abortionSometimes I know what I believe about a moral issue, but I find my position difficult to explain or defend. It’s not that I don’t have convictions, but that I have difficulty explaining those convictions. I would imagine you sometimes struggle in the same way. Over the next while I want to enlist the help of some experts to help me look at some of these issues to see how I, as a Christian, can make the case. And I’d like to start with abortion. How can Christians convince others that abortion is wrong? I asked my friend André Schutten for help. André is Legal Counsel and Ontario Director at the Association for Reformed Political Action here in Canada.

Arguments against abortion that are based on the Bible are important and simple to make, but ultimately require assent to the authority of God through his Word. Because most people deny such authority, we will leave aside the Biblical arguments and show how you can convince others through science, logic, history and human rights.

We begin with logic.

Logic

In his excellent little booklet, Pro-Life 101, Scott Klusendorf summarizes the pro-life argument this way: “Elective abortion unjustly takes the life of a defenseless human being. The rationale for that argument is clear and to the point:

  1. Intentionally killing an innocent human being is a moral wrong.
  2. Elective abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent human being.
  3. Therefore, elective abortion is a moral wrong.”

The issue is not nearly as complex as you might think. All it requires is proving the second premise. If the pre-born child is an innocent human being (premise #2), then elective abortion is always a moral wrong. This means that the only real issue to resolve in the abortion debate is: What is the pre-born? To quote Gregory Koukl, “If the unborn are not human, no justification for elective abortion is necessary. But if the unborn are human, no justification for elective abortion is adequate.” Always bring the discussion back to this question: What is the pre-born?

Science

What does science say about the pre-born entity? (As an aside, some Christians say we should just rely the Bible to tell others that abortion is wrong. They fail to see science for what it is: the law and revelation of God. The laws of gravity are God’s laws of gravity.)

Science tells us conclusively that there are four characteristics common to all pre-born children. (These are worth memorizing!)

  1. Complete. From the moment of fertilization the pre-born child is complete. All the information that needs to be there is there. It simply needs time to grow.
  2. Unique. The scientific evidence of DNA proves that the pre-born child is unique and genetically distinct from his or her mother. The pre-born child is not a part of the mother (like an appendix), but a unique entity inside his or her mother.
  3. Living. The laws of biology tell us that the pre-born child is alive because it is growing, developing, and undergoing metabolism and responding to stimuli.
  4. Human. The scientific law of biogenesis states that living things reproduce after their own kind. So, dogs beget dogs, cats beget cats, goldfish beget goldfish and humans beget humans. Not parasites or blogs of cells, but humans—complete and unique living human beings.

Science tells us unequivocally that the pre-born child is a complete and a unique living human being.

Back to Logic

So, you’ve looked to science and made the case for the humanity of the pre-born child. But your opponent says, “But the pre-born are different than the rest of us and so they don’t deserve the same protections that you or I do.” While the pre-born are, indeed, different, none of the differences are morally relevant.

Klusendorf has helpfully crafted a mnemonic to remember the differences between born humans and pre-born humans: SLED.

  • Size. The pre-born are smaller than born humans, but size doesn’t determine our humanity. Infants are smaller than toddlers, and toddlers smaller than teenagers, but all are human and all are deserving of the law’s protection.
  • Level of Development. The pre-born are less developed than born humans, but our level of development doesn’t determine our humanity. Toddlers are less developed than adults, but both are human and both are deserving of protection under the law.
  • Environment. The pre-born are certainly in a different place than born humans, but where we are doesn’t determine who we are. If we are human, we deserve the law’s protection no matter where we are.
  • Degree of Dependency. The pre-born are more dependent on their mothers than most born humans, but infants are just as dependent. Our dependency doesn’t determine our humanity.

Once we have demonstrated that the pre-born child is morally no different from born humans, we see that any alleged justification to kill a pre-born could only be right if the justification also works for killing a toddler. If you ever get stuck with a tough scenario (say, questions about poverty, privacy, or even conception through rape), “trot out the toddler.” That is, apply whatever justification your opponent has for abortion to the termination of a toddler. If it isn’t justified for the toddler, it shouldn’t be justified for the pre-born child. You can read more about this toddler tactic here.

So, let’s recap: You’ve demonstrated to your opponent that the pre-born child is a complete and unique living human being, despite four differences that are morally irrelevant. What happens if your opponent then says, “Yeah, maybe the pre-born child is a ‘human’, but it isn’t a person.” What then?

History

If someone ever suggests to you that some human beings are not “persons”, challenge them immediately. History is your ally here, because history repeatedly demonstrates that the law will only separate personhood from humanity for nefarious ends. Consider these historical examples:

  • 1858, Viriginia Supreme Court: “In the eyes of the law… the slave is not a person.”
  • 1881, American Law Review: “An Indian is not a person within the meaning of the Constitution.”
  • 1928, Supreme Court of Canada: “The meaning of ‘qualified persons’ does not include women.”
  • 1936, German Supreme Court: “The Reichgericht itself refused to recognize Jews… as ‘persons’ in the legal sense.”
  • 1997, Supreme Court of Canada: “The law of Canada does not recognize the unborn child as a legal person possessing rights.”

