Interacting With Pro-Legal Abortion Arguments

I recently interacted with a woman, whom I will simply refer to as “R”, on Facebook on the topic of abortion. She had responded to my question of whether she would stand with me against the infanticide that is being promoted with the recent laws in NY and VA.

I provide my response to her here because she provided many of the standard pro-legal abortion arguments that we find in the culture, and I hope that my response might prove helpful to others.

On a side-note: I do not refer to that position that advocates for legal abortion as “pro-choice” because of how that term obfuscates the real issue. The issue is not whether or not women should have the right to make choices–of course they should! The issue is about whether abortion–the killing of an innocent human being–should be legal.

“R” presented her case very cogently and respectively, for which I was greatly appreciative.  With that, here’s the exchange:

R’s statement of her position: “Just for the record…I will never be able to abort my child. I feel very certain about that. I feel just as certain that it is none of my business to tell anyone else what they can and cannot do with their own body – it is an intensely personal decision and should be left with the woman, her God, and her doctor. I cannot know everyone’s circumstance, their life, their belief system. Forcing my beliefs on another person is immoral and just plain wrong. Women need to be responsible for their own reproductive system. I believe they are smart enough to do so, and should not be legislated against by society. Hope this makes sense to you.”

My response:

Yes, makes perfect sense, R. Though I disagree, I understand and appreciate the very clear and irenic way you have stated what you believe about a very difficult and emotional issue.

Though Facebook is not and ideal forum to discuss such issues, I would like to nevertheless interact with your response. I assure you that I do so only with the deepest respect for you, and I recognize that these are your deeply held personal beliefs. If you decide to respond, your word would be the last on it. For ease of response, I will simply reply to your response piecemeal:

1. “…I will never be able to abort my child…”

– I am grateful to hear that, both for the sake of your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and the health and life of your baby.

And, you state you could never abort your “child.” I very much appreciate the fact that you have the moral courage to do so, because so many do not. Here you have hit on the heart of the issue, R: when pregnant, you are carrying a child—a precious human being—and if I may, an incredible gift from God.

Could it be, then, that the reason you never could do such a thing is because you recognize exactly what is at stake, and you realize that it is morally wrong to kill an innocent human being, and in this case, a child?

You might reply that it is just your deeply held belief, and so it is. By why is it? What is it that makes it so repugnant in your mind about aborting your child?  And if it is, why wouldn’t you want to prevent others from killing their unborn child since it is so morally objectionable to you?

You might then say, “well, that is my own moral belief, and who am I to impose that on others?” This is in fact what you do in essence in part of your response. But, as I hope to be able to respectively demonstrate, such reasoning does not work. Just one example for now: you have a deeply held moral belief that children should not be separated from their parents at the border. However, I’m sure you would want that belief to become law. Many more examples could be used.

2. “…it is an intensely personal decision…it is none of my business to tell anyone else what they can and cannot do with their own body…”

– Yes, it is an intense decision, to be sure, or, at least it ought to be. Sadly, oftentimes it is not, as far too many see it merely as a form of birth control—I know because very sadly that was my mindset and the mindset of almost everyone I knew in the past.

– As for it being none of our business, that’s not entirely the case. Our freedom to do what we want with our body is not absolute for any of us, but is regulated by laws that establish boundaries on what we can do with our bodies. Why? Because as a society we have deemed that some things that people want to do with their body is morally wrong and/or harmful to one’s own life or the life of others, and should not be allowed.

For example, rape is illegal. Having sex with minors is illegal (even if they consent). Prostitution is illegal—neither a man nor a woman can sell their body for sex. Public nudity is illegal. It is illegal for you and I to use our body to harm another person. Many more examples could be given.

As for laws against using our bodies to harm others, in the case of abortion, we are making it legal for a woman to not just harm another human being, but to put that person to death in the most horrific of ways (ripped limb from limb, and disposed of like garbage).

Ironically, a person can be charged with homicide if they kill an unborn baby of a pregnant woman. Why? Because we know that killing innocent human beings is wrong and repugnant. One might object “Yes, in that case it’s because the woman decided to keep the baby.” But how is it morally acceptable for one human being to determine whether another innocent human being should be permitted to live, or be slaughtered, simply on the basis of their choice? No woman or man can “decide” if what she is carrying is a human being and worthy of life—it is objectively so.

Further, even for many who are pro-choice, they still put restrictions on abortion, not wanting it legal after 20 weeks of pregnancy. But, there is an inconsistency: they justify their case for abortion by arguing that no one can tell a woman what she can do with her body, but then tell a women what they can do with their body. Why? Because they recognize that the right of what we do with our body is not absolute, and they have deemed that after 20 weeks of pregnancy the child is too far developed. I don’t agree with their reasoning of 20 weeks (I believe protection should be from the moment of conception), but at least there is a bridge that is too far to cross for them.

