Monday, January 24, 2011

The President and Roe V. Wade

When Barack Obama was running for President, he was described by some observers as one of the most radical candidates in the nation’s history in terms of support for abortion. Once in office, President Obama has done little to dispel that judgment. Even as the President is tracking to the middle on many issues, this is not the case when it comes to abortion.

This past Saturday, on the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the President issued a statement that is remarkable, even for presidents who support legalized abortion. The President’s statement included not one word that indicated any recognition that abortion is in any case or in any sense a tragedy. There was not even a passing reference to the unborn child. President Obama did not even use the language used disingenuously by President Bill Clinton — the pledge that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.”

“Today marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, and affirms a fundamental principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters,” the President stated. That “fundamental principle” was not actually the principle claimed by the Supreme Court, which located the “right” to abortion with the woman, not with a family.

The President continued: “I am committed to protecting this constitutional right. I also remain committed to policies, initiatives, and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.” So, the President of the United States puts his high office behind his hope to “encourage healthy relationships,” but not behind any effort even to reduce the number of abortions in this country. Currently, in America one out of five pregnancies ends in abortion.

As he concluded his brief statement, the President said: “And on this anniversary, I hope that we will recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.”

That paragraph is just a recitation of the feminist argument that was enshrined in Roe v. Wade — that women, no more than men, should be encumbered by the professional and personal limitations required by a pregnancy. That logic is enshrined as orthodoxy within the Democratic Party, and President Obama is one of its most ardent defenders.

Ever since Barack Obama emerged on the national political scene, he has been promoted and protected by a corps of preachers and religious leaders who have tried their best to explain that he is not so pro-abortion as he seems. Nevertheless, his record is all too clear — as is this most recent statement. There was not one expression of abortion as a national tragedy, even as a report recently indicated that almost 60 percent of all pregnancies among African American women in New York City end in abortion.

How can any President of the United States fail to address this unspeakable tragedy? There was no hope expressed that abortion would be rare, only the expression that he would remain “committed to protecting this constitutional right.” The only words that even insinuate any hypothetical reduction in abortion were addressed to reducing “unintended pregnancies” and promoting adoption. But no goal of reducing abortion was stated or even obliquely suggested. No reference at all was made of the unborn child. There was no lament — not even a throwaway line that would cost him nothing in terms of his support from abortion rights forces.

These words were not imposed upon this President. This is his own personal statement. It is one of the most revealing — and tragic — statements made by any political figure in our times.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"What About the Twins?"

Saturday will mark the 38th anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision that opened the floodgates for abortion in America. On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the decision, declaring that women have a constitutional right to an abortion. Hard as it is to imagine, the justices in the majority really believed that their decision would end the national debate over abortion. Not by a long shot.

Nearly four decades later, the argument rages on — and so does the carnage. The national abortion rate is over twenty percent. Just last week it was reported that the abortion rate in New York City is over forty percent, and among African-Americans in that city, nearly sixty percent. In other words, an abortion industrial complex now claims over a million unborn lives each year. The carnage just continues.

In recent days, two horrifying accounts of abortion have gripped the human conscience. From Australia, news came of a couple who had aborted twin boys, just because they wanted a baby girl. Having three sons already, the couple aborted the twins because they want a daughter after the death of a previous baby girl who died shortly after birth.

Related Posts

The Perverse Logic of Abortion

The Deadly Logic of Anti-Blasphemy Laws

What Makes Abortion Plausible? What Makes Abortion Unthinkable?, Part Five

What Makes Abortion Plausible? What Makes Abortion Unthinkable?, Part Six

When Abortion Collides with Totalitarianism (Audio)

The couple is now appealing to a legal tribunal, demanding the right to use gender selection in the course of an IVF procedure. Australia, unlike the United States, has laws against gender selection. The couple is pressing for an exception.

The abortion of the twin boys precipitated an international outcry, with headlines carrying the news around the world. But, even as millions were morally troubled by the account, many were unable to muster a moral argument against the abortions. Why? Because the logic of abortion has been so widely accepted in the larger society.

The very idea of gender-selection abortions is abhorrent, and most people would almost surely argue that such abortions should not be allowed. But the logic of abortion rights demands that a woman be recognized as having a right to an abortion at any time for any reason or for no reason. Once you accept abortion as a moral option, it is virtually impossible to preclude any abortion for any reason. The Culture of Death is built upon the logic of abortion on demand. Once the floodgates were opened, it is almost impossible to stem the tide.

On January 19, the Associated Press reported that a Pennsylvania doctor had been charged with eight counts of murder in the deaths of one woman and seven babies, “who were born alive and then killed with scissors.”

The description of Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society sounds like something out of a Stephen King novel. Investigators found bags and bottles containing aborted babies and parts of babies. District Attorney Seth Williams said that Dr. Kermit Gosnell “induced labor, forced the live birth of viable babies in sixth, seventh, eighth month of pregnancy, and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord.”

Williams described Gosnell’s clinic as a “house of horrors.” Gosnell, it turns out, made millions of dollars by performing abortions, including late-term abortions, by the thousands. According to the prosecutors, Gosnell performed “as many illegal late-term abortions as he could.”

Dr. Gosnell has been charged with multiple counts of murder, and for this fact, we should be thankful. But the reality is that what Dr. Gosnell did is just a more graphic display of the horror inside every abortionist’s chamber.

These two cases illustrate the pattern of moral confusion found among the public. News of the “house of horrors” in Pennsylvania brings prompt moral outrage, and understandably so. But is the abortion clinic on the corner, established for the purpose of killing unborn children, any less a house of horrors?

The couple in Australia openly admitted aborting their twin boys because they want a daughter. Millions around the world seem outraged by their decision, but having accepted the basic logic of abortion, they are hard-pressed to define when any abortion demanded by a woman might be unjustified and thus illegal.

