I plan to come back to my normal blogging schedule next week, beginning a new set in the “Drawing from the Well” series on the Nicene Creed. Today, I wanted to share some thoughts I have had recently about a pitfall I see in the pro-life movement.
What is the pro-life movement about? What are its specific cultural and political goals? How does it measure success? I believe the movement is primarily about one thing, and thus the success of the movement depends on the achievement of one measurable objective: the elimination of legal forms of murder in the United States and other (mostly Western) nations that currently allow it. The farther we drift from defining the term “pro-life” from that specific objective, the more fractured and weakened the movement will become. Continue reading
I’ll be taking a week off from blogging for the Christmas holidays next week, December 25-31. I will plan the next “Drawing from the Well” post for Tuesday, January 3. In the meantime, I’m re-posting today a piece I originally wrote in December of 2007 on another blog site. It applies some basic theological insights about the Trinity and the Person of Christ to the issue of abortion.
Two important terms in theology are “nature” and “person.” Both terms help us understand the central Christian doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation. With regard to the Trinity, we have one nature and three persons. God is three “who’s” but one “what”. The three persons share the same nature, so that all three are fully God, and yet there is only one God. With regard to the Incarnation, Jesus Christ is one person with two natures. He is one “who” with two “what’s,” one person who is both fully divine and fully human. Both of these truths are great mysteries, because in our experience singular personhood is always tied to an individual human nature. We have nothing analogous to the Trinity or to the Incarnation in normal experience, so we bow before the mystery. Continue reading
I am currently teaching a Sunday School series entitled “The Gospel, Politics, and Culture” at my church. This past Sunday I argued, among other things, that one aspect of the political witness of the church is the formation of strong moral convictions on the pressing moral-political issues of our day. As disciples of Jesus, we must not assume that the church must have no voice on issues that are politically contentious. While I do believe that the church should not get pulled into the weeds of specific political strategy (e.g., supporting this bill over that one), it has both the right and the responsibility to take a clear position on moral issues such as abortion, the nature of marriage, and religious liberty, among other things.
I will be teaching on the three issues I named explicitly above: abortion, the nature of marriage, and religious liberty (the three issues addressed by the Manhattan Declaration of several years ago). The fact that my mind immediately gravitates to these three issues when I consider the question of moral formation in our churches may suggest to some that I am simply proposing a right-wing agenda for churches. Why, some might ask, wouldn’t I focus on alleviating poverty, providing universal healthcare, and immigration policy? Aren’t these moral issues as well? Doesn’t my approach indicate that I am nothing more than a partisan cloaking his preferred issues in the language of discipleship? Continue reading
As Western culture’s faith in the Triune God has receded, our sexual ethic has been completely transformed. Whereas heterosexual marriage used to be a clearly defined parameter for sexual intimacy, now our only rule seems to be “Do no harm.” As long as all parties involved are consenting adults, the sexual behavior has the blessing–or will soon have it, once we mature beyond our “yuck” impulses–of our culture. Continue reading
Rachel Held Evans recently argued for the propriety of voting, at least in some circumstances, for pro-choice candidates, even if one holds pro-life convictions. Her main argument for doing so is that pro-choice candidates who pursue progressive policies (i.e., Democrats) are often more likely to create conditions in which a culture of life can prevail by helping to reduce poverty and expand access to contraception. These conditions, in turn, help lower the number of unwanted pregnancies, which is primarily what elevates the abortion rate. Although no candidate is perfect, on balance, it is often better to vote for one who is pro-choice for these reasons.
I believe Mrs. Evans is badly mistaken here. I will explain why below, but first I want to sweep away any idea that may be in my readers’ minds about my motives here in relation to Donald Trump. One of Evans’s main purposes in her article is to argue that pro-life voters should vote for Hillary Clinton over Trump. Lest anyone misread me: I am not defending Donald Trump here, nor am I arguing that anyone should vote for him. I do not intend to do so. Continue reading
Tim Kaine, vice presidential candidate, has been in the spotlight lately for claiming to be personally pro-life (as a Roman Catholic) yet publicly pro-choice (as a Democrat). His voting record in the Senate, with a 100% approval rating from Planned Parenthood, is a clear indication that his “public” self is the one who comes to work everyday. In making this kind of distinction, Kaine is continuing the tradition that a number of Roman Catholic Democrats have been carrying on for decades now. Here is why the distinction simply doesn’t work. Continue reading
I am writing this post, not in my role as a pastor of Cornerstone Community Church, but as a private citizen who thinks a lot about politics and its intersection with the Christian faith. What I offer here is advice on how I have thought through a particular dilemma, with the recognition that other faithful Christians may reason differently and come to a different conclusion.
As we face the upcoming 2016 Presidential election, it looks like the two major candidates will be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. This is how I have assessed the situation so far: Continue reading
It is my firm conviction that government, which exists to protect human rights, has an obligation to protect human life at all stages of development, from conception to natural death. Under current policy, the federal government of the United States not only refuses to protect unborn human life, but it also actively prevents the governments of its fifty states from doing so. How did we get here, and what would it take to change this situation from a legal standpoint? Continue reading