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Month: October 2008 Page 1 of 2

R.C. Sproul on Abortion, Voting and Christianity

“I’m reminded of the work of William Wilberforce in England. You may recall that in debate after debate after debate, and in election after election after election, Wilberforce was soundly and roundly defeated when he sought the abolition of slavery in the British Commonwealth. But if ever there was an exercise in perseverance, it was by Wilberforce. Wilberforce refused to give up. He simply would not walk away from being the conscience of the English nation. And he publicly testified that slavery was wrong and he promised to oppose it as long as he had breath in his body. And finally in the providence of God, Parliament woke up and abolished this unethical practice that was a plague on the English speaking world.

We’ve gone through the same plague in the history of America, and thanks be to God slavery has finally been abolished in America. But I believe that slavery is the second most serious ethical issue that our country has ever faced. From my perspective the number one ethical issue that this nation has ever faced is the issue of abortion. Abortion is not a matter of private choice–not for the Christian who understands anything about the sanctity of life. The first century church made it very clear in their day, explicitly stating that abortion is murder.

I’ve written over 70 books. The book that had the shortest shelf life of all of my books was my book on the case against abortion. I talked to pastor after pastor and sought to understand why they weren’t using this material (for which we also made a video series). They told me, “Well, we agree with it but we can’t do it in our church.” And I said, “Why?” They responded: “It will split the congregation.” And I said, “So be it!” A million and a half unborn babies are slaughtered wantonly in the United States of America every year in the name of women’s rights. If I know anything about the character of God after forty years of study, I know that God hates abortion. And I could never vote for a candidate who supported abortion–even if I agreed with that candidate on every other policy position. If he supported abortion I would not vote for him and I urge you to do the same.

I know that abortion is not the number one issue in this campaign because it has become acceptable. Just like slavery became acceptable. But it cannot be acceptable to ethical people. The people of God have to rise up and say ‘NO’! We are not asking the state to be the church but we must say to the state, “Please be the state. God ordained you to protect, maintain, and preserve the sanctity of life, and you are not doing it.” So that has to be on your mind when you walk into that voting booth.”

Taken from this article: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/2008/10/pr … -text.html

R.C. Sproul on the Redistribution of Wealth, Voting and Christianity

“We have an income tax structure today that is inherently unjust. We almost never hear anybody discuss this injustice. But when God set up a system of taxation, He did things differently. God said I’m going to impose a tax on my people and it’s going to be ten percent from everybody: The rich man and the poor man are not going to pay the same amount. The rich man’s going to pay much more than the poor man, but they’re both going to pay the same percentage. They’re both going to have the same responsibility. That way the rich man can’t use his power to exploit the poor man, saying, “I’m going to pay five percent, but you’re going to pay fifty percent.” The rich weren’t allowed to do that. Nor were the poor allowed to say, “We’re going to pay five percent and the rich are going to pay fifty percent because they can afford it.” What that is ladies and gentlemen is the politics of envy that legalizes theft. Anytime you vote a tax on somebody else that is not a tax on yourself, you’re stealing from your brother. And though the whole world does it and though it’s common practice in the United States of America, a Christian shouldn’t be caught dead voting to fill his own pocketbook at the expense of someone else. Isn’t that plain? Isn’t that clear? And until we get some kind of flat tax, we’re going to have a politicized economy, we’re going to have class warfare, and we’re going to have the whole nation’s rule being determined by the rush for economic advantage at the polls. Don’t do it. Even if that means sacrificing some benefit you might receive from the federal government. Don’t ask other people at the point of a gun to give you from their pockets what you don’t have. That’s sin.

It is, of course, the American way. But we Christians should not be involved in that sort of thing. Rather we should be voting for what is right, what is ethical. And our consciences on that score need to be informed by the Word of God, not by our wallets. And so I plead with you: When you enter the voting booth, don’t leave your Christianity in the parking lot. And be bold to speak on these issues, even if it means somebody picks up a rock and throws it in your head. Because it is through tribulation that we enter the Kingdom of God. I pray for you, beloved, and for our nation in these days to come.”

Taken from this excellent article: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/2008/10/pr … -text.html

Hannity Makes Case Against Obama Based Merely on His Experience

2001 Obama Redistribution of Wealth Commentary

So what do you think he’s going to do? Has he changed from these radical economic positions? I doubt it.

