03 December 2009

The abortion-trumps-the-Gospel dodge (NEXT! #19)

by Dan Phillips

Challenge: It is cold comfort to a dead baby that we allowed him to die to avoid working with Catholics.

Response: Who opposes "working with Catholics" — or Buddhists, Shintoists, Mormons, animists, atheists, or SpongeBobists? That has never been the issue.


(Proverbs 21:22)

Dan Phillips's signature

37 comments:

Preston said...

Boom! Roasted!

SandMan said...

SpongeBobists! What's their position on water baptism?

Serioulsy, good post!

DJP said...

Their position is that baptists are lightweights.

(c;

donsands said...

"SpongeBobists?"

Funny.

Daryl said...

The Spongebobists' position in baptism is not mere immersion, but saturation.

They take "be filled" to a whole new level.

This NEXT! is so painfully obvious that it hurts that you have to write it.

Mark | hereiblog said...

Dan, you just don't get it.

In order to make the charge they don't actually have to deal with the actual objections.

Whether it's the problem of evil or sovereignty of God, just make up an illustration using a baby and VOILA! Refuted!

DJP said...

Mark: Ohhhhhhh.

Frank Turk said...

Exactly: it's congruent to the charge of being a Nazi.

"If you believe X, you're just like the Nazis. [begin victory dance]"

"If you don't believe X, babies will die. [begin victory dance]"

Jugulum said...

So, the problem with the challenge is that it doesn't apply to not signing the Manhattan Declaration--the MD isn't about working together, it's a joint "declaration". (And the issue people have is with what it declares about Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, and Christianity.)

The challenge would apply to people who reject joining with Catholics for action, wouldn't it?

DJP said...

The problem is what it declares. It's as if the Senate were considering a "Declaration of the Wonderfulness of Mothers" bill that includes $50 billion for abortion providers. Oppose the bill, you're called a "mother-hater."

Change your "would" to "might," and I might sign on. I'd still want clarification of "working with."

Strong Tower said...

It's warm comfort to a dead baby that "we" allowed to die working with Catholics? And just when was it been that we haven't worked with any and all who oppose abortion? And just who's this "we".

"Us are the keepers of the sacred Wii, us are those who say we."

Phil said...

I can understand not signing because that would be giving assent to their conception of the gospel, which is a false one.
I can understand that we ought to defend the purity of the gospel, and the important thing is that the gospel, not us, fixes those 3 social issues.
What I can't understand is do we have to be jerks about it? Why this burn and why not more of the didactic? Why not issue our own statment? Why not make little of them and politely ignore the document, if we can't politely decline for the stated reason?
Do we have to be vrulent?
It just feels like you are beating up a kid who is inferior to you with your next.

Jugulum said...

Dan,

I think we're on the same page.

I was saying that the challenge would apply to rejecting the idea of joint action entirely. It would apply to someone who says, "I don't have to know the details of the plan--it's joint action with Catholics, so I object."

If you object to a specific plan, the objection might or might not apply.

If you're objecting because of specific details, then the challenge doesn't apply--because you're not objecting to the very notion of joint action. If you object just because it's joint action, then the challenge does apply.

olan strickland said...

Abortion-trumps-the-Gospel!

This is the quintessence of any ecumenical movement. The only thing that can unite the world religions is deeds and not the Gospel.

So ____________-trumps-the-Gospel everytime for the sake of unity under a moralistic rather than Biblical world-view.

Fill in the blank with whatever global giant (problem) you want to and you have the perfect unifying essence for an ecumenical movement!

John said...

Olan - good word!

I seriously question the entire thought-structure that spawned the MD (why does that clause sound funny to me?), and soundly reject signing a "declaration" that declares a false gospel. Seriously, why is this an issue (I think Olan nailed it)?

Paul D said...

I know I’ll get beat up, that’s ok. I thought the 19 questions post was very good and thought provoking. The questions brought up some great points and are difficult to answer. But there’s a lot of questions about theology and practice that are difficult to answer.

Challenge: It is cold comfort to a lost world that we prevented them from hearing the Gospel because we worked with Catholics.

Response: Who opposes "proclaiming the Gospel" — or theology, philosophy, church history, Bible study, logic, Sunday School, or contextualization? That has never been the issue.

DJP said...

I'm not sure why you're posting that as a challenge here, Paul. Do you know someone who's made that as a challenge? Perhaps you could post it on that blog, see how the person(s) respond?

bossmanham said...

