Monday, July 02, 2018

Abortion - "I Don't Know"

I posted the below response to an honest "I don't know" comment regarding whether abortion is right or wrong.

I appreciate the honesty of your, "I don't know" on abortion  However, there are times the gravity of a situation compels us to act on the best evidence we have.  Consider this story:

You are the foreman on a demolition crew about to collapse a ten story parking garage. It also happens to be "Bring your kids to work day", so you brought your 8 year-old daughter, Suzie, and 6 year-old son, Mike, to work so they can see what you do.

You've just completed a bottom to top walkthrough of the structure and are about to give the "Blow it" command when you realize your daughter and son are missing.  You last saw them when they were walking with you through the structure. 

Would you go ahead and give the "Blow it" command given the uncertainty of the location of your children and the possibility they might be playing in the structure?  Of course not.  You know the explosions and the collapse of the building on them would be certain death if they are in there.  You would hold the demo and go look for your children.


What would you call the person who would give the "Blow it" command not knowing where their children were?  I would call that person, "Harry Blackmun".

There is a lot negative to be said legally about the Rowe vs Wade decision, but here's just one aspect related to the above story.  Justice Harry Blackmun, who authored the majority opinion wrote: "The judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to… resolve the difficult question of when life begins… since those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus."

Justice Blackmun is actually saying that since we do not know when life begins (implying that there definitely is a beginning), it's ok to kill the unborn.  In other words, I don't know where my children are but let's go ahead and blow the structure.

Let's look at Justice Blackmun's qualifier, "at this point in the development of man’s knowledge."  In the intervening 45 years we have learned a lot about the unborn - to the point that nearly every Embryology textbook affirms that "life begins at conception."  That is settled science now.  We now know the unborn is a separate and distinct human being from the mother.

Many people say abortion is a complex issue, and it is true there can be many hard issues.  However, if we are to deal consistently with thorny issues like rape or incest (which might account for 2% of abortions) as well as "normal" abortions, we must first have a firm grasp on just what abortion is and how to understand it.

Abortion can be resolved to a single question, "What is the unborn?"  If it is just a mass or growth (like a wart), then go ahead and kill it; no excuse is needed.  But if it is a human being, almost no excuse is acceptable for taking the life of the innocent human being.

Below are some links to get more details on the scientific and the philosophical case for life:
http://www.caseforlife.com/
https://www.newyorkapologetics.com/its-false-to-claim-that-no-one-knows-when-life-begins/

When I argue for life, I almost never make a religious case though there is a good case to be made for life.  It seems the pro-abortion religious cases I've seen all end up denying current science and philosophy.  I would rather be able to make the case for life by appealing to good science and philosophy so there is no religious "buy-in" required.  My case is accessible even to the non-religious and cannot be dismissed as "mere religious belief".  My view may be informed by my religious beliefs, but the argument for life stands alone on fact and reason.

Is there still some degree of uncertainty and difficult cases?  Yes, but I think there is more than sufficient evidence from science, philosophy, and religion that the unborn is a human being from conception and with a right to life.  I think this compels us to give an answer contrary to the one Justice Blackmun reached.  Stop the demolition!  There's a precious human person in there!





Saturday, December 30, 2017

Heroic Creatures

Why are we so drawn to epic heroic fiction like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings?

What does that say about us?  Does it give clues as to our origin?  Can this arise from random interactions of atoms?

Something within us says, "This is right."  "This is worthy of our lives."  The noble way is a real road.

We desperately KNOW to give ourselves to a cause greater and grander than ourselves.  To be a part of a heroic cause.  We crave the transcendent.

We may try to deny it, but we are drawn to purpose as a moth to a flickering candle flame.  Perhaps, though, it is the flame that comes seeking us - like God approaching the bush with a purpose for it.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

For I Know the Plans I Have For You

Every Bible verse is to inform us but not every promise is for us.

I remember the first time I heard “’For I know the plans that I have for you’, declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’” Jer 29:11 (NASB).  I  had just gotten on the Va Beach Expressway at Little Neck Rd driving to work at the Norfolk Naval Base and was listening to John MacArthur on the radio when he spoke that verse to ME!   God had a PLAN for ME! 

I was a young Christian struggling to make sense of the Bible, God, faith, … life.  As a concrete sequential kind of person (i.e. engineer), the mere fact that God had a “plan” gave me hope there was some possibility of understanding it, and my place in it, by careful study of His Word!  That the verse seemed to say the plan was personal for ME was gravy on the biscuit.

As I grew in my study of the Word I learned that God does have a plan.  In fact, there is the big plan – the sweep of His-story from before Creation, man, the fall, the rescue plan (Jesus), all the way to the New Heavens and Earth and eternity – that runs from Gen 1:1 through Rev 22:21.  I also came to understand His personal plan for me was in Romans 8:28-39 - particularly in the phrase “to become conformed to the image of His Son.”  His plan for me is to lead me to become more like Jesus.

Many people claim Jer 29:11 as “their” verse and promise.  Some even see God promising them “welfare” as in prosperity and good health.  This is a verse often used by Health, Wealth, Prosperity false-gospel hucksters, but this flies in the face of reality, doesn’t it?  How many great Christians have been poor?  How many, sick?  How about Christians are being persecuted - even to death - in our times?

Reading the verse this way puts false words into God’s mouth, makes the Bible say what it never said, and wrongly claims a promise made for others - ancient Israel in captivity. 

