Ethics

Back On January 13 1984, President Ronald Reagan Made This Proclamation …

“By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

The values and freedoms we cherish as Americans rest on our fundamental commitment to the sanctity of human life. The first of the “unalienable rights” affirmed by our Declaration of Independence is the right to life itself, a right the Declaration states has been endowed by our Creator on all human beings — whether young or old, weak or strong, healthy or handicapped.

Since 1973, however, more than 15 million unborn children have died in legalized abortions — a tragedy of stunning dimensions that stands in sad contrast to our belief that each life is sacred. These children, over tenfold the number of Americans lost in all our Nation’s wars, will never laugh, never sing, never experience the joy of human love; nor will they strive to heal the sick, or feed the poor, or make peace among nations. Abortion has denied them the first and most basic of human rights, and we are infinitely poorer for their loss.

We are poorer not simply for lives not led and for contributions not made, but also for the erosion of our sense of the worth and dignity of every individual. To diminish the value of one category of human life is to diminish us all. Slavery, which treated Blacks as something less than human, to be bought and sold if convenient, cheapened human life and mocked our dedication to the freedom and equality of all men and women. Can we say that abortion — which treats the unborn as something less than human, to be destroyed if convenient — will be less corrosive to the values we hold dear?

We have been given the precious gift of human life, made more precious still by our births in or pilgrimages to a land of freedom. It is fitting, then, on the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that struck down State anti-abortion laws, that we reflect anew on these blessings, and on our corresponding responsibility to guard with care the lives and freedoms of even the weakest of our fellow human beings.

abortion-reaganNow, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Sunday, January 22, 1984, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon the citizens of this blessed land to gather on that day in homes and places of worship to give thanks for the gift of life, and to reaffirm our commitment to the dignity of every human being and the sanctity of each human life.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 13th day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighth.

Ronald Reagan”

Is Abortion a Sin?

One has to wonder whether the most dangerous place to be today is not in the inner city amongst the gangs or in prisons with law-breakers. It could be the most dangerous place to be today is in the womb of a woman. A study on the number of deaths each year will never include the number of abortions, because of the debate surrounding whether that fetus is an actual human being and whether life even begins at conception.

AbortionDo we have the right to judge whether abortion should even be legal or not? Why is it that those who believe in a woman’s right to choose have already been born? Isn’t there a certain level of hypocrisy there? Are there are answers from the Bible on this issue. Yes!

6 BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES

Biblical Principle #1 – God decides who will conceive. It is ultimately not up to man. In Genesis 29, Jacob’s wife Leah was had not conceived any children but Moses records, “When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; …” (Gen 29:31). It was God’s work. He did that. God has the power to bring about conception, because God is omnipotent.

He has the right or authority to choose who will be barren and who will conceive.

Biblical Principle #2 – God creates actual life in that womb. When conception has occurred, God sees it not as matter, but as actual life. David writes,

13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Ps 139:13-16).

It is ultimately God’s work to create life and thus it becomes his right to take it away.

Biblical Principle #3God sees that life of unborn as a person and in His own image. Moses reminds us, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen 1:27). Every fetus is made in God’s image and by His omnipotent power.

God told Jeremiah during his time of calling, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; …” (Jer 1:5). Every fetus that dwells within the womb is a person created in God’s image. It is nothing less.

Biblical Principle #4 – God will judge anyone who kills the innocent – like the fetus in the womb. Since we have already established that the fetus in the womb is a person created in the image of God, anyone who then kills – or aborts – that person will not go unpunished. God would say, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man” (Gen 9:6).

If you murder, your life will be forfeited by God. God promises to judge those who usurp His authority to both give and take life. To abort a fetus is to both steal life from the Giver and to bring about death which is God’s right alone.

Biblical Principle #5 – We are to show compassion to those who are not yet born. In other words, the fetus in the womb is to be an object of our concern. Isaiah wrote,

Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you” (Isa 49:15).

To fail to show compassion to those who are still in the womb is to live contrary to the example set by our compassionate God who does not forget us. We are not to forget the child in the womb.

Biblical Principle #6 – Children are a gift from God. God loves children. To be faithful to give birth to those in the womb delights God – “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Ps 127:3).

In a study asking the question, why do women get abortions. Roughly 75% say it is because children would interfere with their lives. God does not give gifts that interfere with our lives. He only graciously gives those things meant to sanctify us.

