I must confess that I am a little confused... For years in the abortion debate we have been told that abortion must be available to protect the life of the pregnant woman. It would seem that staying alive has been very important to our women to the degree that if a baby must lose his life to keep her alive, so be it.
Now we see our women increasingly willing to go into combat. Perhaps this is stating the obvious ladies but going into combat often results in losing ones life. How is it that we are finding women willing to lose their life for country but not for the infants in their wombs? I can at least understand the consistency of "I don't want to die by any means, for any reason". But I am having trouble understanding "I will risk my life to fight in combat but not to give birth to my baby."
In God's economy, men are to be willing to risk their lives for their wives, children and country. This is how a man shows his courage and lives out his created purpose as defender. Ladies, if you want to be courageous and be willing to lay down your lives, also...
Here is a case that perfectly illustrates the wickedness of our social systems today.
It's not hard to see there are major problems, but which one should we focus on? There are bribes, threats, child abandonment, contract killers, kidnapping, child-trafficking, and it's all going down in Connecticut and Michigan. The number of people involved is mind-boggling. Oh, and it's all perfectly legal.
A week ago, the Financial Timesreported the following stats issued by Chinese government officials. Since implementation of their forced abortion policy in 1971, the government reports their doctors have slaughtered 336 million little ones. That's 8,000,000 murdered babies per year; 666,666 murdered babies per month, 153,846 murdered babies per week; 21,918 murdered babies per day, 913 murdered babies per hour, 15 murdered babies per minute, one murdered baby every 4 seconds—non-stop for forty years.
Meanwhile across the world Jews put on their morality plays memorializing those who died in the Holocaust and rich whites organize local militias to lynch "slavery-deniers."
330,000,000, and that's just the forced abortions. Chinese government officials also released stats on sterilizations and implantation of IUDs. Since 1971, government doctors have done 196 million sterilizations of men and women and have implanted 403 million intrauterine devices...
RC Sproul Jr. will give two addresses on abortion tomorrow evening (Friday, April 5th; 7 PM in Ballantine 013). As promo for the call to repentance, Michael Foster and Jason Chen went out to interview Indiana University students...
The weekend with RCJR and his loving daughter, Darby, was very good for us here at Clearnote Church, Bloomington. What joy to have a brother come alongside and put his shoulder to your plough.
We regret to say, despite every bit as much effort on our part to publicize his two talks on the slaughter of the unborn given on the campus of Indiana University as we gave Doug Wilson's talks on homosexuality a year ago, no one bothered to get mad or express the slightest disagreement. That's abortion today—utterly passé. No one but those who claim the Name Christian either love or speak up in behalf of the unborn.
RC preached Sunday morning on the solidarity of our Lord with His people in our suffering pointing particularly to Jesus' rebuke of Saul using the first-person pronoun, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" (Acts 9:4). Videos or recordings of some of the messages will be up soon. Keep watch here for their announcement.
I'm very grateful to Doug and Nancy (last year) and RC and Darby (this year) for strengthening us here in Bloomington by their faithful witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Darrell Todd Maurina has done us all a great service by providing us a history of the so-called “spirituality” of the church and how R2K adherents appeal to “Old School” Presbyterianism. There’s been a lot of blowback from this post, especially where he emphasizes the inherent cowardice.
Probably what disgruntled men the most is that he named names like D. G. Hart, Michael Horton, R. Scott Clark, Mitchell Mahan, Todd Bordow, Matt Tuininga, Steve Zrimec, and I would add Tullian Tchividjian and Brian Lee to the list.
It can be complicated wrapping your arms around what R2K is because their defining characteristics are labeled using terms embraced by nearly every Reformed believer. R2K is a relatively recent anomaly formalized a bit more by men who have loaded familiar terms with new meaning. They read the past through an anachronistic lens and attempt to impose this on us. Given this fact, I would take issue with some of Mr. Maurina’s points because I think he gives far too much credibility to the development of what we call “R2K”.
R2K is really a reaction of particular men against the failures/weaknesses of evangelicalism (real, and sometimes simply imagined). It’s a product of particular men’s resentment toward the last 50 years and very likely no more than a reaction of particular men against their upbringing. Michael Horton makes no bones about...
