13 February 2013

Unleash the Reproach

by Frank Turk

Last week, I started a 2-part series on how to talk to other human beings about Abortion, and I think I owe two clarifications before we go on.

Clarification #1: There's no question Dan and I (and Phil, in spite of his internet retirement) are ardent proponents of the humanity of the unborn, and therefore the right to life of the unborn. However, to be fair to Dan and Phil, they probably don't share my opinion on the use of Presuppositional apologetics in dealing with this issue.  Please keep your hate-mail contained.

Clarification #2: I'm not an enemy of Presuppositional apologetics.  I think that the idea that Christians have been given The Truth, and The Truth is utterly embodied in Christ, and that we shouldn't pretend like other explanations of reality have any worth because they have no eternal worth is, at its core, the only true monotheism. It's unquestionable that this is the reason we evangelize and not merely discuss our faith as if it was one of several viable choices.

But, last week set the hairs on fire of people who, in all good intentions, use the highest-minded version of theology and philosophy to try to convince other people that they must repent and become disciples of Christ in order that those converted people will stop killing babies via abortion.  Of course, in their view, they are not "convincing" anyone of anything -- that's too synergistic a word.  They are declaring and demanding what God demands, they say.

And, of course, I am personally notorious for perpetuating the idea that "the Gospel is the Solution to Culture."  I believe it.  I think the history of the church demonstrates it.  There's no question that the Culture in the West has followed where the Christian faith has lead -- even over the cliff in the last 200 years, and now it has followed the church into a post-Christian age.

Abortion is a great place to notice this -- because the culture followed us over the cliff in seeing abortion as terrible but plausible.  Now that it is beyond plausible to being a required convenience, having us lead them back to something less barbaric is going to be quite a long and serious slog.

So in some sense, we have to have sympathy for our Presuppositional comrades: the change needed is radical, and they are presenting the only radical solution which can be tenable: repent and believe, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

In the best possible case, this is what that can look like:



UPDATED: Before you read another word, this video is an example of a perfectly-good method of declaring the Law for the sake of convicting sinner of their wrong-doing.  It's perfectly-good.  This is the right-sided example of using the Law.

It's the total package -- it bases the entire argument on the truth of Scripture, declares the truth, calls sin sin, and calls the sinner to repentance   When God wills it, that kind of preaching wins the sinner eternally, and also saves the baby, right?  When it doesn't yield converts, it yields condemnation, and that's all we can expect, I guess: either the redeemed or the reprobate.  Those doing it can boast of Christ alone, and can count themselves faithful.

Here's what worries me about this approach those who have been arguing with me over the last week: those who see it that way think this stands alone as the only method worth practicing. The Gospel is the Solution to Culture, after all.

But what if, following their demands, this happens?

Evangelist (E): The Bible says, "No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother."  The Bible says to love your neighbor as yourself, and that baby is your neighbor.

[Clinic Staff Member (CSM) comes out of the building]

CSM:  um, Hello?  Hello? Can I, um, can I talk to you for a second?

E: We want to talk to you.  We want to talk to you about repentance.

CSM:  Yes, I understand that.  I understand you think we are doing a bad thing in here.  That's why I finally came out to you.

E: Have you come out to repent?

CSM:  No.  Not, not at all ...

E: Then you have to repent!  Jesus said that unless you repent you shall all likewise perish.

CSM: I know: I get it that you think Jesus hates what we're doing here.  Why do you believe that?

E: Scripture tells us that its wrong to murder, and this is murder.

CSM: Well, what about self-defense?  Does your scripture say that self defense is wrong?

E: That has nothing to do with this, where innocent babies are being killed.

CSM: You say that, but there's a woman inside out clinic right now with enclampsia.  It's a disorder which threatens her life if she does not end this pregnancy.  Do you think it's right to demand that she die because she is pregnant?

Now, Look: everything after that question is no longer about sin and repentance.  If it is, I suggest that the evangelist is not hardly listening to the person he or she is preaching to -- and is missing the point of what he or she has set out to do.  The person asking a question like that is trying to listen and explain, and when the other party is not willing to engage, it is the end of the conversation.

That's at the actual clinic.  But what if you're having this conversation with a senator or a congressman, or some lobbyist?  The point in that discussion may be to convert that one person to a living faith -- but the context of the discussion is policy in a society where there are both believers and unbelievers.  In that context, demonstrating that they know God's righteous decrees, and that those who practice such things deserve to die is an urgent matter -- but that's just one quip from Romans 1 dislocated from the rest of that chapter and the following chapter.  They know these things because God has shown it to them. These things have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.

That is: there is a common basis for human discussion of what is right and wrong because of the way God made the world.  That's true presuppositionalism -- not just that God is transcendent, but that He is Creator and Sustainer, and that human beings have no excuse for denying his moral law.

So pointing out, for example, that only 4% of abortions are due to the endangered life of the mother or the equally-tragic condition of incest or rape is an entirely-cogent and biblical rebuttal of the idea that abortion ought to be practices because it is somehow more humane.  And it is equally-cogent and biblical to point out that 86% of doctors who are informed about this procedure and the contents of the womb will not perform this procedure because they have all the observational facts.  The facts in a sovereignly-run universe are on display to that end.

True presuppositionalism assumes all the things the Bible assumes about people and the world, and works from that -- not from the few verses that are declarative of God's decrees and man's unwillingness.

Which brings us to the part I promised last week: when the empirical facts of abortion are evident, it's the end of the line for the advocate for "choice."  And we know this becuase of what they are willing to say when it's all said and done.

For example, Mary Elizabeth Williams seems quite pleased with herself to discuss the state of the abortion debate in this country.  This is her lead thesis:
I know that throughout my own pregnancies, I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that’s what a fetus is: a human life. And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice.
From there, she is in 110%.  Her first waypoint is public opinion in spite of the state-level activism which has enacted the highest number of abortion restrictions since Roe v. Wade was decided.  Her second waypoint is that all life is not equal.  How she justifies this is chilling:

We can’t have it if those of us who believe that human life exists in utero are afraid we’re somehow going to flub it for the cause. In an Op-Ed on “Why I’m Pro-Choice” in the Michigan Daily this week, Emma Maniere stated, quite perfectly, that “Some argue that abortion takes lives, but I know that abortion saves lives, too.” She understands that it saves lives not just in the most medically literal way, but in the roads that women who have choice then get to go down, in the possibilities for them and for their families. And I would put the life of a mother over the life of a fetus every single time — even if I still need to acknowledge my conviction that the fetus is indeed a life. A life worth sacrificing.
You know: wow.  If you want to get after Rom 1:21-23, it's not for the person who has a legitimate question about the ethics involved.  It's for people like this who have inverted the priorities of life which are transparently evident to them -- that it is the parent who ought to sacrifice for the sake of the child -- especially when the so-called "sacrifice" is merely economic freedom.

It's with a person like this that we ought to unleash the reproach on her own self-invented moral order.  It's here where we ought to ask the question, "you're saying some people are going to be too poor to live?  Or that somehow perceive economic advantages ought to dictate the value of human lives?  How have you decided that economic scales are the best arbiter of the life-worthiness of a human being?"

The person who is confused or mis-informed doesn't need their foundations of epistemology undone: they need to see the facts for what they are.  For the person who sees and accepts the facts and still embraces moral quackery for the sake of a purely-political agenda?  Those people require the heavy equipment to move in. 







112 comments:

Kent McDonald said...

Amazingly cogent article, Frank. I have long advocated this exact position but was unable to give it proper voice. Thank you for your God given ability to examine an issue, reduce its moral components and then explain in layman's terms the outcome that naturally results. I praise God for you more each time I read your missives. Thank you for remaining faithful to the Gospel in all it's beauty.

Paul Reed said...

"It's for people like this who have inverted the priorities of life which are transparently evident to them -- that it is the parent who ought to sacrifice for the sake of the child"

Sadly I think her attitude is typical in the pro-abortion movement, and she is merely better at expressing her thoughts on paper, or less embarrassed anyway. I'm asked by nearly every pro-abort I talk to online "Even if the fetus is a person, show me why you think the state has a right to demand that a woman stay pregnant against her will".

