Opening the Floodgates

A quote from Robert Reilly’s book Making Gay Okay. Here is a paragraph from his concluding chapter. His central point is a good one.

We cannot blame the homosexuals for all of this. As mentioned before, first came contraception and the embrace of no-fault divorce. Once sex was detached from diapers, the rest become more or less inevitable. If serial polygamy is okay,  and contraceptive sex is okay, and abortion is okay, what could be wrong with a little sodomy? First, short-circuit the generative power of sex through contraception; then kill its accidental offspring; and finally celebrate its use in ways unfit for generation…I only wish there were survivors from the 1930 Lambeth Conference-which first endorsed limited use of contraceptives-who might be forced to attend the Gay Pride events and officiate at same sex “marriages”, so they could dwell upon what they hath wrought. Just as there is no such thing as being a little bit pregnant, there is no such thing as a little compromise on moral principle, as the Boy Scouts are about to find out. If the ideology behind the Casey decision [Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, a 1992 court case, which upheld the right to abortion] is correct, then the homosexual position is the right one. It substitutes the primacy of the will for the primacy of reason. If we can make it up as we go along, then there are no moral standards in Nature to distinguish between the use and abuse of sex, only personal taste. The broad embrace of this view has opened the floodgates to sexual dystopia. The problem with this inundation is that it threatens the very democracy that allows it.

Too Far Gone?

A sculpture promoting China’s one child policy. 

China has officially moved from a one child policy to a two child policy.  Parents now have permission (???) to have two children instead of just one. Any policy that reduces the number of abortion is a good thing. But can a culture that for decades has promoted in every way possible one child now magically change? I am not convinced.

The article states that the one child policy has prevented 400 million births, that is 400 million abortions. Let that number roll around in your head and heart for a moment. The population of the United States is around 320 million. Imagine our entire nation and then some wiped out.

China adopted the one child policy in the late 1970’s. The leaders in China said this policy, along with opening up trade, led to dramatic economic growth for China. But all sin is short-sighted. The economic growth of the 80’s and 90’s has been replaced by a slow downturn. Now China’s population is aging rapidly. The Economist addressed this problem in this 2011 article. There are way more men than women with some estimates that there are over 50 million more men than women. The number of employees is shrinking as the age of the population grows. China, despite being the most populous country in the world, is dying.

Because the economy is struggling the leaders have decided to allow couples to have two children not just one. I am glad there has been a  policy change. It will mean less abortions, but how many less? Are there millions of Chinese who want two children, but were forced to have only one? I don’t think so. For example, in 2013 China modified its one child policy allowing urban couples to have two children. However, there were not many takers. Most families still had one child. My guess is that will continue to happen even with this policy change.

Here is the end of the article

As the country has grown wealthier, couples have increasingly delayed having even one child as they devote more time to other goals, such as building their careers.

“There’s a lot of opportunity cost to having children. The norm has changed to one or none,” said Joan Kaufman, Director of the Columbia Global Centers East Asia and a long-time expert on China’s population planning.

“I don’t think you’re going to see a massive unleashing of this pent-up desire for children.”

The Chinese public met the announcement cautiously, with many saying the change would only add to the already intense social and financial pressures attached to reproduction.

“I will have four parents to take care of, along with two children,” noted one online commenter. “This is too great a responsibility”.

Wu Bohao, a 23-year-old single child, told AFP: “Raising a child is quite expensive. For me, having one kid would be enough.

While pro-lifers and human rights people might be thrilled about this change, for the Chinese a 2nd child is “too great a responsibility” and “quite expensive.” And that is exactly what they have been trained to think. For several decades the Chinese government has taught its people to love freedom from children and money more than fruitfulness. This has been pounded in their heads by cheap abortions, forced abortions, speeches, policies, emphasis on the economy, etc. For decades society has been built around having one child. Most adults were only children, saw their parents raise one child, expect to have one child, and probably only have the desire to have one child. Why should I spend another nine months pregnant? Why should I miss more work to have 2nd child? The people have learned well. There will be more children, but there will not be a huge upsurge of births, at least not for a long while. Why should there be? Money and freedom have mattered more than children for over thirty years. Why should that change now?

I pray it will be different. I pray that China will become fruitful again. But I do wonder if, at least for the next several decades, she is too far gone for this to happen. I doubt that outside of godly Christians who desire fruitfulness permeating that society she will ever get near to the 1950’s average of over 5 children per family.

