I’ll confess I never really thought it could happen. Even with the influx of new conservative justices, it just didn’t seem feasible that a monumental ruling not far from its fiftieth birthday could actually be overturned. But on June 24th, the Supreme Court made a ruling that prompted simultaneous celebration and outrage across the country. Most of you reading this will probably think that the decision was a good thing, perhaps even an encouraging sign that America can turn around and head in a good direction after all.
I fear, though, that not many are taking the time to think about this decision in a nuanced way. And I’m not sure that celebration is the right response for Christians. When I first saw the headlines last week, I was shocked but couldn’t feel excited. Most of you are probably scratching your heads, but bear with me.
What the ruling means—and doesn’t mean
It’s important that we be able to converse intelligently about what actually happened with the ruling. It’s easy to misunderstand both the ruling itself and the wider responsibility and purpose of the court. The court wasn’t attempting to make a ruling on abortion itself. Rather, the court was reviewing a specific question: does the Constitution guarantee a right to abortion? In 1973, in the Roe v. Wade case, the court ruled that a pregnant woman has a right to an abortion, protected by the Constitution. In last week’s ruling, the court argued that the logic in Roe was constitutionally questionable. The court at the time, they argue, attempted to settle an issue of much controversy by making far-fetched claims about how the Constitution related to abortion. So the recent ruling wasn’t about the sanctity of life, nor did it attempt to make any judgment calls on the ethics of abortion. Justice Alito, for the majority, said the following:
Abortion presents a profound moral issue on which Americans hold sharply conflicting views. Some believe fervently that a human person comes into being at conception and that abortion ends an innocent life. Others feel just as strongly that any regulation of abortion invades a woman’s right to control her own body and prevents women from achieving full equality. Still others in a third group think that abortion should be allowed under some but not all circumstances, and those within this group hold a variety of views about the particular restrictions that should be imposed.1
The American case was peculiar, since not only was abortion legal, but it was guarded as a constitutional right. Most European countries, for instance, have laws which allow abortion in at least some cases, but these have been passed by democratic legislatures. The US also stood out for how far along it allowed women to have abortions, being one of only seven countries permitting elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.2 In short, we’re a country of polarized extremes on the issue.
So while it’s true that it took conservative justices to bring the ruling about, their argument is legal, not moral. Now that there is no longer this constitutional protection, it falls back on the states to legislate as they see fit. There are several states that are likely to introduce legislation that would ban abortion, or at least restrict it. It’s inaccurate to say that this ruling bans abortion, but it is almost certain that some states will take that step.
A brief word about abortion
From a biblical perspective, abortion is a despicable evil. Over 85% of abortions in America come from unmarried women.3 In most cases, this means the woman has willingly engaged in immoral activity. (If you’re wondering, less than 2% of all abortions are for pregancies from rape or incest.)4 When someone affirms a woman’s right to choose, they are saying in effect that a woman has a right to engage freely in sexual activity—and irresponsibly, at that—with no consideration for the child she could conceive. Of course there is debate over when a fetus should be considered a human being. The ethical dilemmas for the pro-choice position are many. Does the simple expelling of a baby from the womb create life that wasn’t valid a moment before? Or does something magical happen at the twenty week marker? By far the simple—and only logical—argument is simply that life begins at conception. When most women get an abortion, they have violated God’s law by fornicating—and then they commit murder.
The problem, though, is that we can’t talk about abortion isolated from the view of sexual morality that surrounds it. We can’t expect those who live a promiscuous lifestyle to be swayed by our pro-life arguments, outside of an appeal to their conscience and a hope that God will enlighten their hearts. We can’t hope for the “need” for abortions to diminish unless people abandon their lifestyles.
