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Posts Tagged ‘Abortion Debate’

I’ve posted on a Biblical basis for personhood of the preborn, and then most recently blogged on God’s ownership of us and His creation.  The next thing to look at as we discuss a biblical/theological framework for the pro-life position is the question – who has the prerogative over human life and death?

“‘See now that I, even I, am he,
and there is no god beside me;
I kill and I make alive;
I wound and I heal;
and there is none that can deliver out of my hand,” (Deuteronomy 32:39, ESV)

The Lord in this verse and the surround passage speaks of Himself as the only true God who controls all of life and history.  In the verse above he says – “See now” – this is a personal assertion and suggests strong feeling on God’s part.  The Hebrew word is this passage means “understand.”  What did God want the Israelites to understand as Moses was reciting the song that the Lord gave to him?  That the Lord is God.  This assertion is made even more emphatic by repetition of the first person pronoun.  “I, even I and the assertion “am he”

The reality of the Lord being God is seen in what He does: He can put to death and He gives life – in that He can rescue and He creates.  He is the one who wounded Israel due to their disobedience and He is the only one who can heal.  No one can rescue Israel’s enemies out of his hand.  He is God.  He is in control.

In relation to abortion – God has exclusive prerogatives over human life and death.  Not the mother (or in some instances, the state, like in China’s case which has practiced forced abortions to enforce their one child policy), but God alone.

Another passage that relates to this one;

The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up, (1 Samuel 2:6, ESV)

Sung by Hannah who was considered barren as she prayed to God the only One who can change her circumstances.  Throughout her entire prayer in 1 Samuel 2 you see that God is control.

“You shall not murder,” (Exodus 20:13, ESV)

The theological presumption behind this commandment is that all humans have been created in the image of God, (Genesis 1:26-27).  Hebrew possesses seven words for killing, the word used in Exodus 20:13 is rasah and it appears only forty-seven times in the Old Testament.  This is the only word that could signify murder where premeditation and intentionality are present.

Because of this, one can not rightly apply this command to accidental killing, self-defense, capital punishment or just war.  Except when God specifically delegates that right to man (government – see Romans 13) God alone has the right to take a human life.

And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.

“Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image, (Genesis 9:5-6, ESV)

God demands the accounting, a reckoning for the taking of a life of another.  He also requires it of the pre-born.

“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. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe,” (Exodus 21:22-25, ESV)

Who has prerogative over human life and death?  God does both for the born and pre-born.  We put ourselves on shaky ground (to put it mildly) when we try to assert a right (mother’s choice) which belong to only Him.

 

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1. Slow Motion Coffee – some cool slow motion pictures of a drop of cream going into coffee.

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HT: Two Feathers

2.  U.N.: Afghan Death sentence for journalist distributing an article with anit-Islam sentiment is “a possible misuse of the judicial process.”  This is incredible.  I thought the Taliban was gone.  A death sentence should not be imposed simply because they say something (or in this case distribute something) negative about their belief system.  Crazy.

HT: Hot Air

3.  Check out a great commentary from Deacon Keith Fournier for Catholic Online: “Let Huckabee Speak, Let Huckabee Run… and check his pockets

4.  Senator Barack Obama was pretty funny on David Letterman:

HT: RedState

5.  To the right would be wonderful.! HT: Jungle Hut

6. Velvet Hammer wrote an interesting post on the “not-so-simple story of Barack Obama’s youth.

7.  State of Union draws praise from some evangelicals.

8.  Young evangelicals in Florida looking for a compassionate candidate.

9. Wrestling coach to resign over accusations he bit player.  Strange, just strange.

10.  What does God think of Fred Phelps campaign?  (HT: Seth Barnes)

11.  Why did the Christian cross the road?  Funny!

12.  Sometimes we find ourselves so busy that we overlook people who are in need.  Sam Rainer reminds us that Jesus stopped.  He took time to meet both spiritual needs and physical needs.

