At the tail end of this blog will be some lengthy thoughts about abortion, but first a few other quick-hitting items.
I heard a story about a woman in Britain who said that she lost her religion, and now feels that she gained so much from turning her back on God (because her family was nothing but a bunch of hypocritical legalists). The story made me sad. Sad for the woman who wrote it. Sad for her family’s misunderstanding of the church. Sad for what this says about the way people view Christianity (even those – especially those, who call themselves “Christian”).
My sad concern began to emerge almost immediately, when she said “I grew up surrounded by religion. Summer Christian camp was the highlight of the year, a massive social event.” With an emphasis on “religion as social event”, I knew there’d be trouble ahead in her story. Unfortunately, I think it’s a more common story than we really want to admit.
Life on one’s own with no one from your family, nor even close friends to hold you accountable, makes it really hard to walk rightly. Much of many people’s stories are disheartening; particularly a mother undermining her child’s faith by claiming to be a Christian, but then ignoring her child’s deepest needs. Parents, always keep close to your heart the fact that God disciplines His children with love. As parents we should lovingly guide our kids while cautioning them about the spiritual dangers of the world. Thankfully our heavenly Father does not ignore us.
I’m not a doctor and have never sold insurance, so I don’t pretend to have solutions to complex challenges within the fields of medicine and indemnification. What I do know is that it appears as though almost every voter gets upset about how the United States government addresses the issue of paying for medical treatment.
Is it time to attempt a serious NGO (non-governmental organization) solution? Volunteers and not-for-profits currently provide aide around the world, but there doesn’t seem to a major effort in America. Could citizens, in a grassroots effort, directly accomplish what the civil bureaucracy, in a centralized effort, appears unable to accomplish?
I’ve heard tell of what some call a “classic example” – the surgical center of Oklahoma. They apparently accept no insurance, no government funding, no government programs, and work on a “cash only” basis. Statistics reportedly are on par with (if not above) the industry standards, and their prices are said to be at least 50% less than anything else. If true, this, indeed, is a “classic example” of what industry – and perhaps the people of the church – will do if the government is simply moved out of the way.
From CNN: “On the left, gesturing angrily, is a right-wing demonstrator sporting black clothes, sunglasses and a shaved head. On the right, staring right back at him, is a 16-year-old Girl Scout.”
Intriguing story, for sure. It is also instructive for showing how political preferences can lead so many people to cry “bias” when reading the news. The neo-Nazi is described as “right-wing”. The young Scout is described as a “peaceful resistance counter-protester”. Ironically, in other news stories over the years the Scouts have been described as “right-wing”. And while the neo-Nazi does stand for unrighteousness, his movement is emblematic of this generation’s leftwing neo-Fascism. Therefore, could a conservative reader feel that this article was written by an unbiased reporter?
I think the study confuses terms. Being direct, unfiltered, and blunt does not necessarily mean being honest. Nor does being refined, delicate, and precise necessarily mean being dishonest. Honestly!
B is for big-government. C is for communism. D is for democrat. E is for evolution. F is for… well, we better be careful here.
A question posed to preacher friends: Does anyone think there’s any significance to the use of “father-in-law” with reference to Jethro in Exodus 18? The word is rare – overwhelming majority of uses are in this chapter, and it seems as though the word is used emphatically, far more than normal identification of Jethro as Moses’s father-in-law would seem to require. The only hint seen among some commentators is that it may be used to give an air of formality to the encounter, as though Moses is entertaining a diplomatic presence from another nation. Seems reasonable, but what are some other thoughts?
Some might reply by simply agreeing that it’s an interesting question. Perhaps saying: I see why you could think that. It is mentioned every time his name is mentioned. Why keep repeating it, unless you are trying to emphasize it? Especially when commentators such as Cassuto, Childs, Stuart, and Calvin tend in this direction.
Some others might turn to numerology noting that Cassuto, when he sees “Jethro” seven times in the text and “Moses’ father-in-law” thirteen times in text, as he often does, he thinks there’s likely intentionality with these summing to 20, and then deducing that 2×10=20, so he believes the text probably points toward the coming Decalogue.
Some respond with questions of their own, such as: Does using “father-in-law” add any extra authority to Jethro? After all, the term is used in chapters three and four. Although, it seems unlikely to denote extra authority, because it feels added just as a formality – it’s like an official title.
Some dive deep into word studies because it’s a bit interesting that some of the cognates of this Hebrew word suggest “circumciser” as a translation (one presumes this is because the bride’s father would sometimes perform the circumcision). This, taken in conjunction with the earlier story about Zipporah and the “bridegroom of blood,” plus the added emphatic presence of Moses’s two sons in the narrative, it does start to feel as though something is going on.
