting abortion is immoral, unjustified, and horribly harmful to the pro-life cause. Now, the premeditated murder of Dr. George Tiller in the foyer of his church is the headline scandal -- not the abortions he performed and the cause he represented.

We have no right to take the law into our own hands in an act of criminal violence. We are not given the right to take this power into our own hands, for God has granted this power to governing authorities. The horror of abortion cannot be rightly confronted, much less corrected, by means of violence and acts outside the law and lawful means of remedy. This is not merely a legal technicality -- it is a vital test of the morality of the pro-life movement.
The second paragraph sums up the case. This is not a mere "legal technicality" either. This is a fundamental issue. Should or ought the average citizen take the law into his own hands? Most of us agree that the answer should be no. Most Prolifers will agree that,
this failure does not authorize others to act in the place of the government, much less in the place of God.
But notice this statement and presupposition by Mohler.
The Christian church has been forced by historical necessity to think through these issues again and again.
This entire argument put forth by Mohler is correct for the church of Jesus Christ. His Kingdom is of another world, and the Christian church does not have the authority to take up the sword against the State.

Basically, vigilantism is morally wrong. But as can be seen, there is a subtle confusion of church and state in the entire argument (Although the morality of vigilantism is not limited to Christians). The Prolife movement is not necessarily Christian. It is this point I'd like to explore in the next post.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Tiller's Death and the Prolife Movement

It was interesting to notice the responses from Christian and prolife leaders to the killing of late term abortionist, Dr. George Tiller. Every prolife group seemed to say the typical thing. For instance, Dr. Dobson condemned this action as stated on the CitizenLink website.
We are shocked by the murder of George Tiller, and we categorically condemn the act of vigilantism and violence that took his life. America has from its foundation respected the rule of law, by which every citizen is guaranteed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those constitutional rights are forfeited only when crimes have been committed, and the perpetrator is charged and found guilty by a jury of his or her peers in a court of law.
To be honest, I struggle as to how Dr. Dobson was "shocked" by this. Tiller was shot several years ago and survived. Tiller lived in a very guarded community. If I remember correctly, his abortion mill was once bombed. I am shocked he managed to live this long.

Albert Mohler has also blogged on this issue (read here). Mohler says much that we prolifers agree with. However, instead of just following the conventional wisdom on this subject, I would like to interact and perhaps even challenge some of the discussion that he so ably represents in the next few posts.

Because of Tiller's death I had to explain what an abortion is to my daughter. After doing so, she just looked as perplexed an anyone could be. "That's legal?", was her return volley. In this video, John Piper argues a point that I have often wondered. If we all had to sit and watch an abortion, would it be illegal tomorrow? As for my nine year old, she didn't even need me to explain the morality of the question or show her a video. She just knew what it was.