A Resolution on Protecting Human Life

This week Southern Baptists in Kentucky passed a resolution on protecting human life (HT: Philip Bethancourt). Russell Moore was instrumental in bringing this resolution to pass, and there is much to commend in it. I particularly like the fact that it does not go along with the “abortion-is-one-issue-among-many” approach that we saw some “evangelicals” take in the recent election. It encourages treating the abortion issue as a priority. I have printed the full resolution below, but here are some of the highlights:

WHEREAS, some religious leaders in the United States have called for churches to move beyond the abortion discussion so that the sanctity of unborn human life is reduced to one of a litany of other issues. . .

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we reiterate our conviction that the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision was based on a fundamentally flawed understanding of the United States Constitution, human embryology, and the basic principles of human rights; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we petition our new president-elect, members of Congress, our governor, and state legislature to work to legally protect the lives of all innocent American citizens, including those of the unborn; and

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A Resolution on Protecting Unborn Human Life

WHEREAS, the Holy Scripture reveals that all human life is created in the image of God, and therefore sacred to our Creator (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 9:6); and

WHEREAS, the Bible affirms that the unborn baby is a person bearing the image of God from the moment of conception (Psalm 139:13–16; Luke 1:44); and

WHEREAS, Scripture further commands the people of God to plead for protection for the innocent and justice for the fatherless (Psalm 72:12–14; Psalm 82:3; James 1:27); and

WHEREAS, our confessional statement, the Baptist Faith and Message, affirms that children “from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord”; and further affirms that Southern Baptists are mandated by Scripture to “speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death”; and

WHEREAS, some prominent congressional leaders and others have promised a reconsideration of the “Freedom of Choice Act” and other abortion rights legislation; and

WHEREAS, some religious leaders in the United States have called for churches to move beyond the abortion discussion so that the sanctity of unborn human life is reduced to one of a litany of other issues;

WHEREAS, the legacy of the abortion culture has grown to include ongoing assaults on human life such as euthanasia, the harvesting of human embryos for the purposes of medical experimentation, and an accelerating move toward human cloning;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we reiterate our conviction that the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision was based on a fundamentally flawed understanding of the United States Constitution, human embryology, and the basic principles of human rights; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we reaffirm our belief that the Roe v. Wade decision was an act of injustice against innocent unborn children as well as against vulnerable women in crisis pregnancy situations, both of which have been victimized by a “sexual revolution” that empowers predatory and irresponsible men and by a lucrative abortion industry that has fought against even the most minimal restrictions on abortion; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we offer our prayers, our love, and our advocacy for women and men who have been abused by abortion and the emotional, spiritual, and physical aftermath of this horrific practice; affirming that the gospel of Jesus Christ grants complete forgiveness for any sin, including that of abortion; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge our Kentucky Baptist churches to remain vigilant in the protection of human life by preaching the whole counsel of God on matters of human sexuality and the sanctity of life, by encouraging and empowering Southern Baptists to adopt unwanted children, by providing spiritual, emotional, and financial support for women in crisis pregnancies, and by calling on our government officials to take action to protect the lives of women and children; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we petition our new president-elect, members of Congress, our governor, and state legislature to work to legally protect the lives of all innocent American citizens, including those of the unborn; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we will pray and work for the repeal of legalized abortion; for financial, emotional, and spiritual care for single mothers; for pro-adoption legislation; and for the day when the act of abortion will be not only illegal, but also unthinkable.

65 Responses to A Resolution on Protecting Human Life

  1. scott November 12, 2008 at 10:38 am #

    “Evangelicals”?

    Get a grip Denny. Could you be any more myopic?

  2. Darius Teichroew November 12, 2008 at 10:46 am #

    Now THAT was a great argument, Scott.

    Also, where are the surname police? 🙂

  3. John Holmberg November 12, 2008 at 11:28 am #

    Denny,

    The thing that really gets me about you, and I am clueless as to your reason, is that when you feel strongly about a particular political ideology, and another one disagrees with you on our ideology or methodology (read: not your belief about the unborn or other moral issues, but your ideology and methodology, mind you), you always put the “evangelical” in quotes when you reference them.

    Last time I checked, “Evangelicals” weren’t defined politically, and it is incredibly self-righteous, condemning, and myopic (indeed) of you to do this. That you would do this screams division, disunity, and hatred. Indeed, you are at the right institution.

  4. Nathan Mayfield November 12, 2008 at 11:47 am #

    Without wanting to get into a “he-said, she-said,” it would seem that Denny is using “evangelical” like the use of “christian.” Further, it would seem that “evangelical” in this post are those who would not see this resolution as paramount as Kentucky Baptists now do, having passed it.

    By their very nature denominations are divisions within Christendom over issues of unity (e.g. baptism, etc). The fact that the Kentucky Baptists are clarifying and singularly placing this issue at the forefront will bring some measure of division and disunity, perhaps even among other Southern Baptists.

    However, to call this hatred is a leap. Stances have been taken for years on issues, many of which created the very denominations that now exist. Were all of those inititated based on hate? Certainly they were based on division which would have led to disunity had not the new denomination came into existence.

  5. Darius Teichroew November 12, 2008 at 12:14 pm #

    John, since when is defending life a political issue and not a moral one? That is your problem; you view it as merely some amoral political issue to be dealt with by lawmakers (if they choose), like whether or not to fund the National Endowment of the Arts. It’s plain to see on which side of the issue of slavery you would have been in Wilberforce’s time.