Also, in the exchange between the Evangelical and the Abortion Clinic Staff Member, why doesn't the Evangelist say after the last question "Yes, I believe a parent should die first rather than killing their child to save themselves. Under what circumstances do you believe it's okay for a parent to kill their child to save themselves?" Pro-lifers need to get off the defensive and call abortion for what it is.

Nash Equilibrium said...

I like it. Listening is a useful skill in evangelism.

Frank Turk said...

Kent - Thanks much. Encouragement is always helpful and dangerous, in equal parts. :-)

Paul - Let me confess that while I believe what you just said, I think we have to find a more-compelling way to say it. The movement of women who are survivors of abortion (that is: their mothers considered abortion and then chose life for that child rather than death) is getting closer to the story we are trying to tell here. But at the end: the story is a Gospel story in which sacrifice brings life rather than death or disadvantage.

Frank Turk said...

OneStarHater:

Luv Ya!

Peter said...

Frank, your posts have a Great Leap In Logic (made in both this post and last week's). That is:

The number of OB/GYN's who don't perform abortions do so because they know it to be wrong.

[In this week's post you say the number is 86%. In last week's post I think you said something like 75% of nonreligious OB/GYNs don't do it because they "think it unconscionable."]

I can think of lots of other reasons OB/GYNs don't perform abortions (How about: Don't want to become a "target?").

I have no idea why you assume you know the reason these doctors don't perform abortions--and that reason is a moral objection.

Rhology said...

I fear to leave this comment b/c of the way you told me to get lost last week, Frank, but here goes nothing.
You're not giving presuppositional apologetics its due here.

And:
everything after that question is no longer about sin and repentance.

Yes, it actually still is about sin and repentance.
*AND* we must listen for how they are smuggling in their autonomous reasoning to deny that which they know is true. Just b/c a woman has eclampsia within the killing place doesn't give anyone the right to murder a child, and the abortuary employee knows it's wrong to murder a child.
Throwing %s and statistics at her aren't going to help her understand the fact that she is in rebellion against God and engaging in fallacious reasoning (namely the naturalistic fallacy).

Is the Gospel the solution or not? What you're giving with one hand you're partially obscuring with the other, my brother.

Peace,
Rhology

Robert said...

Good post, Frank.

I think many people are naive as to the amount of propaganda that the abortion lobby throws at women in this country. And I think people also underestimate the ignorance of many as to the development of the baby in the womb and what all goes on in an abortion. Once you can get a person to that level of understanding, you can appeal to the law that is written on their heart (Paul does mention this in Romans). At that point, each person is left with the decision as to whether or not they support murder of babies in the womb or not. And when one looks at the statistics, it can easily be shown that the vast majority of abortions are done for the sake of convenience. At that point, one can determine whether or not to support groups that promote murder for the sake of convenience.

That is also the point where the Gospel can be presented in order to bring the love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness of Jesus that people will need when dealing with their thoughts and actions with regards to this issue. Because being confronted with having killed a baby that has been in your own body for protection is pretty powerful and sobering. And a person dealing with all of that will need the love of Christ to pull them through...or else their hearts will most likely become more hardened like the lasy who wrote the article you linked to.

Speaking of that article...wow. An ultrasound is an "unforced violation"? The notion that "abortion stops a beating heart" is "not-even-accurate"? She lumps in prisoners, patients with terminal illnesses, drones killing people, and accident victims with babies killed in the womb. And the whole notion that somebody can determine one life is more valuable than another just brings us back to survival of the fittest. No matter how much secular humanists don't want to deal with this, the end of that type of thinking has been displayed in the efforts of Adolf Hitler. And I don't have a hard time drawing comparisons to how the Nazis treated Jews and the physically weak to how the pro-abortion/pro-choice treat babies in the womb.

Robert said...

Peter,

Any doctor who sees what goes on in an abortion is going to have a huge crisis in conscience. It is hard to go into the medical field, where the aim is to help people avoid death and pain, and then take up the practice of dismembering a baby and sucking out body parts from a mother's womb.

I'd say that it isn't that great of a leap...unless you just think people's consciences are totally seared by the time they finish med school.

Rhology said...

Any doctor who sees what goes on in an abortion is going to have a huge crisis in conscience

But the money is awfully good, and the demand is reasonably high, on the other hand.

Michael Coughlin said...

Interesting thoughts, Frank. I like Kent's use of the word "cogent" to describe this article.

When I think of the people who would oppose your point of view, I wonder, if someone were to break into their house and tie them up while the intruder brutalized the children, would the person quote scripture, calling the person to repentance and faith, trusting that only regeneration will make a difference?

I doubt that is what would be done exclusively. I suspect that while they may pray and even quote scripture, they would attempt to appeal to the intruder's God given conscience (which would be presupposed) to try to get them to stop what they are doing. We see it all the time, don't we? My morals were CONSTANTLY improved through the laws of the land, the enforcement of such, and the counseling offered which was common to all men.

Granted, those things didn't get me to Heaven...but they kept me from hurting myself and more people, and maybe kept my conscience from being seared for a while until God did do a work of regeneration.

Frank Turk said...

Peter -- PBS speculates that a major contributor to the small % of those "willing" (which, btw, is an interesting study -- why "willing" and not merely "offering"?) is due to the institutions they work for. But we have to deal with the facts we are presented -- and "willing" is a very concrete description of motivation.

If you want more information about the drill-down behind those numbers, look here. I think there's no question that when you drill into the stats, it's not merely bad press driving them away from the procedure. There is plainly a moral component.

Frank Turk said...

Rho:

So you think the woman with the condition that means she must die in order to protect her baby is just the victim of idolatry, yes? She should die without regard to her own life, her marriage, and any other children she has?

Be clear before we stick to that kind of Calvinism.

Rhology said...

Frank,

That's a great question, and one that pro-aborts often ask. Why did you ask it?
In fact, they ask it so often that we weighed the question carefully and then answered it on our Abolitionist FAQ.

I hope that helps.

Grace and peace,
Rhology

Frank Turk said...

Rho:

When 86% of OB-GYN's will not do this procedure, accusing them of greed is lopsided at best. The ones who are doing it may be greedy -- but they are hardly the majority.

Respect for the facts is a necessary component of the issues here. If you want the theological facts to mean anything, the actual physical particulars of the situation ought to also matter -- unless we don't think that what is really happening matters.

Rhology said...

The ones who are doing it may be greedy -- but they are hardly the majority.

Right, I agree with you there. I was just saying that greed is a powerful motivator, and to some, it overcomes the natural revulsion of the human heart to seeing the remains of mutilated babies.

(Word verification: URLoon
Very à propos here.)

Peter said...

Frank,

The study only asked two questions about abortion: 1) In your practice, do you ever encounter patients seeking an abortion (yes or no)?

2) Do you provide abortion services (yes or no)?

It said nothing about "willingness" to provide abortions.

Again, you are presuming to know that all of these OB/GYNs are not performing abortions for moral reasons. You do not know that.

Frank Turk said...

Rho:

I asked explicitly because the people who endorse this unspeakable act ask it all the time.

However: that answer contradicts the answer you just now gave in responding to my post. I agree with the 4 points from your link with no qualifications. If you do, you have to review your first comment in this thread for accuracy and completeness.

The "life of the Mother" objection is important, and must be answered -- but it is also a ruse since it accounts for so few actual abortions. To answer it well -- as I think your link does -- demonstrates you are listening and dealing with the real people and real life. But simply retorting, "that's just your sinful soul talking," as true as it may be theologically, misses the point entirely.

Rhology said...


Frank,

that answer contradicts the answer you just now gave in responding to my post

B/c I gave a reasoned answer? Because the symbol "%" appears in my answer? I'm afraid I don't follow.


But simply retorting, "that's just your sinful soul talking," as true as it may be theologically, misses the point entirely.

We may be in danger of converging somewhat here.
Part of the presuppositional framework is the recognition of the necessity at times to answer what amounts to an internal critique, which I believe the Life Of The Mother objection to be.
To me, the layman with no formal training, a defense against an internal critique occasionally involves argumentation that sometimes sounds downright classical.
But then once I defeat the internal critique, I treat it as a dismissed issue, and a "You don't have a good reason not to accept what I've said. The reason you don't is because you need to repent," etc.