No, It Really Isn’t That Hard

In a recent article in the Huffington Post, Wendy Davis, a Democratic politician from Texas who tried to become governor said this:

She is angry about the threat of Planned Parenthood being defunded. She thinks abortion is great. She thinks it is unfair for women to have carry children to term. 
Several thoughts went through my mind as I read this. First, the use of “literally” is like, totally, lame. 
Second, no one is forcing women into being child bearing vessels. They are born that way.  God made women to bear children. They do not enter this world with no reproductive organs and then some scientist inserts a womb. They enter this world with wombs and breasts, which are for carrying, giving birth to, and feeding children. 
Third, very few women are forced to bear children. The only exception would be a pregnant rape victim. All other women know that having sex can lead to children and they chose to do it anyway. If they don’t want children then they shouldn’t have sex. Typically we see in this statement by Ms. Davis the divorcing of sex from procreation. She wants to chant, “Make love, not children.” The world doesn’t work that way. 
Finally, is it really that hard to feed and educate a bunch of children? Raising children is hard work. But feeding them and educating them is not the most difficult part. In fact, I have never had a problem feeding or educating my children. One year I made less than thirteen thousand dollars and my children (at that time I had four) were still fed, clothed, and educated. Currently, I have nine children. My wife has not worked for money in many years. I am a pastor. In other words, I am not rich, have a lot of children, and my wife does not work. You might think I would struggle to make ends meet. But that is not the case. We feed our children just fine without using government money.  We home school our children and they regularly score above the national average on tests. In other words, I pay for my kids school and I pay for someone else’s kids school. My church is kind to me, but I know that even with nine children I could feed and educate them on a lot less than what I currently make. 
Everyone does not have to do it my way, though I think you should avoid the schools of Molech. And I know there are hard cases where it is difficult to pay the bills. But most people by hard work, careful use of resources, sacrifice, and a refusal to buy everything being sold by the advertisers can feed and educate their children, even when they have a lot of them. It is getting harder to make ends meet. But that is because of all the taxes being taken from the people to fund overseas wars, public school, welfare, and Planned Parenthood. We can feed and educate our children as long the Republicans and Democrats will let us keep our money.  So the answer is not more government programs or abortion. The answer is lower taxes, hard work, and lots of little feet. 

My Pro-Choice Story of Forgiveness

Guest Post by Julie Jones, my wife and mother to my nine children. 

I’m 39 years old, a homeschooling mother of 9 and a reformed Presbyterian pastor’s wife.  I was raised in the church (Baptist), went to a Christian college and have always been pro-life.  When I was in college, I volunteered as a counselor at a Crisis Pregnancy Center and convinced many young women to protect their unborn babies.  Being pregnant with my first child during part of that time, I was especially torn apart when I would fail to convince a woman to not destroy her child. 

I thought that being pro-choice was a political position.  To the extent that the position included the belief that a woman should be allowed to kill her unborn baby, I opposed it.  What I didn’t know was that being pro-choice is actually a foundational mindset from which a person operates and makes decisions.  I’m talking about a belief system that supports the notion that an individual has the right to pursue personal happiness at any expense to others.  Of course, we would never state it like that.  We use words like liberty and freedom of choice.  It sounds liberating, but all it actually means is that I’m free to imprison myself to becoming a meat-eating destroyer of those around me who interfere with my personal desires.   

There is a very real distinction between what we believe and the functional beliefs that actually inform our decision-making.  As humans, we have a great capacity for self-deception.  A couple of years ago I found myself in a place in my life where I was utterly self-deceived.  I thought that I was essentially correct in my choices and outlook.  I thought the misery I was living in and all of the problems with my children and all of my other relationships had to do with everyone else’s mistreatment of me and their problems.  I was dying from carrying around my guilty conscience that couldn’t accept responsibility for my own sins.  I was functioning from a pro-choice basis of belief, but I didn’t know it. 

So, no.  I never had an abortion.  But I was living a life that cut down, maimed and disabled others to satisfy my hunger for control and feed the lies that I needed to believe about myself.  As these sting videos about Planned Parenthood have been coming out of the Center for Medical Progress, it has been like a visual aid for me to see what I had been doing.  I hadn’t believed in right to life.  I believed only in my own right to be happy (by my own definition) and for anyone who stood in my way to be cut down or even exterminated (however regrettably).  Using remains as a means of profit would have been par for the course.  All of this I would have had very rational reasons for doing and I could not have believed I was truly hurting anyone.

The incredibly good news is that something happened that changed everything.  Just as these videos have allowed us to face the reality of what is going on under the surface at the abortion mills, God confronted me with the reality of what was going on under the surface in my heart.  He gave me the ability to face it, so that I could repent of it.  Then, just as Ezekiel prophesied that God would do for Israel, God did for me.

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep my judgments and do them.  Ezekiel 36:25-27

I still feel the pain of the damage I’ve done.  Knowing just how damaging my choices and behavior were and seeing the consequences is part of what helps to keep me from doing it anymore.  But I’m forgiven.  Jesus’ free grace has made me whole.   I have been given a new start.