  6. Barry November 12, 2008 at 12:55 pm #

    The Catholics are up in arms too, thankfully.

    http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/11/11/catholic-bishops-vow-confront-obama-administration-abortion/

    Barry

  7. Brian Krieger November 12, 2008 at 1:00 pm #

    Nathan (or anyone else):

    How do you think this will drive a wedge (sorry I paraphrased)? I guess I’m coming from a church that’s not within a denomination. I think it similar to how the ECUSA is fracturing (with the biblically more prone to schism to the African Cone), right? I suppose the question is essentially what kind of teeth (other than pure, stand alone merit) would this have?

    I like the statement and think it makes just that, an impactful statement.

    I dig the new site. I am now not just “leaving a comment”, but I’m going to “join the discussion”!

    BTW, John, don’t you think that reducing abortion to simply a political issue is amiss?

  8. Wesley November 12, 2008 at 2:33 pm #

    Brian,
    Although I will not speak for John, I would say reducing abortion to simply a political issue is off (but this is not a major tenant of the faith whose denial negates salvation or orthodoxy), but at the same time agree with John that “evangelicals” should not be in quotes in this case.

    When the day comes that Evangelicals stop being a people movement and become an institution which can define its boundaries, then all those outside the institution can be labeled “evangelical” with much more sense.

    I would also object to using “Christian” in quotes outside of specific organizations such as Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses and those in them. But I would not use it to refer to a baptized individual within and theologically orthodox ecclesial institution, whom I may disagree with. The only exception would be if they deny the Nicene Creed or something.

    As it stands, I like the SBC resolution, but I do wonder what kind of impact among Baptists it will have. At least it clearly states their position.

  9. Wesley November 12, 2008 at 2:33 pm #

    Oh, and God bless the Catholics 🙂

  10. Paul November 12, 2008 at 2:35 pm #

    “BTW, John, don’t you think that reducing abortion to simply a political issue is amiss?”

    I wouldn’t ask that until we know for certain that every single Southern and/or Midwestern pro-life politician isn’t doing EXACTLY the same thing.

  11. John Holmberg November 12, 2008 at 2:43 pm #

    Darius,

    I thought I was clear in my post, but evidently I wasn’t. I don’t think “defending life” is just a political issue. Not once did I say that. It’s the political ideology that one has as to how they should deal with it that I was referring to. Denny’s (and yours, and most “evangelicals”) ideology is to vote for Republicans, or those that say they are “pro-life.” I view all of life as sacred and transcendent, and refuse to sell my soul to the party who only gives lip-service to the most important “pro-life” issue (the phrase is a misnomer, for pro-life extends beyond the womb, but abortion is the greatest pro-life issue. I think we’re all in agreement there). Most think that those who don’t vote for Republicans aren’t pro-life. We can argue all day about that, but when you put “Evangelicals” in quotes (as if they’re really not) when they differ from you on a political ideology (read: not a moral conviction, but a political ideology), then this is nothing but divisive and missing the mark of what an Evangelical is. Evangelicals are not defined politically. I couldn’t name one evangelical that likes abortion, but I could name many that believe we don’t have to be a sellout to the Republican party to decrease or annihilate the problem.

    When I see Southern Seminary offering to pay for a mother to go full-term who would otherwise have an abortion, or spend their precious dollars putting up more crisis pregnancy centers, then I will be convinced they are pro-life. However, typing on blogs, speaking in chapels, and having radio shows talking about politics and courts and Republicans doesn’t communicate anything about life to me. Denny can talk all about the evil of abortion all he wants, and he will get a good ol southern baptist “amen” from me. But when he questions whether people are “Evangelicals” or not based upon their political ideologies, then he has crossed the line. Like I said before, he’s at the right institution. Southern has become the new Liberty for the religious right. Mohler is the new Falwell (with a little more brains).

  12. Nathan Mayfield November 12, 2008 at 2:53 pm #

    Wesley: The point of using the quotes around Christian was simply to show that some people see themselves as Christian whom others would not. The same thing could be inferenced using evangelical. The resolution at this point seems to be inside the Kentucky Southern Baptist State Convention. Kentucky Southern Baptists’ would typically see themselves as evangelical, but some other denominations or non-denominationaal believers, who see themselves as evangelical, but disagree with the resolution would take issue that their brand of evangelicalism is being dissed.

    Brian: Just because the Kentucky Baptist State Convention adopted this resolution does not mean that all Southern Baptist churches affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist State Convention must agree or adhere to the resolution. Baptists are autonomous to the core, but we do come together on more than we disagree. That was my point of potentially causing disunity even among Southern Baptists.

  13. D.J. Williams November 12, 2008 at 3:40 pm #

    John,

    Have you ever actually been to Southern?

  14. John Holmberg November 12, 2008 at 4:57 pm #

    D.J.,

    Do I have to actually step foot on a campus to know what it is like? Do I have to step foot at Bob Jones to know they’re fundamentalists, or to step foot at Princeton to know they’re liberals? To answer your question, no, I haven’t stepped foot on Southern’s campus (and I hope I never will, it sure as heck won’t be for education purposes). What I know about them is from their professor’s published works, along with Mohler’s blog/radio show (about as political as they come), and I actually have about 5 or 6 friends on campus there (2 at Southern, the rest at Boyce). All of these things combined give me a good picture of it. I’m glad Mohler turned it around from how liberal it was becoming, but he has swung the pendulum back too far in the other direction, IMO. They have indeed become the new religious right, and this is evidenced by major news organizations coming to interview them about political candidates. They’re embarrassing for evangelicalism, IMO, and Mohler doesn’t speak for evangelicals, he speaks for borderline fundamentalist southern baptists; there’s a big difference.