13.  Dan Kimball wrote about “The Importance of Definitions

It seems that sometimes different people have different definitions of those words. Or the original definition of a term may have changed through time and one person is still are using it in the original way, while others are using it a different way. So you are having a conversation and assuming the other person believes the same thing you do about whatever term is being used, but you are actually talking about different things when asked to specifically define it. (read the rest)

14.  CNN’s Senior Political Analyst, Bill Schneider,  felt that Mike Huckabee won tonight’s debate.

Huckabee, I think, stood out in this debate as the one who made sense, talked as ordinary people do, and rose above politics. They may have scored. He connected. And that’s a problem for Romney, who would like to become the alternative to John McCain among conservatives who oppose the Arizona senator. But he has very tough competition from Huckabee, who’s forcing people to re-think his run at a time when he was supposed to be out of the game.

I felt like he wasn’t given nearly enough time what I was able to watch.

HT:  Alex Harris

15.  If you are a follower of Christ, Sara at Walk Slowly, Live Wildly asks are you living a life of excess?

 

16.  Elmo meets Emo picture – it made me laugh out loud.

HT: Stephen Murray

17.  Michelle Malkin asks: How big is the House Democrat’s carbon footprint?  Oh, the hypocrisy!

18.  James MacDonald, pastor of Harvest Bible Church in the Chicago area writes about why he is not emerging.

19.  Great evangelism resource – John Piper’s article “How Shall We Love Our Muslim Neighbor?”

20.  From Pro-Life Blogs – “Senator Obama – Save the Horses, Ignore the Infants

 

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I am continuing to lay a biblical framework for the pro-life position.  Last time I dealt with personhood and how the Bible clearly demonstrates that personhood does begin inside the womb.  I am, at the moment, just making a theological argument and will look at other aspects of this debate later on.

One argument often made by the pro-choice side – “it’s the mother’s body so it is her choice.”  This presupposes that she has “ownership” of herself and the baby that she is carrying inside the womb.  This argument is often made when the father of the child tries to intervene.  However, is she really the owner?

Genesis 1:27 says that it is God who is involved in the creative process, “so God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

This is dealing with creation in the beginning.  Generally speaking when somebody creates… a piece of art, an invention, or whatever – that implies ownership.  From this passage we can see that God has claim not over just individual persons but humankind overall.

Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture, (Psalm 100:3, ESV)

It isn’t just he got the human race started and then left the picture, but he stays involved.  He made us… we are His… we are His people… we are sheep of His pasture.  He has ownership.  Not only that but Ezekiel 18:4 says, “Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die,” (ESV).

Both parent, in this case the father and the child, the son, belongs to God.  Parental claims of ownership do not trump God’s.

But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand, (Isaiah 64:8, ESV).

The only thing that a man and woman can claim is that they provide the sperm and the egg, but who gave them that ability?  God did!  The mother doesn’t craft the baby in the womb… God does.  Not only did God make us while we are in the womb, but He is continually making us.  This is especially true of those who are Christ followers in the process of sanctification (which is an entirely different post topic).

And one last scripture to look at related to this…

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body, (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ESV).

Our bodies are not our own?  Back to the original pro-choice argument… it is the woman’s choice, it is her body.  Looking at scripture that argument rings hollow.  God is Creator and Owner of all people, they belong to Him, not others.

The next post we’ll look at who has prerogative over life and death according to scripture.

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1.  More problems with the Episcopal Church – a leading Episcopal conservative is urging the denomination to halt the process of disciplining Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh because of his movement toward disaffiliation.

“In brief, I would urge TEC (The Episcopal Church) and other Anglican bishops to pray for and take action so that this process pauses indefinitely,” the Rev. Ephraim Radner said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Episcopal Church’s three senior bishops stopped short of banning Duncan from his religious duties last week when the presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, sought to inhibit him. Duncan was, however, certified as having “abandoned the Communion of this Church” and Episcopal bishops are expected to vote on a final decision later this year.

The charge essentially means that the bishop has effectively left the church.

Duncan has been leading his Pittsburgh diocese toward a split with The Episcopal Church over its liberal direction on Scripture and homosexuality. The Pittsburgh bishop has expressed little hope that the national church would get back in line with Anglican tradition and is currently planning to form a separate orthodox Anglican body in the United States with other conservative bishops.

(Read the rest – source Christian Post)

2.  (To the left) Mints or crack-cocaine – which is which?