And get this …

Intolerant Tolerance – Obama Campaign Labels Interviewer “Unprofessional”

My question is … Then why in the world is a majority of the media free to pound on McCain and Palin in their “unprofessional,” hard-question interviews, that I haven’t heard McCain or Palin complain about doing? McCain went on The View! Come on, Biden. Can’t you handle the questions? You see, the problem is never with the Obama campaign, from their point of view at least, it’s always the other person’s or groups fault. In this case, the Obama campaign deems the questions ridiculous and won’t answer them, when it’s clear they are not trick questions, just straight to the point. And now, in response, they will silence the press from digging in and conducting what I see as a hard-hitting interview. Relativism, in all its forms, is ethically and morally bankrupt and simply cannot sustain its own assertions. This is just one more example of that. Modern liberalism touts freedom of speech and rights and blah blah blah all day long … and then keeps the free press from doing an interview. Amazing.

An Obama spokesperson issued this statement about the interview:

“There’s nothing wrong with tough questions, but reporters have the very important job of sharing the truth with the public — not misleading the American people with false information. Senator Biden handled the interview well; however, the anchor was completely unprofessional. Senator Biden’s wife is not running for elected office, and there are many other stations in the Orlando television market that would gladly conduct a respectful and factual interview with her.”

“This cancellation is non-negotiable, and further opportunities for your station to interview with this campaign are unlikely, at best for the duration of the remaining days until the election.”

“Eddie Van Halen” Shreds it Up

On the “Bush is Pro-Life and Abortions Have Still Continued” Argument

This line of thought keeps rearing its head on several different fronts, and I’m hearing it more and more from evangelicals who are in favor of Obama. I’m assuming this is supposed to lead me to the conclusion that, “Therefore, as an evangelical, I can now vote for Obama, seeing as how Bush has gotten nothing done on this front.” My question is, “And Obama will, given his radical pro-abortion decisions in the recent past, and his own commitment to sign the Freedom of Choice Act?” This is quite a bit of ambulance-chasing-trial-lawyer-style rationalization to me on the abortion issue, not taking into account the severely immoral nature of what is actually taking place when someone has an abortion, as well as Obama’s own radical positions on the subject, based not only on his words, but his votes while in Illinois. Some seem content to ignore that factual, documented information though.

You see, changing legislation that was ruled by the Supreme Court over 30 years ago is a little more difficult than merely getting a President elected who is pro-life. The President is just one piece of the puzzle; a big piece yes, but not the whole thing, as this argument seems to not take into account.

You have a society who democratically elects officials, and the culture itself needs its mind changed on this issue (and yes the attitudes of many pro-lifers in using ad hominems to try and convince their opponents is appalling and won’t change anyone’s mind). The culture needs to see abortion not as a rights issue but as a right and wrong issue. Rights talk on all kinds of issues is ruining the moral civility of this land.

You also need congressional officials that are decidedly pro-life, who are elected by the people. You also must have court cases that go through the normal court proceedings and get into the hands of the Supreme Court who can then make a decision on the matter.

Then we have Supreme Court justices, some of whom are retiring from their positions in the next few years, two of whom have already been replaced by two conservative justices during Bush’s Presidency.

So here we have the President, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the will of the people that must work together to change the laws on abortion. And to be honest, if people will actually stop for two seconds and look at what Bush has actually done in the past eight years on this issue, they will see he has done a fair amount of work by 1) as mentioned, appointing two conservative justices who are pro-life, and 2) simply not signing bills into law (like the Freedom of Choice Act) that would further expand abortion rights way beyond what they currently are, like a certain Barack Obama will do “first thing” if he is elected (his own words).

There are one and possibly even two Supreme Court slots that will be opening up within the next few years. Who do you think will get appointed if Obama is President, given his record? There is a lot at stake in the next few years on this issue: either a continued back-sliding toward even greater numbers of abortions and other “rights,” or progress made in trying to reverse this cultural slide toward a cesspool of immorality beyond what we can imagine. However, by the time these things are approved, our society will have become greatly calloused to them, just as we are for the most part to abortion. Lord, please have mercy on us.

So please don’t tell me Bush has done nothing on this front. That’s just not true. And yes, electing a pro-life President does matter. However, that’s not all we’re concerned about in the fight against pro-abortion legislation. One man in power for four or eight years can’t change the course of law or people’s minds on the matter necessarily. There are many components to our government and society. It literally will take an act of Congress, and not only that, but an act of the entire government and the society working together, in concert, to get these laws changed.