A thorny moral dilemma
Actually, that last statement isn’t quite true. Abortions have gone down significantly in the US over the last few decades, going from well over a million a year in the eighties and most of the nineties—peaking at 1.4 million in 1990—to just over 600,000 a year in recent years.5 While there are numerous factors at play, the most significant is probably increased sex education and access to contraceptives. If you think about it, no one actually wants an abortion, at least if there are more convenient ways to prevent a pregnancy. Many Christians balk at the idea of contraceptives being considered a part of basic healthcare. Why should taxpayer dollars subsidize immorality, right? The problem, especially in poor areas, is that when contraceptives are inaccessible, women are more likely to get pregnant and want an abortion. In fact, policies under Democratic administrations seem to cut down abortions more than under Republicans—who are of course more likely to be pro-life. There’s debate about it, but it’s worth checking out.6
My point is hardly that I think Christians should help hand out contraceptives so people can have extra-marital sex without needing an abortion. But I want us to grasp the complexity of the issue. We can’t talk about abortion without being aware of the sexual lifestyle surrounding it. And while we rejoice whenever we see others—including non-Christians—limiting their sexuality to marriage between one man and one woman, we are most certainly not going to enforce biblical morality outside of the church.
In short, whenever biblical morality isn’t followed, there are no easy ways to try to halfway make things more moral. We face tradeoffs, like choosing between making illicit sex easier and safer or making it riskier and more likely to lead to abortion. We should shake our heads at the brokenness of the world and cry out for redemption.
So how should we feel?
I happen to believe that the Supreme Court made the right decision. This is largely because I agree with the court’s legal reasoning, which reflects the purpose of the court to interpret law, not to be judicial activists. This isn’t because I’m pro-life. So I’m certainly not upset or disappointed with the decision. But America is still broken and plagued with immorality. In fact, I fear the decision only increases the already ugly level of polarization in our nation. Many people are very upset right now, more likely to engage in activism to reverse the decision—and promote other liberal ideologies—and more likely to show up at the polls. And I trust we feel no glee when we think of those who may find themselves wanting an abortion and no longer having recourse. Where abortion doesn’t happen and lives are saved, we rejoice. But this is no time to talk about “dumb liberals” or “baby killers.” If a woman choose not to have an abortion, what happens to her and her child? She is most likely to be unmarried, perhaps no longer with the man who gave her the child, and likely to be poor. If drugs and alcohol were involved, the baby will find the world against it from the start, with crippling psychological and developmental problems. Simply the absence of a father is a significant setback.
Compared to the roughly 600,000 abortions a year, infant adoptions are a mere fraction of that—around 18,000. If adoptions would come even close to replacing abortions, the number of parents willing to adopt would need to go up exponentially. Is it fair to cheer restrictions on abortions without being willing to invest in the chaos that’s left? Not nearly everyone can adopt, of course. But for those willing, it’s an incredible commitment, and something that actually helps. It’s easy to complacently say something like “thanks to Trump’s court picks, life is protected” while raising large, biological families. But this contributes nothing to the crisis.
The wages of sin are not cheap. There are no easy answers for the problems facing our nation. We know the ultimate answer lies in lives transformed by the gospel. As the church, it’s our responsibility to bear witness to its beauty and power. Excitement over temporal decisions that we know stoke sectarian fires can blur this. I think it would go a long way for the church’s witness if the world would see us sad, recognizing the consequences of sin, deeply unsatisfied by any court ruling that happens to line up with our beliefs. America needs the gospel—and much healing. And we need God’s help to compassionately point to a better way, outside of the predictable, polarized political fray.
22 thoughts on “Should Christians Be Excited About the Overturn of Roe V. Wade?”
“There are several states that are likely to introduce legislation that would ban abortion, or at least restrict it. It’s inaccurate to say that this ruling bans abortion, but it is almost certain that some states will take that step.”
Many states have already banned abortions outright, and several more will be doing so within the next few months. MO did so within minutes after the SCOTUS decision was announced. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/roe-has-fallen-these-states-are-already-protecting-the-unborn/ I don’t have any doubts in my mind that criminalizing infant genocide is a good thing, just like criminalizing every other form of murder is a good thing.
I agree that abortion amounts to infant genocide. But it’s a thorny issue, since these infants wouldn’t come into being if it wouldn’t be for their parents’ engaging in sexual sin. That’s why it’s hard for me to see it as straightforwardly as you do. It’s unquestionably sinful on the part of those who both commit sexual sin and get an abortion. But how can we respond? Are we willing to make contraceptives free and more accessible, so these women never get pregnant? And if not, aren’t we ultimately coming dangerously close to legislating our morality? As I said to Mrs. Bradford, if this was indeed the moral climate of the country, I’d rejoice. But it isn’t, and we risk further alienation from society at large—not a good thing.
