Abortion: The Scarlet Letter of Our Day

by RuthAnne Irvin
by RuthAnne Irvin

 

You will find it in the fearful and distant eyes of a young girl waiting outside an abortion clinic in the early hours of the morning, smoking a cigarette with no interest in embracing the little life growing within her womb. You’ll see it in the stony eyes and actions of escorts doing what they believe to be their civic duty- protecting a woman’s choice. You will find the sad realities of living in a sin-cursed world everywhere you turn for as long as your lungs continue breathing. Abortion is a controversial topic today and is something that is spoken about in a boisterous manner, or swept under the rug, but still whispered about in the back row of the church as if it were the unforgivable sin.

When thinking about abortion, there has been a disconnect between abortion and the gospel of grace and compassion. Because of our sinful state, we are tempted to place an imaginary scarlet letter upon the issue of abortion, as if it were an unforgivable sin.  A woman who has chosen to end life within her womb instead of embrace it will still answer to God just like the gossiper, adulterer, thief, swindler, & self-righteous Southern Baptist preacher. All will stand before a just God and receive their due for unrepented sin, or a clear record because of placing faith in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection on the cross.

The truth of Scripture says that every human has fallen below the standard of holiness that God demands in order to commune with him (Romans 3:23). God’s word tells Christians to be holy because he is holy (1 Peter 1:15), but in our humanness we still are prone to sin. All have fallen below the holiness God created us to exude, so we need to give grace to one another like we have been given grace from God through Christ. The gospel has the power to save not only the good, virginal church girl, but the girl with downcast eyes walking into an abortion clinic to end an innocent life.

If we are in Christ, we have been made anew through the blood of Jesus that flows freely to all who repent, believe and call to him for forgiveness. The blood of Christ covers the blood that is on the hands of a woman who has ended a precious life just like it covers the sin of the Women’s Missionary Union president. We need to remember that Jesus’ blood is sufficient for every sin, not just the ones we deem as “acceptable.”

So, when you’re on a sidewalk in front of an abortion clinic on a cold November morning and you watch a mother walk a young girl into an abortion clinic, and as your heart goes from broken to angry, remember Jesus. Remember Jesus and let your heart be filled with compassion for those around you who have not yet experienced the grace of God through the gospel. Let your heart break and remember you are no better than the girl who just walked into the abortion clinic, but you also need a Savior who is willing to take your place for all the wrong you have done. Remember the blood that dripped from the cross covers the angry words said at the breakfast table this morning, as well as the blood that drips from the abortion table. Remember the sin you committed yesterday, this morning and the sin yet to be, and remember that the darkness of sin that dwells within every human soul is what Jesus was nailed upon a tree for.
Remember and let it lead to action. Christ’s followers should be eager to love, care for and counsel those who have had abortions.

The gospel of Jesus is the power to transform hearts and we should desire this transformation for the women who have ended life within their wombs. Remember and then rejoice that you are covered through repentance and remember that the gospel of Jesus Christ is gloriously sufficient for anyone who places their faith in the gospel. Remember and rejoice that we are covered.

 

RuthAnne Irvin is a student at Boyce College, blogger, and writes as an intern for the Towers Magazine a publication of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can read more of her writings at her blog Out of the Ordinary Dreamer.

 

Oxymorons and the Image of God

 

by Sean Perron


There is absolute truth and it absolutely matters. Christians must love truth because they follow the Truth.
Everything is staked on what we believe.

I want to be the kind of man who lives and dies for the Scriptures. Yet, the great irony is that in my defense of the Bible, I can often sin against others and therefore violate the Bible. If I am not careful, I can treat people of opposing views as completely evil. My view of them becomes one-sided and I only think of them as someone who doesn’t believe [blank].

People are more complex than this and I find myself shocked at times when,

  • I receive a kind note from a pro-abortion friend who asks about my life says they are praying for me.
  • I see a theistic evolutionist who gives sacrificially to the poor.
  • I hear of a universalist who welcomes the broken into their home to minister to them.