In every case, with the slave, the Indian, the woman, the Jew and the unborn child, science and common sense tells us that they are human. Only the law had the chilling audacity to strip these groups of personhood. If someone is a living human being, then they are a person. A separation between these two can only ever lead to evil.

Human Rights

Quite simply, if you believe in human rights, then you must believe that human rights belong to all humans. And for human rights to have any meaning at all, those rights should begin when the human begins: at fertilization.

The law in Canada (and in certain American states) offers absolutely no protections for the pre-born child. From conception to birth (and sometimes even immediately after birth), a pre-born child can be killed for any reason or for no reason at all. This is a gross violation of human rights. Because Christians recognize pre-born children as our neighbors, made in the image of God, we must be at the forefront of defending their lives. God calls us to nothing less. As Bonhoeffer once said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Image credit: Shutterstock

by Frank Turk

From 2006 to 2012, PyroManiacs turned out almost-daily updates from the Post-Evangelical wasteland — usually to the fear and loathing of more-polite and more-irenic bloggers and readers. The results lurk in the archives of this blog in spite of the hope of many that Google will “accidentally” swallow these words and pictures whole.

This feature enters the murky depths of the archives to fish out the classic hits from the golden age of internet drubbings.


The following except was written by Frank back in January 2010. Frank explained how and why a concrete love of neighbor (as in the Parable of the Good Samaritan) glorifies God.

As usual, the comments are closed.

There’s a way in which God is glorified which, I think, we overlook pretty regularly. And I have a passage of Scripture about that which I’d like to present and discuss:

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

Think about that: for Jesus, it was enough to say that loving God greatly (with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind) and loving men particularly (that is, the same way you love yourself) to warrant the inheritance of eternal life. There’s no mention there of resurrection or repentance, is there? Yet Christ says, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”

Was Jesus preaching “sloppy agape”? Where’s the Glory of God? Where’s the law, and man’s inability? Doesn't this conversation intimate a synergistic view? How could the lawyer who was testing Him be “correct” to say that the Law demands love — in the right way, and two different kinds of love to be sure – and that this is enough to gain eternal life?

Now, think on this: the matter of loving God as it is manifest in loving people is what is at stake here. The lawyer asked the question “who is my neighbor” to “justify” himself – that is, either to demonstrate that his first question was not a trap, or to demonstrate that he is not himself a fool for asking a ridiculously simple question.

So the matter of “who is my neighbor” is about how we keep the commandment to love God and love our neighbor. And in that, Christ [as Luke tells it] gives us 3 examples of men who have some relationship with God and with an actual person.

You've heard this sermon before, I am sure: the priest avoided the man; the Levite avoided the man. But the Samaritan did not avoid the man. It seems like a kindergarten Sunday school lesson, I am sure, but let’s think about this for a minute. In John 4, the woman [a Samaritan] at the well said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans, John makes clear) That is, the Samaritans worship God apart from the Jews, and the Jews think that because of this, there is enmity between them – the Samaritans are rather less than lovers of God.

But it is the Samaritan who, as Jesus says, “proved to be a neighbor”.

Consider it: the Levite and the priest have the temple, and its sacrifices – but what do those things cause them to do? The Lawyer can cite the Sh’ma, and connect the admonition of the Sh’ma to obey God and His law to the broad command of Lev 19 which says, frankly, that you shall love your neighbor as yourself in a concrete way. Don’t lie; don’t steal; don’t cheat; care for the poor from your own portion; do not take vengeance, and do not do injustice in court. But Christ tells him that loving God requires you to love people. You can't be doing the former unless you are doing the latter.

See: God is glorified when we love. That may seem somewhat uncontroversial to some people, but there’s a reason God is glorified when we love: it is because God loves. The fact – the indisputable fact of the Bible – is that God loves men, and that love is glorifying to God.


Your weekly dose of Spurgeon

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 28, sermon number 1,653, “The resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

“The resurrection of our Lord, according to Scripture, was the acceptance of his sacrifice.” 

By the Lord Jesus Christ rising from the dead evidence was given that he had fully endured the penalty which was due to human guilt. “The soul that sinneth it shall die”—that is the determination of the God of heaven. Jesus stands in the sinner’s stead and dies: and when he has done that nothing more can be demanded of him, for he that is dead is free from the law.

You take a man who has been guilty of a capital offence: he is condemned to be hanged, he is hanged by the neck till he is dead—what more has the law to do with him? It has done with him, for it has executed its sentence upon him; if he can be brought hack to life again he is clear from the law; no writ that runs in Her Majesty’s dominions can touch him—he has suffered the penalty.