The Christian revulsion over abortion and the destruction of human life is based in the knowledge that God is the Author of all life and of every life, without exception. Abortion is the business of death, and it is the great wound that runs through the nation’s conscience. These shocking accounts may sear their way into the nation’s collective conscience, but unless the basic logic of abortion rights is overturned, such accounts will erupt again and again.

Once we buy into the logic of abortion, there is no end to the trail of tears. In the case of the Australian couple, a professor of medicine commented that they should be able to select the gender of their baby after aborting the twin boys. “I can’t see how it could possibly hurt anyone,” he said.

What about the twins?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Repost: Interpreting, Properly, Revelation 3:20

Have you seen the old potrait that portrays Christ as the effiminate Savior standing at a doorway knocking on the door waiting for someone to open it? Such is really a tasteless view of the Master. He is not some wimpy shepherd that stands at a door and knocks with absolutely no power to open the door. So what does Revelation 3:20 mean?

Many people include this verse in their evangelistics attempts to lost people. Usually saying something like, "Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart waiting for you to open it". Such is not the Biblical doctrine of Salvation, nor the clear context of Revelation 3.

In Revelation 3 Christ is speaking, not to group of unredeemed people, but to the Church; the Church of Ladocia in particular. Jesus was trying to get back into the Church not trying to get into the heart of an individual person or persons in Salvation. These people were already saved. To use this verse in an evangelistic sense is to take the verse from its context and force a meaning on it the Holy Spirit never intended.

This is another example of so many people just taking a verse to mean a certain thing because they have always heard it taught like that. The Scripture must be allowed to speak for itself, not the way we have always heard it spoken for. Let us be faithful to allow the Word to speak for itself.
Just remember, Jesus did not ask Lazarus, in John 11, to "come forth", He commanded it and Lazarus came out of the grave.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Christian Master Narrative

The reversal of the curse of sin originates in God’s love and his sovereign determination to save sinners, and it is grounded in the cross and resurrection of Christ. The atonement of Jesus Christ accomplishes our salvation from sin. Nevertheless, the New Testament makes clear that we are awaiting the transformation of our bodies and the arrival of the Kingdom in fullness. Any honest reading of the New Testament leaves us knowing that our salvation is secure in Christ, but we await the final display of Christ’s glory in the Kingdom’s fullness.

In understanding the Kingdom, we benefit by considering the fact that the Kingdom is already here, inaugurated by Christ, but is not yet fully come. The “already/not yet” character of the Kingdom explains why, though sin is fully defeated, we still experience sin in our lives. Death was defeated at the cross, but we still taste death. The created order continues to cry out for redemption, and the venom of the serpent still stings.

The Christian doctrine of eschatology provides the Christian worldview with its mature understanding of history. Every worldview must provide an account of where history is headed and whether human history has any purpose at all. Christianity grounds the meaning of human existence in the fact that we are made in the image of God and the meaning of human history in the security of God’s providential rule. Thus, the Christian worldview dignifies history and assures us that history is indeed meaningful. The Gospel of Christ is itself grounded in historical events – and so is the promise of things to come.

At the end of this age, Christ will return to bring his Kingdom in fullness. He will rule with perfect righteousness and will both judge the nations and vindicate his own cause. The unfolding events point to a conclusive final judgment at the end of history.

This final judgment is made necessary by the fact of human sin and the infinite reality of God’s holiness. The Bible straightforwardly presents the assurance of a final judgment that will demonstrate the perfection of God and the glory of his justice. This final judgment will demonstrate God’s mercy to those who are in Christ and God’s wrath righteously poured out upon sin.

This judgment will be so perfect that, in the end, all must know that God alone is righteous and that his decrees are absolutely perfect. God’s power will be demonstrated when all authorities are brought under submission to the Lord Jesus Christ, when every earthly kingdom yields, and when every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10).

The glory of the Garden of Eden will be surpassed by the glories of the New Heaven and the New Earth. The saints will rule with Christ as his vice-regents, and perfect peace will dawn in the messianic Kingdom.

Every single moment of human history cries out for judgment. Every sin and every sinner will be brought before the throne of God, and full satisfaction will be made. The demands of divine justice will be fully met, and the mercy and grace of God will be fully demonstrated. The great dividing line that runs through humanity will be the one that separates those who are in Christ and those who are not.

The backdrop of eternity puts the span of a human life into perspective. Our time on earth is short, but eternity dignifies time even as it reminds us of our finitude. The concluding movement of the biblical narrative reminds us that we are to yearn for eternity and for the glory that is to come.

On this Day of Judgment, all human attempts at justice will be shown to fall far short of authentic justice. On this day, God’s perfect justice will indeed flood like a mighty river. The destiny of the unrepentant sinner is eternal punishment. But God’s justice is also restorative, and those who are in Christ will come to know the absolute satisfaction, peace, wholeness, and restoration that Christ promises. Every eye will be dry, and every tear will be wiped away (Rev. 7:17; 21:4).

The reversal of the curse and the end of history serve to ground Christians in this age within the secure purposes and the sovereign power of God. The Christian worldview rejects all human utopianisms, all claims of lasting earthly glory, and all denials of the meaningfulness of history and human experience.

In other words, the conclusion of the Christian master narrative reminds believers that we are not to seek ultimate fulfillment in this life. Instead, we are to follow Christ in obedience and give the totality of our lives to the things that will bring glory to God in the midst of this fallen world. We will refrain from optimism grounded in humanity and will rest in the hope that is ours in Christ. We will suffer illness, injury, persecution, and death—but we know ourselves to be completely safe within the purposes of God. And so we wait. And so we pray, “Even so, Lord, come quickly.”