  15. Derek Hostetter November 12, 2008 at 9:53 pm #

    i like the word “myopic.” it has a nice ring, and i would also certainly agree with the use of this word to describe the use of “evangelicals” in quotes.

    amen to paul #10.

    i guess my post really means something since i am a student at sbts (d.j. #13). but also… john #3, not everyone here is a mini denny or mini mohler.

    come on john #14. princeton is not THAT liberal. at least they are not the proper counterpart to bob jones on the fundamentalist/liberal continuum.

    finally, if all of us “evangelicals” werent so concerned with making sure that the church doesnt become nothing more than the spouse of a political ideaology, we too would release official statements regarding row v. wade and proper consititutional interpretation.

  16. Derek Hostetter November 12, 2008 at 9:55 pm #

    *roe* v. wade (oops) 🙂

  17. John Holmberg November 12, 2008 at 10:26 pm #

    Derek,

    Glad to hear it (about not everyone there being a mini denny or mohler). I would guess it’s probably the norm though (even if you don’t fit that description). Also, Princeton was the first mainline institution that came to my mind. I agree that they are not the proper counterpart to bob jones on the fundamentalist/liberal continuum, but they are the first institution that popped into my head. In any case, they certainly wouldn’t be described as conservative, even if they’re not flaming liberals. What, in your opinion, would be the proper counterpart?

  18. Matt Svoboda November 12, 2008 at 10:27 pm #

    Denny,

    Thanks for the post. I am with you, putting the evangelical in parenthesis is very appropriate!

    Matt

  19. Darius Teichroew November 12, 2008 at 11:06 pm #

    Amen to parentheses. It’s interesting how everyone on the other side of the aisle consistently ignore the parallels to slavery. By their very nature, false teachers never see themselves as such. And those who would make God’s justice subservient to their own “justice” are false teachers indeed.

  20. Darius Teichroew November 12, 2008 at 11:06 pm #

    John, the better counterpart would be Berkeley.

  21. Robert November 12, 2008 at 11:08 pm #

    I think John H. makes a good point when he says,

    “Most think that those who don’t vote for Republicans aren’t pro-life. We can argue all day about that,. . .”

    I think it is wrong to assume that those who do not vote republicans are not pro-life. Consider the black church. The black church for the most part is pro-life and pro marriage between a man and a woman only.

    Abortion is not the only issue I feel is important. Personally abortion is at the top of my list.

    I also think that John makes another good point in that more “abortion only” Christian organizations need to start spending money on crisis pregnancy centers and other areas where we can possibly see the abortion rate drop.

  22. John Michael LaRue November 13, 2008 at 12:24 am #

    Two things…

    I love how easy it is to get into debate about a word in between quoatation marks and completely get around the heart of the post. This happens often. It is amusing.

    Second, John H., I invite you down to the Louisville Crisis Pregnancy Center as well as the Louisville abortion clinic. There are actually several Southern students who care about abortion not only on the macro-level but also on the micro-level.

    You also made the statement, “When I see Southern Seminary offering to pay for a mother to go full-term who would otherwise have an abortion, or spend their precious dollars putting up more crisis pregnancy centers, then I will be convinced they are pro-life. However, typing on blogs, speaking in chapels, and having radio shows talking about politics and courts and Republicans doesn’t communicate anything about life to me.”

    Might I ask you what you are doing to be pro-life? I’m sure it would be inappropriate but I really would love to know the amount of money that you put into helping crisis pregnancy centers.

  23. Matt Svoboda November 13, 2008 at 8:08 am #

    John H,

    Of course not everyone at Southern is a evangelical…. So me are ‘evangelicals’

    John-Michael,

    Great response… John does not realize that I and many other Southern and Boyce students volunteer there time and money to pregnancy resource centers… It is easy for him to make accusations when he doesn’t know us.
    So John, along with John-Michael, What do you do?

  24. Darius T November 13, 2008 at 9:02 am #

    You guys, don’t fall for that trick. John knows perfectly well (at least, we’ve told him many times on here) that many, many Christians support life on the macro and micro levels. He just keeps bringing it up to avoid the pricks of his conscience. Not only is it a false dichotomy, it hardly even affects the issue at the macro level. How does anyone’s involvement in CPCs change the fact that abortion is an evil (like slavery, a parallel of which John consistently ignores) that MUST be dealt with at the legal level? Sure, Christians should embody their values at all levels and help CPCs, but that doesn’t affect the argument at the macro level. Don’t let him obfuscate the discussion.

  25. Darius T November 13, 2008 at 9:04 am #

    Otherwise, we’ll be here talking about how I give more money and time to a CPC than someone else does ad nauseam and ad infinitum. Abortion is evil and must be stopped on all fronts. End of story.

  26. D.J. Williams November 13, 2008 at 9:18 am #

    John,

    John Michael pretty much summed up my thoughts. My point is this – when you do set foot on a campus, you tend to find that your mental stereotype was quite insufficient. I’m a Boyce grad. I’ve got my concerns with swinging the pendulum too far in the other direction (I’ve actually commented on exactly that on Denny’s blog before), but Southern is hardly the bastion of political bigotry you make it out to be. It’s very ironic that you decry people demonizing those on the political left, but you’ve got no qualms about doing it to those on the political right.