I’m thinking about your comment that you fear we “risk further alienation from society at large” because of this recent ruling. (I tend to be a bit reactive when people make strong expressions suggesting trepidation about the fallout from wise decisions as if the previous bad decisions were less damaging or divisive and less cause for fear.) And you made similar comments throughout this piece. In fact, many of your arguments are echoed by the Leftist pundits and media (yes, I do refer to them often so I’m not in the dark about how they are protesting right now philosophically and politically). Not that the Left is ALWAYS wrong. But their motives are generally anti-Christ and cowardly and self-destructive. So, I don’t get that excited or celebratory seeing Christians parrot the reasoning the world offers for keeping abortion legal albeit with strong statements against abortion: it’s going to increase abortion, it’s going to add to the polarization, it’s likely to bolster liberal voting and activism, it’s going to accelerate poverty, it’s just trying to legislate morality, it’s political, keep the church out of the government, it’s going to do nothing about sexual immorality, etc. I submit that different wording and reasoning would be used if little one-year old children were being cruelly, tortuously slaughtered by the thousands on the streets by some madman, and somebody stopped or slowed him. I agree that we should not be blindly gleeful that the slaughter was stopped, but we shouldn’t guilt-trip ourselves into believing that our response should be largely sadness and deep dissatisfaction. I think it’s possible to be deeply grateful AND cautiously circumspect, and I think more expression to that effect would have saved you some push-back, though I think I agree with much of your sentiment.
I think too many Christians have become so accustomed to and accepting of defeatism, cynicism, pessimism, and fatalism that we don’t know how to embrace good news and rejoice about anything positive or hopeful. Because so much wrong has happened, we are suspicious of anyone in government even when they do a good thing. Quite frankly, I think we should be just as fearful that we suppress faith-filled jubilation as we are that we side with the world’s mindset itself. Are our writings and actions faith-filled or are we succumbing to the Devil’s devices by downplaying societal corrections? Are we capping the power of God at work by our short-sightedness?(I don’t think we should stand around with the Pharisees critiquing the miracle of transformed eyes and lamenting that he was blind in the first place and that so many others are still blind. How ’bout we bring more blind folks to Jesus instead? And I know that is your passion, so I’m being rhetorical here. 🙂 )
Our church is working through the book of Nehemiah right now, and I think this faith hero’s words and mentality should be more apparent in our productions. Nehemiah broke through the taboos (maybe partly because Queen Esther was in the room and had set a courageous example years before?), resisted the sneers and accusations of legislating morality by the enemies, did not allow himself to wallow in the horrible sorrow over Israel’s destruction. He mourned, true. But he set his face toward victory and would not be budged by the swirl of danger and threat and history. That’s leadership! Real leadership!
See, until America equates born babies with unborn ones, the abortion question is always going to be “blurry” and “nuanced.” And you are right that this is truly a moral issue. I used to protest abortion more. I see the wisdom of winning hearts more now. I just want to remind you that Roe V Wade didn’t diminish poverty, crime, division, drugs, immorality, fatherlessness. In fact, it radically escalated and compounded every one of those terrible things. I think if we really understood what is going on in the abortion realm with all the bloodshed, guilt, and satanic activity, we would be a little more happy with what the 6 justices decided. Stop being afraid and push ahead!
Hi Gabriel! There is a lot I can say here, but I beg for some civility and an attempt to engage with my argument. I’m anything but a leftist and find the claim that I’m using their arguments a bit of a stretch. I’m not arguing in this post that we should be “afraid” or that I think this was a bad decision. In fact, I say explicitly in the post that I think the court made the right choice. As to noting the likely backlash on the left, I didn’t indicate that I think this means we should shy away from getting our hands dirty to help. I’ve noted the need for more adoptions and want to affirm my support for anyone wiling to help in any way. I ended my post by noting the duty Christians have to point to a better way, beyond the polarized politics of our nation. That’s what I’m wanting to avoid: an activist Christian Right that campaigns to use the government to enforce their morality, instead of actually helping with the crisis. When Christians show compassion through adoption, helping at pregnancy crisis centers, etc., I do rejoice and would love to see more. I want to see the church showing compassion; with that kind of work, yes, amen, push ahead!
