Posts Tagged ‘Abortion’
Posted on March 9th, 2015 by David Burnette
When it comes to the critical cultural issues of our day, God’s Word should ground not only what we believe, but also how we respond. It’s this latter part that is often most difficult.
For instance, when the biblical position on marriage is thoughtlessly labeled as bigotry, it’s easy to get combative. Or, when we think about the legalized killing of millions of unborn children, often in the name of convenience, it’s hard not to get angry. Even thinking about an evil like human trafficking can be too much to stomach. We simply shut down. On the other hand, some Christians get really fired up when it comes to social issues, believing that they can muster up enough energy on their own to put a dent in world hunger.
To correct these kinds of reactions, there’s a foundational biblical reality that we need to take hold of, though this reality may at first sound like an obstacle to cultural engagement. I’m talking about God’s judgment on the last day. Here’s how Paul describes it: “[God] will render to each one according to his works.” (Romans 2:6).
If we believe this, that God will punish every evil deed, that perfect justice will be carried out in the future, that no one is really getting away with anything, then we are in a much better position to engage culture. Not because we revel in the punishment of those who disagree with us – we pray for their salvation and work for their good – but because we’re reminded of where true justice comes from, and it’s not from us.
If all this still sounds like a de-motivator to engage cultural issues, consider below five different ways the doctrine of God’s final judgment should free us as we face a shifting and increasingly hostile culture:
1. It frees us from a vindictive spirit.
The fact that God will bring every sin to account means that we don’t have to. Judgment is God’s prerogative: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19). While it’s true that we should hate evil (Romans 12:9), and that there is a place for righteous anger (John 2:13-17), it’s also true that our attempts at justice will always fall short. Our role is to love our neighbors, to seek their good, even while we speak with conviction and warn them about things that will ultimately harm them.
2. It frees us from being overwhelmed.
Yes, the issues in our culture, not to mention those around the world, are too big for even an entire denomination of churches to handle. But we don’t have to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the evils in the world if we trust that God will ultimately make things right. We can simply play the part he has given us. That may mean adopting, for instance, without feeling like we have to solve the world’s orphan crisis. Or it may involve contacting your congressman about legislation concerning sex slavery, even if you can’t travel to the mountains of Nepal. Knowing the end of the story frees us to act in the present. We can expose the “unfruitful works of darkness” (Ephesians 5:11) instead of being paralyzed by them.
3. It frees us from self-reliance.
The thought that we, in our own power and determination, can put an end to any sin, much less sins that seem to be woven into the fabric of some cultures, is flat out arrogant. Yes, God has given us opportunities to speak into various issues and to act in ways that make a significant impact, but we cannot eradicate sin. We can’t rid people of lust, self-centeredness, and other heart-problems; only the gospel can do that. But when we remember that ultimate justice is God’s work, that it comes by his power, we are forced to rely on him as we engage these issues. We’re reminded that our efforts will bear fruit in God’s timing and in God’s way.
4. It frees us from anxiety.
From a human standpoint, there’s plenty to worry about when we consider the issues of our day. Our freedoms, our families, and in some cases our economic livelihood seems to be in jeopardy. However, knowing that God is sovereign over all things should keep us from giving in to hopelessness. We don’t look to the daily headlines for hope; we look to Christ. After all, our future is not dependent on legislative and political trends. God will eventually bring the success of the wicked to a screeching halt (Psalm 37:9).
5. It frees us from self righteousness.
The finality of God’s judgment and the horror of hell should inject all of our cultural engagement with a healthy dose of humility, particularly as we consider our own sin and the mercy God has shown us in the gospel. We are accepted by God, not because we are on the right side of cultural issues, but because we are hidden in the One who has died for us and risen again (Colossians 3:3). Christ himself paid the penalty that God’s inflexible justice requires.
In the end, relying on God’s final judgment to bring about perfect justice does not lead to apathy or inaction. Instead, it frees us to engage cultural issues, even those that seem insurmountable, because we know that God can use us to effect real change, and because we know that perfect justice will, one day, be carried out. In the meantime, we pray that those who now disagree with us will have their eyes opened to the truth. We want them to experience the future hope that we now look forward to:
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)
- For more on engaging cultural issues in our day based on the gospel and the authority of God’s Word, go to www.counterculturebook.com.
Posted on February 27th, 2015 by Jonathan
How Memorization Feeds Your Imagination: This is the first of 5 posts in which Joe Carter gives us tools to improve our ability to memorize Scripture. “By the time this series is complete you’ll be able to memorize short lists (such as the Ten Commandsments), learn techniques for memorizing long and detailed lists, and have memorized—and be able to recall—thirty key events from the fifty chapters of Genesis.”
Four Unthinkable Conversations: This creative piece by John Knight shows the lunacy of aborting babies who test positive for disabilities in the womb. He goes further, saying that such abortions actually serve as strong evidence for discrimination against the disabled and must be met with protective legislation.