  27. Derek Hostetter November 13, 2008 at 9:38 am #

    john,

    i am not sure what the best counter part would be, but harvard divinity or union seminary would be better options than princeton.

    darius #19,

    why always the accusations? it does not further any coversation to simply say everyone in disagreement with you is a false teacher? and it is not even as though those in disagreement with you are pro-abortion. i simply think it is unfair to say that someone cannot be a true evangelical if they voted for a democrat.

  28. Darius T. November 13, 2008 at 10:21 am #

    Derek,

    If that candidate is a vehemently “pro-choice” Democrat who can affect the issue of abortion, then one has made a very poor choice. One cannot speak for the evangelical community if they are not willing to support evangelical Christian beliefs, such as defending life at its most innocent level. It’s not to say they aren’t Christians.

  29. Darius Teichroew November 13, 2008 at 10:21 am #

    Hmm, I have a couple comments “awaiting in moderation.”

  30. Paul November 13, 2008 at 12:29 pm #

    are your comments “evangelical”?

  31. Darius T November 13, 2008 at 12:37 pm #

    🙂

  32. Darius T November 13, 2008 at 12:38 pm #

    I believe my “comments” are evangelical, “Paul.”

  33. Paul November 13, 2008 at 12:46 pm #

    “Thanks for the post. I am with you, putting the evangelical in parenthesis is very appropriate!”

    This coming from the person that thinks that it’s okay to insult someone based on their political outlook.

    I may disagree with Darius or Mark, but I respect them. You, not so much. I fear for the spiritual growth of the people you may preach to, and posts like this from you are why.

    You don’t know the hearts of the people that swing to the left politically, and you certainly have no business, as someone who would teach others in matters of faith, ever thinking it okay to insult someone.

    So, before you judge anyone else, Mr. Svoboda, I might suggest judging yourself.

    (steps off soapbox)

  34. John Holmberg November 13, 2008 at 1:21 pm #

    D.J., John Michael, and Matt S.

    It’s typical to result to ad hominem arguments and logical fallacies such as distraction from the argument by attacking the speaker and a shift from the burden of proof. I don’t discuss finances with many people, particularly not over the internet. We’ll just say I give more than Joe Biden. Also, the place I live does not have a crisis pregnancy center. Maybe a Southern grad can come and get one going.

    D.J., my stereotype is not insufficient because of the evidence I have. I don’t have to step a foot on there to know what it’s like. The fact that I have 6-7 friends on campus there in the present should be enough evidence.

    It’s not the bastion of political bigotry I make it out to be? Then why do major news organizations come to your campus and interview you about ultra-conservative politics, always prefacing it with “politics and religion” or “the thoughts of the religious right”? You guys are certainly sending out that message, loud and clear. The fact that about 75% of Al Mohler’s radio shows and blog posts are about political things should be enough to communicate this. Southern has become the new capital for the religious right, like it or not. That’s why Mohler is constantly being asked by newspapers and tv stations for his opinion; because they want the “religious right” person’s opinion. He’s always been outspoken, but he’s taken his outspokenness to a totally different level over the last 4 or 5 years about politics. It’s gotten to the point where other evangelical leaders just kind of roll their eyes now.

    I haven’t seen you express any concern about them swinging the pendulum too far in the other direction, but I’m glad to see you notice this. It’s easy to do this, particularly with our western minds where everything has to be black/white and either/or. Mohler is very American and has gone into the area of borderline fundamentalism, and he’s taking all his faculty with him. Scholarship coming from there just isn’t receiving much respect anymore, not even from guys like Schreiner, and this isn’t because the content isn’t good (which most of the time it’s not), but it’s because of the reputation they have gotten. They have their minds made up before they study something, think they have it all figured out, view everything as black and white, and are too pro-America and are too concerned with being conservative rather than being right or going where the evidence leads.

    Anyways, I don’t know what you’re talking about when you say I decry people demonizing those on the political left. I could care less actually, for I look at Jim Wallis like I look at Denny Burk. It’s any political ideology that you mix with Christianity that I decry. Also, I do care for others questioning the Christianity of those who vote for different political candidates than they do, so if that’s what you’re talking about then yes, I admit that. Denny crosses the line sometimes. I don’t demonize him because he’s on the political right, but because he questions the Christianity of those on the political left. I would never question his Christianity because of his political ideologies, and I would hope all would take the same attitude; for Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. So, suffice it to say that your last statement really confuses me and causes me to think you either can’t read right or you just made the claim out of ignorance.

  35. Darius Teichroew November 13, 2008 at 1:38 pm #

    You guys, don’t fall for that trick. John knows perfectly well (at least, we’ve told him many times on here) that many, many Christians support life on the macro and micro levels. He just keeps bringing it up to avoid the pricks of his conscience. Not only is it a false dichotomy, it hardly even affects the issue at the macro level. How does anyone’s involvement in CPCs change the fact that abortion is an evil (like slavery, a parallel of which John consistently ignores) that MUST be dealt with at the legal level? Sure, Christians should embody their values at all levels and help CPCs, but that doesn’t affect the argument at the macro level. Don’t let him obfuscate the discussion.

    Otherwise, we’ll be here talking about how I give more money and time to a CPC than someone else does ad nauseam and ad infinitum. Abortion is evil and must be stopped on all fronts. End of story.

