Abortion…a Blessing?

In a World Magazine blog from last Friday, Marcia Segelstein comments about Episcopal church Reverend Katherine Ragsdale’s remarks on abortion from a speech a few years back.  Ragsdale said:

When a woman wants a child but can’t afford one, because she hasn’t the education necessary for a sustainable job, or access to health care, or day care, or adequate food, it is the abysmal priorities of our nation, the lack of social supports, the absence of justice that are the tragedies; the abortion is a blessing.

And when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe affordable abortion, there is not a tragedy in sight; only blessing.

The ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s education, life’s work, or ability to put to use God’s gifts and call is simply blessing. These are the two things I want you, please, to remember – abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Let me hear you say it. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.

According to Ragsdale, Jesus’ poor, helpless, husband-less, jobless, teenage mother should have had an abortion.

I can understand a non-Christian saying, “I don’t give a rip what God thinks.”  Well and good for you, my friend.  But this is coming from a self-proclaimed “Christian”!  In order for us to know what God thinks, we need to actually read the Bible.  Here’s a sampling:

  • For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb (Ps. 139:13).
  • The king of Egypt said…”When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.”  But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live (Ex. 1:15, 16-17).
  • “For he [i.e. John the Baptizer] will be great before the Lord.  And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb” (Lk. 1:15).
  • And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb…she exclaimed with a loud cry…”For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy” (Lk. 1:41, 42, 44).

So what do you think?  Is abortion a blessing? (Non-Christians feel free to weigh in, too.  Everyone, please be gentle.)


How Should Christians Respond to Obama’s Education Speech?

Obama’s speech on education, which he will give today, has caused quite a stir among Christians, most notably on the Desiring God blog.  There, John Piper expressed his excitment over what the President said.  Basically, Obama challenges students to work hard, be responsible, and have a positive attitude with school.  He said that students need to turn off the TV and get off the Xbox.  I couldn’t agree more.

Some Christians try to find a devil behind everything Obama says.  Some Christians will not give “honor to whom honor is owed” (Rom. 13:7).  I think that’s wrong.  I don’t agree with most of Obama’s policies, but I can commend a man when he speaks truth.

With that in mind, I think if you are one of the Christians who believes you cannot applaud something that Obama says because of his other policies/ideas (which very well may be moral failures), then you are ignoring an important theme in Scripture:

  • Remember that King Cyrus was a pagan ruler of a pagan nation, yet he was the Lord’s “anointed,” who was used to redeem his people. God said, “I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me…I equip you, though you do not know me” (Isa. 45:1-13). It is clear that God can do good through people who don’t know him personally.
  • Remember that God has common grace on all of creation: “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). This includes Obama and all the unsaved teachers who teach our children.
  • Remember that God loves justice wherever he finds it because God is just: “A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight” (Pr. 11:1). And “A just balance and scales are the LORD’s; all the weights in the bag are his work” (Pr. 16:11). This applies even to Obama and education in the United States.
  • Remember that Obama is a “servant for your good” if you are a believer (Rom. 13:4), whether you agree with him or not. Are some of his policies bad? Yes. Was there anything wrong with what he said in this speech? If there was, it was minimal.  Would you fault your non-Christian employer who demands his employees to work harder instead of showing up late, leaving early, and taking an extra long lunch because he didn’t mention Jesus? I doubt it.
  • Remember, finally, that Paul quoted pagan religions in evangelism and teaching (Acts 17:22-34; Titus 1:12). There are commonalities that we can share with non-believers in order to point them to Jesus. Obama can’t point people to Jesus if he’s not a believer, so we can’t expect him to do that. The job falls on us Christians to find common ground in order to tell him (and others), “Look there! That’s Jesus. He made hard work. He created math and science and English and history. And he gives us strength to learn and write papers and do science projects!  To know this Jesus, that is what our children need the most.”

So we pray for Obama and beg God to let light shine in his heart. But we also give honor to whom honor is due. We don’t encourage our children to be like Obama or a teacher or anyone else (not even John Piper!!!). We point them to the cross, teaching them to be conformed to and led by Jesus. As we do that, we tell them to rejoice in truth wherever it is found because all objective truth is God’s truth. Education is good. Hard work is good. Addiction to TV and Xbox or anything else is bad. We praise God for these truths. He is the author of them.

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John Calvin on Abortion

From his Commentary on the Last Four Books of Moses:

For the fetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being, and it is almost a monstrous crime to rob it of the life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light.

Speaking of Calvin, I’m going to post a bit on his life sometime next week (hopefully).  Most people know a lot about what Calvin taught, but few actually know about his life.  I’m one of those people so I’m excited to learn a bit more with you.  A lot of people mistakenly have called Calvin a cold, mean-spirited man who hated non-Christians.  The exact opposite is actually true.  He intensely loved the world and wanted everyone to know about the saving grace Jesus offers.  Hopefully the coming post will dispel some of those false stories.


How Should Christians (who didn’t vote for Obama) Respond to His Election?