But let me remind you of something you said in your last thread:
And we can do that without deanding that first: people adopt all our preconditions of moral reasoning.

And my reply to it:
So... we can do that without people thinking that murdering babies is wrong? How would you propose that happen?
Does "murder is wrong" even make sense on a secular worldview? You and I both know it does not. And that is exactly what I'm saying.


Grace and peace,
Rhology

Eric said...

I think there is a time and a place for any number of approaches to advocating for the life of the unborn. Some situations will call for one method as the likely best method, some will favor another, and still other sitautions will likely favor a blend of approaches.

I do think it is erroneous to say or intimate that the only appropriate method is to call for repentance and conversion. It is good and right for a society to have just laws that protect life. It is good and right for governments to provide that protection. God is not glorified by immorality in the lives of Christians or unbelievers. In the OT, God was rightfully angry both with the wickedness of his people, but also with the wickedness of the surrounding nations. Using facts and figures and appeals to conscience to affect public opinion and subsequently public policy in regards to the protection of innocent life is good and right, and in certain contexts and situations is preferrable.

Frank Turk said...

Peter:

So why the high correlation of religious affiliation to not providing abortions? You really think they are just unable, or are neutral on the moral question when that measurement makes the connection so clear?

I'm curious because there's no evidence to suggest that at all. Looking at the neutrality of the questions is an interesting approach, but the demographic data says something, I think, you are ignoring.

Michael Coughlin said...

I wonder if I put "Reverend" before my name if I'd get more cross-comments?

Frank Turk said...

Rho --

This is why I asked you to withdraw last week: you are simply not approaching this question with anything approaching a level of self-assessment. For example, today I make the point that when the apologist is talking about sin and repentance and the abortion is talking about saving a woman's life, the apologist is talking past the abortionist; your counterpoint -- in spite of having an utterly-tenable response to the abortionists' question (in your link) your retort is, "yes, but I want to talk about theology and not facts." That's not a reasonable self-assessment. It's not even a Gospel-centered response. It's the response of an ideologue who doesn't want to admit that his favorite approach has limits and is suited for some situations but not others.

If you are willing to talk about the approaches I have discussed here in terms of their limits and in terms of their applications: great. Stick around. Do -that-. If you are intent in simply being not-wrong, move on.

DJP said...

Coughlin - if you did, I'd be more cross. Is that what you're after?

Frank Turk said...

And lastly, Rho: your last comment demonstrates exactly what I am criticizing you for. You can't reconcile that statement about moral agreements with the content of today's post. Because it can't be done, you need to take a time out and reconsider your objectives in commenting on this thread.

Rhology said...

Frank,

your retort is, "yes, but I want to talk about theology and not facts." That's not a reasonable self-assessment. It's not even a Gospel-centered response.

I didn't say that. While I may well have a self-assessment problem, you have not fairly represented what I've said here or in the other thread.
And I'm not sure how a desire to dispense with smokescreens so as to make sure the Law and the Gospel are heard is not Gospel-centered. How does that work?


It's the response of an ideologue who doesn't want to admit that his favorite approach has limits and is suited for some situations but not others.

I admit that I do believe the Gospel is the solution to sin, all sin.
That may make me an ideologue. I've been called worse.


You can't reconcile that statement about moral agreements with the content of today's post.

I don't see how that's true, but I know for sure that your comment above about my approach not being Gospel-centered is wrong.
As far as my objectives, it's to engage in a fruitful discussion/debate on a topic of interest to me that I think you have wrong and have given reasons to think you're wrong.
That may make you want me to move on. That's on you.


Grace and peace,
Rhology

Frank Turk said...

Coughlin:

You're making too much sense -- that's why you're not getting any cross-comments.

Michael Coughlin said...

No, DJP. I'm still in a very sensitive stage of sanctification and I'm afraid that might push me over the edge. It appears sufficient to simply mention the title "Reverend" to get a response.

Frank, I get what you're saying (I think).

Frank Turk said...

Rho:

How is it possible that, in Mat 22, Jesus says the Jews can lawfully pay the tax to Caesar?

DJP said...

Well, when people call me "Reverend" it makes me cross. That's all I'm saying.

< /Franking meta >

Rhology said...

IT'S A TRAP!!!!

;-)

Because we are to submit to the governing authorities insofar that they don't contradict the Word of God, and Jesus was expressing the idea later to be expressed in Romans 13?

Grace and peace,
Rhology

Peter said...

So why the high correlation of religious affiliation to not providing abortions? You really think they are just unable, or are neutral on the moral question when that measurement makes the connection so clear?

I'm curious because there's no evidence to suggest that at all. Looking at the neutrality of the questions is an interesting approach, but the demographic data says something, I think, you are ignoring.


I am not saying that there is NO moral component. But whether the percentage of doctors who don't perform abortions for moral reasons is 3% (say) or 86% is not information given in this study.

And thus your citing to this study to support your assertion that all the doctors who don't perform abortions do so because they are morally opposed to abortion is mistaken.

Jeff said...

Frank,

Thanks for the article. Your video displaying the best case scenario, was recorded at an abortion clinic right here in my hometown (that has recently closed, Praise the Lord!!!) and the woman preaching the gospel to the abortive mother is a dear friend. I don't know if I was present the day it was recorded, but I have been present many many times, standing on that same street corner, preaching Christ to the people that are walking in.

So since I'm fairly familiar with both abortion clinic outreach (I've actually done it and am not just pontificating like some...), with the exact clinic in the video, and the woman preaching the gospel there, let me offer a few thoughts.

First, the length of time she is preaching is very unique. At most, we usually get 20 to 30 seconds to speak to abortive mothers and fathers as they walk from their cars to the clinic doors. This tells me the person she's speaking to is either standing outside smoking, is on the phone, or is actually listening to her. When this happens you try to present as full a gospel as you can in the time allowed.

Second, the "dialogue" you've hypothesized is unrealistic and fanciful. The clinic workers at this office are all women, except for the doctor. They are vitriolic and spew hatred at you, cursing you, flipping you off, etc. If a clinic worker ever came outside to talk to us, it wouldn't be to dialogue about the merits of abortion "for the life of the mother." It would either be to fight us or to repent. That's our hope in the power of the gospel.

Third, we recognize we're at a clinic and not speaking to legislators, congressmen, or liberal-feminist journalists. We tailor our message to suit the place. My standard, pre-packaged sound byte, which I give a dozen or so times on any given saturday in which we stand out there goes something like this: "The Bible says the wages of sin is death. This place is a physical manifestation of that. People are dying behind those doors and it is murder in the sight of God. We don't get to kill people because they're smaller than us, too expensive, or too inconvenient. Please, repent from this great sin and turn away from this place. The Bible goes on to say that the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Please, repent and leave this place, you will find no rest for your weariness behind those doors." After those few brief words, the doors are closing behind them.

The doctor at this particular clinic (which is now closed) is Dr. Carl Hoffman. I know this because he is the doctor who delivered me. I have had the opportunity to preach to him several times, and he is the most hateful human being you will ever meet. Were he not physically disabled and barely able to walk, he would probably come spit in your face. He actually told me one time that he should’ve aborted me when he had the chance.


Frank, I appreciate the approach you’ve taken in your article, but I think it fails to properly address the wickedness that is happening at clinics. They aren’t clubs where feminists hang out and talk about liberation and the fact that sometimes you have to sacrifice a life in order to live your own. They are places where children are murdered by the dozen and most folks simply turn a blind eye. And when you, as a pastor, an evangelist, or a churchman stand outside one and see people so utterly committed to their sin and by consequence, running headlong into hell, how can you do anything other than try to proclaim Christ?

Paul Reed said...

"Just b/c a woman has eclampsia within the killing place doesn't give anyone the right to murder a child"

Great article, but I've been reading some of the comments and become frustrated. One crucial truth that is often unacknowledged in the pro-lifers is this: The pro-abortion side doesn't need to show Americans that abortion is a good thing to win. They don't even need to show that abortion is morally wrong. Pro-aborts only need to show that abortion isn't murder to get their way. A lot of things are agreed to be morally wrong, but are still legal (adultery for one). While the so-called "hard" cases are rare, they basically allow the pro-abortion side to get their foot in the door. Circumstances can't change fact: Either a woman who gets an abortion is killing her child all the time, or she is killing her child none of the time. We can't grant exceptions and continue to use words like "murder" for exceptions we don't personally approve of.