Just to reiterate: I am concerned about some of the negative potential of the recent ruling, but I still think it was the right choice. And I most certainly think that Roe v. Wade was a bad ruling on every front! I think our disagreement lies over our view of the church being involved in politics. I’d be glad to have that conversation if you think it would be helpful. Most of your statements here assume the position that the church should be involved in politics—unless I’m horribly misreading you!—which makes it difficult to fairly dialogue.
Well put. I have been curiously observing how even beyond abortion, it’s easy to base our witness in our community on morality alone, getting ourselves wound up in endless debates concerning morality, rather than the message of the gospel. Thanks for this.
I think there are some good points here. Yet it IS in order for us to rejoice when God answers a prayer such as reversing Roe v. Wade. The work is not over, perhaps it is only beginning. But it is a positive step, and joy and excitement surely is allowed.😊 When the slaves were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, would it have been a good idea to spread the idea among the freedmen that they shouldn’t feel too excited because there was a long, slow road ahead of them.? They might have wondered whose side you were on! It’s OK, celebrate with abandon, then gird up your loins and get to work with the strength that comes from joy!
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice.”. Proverbs 29:2 Hallelujah!
Thanks for your comment. I certainly understand the cause for rejoicing, but it’s hard for me to view this as the start of a long road ahead, to use your analogy of the Emancipation Proclamation. The overall moral climate of the country hasn’t changed for the better, which adds an element of coercion here that’s likely to backlash. If the attitude of the country towards sexual immorality would indeed be moving in a biblical direction, I’d be much more excited. It’s not, so instead I brace for a raging left that will almost certainly retaliate.
But I do agree that whenever lives are spared we should rejoice. No disagreement there.
Just double emphasis that bracing for the rage and retaliation of the left is not what we should be doing, and we most certainly shouldn’t run from the darts of the wicked. (The shield of faith is not for your back, friend.) That’s not an offensive posture, brother. For too long, modern Christians have adopted the bleak, depressed, despondent, gloomy, foreboding, hopeless, worried, down-hearted position. We moan at the headlines and ignore the lines of Scripture! We let the media, the education system, leftist government, and chaffy religious trends determine our world-view and eschatology. We allow the darkness to put out our lights. (Of course, light always extinguishes darkeness causing us to pause and consider whether we are really walking in and offering the light.) We molly-grub when good things happen, and sit in the pit of despair when bad things happen…That isn’t what the early Methodists (my heritage) and the early Anabaptists did. God help us! God help me!….I was talking to the neighbor of our church building the other day. I was trying to encourage him not to be governed by the manipulation of the sensational media whose goal is demoralizing and immoralizing the populace. Then he told me about what he has noticed the past while at the factory where he works. He said 30 years ago there, nobody bowed their heads to pray before they ate. Now, he sees a number of men praying prior to eating. I told him that fact will never make the headlines of the local paper. I think there is good things happening on a grass roots level.
The Emancipation Proclamation was not enough and it was not just the “beginning of a long road ahead” but rather an exceedingly important and necessary part of a very long process. And it was worth celebrating. It was good and right for Christians to persevere in changing the hearts of men on the matter of human slavery and race superiority, but the slaves needed legal protection and provision for freedom, and these legal steps were a necessary part of the battle, even though it infuriated the Left of that day and many shrank back from the confrontation. This history does provide us with a perspective on today’s challenges. In all these issues, the ultimate answer is, as you said, for the Gospel to reach men’s hearts. On that, we firmly agree! May God’s people receive renewed energy from this recent victory to press forward with the truth and the Gospel!
Mrs. Bradford, the reason many opposed outlawing slavery was that there was concern about what the fate would be of the free blacks. Many argued that they were safer by remaining in slavery. Unprincipled men are always governed by what they believe the negative consequences might be of right and righteous decisions whereas principled men know that right decisions can assist in right behavior.
However, just outlawing slavery didn’t eliminate the problem of men’s hearts. The blacks to a large degree are still politically enslaved because of SIN. Sin in them and sin against them. During segregation black dads, inspite of the racism and poverty, were responsible, with families intact. (Some folk act like they would have been better off in the 50’s if abortion had been legal and welfare prominent.) I have a book here on blacks in the 1950’s, and it’s impressive how they operated. So, we understand that just stopping something bad without promoting something good is counter-productive. But let’s not sink into despair and shoot ourselves in the foot, something conservatives tend to do quite regularly.