Perhaps even reading these lines grates against you. Indeed they should. God wants our doctrine and our lives to match and everyone of the above examples is an oxymoron. These friends claim love Jesus but are believing false teaching.

How should we engage those we strongly disagree with?
I do not have all the answers, but here are some thoughts from the book of James.

1) Be slow to anger (James 1:20)
Be slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Check your heart.
Jesus remained sinless the entire time he flipped tables and drove out the hypocrites. Do not have as high of expectations for yourself. Often times our righteous anger is self-driven. We are so sinful that we can claim a good cause and spew our venom at the same time. Love is not easily angered. There are times when our blood should boil, but we must have our hand on the stove dial, and there always needs to be love in our burner.

2) Give mercy as you have been given mercy (James 2:13)
For judgement is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy.
If the person you are critiquing believes the true gospel, treat him as you would a brother. We have the right to strongly disagree, but we do not have the right to sin against one another. Give the benefit of the doubt and do not treat a brother or sister like a dirt bag to drag through the mud.

3) Tame the Tongue (James 3:2-10)
With our tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the image of God. This ought not be! In our critique, do we show honor to the individual? Or do we curse the ground they walk on?
Do we treat them as people created by God for his glory? Do we give them respect? Or do we treat them like vermin to be exterminated?

4) Love your neighbor as yourself (James 2:8)
Treat others as you would want them to treat you. Be fair in your representation of their arguments. Do not use Ad Hominem arguments that attack them rather than their beliefs. Cultivate a genuine love for them in your heart. Pray for them and long for them to believe truth. “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even tax collectors do the same?”

5) Be confident and calm in Christ (James 3:13-18)
Even though we have the right to bear arms, let us load our arsenal with bullets of truth, love, meekness, and humility.
In our conversations, let us be winsome and confident in the truth. The wisdom that is from above is gentle, open to reason, full of mercy, good fruits, impartial and sincere. Let us display this confidence by maintaining control in the conversation and not yelling at those who disagree. Christ does not need our help in convincing others of the truth. He simply calls us to be faithful to share the truth in love with all meekness.

6) Do not speak evil against one another, brothers (James 4:11)
God does not want us to slander his creation. Let us be careful that we do not sin against God while we represent him to the watching world. Let us be especially careful when we talk about brothers and sisters when they are not around. God hears every word about his craftsmanship and takes it seriously. Even liberals are made in the image of God and we should treat them as such.

7) Bring people back from wandering (James 5:20)
God does not call us to be pacifists when his glory is at stake and souls are on the line. God rejoices when one wandering soul returns to the truth and repents. Let us be people who speak the truth boldly in sincere love.

Blessed are those who proclaim truth to all people and treat them as people made in the image of God.

What the Demons Taught Me (part 2)

 

 

[this is part two of a series on The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. See What the Demons Taught Me: part 1 by Spencer Harmon]

 

1.)  Selflessness is self-forgetfulness

Screwtape constantly reminds his young nephew to keep his patient away from self-forgetfulness and encourages him to, “…teach a man to surrender benefits not that others may be happy in having them but that he may be unselfish in forgoing them” (141).  If my main goal in giving my money to the poor is so that I can be known as a “generous person” I have a sinful motivation.  Instead, I ought to find my joy in the joy of others.  My preferences, interests, and “image” should be like morning fog being burnt away by the heat of the needs of my neighbor.

2.)  Worldliness is worldliness no matter how many times you call it “experience”

Screwtape informs Wormwood that, “Real worldliness is a work of time – assisted, of course, by pride, for we teach them to describe the creeping death as good sense or Maturity or Experience” (156).  My American Christianity needs a good dose of this reality.  For it is easy to cloak my love for the things of the world by saying certain sinful things are bearable for “mature believers” while I lose my childlike desire to please my heavenly Father.  If the movie is sinful I should not watch it; if the music is sensuous I should not listen to it; if the party is a house full of temptation I should not attend it.  These are not legalisms that keep me from understanding my world better; these are prescriptions that help me see my Savior clearer.