Misreading Jer 29:11 like this sullies God’s Word and dims the beauty of a loving God speaking hope and His plan to people in a specific time and place - Jews exiled by God in a foreign land.  That’s our unchanging God speaking and revealing His unchanging character to us!  That’s the message of Jer 29:11 for us today.  In this case, as often in the Old Testament, it’s not the promise that carries forward to us but the consistency of God’s character.

Good Bible interpretation is NOT just for preachers and Sunday School teachers - it’s our responsibility, too.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What is God Up To Right In Front of Your Eyes?

Sometimes it could be a small Divine appointment like mine yesterday.   Actually, "small" and "Divine" is an oxymoron - nothing God ever does is "small".

I had been thinking about "What is God doing right in front of your eyes" on the 40 minute drive to the office in Monroe, LA.  First order of duty on arrival is always to warm up the coffee I brought from home.  The microwave had been broken the previous week when I was last in the office, and today I was aggravated to find the broken microwave in the office area had not yet been replaced - I mean, don't these people know what's important? 

Then I guessed there was probably a microwave in the break room in the plant, so I head out there. 

I see the cleaning lady, Mary, and we exchange usual pleasantries in passing as I am singularly focused on my mission (male trait).  Yes!   There is a microwave, so I heat up my coffee.  Then it occurs to me I have some new photos of granddaughter Sydney in her first Huntsville snow that I just know Mary would want to see. 

Mary had moved to cleaning the men's bathroom across the hall.  Since she had the door propped open, the proud Papa (me) proceeds right in and I show her the picture on my phone.  I notice Mary's eyes welling up with tears.  My immediate thought was, yes, Sydney is that beautiful, but tears? 

Then Mary told me she had been depressed thinking about her departed mother and that simple picture was a gift from God to brighten her day. 

Just a small thing, right.  I felt more an unwitting accomplice than intentional, but perhaps I might have been tempted to think I had done something rather than God. 

And it's not that after this encounter, the thought "What is God doing right in front of your eyes?" was continually plastered in front of my mind the entire day.  But, it did pop up occasionally and every time it made me look at people and consider the desperation of God-less lives most are living ... and then pray for them.

Maybe God will continue breaking this hard selfish heart.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

God's Gift to me this Christmas

God and I have this thing at Christmas.  He almost always surprises me with a gift.  He knows how much I love music - especially Christmas music - so little wonder most of those gifts have been centered around a song.

All the more remarkable that this year I didn't even think to start listening to Christmas music on the radio until sometime around the 8th of December.  There have been a lot of distractions late this year.

Driving to work this past Friday, as I turned onto Industrial Drive, a beautiful soaring duet came on the radio - a soft piano opening,  the female lead's pure solo, the confident male accompaniment delicately blending and balanced so perfectly.  Gave me chills.  Sometimes in beautiful music you can hear Heavenly reverb.  That's what I heard.

The song was the first in a set, followed by 2 others.  I waited for the radio announcer to name the song and the artists, and ... guess what?  He mentioned the last song, but not the others.  This has happened before, and like the other times, I was not a happy camper.  I have actually called radio stations to find out what song played on a certain date and time!

So here I was given a wonderful and beautiful blessing, and I'm upset because I can't listen again and share the song with my family.

Sunday morning I'm at my computer trying to find my way to the name of the song and the artists.  I found many beautiful Christmas songs ... but not that one.  Later as I started the car for the drive to church, there was a Christmas song playing on the radio.  Then, as I neared Highway 167, the next one began - a soft piano opening, a soaring female voice ...

This time the announcer named the artist, and with a few words of the song, I was able to look it up!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66kZYVVzjow

Yes, God gave me a gift, and, as most of us with longer associations with Him know, the gift is almost always Himself - whether wrapped in a song, a deeper glimpse into His Word, or a peek at a baby in manger on a cold night.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

What's Wrong with our Culture in a Picture


The Bible is no longer authoritative.  It now sits on the library shelf between Fairy Tales, Ghost Stories, and Mythology.

Christians can no longer assume a listener has a common understanding on God, Jesus, faith, sin, salvation or other Biblical themes.  We now have to do the hard work of backing up and laying foundations to understanding through Apologetics and appeals to common ground through general revelation.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Be Not Ashamed - Be Confident



15 So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”
Romans 1:15–17 (NASB95)

 We've heard "For I am not ashamed of the gospel" quoted from the pulpit and may even have used it ourselves ... but what does it really mean?  What idea was Paul trying to communicate here?

First, what it does not mean.  This is not about a parent telling a child, "I'm so ashamed of what you did (or did not) do."  God is not saying He is ashamed of you for not witnessing.  To use this passage to make that point is a total misuse of scripture.  This is actually an affirming scripture, not one that condemns!

Rather, Paul is expressing his confidence in the Gospel - that it will not let him down.  What is the Gospel?  It's the message about Jesus, perfect Son of God who died for our sins that we may have forgiveness and restoration.  Paul is also saying that the message is universal - Jew to Greek - and consistent in that it takes "faith" and that faith is consistent over time - "faith to faith".  There is only one object of true faith - God - progressively revealed from the Jewish "faithfulness" (there's no word in Hebrew for "faith")  starting with Abraham to completion in Jesus and the Gospel of the New Testament.

So, this is really about the fact that we can and should be Confident that the Gospel message is True.  But, how does this confidence arise and grow?  Stay tuned for my next post.