3.  Not only are dogs a man’s best friend, but evidently they are tasty as well.

4. This is macabre.  Should families have a right to body parts removed during autopsies?

5.  Pat Nolan of Justice Fellowship (part of Prison Fellowship) wrote an article called “How Should We Deal With Sex Offenders?” since the law is becoming increasingly broad and has unduly penalized people who have committed minor offenses (17-year-olds convicted of statutory rape) with those who have committed serious offenses.  No easy answers, but this article is worth a read.

6.  Researchers are one step away from creating life…. bacteria.  Why? 

7.  Mexican men behaving badly brings about women-only buses.

8.  Evangelicals are surprising some by demonstrating that they are conservative on social issues, but more liberal with other issues.  It doesn’t surprise me, I just don’t want to see life issues pushed aside.  I’ve said before that not all conservative/GOP positions are biblical.

9.  Using American Idol to promote abstinence.

10.  Premarital sex makes you stupid… here’s the proof.

11.  Powerful video

12.  I guess there was another GOP debate last night.

13.  Washington Post – “A Youthful Thong Marches Against Abortion

14.  Teenagers baffle you?  Jake Bouma has some suggestions on how to learn more about them in only eight hours.  How cool is that?

15.  Joe Carter on Limited Government – read Part I and Part 2.

16.  Scott Klusendorf of Stand to Reason on Focus on the Family regarding abortion.  You can listen here.  HT: Melinda @ STR

17.  The AP on Mormon Key Tenants… Sharon Lindbloom of the Mormon Research Ministry provides commentary.

18.  Jill Stanek calls the latest Guttmacher report on abortions inaccurate.

19.  More on the GOP debate – Mike Huckabee’s answer on the economy.

HT: Hot Air’s Bryan Preston

Bryan Preston goes on to say:

Mike Huckabee makes some sense on the economic stimulus. He says, essentially, if we’re going to borrow $150 billion from China to finance the stimulus package, why not use it to do something useful instead of just handing it over to be spent on goods imported from China?

That’s not crazy. Chances are, people will spend their rebates on TVs and other consumables that’s imported. That’ll help American retailers and importers but not manufacturers. While it would be better just to cut taxes and cut spending and the government as far from all our wallets and lives as possible, if you’re going to borrow and spend, let’s at least widen I-95, put Americans to work on it and get some long-term benefits from the project.

HT: Joel Harris

20.  A cartoon’s perspective of the GOP presidential race… it made me laugh out loud so I had to share it.

Cartoon from Politico.

HT: El Nuko’s

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This deals with the fundamental question… when does life begin?  At what stage do we consider someone a person?  As an embryo?  As a fetus (latin for: “little one”)?  When they are born?  Because if we consider that life begins at conception, that at that point is when we are who we are then all of the other pro-abortion arguments fall away… it is the mother’s body argument, the privacy argument, the rape and incest argument all it.  We wouldn’t kill a child outside of the womb for any of those reasons.  So if life begins at conception those arguments fall short as well.

Greg Koukl in “Fetal Personhood: It’s Simple” states:

The fact is that human beings are persons. They are personal kinds of beings whether they are in an early stage of development or a later stage of development. That’s what a human is and it remains itself from the beginning to end. It’s very simple. It’s not hard. It’s not complex. We’ve known it for ages. This personhood argument is only 10-20 years old, since Roe vs. Wade , Frank Beckwith says. Before then there was never a personhood argument. It was introduced after Roe v. Wade to make the decision to have an abortion a little more palatable. The same thing happened with Dred Scott. He’s not a person, he’s black. He’s not a person, though he’s a human technically; but that’s just a little detail. It’s not significant.

I’d like to give some biblical underpinnings to this argument of when life begins.  For those of you who do not respect the Bible’s authority on this matter I will later on look at what can be learned from medicine and science.

The first verse we can look at is at the very beginning when God created humans.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them, (Genesis 1:27, ESV).

We are created in His image… unlike any of the animals we are spiritual beings with eternal souls.  We were created unique.

In Genesis 25:22 we also see that Esau and Jacob “struggled together” inside of Rebekah’s womb.  Jacob was given prominence over Esau even though he had not yet been born, (Romans 9:11).

In the Old Testament Law we see:

“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. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe,” (Exodus 21:22-25, ESV).