It's *never* okay for a parent to kill their child to save their own life. Let's say we allow for exceptions for life of the mother. It raises the question, "how serious must a pregnancy need to be for an abortion to be okay?". There is a spectrum of medical cases where the life or death of the mother becomes less certain. And when we make personal exceptions to a moral law (Dan Phillips calls them "Notes from God"), we shouldn't be surprised when others want "Notes" for themselves as well. Whose to say that medical literature won't one day suggest that a high-school girl who goes through an unwanted pregnancy has an increased the risk of suicide later? That would be easily intrepreted as "Life of the Mother". And don't even get me started on the rape exceptions.

Frank Turk said...

Rho:

FINALLY a rational moment!

Do I have to be born again to accept the morality in Mat 22/Rom 13 -- that is, can only born-again people accept the moral principles required to obey the government's authority?

Rhology said...

FINALLY a rational moment!

God is still on His throne. ;-)


Do I have to be born again to accept the morality in Mat 22/Rom 13 -- that is, can only born-again people accept the moral principles required to obey the government's authority?

No.
What you're forgetting is that Jesus said that thing in Matthew 22. It's not that x% of people agree that paying taxes is a good thing; nor is it that one pays b/c one is fearful of the IRS leveraging law enforcement to coerce you to pay, with deadly violence if necessary.

You've pulled a bait-and-switch here. You asked how it is that Jesus says Jews can lawfully pay the tax, but now you're asking whether an unregenerate person can obey the gov't and do an act that is less evil than he could possibly do. That was never in question.
What you're trying to tell us is that we should change our approach so that we might possibly have a greater probability of bringing about a scenario where there are fewer abortions.
What I'm talking about is getting to the heart of the matter and getting there quick.

Also, what Jeff said. That's some good stuff.

Grace and peace,
Rhology

Robert said...

Paul,

The scary thing is that society has gone so far off the cliff that just last year there was an article in a medical journal stating the case that it is OK to kill infants. And then if you read the article Frank linked to, there is a woman writing that one human life can be deemed more valuable/important than another so as to justify murdering one of them for the convenience of the other. Once again, the secular humanist needs to own this mentality and the gruesome implications of it.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Jeff to Frank Turk: "Second, the "dialogue" you've hypothesized is unrealistic and fanciful."

As I was reading through this blogpost, I was wondering that very same thing. The hypothetical dialogue that Frank Turk wrote seemed like a bad strawman.

Robert said...

Rho,

What about trying to defend the helpless baby by getting people to see that abortion is murder? We can not tell which of the four soils the heart of the person we are speaking to has. What if the pregnant mother rejects the Gospel? Do we then abandon the baby?

And what about nominal/immature Christians who are pro-choice? How exactly should we approach them? My wife sees many people who fit into these categories when she goes to counsel at the pregnancy center each week. I think this is a large demographic that tends to get forgotten in this whole discussion and people just assume that anybody who claims to be a Christian knows the facts. The sad truth is that this is certainly not the case.

Eric said...

In Re: Frank, Rhology said: "What you're trying to tell us is that we should change our approach"

Rhology, Frank can certainly speak for himslelf, but I haven't read him as saying such. It seems to me that Frank has been saying that there is a time and a place for non-presuppositional discourse aimed at exposing immorality and advacing the cause of societal justice in regards to the protection of unborn life. I read you as saying your method is the only method and Frank must change. Am I misunderstanding?

Eric said...

The following comments/questions from Michael and Robert are good and deserve a response:

"I wonder, if someone were to break into their house and tie them up while the intruder brutalized the children, would the person quote scripture, calling the person to repentance and faith, trusting that only regeneration will make a difference?"

"What if the pregnant mother rejects the Gospel? Do we then abandon the baby?"

Frank Turk said...

Rho:

Jesus established the tax, or Caesar did?

DJP said...

Obama says it was Jesus.

Frank Turk said...

To the straw man complaint: how so?

Rhology said...

Robert,

Yes, definitely. And then preach the Gospel to them.
But the unregenerate mind has no fundamental reason not to look at the murder of a helpless child and shrug. There may be secondary reasons, but no fundamental one.


What if the pregnant mother rejects the Gospel? Do we then abandon the baby?

I don't understand. We talk to her as long as we can. If she gets into a car or walks into the abortuary, what would you propose? Tackle her?


And what about nominal/immature Christians who are pro-choice? How exactly should we approach them?

With love, and the law of God. And if they reject it, we preach the law and Gospel to them.
Why? What would you propose?

Grace and peace,
Rhology

Rhology said...

Eric,

I read you as saying your method is the only method and Frank must change. Am I misunderstanding?

Yes, you have it mostly backwards. Read Part 1 from this series (this being Part 2) and you'll see Frank of his own volition and without provocation take rhetorical swipes both at presuppositionalists and at abolitionists. As long as he'll have me, I intend to attempt to set the record straight.

But let me hasten to add that Frank himself is the one who coined the phrase in my mind "The Gospel is the solution to culture". I'm merely calling him to consistency.
And if you think it's bad to say that the Gospel is the only way, I wonder what you think is better.

Grace and peace,
Rhology

Rhology said...

Cæsar did, Frank.

Shane Dodson said...

If you can invent a hypothetical conversation between presuppositionalists and abortionists, I'm wondering if you can provide a real conversation between you (or whoever is using whatever method you're advocating) and an abortionist/abortion supporter.

Y'know...so we can have something as a point of comparison.

Rhology said...

Frank,

TUaD suggests that your convo is a strawman.
It actually seems OK to me, so I don't want to make a deal out of that. The problem comes when you seem to set the abortuary employee in a good light with her final question. As Jeff said, that just ain't gonna happen very much at all.

And secondly, I have a problem with this statement of yours that followed it:
The person asking a question like that is trying to listen and explain, and when the other party is not willing to engage, it is the end of the conversation.

But in what way has that evangelist not engaged? Doing what Jesus said and proclaiming repentance and the forgiveness of sins = not engaging?

And I second Shane's request for your proposed improvements.

Grace and peace,
Rhology

Marcus Pittman said...

That is one massive pile of straw, man.

Robert said...

Rhology,

I couldn't use your link, but maybe that is because I'm at work.

Even the unregenerate have a God-given conscience. Whether they are willing to acknowledge that it is God-given is another story. If the conscience is bothered by knowing that this is murder, then would not one consider this God extending grace to keep said person from sinning in murdering their baby? What I am saying is that you can still show that abortion is murder without evangelizing. I am just curious if you don't talk about the facts about abortion being murder before evangelism.

The immature/nominal Christian who is pro-choice believes in God and His law, but doesn't believe the baby is a person until birth. They need to know the facts before they can repent...otherwise they don't know what they are repenting of.

Rhology said...

Robert,

Sorry the link didn't work.
Try this one.


If the conscience is bothered by knowing that this is murder, then would not one consider this God extending grace to keep said person from sinning in murdering their baby?

Yes, so let's preach the law of God to them. And the Gospel.


What I am saying is that you can still show that abortion is murder without evangelizing.

Why in the world would anyone want to do that?


I am just curious if you don't talk about the facts about abortion being murder before evangelism.

The fact*S* about it? It's not really a question, and unless I have a long time to talk to someone, I will go with what the Word of God says about the conscience, that people really do know it's murder and are suppressing that knowledge. The way to bring that to resolution is the proclamation of God's law and God's Gospel. I know that b/c that's what God said, in His Word.


They need to know the facts before they can repent

Sure, but what they need is God's revelation. That falls under the category of the law of God.


Grace and peace,
Rhology

Jon Speed said...

The great thing about straw man arguments is that they make great fires once they're exposed for what they are.

I love how people who claim to be teachers of the Word find the Word of God insufficient and then others who claim to love the Word will cheer him on. "You tell 'em, Frank!" I wonder why? It's amazing how we'll agree quickly with those who share the same theological hobby horse even when their arguments are a slander against the Word of God.

