Posted in Christian Perspective

Unlikely Allies

Is it possible to join forces with someone you disagree with very strongly? Suppose you are at two ends of the theological spectrum? What about being chief antagonists in partisan politics? Is it possible to find common ground on which to stand?

This particular conversation is one I have been having with myself for a couple of years now. Later I will tell you what brought it on.[1] For now, though I’d like to test the waters.

Putting to Light My Convictions…

A little bit about myself in case you haven’t figured it out yet. (Figuring it out shouldn’t be that hard, if you’ve taken the time to read my bio, and my beliefs pages). I am what you would call theologically conservative. I am a Reformed Christian that takes the Holy Bible as the only consistent rule of faith for living a god-honoring life. What does that mean? Namely, what the Bible says about any area of life it does so authoritatively.

This means that I am not a “red-letter” Christian or a “New Testament” Christian, but one that is concerned about the whole counsel of God—Both Testaments/covenants (cf. Acts 20.27). In other words, God’s Law applies to life as well as a righteous ethical standard given to guide the moral practices of all living; in particular, those who profess to be His people. All people will be judged by this Law of God in light of its chief standard bearer Jesus Christ.

There will be those in this life who will find His sacrifice necessary, others who do not. Those who do will have supplied to them eternal life—an eternal relationship with the Holy Creator, in a holy state. Those who do not, they too will receive an eternal reward but of the negative sort. Wanting nothing to do with God in this life, they will find themselves forever separated from His light cast into outer darkness in a tortuous state where weeping will be a common occurrence, gnashing teeth in anguish and anger with be continual, along with loneliness and despair without end.

**Knowing these things, it would seem that I’d have little in common with an ardent atheist, who denies all of the things I have just mentioned above.

With me so far? Good. Suppose for a moment that the following scenario took place.

Hypothetical Realism

One day in a local pub stooping over a pint of ale I notice in a darkened corner, out of the way of prying eyes a person about to be attacked. The individual in question could be a young lady being come upon by some lecherous men. Or it might be a lanky dude with big engineering glasses and a pocket protector full of pens just trying to ease the stress of a long work day trapped in an office by eating some tasting pub fried delicacies washed down with a cold one, but is about to be attacked by some drunk, abusive thugs.

The Appropriate Response…

Now depending on the type of individual you are, you might be spending your time wondering right now why I would be in such an establishment if I’m a professing Christian that believes in the Bible, Jesus, and all that other jazz? If you are…stop it. That is not the issue. It might be an issue for you, and I’d be happy to discuss it at another time, but not now. The issue is “What should my response be as a Christian?”

According to the Law of God…

The law of God says I am supposed to love my neighbor, but what does that look like in this scenario? The law also says I am not to “murder,” or “rob” my neighbor either, which conversely means that I am called to protecting life and property (primarily in my own sphere—“I don’t kill,” and “I don’t steal”). Therefore, in the scenario presented above I am called to protect my neighbor’s well-being and their wallet from those who mean them harm.

Instinctively, I know this. Being a sincere student of the Word of God (a.k.a. the Holy Bible) affords you this knowledge:

“Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Psa 82.4).[2]

Back to the Hypothetical…

Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against me. I can handle myself in a tussle, but a safer bet would be to have some aid. (Sorry, I’m not Keanu Reeves in one of his mythical action roles—i.e., Neo, or John Wick).  Seeing that the situation is escalating, I push my personal fears aside and act on behalf of the abused.

Regrettably, my earlier hesitation allowed things to get physical. Their victim is still reeling on the floor dazed. And while I am concerned for their welfare, I can’t really focus on them as I am now in a fight for my own life.

I shove one of the guys out of the way and grab the other dude by the back of his long greasy hair. Their prey has now been forgotten; they’ve got a new pest to be concerned about.  I slug the greaser in his teeth and as he is falling back the fellar I’d shoved off-balance earlier attempts to sucker punch me from behind. I lean slightly forward and offer a short but powerful rear kick (ushiro geri for those in the know) into his lower abdomen. Unfortunately, there was a third perp lurking in the shadows that I had somehow missed. (Maybe he was returning from the restroom, I don’t know). He is on me like a stealthy mosquito. The crack in the back of my skull makes a brilliant light show behind my eyes. I fall back a step…but just when his arcing haymaker is about to finish its flight he is violently struck from the side and drove to the floor.

As the other two guys begin to advance on me several flashlights beam through the shadowy haze. I notice that the music has stopped, and I hear an insistent yell to “FREEZE…KEEP YOUR HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM!” Behind me, I notice that a couple of fellow patrons are helping the previously beaten victim up from the floor.

The Question at Hand

Now, I could go on with my whimsical scenario, but I think I’ll go ahead and stop right there. Suppose, I find out later that the person who came to my rescue was an ardent atheist, or perhaps even a Muslim. Should I as a biblically faithful Christian accept their aide? Should I be thankful? In this case, it appears I had little choice, but what if I did? What then?

Trying Not to Get Sidetracked…

Now I realize that some of you are hung up on possibly two things from my scenario. The first is probably that you are convinced that a Christian would never in his/her life been seen in a pub having a drink. “Those are places where good old holy people don’t go.” You’d be wrong on three different accounts (biblically, historically, and culturally). The second for a smaller number of you would be that a Muslim would never go to a bar, a pub, or any other place that alcohol is served since, like the Fundamentalist and my Baptist brethren, they don’t drink. To do so would be an egregious sin. (I must admit that my knowledge of Islam and the differing sects within it is apt to none. I know the basic fundamentals of their faith, their pillars, from various comparative religious texts, but I am not in the know as someone like Dr. James White at Alpha and Omega Ministries might be).

Regardless of how you might feel about either subject they are side issues. If you’d like to discuss them, drop a comment and I’ll see what I can work up. If not, let’s not get sidetracked.

The Answer to the Question…

The concern here is whether or not it is right for a Christian to accept the aide of someone who is not? Is there ever a circumstance where I might be found working with a non-believer?

The answer is “YES.” When it comes to the preservation of life. When it comes to matters of righteousness and justice. Then, the answer is unequivocally “YES.”

As Christians we are called to love our neighbors. This is not only a mandate from God, but it is a desire from God. All people are made in God’s image, although not all people are God’s children.

Suppose we change the scenario to the Pro-Life arena. There are members of other faiths that agree that the life in the womb is sacred. That it should not be snuffed out in terms of convenience, or as an act of self-worship. If an atheist or a Muslim or whomever wants to help me (us) in stopping the murdering of unborn babies, then I say “thank you Lord!” I can say that, because I am blissfully aware of various truths in Scripture that come to bear on this issue.