The word for children in this passage is the Hebrew word yelet.  It is used for the unborn in this passage, but it is generally used to indicate young children.  This word can also be used to refer to teens or even young adults however.  There is no separate word used for the unborn.  The unborn were seen as being just like any other children, but younger, (Lawrence O. Richards, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1985), 156-7).

You see this with the penalty that occurs with the harm of an unborn child.  They do not distinguish between born and unborn.  There is no personhood argument.  If the child is stillborn as a result, under OT law the person responsible committed a capital offense.

Also when Job pleas to God about the circumstances he faced he talks about God’s involvement in his life before he is even born.

Your hands fashioned and made me,
and now you have destroyed me altogether.
Remember that you have made me like clay;
and will you return me to the dust?
Did you not pour me out like milk
and curdle me like cheese?
You clothed me with skin and flesh,
and knit me together with bones and sinews.
You have granted me life and steadfast love,
and your care has preserved my spirit, (Job 10:8-12, ESV).

The thing to note is that the person in the womb wasn’t something that might become Job.  This child was Job, just at an earlier stage of life.

Isaiah 44:2 says that the God who made us who formed us in the womb would help us.  Psalm 51:5 says that we were “brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did (our) mother conceive (us).”  Then in the Psalms we see a cornerstone passage.

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
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, (Psalm 139:13-16, ESV)

God said to the prophet Jeremiah “before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations,” (Jeremiah 1:5, ESV).  So God is involved not only with those who have been born, but also the unborn.

Randy Alcorn demonstrates personhood of the unborn in the Gospels:

In Luke 1:41, 44 there are references to the unborn John the Baptist, who as the end of his second trimester in the womb.  The word translated baby in these verses is theses verses is the Greek word brephos.   It is the same word used for the already born baby Jesus (Luke 2:12, 16) and for the babies brought to Jesus to receive His blessing (Luke 18:15-17).  It is also the same word used in Acts 7:19 for the newborn babies killed by Pharaoh.  To the writers of the New Testament, like the Old, whether born or unborn, a baby is simply a baby.  It appears that the preborn John the Baptist responded to presence of the preborn Jesus is His mother Mary, when Jesus was probably no more than ten days beyond His conception (Luke 1:41).

The angel Gabriel told Mary that she would be “with child and give birth to a son” (Luke 1:31).  In the first century, and in every century, to be pregnant is to be with child, not with that which might become a child.  The Scriptures teach the psychosomatic unity of the whole person, body, soul, and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23).  Wherever there is a genetically distinct living human being, there is a living soul and spirit, (Randy Alcorn, ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments, Portland, OR: Multnomah, 2000, pg. 314-315).

It boils down to whether or not the unborn are persons.  If the unborn can claim personhood there is no reason in the world that can justify their murder.

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1.  January is National Mentoring Month, and my ministry’s blog, Serve Our Youth Network News, has posted several items related to mentoring, our mentoring program and National Mentoring Month.

2.  Chuck Colson on “Truth, Love and Endurance: Dr. King and Christian Activism” you can also listen to his commentary.

3.  Justin Taylor interviews Robert P. George, a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, and director of the school’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, on Roe v. Wade, 35 years later.

4. Bill Clinton Has a Dream during Martin Luther King Jr.’s son’s speech at Ebeneezer Baptist Church.

5. Chicago Tribune: “The Use and Abuse of Ronald Reagan” by Victor Davis Hanson reminds readers of President Reagan’s record as GOP candidates try to out-Reagan one another.

6. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is being criticized for being “un-French” by talking about religion in society.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is drawing criticism from opponents for his frequent and increasing talks on religion in society, which critics say is a very “un-French” thing to do.

Sarkozy broke a taboo last December when he emphasized France’s Christian roots at a speech in Rome basilica, referring to France as “the eldest daughter of the Church” and stating that “the roots of France are essentially Christian.”

Some say his speeches, including his latest in Saudi Arabia’s capital city, ignore a French law separating church and state.

“A speech citing God not only on every page, but on every line, creates a fundamental problem for the republic,” argued Socialist Jean Glavany at the National Assembly last Wednesday referring to Sarkozy’s speech earlier in the week on providing state subsidies for faith-based groups.