  36. Derek Hostetter November 13, 2008 at 2:00 pm #

    i am almost just posting this because you ended the last post with “end of story” darius 🙂

    anyway, i can agree that abortion is evil and should be stopped on all fronts. i just dont think that translates into all “evangelicals” adopting republican political idealogies. i am fine with the a church making a statemment on the santity of life. it just seems unnecessary that they make statements regarding constitutional interpretation and that people question the “evangelical” status of other believers based on their political idealogies.

    thanks for your last post darius. i, again, affirm that abortion is a terrible trajedy and that it is evil.

  37. Paul November 13, 2008 at 2:13 pm #

    “anyway, i can agree that abortion is evil and should be stopped on all fronts. i just dont think that translates into all “evangelicals” adopting republican political ideologies. i am fine with the a church making a statement on the sanctity of life. it just seems unnecessary that they make statements regarding constitutional interpretation and that people question the “evangelical” status of other believers based on their political ideologies.”

    It’s easier to quote this than it is to type out roughly the exact same thing. I totally agree. Except that I fixed the grammar errors, because I am just that much of a grammar nazi.

    “thanks for your last post darius. i, again, affirm that abortion is a terrible tragedy and that it is evil.”

    ditto. I just wish that Darius and everyone else on the right could say that without adding in the same breath that anyone that isn’t just like them is evil.

  38. John Holmberg November 13, 2008 at 2:27 pm #

    Amen to that Paul (and Derek)

  39. Derek Hostetter November 13, 2008 at 2:33 pm #

    sorry for the grammatical errors. i dont usually revise my blog posts before submitting them and i dont usually use proper capialization (i mean *capitalization*) 🙂

  40. Darius Teichroew November 13, 2008 at 3:18 pm #

    Anyone here call any of you “evil,” Paul? Or might this be just a tad bit hyperbolic? You’re wrong, perhaps foolish, but not evil (at least, nor more than the rest of us). The politically liberal view is many parts evil, but that doesn’t make all of its proponents likewise evil or spawn of Satan.

  41. Paul November 13, 2008 at 3:49 pm #

    You know Darius, your attitude is aggravating as all get out.

    They’re political ideologies, and one is not wholly right, and one is not wholly wrong, and I tire of someone who thinks intellectualism is some sort of flaw telling me that I am wrong.

    I tire of someone who can never admit that they’re wrong or that they spoke out of turn telling me that I am wrong.

    I am more than willing to have disagreements with you, and more than willing to hash them out, but I will not be told that I am flat out wrong for my political beliefs by the likes of you, sir.

  42. Brian Krieger November 13, 2008 at 4:41 pm #

    John H: Just a quick note of correction. You did not say (in post 3) that abortion was simply a political issue. I meant to post this earlier but just didn’t. Sorry for misrepresenting what you said.

  43. Brian Krieger November 13, 2008 at 5:05 pm #

    Perhaps I’m being naïve here, but how does this issue differ from slavery? There were many Christians during that time saying that we should just give up, after all slavery is (was) already legal and there’s the Dred Scott decision. I bet the laundry list was longer for slavery than it was for abortion.

    Or, juxtapositioned (sic) another argument championed by some Christians (and to quote Scott Klusendorf):

    “Imagine a candidate who said he was personally opposed to spousal abuse while he had a 100% voting record in favor of men having a right to beat their wives. Suppose he told the public the underlying cause of spousal abuse is psychological, so instead of making it illegal for husbands to beat their wives, the solution is to provide federally funded counseling for men.”

    Or worse, what if a tenet of that federally funded counseling was to tell men that beating their wives was OK and here’s a smaller, safer belt with which you can beat.

  44. Darius Teichroew November 13, 2008 at 5:13 pm #

    I would add to Brian’s last comment… could a pro-life-yet-liberal-Obama-supporter please address how slavery (or spousal abuse) is not a valid analogy and WHY it is not?

  45. Brian Krieger November 13, 2008 at 5:33 pm #

    One more and I’ll stop discussing. I think the quotes thing (not parentheses) is a silly argument, personally. And it winds up being an easy distraction. Two things disturb me (three that are puzzling ;-). First is that Dr. Burk is rebuked for his (quotes needed here) “particular political ideology”. But I think part of it is the simple fact that abortion is above political affiliation. It is stated as though it’s an excuse for voting republican. But the consistency is that abortion is the view, not a political affiliation (if you think otherwise, see comments on Giuliani). What I think would be delicious to see is a democratic representative that is for making abortion illegal (running against a Giuliani). If Christian leaders such as Dr. Mohler, et al decried that candidate, then the political ideology argument would hold water. Until then, it’s simply a diversionary tactic. And, BTW, I will boldly (emphatically?) state that Dr. Mohler, Dr. Burk, Dr. Moore, etc. would have the same vehemence for that pro-life candidate.

    Second is abortion as a policy issue. This is not a policy issue, it is a moral issue. When I hear the argument that abortion should be reduced by this program or that program, suddenly it becomes a policy issue. Just something more that can be debated. Something that we should just accept that it will be around.

    I dare not attach an “evil” tag to anyone who voted for Obama. When I talk to my mom and dad (die-hard democrats), in fact, they are far from giving their views lip-service (they state they vote the way they do b/c of policies for helping the downtrodden). But it just seems that because we can’t hear the silent screams of the unborn we can more easily sink into a comfort of voting on other things. Again, I don’t think the other reasons that people vote one way or another are bad or even unimportant (in fact, they are quite noble). But many of them are not the equivalent of the equivalent of an entire generation of people. I think that collectively, Christians had an opportunity to say that abortion really means this much. Ignoring the protection of the most innocent means this much. And it was shunned (in a grand, outspoken, obvious manner).