Which Comes First–The Race or the Arrest?: “When asked whether it mattered that Garner was black and all the officers on the scene were white, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said, ‘I personally don’t think race was a factor.’ But it’s not that simple.” Bethany Jenkins goes on to explore implicit racial biases, how those can lead to unfair policing, and how the gospel is the solution.
Stand with Barronelle Stutzman: Washington’s attorney general offered to settle with the Christian florist he filed a law a law suit against, but she didn’t bite. Read her stirring response in which she courageously stands for truth and freedom. Then stand up with her.
Posted on February 3rd, 2015 by Jonathan
Counter Culture is now available wherever books are sold.
Lately, there seems to be no shortage of troubling headline news. I’m not just talking about tragedies, although there are plenty of those. I’m talking about public policy, popular opinion, and legal rulings that fly in the face of what it means to follow Christ. Can we choose to fight some battles and ignore others? How can we be courageously uncompromising, yet at the same time compassionate?
These are the type questions David Platt’s new book, Counter Culture, seeks to answer. The subtitle gives you an idea of what he covers: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans, and Pornography. You can read more on what it is about, as well as how you can order it, on the book website: CounterCultureBook.com. This site will be a hub for ways you can actively get involved in countering the culture on these various issues.
Here are a few other book-related resources that may be of interest to you.
- Download the first chapter for free from the homepage of the book site.
- LifeWay is releasing a small group study in conjunction with the book.
- The book site offers some suggestions for ways you can get involved in each of the issues discussed in Counter Culture.
- Refer to the Resources page of the book site for supplemental teaching on each chapter.
- Topic-specific booklets will also be made available for each of the issues in the book.
Posted on January 23rd, 2015 by Jonathan
Abortion and the Gospel: “Too often, pastors and church leaders assume that, when talking about abortion, their invisible debating partner is the “pro-choice” television commentator or politician. Not so. Many of the people endangered by the abortion culture aren’t even pro-choice.” Russell Moore encourages us to meet the culture of abortion (and all its casualties) head on with the Gospel of Jesus on Roe v. Wade‘s anniversary week.
Social media and our narrow view of motherhood: Specifically aimed at mothers caught in newly packaged keep-up-with-the-Joneses game of comparison on Facebook, Instagram, and the like, Catherine Parks’ encouragement to broaden the range of people you follow on social media is instructive to everyone. “At the heart of it, our requirements for one another are too small, rather than too great…”
9 Myths About Abortion Rights and Roe v. Wade: This week marks the forty-second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade. Kevin DeYoung seeks to set the record straight by highlighting nine false conceptions people commonly have about abortion rights and Roe. “Get informed. Keep praying. Be ready to act.”
Supreme Court Defends Freedom in Landmark Religious Liberty Case: Joe Carter gives us the basics on the recent Supreme Court ruling on Holt v. Hobbs, in which the Court upheld an Arkansas inmate’s right to grow a half inch beard out of religious conviction. Quoting Eric Rassbach, “This is a victory not just for one prisoner in Arkansas, but for every American who believes and wants the freedom to act on those beliefs.”
2 Big Reasons Evangelism Isn’t Working: “While a person’s response to Christ is ultimately a matter that rests in God’s sovereign hands—something we have no control over—a person’s hearing of the gospel is a matter we do have control over and responsibility for.” Jonathan Dodson goes on to unpack two of the reasons he thinks people find our evangelism unbelievable.
It?: A powerful poem about abortion from John Piper.
Posted on January 16th, 2015 by David Burnette
In view of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday coming this weekend, the following excerpt from David Platt’s new book, Counter Culture, is worth reflecting on as we think of God’s sole authority to give and take life:
As you read through the Bible, you won’t find the word abortion anywhere. But that doesn’t mean Scripture is silent about it, for the core truths we’ve already seen in the gospel concerning who God is, who we are, and what Christ has done speak directly to the issue of abortion.
Consider the way the Bible describes the relationship between God and the unborn baby. The psalmist writes to God:
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. (Ps 139:13-16)
As we read these words, we’re reminded of the core gospel truth that God is the Creator. He alone has the power and authority to give life. Elsewhere in the Bible, Job says, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4). He also says, “In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10).
God is not only the Giver of life; he is also the Taker of life. Again, Job confesses, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away” (Job 1:21). God himself declares, “I put to death and I bring to life” (Deut 32:39, NIV). This is why murder and suicide are both sins. It is God’s prerogative alone, as Creator, to give and take innocent life.
In light of these biblical realities, it becomes abundantly clear that abortion is an affront to God’s sole and sovereign authority as the Giver and Taker of life. (60-61)
In the coming weeks, we’ll be talking more about how our views on the critical social issues of our day should be motivated by the gospel and the authority of God’s Word. For more on how you can get involved on the issue of abortion and a number of other critical social issues, go to www.counterculturebook.com. Counter Culture releases on February 3rd.
Posted on January 14th, 2015 by Jonathan
This weekend, many churches around the country will be observing Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Of course, the lives of the unborn are to be valued and defended throughout the year, but collectively setting this Sunday aside helps to make a statement about what we value as Christians.