Source: Christian Post

7.  This gives soul food an entirely new meaning.

8. These are fightin’ words!

But did they actually say anything that helped voters make a decision?

9.  Starbucks can test this in Des Moines anytime.  Like right now would be good.  Coffeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!

10.  Try this for a campaign pledge.

11.  Great Quote

A man prayed, and at first he thought that prayer was talking. But he became more and more quiet until in the end he realized that prayer is listening.

– Soren Kierkegaard in Christian Discourses   HT: God’s Politics

12. American Christians are self-indulgent according to Erwin McManus:

In a recent article in Christian Today, Erwin McManus contends that the reason why churches are declining in America is because they are self-centered. “My primary assessment would be because American Christians tend to be incredibly self-indulgent so they see the church as a place there for them to meet their needs and to express faith in a way that is meaningful for them…there is almost no genuine compassion or urgency about serving and reaching people who don’t know Christ.”

Source: Christianity Today  HT: Monday Morning Insight

13.  There has been some controversy at  Young Life when eight of their Durham ministry leaders either resigned or were terminated over disagreement with a new statement of non-negotiables made by senior leadership of this 66-year old ministry.  Six imperatives fleshed out in this proclamation are:

  • We proclaim the person of Jesus Christ in every message.
  • We proclaim the reality of sin and its consequences—that apart from divine grace, we are estranged from God by our disobedience and incapable of a right relationship with God.
  • We proclaim the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as the ultimate proof of God’s love and the only solution to our problem of sin.
  • We proclaim the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • We proclaim the risen Christ’s offer of salvation by inviting our middle school, high school, and college friends to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior.
  • We proclaim God’s call to discipleship by encouraging all who respond to grow in their faith.

Tony Jones has three blog posts related to this… here, here and here.  What do you think? 

14.  Greg Steir writes on The Coming Apostasy, what he sees today with some in the Christian speaking circut:

  • A growing emphasis on quasi or full on universalism.
  • A tendency to de-emphasize, question or outright attack core theological truths.
  • An overemphasis on “the red letters” of the Bible.
  • An increasing skepticism toward certainty about anything.
  • An overwhelming focus on conversations rather than conclusions.
  • A redefining of the gospel without propositions.

15. A new tract delivery system (see left) – evangelism by stealth.  I don’t know, it might be effective.  People like to read while in the bathroom.  Could work… could work…  I don’t think I’ll be trying it anytime soon.

HT: Evangelism Action 

16.  New Republican Leader Map – some shocking changes with new polls coming out.

17.  Mom, help!  A politician is trying to relate to me!!!!!  Warning, the following video is very painful to watch.  Mitt Romney meeting with some youth in Jacksonville, FL.

HT: Allen Thornburgh at The Point

18.  Job Security

HT: Naked Pastor – David Hayward 

19.  Muslims are not the only ones who are militant and persecutes Christians.  Hindus do as well.

20.  Evidently Pakistan isn’t hunting Osama.  Is that really a surprise?

 

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Today marks the 35th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision making abortion legal in the United States.  Since 1973 over 50 million children have been aborted.

There is some good news in that abortion rates have lowered to levels not seen since the 1970s.

A new study shows the rate of abortions is the lowest since 1974, the year after the high court’s Jan. 22, 1973, decision striking down state laws that made the procedure illegal.  In addition, the overall number of abortions has plunged 25 percent since 1990, when the number of legal U.S. abortions peaked at 1.6 million, according to a survey released yesterday by abortion-rights researchers, the Guttmacher Institute.

Although the study’s authors do not directly correlate state laws with the drop in rates, advocates on both sides of the abortion debate consider state restrictions one of the underlying reasons for the decline.

I thought that it would be appropriate to launch a series of blog posts called Against Abortion today.  In this series of posts I would like to explore a biblical framework for the pro-life movement as, I believe, there is some confusion among Christians today.  I would also like to look at common pro-choice questions/arguments that are made.  Also I want to explore ways that Christians, in particular, can engage this issue through non-political means.  Since many of us live is states where there is a political deadlock I would also like to suggest ideas for legislation that could, if states haven’t already adopted it, garner bi-partisan support.

I hope that you will contribute to this discussion, I’d love to read your comments.

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