Archive for May, 2011

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The End of the World

May 25, 2011

I recently spent the week in Phoenix Arizona. It was our first vacation with our son Kaeden. And it coincided with the predicted end of the world. ‘May 21st, ‘The Lord is coming’. Perhaps, you saw that billboard in Poco. It was the result of a predication made by a self-proclaimed prophet named, Harold Camping, who is a part of FamilyRadio. His predication was based on a mathematical equation formulated from the flood account in Genesis I believe.

6:00 pm on May 21st passed without a hitch. The world went merrily on its way.

I had a brief moment of panic when I woke up and didn’t see anyone in the living room. Of course the pastor gets left behind.

My fears were unwarranted. The family was on the patio.

Most families have that uncle or cousin that they are embarrassed about. The one who gets smashed at family gatherings, pushes Amway at inappropriate times, or who engages in long winded speculation about the latest conspiracy theory which leads to the occasional roll of the eyes, an awkward laugh, or a nervous giggle. You wouldn’t choose to be associated with this person if they weren’t part of the family. But they’re blood.

My charitable guess is that Harold Camping is a Christian (?). A brother in Christ, part of the family of God, reconciled to the Creator through the blood of Jesus. But I am embarrassed about him. I’m angry at him. I’ve rolled my eyes more than once. He is not helping our team. He’s like the Uncle at the family reunion that other parents caution their kids about, ‘don’t listen to what Uncle so and so says, don’t take him too seriously…he’s a bit odd’.

In fact, he may very well be destroying lives. The family radio guys are destroying families with their radio predictions. What terrible irony. Christians quit their jobs because of what Camping said. Also, think off all the money the Family Radio guys spent on those advertising billboards. Money that could have funded missionary work, alleviated poverty, battled HIV, or rescued girls from the sex trade.

Jesus must weep.

For a moment I cherished the thought of kicking him out of the family. But God is more gracious than I am. God is also more just. I might be trembling in my shoes if I was Harold Camping. James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers because as such you will incur stricter judgment.” A strong warning for Christian leaders.

Not my favorite verse but applicable in this instance. At least Harold believes passionately about the second coming of Jesus. He just keeps getting the date wrong. Maybe he needs to stay away from mathematical equations and focus on proper Biblical exegesis.

Let me quote my friend Jon (check him out at jonmorrison.ca). He writes “I have learned over many years to never trust a pastor with math equations or any sort of work with numbers for that matter. There is a reason we go into the people business”.

That is a good word. I can barely add.

Now, Let me quote my Lord Jesus, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Matt, 24:36).

When someone says they know the time what they are really saying is that they know better than Jesus. Any Christian teacher who claims to know better than Jesus has in that moment completely disqualified themselves.

There’s my two bits on the end of the world that hasn’t arrived yet.

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Abort 73?

May 11, 2011

“If there were windows in the womb there would be no abortions”…

For mother’s day we launch a month long fund raiser for Pregnancy concerns. Pregnancy Concerns is a organization that educates women (and men) about options other than abortion.

Needless to say, abortion is a contentious issue in our culture.

Should abortion be morally permissible? Many in our culture answer this question with an emphatic ‘yes’. To respond in the negative is to oppose Women’s rights while simultaneously imposing your morality on other people. You might as well try and take the vote away from the fairer sex.

How should the Christian respond? Philosopher William lane Craig identifies two crucial questions that cut through the emotionally charged rhetoric and get to the heart of the issue:

(1) Do Human beings possess intrinsic moral value?

(2) Is the developing Fetus a human being?

Let’s take each question in turn, noticing that the first is a philosophical question and the second is a scientific/medical inquiry. Does a human being have intrinsic value?

Intrinsic value means that something, or someone, is valuable if it is an end in itself, not merely a means to some other end. All morally sane people, upon reflection, believe that human beings are valuable in and of themselves, not simply as a means to something else. That is why we ought to love people and use things. To use people to obtain things is deemed immoral because it fails to recognize the inherent worth and dignity of people. The intrinsic worth of human beings is expressed in the ‘United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights’.

The second crucial question we must answer in this debate is, ‘whether or not the developing Fetus (Latin for ‘little one’) is a human being’?

The answer to the second question seems to be a resounding yes. What else is the Fetus? It’s not a dog, a fish or a cat Fetus. Some people complain, ‘the Fetus is just tissue’! ‘Yes, human tissue’. As Christians we should not marshal theological reasons to support this conclusion. All we need is medical science to make our case.

It is scientifically undeniable that from the moment of conception the ‘zygote’ is a genetically complete human being, which if left to develop naturally will grow into a adult member of the species. At the moment of conception sex, eye color, body type, and hair color are all determined and waiting to develop.

This is, of course, completely different than sperm or an unfertilized egg. Neither the sperm, nor the egg constitute a human being because each is genetically incomplete and if left alone won’t develop into anything.

Let’s not forget the pro-choice position doesn’t just make possible abortions shortly after conception. Instead, abortions are permissible, in some places, all the way through the pregnancy. Most pregnancies are detected at around the 8th week and by then we aren’t just dealing with a cluster of cells but a very tiny baby with a face and features.