How we come to the Correct Answer…

First, you have the question of numbers. I decided long ago that I would not fall to the whims of peer pressure. This commitment was tested on several fronts throughout my younger years as a child. Within the past decade this has been tested some more. If I must go it alone to do right, then I will. But, let’s not be foolish. There is strength in numbers:

“And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Eccl 4.12).

Second, Jesus speaks on whether or not those whom we might perceive as non-believers can offer aide to a fellow image bearer in a time of need. The story of the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 17.29-37) offers some important insight for the observant reader. Parables are interesting literary devices. They have one intended meaning within a given context, but like many other biblical texts there, at times, differing applications one might draw from them.

Contextually, Jesus is answering a probing question as to “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 17.29). The person in question wanted to justify himself. He was a self-righteous bigot that looked down on other members of humanity. To challenge him Jesus uses someone that was thought of as unclean—a Samaritan. Their view of the Bible was grossly distorted as they only retained a small portion of it (i.e., the Pentateuch), which made their theological understanding of God, of worship, etc. defunct. I suppose (I’ve never heard anyone label it this way) we might call them a “cult” in today’s language. Biblical Judaism (as opposed to Pharisee/Sadducee/scribal Judaism) was the only true way to know God and worship Him (cf. John 4.22). And so, for Jesus to use them as an illustration of rebuke is very telling.

In the parable, it is not the Jews that help a man who has been beaten and robbed (Luke 17.30). For a priest and a Levite when they saw the man “passed by on the other side” of the road (Luke 17.31). These were supposed to be godly people. These men were supposed to be believers and therefore lovers of fellow man. But they weren’t. The only person who gave a care in the world about the beaten/robbed Jew was a Samaritan non-believer. “…He had compassion” (Luke 17.33) on the Jew.

“He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then set him on his own animal [while he walked the road] and brought him to an inn and took care of him [at his own expense!]. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back’” (Luke 17.34-35; Brackets added for clarity)

The point being that even a non-believer can sometimes give good gifts (Matt 7.11). There are times when even they will show “love to their enemy” (Matt 5.44) as their own consciences prick them since they too are made in the image of God (Rom 2.15). There are various biblical examples where we might draw inferences from that substantiate this position. I won’t be developing them today, nor dealing with the possible objections that may arise (that will be for another day), but I also don’t want you to think that I am merely drawing these things from the thin air.

An Example given…

Joseph worked alongside fellow slaves in Potiphar’s house. He likewise served the jailer when in chains. And eventually, he worked with Pharaoh as vice-regent to save Egyptians and others (including his brothers that wanted him dead) from the great famine that swept through the land for seven years.[3] All three ungodly individuals treated Joseph with kindness. Though the two former instances might be seen in a limited fashion, the latter was the king of Egypt that had given Joseph authority unsurpassed except for the throne on which he sat. This latter co-working was a part of the Pro-Life movement (Gen 45.5; 50.20). Both Pharaoh (a non-believer) and Joseph (a believer) sought to preserve life from that which endangered it.

Closing Thoughts

Christians are called on by the Lord above to…

“Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter” (Prov 24.11).

If this means we may be joined in this fight by those that do not hold our theological convictions, then so be it. We fight for life because in our hearts we know it is God who gives it. The non-believer knows this too, even if he/she denies the foundation from which this springs. Let them act inconsistently with their faith-commitment as we act consistently with ours. And when the time presents itself to highlight our distinctive’s in the faith, we do so boldly, unashamedly, with great conviction and love in the hope that God might use this too to open their eyes. For whether they know it or not, the soul that sins…dies. And so, they need rescuing too.


ENDNOTES:

[1] This will probably come to light in a future post.

[2] All Scripture unless otherwise noted shall be of the English Standard Version (ESV).

[3] The accounting of Joseph’s life, son of Jacob/Israel, is found in Genesis 37-50. His birth record is earlier in the account. See Gen 30:25; 33:2-7.

Posted in Abortion, Uncategorized

History of the Pro-Life Movement: We’ve been Victorious Before

The following conversation really took place. The time and the exact location are not given. What is known is that it occurred on a local news network in front of a live studio audience. With the cameras rolling and the host at his station we are privileged to get a brief glimpse into history that has been forgotten. Something we will learn (if we didn’t already know) is far too common amongst those who claim to know so much. Let’s listen in…

Then Director of Planned Parenthood offers the following accusation:

“What I don’t understand about you pro-lifers is where you’ve been all these years…Women have been suffering for centuries. The pro-life movement didn’t even exist until 1973. You’re just a bunch of extremists, opportunists, and Johnny-come-latelies.”

George Grant smiling gives the following rebuttal:

“Ah, but once again, there is where you are very wrong: The pro-life movement is not a recent phenomenon or innovation…It is two thousand years old. You see, the pro-life movement was inaugurated on a rugged old cross, on a hill called Calvary—it is best known as Christianity. Caring for the helpless, the deprived, and the unwanted is not simply what we do. It is what we are. Always has been. Always will be.”[1]

Our Current Dilemma

We live in a generation that has forgotten her past. Some of the blame we might be tempted to lay at the feet of our teachers, at those revisionists of the past. But the fault really ought to be laid at our feet. It is our responsibility to search into such things. To know…before we speak.

“There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after” (Eccl 1.11).[2]

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…hav[ing] forgotten the law of your God…” (Hos 4.6).

A short word on the above passages…

  • Eccl 1.11—The passage taken from the first chapter of Ecclesiastes would appear, I would imagine to most people, to be a no brainer. The writer (who I believe to be Solomon) is saying that people are quick to forget their past. History doesn’t repeat itself because it is cyclical, but because people are ignorant and repeat the same mistakes from the past not having learned from them. How in the world can you learn from the past, if you don’t know it? The problem that Ecclesiastes addresses is the vanity of mankind, which is rooted in sin.

Have you ever tried to catch the wind with your hand and hold it? That is a close equivalent to the vanity that the writer is referring to. The source of this vanity is the unwillingness on man’s part (male and female) to recognize their Creator and live for Him. And so, they chase after this and that to find fulfillment and unabating pleasure.  But nothing in this life ever satisfies but the Lord God who fashioned us for His purpose and pleasure. Being the rebel that we are, we ignore the lessons from the past, and continue in the folly of those who came before us.

  • Hosea 4:6—The passage from Hosea addresses a similar problem. The context—historically speaking—was during the time of “Hosea, son of Beeri” who ministered during the time “of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel” (Hos 1.1). The prophets of the Lord were kind of like His prosecuting attorney’s. They were the ones that God tasked with bringing charges of a sinful (sometimes criminal) nature having broken the edicts of the covenant between them and God.