Recently, after speaking on the House floor about the horrors of Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic in Philadelphia, I began wondering if my mother had ever thought about ending her unplanned pregnancy. My parents never gave any indication that it was ever a consideration, but was it?
If there’s one thing I have been convinced of over the years, it’s that some Pro Life® organizations try balancing an apparent allegiance to God’s “no” with a false notion of propriety. I say “balance," but what it comes down to is that some of these organizations absolutely will not ever say “no,” but then they’ll tell you “no!” when you actually say God’s “no”…you know?
Saying God’s “no” is antithetical to the peace they enjoy, but their peace is only what the world has to offer. God's "no" disrupts the equilibrium of an otherwise airy existence...
But then when someone else says God’s “no," it draws attention to the fact these Pro Life® groups won't say "no," and it’s embarrassing, really. Why they refuse to say “no” is quite principled, we’re assured; but I think it boils down to the following:
A false sense of propriety, and
Some may balk at my number two, but keep in mind that there is no Pro Life® movement unless abortion continues. There are ministries and careers to preserve—not just babies. But more, no one wants to give money to organizations that are impolite. These groups need our money for their salaries.
Take, for instance, Oklahoma's Holy Innocents Foundation (HIF), a group dedicated to the adoration of the Eucharist on behalf of the unborn...
I don't want to direct anyone to Darryl Hart's blog, but here's a short exchange Darrell Todd Maurina just had with Darryl Hart that is so typical of R2K men that I deposit it here for permanent reference. As always, they claim that any law that enforces any one of the Second Table of God's Moral Law requires the civil magistrate also to enforce the laws of the First Table of God's Moral Law. Thus they claim the man who wants the civil magistrate to prohibit the wholesale slaughter of the unborn (abortion) must also shutter every Islamic mosque, Roman Catholic cathedral, and Jewish synagogue...
One thing to keep in mind concerning the R2K mantra that the civil magistrate must choose to enforce either neither or both Tables of God's Law is the argument made by Early Church apologists that the Roman Empire's persecution of those who refused to honor the Roman Pantheon of gods actually dishonored those gods because it produced lip service rather than true devotion.
As no man loves insincere service, even less does God. ...No one can be compelled to worship against his will. ...even sacrifice calls for willingness. - Tertullian, Apologeticum 24:6.
Church fathers defending the Christian faith used to say that any god worth his salt desires true devotion from sincere hearts, not hypocrisy. And while it's debatable which commandments of the First Table of God's Law necessitate more or less sincerity, it's clear sincerity is essential to the First Table in a way it isn't to the Second.
For the civil magistrate to forbid mothers and the Planned Parenthood ghouls they hire from slaughtering little babies does not require the mother to feel good about not murdering her baby...
A common refrain lobbed from R2K adherents is a "lack of consistency" on the part of those holding to the historic Two Kingdoms doctrine. If you think God has called you to call sodomites and baby-killers to repentance, why not call on civil government to enforce the worship of the Trinity and punish Sabbath breakers?
At the heart of this complaint is R2Ker's notion of the "spirituality" of the church. What is the spirituality of the church?
Good question. On its face, the term lends itself to being so vague as to be nearly useless. Calvin and others following him use this term much different than R2K men. Hisorically, it wasn't a paradigm.
But R2K has co-opted the term and R2K men are all over the board as to its meaning...
Top headline on Google news right now, pulled from USA Today:
Texas House passes contentious abortion bill
Yes yes, stupid, pig-headed, ignorant Texans passing their contentious bill that will finally bring some measure of protection to little babies tenderly cared for in their mothers' wombs who until now have been completely exposed to the depredations of the rabid bloodthirsty forces of Planned Parenthood who hate little babies and make a living off slaughtering hundreds of thousands of them each year.
Nasty stupid Texans and their "contentious abortion bill."
Our President is trying to emote in a popular direction, giving a "surprise speech" about how "Trayvon Martin could have been me thirty-five years ago." Let's give him the benefit of the doubt and accept his claim he used to sit on top of men pummeling them while they cried for help. I must say that, myself, I'm sceptical. But again, let's give him the benefit of the doubt.
Honestly, though; while he's at it, why doesn't our president emote over the 1,350,000 defenseless infants torn to shreds last year who never pummeled anything other than their mother's womb. From inside. With their feet.