SO WHAT?

Is God favorable towards abortion? Absolutely not! Will God judge those who participate in abortion, allow their fetus to be aborted, financially support abortion, etc.?

Will God forgive those who have transgressed Him? Always!

One of the great promises in the Scripture is that there is no sin – no matter how grotesque – that is outside of Jesus’ forgiving work on the cross. His death on the cross was a payment for all sins.

Any transgression against God can be forgiven by God if one comes to Jesus humbly in repentance confessing their own sin and surrendering to Jesus’ Lordship. Paul wrote, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9).

Some Books to Read on the Modern Homosexuality Debate

The Tuesday feature of the Worldly Saints is all about reading. The post is meant to share some of my reflections from the latest book or magazine article or blog post I have or am reading. At times, I may post a book blurb (a wannabe book review) or recommend books to be read by others.

 

How many non-fiction Christian books are there now on the subject of homosexuality, transgenderism, etc.? About ten years ago, I could count on one hand how many I knew of. Now, due to the cultural debate, there are a plethora of books on this biblical question of whether or not God condones homosexuality. Here is a quick run-down of the books available today and a brief blurb about each one that I have read:

Compassion without CompromiseCompassion without Compromise by Adam T. Barr and Ron Citlau (published by Bethany House Publishers, 2014) – If you are looking for a practical book on engaging with homosexual family members or friends or teaching schools or tolerance of homosexual behavior in the workplace, this is a helpful resource. It does not give help on specific passages of Scripture that others argue will support or forbid homosexuality. Questions asked and answered are as follows: Why did God make sex? How can a bunch of hypocrites cast the first stone? Why is sexual sin different from any other? How can homosexuals trust Christians when they act like a bunch of homophobes? How should my church deal with this issue? Can the gospel transform someone’s sexual orientation? How can we navigate the soon-to-be-everyday issues of living in a gay world? Included in the story is Citlau’s story of going from same-sex attraction to healing.

God and the Gay ChristianGod and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines (published by Convergent Books, 2014) – This book garnered much controversy last year when it was published, and rightfully so. Vines believes that God allows for homosexual relationships and he seeks to exegete the frequently-referred-to passages to state his case. Questions asked and answered are as follows: Do biblical teachings on the marriage covenant preclude same-sex marriage or not? How should we apply the teachings of Jesus to the gay debate? What does the story of Sodom and Gomorrah really say about human relationships? Can celibacy be a calling when it is mandated, not chosen? What did Paul have in mind when he warned against same-sex relations? Vines also weaves his own story about “coming out” as a gay man and how he was received by the Presbyterian church he attended in my hometown of Wichita, KS.

Is God anti-gayIs God Anti-gay? By Sam Allberry (published by The Good Book Company, 2014) – This book is a primer on both the practical questions about the current debate and it also addresses the key passages mentioning homosexuality. While the author condemns homosexuality, he does leave room for Christians to struggle with same-sex attraction for the duration of their lives. There are a plethora of other questions that the author asks and answers in this book: Surely a same-sex partnership is OK if it’s committed and faithful? But Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, so how can it be wrong? Aren’t we just picking and choosing which Old Testament laws apply? Can’t Christians just agree to differ on this? What should I do if a Christians comes out to me? Can God change our sexual desires? Can we really expect unmarried Christians with same-sex attraction to remain single?

What Does the Bible Say HomosexualityWhat Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? By Kevin DeYoung – I am currently reading this book, which has received the “most praise” from those who support the view that God forbids homosexual behavior. In the book, DeYoung gives an explanation on this view from the five most common Scriptural battlegrounds: Genesis 1-2; 19; Leviticus 18; 20; Romans 1; I Corinthians 6; I Timothy 1. He also answers some of the most common objections from those who differ in their view that DeYoung takes – “The Bible hardly ever mentions homosexuality,” “Not that kind of homosexuality,” “What about gluttony and divorce?”, “The church is supposed to be a place for broken people,” “You’re on the wrong side of history,” “It’s not fair,” “The God I worship is a God of love.”

ACBC Conference on Homosexuality

The Thursday feature of the Worldly Saints blog will be sharing of a media clip (audio or video) that has either educated, equipped, provoked or entertained us in some way.

This week ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) is hosting their annual conference in Louisville, KY. Their theme is “Homosexuality: Compassion, Care, and Counsel for Struggling People.”