The charge in Hosea 4 is rather simple. Verse 6 highlights the problem and its effects. God says, His people die or are destroyed for not remembering His law. Of course, those in leadership bear the greater brunt of the responsibility. Those who teach or are called to teach others are held to a higher standard. If they fail to call to remembrance what God has done in the past, what He has instructed His people to do, they will be severely punished. But this does not remove the blame from those under them.

To put it a little more plainly, teachers are accountable for not teaching. But this does not remove responsibility from the people. Both teachers and students are covenanted to God. if the teachers don’t teach God’s Law (Torah/instruction), then the people who are covenanted to God should do everything in their power to learn their past. They will be judged for not knowing God too—who He is, what He has done, and their heritage in Him.  Which is why we see them dying. They are dying for their own sin.

What does this have to do with the Pro-Life movement?

One of the things that Grant noticed as he traveled around the world advocating for the lives of unborn babies is that “People who had been valiant in the battle for life were generally unaware of the fact that the battle had been fought and won—several times—by Christian pro-life stalwarts generations, and even centuries ago.”[3] This coming from a person who has been on the front lines, so to speak, since the beginning of the Pro-Life movement after Roe v. Wade. Referring to the wisdom of “English author and lecturer, John H. Y. Briggs…” Grant points out that “historical awareness is essential for the health and well-being of any society; it enables us to know who we are, why we are here, and what we should do.”[4]

At the close of his introduction, Grant tells the reader from where he drew his knowledge on this issue. Starting with the Patristic period (era of the Church Fathers), through the fall of Rome, the time of the Renaissance and Enlightenment, the Missionary movement of the 18th-19th centuries, to the time of the first World War (1914), till the present, Grant sought to meticulously draw from the well-spring of history on the Pro-Life movement. His treatment is by no means exhaustive (whose is?), but he does provide an ample bibliography for those keen to further build their knowledge through research.[5]

**I am well aware of the fact that this is a blog post. And so, timing is of the essence. Therefore, I have no intention of dealing with all the different periods mentioned above. If you want to know how the Pro-Life movement has been fought and won at various times and on various fronts, then get the book. At the end of this post I will give you a few other recommendations besides this one. They are all free on PDF (Available Here), or if you are like my wife preferring a physical book to an electronic version, then you may buy a hand held copy. I get nothing out of this. I don’t know Mr. Grant, but I do appreciate his work for the Kingdom of Christ. And having tasted his works on my own, I offer you a delectable portion of some much-needed food for thought.

We shall now turn our attention to a time in American history when the Pro-Life movement fought the battle for unborn babies and won. No, I didn’t type that wrong. Our history in the United States tells of a time when abortion was outlawed. When Pro-Lifers united across the country and for a few seasons legalized baby-killing was criminalized. Where the battle was started, fought and won, might surprise you. Let’s go ahead and look into our past…

Where it All Started…

“Like an avowed atheist who sees the devil at night, America awoke in a jolt to the horror of abortion…concern over the scandal of child-killing became…a moral crusade. It became a movement; an outcry against the insidious exploitation of women and children swept the nation,”[6] writes Grant.

The spark that fanned the flame that enveloped the nation was started in the New York Times. That is not a typo. I know, I know, unbelievable right?!? The New York Times is where the Pro-Life movement began in the United States of American in the 19th century. For the kids of today that are confused by century references that means the 1800’s. Specifically, 1871. That is the date that ought to be remembered in history, but time has eroded all knowledge of it. And boy, oh boy! are the Pro-Choicer’s of today glad!

Augustus St. Clair…

An investigative reporter for the New York Times named Augustus St. Clair “on July 1871…was given an extremely dangerous undercover investigative assignment…he was to infiltrate and ultimately expose the city’s prosperous and profligate medical malpractice industry—the common euphemism for the abortion trade.”[7]

Grant retells how Mr. St. Clair “and a ‘lady friend’ visited a number of the most heavily trafficked clinics in New York, posing as a couple facing a crisis pregnancy. [And] they were shocked with what they saw.”[8]  Bear in mind what shocked them was not that they were dark and dingy rat-holes. Dirty, rusted metal coat hangers were not drying on the line dripping bloody remnants of the last back alley “surgeries.” Actually, quite the opposite.

What shocked Mr. St. Clair and his friend was the high-end elegance that these facilities garnered. Not only that, it was also what Grant describes as

“the smug complacency of the poisonous proprietors—men and women who had made quite an opulent living out of dying—contrasted so sharply with the dispiritedness of their patients. It was that the frank and forthright commerce of the death merchants—advertised openly in all the magazines, newspapers, digests of the day—contrasted so sharply with the secretive shame of their customers. It was that the dens of iniquity were simultaneously dens of inequity.”[9]

Snowball that started an Avalanche…

To say that Augustus St. Clair’s indignation had been stirred by what he saw would be somewhat of an understatement. In August of that same year, just one month after getting the assignment, he “wrote a hard-hitting three-column article which the Times published…entitled ‘The Evil of the Age….”[10] In the opening of this article, published in the New York Times mind you, was a polished, yet scathing reality check for the readers. St. Clair put a spot light on what he called “the murder…of thousands of human beings…” not to mention the “thousands upon thousands more of adults [being] irremediably robbed in constitution, health, and happiness.”[11]

Personally, I find the honest tenacity of St. Clair’s position refreshing and enlightening. We are often told today that the best way to address abortion is by making it about science or philosophy or proper education, but St. Clair put a spotlight on it by calling it what it is…MURDER!  He didn’t hem and haw around the subject like so many Pro-Lifer’s do today. He wasn’t ashamed he was outraged by the barbarism of it; especially, the way those of the movement try to put a false veneer of beauty on it. He ripped the lying shroud right off of the Pro-Choice movement. And the result, while it may seem surprising to our modern ears, is nonetheless exciting.

Once St. Clair started his snowball roll at the top of “Press Hill” others joined the fray and it grew and grew and grew. Eventually,

“…a number of courageous journalists, following St. Clair’s lead in the Times, began to expose the awful practices of heretofore respectable and upstanding physicians, who traded on the misfortunes of others. Before long, the dam of self-interest broke and a flood of articles began to appear in several other New York papers—the Tribune, the Herald, and the Police Gazette. Soon, all around the country, the same newspapers, magazines, and digests that had previously accepted advertising from abortionists began to throw the searchlight of truth on their detestable deeds of darkness….”[12]

Even the Medical Community Jumped on Board…

Grant points out that

“the Journal of the American Medical Association, published a scathing critique of abortion’s death ethic noting that from the moment of conception: The unborn child is human, and at all periods differs in degree and not in kind from the infant and the adult. Therefore, we must regard it as a human being with an inalienable right to life, and that its destruction is homicide.”[13]

The Politicians Finally answer the Call…

Yes, if there is one way to get a politician on your side, it is to make your voice heard. There is a reason that a kid screaming will often kid their way. But this issue is about saving the babies, so that they can scream!