3.)  Faith and repentance is better than your most spiritual promises

Screwtape scolds Wormwood for his patient’s response to a recent “fall from grace” because he is not making, “…lavish promises of perpetual virtue,” but instead, “only a hope for the daily and hourly pittance to meet the daily and hourly temptation!” (69).  Faithfulness does not always look flashy, and neither does daily dying.  So often a fiery sermon, a fresh new book, or a stirring conversation incites a desire to promise God feats that he is not asking of me.  Rather, God calls his sons and daughters to repentance and faith, and seeking his kingdom first.  This is the radical Christianity we have been wanting:  grace fueled obedience.

Stop Being True To Yourself

Should you be true to yourself?  When I was a child, I remember hearing this pumped through movies, music, and even sentimental old folks giving me sagely wisdom when I told them what I wanted to be when I grew up.  As a 20-something living in the American culture, there is a whole lot of fuss going around about being true to yourself, following your heart, and doing what “feels” best.  So, here’s two reasons you should stop being true to yourself:

1.)  You were made to be true to Another

You are wired as a human being to be true to Another in order to be true to yourself.  Ultimately, you were made to forget about yourself, and to find your identity by losing it in something far greater than yourself.  This is how you were made; this is how you were designed.  Why would someone think that homosexuality is wrong, or that it is a good thing to stay pure before they are married, or to not plan on getting slammed this Friday at the nearest party?  Because they don’t buy the idea that their fundamental priority should be being true to their self.  Rather, the ultimate aim and goal is to be true to Another, and find satisfaction in Him.

2.)  You were made for transformation, not stagnation  

All humans are born as broken, dead beings in a shattered, graveyard world.  The Bible teaches that humans are born thinking, acting, and feeling in wrong and sinful ways.  Our fundamental disposition coming into the world is incredibly flawed.  The Bible presents an idea of humanity as being in need of not stagnation, but transformation; not continuing in the old, but putting on the new; not in rejoicing in evil, but turning from it.  Human beings can change, not by self-help, do-it-yourself improvement plans, but by supernatural repentance and faith in Jesus, who calls all humans everywhere to turn from being true to their self to be true to him.

So, stop being true to yourself.  You will never find satisfaction in appeasing all of the titillating inclinations of your mind and body.  Instead, turn from your sins and put your trust in Jesus.  Find your identity outside of yourself.  Lose your life, and you will find it in Him.

“Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in”  C.S. Lewis

 

Spencer Harmon

Lecture to Grandpa: A Critique of My Generation

I wrote this piece in high school.  It portrays a conversation between a current high school/college student and an old man brought into current times from the past.

Sleep in until noon in the summer; when school starts, wake up as late as possible and hit the snooze button as many times as you can.  Be sure to look at the magazine covers in the grocery store to see the latest trends, but make sure everything that you wear is your own “personal style.”  Be independent; nobody can tell you what to do.  You are the master of your fate; you are the captain of your soul.  You only live once; therefore, live for yourself.   If the assignment is not due tomorrow, it’s not homework.  Remember your needs: iPhone, long weekends, borrowed money, and ignorance.

 But what about family dinners, hard work, quiet evenings – and what on God’s green earth is an iPhone?

“god” is important only when he is convenient.  Here is how you text message to avoid contact with those in your personal space.  Here is how you avoid confrontation.  Here is how you learn only what you need to know to get by under the radar.  Don’t be too smart; people will think you’re a nerd.  Don’t enjoy things too much; people will think you’re foolish.  Don’t be innocent; people might think you’re stupid.  Don’t be pure; people might think you’re a child.  Here’s how to use Facebook and Gmail.  Here’s how you tweet.  Here’s how to critique the world from behind a computer screen. What do you mean you don’t use computers?  How old are you anyway!?  Make sure you listen to this music, and watch these movies, and never say “no” because people might think you’re puritanical.

But what if I really don’t like the trends?  What if I actually love good, and hate evil?  What if God is an actual reality?

Never mind that. Do you really want to be the prude – the wet blanket on the flickering flames of my youth?