This is not to defend George Zimmerman. I pity him. But not as much for the lifetime of hostility he will endure as the lifetime of bloodguilt he will suffer. A regular bad dream I've had for years is that I've murdered a man and can't bear the guilt.
George Zimmerman didn't kill a man of similar age who was also armed and present on the field of combat. He killed a young boy who was unarmed and was only punching him...
Over in the UK, since 1954 it's been a crime to collect the eggs of ninety species of wild birds. Hypothetically, one may engage in oology as long as the subject of one's study (eggs) can be documented to have been collected before 1954. Otherwise, one's oology must be done in the wild and from a distance—through binoculars with great care taken there be no feelings of insecurity on the part of the nesting mother or father. Intimidating encroachments will be prosecuted.
The U.K.'s National Wildlife Crime Unit has been so successful with her constabularies, swat teams (no exageration), and prosecutions that oologists are resorting to collecting pictures instead of eggs. The sneaks climb trees and take pictures of the eggs, and although no one has yet been imprisoned for taking such pictures, head of the Wildlife Crime Unit, Nevin Hunter, warns his patience is growing thin. "The penalty is available," Nevin shrieks.
Our son-in-law, Pastor Lucas Weeks, is the descendant of two generations of missionaries to the nation formerly known as the Congo or Zaire, but now variously referred to as the Democratic Republic of Congo, DR Congo, Congo-Kinshasa, or the DRC. His parents, Ron and Doris Weeks, live in Kinshasa and Lucas just forwarded this piece from the National Geographic that does a good job describing life in Kinshasa.
A couple excerpts:
“I met an eastern Congo woman here in 1998, a pregnant rape victim,” Tsimba tells me. “I asked her if she would keep the kid.
She said, ‘Yes, he’s innocent.’ This became my inspiration. I showed her the sculpture when I was done. She was excited, even delighted, that someone was telling this to the world. She said, ‘Yes, this is how I suffered.’ I sold the sculpture and used the money to... pay for the hospital and for clothes, so that she and her baby could go back to Goma.”
In its use of society as the foundational term for human community, modern political philosophy conceives of civic life on the pattern of a group of acting subjects in a purely human space. The ever recurring image of such a group is one of players around a table. As Thomas Hobbes wrote, "It is in the laws of a commonwealth, as in the laws of gaming: Whatsoever the gamesters all agree on, is injustice to none of them." It is to be found again in the work of Adam Smith, who speaks of the "great chess-board of human society." The image loses its metaphorical self-consciousness and becomes conceptually foundational in later authors. John Rawls' description of the original position provides a good example. And history takes political theory seriously. Our political communities have become "societies" resembling ever more closely a club of gamblers.
For the game to be fair, it must be secular. The space of our democratic societies is flat. Nobody is allowed to stand higher than others. The first to be excluded is the One Above, especially when people claim to have received from him some message or mission that puts them closer to his divine reality—and thus higher...
Then they themselves also will answer, "Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?" (Matthew 25:44)
(NOTE: CMDA's president, vice-president, and midwest regional director have all responded to the content of this post by attacking the gifts and character of the young dental student whose teaching on abortion CMDA had disciplined—as outlined below. We have now published a follow-up post in which we document CMDA's defense, responding with a careful and detailed demonstration of their attack's errors of fact.)
Walmart has an unimpeachable return policy. Read about it on their national website. It is one of the most generous in the industry, but it's only as good as the implementation at your local Walmart when you try to get a refund. If every Walmart were free to reject returns, the official policy wouldn't be worth the paper it was printed on. This is true of every national organization with local branches. The acid test of a national policy is its local implementation.
This is seen all the time with parachurch ministries. For example, the national office of Inter-Varsity was unwilling to discipline a local chapter that promoted homosexuality. Similarly, although the PCA issued a fevered condemnation of Federal-Vision theology at the national level, she hasn't been able to find any local individual who holds to what she condemned. Men tried for Federal-Vision leanings are always exonerated.
The most recent example is the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA). Officially opposed to abortion since 1985, CMDA punished a man who taught their curriculum and position on abortion in one of their local Bible studies. When their official position against abortion becomes painfully local, they undermine it. They are prophets at a distance, but at home they desire peace.
Case in point: a godly, irenic dental student (let's call him John*) attending a CMDA Bible study was asked to take over teaching the study...