My burden is summed up in this quote: “If churches and individuals oppose abortion, they must be prepared to extend practical help to the unmarried woman who is pregnant… To merely say ‘you must not have an abortion’ without being ready to involve themselves in the problem, is simply another way of being inhuman. ~ Francis A. Schaeffer & C. Everett Koop, M.D.”
It’s disappointing how the Anabaptist community in general is very pro-life, and rejoice when the abortion rates go down (as we should) but do little to nothing to support the heroic, brave moms who have chosen life and are living a far more difficult life as a result, than if they had chosen abortion. Single “momming” is not for the faint of heart. There are Christian pregnancy centers all around us who are doing an excellent job in reaching these brave moms and providing stability for them. They are constantly needing volunteers and funding. Could this be our next mission field??
Another note, many of these moms choose abortion because the father of the child nearly forced them into it, or abandoned them after the positive pregnancy test. It’s definitely not just a woman thing. If men in our society take no responsibility for the life they help to procreate, it’s not fair to expect the woman to bear the full brunt of the abortion responsibility.
I second this heartily, Susanna. Thanks for commenting!
I am afraid that modern evangelicals are a bit timid and cowardly when we need a prophetic voice.
The simple fact is number one roe versus Wade was a very bad and poor legal decision. So, in that sense we should rejoice that the supreme Court was big enough to correct itself which was reestablishing some legitimacy to the court.
Secondly because of this decision lives have been saved and will be saved and for that we should rejoice.
Third the veterans who have been involved in the battle are standing ready and willing to adopt whoever will want to give their babies to that end. I would encourage anyone reading this article to visit a local abortion clinic and talk with the pro-lifers who may be on the scene to ask how they help those who are caught in sexual sin. You can also visit the crisis pregnancy centers. You can also start a support group in your church to help disciple people who need this kind of direction. I think you will find that those who have been on the front lines of these issues have a wide and broad and deep array of services are for those who are caught in sexual immorality.
I confess I am quite surprised is that things happened on a legal / judicial level before they happened on the popular level. I long expected that we would see the culture shift before we would see laws and the judiciary change. This has created some complexity for sure. But the fact that the federal government is not protecting the murder of innocent children means that the church can and should rise up because the opportunity is greater now than it ever has been before! And while there will be a lot of issues to address it is because the church has been very very mousy and silent and scared to address sexual perversions that have riddled our land and our families and our society for the past 50 years. We are not ready for this, and it is our fault. But now is the time to engage.
If we wait until we are “ready” – we will do nothing more than what we have done while the culture continues its death-spin.
I would like to know why you are so fearful of legislating on morality. What is moral and what is immoral is defined by God himself. He created this world and the rules for it. He said in Genesis that if a man sheds man’s blood (then) by man shall his blood be shed (the murderer). So we see very early in God’s word that God himself legislated morality. In Romans Paul writes that when the gentiles, (who did not receive the law given by God through Moses) did the things contained in the law, that they without the law where a law unto themselves. This is because of God’s law that is written on our hearts. Today it is called a conscience. In Romans 13:4 we are reminded that the civil government bears the sword to execute God’s wrath on those who do evil. So then God expects the governments to enforce his law, (His morality), This would be called the administration of righteous judgment. We are glad that there are laws on the books against stealing. We ought to be glad when there are laws on the books against murder.
In the city of Grand Rapids the abortion mill would kill around 20 babies every Friday. There is a law in Michigan against abortion and drugs or powders that cause a miscarriage. After the Dobbs opinion the prosecuting attorney for Grand Rapids informed the mill that he would enforce that law if they broke it. 20 to 40 children have been not been murdered there since then. This is a cause for JOY!
Contraception is not an answer. The church encouraging marriage younger than 25 is a great step in the right direction. There was a son of Juduh the patriarch whom Our Lord slew when he practiced Contraception.
I think we should spend less time trying to accommodate the world and more time finding out what actually pleases our Lord.
