Monday, February 25, 2019

Abortion and Infanticide

I just read an article from the February 7 edition of the National Review entitled, “Infanticide and the Left” by Ramesh Ponnuru. The author made the following observation: “An individual infant who was born very prematurely is less developed (often substantially so) than a fetus at term, but it is the former who has legal protection. The distinction turns entirely on location: Inside the womb the developing human organism is a fetus, and outside it is an infant.”

In other words, laws that prohibit late term abortion do so supposedly because the unborn baby is much more developed in the third trimester than in the first trimester. The problem comes, however, when a baby is aborted, let’s say after 25 weeks—and survives. Once the baby is born his or her life is then protected by law.  So the life, for example, of a 30 week old unborn baby could be terminated in the womb and many states would consider that legal, but terminating the life of a 25 week old prematurely born baby would be considered murder.

Clearly it is not the developmental status of the baby that is the real issue, but simply the location of the baby—inside the womb or outside the womb. This is about as logical as saying that if someone kills their spouse outside their home it is murder but if they kill their spouse inside their home is it OK! Recognizing the absurdity of this position, some Democrats are now basically arguing that location doesn’t matter, saying that it should be legal to kill babies (or allow them to die unattended) outside the womb as well!

Even if these new advocates of infanticide succeed, it would not solve their logical dilemmas. Take, for example, two pregnant neighbors. One goes into labor prematurely and delivers the baby at 30 weeks. Only then does she discover that her baby has some kind of deformity, but if the mother were to terminate the baby, it would be considered murder.

Her neighbor, on the other hand, discovers that her baby also has a deformity and decides to abort the baby at 30 weeks. The baby survives the abortion. If infanticide advocates have their way, she would be free to have the baby terminated. Two babies. Both born at 30 weeks. The first is protected by law as a human being. The second is apparently not considered human and allowed to be terminated. So whether the baby was considered to be human and has human rights would depend entirely on whether the child was wanted!

Clearly this contradiction could not stand for long so the next step would be to allow infanticide in all cases. And if our society is going to allow infanticide, how much time should the parents be given to make that decision? Hours? Days? Years? Or should that decision also be left between a mother and her doctor?

Perhaps we’re making a mountain out of a mole hill since this affects only a very tiny number of abortions—or so they say. According to the article, “one abortion-industry official admitted that he had “lied through [his] teeth on national television” about this. There may be as many as “12,000 abortions after week 20” every year—more than the number of people murdered with guns each year.

I agree that location shouldn’t matter. Generally speaking, deliberately killing an innocent human being should be considered murder. It is a scientific fact that unborn babies, or as the Left likes to call them, “products of conception” are human and they are certainly innocent. The infant’s location, or whether he or she is wanted, should not be allowed to take away their constitutionally guaranteed human “right to life.”

Monday, February 11, 2019

Evangelism and post-modernism

I’ve read hundreds of pages on post-modernism but I must admit that I’m still having trouble grasping it (It’s kind of like trying to grasp Jell-O)!

As I understand it, according to post-modernism there are no absolute rights or wrongs. You have your views and I have mine, and we should all respect each other’s views. To say your view is wrong is no more valid than saying your preference for the color blue is wrong.

It is this kind of thinking that led almost half of post-modern “Christians” to respond to a recent survey saying that evangelism is wrong. They don’t want to impose their views on anyone else because all views are valid (But how can evangelism be “wrong” if all views are valid?).

So if post-moderns really believe we shouldn’t judge other people’s views, why do so many post-moderns seem to have an almost irrational hatred for Donald Trump? Under post-modern thinking, don’t his views deserve to be respected or at least tolerated like anyone else’s? This is not political statement about Donald Trump—My only point is that many post-modernists seem to only want tolerance for views which are not objectionable to them! It seems to me that this inconsistency significantly undermines post-modernism.

Contrary to post-modernism, Jesus and the writers of the New Testament were very clear in affirming that there is truth and there is error. To cite just one of many examples, Paul did not tell the people of Lystra that he respected their religion and just wanted to share his views too. Referring to their religious idols, Paul said the people of Lystra should “turn from these worthless things to the living God” (Acts 14:15). Paul was convinced of the truth of his position and the error of theirs.

Proclamation of the truth of the Gospel is what the Great Commission is all about. For professing "Christians" to say that evangelism is wrong is an indication that they have been blinded by their post-modern culture.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Muhammad and the Unbelievers

On numerous occasions I’ve said that I love Muslims (the people)—but I hate Islam (the religion)! Some of my reasons for hating this religious ideology are summarized quite well in the book, Muhammad and the Unbelievers; a Political Life by Bill Warner. This short book (only 167 pages) provides a fascinating and readable story of Muhammad’s life. It summarizes the very earliest biography of Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq and weaves into the biography parts of the Muhammad’s teachings from the Koran and other early respected Islamic sources (I’ve read Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Muhammad--over 700 pages-- and the Koran so I know that Warner’s summary is accurate).

The advantage of this book over some modern biographies of Muhammad is that this book has not been filtered through the lenses of Muslim apologetics or modern Western political correctness. The story comes directly from Islam’s earliest and most sacred sources. Almost every paragraph in the book has been documented from those sources

The picture that emerges is that Muhammad was a man who was kind, hospitable, generous, loving, patient and forgiving—toward Muslims who submitted completely and unquestioningly to his rule.
Toward “Kafirs” (unbelievers), on the other hand, he was mercilessly vicious and cruel. He would threaten, intimidate, deceive, rob, rape, enslave, torture, execute and slaughter Kafirs by the hundreds! On one occasion, he sat all day long watching literally hundreds of Jews being beheaded at his command. Then he ordered their wives and children into slavery.

Muhammad ordered the executions of people for no other reason than the fact that those people had criticized Muhammad or had changed their minds and turned away from his religion. He “captured slaves, sold slaves, bought slaves, freed slaves, tortured slaves, had sex with slaves, gave slaves as gifts of pleasure, received slaves as gifts, and sued slaves for work” (164).

He allowed the black slave of his wife Aisha to be tortured in order to determine whether Aisha was faithful to him or not—and only after the torture revealed that Aisha was faithful did Muhammad receive a revelation exonerating her of any wrongdoing!

These stories do not come from “Islamophobic right wing extremists” but from Islam’s earliest and most sacred sources. These are the stories and teachings that Muhammad encouraged his followers to emulate—and which faithful Muslims in power have emulated for roughly 1,400 yeas!

As a Christian, I love Muslims—but I hate Islam!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Servant Leadership

I recently finished reading a book called “Servant Leadership in Action” (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2018) written by over three dozen contributors including leaders in business, education, ministry, military and other walks of life. The one common thread throughout the book was that servant leadership is not about the “boss” controlling everything or telling everyone else what to do. Servant leaders empower others to take ownership of their area of responsibility and to “run with it.” Of course leadership always involves vision, guidance, and some boundaries, but in a servant leadership model, people are not just cogs in a machine.

The idea of servant leadership comes from the Bible. For example, in John 13 where Jesus takes on a servant’s roll and washes the feet of his disciples. Or in Philippians 2:7 where Paul speaks of Jesus “taking on the very nature of a servant….” In First Corinthians 12:12-31 Paul also gives a great model of servant leadership when he discusses the church as the body of Christ in which each person has different gifts, talents and abilities, but all work together and everyone is important.

As a pastor, I have never seen my role analogous to that of a CEO. I see myself more like the conductor of an orchestra (Ironic, since the only instrument I play is a radio). We have many talented and godly people at our church and it is exciting to watch God work through them!