Studiously avoiding the slaughter of the innocents...

Public expressions of anguish over the Newtown, Connecticut, murder of twenty little children are telling in what they include, but more in what they omit. Take Ravi Zacharias, for instance: when he diagnoses the problem and its causes, there's no mention of how the slaughter of a million and a half babies a year contributed to this crime. Does the man think about or shed tears for these little ones whose murders dwarf Newtown every single day! It's hard to imagine how any man could cry over wanted children who are murdered without shedding even more tears over unwanted children who are murdered. Which has more pathos?

At times like this, we come to see how culturally aware and what sort of Christian discernment our leaders actually have--not how much they market themselves as having. Note that Mr. Zacharias features divisive political rhetoric as a principal culprit...

Yes, we can discuss all the symptomatic issues—security, gun control, early detection signs, and so on. These are all worthy of discussion. But it’s always easier to deal with the symptoms rather than with the cause.

I wish to share what I think we must address or we head down the slope to a precipitous edge of brutality. The fiscal cliff is tame by comparison to the moral devastation ahead if we do not recognize the malady for what it is. Hate is the precursor to murder. Jesus made that very clear. Playing God is the dangerous second step where we feel we are the ultimate judge of all things and that we have the right to level the score.

Here, I would like to address our political leaders and media elite: You may personally have the moral strength to restrict your ideas to mere words but many who listen to you do not. To take the most sacred privilege of democracy and transform it into the language of aggression plays right into the hands of hate-mongers. This is not the language of a civil society or of wise leadership. It is not the ethos of a culture of co-existence. It is not the verbal coinage with which we can spend our way into the future. Our political rhetoric is fraught with division, hate, blame, and verbal murder. Our young are listening. Remember that what you win them with is what you win them to.

As for the entertainment world, what does one even say at a time like this? Calling for gun control and then entertaining the masses with bloodshed is only shifting the locus from law to entertainment. Do our entertainers ever pause to ask what debased values emerge from their stories? The death of decency is audible and visible in what passes as movie entertainment and political speech. This is the same culture that wishes to take away Nativity scenes and Christmas carols from our children. God is evicted from our culture and then He is blamed for our carnages. America is lost on the high seas of time, without chart or compass. The storms that await us will sink this nation beyond recognition if we do not awaken to the rapid repudiation of the values that shaped this nation. The handwriting is on the wall. Freedom is not just destroyed by its retraction. It is destroyed even more painfully by its abuse.

There is one more thing. It is so obvious but is seldom ever addressed. All these recent mass murders have been done by men. Many of them young men, yes, even mere boys. Jonesboro, Columbine, Virginia Tech, now Newtown. Is there something within our culture that doesn’t know how to raise strength with dignity and respect? Is this how boys are meant to be? From bloodletting in hockey games while thousands cheer to savagery in school shootings while thousands weep, we must ask ourselves what has gone wrong with us men? Where are the role models in the home? Is knocking somebody down the only test left for strength? Is there no demonstration now of kindness, gentleness, courtesy, and respect for our fellow human beings?

Note that in his diagnostics Mr. Zacarias hauls out the usual suspects and the mandatory solutions only, with not one mention of the wholesale slaughter of innocents that has turned two generations of mothers, now, into the most violent criminals of our society.

That, my brothers and sisters, is the truth that must not be uttered by cultural prognosticators who tune their words for the ears of complacent Christians.

We live in the midst of a bloodshed of innocents the likeness of which the world has never seen, but no tears are shed for the half-billion victims of this slaughter. Why not?

Because their mothers don't want them--we only grieve the deaths of wanted children. Were it otherwise, we'd have to approach women as moral agents. We'd have to give them the dignity of souls and warn them of the coming judgment of God against all those who paid butchers to murder their own flesh and blood.

The least-least of these.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

As ever, thank you till sparrows weigh a ton, for providing me very useful resources for this Sunday's homily, when our parish always observes the feast of Holy Innocents on the first Sunday after Christmas Day.

The grisly events at Sandy Hook provide an excellent occasion for doing exactly what this and a previous blog point out -- the connection between the death of those 20 children that day with the deaths of about 3,500 children on the same day.  Horror and outrage concerning one, silence and indifference concerning the other.  And that by Christians!

I assure you I don't ask this out of disagreement, challenge, or any taking of offense--but would you please, whenever you can, explain what the link IS between abortion and Newton?  I guess if I were to diagram them, I would be able to draw a line from both of them to a central cause, or a host of them- a worship of self, a hatred of God's word-- but I am not doing well at seeing the line BETWEEN the two.  Thanks-

Roger 

Roger, I have to wonder if you're being willfully obtuse here.  We allow men and women to kill their preborn offspring in cold blood, and then we wonder why those who survive often don't view human life as worth preserving.  Is it so complicated?