    In the end, our Christian tenets should hold form. We should not expect our thinking our ideologies to be carried out by government. While at the same time our ability to impact the nation around us should be informed by those same tenets. That is why our concerns today are the same as they were November 3rd, they are the same as they will be November of next year, etc.

    PS: Darius, thanks for the highlight, that was the crux of that discussion post.

  46. Russ November 13, 2008 at 6:47 pm #

    On first read, “evangelical” (in quotes) struck me as narrow and presumptuous for sure. Then I realized that I really don’t care that much whether Denny (or anyone else for that matter) would consider me evangelical or not. So maybe that proves Denny’s point. 😉

  47. Russ Ware November 13, 2008 at 6:47 pm #

    Oh… sorry… I forgot about the new rule!

  48. Matt Svoboda November 13, 2008 at 10:41 pm #

    Paul,

    Its interesting that my very few sentences got under your skin so much. I agreed with Denny and made a joke about some ‘people’ at Southern and you got quite defensive. You were much more insulting than anything I said. I think you are missing the plank in your own eye…

    Matt

  49. Paul November 13, 2008 at 11:38 pm #

    Matt,

    no. Remember that it is you that at one point said that it is okay to use the word liberal as an insult. That automatically implies that you think that you are better than anyone that you would perceive to be liberal.

    As someone that wants to proclaim the good news, that is not at all mature or in good character.

    Until you start treating those of us who are love God but don’t share your political views as on equal standing with you, I will call you on it at every turn.

    And if you’re “insulted,” maybe that’s just your conscience telling you to get in line, brother.

    Talk about planks and specks after you go back and look at the way you treat others, my man.

  50. Matt Svoboda November 13, 2008 at 11:52 pm #

    It does not imply that I think I am any better than anyone else… only that I have better politics 😉

  51. John Holmberg November 14, 2008 at 12:01 am #

    Matt,

    You would at least agree that good, well-meaning “evangelicals” can disagree with one another on political ideologies, right? We can agree on the deity and resurrection of Christ, on the church as her bride, and on the inspiration of the Scriptures, but we can disagree and be at polar opposite ends of the political spectrum, correct? The Bible doesn’t tell us what political views to espouse. Indeed, Jesus was apolitical. In any case, “democracy” is completely foreign to the Bible, and there’s nothing “biblical” about it. Would you agree? I think this is the point that Paul (or, Pual 😉 ), myself, and Derek are trying to communicate. That’s why we feel it is out of bounds and unnecessary for Denny to put “evangelicals” in quotes. By doing that he presupposes and implies all “evangelicals” should think like him about political ideals, and that’s just simply not the case. That’s all we’re saying.

  52. Matt Svoboda November 14, 2008 at 12:06 am #

    Paul,

    I took a potshot and made a joke about evangelical liberals(notice there arent parenthesis) and you act like I maliciously attacked you. This is a blog, chill out. I don’t know you, I don’t presume to know your heart. If I knew you took joke potshots so offensively I wouldn’t of said it. I never wanted to hurt your feelings… I wont say anymore joke potshots so you can stop attacking me and acting as if you know me…

    Matt

  53. Matt Svoboda November 14, 2008 at 12:12 am #

    John,

    hahahaha… You are now my favorite evangelical liberal! That was indeed funny, great memory. I never thought mixing up two letters would get so much attention!

    Yes, I agree that we can disagree on political ideologies and still be equal evangelicals. But abortion is not a political ideology, it is a moral issue. One that I think ALL christians should do EVERYTHING, including voting, they can to stop it! Yes, we agree on key doctrines and I praise God for that.

    I do understand the position you are coming from… we just disagree on how ‘evangelicals’ should respond to the abortion issue.

    Thank you for your tone and brotherly love.

    Matt

  54. Paul November 14, 2008 at 12:57 am #

    “I took a potshot and made a joke about evangelical liberals(notice there arent parenthesis)”

    don’t tell me that my memory of your less than tasteful remarks about evangelical liberals is better than yours.

    “and you act like I maliciously attacked you. This is a blog, chill out.”

    And we are also brothers in Christ and you should DEFINITELY know better. You want respect and charm and “chilling out?” Tell you what, show me how it’s done the next time the opportunity arises.

    “I don’t know you, I don’t presume to know your heart. If I knew you took joke potshots so offensively I wouldn’t of said it.”

    By saying that Denny had it right to question the sincerity of evangelical liberals, you ARE claiming to know me and you ARE claiming to know my heart. Don’t try to back peddle now because your feelings got hurt.

    I’m willing to play nice in the sandbox. But a lot of that starts with the realization that I am just as much of an evangelical as you, with or without parenthesis. A lot of that starts with the realization that being liberal does not automatically make me wrong anymore than you being conservative automatically makes you correct.

  55. Darius T November 14, 2008 at 1:49 am #

    Paul, check out comment #32 now that it is out of moderation.

  56. Darius T November 14, 2008 at 2:00 am #

    Okay boys… John, what you and Paul are confusing is political ideologies with moral ones. I have no problem with you being a liberal or a Democrat or whatever, those are just names. I have no love for the Republican Party, merely for what it (usually) stands for (especially life). Be a Democrat for all I care, and I’ll affirm your evangelical credentials. But when you stand against life by voting for the most radically pro-abortion candidate in history, I have to wonder where your priorities are.