It's a regular theme in the New Testament history that the Jewish religious leaders felt the need to guard the precarious relationship that existed between their fractious nation and the Roman Empire. If they did not keep the peace, who would? And if the peace was not kept, what would happen to their synagogues and to the Temple and to their authority and wealth and status?
It is always the established religious leaders who feel the threat God’s servants the prophets pose to their carefully negotiated separation of powers between church and state. The balance is precarious and only they are qualified to maintain it—for the good of the people, of course!
Why "R2K" instead of "2K"?
First, a word about names. Why do I make it a habit to refer to this modern novelty as “R2K,” the initial 'R' standing for "Radical" or "Revisionist" two kingdom theology, rather than simply “2K” standing for "Two Kingdom"?
In the Reformed and Protestant world, fathers of the Church have long referred to “two-kingdom” distinctions they have employed as necessary to delineate the proper spheres of authority of state and church; of city councilmen on the one hand and deacons, pastors, and elders on the other hand. These two kingdoms or spheres of authority Martin Luther variously referred to as the Kingdoms of this World and the Kingdom of Christ, the Kingdoms of God’s Left Hand and the Kingdom of God’s Right Hand. So in that sense we could say that, insofar as the modern Escondido Theology or R2K men are speaking about the distinctions between the state and Church, and therefore the distinction between the Kingdom of this World and the Kingdom of God, they are joining a large and long conversation dear to the heart of each one of us pastors, elders, and believers living in this world while not of it.
In his helpful article, “One Kingdom or Two?”, Cornelius Venema writes:
…the two kingdoms [R2K] doctrine is alleged to be the venerable, original position of the Reformed churches. …(This) historical claim on the part of two kingdoms [R2K] advocates… represents a tendentious reading of the historical record.
- in "One Kingdom or Two? An Evaluation of the 'Two Kingdoms' Doctrine as an Alternative to Neo-Calvinism," by Cornelis Venema. Mid-America Journal of Theology 23 (2012): 77-129.
In Protestantism, both Presbyterian/Reformed and Lutheran, we now have five centuries of discussion and debate of this distinction and how best to work it out. No one has arrived at a solution to the tension and conflict that have always prevailed between the two kingdoms and it was this same conflict that led to this exchange between Pilate and Jesus Christ...
Last week, we heard from Christian Medical and Dental Association's CEO, Dr. David Stevens. He responded to our earlier post (detailing CMDA's punitive actions toward a dental student who taught a pro-life position in CMDA's Bible study) by laying out his subordinates' explanations of their actions. Thus, his communication with us was simply a number of bullet points, criticizing the dental student's teaching method and character.
There was no acknowledgement that CMDA was wrong in disciplining the student for his pro-life commitments. In our earlier work seeking a resolution to this matter, this is the response we had gotten from CMDA regional and national staff, so we weren't surprised Dr. Stevens continued this line of defense.
The same day we heard from Dr. Stevens, World Magazine contacted us asking for more information. We declined, explaining that we wanted first to work toward a private resolution.
We praise God that, this past week, the Seventh Circuit ruled that owners of two closely held corporations (one in Indiana, the other in Illinois) could assert religious freedom rights against nationalized healthcare's contraception mandate. The Seventh Circuit entered preliminary injunctions against the federal government imposing any enforcement penalties against these two companies.
The Supreme Court has accepted an appeal of the requirement by President Obama's nationalized medicine that corporations pay for the murder of unborn children. The appeal filed by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Mennonite woodworking company, is based on the companies' religious opposition to providing their employees abortifacient drugs such as "Plan B."
So now we'll see if Chief Justice Roberts has "grown" into lying about the First as well as the Tenth Amendment. Also whether he sees baby-slaughter as no big deal.
Reporting on SCOTUS agreeing to the review, USA Today...
Back in the late seventies at UW-Madison, my friend Keith Yandell suggested I take a course offered by the Philosophy Department titled "Environmental Ethics." Taught by the then-chairman of the department, Jon Moline, the course began with Dr. Moline presenting to the class a current effort in California to establish in court that Redwood trees were persons and deserved protection as such under U.S. law.
A decade or so later, I read a piece in the New York Times Book Review written by a professor of philosophy at Harvard. He was reviewing a book by a Kentucky philosopher which made the case that distinctions between men and animals were simply "speciesism." That part is boring.
What I found noteworthy was the Harvard man's reaction...