OK, Rhology seems to be dealing with the pile of straw. I'll go after the red herring: the woman with enclampsia.

If I am not mistaken this term used to be called toxemia. My wife had it severely with our first daughter and less so with our second. With our youngest son, she showed signs again early in the pregnancy and was ordered into bed rest for most of the pregnancy. She lost most of her vision with our eldest and nearly stroked out on the table. We could have justified a third trimester abortion since it's legal in PA where Veronica was born.

So your hypothetical isn't so hypothetical. We were not believers at that time. Do you know why abortion was not an option with my wife on death's door? Because we knew that abortion is murder because whether you like it or don't, that law of God is written on the heart of the unbeliever.

There are plenty of reasons that abortion ought to be illegal. Some atheists are pro-life; we interviewed some at the March for Life for the documentary Babies Are Murdered Here. And they are pro-life in spite of the fact that they are using a Christian worldview in spite of themselves to defend it.

When I get a chance to speak to abortionists, and I do just about every week, I have tried the angle you're advocating. I show them the same pictures they show their patients who actually want their babies. They know. They know the science better than we do. And do you know what they do? They laugh. They cuss you out. And they pull into their parking spaces and get out of their Lexus or their Benz, flip me off, and go murder some more babies.

Appealing to the reason of the totally depraved is like appealing to the reason of satan. They are of their father the devil and are murderers and prove it with their actions. They will stop murdering babies when they repent. The blood money is too good.

What you are suggesting here is leaving our most powerful weapon in the gun cabinet for the sake of a pop-gun. Thanks but no thanks. From the perspective of worldly philosophy, we could end abortion with statistics and scientific facts. That this does not work has been demonstrably proven over the course of 40 years. It's just too bad that Christians want to keep trying the same things expecting different results.



Jeff said...

Robert,

You said, Even the unregenerate have a God-given conscience. Whether they are willing to acknowledge that it is God-given is another story. If the conscience is bothered by knowing that this is murder, then would not one consider this God extending grace to keep said person from sinning in murdering their baby? What I am saying is that you can still show that abortion is murder without evangelizing. I am just curious if you don't talk about the facts about abortion being murder before evangelism.

I don't want to jump into the fray between you and rho, but in my experience out there, you get less than a minute to engage the abortive parent. What do you do with that time?

I suppose you could try to establish scientifically that the child in the mother's womb is indeed a child?

Or, you could do what I do, and simply state something like the following, "The Bible says that the child in the mother's womb is precious in God's sight and is fearfully and wonderfully made. The sin of abortion is the sin of murder" you can quote Psalm 139 here if you want or segue into a fuller gospel presentation, again all depending on the time you have.

Also, you say "even the unregenerate have a God given conscience" and, essentially, that we can appeal to that without evangelizing in order to show that abortion is murder.

Again, drawing on real world experience outside the clinic in the video and no hypothesis, I can tell you that 95% of the folks going in there have made a concerted effort to mute their conscience long before they arrive at the clinic. They have worked to squelch their conscience so they can go through with such a wicked act. We even had one guy who came out to talk to us in tears about 25 minutes after he'd arrived with a girl, who admitted to doing a gram of cocaine before he left the house just so he could ignore his conscience long enough to go through with it.

We cannot hope that people will be functioning rationally, appropriately, or even humanly when you're out there in the valley of Hinnom. The clear proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ is our only hope.

Eric said...

Lots of talking past eachother going on in this meta.

Michael Coughlin said...

I think the problem with your argument Rho, is that by your own argument, particularly your desire for consistency, you should have effectively done nothing more that just continued to share the law and gospel in the comments until God changes Frank and he comes to the light.

See what I mean? Being a presuppositionalist doesn't mean "only sharing the gospel." It has to do with never abandoning your worldview.

And if I understand correctly, Frank is simply saying that this approach is not the only approach.

Appealing to the conscience you suppose God gave a human being isn't abandoning the gospel. I have to speak to my unregenerate mother all the time - I can't wait until she is saved to attempt to resolve conflict and live peaceably with all men. I need to be wise and appeal the to common law written on our hearts.

The challenge to you, Rho, was to confirm if you believe that once a person rejects the gospel that there is no use in pleading with them from a pure conscience standpoint to not murder their child. You did not answer that.

I find it hard to believe that you are very successful in life when your every encounter with a nonbeliever is strictly gospel-talk. I mean, really, if someone tells you they are sorry do you withhold forgiveness and not accept their apology if they do not profess Christ?

You are asking good questions, Rho, but you are missing Frank's point, and with his homefield advantage you cannot come back without some better understanding.

Rhology said...

Michael,

Why would I do that? Frank is already regenerate.


It has to do with never abandoning your worldview.

Yes, agreed. And in our worldview, as Jon Speed said, unregenerate people don't care about facts when it comes to following their lusts.


And if I understand correctly, Frank is simply saying that this approach is not the only approach.

Then why the swipes at presuppositionalism and abolitionism in his first post?


once a person rejects the gospel that there is no use in pleading with them from a pure conscience standpoint to not murder their child.

That would be a signal that they are proud. Law to the proud.


I find it hard to believe that you are very successful in life when your every encounter with a nonbeliever is strictly gospel-talk.

Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean.


I mean, really, if someone tells you they are sorry do you withhold forgiveness and not accept their apology if they do not profess Christ?

No, I don't do that. Please clarify why you ask that.


Grace and peace,
Rhology

Eric said...

"And if you think it's bad to say that the Gospel is the only way, I wonder what you think is better."

I neither said such nor insinuated. However, as Michael points out well, it is not the equivalent of denying the power of the Gospel to speak and reason with people in non-gospelese.

I also read Frank's previous post and this one again, and still don't see him saying your method is not allowed, ever. I see him saying that there is a time and place for other methods. In fact, he states "I'm not an enemy of Presuppositional apologetics." Can you take him at his word?

Michael Coughlin said...

Folks, Frank didn't say to throw out the best weapon. Talking past each other, you are!

Jon - in your you post, you even claim to have tried every angle. So were you wrong for trying those angles? Or were you righteous for using any means to save some lives within the context of not sinning yourself?

No one said, quit preaching the law and gospel, Frank is encouraging people to not limit the abortion ministry to the law and the gospel.

Can you imagine a man gets saved and has an unsaved wife? He's trying to build a relationship with her on a daily basis.

In one case - he simply repeats to her every time she sins that she is a hopeless sinner outside of God's grace who needs to repent and trust Christ.

In another scenario - he not only shares the gospel with her, but he also tries to teach her things to help her with her life and build their relationship. Instead of simply expecting her to commit adultery due to her unbelief, he actually expects this unregenerate person to keep her vows, and he even may speak to her about how much it would hurt him if she didn't.

That isn't throwing out our best weapon. It is being wise and biblical and using all our weapons.

If someone is planning to rape my wife and you talk them out of it because you scare them that they may go to prison, I'M OK WITH THAT.

If you shared the gospel and they rejected it and you just quit trying to convince them to avoid that single act, I'd partially consider you culpable.

yankeegospelgirl said...

I take the "extreme" view that one must never knowingly kill an innocent human, even with the intention of saving another. The mother and the child are both patients. Treat them equally. That's my thinking, but very few people are willing to go ALL the way like that.

Michael Coughlin said...

Rho - You quote Jon Speed and say: "unregenerate people don't care about facts when it comes to following their lusts."

I am not convinced that this is true. If that is what you suppose, then I can see how everything you said follows logically.

If you can prove to me that unregenerate people NEVER change their minds once they've decided to do something according to their lust, based on more or better information provided, then I would agree with you.

But I doubt you can prove that, Frankly. (is that the adverbial form of Frank?

Eric said...

"And in our worldview ... unregenerate people don't care about facts when it comes to following their lusts."

As an absolute (exactly how it is stated): Demonstrably false.

Michael Coughlin said...

Just want to point out we're on the same side here and hopefully this is iron sharpening iron and brothers loving brothers.

If my tone comes across rude or you think I'm sarcastic or ungodly, please forgive me and give me the benefit of any doubt for the sake of "text" communication.

I can't communicate how much I've enjoyed both threads and how much I LOVE JON SPEED AND MARCUS PITTMAN in basic text.