So when our Lord Jesus rose from the dead, after having died, he had fully paid the penalty that was due to justice for the sin of his people, and his new life was a life clear of penalty, free from liability. You and I are clear from the claims of the law because Jesus stood in our stead, and God will not exact payment both from us and from our Substitute: it were contrary to justice to sue both the Surety and those for whom he stood.

And now, joy upon joy! the burden of liability which once did lie upon the Substitute is removed from him also; seeing he has by the suffering of death vindicated justice and made satisfaction to the injured law. Now both the sinner and the Surety are free.

This is a great joy, a joy for which to make the golden harps ring out a loftier style of music. He who took our debt has now delivered himself from it by dying on the cross. His new life, now that he has risen from the dead, is a life free from legal claim, and it is the token to us that we whom he represented are free also.

Listen! “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again.” It is a knockdown blow to fear when the apostle says that we cannot be condemned because Christ has died in our stead, but he puts a double force into it when he cries, “Yea rather, that is risen again.”

If Satan, therefore, shall come to any believer and say, “What about your sin?” tell him Jesus died for it, and your sin is put away. If he come a second time, and say to you, “What about your sin?” answer him, “Jesus lives, and his life is the assurance of our justification; for if our Surety had not paid the debt he would still be under the power of death.”

Inasmuch as Jesus has discharged all our liabilities, and left not one farthing due to God’s justice from one of his people, he lives and is clear, and we live in him, and are clear also by virtue of our union with him.

Is not this a glorious doctrine, this doctrine of the resurrection, in its bearing upon the justification of the saints? The Lord Jesus gave himself for our sins, but he rose again for our justification.


Gary DeMar
Gary DeMar

The liberal folks at Sojourners have put together a Poverty and Justice Bible that’s being published by World Vision and Bible Society:

“The publishers of the Poverty and Justice Bible went looking and highlighted almost 3,000 verses in the scriptures to show that God has something to say about injustice and oppression. With bright orange highlighting, a quick glance is all you need to see that God cares about the poor — a lot.”

True enough, the Bible has a great deal to say about poverty and justice. Unfortunately for the folks who put this Bible together, there isn’t a single verse that says that civil governments should tax the prosperous so the money collected can be given to the poor. The Bible does not support the idea of a welfare State. This is not to say that the Bible is indifferent to the poor. Not at all. It’s just that there is nothing to support the transfer of wealth through confiscatory taxing policies. There are biblical gleaning laws, but gleaning required work, hard work:

“When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 23:22).

Private charity is the biblical model. The modern-day welfare State has made more poor people and made those who are poor even poorer, and this doesn't say anything about what government anti-poverty programs have done to everybody else. Biblical justice means equality before the law.

“You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly” (Lev. 19:15).

Jesus told the Rich Young Ruler to sell all he had to give to the poor (Matt. 19:16-22). Jesus did not tell him to vote for Caesar to tax the rich to redistribute their income to the poor. Notice that Jesus told the rich man that one of the commandments was “You shall not steal” (v. 18). That includes voters who elect people to tax the prosperous so poor people can get some of their income. If a person has made an idol out of money, like the Rich Young Ruler, then that’s a sin problem not a political problem. Notice that the apostle Paul encouraged personal giving to help those in need:

“Near the end of Paul's ministry he took up a collection for the poor of the Jerusalem church. Why the Jerusalem church had so much poverty is not clear. The Jews in Jerusalem may have isolated Christian Jews from the economic system. Paul and Barnabas promised to help (Galatians 2:1-10 ). This money was collected by Paul from the Gentile churches which he administered. These included churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, and Galatia. He mentioned this offering on three occasions in his letters. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 , Paul indicated that he wanted the church to put something aside on the first day of each week. In 2 Corinthians 8-9 , Paul wrote that the churches of Macedonia had given liberally and Titus would oversee the completion of the offering in Corinth. Finally, in Romans 15:25 , Paul stated that at the present time he was going to Jerusalem to deliver the gift.”[1]

There was no petitioning of the government; no appeal to Caesar. The Poverty and Justice Bible will only increase poverty and pervert biblical justice if the justification of the highlighting of certain biblical texts is designed to empower the State.


Notes:

  1. Terence B. Ellis and Lynn Jones, “Collection for the Poor Saints,” Holman Bible Dictionary.

The post Beware of the ‘Poverty and Justice Bible’ appeared first on Godfather Politics.

I found this set of videos featuring Dr. David VanDrunen speaking about Natural Law in relation to various topics including Roman Catholicism and the Abortion issue. They are pretty short, piece meal type videos, but they are still helpful.

Is Natural Law a Biblical Concept?

Is Natural Law distinctively Roman Catholic?

Natural Law and the Bible

How well can sinners understand Natural Law?

Natural Law and Abortion