It is fitting that this is also the weekend Americans honor Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who valued and defended human life until his was taken. The many parallels between civil rights and pro-life advocacy are stirring; but it should suffice to say, if we believe that all men are created equal and that all therefore have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we cannot ignore those whom God is wonderfully knitting together in the womb (Ps 139:13).
In the ERLC video below, Russell Moore further illuminates why it is so important that Christians stand for the unborn.
Posted on September 18th, 2014 by Radical
What the church needs most today: Robert Godfrey points to Psalm 81 to make the point that the church’s greatest need is to listen to God.
Abandoning the term pro-choice: John Stonestreet points out that abortion advocates are redefining themselves by taking an even harder “pro-abortion” line. Trevin Wax also wrote about the change–“If the abortion-rights agenda is to succeed, then, abortion must be de-stigmatized.”
Ministering to those who experience loss: By sharing her personal experience of losing everything in a house fire, Julie Lowe of CCEF helps us think through how to minister to those who experience loss.
How to criticize a preacher: David Murray gives us ten questions to think through before telling your preacher that he got it “badly wrong.”
Ten ways for husbands to exercise Christ-like headship: Over at CBMW, Owen Strachan lists ten ways husbands can exercise biblical, Christ-like headship.
Posted on August 8th, 2014 by Cory Varden
Cultural Disintegration and the Revival of a Moral Imagination, Joe Rigney: We live in a time of cultural disintegration. Not just America, but the entire Western world is jettisoning the wisdom of the ages and striving to remake the world after our own image. And, unsurprisingly, the fundamental arena in which this cultural unraveling is playing out is that of sexuality.
What’s Wrong with the “Wrong Side of History” Argument?, Kevin Deyoung: No doubt, the “wrong side of history” retort is rhetorically powerful. But it also happens to be intellectually bankrupt. What’s wrong with the phrase? At least three things.
Aborting in the Name of Jesus, Russell Moore: It is one of the most disturbing articles I’ve ever read. The current issue of Esquire magazine profiles the “abortion ministry” of Willie Parker, a doctor who flies in and out of my home state of Mississippi to perform abortions at the state’s only abortion clinic. The word “ministry” isn’t incidental. Dr. Parker says he aborts unborn children because Jesus wants him to.
Posted on June 30th, 2014 by David Burnette
In case you missed it, the Supreme Court of the United States sided with Hobby Lobby in its ruling this morning, saying that the government cannot force closely-held, for-profit corporations to purchase abortion-causing drugs in violation of their religious beliefs. Conestoga Wood of Pennsylvania (another for-profit corporation) sided with Hobby Lobby in challenging this provision of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Russell Moore notes,
“The ruling isn’t just a win for evangelicals, like the Southern Baptist Greens. It’s a win for everyone. Here’s why. A government that can pave over the consciences of the Greens can steamroll over any dissent anywhere. Whether you agree or disagree with us about abortion, every American should want to see a government that is not powerful enough to set itself up as a god over the conscience.”
Sadly, today’s 5-4 ruling will go unnoticed by many people, including many Christians, while some media outlets continue to misrepresent the objections of these Christian business owners. So what was at stake? And why should you care as a follower of Christ? Here are some reactions worth reading, in no particular order:
1. Why Hobby Lobby Matters, (Russell Moore)
3. What You Should Know about the Contraceptive Mandate Decision, (Joe Carter)
5. Hobby Lobby and the Liberty of Conscience, (Kevin DeYoung)
6. Moore Explains Good and Bad News of Hobby Lobby Decision, (TGC interview with Russell Moore)
7. Grateful but Sobered by the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby Verdict, (Denny Burk)
8. Supreme Court Ruling on Hobby Lobby Case, (Al Mohler, The Briefing)
Here’s Russell Moore with a four-minute video on the ruling . . .
Posted on May 9th, 2014 by Cory Varden
“I Feel Super Great About Having an Abortion” – The Culture of Death Goes Viral, Albert Mohler: Emily Letts is a 25-year-old abortion counselor at the Cherry Hill Women’s Center in New Jersey whose video has gone viral. These days, videos go viral on a daily basis, and most are soon forgotten. But not this one. Emily Letts decided to make a video about her own abortion, and the result is one of the most disturbing video messages ever presented to public view.
Walking the Wedding Aisle Without Your Virginity, John Piper: I think the main thing I want to say is this: Virginity is a precious gift that you cannot give to your fiancé, nor she you. That is a great sadness and a great loss. But there are gifts you can give her and God will multiply those gifts so wonderfully that the loss will not be destructive.
Kevin Durant offers emotional MVP acceptance speech, Denny Burk: Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder won the NBA’s MVP for the 2013-1014 season. In an emotional acceptance speech earlier this evening, he gave thanks to God and honored his teammates. But perhaps the most poignant moment came at the end when he honored his mother. His remarks to her begin at 4:58, and it’s worth your time to watch.
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