Jon Speed said...

In our experience, enclampsia is not a guarantee of death. Further, getting rid of the baby is no guarantee that the mother will get better. The doctors say that once the baby is delivered that the pulse will go back to normal, but that is not always the case. In my wife's case, she stayed at a dangerous level for about a week afterwards.

All the more reason to trust God instead of the experts. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

One more thing: you'll never have that kind of convo with an abortionist. Never.

Robert said...

To echo Michael's thoughts, I appreciate the efforts you guys put together in evangelism. I just think that it is faulty to get caught up in one-size-fits-all evangelism.

Also, I think that we (myself included) need to work on addressing this within the church so that people can't sit on the fence. This should actually be an area where churches pick a side and believers are called to stand for the truth. That isn't to say cast out women who have had abortions or are misinformed, but educate people and make this an issue when picking a church. Surely the pastors and elders should be informed enough to hold to a position on this. I remember Sproul proposing that people should be protesting at churches that are pro-choice.

Jon Speed said...

Michael,

I love you too brother. And believe it or not I love Frank. But I hope our love for each other is eclipsed by our love for God's Word. A rebuke is needed here and a strong one at that.

Was I wrong for using that approach? Yes, I believe I was. I have since rectified it by sticking to what matters with a hell-bound abortionist: the gospel.

I can admit when I am wrong.

As an open-air preacher, Michael, what do you rely on? Your object lessons? Sock puppets? Witty illustrations? Or the Word of God?

I'm not into strapping a BB gun to the tip of a nuclear weapon in order to help it out. Frank wants to keep the nuclear weapon in the silo and bust out the pop guns.

Michael Coughlin said...

I know you love Frank and I know you love the brethren.

Again, I think there is misunderstanding and some people are talking about different things.
The funny thing to me is I am more likely to use the approach that you and others seem to be defending. No one ever taught me presupp...as Sye and I agreed when we evaluated my condition, I was converted that way and never left. :)

When I open air preach I preach the Word of God. I also say things to people about the Cleveland Browns or Ohio State Buckeyes sometimes, if the context makes sense. Sometimes, I just read the bible. But my goal is not to get people to stop doing immediate evil at the time.

I don't suppose that any of my wit converts sinners.

Will continue later. Still not convinced you all understand each other....

St. Lee said...

I read all of both posts, but from the comments it almost seems that I need to re-read them. Maybe there are just too many big words for me to understand where the offense comes from.

Let me preface my comment with this: certainly there is a need for the Gospel to be proclaimed and I admit to not doing that as often as I should (do you?)

Suppose we as a nation were in the position to abolish abortion with a 51% vote on a referendum. Should we, as Christians, campaign solely via declaring God's Law and the Gospel, knowing that unless 51% get saved the referendum will fail? Or might it be useful to couple a declaration of the Law and the Gospel with an appeal to conscience and reason hoping to sway the unsaved to our position on abortion?

If you really think that 51% are likely to be converted, then I think a study of how often God's people are referred to as a "remnant" in the Bible might be in order. Then the question becomes "is saving those babies a good act even without the salvation of the would be murderer?"

Aaron Snell said...

A big part of the frustration in this meta is due, I think, to a conflation of types of "conversations."

Are we talking to individuals who don't have all the facts?

Are we talking to individuals who do, and still persist in condoning abortion?

Are we talking to individuals who do, and still persist in performing abortions?

Or are we talking, not to individuals, but to our culture (i.e., on the level of policy, laws, and public conscience)?

Eric said...

I did a little bit of reading at Rhology's abolitionist site - I commend it as a site unapologetically fighting for the protection of human life.

After doing some reading on the FAQ page, I noted a lot of similarity in some the arguments made in response to standard pro-abortion canards and cliches and the type of argument that Frank has been forming in these two posts.

Many of the responses contain no law and no Gospel? How can this be? As I see it, Michael has done a nice job of pointing out that no Christian can consistently hold to the position that we can only and ever reason with law and Gospel in an attempt to evangelize to change behavior. In doing so, Michael has provided a few hypotheticals that I have yet to see adequately answered. Yet, hypotheticals are not necessary, since Rhology has provided a list of topics where he reasons many times in much the same way Frank is reasoning in these posts. I think Rhology's insistence is mainly academic.

How ludicrous has this conversation gotten that Jon Speed would offer that Frank needs a rebuke ("and a strong one at that") because he finds the Word of God "insufficient" and is guilty of "slander against the Word of God".

Rhology said...

I think Rhology's insistence is mainly academic.

Frank set the scene for the discussion - in front of an abortuary. That's on him.
The Abolitionist FAQ is not for in front of an abortuary.
Also, as I pointed out earlier, it's to defend against internal critiques.


How ludicrous has this conversation gotten that Jon Speed would offer that Frank needs a rebuke

It all started with Frank rebuking, w/o provocation, presuppositionalism and abolitionism in his first post.
How quickly they forget!

Paul Reed said...

@Jon Speed

Just wanted to say what a blessing it was reading your comment about you and your wife. It's amazing that there are people who call themselves pro-life that think it should have been legal to have your children murdered by their parent and a "doctor".

I completely echo your experience interacting with pro-aborts. As you said they often know the science better than anyone in our group, and they just laugh at us and cuss us out when present the case against abortion, if they even care. I can see your probably a person like me who has actually been to an abortion protest. One of the most telling for me was when we protested Komen Race for the Cure at the finish line. If you ever deny the doctrine of the depravity of man, just interact with some people at one of these events.

Robert said...

Aaron,

I think addressing each of those situations/conversations would move us forward a great deal. I think that there should also be some mention of those who are saved and caught up in this mess.

The thing is, even with all of the tension, this is a conversation that we need to be having in the church. This is a fight worth fighting, unlike many that wind up distracting churches (music, service format, youth programs). I am glad that Frank is willing to take on these types of topics and get us to really think about what we're doing. It's better than just assuming people are doing it right and that we don't all need to dirty our hands with the details.

Frank Turk said...

Rho:

Caesar established the tax? Because I thought that the complaint was that somehow any authority excepts God's is an illegitimate authority.

See: my argument is that there is a general revelation which points people to the right answer when it comes to the questions of the law. The acts of Caesar are general revelation -- which Christ uses to reason with the Pharisees. The scientific conclusions of OB-GYNs are general revelation - which we can use to argue with the abortionist.

Frank Turk said...

Shane:

I have personally had this conversation with many abortionists. I apologize that I don't have any on video or audio.

Frank Turk said...

Rho:

it's a lack of engagement not to answer the question posed. It is also a lack of engagement to answer the question posed with a change of subject.

Eric said...

Rhology,

As I suspected, you simply can't get past the initial "put a sock in it".

Frank Turk said...

Jon Speed:

Rho furnished a link to a response to the question of the mother's life being in peril which said, effectively, that the question is one of competing rights -- not a question of obligation for the mother to die.

[1] Have you read that link?
[2] Do you believe it?
[3] If you believe it, why is your answer here a denial of those precepts?

Frank Turk said...

Somehow, those who think having a conversation about policy for government is tantamount to denying the Gospel have missed every single point of agreement I have with them.

It interests me because apparently unless you agree with everything they say, one is merely a dead sinner.

There's something curious about that belief. I can't quite put my finger on it ...

Eric said...

Rhology,

You conveniently left out what comes after the word "rebuke". Has Frank accused you or other pressuposationalists of "slander against the Word of God"? Quite a claim, and the essence of my observation of ludicrousness.

Also, can you help me understand what you mean by "internal critique"? Thanks.

Jared T. Baergen said...

Good stuff here at Pyro.

Frank,
Just keep in mind that you are dealing with a lot of post-millennial, presuppositional, dominion theologians here. At least three of them that I am aware of. Their goal is to transform the culture so that Jesus can come back, and they need the loftiest and wittiest reasoning if they think they can do it. They don't agree to moralism, since the gospel is the means for transforming the culture, they say. However, the outcome is the same (and here comes the hate-mail).

In other words, there's a lot of... "presuppositions" going around.

I use presup against atheists sometimes, so I'm not against it, but there is always a time and place for explanation and facts. Good evangelists recognize this. If I have read you correctly Frank, well said! Thanks for your wisdom.