Of course, Dan, you're assuming, hopefully not in arrogance, that Catholics are a false religion and on the same level as Buddhists, Shintoists, Mormons, animists, atheists, or SpongeBobists. However, Catholics believe in the Trinity, The deity of Christ, The virgin birth, the substitutionary atonement of Christ, the bodily resurrection of Christ, and the impending coming of Christ. So...your creating a problem out of this is a non-issue, because there is no comparison of Catholics to the bunch you lumped them in with.

God bless.

Paul D said...

@ DJP - Fair enough. You have not made that specific claim.

Question 12 comes pretty close though:

Do you believe that persuading people to assent to a vaguely-Biblical opinion about homosexuality, marriage, or abortion is more critical than clearly presenting the Gospel, as described in #2 above?

IMHO, the MD is not about persuading anyone.

And as an MD signer I certainly wouldn’t make the dead baby challenge either.

DJP said...

Oh, I'm not assuming any such thing. I'm taking them at their word! See this post, which lays the foundation. You should find it helpful.

Otherwise, with what in this post are you wanting to interact?

Sir Brass said...

bossman,

you said that Romanists believe in "the substitutionary atonement of Christ". No they don't.

Not even close. Christ's work on the cross purchased a treasury of merit, according to them, which we then must access through the means the magesterium has given. That is, according to them.

That's nothing at all LIKE justification by faith alone and the substitutionary atonement of Christ.

Rome's gospel is just as deadly and poisonous as a mormon's or jehovah's witness'.

Jugulum said...

bossman,

If you're right about Catholicism, then Dan's 19 Questions post is off-base--and that's where your comment belongs.

It doesn't seem like you're following the point, because this post is about a particular very bad argument.

The point of the response is, "Our objection isn't to simply working with Catholics. (We're even ok with working with Buddhists, Shintoists, Mormons, animists, atheists, and SpongeBobists!) Our objection is to saying that Catholics and Protestants are united in the gospel." (The point of the list isn't, "These people are all at the same level of error.")

Even if you think that Catholics and Protestants actually are united in all the essentials of the faith, the "dead babies" challenge isn't relevant.

DJP said...

Then, Paul, I can't make any sense out of what you're saying.

Who opposes "working with Catholics," or any other Gospel-perverting cult or sect, in some ways and under some circumstances?

And what does that have to do with preaching the Gospel?

Paul D said...

@ DJP – you are right, this belongs on your 19 questions post – which I did read, said it was great in my 1st comment here, and copied a portion of in my 2nd comment here. I signed the MD, have read very little in support of it other than Mohler, and generally respect your take on things but have not come around on this one yet. And am happy to say that I could be in error, I just don’t think so yet.

Who opposes "working with Catholics," or any other Gospel-perverting cult or sect, in some ways and under some circumstances? I’m honestly answering this to go where it leads, I’m sure you have your purposes: DJP opposes signing a document where Catholics and other Gospel-perverting sects are identified as Christian and the Gospel is mentioned as needing to be preached, but the Gospel is not defined in the document. I realize signing a document is not “working”, but it’s certainly not a stretch to put this post in context and say that “working” could also be read as “standing with”, “agreeing with”, or “signing”.

And what does that have to do with preaching the Gospel? Well, as in question 12 of your 19 Questions post I believe the challenge is that signing the MD distorts the Gospel or is done in place of preaching the Gospel. And I don’t think the MD is about replacing the Gospel, much less defining it. It’s about taking a stand on 3 issues where state and church relations have gotten heated.

DJP said...

Paul, the concepts of (A) "working with" {person who self-identifies with a Gospel-perverting sect} and (B) signing my name on an emphatically theological document, necessarily signifying my agreement with explicit and repeated assertions that {person who self-identifies with a Gospel-perverting sect} (1) is a Christian just as I am, and (2) preaches the Gospel faithfully in the same way I try to do — are two unrelated subjects.

The second of which has absolutely nothing whatever to do with preventing abortions, and everything to do with blurring over critical distinctions in the interests of a hostile agenda.

Jugulum said...

Paul,

"it’s certainly not a stretch to put this post in context and say that “working” could also be read as “standing with”, “agreeing with”, or “signing”."

The point of the post actually depends on the distinction between taking action to end abortion, and making a declaration. So in the context of this post, it's not just a stretch--it misses the point.