Grant explains, “Even reticent politicians and barristers began to take notice and take action. Tougher restrictive legislation, more efficient local enforcement, and strict sentencing guidelines were put into place all around the country, and the prosperous physical-killers were driven to desperate resources. Eventually every state in the Union passed laws making their morbid arts illegal. Many went so far as to affirm that the abortion of ‘any woman pregnant with child is an assault with intent to murder.’”[14]

The Chief Instigators of the Movement…

Without reading the book and looking into the history of the movement I can see where the reader might assume that it was the journalists, politicians, and some courageous members of the medical community that led to the national illegalization of abortion. That would be incorrect. Earlier I had stated that St. Clair is the one who started the snowball’s descent down “Press Hill” that sparked national concern. This is true, but before St. Clair formed the snowball someone else had caused it to snow. Or, to switch metaphors, someone else had dug away earth and laid the right foundation for St. Clair to build upon. The fact of the matter is that “it was the church that led the pro-life movement toward a consummate victory.”[15]

How so? The same way the road to victory is always paved over sin, hell and the grave by preaching and teaching the Holy Word of God. Immediately, when the dust had settled after the Civil War ministers and churches of all stripes began preaching, teaching and writing against this atrocity that had festered into the soul of American soil.[16] We shouldn’t be surprised that abortion found a foothold in this nation. For far too long we had festered another form of hate on fellow man—chattel slavery.

Assuming that the evil was vanquished, the light of the gospel was shown on another area. What may be surprising to the youth of our nation (I know of many adults who do not realize it), is that the principles, laws, and convictions that originally settled in the footer of which would become this great precipice the United States of America was the conviction that the God of the Bible is Creator and that His law is the final governing Word on right versus wrong. Life is precious because God gave/gives it. And only the Giver has the sovereign right to take it.

With such reminders,

“In less than two decades, the church was able to marshal hostile journalists, ambivalent physicians, reticent politicians, and even radical feminists to the cause of exploited mothers and their helpless unborn. They succeeded overwhelmingly. And they restored the foundations of a glorious legacy of freedom and justice that had always been at the heart of the remarkable American experiment.”[17]

Closing Remarks…

For those interested I offer a brief appendix and the promised link and references to the book cited above, as well as a couple others. I hope you enjoyed this brief history of the Pro-Life movement here in the United States. The victory has been won before. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. But we must be resolute in defining what the practice of abortion truly is (MURDER). Understand the root that drives it (Sin of Pride). And then, give the only remedy that will heal the wounds that have scarred our land (the Gospel of Jesus Christ).

Appendix

Who is George Grant?

I have no intention of giving a bio of the man, that is something you may research for yourself. I will however, tell you what he has done (and still continues to do). He has written many books for the Pro-Life movement. In particular, he has written some works specifically geared toward pulling back the shroud that enshrines Planned Parenthood and their notorious founder Margret Sanger.

Sanger was about as hateful a woman as you could get. She was a eugenicist that believed, very similar to the Nazi party, that the best way to make sure life went forward properly in the best possible way was to control the breeding of the human population. She was akin to the modern-day fanatics that believe the earth is going to die within a generation or so if we don’t get a hold of an exploding human population. She was also a notorious racist, hater of the lower class in society, and those of religious faith. In particular, she was an ardent opponent of Christianity, and her lifestyle promoted everything that was contrary to biblical teaching. Though she is well known for promoting contraception, what she really favored was the killing of the offspring in the womb using any means necessary. The popular Plan-B pill or morning after pill, as it is sometimes called was one of her chief desires to create.

Here are a couple more works written by George Grant. The first is a biographical analysis of the famed feminist Margret Sanger who I lovingly spoke of above. The second was written on the legacy she left in her wake—Planned Parenthood. The third title is the one that I have used for this post.

    • Grant, George. Killer Angel: A Biography of Planned Parenthood’s Founder Margaret Sanger. Franklin, TN: Ars Vitae Press & The Reformed Library. 1995.
    • __________. Grand Illusions: The Legacy of Planned Parenthood. 2nd Edition. Franklin, TN: Adroit Press. 1992.
    • __________. Third Time Around: A History of the Pro-Life Movement from the First Century to the Present. Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishers. 1991.

I would highly recommend that you read all three ( Again, Available Here)if you are at all interested in learning the history of the Pro-Life movement from a purely Christian perspective. Which I believe is the only consistent and effective way to address the murder of babies in the womb; as, it is gospel-centered and unabashedly unashamed of identifying sin and the only remedy found in the life-giving sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Lord.


ENDNOTES:

[1] George Grant, Third Time Around: A History of the Pro-Life Movement from the First Century to the Present (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishers, 1991), 1-2.  Italics in original.

[2] All Scripture unless otherwise noted shall be of the English Standard Version (ESV).

[3] Ibid, 2-3.

[4] Ibid., 4.

[5] Ibid., 4.

[6] Ibid., 95.

[7] Ibid., 91. Italics in original.

[8] Ibid., 91.

[9] Ibid., 92.

[10] Ibid., 92.

[11] Ibid., 92. Quoted in Marvin Olasky, the Press and Abortion, 1838-1988 (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 1988), 26.

[12] Ibid., 95. Italics in original.

[13] Ibid., 96. Quoted in James Macaulay, Current Heroes: Examples of Faith for our Time (New York: American Tract Society, 1879), 42. Italics in original.

[14] Ibid., 96.

[15] Ibid., 97.

[16] Cf. pp. 97-100.

[17] Ibid., 100.

Posted in Abortion

Debating Abortion: Why it’s Done and What’s the Appropriate Response?

Why is there a debate on abortion? Have you ever sat back and really chewed on the reasons behind the debate? I was born in the late 70’s, and so as long as I can remember (at least when I started to care about such things) the debate on this issue has been the norm.

Some will say that the issue is about “women’s rights,” or “reproductive rights.” Some will claim that it is a scientific question of when life begins. Others will attempt to identify the debate on philosophical grounds, specifically in terms of person-hood. But do any of those really get to the heart of the matter? Is there a heart in the matter?

What I find at the same time amusing and disturbing is the reluctance for a great number of people on either side of the debate (Pro-choice; Pro-life) to see it as a religious issue. The general attitude seems to be “that must be avoided at all costs!” There will be those of the unbelieving sect that will sneer at the very audacity of daring to bring religion into the debate. Similarly, those of the believing sect will either tsk, tsk, tsk at the notion, or they will cower in fear of appearing too confrontational to others.