By the way, if the Septuagint is checked, the Greek word used to translate the term in question (GAMBROS) seems to mean any relation by marriage. For instance, in Genesis 19, Lot is told to take his GAMBROI with him when he flees the city. For what it’s worth, ISBE does not offer much help.
Some examine the question from a cultural perspective. If “Jethro” was a fairly common name at the time, then the added designation of father-in-law serves to distinguish him from other men with the name Jethro. It’s then repeated in the way a last name may accompany a first. Maybe the author is using the Jethro character as a model in-law, holding him up as the epitome. The repetition would drive that modeling point home. This is merely food for interesting thought. There is some variability and confusion with this name. So, per chance, it’s purely a naming function.
Personally, I wonder if it’s meant to highlight the fact that Jethro was not an Israelite. Especially coming on the heal of verse four saying, “My father’s God was my helper.” Jethro’s father did not share this same God, because he’s not Moses’ Abrahamic-blood-relative father. He is now, however, his Abrahamic-covenant-relative father-in-law. This seems to be a potentially good path to Gospel proclamation from the passage, as it does nicely set up verse eleven, “Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods.” I have not yet preached on this passage, but when I do I think I’ll spend time exploring this avenue. This is a bit academic for the blog, but I hope it’s helpful.
Now for the promised words about abortion:
If we’re going to play a part in abolishing human abortion, we’re going to need to know how to deal with people by making good arguments as to why their evil logic is both spiritually and morally wrong (ideally in a gentle and winsome way). If done well, we might just witness the effects of a truth bomb on fifty years of propaganda against the innocent baby in the womb. These young defenseless people in the womb truly have been dehumanized to being seen as nothing more than an “intruder” in a woman’s body.
We want to stay calm, not losing our cool in the face of demonic thinking, not giving in to fleshly anger, raising our voices, and failing to keep a level head. We do better to aim instead at pointing out the irony of the murder-advocates own statements. They often say that abolitionists are looking to impose their morality on others, while they’re clearly okay with imposing their morality on the child within the womb.
When one gets down to the basic argument, they basically are saying that the woman’s body is more important than the baby’s life – that their right to choose the ending of the baby’s life supersedes the baby’s right to life. One of the most troubling things about these sorts of interactions is that so many of the pro-murder people are educators seeming to hold ungodly values that are almost entirely disconnected from simple logic and morality. These drones are entirely brainwashed and devoid of critical thinking. Their views are based on mere emotion and social training. It’s a very dangerous and perilous road our society is being taken down.
It’s no longer enough to be pro-life. That’s a strategy that clearly has not worked because it was based on the idea that murder is a political issue to be settled at the ballot box. This was a grave error. Murder should have never been seen as a political issue to be resolved by the majority (or even by a majority sitting on the Supreme Court). Pro-lifers must become abolitionists and join the movement to totally abolish human abortion. Christians need to lead the way.
This leadership rejects the sad and disturbing justification uttered too often (even by “Christians”) that a murder of the unborn isn’t all that terrible because aborted children are better off in Heaven. https://vimeo.com/67163411?fbclid=IwAR1PH3WKLDpjZgnhhmkvNpdxk1tsQxGkIdg_Nqgn6clsRSLxu9zzfm0RtEM
There are apologists for the murders who maintain that, “It’s hard to make the case that this life is preferable to heaven. Besides some people are not destined to have much time on this Earth. So, we can’t force someone to love another person and we can’t force someone to complete a bodily function that takes place inside their body unless you are a tyrant. If you argue that it’s right to force anyone to comply to your demands of their body it is a violation of their liberty. Individual liberty in this nation takes precedent over religious objection to abortion.”
I’m perplexed by the “liberty” argument. If officials from the government protect the life of a helpless and innocent victim, then this is tyranny? Let’s please not neglect the rights of the child and his/her body. The unborn child has 46 chromosomes, unique from the mother. The unborn child also has her/her own heartbeat, blood type, brain waves, nervous system, and finger prints. Stick the child with a pin, the mother does not feel it. Stick the mother with a pin, the baby does not feel it. The two are clearly separate people.
The unborn baby is not part of another human’s body. The mother and the baby have entirely different bodies. Hence the comments about DNA, heartbeat, brainwaves, etc. This same set of facts is true of a toddler. Does the mother of a two-year-old have the LIBERTY to kill the child so that she can experience FREEDOM from the responsibilities of raising the child? A mother needs to give consent for the inconvenience of pregnancy, but the child does not need to give consent for the inconvenience of being killed? That’s a very odd moral framework.
Equality between males and females is important. But, so is equality between the old and the young. Because the mother is older, does she have more rights? The unborn child has a body, too; what about his/her liberty? Should the state not have laws against committing murder? Some call unborn children “invaders”. It’s an invasion? Now the baby is an invader!? Following the pro-abortion logic, how can the baby be an invader if the baby isn’t even a person? Sadly, during the time you’ve spent reading these remarks approximately 475 babies were aborted worldwide.