I'd add to the mix that our nation has more and more reasons for Dad to be kicked out of the home--as was the case in the family that produced the killer.  The whole cause?   Certainly not, but let's not discard the hypothesis before it's been tested.

Thank you for exposing this, even if it is depressing. 

It's easier for me to overlook a secular commentator's failure to make the connection between abortion and school shootings. But for someone like Zacharias, to whom tens of thousands look for Christian answers, to fail to make clear this connection is inexcusable.

One other thing. Has anyone really ever heard divisive, hateful political rhetoric in the last twenty years? For the life of me, I can't remember an instance, at least not at the national level. Maybe there's a rogue state representative or county councilman somewhere who hasn't gotten the memo on PC discourse. But I'm starting to think instances of divisive political rhetoric are like Big Foot sightings, only far more dreaded and rarer.

 

So I'm not an offense taker, brother, but I do actually take offense at the label "willfully obtuse."  I am asking a question in good conscience to better understand something.  I may be being pedantic, but when I think of a link, I think "X causes Y", not "X and Y are symptoms of the same thing, Z," which is what I DO understand.  I'd also point out that abortion on demand is available in much of the western world (and eastern world) and they don't seem to have as many mass shootings as we do.  

Roger,

There are myriad factors as to why our culture has more violent gun-related murders than perhaps other "civilized" Western nations. It is also true that abortion on demand is available in other parts of the Westernized world; some of these European countries are even further along in their moral decline, with the development of government funded assisted suicide as a major "growth industry" in parts of Europe. It's quite a cottage industry to be sure.

There is more to our gun violence problem than abortion, but certainly not less. We are a hypocritical culture. We talk about Adam Lanza as committing "evil", but we refuse to acknowledge God in our personal and sociopolitical lives, Who alone can define good and evil and bring coherence to the concept of ethics. We teach evolution, and then we pretend in the next breath that the death of tinier versions of the human organism are to be held sacrosanct, and we act as if there is no contradiction here at all. And we play the role of bloodthirsty gods by choosing which children will live and die, which children will be mourned and which ones murdered and forgotten like refuse put out on trash day, often making these decisions for nothing more than personal convenience.

There may not be a direct cause between abortion and the massacre that occurred in Connecticut, but we can refer to Romans 1:28ff, and we can say with Biblical authority that a culture that supports such wickedness as the kind of sexual perversion and child murder that finds not just protection, but commendation from our culture, this will be a rich culture medium for other types of sins, including what took place recently. Our society wants to be arbitrary in which atrocities it will tolerate, and which ones it will not. But God has said that as He gives such a culture over to its depravity, that there will be those who are more self-realized in their evil, and who are less restrained. They too will be arbitrary, and they will perhaps decide that there really isn't a good argument for sparing postnatal children, while prenatal children are to be thought of as a personal choice.

It turns out we cannot keep our sins together so well, in the play pin we have tried to construct for them. God help us, because people like Adam Lanza do not happen due to genetics, but rather as a divine judicial judgment on our society. And from watching the news, our society is a long, long way off from recognizing this, and that includes pastors.

Tim,

I think you make a good point. And I believe there is a link between abortion and school shootings through the malicious oppression relief that they both represent. Oppression relief is a blood-thirsty ideology--and we are the gods who decide what qualifies. 

Roger Keane, here is some more on the subject.

>>I assure you I don't ask this out of disagreement, challenge, or any taking of offense...

Of course you're disagreeing and challenging, and I take absolutely no offense. Such disagreements and challenges are the stuff of growth for me. I'm with Edwards in saying that, when he was at Yale, he learned more from arguments than reading.

>>would you please... explain what the link IS between abortion and Newton?

The link is bloodlust. Every bit of bloodlust we cultivate feeds our addiction. We are a bloodthirsty people and the horror of that lust starts with our women. For many years now, around forty percent of women have murdered one of their unborn children. That's almost one out of every two women you meet. Add to that the women who have helped pay for their roommates or sisters or girlfriends to murder their child, who have helped (or more likely forced) their daughters to murder their child, and it's no wonder a disturbed young man would murder a score of them. If we're going to pull this hidden slaughter out into the open, we must wonder whether this young man had a brother or sister he never knew.

The line between the killing of 20 schoolchildren and 50,000,000 children is direct. Murder is murder. Killing is killing. Slaughter is slaughter. Children are children. Bloodlust is bloodlust. Bloodshed is bloodshed.