A pro-choice video called “The Gift of Choice” claims that the unborn is ‘a probability of a future person’. But as writer Randy Alcorn points out, “what’s left after an abortion are small but perfectly formed body parts- arms and legs, hands and feet, torso and head. The physical remains indicate the end not of a potential life but an actual life. If you don’t believe this examine the remains of an abortion. If you cannot bear to look, ask yourself why.”

Check out the video on http://www.abort73.com. Warning: It is very disturbing.

8 weeks into the pregnancy all of the organs of the body are already present, and the muscle and circulatory systems are complete. Brain wave activity is also present . The baby is already moving by clenching and unclenching her little fists and curling her toes. Most abortions occur between the 10 and 12th week of pregnancy .

Let me quote Philosopher William lane Craig in length,

“Those who deny that the little one in the womb is a human being typically confuse being human with being at some later stage of development. For example, Morgentaler (a philosopher) thinks that because an embryo is not a baby, it’s not a human being, and therefore abortion is morally acceptable. This argument seems to me completely fallacious. On this reasoning, we could with equal justice say that because a child is not an adult, he is not a human being; or because a baby is not a child, he is not a human being. Of course, an embryo is not a baby, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a human being. All of these are various stages in a human being’s development, and it is completely arbitrary to cut off one stage and say that because it is not a later stage, it is not a human being”.

To say it another way, ‘coming out of the womb doesn’t magically transform a Fetus into a human being’. A baby’s moral value and intrinsic worth isn’t bestowed suddenly upon exiting the birth canal.

Other philosopher’s like Peter Singer, being unable to escape the scientific facts about the Fetus, have contended that it is ‘persons’ who have moral value. Let me explain this subtle philosophical sleight of hand.

According to Singer, a person is someone who is self-conscious (others define ‘person’ as a conscious, participating member of a moral community). A ‘Fetus’ is not a person and it is, therefore, morally acceptable to kill the ‘Fetus’. To be a person who has intrinsic moral value you need to be functioning as a person which requires ‘self-consciousness’.

The deathblow to this proposed escape hatch for legitimizing abortion is that the same reasoning can be used to justify infanticide. Newborns are not self-conscious either and, under Singer’s definition of personhood, are not persons with moral value.

Singer admits that his position on abortion could be used to justify infanticide. In fact, Singer and others have been forced by their own cruel logic to publicly endorse infanticide.

The moral inconsistency of this position

The moral confusion surrounding abortion is not hard to point out. Let me give you a few very distressing real life examples.

Here is a court case reported by the New York Times. The case concerned an addicted mother who, after her water had broken, shot up with cocaine. One child had already been removed from her custody and when the State tried to intervene and take custody of the newborn, the court blocked the State.

Why?

The answer is startling. Under Connecticut’s abortion laws, the Fetus prior to birth was not a child and, therefore, the woman was not a mother and her actions couldn’t be construed as child abuse.

Here is another true story: In America a news story broke about many women desiring male children over and above female children. As a result of this preference women were finding out the sex of their child in the womb and aborting the baby if it was female (this isn’t just a problem in the developing world). The emotional response to this true story was one of moral outrage. Not surprisingly, the pro-life crowd condemned this practice in no uncertain terms.

The response of the pro-choice crowd was also incredibly negative. What was curious is the reason why ‘pro-choice’ advocates were condemning the practice. Upon first reflection you would think the pro-choice proponents would have no grounds for opposing this practice. After all, to be pro-choice means the woman has the right to choose what she does with the life in her womb free of constraints or outside interference.

Here was the reasoning: “ They said that having abortions for this reason is wrong because it is sexist. Targeting female fetuses and aborting them specifically because they are female is anti-women, and it must end”.

Let me pose a couple questions for your consideration, “How can this practice be anti-women if the Fetus is not a person to begin with’? Isn’t the Fetus just a bunch of cells? If the Fetus is not human in the moral sense than there can be nothing wrong with targeting Fetus’ male or female.

Do you see the moral inconsistency?

Lastly, it is often pointed out that if a mother terminates the ‘little one’ in her womb it is morally permissible and supported by our tax dollars. However, if I were to punch a pregnant woman in the stomach and she lost her baby I could be charged with, at the very least, manslaughter. Not just assault, not just domestic violence, but manslaughter.

Think about that.

In conclusion, some fear that opposing abortion legally will lead to back alley abortions. This is why we support agencies like ‘Pregnancy Concerns’ that educate and support women both emotionally and practically in choosing life. “Every child a wanted child”. Yes! Let’s learn to want our children instead of aborting them. ‘Pregnancy Concerns’ can help.

We are a community of believers that believe in the God of grace, forgiveness and second chances. All sins can be forgiven through Christ and that includes the sin of abortion. Jesus loves us no matter what we have done and his death on the cross atones for our sins past, present and future.

In this next Blog post on this important and controversial issue I will address concerns about extreme circumstances like rape, or when the mother’s life is endanger.

P.S For some reason word press doesn’t allow me to footnote my posts. However, all the information and stories above come from legitimate sources. For further reading see Randy Alcorn, “Why Pro Life’?, Peter Kreeft, “The Unaborted Socrates”, or William Lane Craig, “Hard Questions, Real Answers”.