Hi, Joseph! There’s a lot I could say here, but I’ll start by saying that I’m not “fearful” of legislation that bans abortion, but find it so far from a solution that it’s hard for me to get excited. Nor am I trying to accommodate the world. The question here isn’t if abortion is sinful but if Christians should legislate biblical morality. I have no objection to a government deciding to ban abortion, only I’m not sure what I think about this being fueled by an activist Christian right. We need to remember the context of Paul’s teaching about the civil government not bearing the sword in vain. This was Ancient Rome, hardly a godly place, and incidentally, abortion was legal! It’s a stretch to say that Paul was arguing that the government is to implement biblical morality. Rather, God uses the government to achieve his purpose, even when it’s a corrupt regime. The church enforces morality—without coercive power—with its members, but we see how badly it has gone throughout history whenever the church and state were synonymous.
Hear me out. You mention that you don’t think contraception is an answer. I don’t either, but what do you think is the answer? It seems shallow to me to rejoice that there is no murder, when the stark reality is that most of these babies will enter a broken, godless environment with life particularly stacked against them. Now obviously I’m not suggesting it would be better for them to be aborted, but what are we rejoicing about? There is an incredible amount of work to be done, and when thinking about these mothers and their babies, sadness is the dominating emotion I feel.
If we consider the NT example, we see a high standard raised for followers of Christ, who are to walk in purity and love. Paul has no room for sin in the church, as we see in his writings to the church at Corinth. But is there ever even a hint that these believers were to protest innocent lives killed in gladiator contests, or try to stop the nudity in public baths? These are just a couple examples, but while the church stood in stark contrast to the evil around, they didn’t attempt to impose their morality on the culture around them. What would happen if we would focus our energies on becoming more Christ-like and actually persuading those around us, instead of hoping for the rule of law to force people to follow biblical morality?
Are you sure Paul was silent, didn’t protest the corrosive or illegal behaviors of his time? I would caution using the argument of silence in Scripture and rather discover and teach what we DO observe.
From Paul’s actions, as recorded in the book of Acts, we learn something about Paul and his view of government—that he repeatedly displayed a strong insistence that his legal rights as a citizen be recognized and respected, and objected to government usurpations and violations of those rights. I can only believe that Paul, the totally unselfish man that he was, would have been even more vehement in his standing up for the legal rights of others. And if he had that firm and high regard for legal matters, do you suppose he was less vocal and forceful about moral matters?
At Philippi (Acts 16:16-40), Paul and Silas were accused of crimes by slave-owners whose income they had indirectly interfered with by freeing a fortune-telling slave girl from demon possession. These owners stirred up a lynch mob, resulting in Paul and Silas being severely beaten at the direction of the mob-accommodating city leaders, and subsequently consigned in shackles to the city jail.
It is important to know that Paul (and Silas, too) was a Roman citizen, a privilege at the time enjoyed by only about 5-10% of the populace in the vast Roman Empire. Among the rights of a citizen were freedom from beatings without trial, the right to be tried before the emperor rather than in a local court of law, and the right to not be executed by crucifixion. When the magistrates sent orders for Paul and Silas to be released, ‘having learned their lesson,’ they supposed, these abused men refused release, until the magistrates spoke to them personally. Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.” Paul’s aggressive move here (I’m sure some would have called it carnal) has to make folks uncomfortable who believe total passivity in the face of government abuse and immorality is the only Christian position. Paul’s message to them: “We are Roman citizens, and you have beaten us and jailed us without cause.” The magistrates were fear struck upon learning that they had violated the sacred civil rights of two Roman citizens, an action which could have subjected the rulers to severe personal penalties, perhaps up to and including execution. Profuse apologies followed, and a request that the abused men quietly leave the city. This is a great example of how we can use the law to defend ourselves and preserve our ability to continue preaching the Gospel, which was Paul’s motive. He could have eagerly allowed them to beat him and maybe kill him for “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord….and to die is gain.” But he was not of the misguided persuasion that you just quietly let the government or any evil person/society do whatever it pleases.
Of course, Paul was not a rights-focused man, but rather a sacrifice-focused man, a servanthood-focused man. But he was not the mealy-mouthed, spineless, gutless, complacent fellow some religious folk make him out to be. Paul knew that whatever made men good Christians made them good citizens. Again, he knew that when men’s hearts were changed, their behavior changed, which is why he preached the Gospel rather than running for office or focusing his writings on trying to correct society with mere laws. But to suggest that he didn’t protest the immorality of Rome when the opportunity arose is to promote something incongruous with what we DO know about him.