Most of the non-signers that I've seen say something like this: "I'm fine with working with them. And I agree with a lot of the MD. But I don't agree with what it says about the relationship between Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox. It says we're all Christians together, only separated by 'historic lines of ecclesial differences'--as though we don't differ over what the Gospel is."

If you disagree with the last sentence, you should be debating about what the MD says.

Jugulum said...

Dan,

Every time you post a NEXT, you get people misinterpreting it, because they don't realize your point is (1) to address a particular bad argument against your views--not prove your views--and (2) redirect the conversation to a more fruitful track.

I know you link back in every installment to the original NEXT post. But have you considered adding an explicit warning/disclaimer, too? Something like, "If you're new to the NEXT series, read the first entry before commenting."

Paul D said...

Dan - I get it, and respect it.

Jugulum - I get that too. I understand the NEXT concept, I just had/have an axe to grind.

And I appreciate your patience. out.

21CrosschecK21 said...

Amen. Let's not confuse the issues.

Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...

Dan, thank you for your dedication to the Gospel. I read your post on the declaration, as well as the link you posted to John MacArthur, and I was convicted because I had elevated morality above the Gospel; common ground above Christ. In haste I added my name to to that list on the website, and now I wish I never had.

DJP said...

Thanks for your integrity, Webster.

Ask them to remove your name.

Jason Engwer said...

bossmanham wrote:

"Of course, Dan, you're assuming, hopefully not in arrogance, that Catholics are a false religion and on the same level as Buddhists, Shintoists, Mormons, animists, atheists, or SpongeBobists. However, Catholics believe in the Trinity, The deity of Christ, The virgin birth, the substitutionary atonement of Christ, the bodily resurrection of Christ, and the impending coming of Christ. So...your creating a problem out of this is a non-issue, because there is no comparison of Catholics to the bunch you lumped them in with."

Dan mentioned a wide variety of groups. I doubt he meant to suggest that they're equally wrong. Catholicism doesn't have to be wrong to the same degree that atheism or Buddhism is wrong in order to be comparable in terms of having one or more foundational errors, such as a false gospel.

I see no reason to think that the Judaizers were wrong on issues like the deity of Christ and the virgin birth. Their adding of works to the gospel was sufficient, by itself, to warrant the anathema of Galatians 1. The same is true of Catholicism.

If you're looking for an argument that Catholicism's gospel is wrong and that the anathema of Galatians 1 is applicable, see posts # 94 and # 99 in the thread here at Tim Challies' blog.

donsands said...

"Catholics believe in the Trinity, The deity of Christ, The virgin birth, the substitutionary atonement of Christ, the bodily resurrection of Christ, and the impending coming of Christ."-Bossmanham

Some may. But I would say that most don't really believe. At least, not with genuine faith.

I know Protestants who have a theology more like Rome, (minus praying to the saints), then they do the Reformed theology.

God saves His lost sheep. He brings them into His presence. He may leave them in a Roman Catholic church, a Seven Day Adventist, or an Assembly of God church, or even a fundamentalist church, and even a Presbyterian USA church. I know an incredible pastor in the USA denom. He stuck it out, and goes against the stream the best he can.

Nevertheless, a genuine believer will love Christ, and will have a heart, mind, and soul that knows Christ alone saves, and will proclaim there is no other name under heaven by which a sinner can be rescued from certain judgment, and that's good news indeed for sinners like us.
And this same heart will struggle with sin, and yet will know he deserves nothing, and will hate that he doesn't love the Lord the way he should; and love the Church the way he should; and love his neighbor the way he should; and even his enemies the way he should.

There will be love in the genuine believers heart for the truth; the eternal truth of God's Word. The Holy Spirit will see to that; He will bear witness with our spirit.

The Lord said: "But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. Only hold fast what you have until I come."

RPowers said...

How many babies actually didn't die that otherwise would have due to any conglomerate action of the ecumenical Right? Zero, that's how many.

Susan said...

Don't insult the SpongeBobists, Dan! That's racist! What have they ever done to you??

Associate-to-the-Pastor said...

I oppose working with Spongebobists. There are few things I hate more than Spongebob.

BTW, Preston's comment almost made shoot awesome blossom out of my nose.

Sir Aaron said...

This whole argument that we need to join forces is farcical anyways. I want to know, Chuck Colson, how many times you told your congregation that if you are a Christian, you cannot in good conscience vote for a Democrat or Obama, in particular? We spend all this time fighting the big bad government all the while "Christians" in our own pews are voting for the very people we create alliances to fight.