Michael Coughlin,
You're one of the only ones really making sense on here. Also, haven't heard from you in a while. Miss ya, buddy!

Robert said...

Frank, Mark 9:38-40 & Luke 9:49-50 come to mind.

Robert said...

I mean that with regards to your last statement, by the way.

Frank Turk said...

Mike: for Jon Speed, changing the law is utterly irrelevant. Saving one life from abortion is also, apparently, irrelevant. What is actually at stake for Jon is that God not be short-changed by a man's method. The only method, in Jon's view, is evangelism -- and then let God change the laws, or save the lives, or regenerate the lost person.

It's not quite hypercalvinism -- because let's face it: he's an evangelist. He goes out to preach the word to the lost. But his idea of what God's ordinary means of grace are -- such as being a good neighbor (Luke 10), and talking to people about things they ought to know but don't (Rom 2), and speaking to them about their own worldviews so that they know you understand what they are saying (as in Acts 17) -- are lost on him. God's authority to teach us those things and cause us to use those methods is suspect.

Jon has spoken -- on behalf of God, we should admit.

Frank Turk said...

I'm shuttin' 'er down at 100 comments, so get your licks in while you can.

Robert said...

This reminds me a lot of this post you did about this time last year.

Am I the only one who draws a parallel here?

Shane Dodson said...

"I have personally had this conversation with many abortionists. I apologize that I don't have any on video or audio."

No apologies needed. Please--if you could--provide a hypothetical of such a conversation using whatever methodology you're advocating.

Frank Turk said...

Regarding my provocation of lack thereof:

I was "provoked" on facebook. Someone on the internet was wrong.

Jon Speed said...

Frank,

It's helpful that you continue to verify your scorn for the Word of God by assuming that preaching the gospel at clinics doesn't work. It won't save lives at the clinic and it won't end abortion.

Just so we're clear.

Jim Pemberton said...

It sounds more like you are arguing for a more didactic strategy of presuppositional apologetics than merely uttering what seem like unsupported assertions to the sinful ear. The idea is still to get someone to accept truth without them balking at the method of presentation.

Frank Turk said...

Jon - thanks for misreading what I said. its proof you don't listen.

DJP said...

Wait — Turk has contempt for the word of God? When did this happen? How come no one tells me these things?

Jon Speed said...

Jared,

Thanks for illustrating what's going on here; the theological hobby horse taking precedence over the Word. If you can dismiss the claims we're making about its authority because of our eschatology (a more uncharitable proposition I don't know of in evangelicalism) rather than looking at the disturbing things Frank is saying in black and white, at least you can remain a fan. Who cares as long as the big bad wolf of postmillenialism takes a shot? Hmmm.

The fact that street preachers will ignore what Frank is saying about the authority of the Word of God and its utter inability to address unregenerate people while making a postmillennial type claim that this aScriptural approach WILL do something about abortion is completely lost on many readers here.

Eric said...

Jon,

Be thankful that Frank intends to close this comment section soon, because you are making a fool of yourself.

Jon Speed said...

Frank,

OK, let's review.

You said: "Mike: for Jon Speed, changing the law is utterly irrelevant. Saving one life from abortion is also, apparently, irrelevant."

This is based on....?

Therefore, I think I can say with accuracy...


"It's helpful that you continue to verify your scorn for the Word of God by assuming that preaching the gospel at clinics doesn't work. It won't save lives at the clinic and it won't end abortion.

Just so we're clear."

Frank Turk said...

It's a good thing that's all I said, Jon -- because if that is, you'd be right.

However, for the sake of being a lot more fair to you than you can be to others, here's my rejoinder:

"Jon -- what is the primary purpose of doing what you do in front of the abortion clinic? That is: if God will only accomplish one thing there, what is it you think is of primary concern?"

Looking forward to you proving me wrong.

Frank Turk said...

And for the record: we may roll to 125 at the end here so Jon can say everything he means to say.

donsands said...

"The scientific conclusions of OB-GYNs are general revelation - which we can use to argue with the abortionist."-Cent

Absolutely. I have argued with rational Non-Christians and they have actually been able to feel for the life in the womb, to an extent.

The girl in the video for me resembles this person:

"The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector."-Jesus

We need to guard strongly against an attitude that I am better than they are.

I have gone to Clinics and protested, but never thought I was better, but simply trying to let my light shine, and share the truth.

Excellent post. Outstanding. I wish the whole Church could read it. I shall share this on my Facebook fo' sho'.

St. Lee said...

Robert, I think you hit the nail on the head with your link to Frank's old post. If you cut to the chase and watch the animated video there, I think it sums the issue up nicely. I especially like the last line - " you want me to have a Christian theology before you will help me to save a man's life?"

Jon Speed said...

Frank,

As you know, I am into one thing at the clinic expecting two results.

I preach the gospel with the result that women do not abort their babies and that by way of the conversion of sinners that abortion will end. Abortion ends when people repent and believe the gospel because they stop murdering babies.

Of course, if no one does these things you get what we've already had for 40 years. 3500 abortions a day.

Why do I preach the gospel? Because only the gospel changes hearts. I've not seen human reason stop a murder. Murder is not motivated by reason. I've never heard of the murderer who is convinced by statistics.

Why do we start with the issue of murder? Because the people who go there know it's murder. They tell you they KNOW it's human life. Spend ten minutes out there and you will see this is all about narcissistic convenience on the part of everyone involved: abortionist, abortive mom and dad, etc. Total depravity is played out in front of your eyes there. And you want to reason with them?

Frank Turk said...

Jon:

Do all of the women you preach to repent and believe and save their babies?

Jon Speed said...

Obviously not, Frank.

Frank Turk said...

Jon --

OK. Great. We agree that your preaching the Gospel neither saves all the women nor all the babies. That should be a surprise to nobody.

If that's actually true, and we take every word you posted here about your intention, if you saved only some mothers and no babies, would you still preach the Gospel? For example: after these women do this heinous act, the Law convicts them and the Gospel changes them -- but only and always after the abortion.

I ask because you're not a pragmatist: you're not preaching the end murder. You're preaching using the example of murder to make the Gospel clear.

Jon Speed said...

I preach the gospel in many venues because we've been commanded. So yes, I would still preach the gospel if no babies were saved.

However, the statement "but only and always after the abortion" is not true. The women will sometimes repent and believe the gospel before they go in and therefore not have the abortion. Sometimes their conscience will agree with the preaching and they will have the baby and not repent and believe the gospel, but the baby is saved because of the appeal to what they already know about abortion being murder.

We also preach about sexual immorality because in better than 75% of the cases, the women are there because of sexual immorality. We also preach about murder so that we can appeal to the law of God written on their hearts and their conscience.

Frank Turk said...

Jon -- Before I say, "of course the statement you mention is not true," but I will wager that there is someone with the testimony that their abortion-clinic preaching has never saved anyone -- just as the same can be said of many faithful pastors.

But of course the statement you mention is not true. And of course: the Law convicts and the Gospel saves. It ever has been and will ever be so.

Which brings me back to the statement that, I think, you have intentionally misunderstood:

Mike: for Jon Speed, changing the law is utterly irrelevant. Saving one life from abortion is also, apparently, irrelevant. What is actually at stake for Jon is that God not be short-changed by a man's method. The only method, in Jon's view, is evangelism -- and then let God change the laws, or save the lives, or regenerate the lost person.

Jon: using your method, do you change the law, or save the life, or regenerate the lost person?

Jon Speed said...

Frank,

By our method, we end abortion (not by legislation), save the life and save the woman (and the man in some cases).

I can guarantee you this: if pastors and churches don't preach the gospel at clinics, no one will be saved there. We already have that scenario in most cases. In fact, since so few churches do any organized evangelism at all I fully expect any excuse to not go to the clinics to do so to be latched on to and cherished like a crown jewel.

On legislation:

I do not believe that you will get rid of Roe, period. If we could, that would be great and I would be its biggest supporter. But the political history of the last 20 years proves that legislation will not end Roe. We've had all we needed to do so (majorities and seated pro-life SCOTUS justices, a president and bills submitted) and did not. Roe will end when abortionists do not have enough customers to make it worthwhile because, as I've already said here, it's lucrative.