And it all starts with our mothers, wives, and daughters.

Shedding innocent blood is a cultural addiction. Our movies testify to our character. For decades now, God has given us over to childlessness/fruitlessness, both from sterile wombs as a result of pills and IUDs and condoms, to the slaughter of our fruit as God knits our children together in their mothers' wombs. Thus the first generation to engage in the wholesale slaughter of their unborn children will be the first generation to self-slaughter by means of starvation, dehydration, and increasing dosages of morphine suppressing our vital functions. Little children slaughtered by the millions is leading to grandfathers and grandmothers committing self-slaughter by the tens of millions.

If we want to stop the horror of school murders, the place to start is to call for the end of the horror of the wholesale slaughter of our children. And to speak of twenty without speaking of fifty million is hypocrisy.

Bloodlust is bloodlust. Bloodshed is bloodshed. Slaughter is slaughter. Children are children.

Let me put it this way: there is no difference between the slaughter of twenty children in a schoolhouse by a gun and the slaughter of of fifty million in our mothers' wombs by knives and a vacuum cleaner. Except that one is insignificant by comparison. Or look at it this way: if we try to pull the statistics of child-murder out into the open, the mothers of the Newtown children are likely already to have murdered about half as many of their own unwanted children as their wanted children Adam Lanza murdered. So part of the reason the Lanza murders are so tragic is that those mothers can't go back and rescue their unwanted children in order to fill the void now left by the murders of their wanted children.

I mean, do we ever meditate on any tangible result among us of the wholesale slaughter of our children by their mothers? Is this the first crime against humanity that has no cultural, national, familial, or ecclesiastical fruit?

The fact that our sociologists never run studies or write papers showing the connection between one kind of slaughter of children and another kind of slaughter of children; the fact that our pastors are blind, deaf, and dumb to the connection between parents in their congregations murdering their offspring and self-murdering when they get old is no surprise. This obscenity is completely hidden from view. The victims are gagged until Christ returns. We have no holocaust museums with pictures of mother-murders of fifty million children, nor exhibits of the killing apparatuses they used.

Bloodlust is metastasizing across the world. We've sown our Stalin, Hitler, and Mao, and we're reaping our grandmothers, mothers, wives, and daughters. Not led by the men in their lives--our bodies, ourselves, you understand.

Love,

 

Thanks Doug!  That was very helpful.  My fiancee pointed out it's very similar to C.S. Lewis' (in my view somewhat of a cop-out) view of Hell- a people given over entirely to the logical results of their choices, but with no more common grace to buffer them from consequences.  

The Pill separated sex from marriage. And sex outside marriage requires abortion on demand to cover the sin. Now we've slaughtered a half-billion innocents. With the birth control spigot running (no Reformed bylaws prohibits it), the abortion plague can never end. Judgement starts in the house of God.

An occasional massacre pales in comparison to the genocide powered by the Pill and silent Presbyters.

Christ have mercy upon us.

Allan - do you allow for condom use?

If a prophylactic can separate sex from marriage, then an in-writing prohibition is in order. The sooner, the better.

Tim,

While I think your original post and your follow-up comment are right on, I'm not so sure that Ravi Z's post was the appropriate impetus for either. I agree that his post would've been stronger and more accurate if he had made the link to abortion in his post. That said, while I only occasionally see or read something from him, I've not known him to shy away from speaking about abortion. While it's quite possible that he didn't make the link for the reasons you point out, trying to think the best of him, I'll believe it was for some other reason. In fact, I think he would likely agree with what you've written above.

New Year's blessings to you and your family,

Tom

"...with not one mention of the wholesale slaughter of innocents that has turned two generations of mothers, now, into the most violent criminals of our society."

The problem I have found with making this connection is that the world doesn't see this as "most violent." Some responses I get are "that's not the same!" or "was the world a less violent place before Roe v. Wade?" You mention any number of other reasons for violence and people will nod their heads in agreement. But you mention abortion and they cannot even fathom the connection. 

>>I've not known him to shy away from speaking about abortion.

Dear Tom,

As an Evangelical luminary, he has to agree with most of what was written above. Just not now. Not when the entire world is intent on no one bringing the wholesale slaughter of millions to bear on the murder of twenty. Consciences resisting repentance require the silence of their prophets concerning their sin.

This article was intended as a statesmanlike and pastoral interpretive judgment. As such, it comes up woefully short.

