I bear the blame...

(Tim, w/thanks to Doug) Many of our readers have trouble understanding what's going on in the debate over the relationship of believers to the state that's been consuming this blog the past two weeks. Everything needs a context.

Here's a song written by a believer named Steve Taylor expressing his complicity in the execution by starvation carried out here in Bloomington, Indiana, at the hospital where many of us have given birth to our children, had our lives saved, and some of us work saving others' lives.

At the time, the Surgeon General was Presbyterian C. Everett Koop of Tenth Presbyterian Church...

A longtime family friend who worked on a number of the Bayly boys' bodies, including my own, "Chick" told me he personally received fifty offers to adopt Baby Doe before his execution was complete.

When he lay in the hospital crying from hunger with his life ebbing away, the church of Bloomington was spiritually minded and did not stop this murder. So far as I know, no doctor or nurse claiming the Name of Christ; no believing judge; no professor who professes Christ; no pastor; no police officer disobeyed the civil magistrate, broke the jaw of the wicked and snatched Baby Doe from his mouth.

Just like the Third Reich. Just like Rwanda. Just like the lynchings of black men across these United States.

Just like the slaughter of 1.3 million little babies going on all around us today.

The church is minding her own business, doing the Word and Sacraments to ancient music written by dead men. No Steve Taylor awakening our Christian hearts and Job-like manliness for believers today. Just the principled complicity of all Molech's willing helpers.

But what will God Almighty say to us? What clothing of good works will we wear at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb? Will He greet us with "Well done, My good and faithful servants?"

And if you have trouble recognizing it, this post is actually all about grace and not law. Love and not justice. Mercy and not wrath. Humility and not pride.

Comments

You had me until the next-to-last paragraph.

What is wrong with "ancient music written by dead men" and what does it have to do with this?

Who is Steve Taylor? Why is he better than John Newton or Charles Wesley (or even the Unitarian Isaac Watts)?

So, two kingdoms folks starve babies?

This is truly as sad and terrible story. But what does it have to do with two kingdoms?

These attacks and mischaracterizations of brothers in Christ who hold to the two kingdoms view has gotten rather silly.

If this wasn't what you were suggesting, I misunderstood and I'm sorry. But this is possibly how others are reading you too. As far as I see, this doesn't help understanding the issues at all.

>>What is wrong with "ancient music written by dead men"

Absolutely nothing. Just like there is nothing wrong with "doing the Word and Sacraments."

>>What does it have to do with this?

Being a pastor/Christian is more than doing the Word and the Sacraments and singing music by dead men, which has been one of the main points of recent discussions here.

>>Who is Steve Taylor? Why is he better than John Newton or Charles Wesley (or even the Unitarian Isaac Watts)?

He is better because he can actually do something, because he is not dead. He can actually fight for the unborn and, in this case, the living.

Dear Jim,

The problem is that those, I suspect including yourself judging from your link, who advocate the R2K view want all the benefits of American culture ad citizenship without being willing to admit that with those benefits come responsibilities and even corporate guilt.

We as Americans are guilty of Baby Doe. Not just others. Us. We don't get a pass in America because we're R2K Christians any more than R2K Christians in Germany got a pass in WW2.

Do R2K proponents really believe they can claim all the benefits of American citizenship without any complicity in her guilt? Surely you understand this as a pastor.

Love in Christ,

David Bayly

As a college student in the late 1980's, some friends of mine and I went to the Roxy theater in Holywood (its on the strip) to see the 77's play. We saw Steve Taylor there and so waved him over to our table and chatted a bit- real nice guy. Later on that evening, I noticed him in the bar area with a couple rough looking dudes with beer on the table and cigarettes in their mouths. I alerted my freinds to the situation, and just before writting him off as a hypocrite, we saw him bow in prayer with these men, right there in the bar. He stood up, handed them something and began to leave. My friends and I ran after him to inquire about what we saw. Steve Taylor said he was walking by and struck up a coversation with one of the men and was invited back to their table. They didn't understand the 77's music and Steve T. began to talk with them about the gospel- they were very interested. They exchanged phone number to follow up.

I will never forget witnessing that event.

Just thought you might want to know.

Phillip,

I am confused.

The particular worship tastes of 2K'ers have really no bearing on anything. Dr. Clark I know believes we should not sing anything in corporate worship other than inspired praise. (He is not EP if you understand the difference.) I know from reading Dr. Hart's book on worship that he has his own thoughts on the matter.

Probably the most non-R2K denomination (until recently) was the RPCNA and last time I checked Steve Taylor was not on their playlist. So I am not sure what the author of the lyrics we use in worship has to do with anything? Unless you are saying those of us who do not sing contempomrary stuff are necessarily 2K. Because last time I checked I am pretty sure I said on one of these threads that I was cool with theocracy.

Confused in Pittsburgh.

Baby Doe - Burned in my memory is a scene of me as a teen sitting on a kitchen counter in a home of unbelievers and saying, "I'm glad I don't have to decide about that," as if the killing of this child were a private matter for families and M.D.s to decide. My (unbelieving) pediatrician tried to save the child through official means. I was told that after the child died, something in that doctor died too. He stopped practicing and did research. My then pastor read in church a poem he wrote mourning the little one's death, but to my knowledge no one did anything to save him. I wish I could forget, but am glad I can not.