Allow me to begin drawing this portion of the blog to a close. I hope it’s helpful to you. I know people who open their pro-murder position with, “Individual liberty in this nation takes precedent over your religious objection to abortion.” Then they add, “The federal government has determined it’s legal.” This certainly catches my negative attention. But then I see that so often I have many areas of agreement with these pro-murder types. For instance, they say, “I’m pro liberty.” Me, too. They say they stand for equality under the law. Me, too. They say they seek to engage in debate without resorting to name-calling and disrespect. Me, too. However, there is a critical area of disagreement, and that revolves around the question of the unborn child’s humanity.
The pro-murder contingent holds their position passionately (which is to be greatly respected), but they defend their position incoherently. They might first argue that, “It isn’t a child until it is free of its host. Until then it lives off of the host and is an appendage of the host’s body.” In response I would point out (as mentioned above) that the unborn child has DNA, heartbeat, blood type, brain waves, nervous system, finger prints, etc. which are unique and separate from the mother’s body. So, they then seek to clarify that for them, when determining an individual’s humanity, the key factor is lung function. But later on, they very often expand this point to include other bodily functions. In response I would point out that some adult individuals have no lung function and are fully dependent on the use of an iron lung. I would also point to other examples, such as that of a newborn on life support, unable to support its own bodily functions. Often the pro-murder types will agree that an individual in an iron lung is a human (despite his/her lack of lung function), but only because he/she is not part of another person’s body. They essentially make this same point for other examples, including the example of babies on life support.
This sort of argumentation is maddeningly circular, returning to initial points which had already been refuted. They then add that, for them it’s a question of liberty and freedom for the mother, to which I ask them to consider the liberty and freedom of the child. Like clockwork, they regularly emphasize the issue of consent, saying that the mother has the right to give consent to continuing the pregnancy. To this I typically try to point out that this ignores the right of consent that belongs to the child, especially since the baby never asked to be inside that uterus. But they will nearly always press their point on consent, saying that it is an issue of equality between males and females. In response, I point out that this paradigm ignores the issue of equality between the young and the old. When pressed in this manner they will essentially attempt to bypass the ageism angle, drawing attention instead to the rights of the woman with regard to her body. In answer, I again make clear that the child has a body, too, to which he/she also has rights.
In the end, the pro-murder folks boil down the issue (from their point of view) to that of forced consent, saying the woman should not be forced to consent to continuing the pregnancy. Yet, they remain silent on the problem of the baby being forced to “give consent” to being killed. Complicating their argument, they sometimes refer to the unborn child as an invader. This creates a problem of logic, since the supposed “invader” is not even a person according to their view. Their attempt to have it both ways nets the result of bringing a self-defeating incoherence to their position. So, they then focus on defending the legal merits of abortion, saying, “As long as it is in the uterus it is not a person under the law.” This is circular reasoning. Their answer, essentially, is “It can’t be illegal because it’s legal.” This sort of argument is, of course, nonsensical.
The center of their argument seems to rest on the unborn child residing in the uterus of the woman. As with real estate, their argument always majors on location, location, location. They talk about respiration, bodily functions, and dependency… but when all of these points are refuted, they fall back on the idea that the woman has this other person inside her body and she has a right to get it out of there. I can appreciate the power such a perspective holds over lots and lots of people, and I don’t automatically expect my typed words to change your perspective, if you happen to disagree with me. So, I end with one final thought.
I’ve had exchanges with people just like what’s outlined above. Toward the end of one such dialog the other person wrote, “What part of ‘all are created equal’ is hard to understand?” And then added, “I defer to God in this matter. You can’t make me believe that you’re a better option than God for me to defer my limited ability to understand this issue.” And again, “I am comfortable leaving this to God. Until you can convince me that there is a human arbiter better qualified.” I took all of this to mean that the person was claiming to be a believer in the God of the Bible. Assuming as much, for the sake of argument, I humbly asked the person to read the following passages, and then meditate upon this question: What is more important, the woman’s right to evict her ‘unwanted tenant’ or the child’s right to remain alive? (Genesis 25:21-22, 2 Samuel 11:5, Job 31:15, Psalm 22:10-11, Psalm 51:5, Psalm 127:3-5, Psalm 139:13-16, Jeremiah 1:4-5, Hosea 12:3, Matthew 25:40 & 45, Luke 1:41-44, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Galatians 1:15.)
I’ve left a quote for you at the bottom as a “ps”.
God bless you friend,
Pastor Troy Skinner
“Our country is now geared towards an arms economy which was bred in an artificially-induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear.” – General Douglas McArthur
(You can tell that this is an older quote by all the multi-syllable words. The publicly educated American of today doesn’t come close to speaking like this.)