I was on Facebook Wednesday morning after the election looking to see what my young, conservative friends thought of Obama’s election to the presidency.  I only saw one status that said anything about it.  It went like this:

I am crying for our nation.  That man will never be my president.

I couldn’t hold back.  I had to respond.  I typed: “Ah, but he is your president!  And you need to pray for him and respect him.”  My friend, thankfully, has since relented of the frustration.  Things like that get me angry at Christians.  They act as if God is not sovereign, as if we Christians should always get our way, and as if we can blame non-Christians for voting for someone who is a gifted speaker, charismatic, intelligent, and looks good in a suit.

Anyone who’s been on this blog knows that I didn’t vote for Obama.  I think some of his policies are awful.  I think he’s dishonest at times.  I think that he’s fooling himself and everyone else when he says we can “turn things around” (though he did say progress might not come in his first term).  I think he’s wrong on his abortion and gay marriage stance.  I think his tax policy is terrible.  His past friendships with some people are foggy.

Yet, I love him.  I think he ran a great campaign.  I think he’s a good speaker.  He tells parents to get their kid off the Xbox and TV.  (That might be the only way he’s similar to John Piper.)  He obviously loves his wife and two daughters.   I might not like Barack Obama’s policies, but he’s still made in the image of God and as of right now, there’s still hope that he’ll change, because he’s alive.  (After all, Jesus’ slogan is, “Change that’s already happened,” isn’t it?  Perhaps Obama will experience that life change.)

I need to love him.  If I don’t love him, I’ll be indifferent, and that’s the worst thing to be.  Because then, I’ll hate him.  Let me know how that works out for you.

There are two ways Christians can respond to Obama’s election as president.  They can be defiant,  heardheaded, stubborn, and accusatory, looking to blame Obama for everything and just waiting to crush him when he does wrong.  Or they can be respectful, thankful, honoring, loving, kind, compassionate, and gracious, willing to forgive him when he makes mistakes.

Christians hated it when liberals attacked Bush for mistakes made.  We’d cry, “You can’t blame one man!”  Let’s not do that with Obama.  Take the 2×4 out of your eye instead of focusing on the saw dust in your friend’s.

Let me tell you what I am not saying: I’m not saying that you cannot tell your Christian brother or sister, “I told you so,” if things go bad for America after you warned them not to vote for Obama.  Your responsibility as a Christian is to judge and keep accountable other Christains.  Tell them, “I told you so,” (in a loving, non-condescending way so that they might turn to Jesus and not to hope in politics).  In fact, if we read 1 Samuel 8 after Saul was elected king by God, we see Samuel warning the Israelites about the perils of having a king (vv. 10-18).  In chapter 12, Samuel even scolds the Isarelites for wanting a king (v. 13-14).  He says, “You saw the other nations and you said, ‘A king shall reign over us.’  You got what you deserved.”

To say that to non-Christians (or Obama) is sensless (1 Cor. 5:12-13).  To point fingers at liberals and curse them and picket with signs and mock our president will not do anyone good.  Most likely, it will drive people further from Christ and closer to Obama.  Most probably, it will give non-Christians more ammo to shoot at Christians for our un-Christlike behavior.  Pointing fingers and writing nasty blogs and picketing only reflects poorly on Christ and the Church.

How do we do this?  We have to do two things.  Pray that we’ll love Obama.  Pray for him.  You don’t pray for what you don’t care about.  If you want him to be cursed and damned, you won’t pray for him.  If you want him to know Jesus and be a man of integrity and honesty, you’ll pray for him.  In 1 Timothy, Paul said, “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions” (vv. 1-2).  Paul and Timothy dealt with more ruthless leaders than Obama.  Right now, we aren’t going to be beaten, evicted, and imprisoned for loving Jesus.  If Paul can say (and do) it, so can you.  He even says in verse 3 of the same chapter, “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people [even Barack Obama] to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Christians have a choice to make.  You can sneer and jeer and talk badly about Obama.  Or you can pray for him.  It’s going to be hard, because we are sinners.  But I know what I want to do.  I know what God wants us to do.


Richard Dawkins, Are You Serious?

Dawkins, famed atheist and scientist, is leaving his position at Oxford University to write a book about the effects of Harry Potter on kids.  The point mainly is to stir kids away from magic, spirituality, etc. toward science and evidence (as if the two were mutually exclusive).  In the article link, Dawkins is quoted at a recent conference, talking about a related subject.  He said:

It is evil to describe a child as a Muslim child or a Christian child. I think labelling children is child abuse and I think there is a very heavy issue, for example, about teaching about hell and torturing their minds with hell…It’s a form of child abuse, even worse than physical child abuse. I wouldn’t want to teach a young child, a terrifyingly young child, about hell when he dies, as it’s as bad as many forms of physical abuse.

Dawkins is blind to the light of the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4).  We can’t blame him; he can’t help it.  He is especially lacking common grace from God.  Yet, he’s still responsible for his sin and folly.  I honestly don’t think I know anyone, even the most liberal person in my sphere, who would say that physically hitting a child is better than calling them a Christian.

I can only ask, “Richard Dawkins, are you serious?”