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Posts Tagged ‘culture’

It seems that evangelicals are falling all over themselves to become accepted by mainstream American society. Discussions about creation in the first two chapters of the book of Genesis are deemed “distractions.” The plight of the unborn is considered “yesterday’s battle.” It is considered fashionable to support a United States President who pontificates about the need to defend the weak but turns his back upon the most defenseless of humanity–the unborn.

It is encouraging to see concerted efforts to recover the biblical gospel and to emphasize a biblical view of doctrines such as justification. It is discouraging to see that many of those rightly concerned about the gospel accept the tenets of old-earth creationism and are deafeningly silent about the slaughter of the unborn.

Many rightly see that evangelicalism has been more concerned about culture wars than about the gospel. Far too many pro-life evangelical church members are relatively clueless about the gospel. They may be staunchly anti-homosexual while remaining quite fuzzy about salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

That said, it is wrong to neglect what has been emphasized in order to emphasize what has been neglected. Conceding creationism today will result in conceding the atonement tomorrow. Forgetting the unborn today will result in forgetting justification tomorrow.

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In the throes of yet another U.S. presidential campaign (do they ever cease?), the issue of abortion is again before the public. Soon-to-be Democratic nominee Barack Obama gladly trumpets his endorsement of “a woman’s right to choose” in order to set himself against his Republican opponent.

I’ve always been intrigued by that phrase: “a woman’s right to choose.” “To choose” is an infinitive that begs an object. A woman has a right “to choose” what? I suspect we’ll be hard pressed to find either Mr. Obama or other abortion apologists completing that infinitive phrase. To do so would expose too vividly the stark reality of the choice.

Here are some suggestions which I’m sure Mr. Obama’s speech writers have been seeking:

  • “I will defend a woman’s right to choose the death or life of her unborn child.”
  • “I will defend a woman’s right to choose the uninterrupted pursuit of a college diploma by ridding herself of the child within her or the interruption of her studies by giving birth and rearing her child.”
  • “I will defend a woman’s right to choose continued sexual irresponsibility or sex reserved for marriage so that the child can be reared in a stable home.”
  • “I will defend a woman’s right to choose moral recklessness or moral responsibility.”

Admittedly, these suggestions need some work. Indeed, they do lack pizazz. They do, though, put some context to the feckless and purposely vague “woman’s right to choose.”

The bottom line is that abortion is about death. Perhaps the mother doesn’t want her education interrupted or doesn’t want her career put on hold or is single and anticipates deeper poverty. Perhaps she just doesn’t want to deal with “a kid.” Or perhaps her husband or boyfriend is pressuring her to end the life of her child because that child will interfere with their lives. The reasons can be endless. Nevertheless, the stark reality is the unborn child within his or her mommy’s womb is destined for a painful death to satisfy the ill-considered purposes of someone who wasn’t aborted.

A biblical sonogram helps to put the issue in perspective:

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16 [ESV])

The unborn child is no mere glob of biological matter in the sight of God. The unborn child is a person made in the image of his Creator. Scoring political points with death? We’d better do some serious thinking.

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A June 23, 2008, Associated Press story by Eric Gorski provides additional evidence that religious Americans do not know the Scriptures or have rejected the Scriptures or simply do not care about the issues.

America remains a deeply religious nation, but a new survey finds most Americans don’t believe their tradition is the only way to eternal life — even if the denomination’s teachings say otherwise. The findings, revealed Monday in a survey of 35,000 adults, can either be taken as a positive sign of growing religious tolerance, or disturbing evidence that Americans dismiss or don’t know fundamental teachings of their own faiths.

Among the more startling numbers in the survey, conducted last year by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life: 57 percent of evangelical church attenders said they believe many religions can lead to eternal life, in conflict with traditional evangelical teaching. In all, 70 percent of Americans with a religious affiliation shared that view, and 68 percent said there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their own religion.

While many welcome this as good news, for the follower of Christ who has a high view of Scripture, this news is evidence that American churches are sliding further into apostasy. The plain reading of the Bible leaves no room for assuming that there are ways to God outside of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, ESV). The apostle Peter boldly instructed those who crucified Jesus, “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12, ESV).

The plain teaching of the Scriptures on this matter finds little approval in 21st-century pluralistic America. Embracing the culture, most American church members have implicitly rejected the Scriptures, at least those Scriptures which run counter to the political correctness of our day.

Of course, nothing is really new. To a very religious first-century Judaism, Jesus taught, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14, ESV). Jesus pointed to two ways purportedly leading to God. The banner over each would have said, “This way to heaven.” Yet Jesus himself maintained that the broad gate though which multitudes go to fulfill their desire for eternal life leads to destruction, but the narrow gate and hard way alone leads to life, “and those who find it are few.” Too bad Jesus wasn’t as open-minded as most of his American “followers” today.

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