We really must feel the weight of how depraved abortion is and not stand for it as a fundamental human right anymore. What else will become a right if something as depraved and grotesque as abortion is just a norm in our society? This will simply lead to moral anarchy. We have approved, by law, the blatant murdering of our sons and daughters. If that doesn’t offend you, I don’t know what will. It is the shedding of innocent blood. It is detestable. However, many seem content to just ignore it, not think about it … or in the case of this argument, rationalize and explain it away.

In my estimation, this argument is a cop-out from dealing with the actual issue, putting it on the back burner in the place of other issues that we think are more important. To read a good commentary on this whole subject, check out Mohler’s piece he wrote recently: http://www.almohler.com/blog_read.php?id=2630 .

When Our Faith and Practice Contradict Each Other

“Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations?” – Jeremiah 7:9-10

I have now arrived in the book of Jeremiah in my Scripture reading plan and came upon this really convicting verse. Sometimes we can feel ourselves removed from the context of the situations where God is condemning Israel in particular, in verses such as these. However, if we believe all of Scripture, we would also believe Jesus’s words in the New Testament concerning the Law in the Sermon on the Mount.

For instance, He says, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire” (Matthew 5:21-22). In addition, He goes on to say, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28).

With these words and other similar statements in the sermon, Jesus ratchets the Law up to a level that is absolutely impossible for us to keep, because within our hearts, we are sinning continuously, at least according to God Himself (Genesis 6:5), whose perspective and opinion on the matter seem to carry a bit more weight than what any man thinks, seeing as how God sees the depths of our blackened hearts. Not only does committing the act of murder or lust make you liable to judgment, but so does merely insulting someone in your heart or looking at a woman lustfully! According to Jesus, it’s the same as if you had committed these acts in the eyes of the Lord if you even think them in your heart.

So the verses from Jeremiah at the beginning do indeed apply to us in the Church today and are not just meant for the Israelites in their respective context. We evangelicals are the “Israelites”. We are the one’s who steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to other gods … and then go into the Lord’s sanctuary and say, “We are delivered … by Jesus.” Many times, we then leave the service without any conviction of our sin, only to go on doing those same things, either externally (through explicit acts) or internally (through explicit evil thoughts).

May God have mercy on all of us, on me. Our hearts are quick to run to sin and that must be a principle that is always on the front of our minds, which will drive us to constantly rely on the Holy Spirit for the ability to do what is right. In as much as I say this to anyone reading this, I say it to my own heart. We need His Spirit to not only restrain us, but then change us from the inside out so that we do not want to do things that are displeasing in His sight. We need desire-change, heart-change, thought-change, will-change, that is all renewed and regenerated in the likeness of Christ. Only then can we do what pleases the Lord.

This whole point of our faith and practice goes back to that DesiringGod video I posted a week ago, based upon James 3:10, “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

Praise God He does not leave us without hope though. If that was the stopping point of the message, it would just be conviction, guilt and shame without any resource for changing the source of our thoughts and actions: our hearts. We would still be left in our sin, without hope of recovering, only expecting to return to the same things again and again. Yet there is free grace extended to us in the Gospel, that we would repent of our wickedness daily, continuously even, and return to Christ for cleansing and forgiveness (knowing confidently that in Christ, we are fully acceptable to God because of His cross).

Our goal in coming to the Lord’s house, corporately with the people of God, or privately into His throne room in communion with Him, through the intercession of Christ’s blood, is not just to be forgiven of our wickedness and idolatry and then return to our vomit once again (Proverbs 26:11), abusing the grace of the Gospel and putting God to the test, just as the Israelites did in the desert.

But our goal is to come, be convicted of our sin by God’s Word, in light of His holiness, and ask the Lord’s forgiveness, knowing full well He is faithful and righteous to do just that because of the cross (1 John 1:9). Only then can we move forward in holiness by His power working in us, having been accepted in His presence because of Christ’s work in our place to save us. And all of this in light of God’s great mercy toward us that we are not owed or have earned in any sense. He freely gives it to those whom He pleases to give it.

If the Gospel is simply a means to the end of staying in your sin (which according to statistics recently by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life many evangelicals are doing just that), we should fear the wrath of God that is coming, for it exposes the possibility of our not having apprehended or accepted the Gospel of God’s grace and mercy with a living faith to start with. Sure, you can respond back with all of the answers from the Bible about what the Gospel is. But the question we should be asking is, “Have I personally received this Gospel by a supernatural work of God in me? Have I been born again by His power instead of my own?” This is the one of the themes in Hebrews, James and 1 John.