A couple of things might be said to both sides on this particular point…

First, a debate by definition is an argument of opposing sides. The argument is by its nature confrontational. To debate the position of another is to attack that position you are arguing against. In the same breath, you are also defending the position that you hold in a debate against the one who is attacking your position by arguing against it. DEBATES are CONFRONTATIONAL. And so, I wonder what is the root cause of the professed believers in shying away from dealing with the religious nature of the debate?

Secondly, religion by definition is “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.”[1] Therefore, there is no question that the debate over abortion is religious in nature. All people are religious, although they may differ in the object of their faith-commitment. If you happen to be one that prefers to leave religion out of the discussion, you may not like to hear that, but truth that is psychologically disturbing to the recipient is nonetheless truth.

Why the Debate?

Back to the original question I proposed at the beginning of this post: Why is there a debate on abortion? What is at stake? What is the heart of the issue? The answer is PRIDE.

Prides says, “To everybody else go and die, I am going to do it my way!” Pride is by nature autonomous. Pride recognizes no other authority but self. Pride is the blessed root of selfishness. Pride cares little for the affairs of others, but only that which is precious to itself.

Again, I find it amusing and disturbing that pride is the reason not only for abortion, but the reluctance to see the debate as religiously oriented. Pride is also the reason why so many go to such great lengths at avoiding the debate. As if a strong confrontation of ideas is wrong?

Christian Commitment…

I should add at this point that the Christian is commanded by Christ to be Christlike. Which means “gentle as doves and wise as serpents.” Which looks like speaking the truth in love, but with love of God as the ultimate commitment that cannot be subverted in the slightest. Which means being gentle and firm at the same time; patient and insistent; kind but unabashedly bold for the truth.

The Underlying Issue…

Now I will grant that the reason the one side (Pro-choice) wants it to remain outside the purview of a confrontation is because they do not want to hear opposition. They don’t want to be told they are wrong. They don’t want to be told that there are consequences for choosing to “off” their offspring. They don’t want it to be an issue of right or wrong, because “choice” sounds so much more intelligent and sophisticated. Most of all they don’t want to be told that what they are really doing is sinning. Sinning against the child in the womb, against the father who is also responsible for the child, against the society that feels the effects of their “choice,” but most of all they don’t want to be told they are sinning against a Holy God in heaven that will hold them accountable for their “choice.”

At root, pride is found nestled, deeply embedded in the hearts/minds of those on that side of the fence. Sadly, they are not the only ones. For in an effort to “keep-face” with the world; To not come off as a bigot before the multitudes; To not be hated by those who they may encounter on a daily basis, or break bread with during those special times of the year, Pro-lifer’s will avoid bringing religion—specifically, the Christian faith—into the discussion.

Speaking specifically to those who bear the cross of Christ

For the Christian to effectively address the issue of abortion they must understand that it is a gospel issue. How so?

First and foremost, in recognizing that abortion is not about “women’s rights,” or “reproductive rights,” or about “scientific evidences,” or “philosophical meanderings.” Abortion is about fallen human beings that in an effort to preserve their way of life and guard the convictions of their own hearts, sacrifice their children on the altar of convenience.  One glaring example of this that comes to mind is that of actress Michelle Williams who thanked her ability to kill a child to promote her career. (Read Here).

Secondly, by defining abortion for what it truly is…MURDER! When we properly define it for what it is, then we are able to rightly identify the class it fits within…SIN! Again, I am often amazed at the way people refuse to define terms. Abortion is the murder of an unborn, but living, child. To call it a fetus does not change this fact, for from the Latin fetus means young one, babe or offspring.

Third and finally, admitting that there is only one solution to sin—the gospel of Jesus Christ. A person who takes the life of their own offspring is in bondage to sin. Who can set them free from that sin? Who can lift them from the muck and mire, pulling out their prideful roots that have embedded their hearts/minds, if not Christ? There is no one else. Christ alone atones for sin. Christ alone gives victory over sin. The work of Christ alone breaks up hardened hearts, giving them a heart of flesh.

Brief Worldview Analysis…

The fact is, if you are trying to change a person’s position which would need to go against their base convictions of reality, you cannot do it. Facts and evidences will not change a person’s heart. That person will stick to their guns. They will hold tight to their presupposition, for to give up that one many others would have to follow.

Which is why you will hear various “buts” to escape the obvious, logical conclusion that the thing growing inside of a woman during her pregnancy is not a thing at all. It is a human being, a person, a little babe that is young and small, but growing onward toward maturity. The issue scientifically is not that its just a lump of cells, a mutation, an alien, or an intruder, but the offspring of a union between a man and a woman.

The issue is not intellectual, scientific, or philosophical but the condition of the human heart. Of course, all of those things have a bearing in the discussion, but a person’s intellect, interpretation of scientific facts, and the philosophical conclusions they draw are driven by the object that holds their faith (i.e., faith-commitment).

A couple possible objections…

“Yes, but if I’m offensive to the person(s) I am speaking to they will shut their ears. They will refuse to listen, and I will lose my opportunity to present the gospel.”

  • If you know anything about the Lord Jesus, you will see that he never subverted from the truth in order to be inoffensive. In fact, a consistent reading of the gospels will show that Jesus was at times very offensive, and He never apologized for it. Better to smack the person that needs smacked in order to wake them up, then to butter them with kisses and let them die. He told the truth graciously, which meant the things I said above, and when people left Him because they were offended, He let them. And, when they got angry at his message, he told them that they would die in their sins (verbally shaking the dust off his sandals, if you get the reference).

“Yes, but the Christian should be more about saving lost souls and preaching the gospel, not getting into debates over cultural mores and/or societal and political habits.”

  • The Great Commission (see Matt 28.18-20) says two things that every Christian should know. First, that we are to preach the gospel of God, who is defined by the Lord as (The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), baptizing all people in His Name. Second, that we are to teach all nations (i.e., all peoples) “to obey all that He has commanded.” What do you suppose were the commandments to which He was referring?
  • If you think that New Testament Christian’s Scripture was the New Testament, then you are grossly mistaken. Their Scripture was what we call the Old Testament (Tanakh and/or Torah). The commandments to which Christ referred were His holy law that He gave to Moses long ago. The gospel is about saving people from their sin, but sin is that which we think, speak and do. Therefore, saving people from sin also speaks of justice and righteousness and holiness. Which are the means by which we are instructed to love God and love our neighbor.
  • Thus, the Christian is called to address the societal/political habits of the people by calling them what they are when they stray from God’s holy instruction (sinful behaviors); thereby, pointing them to repentance and a change of heart regarding them. Which in turn does what? Changes the society/political habits of the people because the surrounding culture (i.e., cultus) has had a change of heart.