    It’s not a political issue, just like slavery (ah, yes, the issue you have yet to respond to) was NOT a political issue but a moral one. We can NO MORE play politics with the lives of precious murdered babies sacrificed on the altar of debaucherous materialism than 19th century Christians should have played politics with the freedom of slaves. It is a moral issue. Just as John the Baptist condemned Herod (a politician) for his wickedness and paid with his life, we too must be willing to prophetically condemn our society and our leaders (like Obama) for their wickedness. Jeremiah Wright may have been right to ask God to damn America, but not for the same reasons. God’s wrath is coming, and perhaps it should come quickly, so as to stop the most foul shedding of innocent blood.

  57. Paul November 14, 2008 at 2:41 am #

    Darius,

    1) I voted for Nader. Don’t lump me in with the Obama voters. (had to vote to the left, don’t like Obama, and the green party was running McKinney. It was Nader or write in Pfleger…)

    2) Yes, abortion is a moral issue.

    2a) the voter referrendi (sp?) in South Dakota and ESPECIALLY Colorado proved to me once and for all that abortion is going to be legal in America until Jesus comes back and puts HIS law in place.

    3) Knowing 2 and 2a, personally, I think that as a Christian, my time is better spent getting my hands dirty and volunteering, talking to people to make them realize what a horrifying procedure abortion is, doing my part to talk to people about birth control so that there are fewer babies to be aborted in the first place, etc, etc, etc.

    4) If the religious right is honestly so concerned about putting pro-life politicians into federal office, then they really have no business voting for reactionary candidates in the primaries.

    You cannot be serious if you expect me to vote for someone that voted to de-regulate every chance he got. You cannot be serious if you expect me to vote for someone that I watched gut my industry during his time as senator.

    As I’ve said before, if you really wanted the evangelical left to get on board, the religious right would have gotten behind Huckabee.

    But, y’all didn’t, and this is the result. Don’t complain about it now.

  58. Darius Teichroew November 14, 2008 at 10:27 am #

    “the voter referrendi (sp?) in South Dakota and ESPECIALLY Colorado proved to me once and for all that abortion is going to be legal in America until Jesus comes back and puts HIS law in place.”

    I’m not certain of this, but I am willing to bet that if there had been a vote in the early 1800’s for a ban on slavery, it would have failed. So by your logic, the anti-slavery people should have given up since public opinion was so divided. That said, if the Church continues to not unify on this issue, then yes, you are right, we’ll never see abortion illegal in this country. That 7 million “born-again white Christians” voted for Obama is a moral travesty. If those 7 million had voted for McCain, that could have swung the election.

    We don’t want fewer babies (our birth rates are low enough as it is), we just want them taken care of. There is an unending shortage of babies at the adoption offices in this country precisely because we kill most of them and because Christians adopt so many kids. The demand is much higher than the supply. If you could adopt easily here, I’m sure more people would do that rather than go and spend $30,000 adopting a baby from China.

    As for deregulation… if the markets had been completely deregulated instead of just partially, we would not be in this economic mess. Instead, government regulation plus two straight presidents encouraging banks and homeowners to write mortgages which the latter could not afford is what caused a majority of the problems.

  59. Brian Krieger November 14, 2008 at 12:10 pm #

    1) I don’t know how voting Nader is a pro-life vote (I think he’s pro-abortion, isn’t he?).
    2) Darius already said it, but I’m sure there were many Christians who said the same thing after Dred Scott.
    3) 2 and 2a should have nothing to do with this aspect. Shouldn’t affecting abortion in any way (including how we vote) be and in addition to? I would have put quotes around that, but I got confused.
    4) I can’t help but think that stating “You cannot be serious if you expect me to vote for someone that I watched gut my industry” is exactly that to which Dr. Mohler, Dr. Burk, et al pointed. The way you said that is that the right for a fetus to live doesn’t trump the comfort I would have gotten or would have been denied (given deregulation, which, perhaps was not right). This seems to be the shining example of how people weighed this election. Of course I could be completely wrong.

    Paul is spot on that we need to “get our hands dirty”. But the fact is that we should do all we can for this. Voting was one way of doing it and, obviously (and as Darius stated), many millions opted not to do this. The election is hind sight. Nothing we can do about the election. I’m still dumbfounded, though at the chest thumping of Christians who say they voted Obama. And no, this doesn’t change the way I pray for the president. Although what I pray will be to let FOCA and crisis pregnancy center funding be among the promises that Obama doesn’t keep (that’s a reflection that all politicians fail on some promises, not an indication that Obama would be unique in that aspect!)

    Sorry for the liberal use of quotation marks. That doesn’t make me liberal does it?

  60. Brian Krieger November 14, 2008 at 12:12 pm #

    How is abortion not like slavery (other than the fact that we can’t hear the unborn children)? Or how would Scott Klusendorf’s example not be the same?

  61. John Michael LaRue November 14, 2008 at 1:13 pm #

    John H.,

    You made an accusation of an ad hominem attack and the use of logical fallacies (namely the distraction from the argument) without grounding.

    In post 34, you state, “It’s typical to result to ad hominem arguments and logical fallacies such as distraction from the argument by attacking the speaker and a shift from the burden of proof.”

    I’m pretty sure if you looked at my statement, I made three points, none of which qualify for ad hominem attacks or logical fallacies.

    The first point actually noted the distraction from the main point of the original post, something you yourself apparently does not desire to occur.