Now of course in no way are we going to achieve perfection until we are with Christ. But this is the point: if our hearts are not on track with the convicting and liberating message of the Gospel, we should examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith or not. The books of Isaiah and Jeremiah show us that it would not be out of the ordinary for those of us who claim to be redeemed to be far from the heart of God, just as the Israelites were.

Our lack of zeal for the Gospel and turning away from our sin exposes the fact that we have not been struck with the power of the Gospel in our hearts, by God’s Spirit. Yes, we can have down days or even seasons, for certain. But what is it that drives you in everything you do? The world or Christ? That is the issue. It should make us mourn that we don’t consider the work of Christ in everything we do, but at the same time we should not cower away from Christ, but instead return to Him that we may be healed and restored by His power. It is only His sustaining grace that will carry us through to the end.

Whoever Wins The Election Should Be Served With Excellence

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” – Romans 13:1-7

In 15 days, a new President will be elected and as a result, about half of the country will be disappointed with the results, one way or the other. Things are favoring Obama at the moment and so it appears he will be our next President, though of course, you really never can tell what the results will be until people actually start pulling the lever. The pollsters can say whatever they want right now. Many elections in the past have proved that point.

Regardless, whoever the next President is should be served with excellence, from whatever political vantage point you are coming from as a believer in Jesus. I do not endorse Obama because of his policies on abortion, economics, social issues, and a host of other things. However, as a believer who submits to the verses as cited above, if Obama is President, he should be served with excellence by those he oversees as the Commander in Chief. To not serve him with excellence, but instead serve him merely out of duty with bitterness in your heart, is to rebel against God’s authority which is then ultimately a personal issue between you and the God of the universe, (which all rebelling, in any form, is exactly that).

Many self-professed conservative Christians will be tempted to rebel and revolt in either small ways (within their hearts through a form of bitterness or grumbling) or in bigger ways (through external, unlawful means). But to do so is ultimately to rebel against our Creator. For whoever is President did not get there by luck or chance, but only got there because God would have it so in His permissive will and over-arching plan. Just as Jesus said to Pilate before He was crucified for us who believe, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above,” (John 19:11) so also no President or leader in any position over us is able to make it to that office unless the Lord would have it so. Nothing catches God by surprise and nothing is apart from His will.

Even more than that, even if things were to get terribly ugly in this country and people become so polarized so as to rebel in a violent way, as John Hendryx from Monergism.com has been keen to point out in an interview he did a number of years ago, the Gospel is not chained because of a political regime that is in power over us. In fact, the Lord uses those things we see as hindrances many times as the very instrument He will use to bring the Gospel to those who are wrath-bound. Just ask the Christians in China. The Communist government there sought to squelch Christianity by humiliating believers through forcing them to go door-to-door and collect residents trash. What wound up happening was the exact opposite of what was intended: the Christians began spreading Christianity by going door-to-door, and now the Gospel is spreading like a wild-fire throughout the country. God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1-2). And is that not a perfect picture of that?

Now I do not believe things will get to the point of Chinese communist oppression with Obama in power (though the Fairness Doctrine is definitely a start down that road) and conservatives who think so need to get out more and have a few conversations with the opposing political side. I’m simply making the point that even if our candidate of choice doesn’t make it (whoever that may be), as believers, we should know and remember first and foremost, that no governing authority can squelch God’s power to save and change people.

That does not mean that we should be uninvolved in the political process and not support our perspective for what we believe is best for the country, for a democracy doesn’t work unless the people are involved. But it does mean that even if things do not go the way we envision or think they should go, we should know that it is all within God’s sovereign, ordained plan and power to have it so.

Therefore, we should trust Him that He knows what He is doing in decreeing whoever the President will be. So if Obama is voted into power in 15 days, conservative Christians should submit to God and serve “President” Obama with excellence, to the glory of God, as the One who has instituted him as a leader over us. And if McCain is voted into power, liberal Christians should submit to God and serve “President” McCain with excellence, to the glory of God, as the One who has set him up as a leader over us. And we all, as believers in Jesus, should live in unity under the all-encompassing power of the Gospel to save the lost. Is that not our ultimate hope in every way to begin with, even moreso than a political regime that is temporal and fading as soon as it is instituted?