Forthcoming…

For those unfamiliar with the historic anti-abortion movement, next week I will give you (the reader) some background information and a book recommendation that I believe you will find helpful. If you’d like to hook up with an excellent Christian ministry that is on the front lines of this fight for the lives of unborn babies, then I graciously turn you to End Abortion Now’s website

Have a blessed weekend.


ENDNOTES:

[1] Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster), 1052, “religion,” s.v., def. 4.

Posted in Beliefs

Time: Whose Side is it On?

For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them” (Eccl 9.11)[1]

The signal was given by the tour guide to his assistant. Immediately the vast cavern was encased in darkness, after a hidden a switch was flipped. The lack of light was palpable, almost weighted if you will. Not sure how one feels the darkness, but feel it we did. At that moment the opened eye was straining to gather in all the light that it could, but to no avail.

It only lasted for a few moments, but time appeared to stand still.  Several things rushed through my mind all at once. Wave after wave of thought hit me. Sorrow, loneliness, separateness, and other such emotions seemed possible for the one found trapped in such a situation. As I mulled over such things, I murmured to myself, but slightly louder than I had intended: “This must be close to what it feels like….”

The lights were turned back on…the sensation of light coming out of the darkness forcing the separation between seeing and unseeing, and I finished my musing “…when a person is cast into outer darkness. The source of their gnashing teeth….”  The comment came to my listening ears, “Oh my…the doctrine of death!” This from my sister Rachel whose family was on vacation with my own in Arkansas last summer (2019).

Over the years I have noticed—this is not unique, I am sure—that we go to great lengths avoiding the subject of death. I watched a clip the other day where Keanu Reeves was asked on a late-night talk show what he thought happened when we die. His response avoided the question altogether. He said that people who love us will miss us. The host shook his hand and the studio audience oohed, awed and offered their applause. (As seen below.)

We don’t like thinking about death. To think that our lives are short, that they are as prominent as the dew in the morning or the fog upon a lake when touched by the sun’s rays, is troubling. It disturbs us to consider that our lives can be snuffed out in an instant…without a moment’s notice. And yet, the reality is this:

“Man[kind] is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow” (Psa 144.4)

Though my sister was teasing me for what I suppose she thought was a melodramatic moment, the reality is our days are numbered. And, nothing we can do will add another moment to the time afforded to us. For it is God who as established them:

“In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12.10).

“Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you [O God], and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass” (Job 14.5).

We are prone to forget such things. We want to forget such things. And our adversary the Devil surely does not want us to recall the brevity of our lives. Rather, he is pleased that we fool ourselves into living for the moment with no consideration of what the day might bring. It is no wonder that, we like Mr. Reeves, would rather subvert the question being daily asked of us.

“Daily?” you say. “How so?”

Have you truly looked at the world around you with closed eyes? Is it possible to miss the message painted throughout all of nature? Every summer I am reminded of the horror of death as my nostrils are filled with ripened road kill. Our property’s little forest is littered with decay; fallen trees, rotting leaves, and withered flowers. How many loved ones, how many friends have gone before us into the brink?

Often times you will hear statements like “you can’t outrun death,” or “time will eventually get you,” “you will feel its cold bite.” How easy it is to give death and the grave life like qualities. Though some might argue that this is mere poeticism, I disagree. It is the way that we sinners want to massage our troubled consciences. It is not “time” or “death” that comes for you, but your Creator. He will have His day. There will be a reckoning.

Such thoughts are too troubling. Who can accept them? Better to believe our lives are accidents born of purposelessness, utterly meaningless, than to face the reality of our having been created. Better that than to think of accountability, of responsibility, for how we have spent our lives on this earth. Jesus said something to this effect as well:

“…I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample good laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God [says]…, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12.19b-21).

Now you say to me, “But this is a warning to the rich man, to the selfish, to those who only care about themselves. You are taking it out of context to apply this to anyone else.”

In response I would ask the following: “Who do you consider with the time allotted to you? Do you think of HE who created you, who gives you breath, who provides you wealth and time? Where are your treasures? Are they in Him or they in yourself? Are you merely a fatted calf being readied for the slaughter? Do you see life as a pleasure cruise that is meant to give you every delectable that your little heart can muster…or do your thoughts, words, and actions lend credibility to the contrary?”

Sadly far too many people are too self-absorbed to be worrisome about whether or not they are pleasing the Lord of Glory. God says, “Be fruitful and multiply,” and unbelieving thought says, “I can’t have children, I still want to live.” As if having children hinders living; rather than making it more robust. God says, “Be content with what you have received,” and unbelieving hearts are never satisfied constantly desiring more.

Do I say this pridefully? Do I look at the rest of humanity and say in my own “self-righteousness” tsk, tsk, tsk.  No, the reason for my comments in the darkened cavern and in this post are the same—concern.

I appreciate the reminder of death around me, because it keeps me humble. These reminders point me to one who can give meaning to my life even in death. Such reminders, prick me in my wayward heart to be concerned about the things of God…about His Glory, and not my own. Likewise, being reminded of death emboldens me and drives my passion for that which is lost.

My life is a blessing, because I am aware of the reality that awaits us all. Each day is a gift. Each breath, a miracle. Each relationship, a blessing. Each sample of food and drink, and other leisure activities that I might participate in after a hard day’s work, a pleasure. I am content with the life I have been given, and I try to be mindful of thanking my Creator, my Lord and Deliverer, each and every day. I am confident that He who delivered me from my sin is also able to deliver others, but my heart goes out to those who live in and love their deception for in the end the sorrowful torment of darkness awaits.

I am the resurrection and the life,” said the Lord Jesus, “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he life, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11.25-26).


[1] This post uses the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible throughout.

Posted in Musings

It Take Two to Fight: Analysis of a Common Proverb

A time for war, and a time for peace” (Eccl 3.8b).[1]

We live in a strange day. Take for example the “zero tolerance” policy on violence established in the public-school system. The policy states that any form of physical altercation is punishable by the powers that be. This law is justified by the popular cliché, “It takes two to fight.” (We will come back to that cliché in a bit).

Now I grew up in a different era. And the mindset that I was taught as a young child was this:

“It is wrong to start a fight. You are not to be the instigator. However, if another instigates and/or starts the fight with you, then you are permitted to defend yourself.”

Peaceniks find such logic deplorable. Rather than separate categories, making distinctions between the two—assailant and defender—the zero-tolerance policy pretends that both parties are equally guilty for the conflict.