Finally, with regard to it being merely about the woman’s body, it’s not. The baby who lives inside of her is a distinct human being who is not “her body” but depends upon her mother for survival, and is in what ought to be the safest place in the world for her—her mother’s womb.

3. “I cannot know everyone’s circumstance, their life, their belief system. Forcing my beliefs on another person is immoral and just plain wrong.”

– As for competing belief systems and forcing beliefs on others, as noted above, that’s what laws do. All societies codify their moral beliefs in the laws that they make.  I gave the example above of your belief about family separation. Many more could be given.

The point is that every law is forged out of a belief system and is forced upon us in the sense that we must comply with it, or face the consequences. I can’t just stand before the judge and say, “Well, I have my own belief system, and you’re just forcing the belief system of the culture upon me, so I refuse to pay the penalty for breaking this law.”

In the case of abortion, the argument is simple: we as a society say that killing innocent human beings is wrong. An unborn child is an innocent human being. Therefore, it is wrong (and out to be illegal) to kill an unborn child on demand.

4. “Women need to be responsible for their own reproductive system. I believe they are smart enough to do so, and should not be legislated against by society.”

– As for women being responsible for their own reproductive system, I agree that women, and men, should be responsible for their own reproductive system, and they should not be prevented from reproducing. However, once a woman—and a man—have decided to use their reproductive system to do what reproductive systems by definition do, i.e., produce life, and a child is conceived, the issue is no longer about what they get to do with their reproductive system.

The issue now is this: is it morally acceptable to kill an innocent human being? I would argue that all innocent human life ought to be protected by society. No person has the right to harm or kill another person merely because of how small they are, or where they happen to reside (in this case, inside her mother’s womb). It would thus be an illegitimate,  irresponsible and morally wrong use of their reproductive system to terminate the life of their unborn child.

– As for society not legislating what a woman does with her reproductive system, it already does, as mentioned above. Of course, there are now the laws that are being advanced in NY, VA, etc., that allow an abortion (i.e., the killing of an innocent child) through all stages of pregnancy, even up to the time of delivery. What they are promoting, is nothing short of infanticide.

Well, much to say. I would leave you with one last thing to consider from Dr. Anthony Levitano. He is a doctor who performed over 1,200 abortions. The video is brief, but captures the essence of what is happening. I hope you give it consideration, and if nothing else, even if you remain in favor of keeping abortion legal, that you would demand that restrictions be placed on it, and would demand that the infanticide being promoted in NY, VA, Vermont, etc., would be ended:

 

 

Love and Marriage

Great insights from Voddie Baucham on love and marriage…for the guys 🙂

 

"Go Home and Love Your Wife!" Voddie Baucham

"Go Home and Love Your Wife!" Voddie BauchamVideo by Stand For Truth Ministries

Posted by Depraved Wretch on Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Base Chapel and the Local Church

In October 2017, my wife and I came to Italy to plant a church to minister to the military community (originally to Aviano, but now in Vicenza).

Some might question why the military community needs a church, after all, they have the base chapel.  As a retired Air Force member, I have a great appreciation for our military chaplains and the chapel program. Chaplains provide an invaluable service to our military men and women, and I am very thankful for their dedicated service to them and our country. Make no mistake, there is a definite need not only for the base chapel, but good chaplains who love the troops and want to serve them well.

That said, it is helpful for us to us to keep in mind what a base chapel is, and how that differs in important ways from a local church. The first thing we need to keep in mind is that the base chapel, while providing religious services, is not a local church. Four key reasons why it is not:

1. Church government: For a gathering of believers to be a properly constituted local church, it must be shepherded and governed by elders chosen by the congregation, or in the case of new church plants, overseen by the founding pastor (ideally with oversight from an outside body of elders who govern the church until such time as the congregation can elect its own elders). (Acts 20:28; 1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:3-6; Heb 13:17; 1 Pet 5:2-3).