As the videos have exposed, our nation has a load of blood guilt on our hands.  We are a broken people.  The videos show the hardness of heart and self-deception that allow “normal” people to casually rip apart babies and sell the parts and not realize the gruesome destruction that they are enacting.  They also bring to light that there are millions of souls with abortions on their conscience.   There are souls like mine, also, that are guilty, though never actually having had an abortion.  The exciting thing about this revelation is that I know it is an opportunity.  It is an open door to repent and receive the free forgiveness that Christ offers.  Real healing can happen.  Restoration can occur.

The Long War

As the videos continue to post, I wonder if how Christians feel is how Jews felt when Allied soldiers entered concentration camps at the end of WWII. Finally, the world is able to see what has been going on. Finally, they will see the ovens and the bodies stacked like cord wood. Finally, they will see the little arms and legs cut up into pieces. Finally, they will see the death of all these little ones.

But it is important to remember that while this sting operation by the Center for Medical Progress might be a kind of D-Day, it is not the whole war. Even before these videos abortion clinics were closing on a regular basis. For decades men have been fighting against abortion through sermons, prayers, picketing, and books. I think of hundreds of pastors, including John Piper, who have faithfully preached against abortion year after year. I think of my friends Charles and Al who regularly picket in front of abortion clinics. I think of  R.C. Sproul Jr. who whenever tragedy strikes reminds us of the greater tragedy of the thousands of babies legally killed every day. I think of Francis Schaeffer and his work in the early eighties. I think of pastors who have converted women walking into death clinics and helped them raise their children. I think of all the older ladies who pleaded with God to end this atrocity.  I think of parents who have many children or who have adopted unwanted children. On and on the list goes.  We have always hated abortion. We wanted it to end. Christians are not waking up for the first time. But there is physical proof of what we have always known. Babies are being chopped up for profit. Like pictures coming out of Germany in May 1945, these videos vindicate the war. There is a reason we fight.

Thanks to all the brothers and sisters, pastors and priests, mothers and fathers, who fought in the shadows since Roe v. Wade. We are grateful for your faithfulness. May our generation be worthy of walking in your footsteps. May we look to you, our Savior, and the Word to give us strength to endure in this battle against abortion and the other battles we will face in the coming years.

I also think of all those hipster Christians who thought abortion was old news. Who got tired of the war. Who protested those who said abortion was wicked. Who were silent in the face of the holocaust. Who loved their reputation more than Jesus. We need to move on they said, after all it is legal. We should ignore the barbed wire and the smoke and the smell. We will preach Jesus, but we do not need to make a political statement. Ours is a spiritual kingdom. May their tribe decrease. May they see their folly and publicly repent of disgracing the name of Christ. They lost their moral authority when they abandoned the Scriptures. Now they have been exposed as those who ate and drank while members of their congregation and city sacrificed their children to Molech. They are hirelings (John 10:13).

Then I think of us, the under forty generation. The battle against abortion has not been won, by any stretch. As Doug Wilson reminds us we must pursue. We must push through to Berlin. We must strike at the root, which is feminism. We must keep doing the things which matter most such as worshiping and loving God. The work we have been doing in our churches, homes, and communities we must keep doing.  We are seeing victories in the fight against abortion, which is wonderful. But these victories did not happen overnight. The war did not start with these videos. It started a long time ago. The war will not end with these videos. There are years of battle ahead of us, which is the great danger for my generation. We like quick fixes and easy answers. We lose steam fast. A few tweets and Facebook posts and we move on. But three weeks is not very long. Three years is not very long. Even three decades is not very long. Besides the abortion battle, there is sodomy, a wicked and corrupt government, a compromised church, evolution, the denial of Scripture as God’s inspired Word, the rampant sexual immorality in the church, and many other battles to fight. Abortion is but one front, albeit an important one, in our work for Christ’s Kingdom. Are we prepared for the long haul?  Will we fight for decades like our fathers did? Can we keep the pressure on year after year? Or will our attention wane and vigor wilt? Will we bend the knee to the world in the end? Will we grow weary?  I am grateful for the impact these videos are having. It is nice to win a battle now and then. But we must prepare our churches, our families, and ourselves to fight the long war. Without endurance, all that is gained will be lost.

The Weapon of Technology

One of the more fascinating aspects of the Planned Parenthood sting has been the use of technology. Christians for years have been uneasy about technology, especially as it progressed at breakneck speed in the late 20th century. Movies, the Internet, and then social media were of great concern for Christians. Would these things become portals of sin? But now an amazing thing has happened. Christians have begun to harvest the fruit of technology for good.  Abortion is one of the great evils. One of the heads on this snake is Planned Parenthood. God has put at our disposal various technological means to help us cut off the head.