Recently, I had a run in with someone who tried to assure me that “zero-tolerance” was the way to go; the only rational, justified, logical path of the enlightened thinker. My argument was that it was the polar opposite. Zero-tolerance for fighting (i.e., violence) is irrational, unjustified, and illogical when one realizes that self-defense should not be grouped into the same category of fighting as an assailant.

“It takes two to fight” (common proverb)

On the surface the statement seems legitimate. Mull over it for a moment. Think about the implications of the one who assumes it is true.

The first question we should think through is “how do we define the term fight?” For some, this will seem to be an utter waste of time— “everybody knows what a fight is!”—they will exclaim. A good rule of thumb when discussing topics is never to assume that you or your subject knows. You might. They might. But the thinking that says “everybody knows” is in itself a statement of ignorance. Primarily, because there is no way for you to know that “everybody knows” this or that, and so the comment is self-defeating anyway. Carefully defining the discussion material is always the wise choice. Even if you think you know, better to double check before you start flapping your gums.

The second (necessary) question to be asked is this: “What is being assumed by the claim?” Does it always take two to fight? Have you ever wrestled with yourself over a given subject, over a choice that has come before you?

“Yeah, but the cliché is talking about physical acts, not mental gymnastics,” quickly comes the retort of those in the know. Technically, the cliché is a bit vague. It speaks of generalities, not specifics. The individual in question is the one that offers application.

But, let’s assume that we are only speaking about physical acts. What else does the cliché presuppose? Guilt. “Guilt?” you ask, “How so?” In that the statement says “it takes two to fight”—i.e., both parties are equally guilty of fighting.

Definable difference between Self-defense and Fighting…

There are some notable differences between these two terms. To fight means “to contend in battle or physical combat; especially: to strive to overcome a person by blows or weapons,” but to self-defend means “the act of defending oneself, one’s property, or a close relative.”[2] One talks about an aggressor, the other a defender.

The person who fights another is seeking to dominate the other. Whereas, the person who self-defends is merely attempting to ward off the assailant. The former is an instigator, the latter a defender. They function differently because they fill two separate categories of thought/action. Naturally, this causes questions to simmer to the surface in our minds.

  • Which is right, which is wrong? Are they both equally deplorable? Or is it possible that one of them is honorable? Is it fair to offer a sweeping generalization and say that both the instigator and the defender are guilty of fighting? Or would we be wiser to notice that the one forced the others hand?

I can see why people want to make a hasty generalization and say that “all” fighting is wrong, but when pressed it is impossible for them to substantiate the claim. How so? Well, allow me to give you some examples to prove my position. I will start with nature, and then allow Scripture to have the final word.

Fighting/Self-Defense in Nature

For the first I will use one that I can personally relate to…my cat “Kitter’s.”

IMG_0194
As a kitten resting on my shoulder.

Her real name is Princess, at least that is what PetSmart called her when we purchased her, but after almost seven years in our home, Kitter’s is the name that stuck. She is both an instigator and a defender.

Kitter’s is an inside/outside cat. During the warm months of the year she spends most of her time outdoors. But, when the weather snaps with a cold streak she eagerly announces her request to come into the warm. She is a bit of a talker, if you get my meaning—MEOW! Which comes in handy on several fronts. She’ll tell when she’s hungry or thirsty, when she’s ready for personal time on the lap (“Pet…ME, please!), and when she has to go to the bathroom—yes, she is potty trained. In short, she is unafraid to tell you how she feels or what she wants.  Truly a blessing in our home. (We are cat people, sorry if you’re not.)

As an Instigator…

IMG_0426
Obviously, this predator needs her beauty sleep (taken today in my office).

Cats are natural predators, and our little Kitter’s is no different.  She has been known to take down birds, chipmunks, mice, and the occasional baby rabbit. She hunts her prey using her God-given attributes; namely, stealth, speed and strength. She is a tooth and claw type of gal that isn’t afraid of a little blood and fresh meat.

That being said, her prey does not laydown and take it. They attempt, to no avail, to defend themselves from this mighty predator. They don’t ask for the fight, but my cat instigates it and so they are left with little choice but to defend themselves—i.e., fight for their lives.

 

As a Defender…

No, I don’t have any awesome stories to share about my cat. She hasn’t saved one of my children from a burning building. She hasn’t taken on a dog in order to protect our younger children. I don’t have any of those stories. But I do have several instances where she has had to defend herself from others of her kind. And, I imagine some that were not. But I wasn’t witness to those encounters, so I cannot confirm or deny those realities.

Tomcats are territorial. They like to dominate other cats. They also like to steal their food. I suppose the same is true with females as well (I mean it’s true for humans, right?!?). In these instances, where another feline has thought the grass was greener on our side of the fence, my cat has got into some pretty heated fights in order to defend herself.

  • Question: Should my cat have lied down and just took it? Should she have let another harm her, steal from her? Would that have been a better course of action?

I know, I know we do not speak of moral culpability when we discuss matters in the animal kingdom. The chipmunk is not wrong for biting the ear of my cat, any more than my cat is wrong for clawing the eye out of the neighbor’s Tom. Nor, is my cat wrong in snuffing the life out of the field mouse that made the mistake of getting too close to my home, or the Tom that just wanted a bite to eat and saw my Kitter’s as a nuisance to an easy meal.

Animals act according to the nature that they have been given. They do not work through ethical matters of right versus wrong. They just do what animals do, and that is perfectly fine. But, what of human beings?

Fighting/Self-Defense in Scripture

Human beings are held to a different standard than the animal kingdom. Our actions have labels rightly assigned to them as either “right,” or “wrong.” Now, this is where things get a bit tricky. No, not for me. As a Christian, I have no problem with an unchanging standard of right vs. wrong; a static moral code. I also have no problem with fighting when it is warranted; particularly, in regards to self-defense.

Not all professing Christians will agree with my position. There are some that take a pacifistic stance to all forms of violence (fighting as an instigator or a defender). There are also those that do as much as they can to distance themselves from the Law-Word of God. Neither group can consistently stand upon those convictions, but my goal is not to argue for or against their position, nor to reveal any weaknesses in it; rather, just to say—not everyone who bears the name of Christ will agree. In fact, some will be found agreeing with the stance that the public school-system gives towards fighting.

Fighting as an Instigator…

I am not aware of any passage in Scripture that advocates the position of the instigator. God’s people are not to start the fight with their adversaries, we are to finish it.[3] Some might object. They might assert that God acts as an instigator several times in the Old Testament. For instance, the Canaanite conquest.[4]

Surely, the Canaanites were just living in their own land, minding their own business before the Lord God sent the Israelites into their territory to kill them, to take their homes and their wells and their vineyards, to make their walled cities their own (cf. Deut 6.10-11). “Seems rather obvious,” the person might opine “that God is the chief instigator in that case.”