Soon (probably in the next week or so), the video of these sessions should be available, so I cannot share them now, but let me give you a taste of what will be available to stream.

  • Denny Burk, “Is Same-Sex Attraction Sinful?”
  • Rosaria Butterfield, “Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert”
  • Kevin Carson, “Counseling and Homosexuality: A Case Study”
  • Robert Jones, “Compassion, Care, and Counsel for Families Broken by Homosexuality”
  • Heath Lambert, “One Sinner to Another: How the Church Must Speak About Homosexuality:
  • Al Mohler, “Clarity in the Midst of Confusion: The Ethics of Homosexuality and the Gospel of Grace”
  • Stuart Scott, “Change from the Outside In, Then Inside Out: The Possibility of Sexual Purity”
  • Bill Winton, “What If My Child Says They Are Gay? Counsel for Parents”

Go here to watch the overview of the conference.

My Sorrow for Bruce Jenner

 

The Monday feature of the Worldly Saints blog focuses on a story from the sports world – current or historic. The point is to recognize athletes who are using their sports and athletic abilities to further the kingdom of God or to show how some athletes are wasting their days by not giving God the glory.

 

Jenner Bruce 2Bruce Jenner won the gold medal in the decathlon in 1976 at the Montreal Olympics and was proclaimed the greatest athlete of his time.

He competed as a man.

Last Friday, in an interview with Diane Sawyer, Bruce Jenner announced what many of speculated in recent years: that he is a “trans-woman” who has been struggling with gender dysphoria (the term used by psychiatrists and psychologists for an individual who is not content with the gender assigned to him at birth).

His summarizing quote, which has been on the cover of most major sports news services has been, “for all intents and purposes, I am a woman.”

During the 1980’s, Jenner began hormone replacement surgery to transition into becoming a woman, but that was ceased when he met and married Kris Kardashian some ten years later. Apparently in July 2015, there will be a scheduled release of an eight-part documentary on his story, including these recent “announcements.” He continues to maintain his attraction to woman, even though he believes himself to be a woman.

Others who have been open about their acceptance or struggles with their transgender status are actress Laverne Cox (from the Netflix show Orange is the New Black), Isis King (a model from the TV show America’s Next Top Model), Jenna Talackova (the candidate who won a legal battle to compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant), Alexis Arquette (starred in movies Pulp Fiction and The Wedding Singer and the TV shows Friends and Roseanne), Balian Buschbaum (a former German pole vaulter), and Chaz Bono (the son of Sonny and Cher Bono).Jenner Bruce

Truthfully, my heart grieves for individuals like this for a number of reasons:

#1 – The Bible is not unclear about human sexuality. When God created mankind, he created two genders: male and female (Gen 1:27). And when He creates a man, He intends for that man to remain a man; and when He creates a woman, He intends for that woman to remain a woman. This is God’s will and He finds it beautiful when men and woman embrace their gender assigned to them at birth. It shows a submission to God’s design for their life.

#2 – Transgenderism is another example of how mankind takes what God designs as beautiful and corrupts it. It didn’t take long for sexual immorality to become well-known through the world; during the time of Abraham, homosexuality was rampant (Gen 19).

#3 – Those that are experiencing transgender confusion are not “weirdly evil” people. They are like all of us, as John Piper says, who have “disordered desires that need to be subdued.” Those who struggle with these issues of sexuality need to be ministered to by the church – not ostracized.

#4 – The Gospel saves us from this type of confusion. Transgender confusion it is another indicator of how desperate men like Jenner need to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Freedom from sin is desperately needed for men and women who struggle with this. And we need to be praying for Christians who are in their spheres of influence to point them to Christ and the freedom from sin he guarantees for those who trust in Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Panel Discussion on Homosexuality

The Thursday feature of the Worldly Saints blog will be sharing of a media clip (audio or video) that has either educated, equipped, provoked or entertained us in some way.

 

I continue to be encouraged by the number of evangelicals who are writing and speaking on the contemporary debate in our society in regards to homosexuality.

Below is a panel discussion on this topic moderated by Justin Taylor. The panel includes Kevin DeYoung, Jackie Hill and Josh Moody. It was hosted by College Church in Wheaton, IL on March 17, 2015.

I think you will especially enjoy the testimony from Jackie about God’s saving grace and deliverance from her sin of homosexuality.

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2015/04/08/a-panel-on-homosexuality-and-the-church/