2. Church membership: Sadly, many Evangelicals think that church membership is not biblical. Unfortunately, such a view is at odds with Scripture. We must remember that believers are not islands unto themselves. They are commanded to be joined to a local church—a covenant community—where they are submitted to the elders and the other believers in that local congregation so that they can be engaged in the lifelong disciple-making process, be cared for and nurtured spiritually, and have accountability for their spiritual life. (Acts 20:28; 1Thes 5:12-13; 1Tim 5:17; Hb 13:17; 1Pet 5:2-3). 1

3. Because there is no church government nor membership, there is no corrective church discipline. In a local church, Christians are accountable to their shepherds in the church (Heb 13:7), and to the other members of the church (Matt 18:15-17; 1 Cor 5:1-12; Gal 6:1-3). When one engages in persistent unrepentant sin, the church administers varying levels of discipline depending on the circumstances (admonitions, suspension from the sacraments, or finally and sadly, excommunication) in the hope that he/she will be restored by God’s grace. Church discipline is essential to the purity of the church and the spiritual health of the believer.2

4. All of this has a bearing on the administration of the sacraments, since they are tied to the local church, and their proper administration is to be overseen by the elders in the church (1 Cor 4:1/Titus 1:7; 1 Cor 10-11). Chaplains, as ordained clergy, may certainly administer the sacraments in the field or in a chapel context. However, the full import of the sacraments is brought to light and experienced by their vital connection to the local church and church discipline.

For example, in baptism, one is admitted not merely into the universal body of Christ, but into a particular local expression of that body (i.e., a local church) for discipleship and spiritual care (Matt 28:18-20; 1 Cor 12:12-14).

In the Lord’s Supper, we partake of the sacrament in part by recognizing that we are united to the universal body of Christ, but to a particular expression of the body of Christ, where we commit ourselves to obeying, by God’s grace, the “love one another” commands (John 13:34; Rom 12:10; Eph 4:2; 1Pet 1:22, 1 John 4:11). Further, the Lord’s Supper is connected to church discipline, where there is biblical church government established, and church membership.

Again, chaplains can and should administer the sacraments in the field or in a chapel service, and I am thankful that they do that. The point here is about experiencing the full import the sacraments as connected to a local church, and church discipline.

Well, if the base chapel is not a church, what is it? The base chapel is a place where government sponsored worship services patterned after various faith traditions are conducted, the two main ones being Roman Catholic, and Protestant.

It is fine if the U.S. government wants to conduct services like that, especially with the intended purpose to help military personnel who are stationed in locations where no opportunity for gathered worship might exist. But, we must keep in mind what it is, and what it is not (a local church).

Does this mean that Christians should never attend the base chapel? Not at all! In some overseas contexts, it can be difficult to find a gospel preaching church off base, and a Protestant service on base can help fill the void and afford believers the chance to gather together to worship the Lord. When I was stationed in Turkey, I was very much involved in the base chapel program and will always cherish that time and the chaplains and brothers and sisters in Christ that I fellowshipped with there.

This is a beautiful plaque I received from the base chapel in Turkey.

However, as with attending a local church, great discernment must be exercised. While there are sound, gospel preaching chaplains, there are also many that come from theologically liberal traditions that deny the inerrancy and historicity of Scripture, espouse unbiblical views on sexuality, and who may diminish or even deny the gospel.  I have seen both kinds.

As for theologically conservative chaplains (as with local pastors!), there is no guarantee that there will be sound teaching. Not only this, but with the laws that have redefined the meaning of marriage, it is difficult for chaplains to teach biblical truth regarding human sexuality without fear of reprisal.

So, attending a chapel service is definitely an option, especially in contexts where there are no or few gospel preaching churches, but only if the chaplain did not teach things that undermined or denied the essentials of the Christian faith.  If they did, then a Christian should not attend there (just as they should not attend a church that did the same things).  In situations like that, if there were no gospel preaching churches off base, a better option would be to gather with other like-minded believers and have their own service, and if no one was apt to teach, they could read a sermon or watch bible lessons or sermons from trusted sources.

The ultimate test, as with anything else, is God’s Word, and what I have said about the need to exercise discernment where chaplains are concerned applies just as much to local churches–we are always needing to discern if what is taught is sound and gospel-centered.

In summary, I am very thankful for our military chaplains, their service, and the provision of a base chapel, especially in places where there are few or no options off base. And, as a pastor near a military installation in an overseas context, I am committed to partnering as much as possible with the chaplains and the base chapel, as well as the other gospel preaching churches in the area, to serve the troops. The New Testament vision for believers and their children is to be connected to a local gospel preaching church.  If we can’t find one, or feel that we are just not a good fit for one for whatever reason (theological, etc), then the base chapel is certainly an option, provided that the teaching is Christ-centered and does not deny the essentials of the faith.

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1 For other lines of evidence, see these brief articles:

http://www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/a-case-for-formal;

https://www.9marks.org/article/journalchurch-membership-biblical/;

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/is-church-membership-really-required/

2 For more on the nature of church discipline in its various forms, see Church Discipline by Fred Greco