To interpret the murder of twenty by pointing to hockey players punching each other and pols giving polemical speeches, assigning to them the blame for the bloodshed without a single mention of the millions of mothers, wives, and daughters who themselves had murdered their own children first...

...boggles the mind.

Love,

Even in his last paragraph, Zacharias is flat wrong about men and masculinity, especially young men. Notwithstanding the gangs in the metropolitan areas, if one will simply count noses you'll find that these are a minority, and a small minority at that.  

When cataloging and dismissing "the usual suspects" trotted out to explain the Newtown murders (some of them trotted out by Zacharias), I read the following from my sermon manuscript yesterday morning:

Or, how about those who insist that there is something fundamentally defective in the character of men and masculinity in America these days? I fully agree that there is an epidemic running for several generations now relating to masculinity in America. But, that epidemic is not about violent men, but about apathetic, castrated men who live lives immersed in electronic fantasies and pornography; who never support themselves, but live with their parents well into their 30s, or even later; who never marry but sleep around with whatever stupid woman is willing to crawl into bed with them; who run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt prolonging their days in university so that they don't have to do anything productive in the market place.

Yes, there is an epidemic involving masculinity today; but, it's not the one decried by those wringing their hands this side of the Newtown murders.

But why make much ado about the greatest genocide ever -- way beyond biblical proportions -- when the root cause -- the Pill and all of its offspring (contraception, abortifacients and sterilization) -- remain permissible in every single Reformed congregation?

You cry "Fire! Fire!" in your house but refuse to take the lighter away from the Arsonist.

I agree that contraception needs to be addressed because it's the beginning of the rejection of life.

>>the Pill and all of its offspring (contraception, abortifacients and sterilization) -- remain permissible in every single Reformed congregation?

Dear Allan,

There are many Reformed congregations that warn against separating the procreative and unitive joys and blessings of the marriage bed, and every one of our Clearnote pastors as well as David and his pastors up at Christ the Word do so. So also we teach and warn against so-called "contraceptive" methods which in reality sometimes (the Pill) or often (the IUD) function as birth control devices—which is to say, abortifacients. But you're quite right in calling for this prohibition as well as observing that the vast majority of Reformed pastors and elders will not open their mouths on the subject.

Really, this is no surprise since most Reformed pastors and elders don't open their mouths about fornication or pornography or divorce or female rebellion or male laziness or disobedient and dishonoring children or greed or pride or...

In other words, the real problem in the Reformed world is not the failure of pastoral care concerning the employment of tools to limit the propagation of our godly seed, but the failure of pastoral care concerning everything. I hear this theme constantly and for many years now from those in every kind of Reformed church.

In the old days, each year at the conference we would hear Iain Murray publicly lament the absence of any evangelistic commitment on the part of Reformed pastors. Today we not only lack any evangelistic commitment. We also lack any pastoral commitment.

Home school mothers father their children; home school fathers husband their jobs and wealth; home school children pursue excellence; and pastors and elders do their best to keep homeschooling mothers happy.

This is our pastoral care and I'm not being cynical—just trying to open people's eyes to the condition of the most biblical churches of our time and culture. Which is to say we'll have no revival of the Reformers' uniform teaching against those who choose sterile marriage beds until there's a revival of the Reformers' practice of pastoral care.

Love,

>>we'll have no revival of the Reformers' uniform teaching against those who choose sterile marriage beds until there's a revival of the Reformers' practice of pastoral care.

Dear Tim,

Wow! You nailed it. What a trying time for Christianity.

In your mind, what are the top three areas of patoral care missing in Reformed congregations? And, of these, what's going to finally light a fire under us men to either show ourselves faithful or fruitless?

Love,

Roger; agreed that "willfully obtuse" can be offensive.  That's why I prefaced it with "I have to wonder if" instead of flatly accusing. 

Regarding your comment about Europe, thankfully they don't have a lot of mass shootings--Anders Breivik and some other shootings aside--but it is worth noting that the Netherlands is a leader in both abortion and euthanasia.  Some even argue that "involuntary euthanasia" there (murder by a more polite name) is a chief killer of the old there.  So while the mass killers there don't have guns to do their dirty work, apparently they do have a certain number of geriatric doctors to do their bidding.

>>the top three areas of patoral care missing in Reformed congregations?

I'd think application in preaching, applying the preaching in person after the sermon, and giving and receiving hospitality.

As for what will change us, regaining the fear of God, wrestling the training of pastor from seminaries' Ph.Ds, and mutual exhortation--hence this blog and our Clearnote pastors conferences.

The best remedy, though, is reading the Word of God and Baxter's Reformed Pastor.

Love,

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