The late R. J. Rushdoony made a very astute observation during his lifetime. During his lectures on the Institutes of Biblical Law, under the heading (Law) Partial and Impartial, said the following:

“Every law…is a declaration of war against something and someone.”[5]

With this knowledge we find that God was not the instigator against the Canaanites through Israel; rather, were the Canaanites the instigator against God’s Holy Name.[6] The inhabitants of Canaan (Exod 13.5), the children of Ham (Gen 10.6), suppressed the truth of God in unrighteousness (Rom 1.18). They knew what was right versus wrong, because God the Creator had written it on their hearts (Rom 2.15). Instead of obeying what their consciences screamed at them (from time to time)[7], they refused to acknowledge God as God, choosing in preference created things (Rom 1.24-25). These imaginations of their own hearts were given voices through that which they chose as lawful (good) and unlawful (evil) (cf. Psa 115.8; 2Kgs 17.15). They had grown accustomed to calling “evil good and good evil” (Isa 5.20) and as a result, at the height of their sin (Gen 15.16), God sent in Israel as His sword of judgment against them.[8] Lest anyone complain that Israel took from them what was not theirs, the fact is that the whole earth is the Lords’ and all therein (Psa 24.1-2; 89.11), and God is free to give and take away from any whom He chooses (Dan 4.34-35; Isa 14.24, 27).

Of David and Goliath…[9]

Some might assume that David was the instigator in the battle between him and Goliath, the Philistinian champion. David is the one that ran forward and struck the first blow. He is the one who took Goliath’s sword and chopped off his head for all of Israel to see as he lifted it high in the air. But in this case David was a defender, not an instigator.

This may be hard for some to see. We have grown accustomed to looking at certain details in a particular light. However, it was Goliath that threw out the challenge. It was Goliath that dared anyone to come to him in battle that he might slay them. It was Goliath that cursed David as a dog, and so Goliath is the one who instigated the fight.

Striking the first blow is sometimes an act of Defense…

There comes a time when the challenger threatens, that the individual’s health or life is on the line, that striking the first blow is an act of defense. Recently, I am reminded of the news media blitz about Trump’s ordering the killing strike against Qassem Soleimani, after an attack on U. S. Embassy in Baghdad. Progressives believe that Trump acted as an instigator in that attack, rather than an act of self-defense.

I suppose that the four-kings (of the North) that were routed in battle with Abram (a.k.a. Abraham) would likewise claim that he was the aggressor (i.e., instigator) not them. They had fought with kings, not with Abram, and yet he pursued them with his own men trained in battle to defeat them (cf. Gen 14).[10] But Abram, like David (and I would argue that Trump in regards to Soleimani) were not the instigators, but the defenders who fought to protect what had been given to them (life, family, and land).

Similarly, the thief who dares to break into a home during the night has likewise became the instigator in the fight, when he is struck with a deathblow in the dark by the man of the house. Though the inhabitant might have thrown the first shot, so to speak, he is merely attempting to protect the life, health, and property that has been entrusted to him from above (see Exod 22.2-3).

The Problem as I see it…

The public school-system which is primarily driven by secular-humanism has deemed that all fighting is ethically wrong. But put to the test, their own standard is irrational, illogical, morally wrong, and glaringly inconsistent. If it takes two to fight and both fighters are wrong, then why do they give separate forms of punishment (one lesser, one greater) depending upon the circumstances of the fight? If it takes two to fight and both fighters are in the wrong, then why so many rules (laws) against bullying? Perhaps it would be better for the prey to just allow human predators to have their way with them?

Often times in ethical situations one of the ways to illustrate the folly of a position is to apply it to a worst case scenario. So, let’s take the logic of “it takes two to fight” and those that do are guilty of a wrong to the test.

  • A man aggressively seeks to dominate a woman in order to rape her. She is his prey. He uses physical violence to beat her into submission. Would it therefore be right or wrong for the woman to physically attack the man who is assailing her? Should she use any force necessary in order to stave this threat against her health, life, and property? Or would it be better for the woman, since violence is wrong and all fighting is morally bad, to succumb to her assailant?

Do we really have to think about what the appropriate response should be? Have we gotten so foolish in our society to assume that “all fighting” is wrong, and should be avoided at all costs? I think the answer should be rather obvious, don’t you? The woman should claw, bite, hit, kick with whatever she has or can get her hands on in that situation. In the same way, a child that is being pummeled by a bully ought to have the same right to defend themselves from their attacker. We need to do a better job of defining categories and consistently holding to them.

Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle” (Psa 144.1).


ENDNOTES:

[1] All Scripture is of the English Standard Version (ESV), unless otherwise noted.

[2] Both definitions may be found in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary; “fight,” “self-defense,” s.v.

[3] As I write this, I think of the possible reaction in regards to Satan. Aren’t Christians commanded to take the fight to the devil and his minions? Aren’t we supposed to bear the light and in doing so, oppose the darkness on every front? Yes, we are called to bring the fight to the dark forces that seek to encroach upon the light bearers of God. We are told to be aggressive and wise in this fight. But if we look back through our history, we shall see that ultimately the fight was started in the garden. We didn’t begin the fight, but we are commanded to finish it. To unleash heaven’s fury upon every vain imagination or thought that supposes to usurp the authority of Christ in any area of life (cf. 2Cor 10.4-5). In this, though we may appear to strike the first blow often times by those enslaved to sin, the reality is that in such acts we are merely making a defense for our Father’s world.

[4] For the background on this conquest read Exodus-Deuteronomy. For the actual conquest in action read through Joshua (where the victorious fighting began), Judges (where the people’s resolve failed because of unfaithfulness), 1 and 2 Samuel (where the kings of Israel began waging this war).

[5] The timestamp for this statement is found at 23:40-50 on the podcast mentioned above available through iTunes.

[6] For the crimes of the Canaanites, see: Leviticus 18, 20; Deut 12.31.

[7] I say “from time to time” because our consciences on their own are perverted by the desires of sin entrenched with in our hearts, and the numbing effect that sin when practiced continually has on a person’s conscience in order that they feel justified by the position that they hold.

[8] It is interesting to note the similarities in the symbolic language used with sword and winnowing fork in the hand of God. Both were used in the sense of judgment to separate that which is dedicated for destruction or life. Just as the winnowing fork divides the wheat from the tares, so too does the sword divide the living from the dead (cf. Matt 10.34; comp Jer 12.12; 14.13).

[9] For the details of this battle read 1Sam 17.

[10] Abram (Abraham) did this to save Lot, his nephew, and his nephew’s family from slavery. But in doing so he saved others as well.