Yes, I agree that Paul wasn’t the kind of man to let people run over him. He exhibited a boldness that can be sadly absent in the church today. But I think it’s important to make sure we are bold about the right things and in the right ways. As a point of clarification, I have never intended to suggest that I think we shouldn’t be willing to call out the evil around us. When I use the word “protest,” I’m thinking of it in a political activism kind of way. But there’s a pretty significant difference in my mind between calling attention to sin in society and trying to get the government to make sin illegal. I see Paul doing a lot of the first and none of the second. So I’m sorry if any ambiguity in my words made it seem like I’m opposed to calling attention to evil. However, I think this does need to be done tactfully, which is why we see Paul making addresses that connect with his audiences as well as possible. We don’t see him storming onto Mars Hill telling the people “sexual debauchery is sin and you are all going to hell unless you repent.” (He is quite unsparing with sexual sin within the church, though.) Paul wanted the truth to be spoken and was willing to be bold, but he spoke into the context around him, which is why we see him grabbing the attention of the authorities by telling them he is a Roman citizen. There is never an indication that he was trying to promote the model of Roman citizenship, that he wanted to reform it, or any such thing.
I think it’s entirely possible to refrain from using the government to achieve one’s goals and still be a man of character and courage. And I think Paul was that kind of man.
Hi, Drew. I will try to be more mild here. 🙂 I know you aren’t a leftist. You did differentiate yourself, and I didn’t call you a leftist. 🙂 I simply pointed out that much of your protest about the celebration mirrored what the left is saying right now. And the list of arguments I cited were all, I believe, lifted from your own words so was stretching necessary? If I stretched, please forgive. I agree with your bottom line, but I believe you could present that premise more powerfully and effectively by sticking with the principle involved rather than assume that the Court decision will make things worse, thus not a cause we should get involved in legally. I don’t believe it will, which is why the Left is soooo angry right now….I think there is cause for celebration, but as I’ve always said, if you walk straight after you’ve danced for joy, the celebration was good. 🙂
You know, in his book LET US PRAY the son of Madelyn Murray O’Hair wrote that there was not a whisper of protest by true Christians when he and his mom worked to make it illegal for organized prayer in school. In fact, any religious people who were involved in that case supported the atheist position, i.e. the World Council of Churches. But this is not the case anymore. So, it’s really shrill out there. I realize that society is still declining as a whole, but that doesn’t negate the efforts made to stem the tide. I would submit that the apathy and lack of involvement by certain segments of religion isn’t improving the culture, either. Just so, being non-resistant isn’t the answer. I think we have become so “non-resistant” we have forgotten who the REAL enemy is and have rolled over and played dead toward him, too.
I don’t fit neatly into any religious box on matters related to church and politics. I am eager to learn more about what the Scriptures teach and how to apply them accurately and contextually in the matter. I have a bullet hole through every square inch of my body from people who think I’m too political AND from people who think I’m too non-resistant. I don’t build doctrine on getting slapped on both sides of the face, but I can think of some Bible characters who suffered thus. 🙂 I will say that just about every Anabaptist I know is deeply involved in politics. Via taxes, they fund the government with all its evil decisions regarding war, abortion, transgender research, you name it. So, while the Bible commands that connection to government, we cannot pretend that we aren’t involved if we are providing funding for it. The question, then, is whether we should influence the government on how to use the money we are giving them or not and how they are exercising the Constitution. I believe with Paul that we have that allowance.
I have many friends who have adopted and fostered for years. One couple I know well could not reproduce. They adopted two children and fostered 65. My mother-in-law fostered dozens, my wife’s family has fostered probably over 200. People in my church adopted two handicapped Chinese girls from an orphanage over there. These stories are replicated a whole lot more than the left would like us to believe. I believe Christians can do more. But Christians do more than the world by far, so let’s not let them guilt-trip us.
You are so right that this is a moral problem and that’s why I’m a whole lot less involved in politics than I was earlier in life. Many girls leave the crisis pregnancy center and turn down adoption options, job opps, and lots of loving compassion, and go directly to the abortion clinic. Blessings on you!
Drew, I very much appreciate your thoughtful position on this issue and the way you’ve interacted in the comments. I’d say I agree with your position pretty much in entirety. Thanks for taking on this subject, and God bless!
Thanks for writing about this Drew! I really appreciated what you said.