Yesterday I lamented the fact that the evangelical left has their priorities all wrong. They refuse to treat abortion-on-demand as a transcendent moral issue. In other words, they do not think it should be a priority for Christians to support the protection of the unborn in law. Christians might try to reduce the abortion rate through social action, but they should not seek to protect the unborn through political means. At least that’s what the religious left is urging us to do.
Jim Wallis may be the leading political activist of the evangelical left, and he made this very case in a recent interview with Christianity Today. Wallis addresses what he believes the “prophetic” stance is on two hot-button issues: abortion and gay “marriage.”
“I think the prophetic stance right now in the pitched legal stalemate on abortion is abortion reduction. Instead of endless, meaningless debates about the law and constitutional amendments, let’s actually save some unborn lives. People can disagree with my stance, and say the constitutional amendment to ban abortion is the prophetic stance. I don’t believe it is.”
Right now it is legal to kill an innocent human at any stage from 0-9 months gestation. Over 50 million people have been killed in just this way with the full protection of the law since the Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade in 1973. My question for Wallis is this. Wouldn’t protecting the unborn in law have the effect of reducing abortions? If you are really interested in reducing the abortion rate, why would you want to keep it legal? Don’t you think that the unborn should be protected in law? Or are they somehow less than deserving of legal rights before they pass through the birth canal? We don’t have to pick between measures to reduce abortions and efforts to protect the unborn in law. Why are you urging Christians towards a false choice?
Wallis’ confusion on the ethics of abortion is matched only by his remarks on the question of gay “marriage.” He says this:
“On the issue of gay marriage, the prophetic stance, I think, is dialogue. It’s talking to each other.”
How can the prophetic stance be anything less than speaking the truth in love? The Bible is unambiguous in its condemnation of homosexuality (and thus of so-called gay “marriage”), and it is equally clear that the gospel of Jesus Christ can save any sinner, including homosexuals (e.g. 1 Cor 6:9-11). Shouldn’t Christians be declaring both truths when they engage the wider culture on this question?
Something tells me that the dialogue Wallis is prescribing might be less than clear on this point. In his book, Wallis supports “civil unions from the state and even spiritual blessings for gay couples from congregations prepared to offer them.” Wallis thinks churches should give “spiritual blessings” to gay couples? Why would any faithful church sanction officially or unofficially that which God clearly condemns (Rom 1:26-27)?
The apostle Paul identifies homosexuality (among other sins) as a contradiction of the gospel itself (1 Tim 1:9-11). There are lots of things that Christians may dialogue about, but this is not one of them. When God has spoken so clearly in His word, our duty is faithful proclamation, not dithering about and giving the impression that King Jesus is neutral about sin.
There is much more that could be said, but I will leave it at this for now. Sadly, Jim Wallis is proving himself to be as unreliable as Claiborne and Boyd.
UPDATE: Thanks to commenter “Nick” for alerting us to Doug Wilson’s response
to the Wallis interview. Doug Wilson concludes his critique of Wallis with this:
“Not only is this a man not qualified to represent what the Bible teaches to anyone, the larger evangelical church that gives men like this the time of day is equally unqualified. We have come to the point where a scratch and sniff prophet like this can take an honored place among us, which means that ours is a dishonored church.”
Amen to that.