    The second point provided a counter-example to your inference that Southern Seminary students do not care about the abortion issue on a micro-level.

    The third point asked a question. Ideally, I would rejoice with your answering of that question. The reason for the question was that you pretty much dismissed the seminary (“When I see Southern Seminary offering to pay for a mother to go full-term who would otherwise have an abortion, or spend their precious dollars putting up more crisis pregnancy centers, then I will be convinced they are pro-life”) because you disagree with where it spends its money. I feel like in order to justify this type of comment as not being hypocritical, you better be able to back that statement up and show that you yourself are pro-life with a history of spending one’s own precious dollars for putting up crisis pregnancy centers or helping pay for a pregnancy to go full-term.

    Like I said before though, I would willingly rejoice to know that you are pouring your money out there.

  62. Richard Bailey November 14, 2008 at 2:42 pm #

    How is abortion not like slavery?

    Their assumed bases are different for one. Slavery in America was based on “race,” (and, yes, this “evangelical” definitely mean to set this word apart in quotes since it was the assumption or belief that essential, heritable differences existed for people of African descent). Thus, the argument went, ALL such peoples ought to be enslaved because they are inferior. While many arguments could be made about the “evils” of the practice of abortion, I don’t think this one is it. Are ALL babies aborted because they are constructed as permanently and essentially inferior? While this might hold true for some babies seen as genetically inferior, this clearly doesn’t seem to be the case across the board as it was in the context of race-based slavery.

    Please, argue against abortion as abortion. Otherwise, people will end up saying somewhere down the road, “Well, he might have supported abortion, but he was simply a man of his time” (something that all too often gets said of these supporters of slavery that keep getting brought into this discussion—usually by the very people bringing them into the discussion).

  63. Brian Krieger November 14, 2008 at 5:24 pm #

    Hmmm….

    If you are saying one is based on one attribute (skin color), the other is based on another (walking and talking), then, yes, they are different as they discriminate based on different inherent attributes. But both are a denial of rights based on attributes inherent to that person (that they are unable to change). Abortions are because the child in the womb is seen as inferior and has no rights (or else the child might speak for himself). They are denied a right to even exist (and aren’t even viewed as 3/5’s human). If you’re going to support abortion 0 to 9 months, then yes, ALL babies lacking the attribute of functioning outside of the mother’s womb are then seen as inferior (actually less since they are not even acknowledged as humans).

    I don’t see your connection in the next part. Abortion is an evil that we ignore. The comparison is very applicable in that those who support a candidate who promotes (not simply turns a blind eye to) providing abortion would never think the same in the analogous situation (of slavery). The point I was making was not one of why abortion is or isn’t an evil. It clearly is. The argument some were taking was that though abortion is evil, it takes an equal (or secondary) place to protecting the environment, feeding the poor, etc. Or, in other cases, an argument that we may as well give up as look at the decisions against the pro-life movement.

    BTW, adorable kiddo.

  64. Richard Bailey November 14, 2008 at 11:21 pm #

    Given how often commenters kept asking people to address the slavery and abortion analogy, I, as a historian who studies the intersections of racial identities and religious convictions in early America, was trying to do that, by saying that I believe the analogy breaks down too quickly to be of any real use. Abortion and American slavery are not the same thing. They are not based on the same thing—or the some sorts of things. If one wants to argue that abortion is based on an inherent attribute (walking and talking, as you say), ok. But my point is that slavery in America was not based on any such actual, inherent atrributes. Slavery wasn’t based on skin color. Slavery in America was based on “race,” which was not merely or even primarily the color of one’s skin, but a set of perceived essential, heritable differences. Thus, the key, in my estimation, is that it was the perception of difference—the construction of a difference that did not actually exist, thus not really an inherent attribute—that in the minds of many whites demanded enslavement of any person who was so constructed or imagined. Abortion, it seems to me, is not based on such an understanding of difference—perceived or otherwise—because no one is claiming that ALL babies should be aborted. ALL peoples that American society constructed or identified as black (hence the one drop of blood rule) were deemed appropriate only for slavery. So, in at least this sense, slavery is not like abortion.

    Consequently, it seems to make more sense to stick with an argument against abortion plain and simple. The slavery analogy simply doesn’t hold. Which is my point in the second part (that and I hate the “man of his time” excuse for supporters of slavery and would equally hate to see it applied to an issue like abortion). There is no real connection. Slavery wasn’t about rights. It was about power. Abortion isn’t about rights. It’s about life and death. So, in my opinion, it seems that’s the thing to keep saying. And I’m not implying that you and others aren’t doing so, Brian. I am simply trying to address what people kept asking, namely, how is abortion not like slavery.

    Now, regarding the most important part of your comment. Thanks. He is certainly a gift.

  65. Brian Krieger November 17, 2008 at 10:18 am #

    Richard:

    I agree in particular with one item you mention (I do agree with others and disagree with some still, but I really don’t want to belabor a point any further than it should be). Slavery was about power and abortion is about life and death. And yet folks will still support someone who doesn’t merely support, but seeks to expand the ability, reduce funding against while providing more funds for killing the unborn. The parallel is that the same people would never consider supporting someone who supported slavery. And as you rightly say, slavery was about power, abortion about life and death, yet the latter is downplayed in favor of health care, environment or other not-quite-as-important issues.

    And regarding the last part, yes, I’m sure he is a gift. My little one stood a shot at having curls like that, alas my straight hair was the dominant gene there.

    Thanks so much for the exchange!

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