Because the presence of one protestor at a clinic will drive away 20% of Planned Parenthood's business (in some cases, up to 75% of their business), and because the evangelical church has played "keep-away" with abortion clinics because of the presence of the Catholics (who are trying to buy their way out of purgatory by being there), the only way you will end abortion is to help the Church see that the clinic is a viable mission field and mobilizing them with the gospel to that field could actually end it. I don't think too many pastors should get excited about going to clinics and working against themselves by arguing statistics instead of simply proclaiming what God has said. You might get people excited if you teach them to believe what God says about the issue (instead of the self justifications of men that they utter against their own consciences) and make it as simple as proclaiming it.

Frank Turk said...

OK: this is comment #107. I promised to shut down the comments at 100, but Jon was about to have a breakthrough and I didn't want to miss that.

Everyone who posted in the midst of my exchange with Jon Speed was deleted -- not because you offended, but because I wanted to have this dialogue uninterrupted. Sorry about that.

Frank Turk said...

This is comment #108, and it will be my last comment in the thread. I will leave the comments open so Jon can have the last word -- but I will delete anyone else who posts between Jon's last comment and mine.

Here's the statement that seemed to inspire a lot of pain in Jon when I said it the first time:

Mike: for Jon Speed, changing the law is utterly irrelevant. Saving one life from abortion is also, apparently, irrelevant. What is actually at stake for Jon is that God not be short-changed by a man's method. The only method, in Jon's view, is evangelism -- and then let God change the laws, or save the lives, or regenerate the lost person.

Here's what Jon said when I asked him, "using your method, do you change the law, or save the life, or regenerate the lost person?"

On legislation:

I do not believe that you will get rid of Roe, period. If we could, that would be great and I would be its biggest supporter. But the political history of the last 20 years proves that legislation will not end Roe. We've had all we needed to do so (majorities and seated pro-life SCOTUS justices, a president and bills submitted) and did not. Roe will end when abortionists do not have enough customers to make it worthwhile because, as I've already said here, it's lucrative.


Someone will have to explain to me how my statement -- that changing the Law is irrelevant to Jon Speed -- is in any way contrary to what Jon has here plainly said.

Regarding Saving Lives:

I can guarantee you this: if pastors and churches don't preach the gospel at clinics, no one will be saved there. We already have that scenario in most cases. In fact, since so few churches do any organized evangelism at all I fully expect any excuse to not go to the clinics to do so to be latched on to and cherished like a crown jewel.

Note: the only method Jon endorses here is preaching the Gospel. Since that is plain, how what he says here is different than saying, "The only method, in Jon's view, is evangelism -- and then let God ... save the lives?"

But here's the problem: Jon has hedged his bet on this one. See: in his view, the method which confronts the abortion-prone person (the mother, the father, the abortionist or her staff) with their error can't work -- except he admits that "the presence of one protestor at a clinic will drive away 20% of Planned Parenthood's business." I assume he means the heaven-buying Catholics as well -- maybe not. Maybe their protests do nothing to dwindle abortions. But if in fact the presence of Catholic abortion protestors reduces abortions, then Jon's method is not the only one that works. It's not the only one which yields fewer abortions -- at least at that site. In spite of his repudiation of seeing an end to abortion as an end unto itself, he admits it is a worth-while goal.

Now, this is my actual point: if Mary-worshipping, forgiveness-buying, Pope-following, bread-faith Catholics can discourage abortions by what they do, how is it that having civil discussions with abortionists which call out their own ignorance and blind spots cannot accomplish the same end?

Moreover: why is that method somehow unwholesome when it is in fact calling out the /fault/ of the abortionist in the same way Jesus calls out the fault in the way the Jews saw paying Caesar's tax? Why is reasoning with someone such a vile thing?

Jon: you ge the last word.

Frank Turk said...

And only Jon.

Frank Turk said...

A bunch of comments deleted, posted since I went to bed. The last word will come from Jon.

One theme is evolving in those comments: "I have never witnessed anything like the hypothetical scenario Frank presents. Therefore, it's irrelevant/red herring/straw man."

Let me say this about that: There are a few root causes for the kinds of interactions you're bound to have with people with regard to heated issues like this. One root cause, which I think we overlook, is how we are perceived by others.

Paul got a hearing in the Areopagus because he seems to have a new teaching -- not because someone in the Marketplace was wrong, or because they were all itching for a fight. I think that there is an approach to this topic which both makes us look like the innocent party and persuades the other side to rethink their own assumptions because we have been rational.

I have rational discussions with advocates of abortion all the time. Some of them change their minds, and then they are deeply convicted by their old way of thinking.

Jon Speed said...

Frank,

Thanks for giving me the last word here. I don't deserve it.

In my later replies yesterday, I was tired, frustrated, and angry. I sincerely apologize.

There are all kinds of ways to end abortion. C-4 shuts down clinics. But I am not going there and never will. The same passion that many readers of Pyro have for the elevation of the Word in their churches ought to be brought to this issue. I'll gander it won't because we love to read theology more than we love to live it.

Now you can blame my approach on who I get to talk to and how they talk, but when you assume that abortionists and those who hire them are blissful ignoramuses who thought that they were just helping people is not true. I have talked to the abortionists and they are brazen with the gentlest of approaches.

This is why one abortionist in Dallas, TX "prays for the souls of the aborted babies as they ascend into heaven." This is why another in FL, who is an avowed Wiccan, uses the opportunity of abortion in order to carry out human sacrifices as part of her worship. And why yet another in FL posts pictures on their waiting room walls of babies with angels wings, flying up to Heaven. They know these are babies. They know they are murdering them. They know it's legal. And they know they can get away with it.

Saying they don't know is like saying, "Well, Hitler had told Germans for so long that Jewish people are animals that the poor SS believed him and could not help it. They were ill informed. Maybe if people went with pictures of Jewish people and some x-rays, they would believe the truth." If the judges at Nuremberg bought that defense, World War Three would have come on the heels of Two.

If you think abortionists don't know it's murder, look up a video of an abortion and then try telling anyone who has seen it that the poor doctors just don't know. Their problem is that they know full well and the rhetoric from the pro-choice crowd is not "clump of cells" any more. Arguing from that perspective is a 1970's argument.

(cont'd)

Jon Speed said...

As the woman you quoted in the blog stated elsewhere in her article, they do not care. She is not the minority opinion in this culture. This is the present reality. She who shall not be named wrote, "Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always." Go to the clinics with any amount of consistency and you will see this brazenness displayed every single time.

I am not into pragmatism in how we do ministry. How we do it matters in church and it matters at the clinic. Pagan RC idolatry may end abortion but it does not glorify God. Humanism may end abortion, but we're not called to be humanist philosophers. We are Christians and we take the gospel with us wherever we go. At least, we're supposed to. Of course, we don't and that's why abortionists do business in our cities.

As I read your comments I was offended that you were saying that I did not care whether or not abortion ends. I was also offended that you insinuated that I do not care whether or not babies are saved. This is not theoretical with me. I'll be going out today with my family to stand in front of a clinic. As I do, it's possible that me and my kids will be threatened for holding signs of living babies in the womb. I've been threatened with hockey sticks, cars, fists, and more. I care enough about this to take the gospel out there and this comes across to those of us who are taking the true gospel to the clinics (you can bet the Catholics LOVE that) as yet another naysayer armchair quarterback criticizing what we do while they write blogs (which I also write, BTW).

If all people remember me for when I am dead and gone is that I wanted the gospel to be preached in public forums and that I was foolish enough to believe what God says about its power, and the power of believers proclaiming it instead of doing nothing or using humanistic methodologies, then I'm content with that.

I am glad that you have conversations with pro-choice advocates who become pro-life. Great. You've done what the Catholics and many compromised evangelicals do. Do you have a responsibility to talk to them about the gospel or is your responsibility done when they become pro-life? If you do not, you may have changed their mind for the time being, but only the gospel changes the heart. Lots of pro-life "Christians" have abortions. At some clinics in the Bible belt Christians have abortions to the tune of 80% of their customers. Your new pro-life converts may whistle a different tune when their immorality puts the option of abortion in front of them.