Environmentalist Battles Will Never End Until We Do

http://gizmodo.com/5065587/greenpeace-o … ood-enough

So Apple, in response to the environmentalist outcry over the past few years, that their products are harmful to the environment (which I am for reducing toxins I might add), stepped up their efforts to make good on reducing the amount of damage they cause in towns like China where they are produced, as well as issues such as the cancer-causing toxic fumes reported to be burning off of the motherboards. So, as this article says, with one hand, environmentalists are patting Apple on the head and saying, “Good job,” while apparently the other hand is still chastising them for not doing enough. What is enough for an environmentalist, I ask?

This leads me to one fundamental conclusion: as long as humans are alive and consume anything, anything at all, whether it is food such as plants, animals, or if we use wood for building houses to live in, or use cars for transportation, fuels for energy, environmentalists will complain and fight all forms of technology that advance society. Now that doesn’t mean we have no responsibility to take care of the Earth as Christians. But it does mean that it should not become our god as it has for the environmentalist movement who opposes the God of the Bible (for the most part, with exceptions of course).

This leads me to more thought at a worldview level of where we as Christians are coming from and where our environmentalist friends are coming from. Are humans more valuable than anything else on the face of the planet as the Scriptures say, or are they of the same worth, value and honor as everything else that exists, which makes us just common place amongst a host of other organisms and matter? For instance, does a plant, as has been dictated in Switzerland by their governmental ethics board, have just as many inherent “rights” as humans and as much God-given value and honor? Or are humans distinct in honor and value apart from all other things in creation as has been ordained by our Creator?

Now my presupposition with all of this is that God is the Creator of all things and created all for His glory. In addition, I believe people were created in the image of God, to reflect His glory and attributes. The evolutionist/environmentalist does not believe any of this and so just as belief in the God of the Bible guides all my other beliefs and decisions, so also their underlying beliefs about reality (based largely outside of any text or manuscript, but based in very large assumptions that have been widely accepted by the scientific community) guide all of their other decisions regarding the world and our role as humans in it. These beliefs naturally and logically lead them to conclude we have no more inherent worth than that of a rock.

The Christian worldview says humans were created by God as His crowning achievement, made in His image and possess more inherent worth than any other of His creations. The evolutionist/environmentalist worldview (though not all environmentalists I might add) explain humans away as just a series of chemical and biological reactions that just happened to come into existence by chance, survival of the fittest or natural selection. Therefore, what worth do we have as humans that is more than that of other creatures, they seem to ask on an almost constant basis, at least implicitly?

This exposes the fundamentally different ways of viewing humanity and our use of the environment. Both camps believe (or should at least) that we should care for and protect the environment. Yet the reason why we should do this is what splits us. The Christian worldview says that we should take care of the environment out of our glory to God and thankfulness for what He has granted us to live in. The environmentalist (who for the most part holds to a evolutionist worldview) is merely a survivalist, believing humans to possess no more worth than that of a rock or plant and then applying the same worth and value we possess as humans, as granted to us by our Creator, to that of other objects with which we come into contact.

At what point will environmentalists cease their varied agendas? In their worldview, until humans are using no resources or are using only the most limited amounts possible to the point where there is no progress made at any level in our civilization, will their endeavors be complete. So should environmentalist policies and legislation be imposed on the collective society so that everyone must abide by their assumed rules? Is this not the very thing the same kinds of people accuse Christians of doing, imposing moral laws on the collective society? Do they not believe their proposed laws to be rules that are morally correct for all people and that we all should abide by them?

As Greg Koukl insightfully points out in his lecture on Relativism, and this whole discussion proves as a case in point, when you really get down to it, morality is the only thing you can legislate. This is clear between both the Christian and environmentalist worldviews. Now I don’t believe you can bring people to salvation through legislation (what many on the Christian right seem to assume), all the while ignoring the actual changing of people’s hearts by the Holy Spirit.

But the question is, which one of the meta-narratives for our existence is true? The Christian worldview that values humans above all in creation? Or an atheistic, evolutionist, radical-environmental worldview which believes humans to be of equal worth and dignity as anything else that exists, like plants now? I would argue it takes way more faith to believe we got here from nothing than to believe God was always there, self-existent, creating us and all things out of nothing by His infinite power. The latter at least logically makes more sense for how we got here and what our point of existence is: to find our ultimate joy and fulfillment in giving glory to God through Jesus, not in trying to save a world marred by the fall, though of course we sinners can make it worse off a lot faster if we’re not careful by how we use resources.

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