I am curious, how would you suppose the church in Bloomington should have stopped this murder?

Dear Jesse,

I'm not sure, but I can think of a number of ways the murder could have been stopped. And none of them would have involved Christians going to jail.

Love,

"And none of them involved Christians going to jail."

There are worse things in life than going to jail to represent the gospel.

Mr. Tim Bayly,

I am confused. You hold responsible all those in "Christian America" for the death of the child. And yet, when asked by Mr. Pirschel what the church could have done...you say nothing. Would you have picketed like you do abortion clinics? Would that have helped? It seems to me that many people tried but the fundamental "problem" here is that the parents were allowed to make healthcare choices for their child.

Maybe you disagree with that. Maybe you feel that the government should have stepped in, taken control of the situation and made the decision for them. I think you would answer differently if the question were school choices, discipline measures like spanking or many other issues, particularly those relating to your own children.

Depending on the motives and the total situation, which neither you nor I can know, the parents will answer to God for their choices. I am confused as to how the church, in particular, here is responsible.

Unless you can say, with Biblical certainty, how God's word would have had us act?

Dear Benjamin,

The point I was making was not about worship taste, as I said that there was "absolutely nothing" wrong with doing the Word and Sacraments to ancient music by dead men. And to be clear I am not suggesting that this music by Steve T. should be sung in worship. Tim said that "the church is minding her own business," basically just doing the Word and Sacraments on Sunday (my words). This is not what being a pastor or a Christian is only about. It is also about calling people to repentance-in the world, in the streets, in the university, in the mall, in your home, etc. It is about caring for those who are naked, helpless, crippled, dying, hungry, etc. This is not "works righteousness" as Dr. Hart questions on the post above. This is being obedient to Scripture and the commands of Christ.

Hope that helps and sorry to confuse you.

>>You hold responsible all those in "Christian America"

Neither David nor I have ever referred to "Christian America."

>>when asked by Mr. Pirschel what the church could have done...you say nothing.

Again, didn't say "nothing." What I actually said was "I can think of a number of ways the murder could have been stopped."

>>Maybe you feel that the government should have stepped in, taken control of the situation and made the decision for them.

No, I don't "feel" that way. It's simply a fact that the heart of the civil magistrate's duty is the defense of innocent defenseless life.

>>I think you would answer differently if the question were school choices, discipline measures like spanking or many other issues, particularly those relating to your own children.

Let me get this straight: I might feel differently about the civil magistrate endorsing and protecting the murder of this innocent and defenseless baby if I'd stop for a second and consider what such intrusion into private affairs might portend for my child's education? For whether or not I'd be allowed to spank my child?

The problem isn't our individual views on the church's obligations, but basic understanding of the nature and duties of the civil magistrate.

* * *

>>Unless you are saying those of us who do not sing contempomrary stuff are necessarily 2K.

Dear Benjamin,

You're right--that's not what I'm saying. With music, it's not that old is bad but that churches should have spiritual, theological, and musical aspirations higher than perfect reproduction of the past. We are not a museum.

Hope that's more clear.

Love,

Mr. Tim Bayly,

Thank you for clarifying a few things in your last post. I can sometimes not tell the difference between what you are saying and what those who want to "take back America" are saying. I apologize that I mixed up your position with theirs.

So, what are the things that could have been done by the local church? What are the "number of things"?

If I am correct, this tragedy led to legislation that would allow the government to step in in such a situation, right? Do you believe that this "fixes" the situation in the sense that it might not happen again? Have you reached out to the parents and heard their story and shared the gospel with them?

I believe that the civil magistrate should promote good and stop evil. I am sure on this we agree. I don't think that they should do that with the Bible in their hand. In fact, I believe they should NOT operate that way. It waters down the Bible and turns it into a morality manual and can never be actually implemented in this life.

But promoting good and stopping evil is what they ought to do. Now, I don't know this particular case. I mean, believe it or not, it wasn't big news where I was living at the time. I am sorry if I sound callous. I am just trying to understand your position here. You are saying that the nation's Christians should repent of something that happened almost 30 years ago?

Or were you trying to draw a connection between the death of this child from a lack of medical attention to the current slaughter of children through abortion?

Do you believe that the church should, each and every Sunday, repent because there are abortions in this country? Should we also repent for alcoholism? Domestic violence? Failing grades in the public schools? Loveless marriages?

What biblical grounds do you have for saying this? Did Paul repent for the sins of Rome? Did he say that we ought to? I am just trying to understand your position.

Concerning defenders of Baby Doe: I worked with some of the fine Christian nurses who were present when Baby Doe was born and eventually died, and some of them have told me their stories. They, along with the pediatrician mentioned by TGW above, did all they could to presesrve the life of Baby Doe: they would 'sneak' feedings and drinks to him, but not document what they were doing. Finally the family and their supporters realized that the maternity nurses were prolonging their baby's life, and asked to have him moved off that unit, to a floor where perhaps people would not be so attuned to the needs of a young child.... And he did eventually die.

AS TGW mentioned, the pediatrician was severely affected by this case, even if it wasn't 'his' child. He became quite an advocate for children who were in potentially abusive situations, and would admit them to the hospital for 'made up' reasons, to give the parents a break, so the children would not be abused. But he DID invest a lot of his time in research on his pig farm as well, and I clearly remember him coming onto the unit with manure on his boots!!!

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