We should assume that technology over time will bear out the truth of God’s Word.  God’s Word says babies from the moment of conception are humans. We do not need technology to tell us this. But we can use technology to back up what the Scriptures say. Ultrasounds have been one of those advances in technology that has slowly eroded the abortion narrative. One group takes a mobile ultrasound unit around and parks it in front of abortion clinics. This article from 2013 says that 56% of women who have decided to have an abortion don’t when they see the ultrasound. 87% of those who were considering abortion don’t have one when they see the ultrasound.  How many babies have been saved by ultrasounds? Planned Parenthood does not want mothers see their babies on the screen. “Nothing to see here,” they say.  I wonder why?

Movies & Youtube
Christians have for years been using a visual medium to fight against abortion. In 1984 a 28 minute video called The Silent Scream was produced, which depicted an abortion and caused many to take up the pro-life cause. Francis Schaeffer, around that same time, produced a book and film with Dr. C. Everett Koop about abortion called Whatever Happened to the Human Race? Over time documentaries and films, such as October Baby, have been made that depict either the horrors of abortion or the glories of life. Youtube has been a boon. Of course, there is a ton of trash on there. But you can also watch videos from Abby Johnson former Planned Parenthood worker expose the lies of the “pro-choice” crowd.  You can also find speeches from pro-life and pro-choice politicians and leaders, testimonials from abortion survivors and unplanned children that were not aborted, etc. We should not be afraid of this. The truth is powerful. These things are not a substitute for God’s Word, but they can buttress the truth in God’s Word.

Spy Equipment
When I was young my dad had one of those huge cell phones like this:

Cameras used to be the same way, big and bulky. They took hours to set  and hours for the film to develop.  Advances in technology however have brought us to a place where hours and hours of video can be recorded by a hidden camera and published in seconds. Anti-abortion activists can use technology that Bond or Bourne would use. This is a good thing because murderers like to hide. Doctors who chop up babies do not want to be filmed. They like the dark.  The fact that mini-cameras were used to tape doctors who promote the killing of babies and sell their body parts should bring us satisfaction. Imagine what the French Resistance could have done with button cameras? What about the laws? If the man who made the videos goes to prison, it will be worth it. He has already saved the lives of many, many babies.

Social Media & Blogging
But there is no technological phenomenon quite like social media. Even if the videos from the Center for Medical Progress had been uploaded to Youtube without social media the impact would have been much smaller. Planned Parenthood is trending for all the wrong reasons. It is fascinating to watch things turn around so quickly. Several weeks ago the Christian world was reeling from the decision by the Supreme Court to force states to allow same-sex marriage. Facebook was covered with rainbows. Now Facebook and Twitter have become a war zone over abortion with the pro-life side, for now, having the upper hand. We should use all these things to save the unborn. Social media allows us to plan rallies in a few days or even a few hours. I can follow a good friend of mine who marches in front of an abortion clinic every week and pray for him. I can connect with anti-abortion folks all over the world.  I can read blogs from top Christian thinkers on these topics. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and any other means should be used to destroy Planned Parenthood and the abortion complex. Keep the pressure on. Pursue them until they at least lose their funding, though the goal would be they go out of business. Al Mohler in his book Conviction to Lead argues that if you are not leading on social media you are not leading. Christian leaders should be grateful for these tools God has given to us. And we should use them.

There were many reasons the Reformation happened. But one of the key factors was the advent of the printing press and the ability for books to printed easier and cheaper. Luther used writing to spread his thoughts throughout the world. Calvin did the same thing. The technology available to us as Christians is enormous. What would Augustine have done with a laptop and Twitter? What would Spurgeon have done if he could rally people through Facebook? Would John Wesley have written a blog chronicling his travels as he preached? Who knows? But we have a wealth of technological gifts at our disposal. Are we using them to advance the Kingdom and tear down strongholds or are we sitting around watching the tools rust?

One Warning
Technology can help and we should use it. But it is not at the center of the battle. The center is raising our children in the Lord, loving our wives, worshiping, baptism, preaching, prayer, the Lord’s Supper, loving our neighbors, and evangelizing our communities. With all good things there is a temptation to allow them to consume us. I love Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and other avenues of growth and outreach on the Internet. But none of these compare to the value of hearing God’s Word, spending time in prayer, or reading to my children at the end of the day. As long as the center holds, we can use technology in way that honors God, loves our neighbor, and defeats His enemies. But if the center disintegrates then all the Facebooking, Twittering, and blogging will be end up being a curse instead of a blessing.

Book Review: Godly Seed

Godly Seed: American Evangelicals Confront Birth Control, 1873-1973Godly Seed: American Evangelicals Confront Birth Control, 1873-1973 by Allan C Carlson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first Carlson book, though I have read many of his articles. Carlson plots the change in the evangelical view of birth control from 1873 and the Comstock laws to 1973 and Roe v. Wade. It is a very dense book, with a lot of end notes. I would love to see an expansion of some of the themes. Also Carlson does not give any real clear answers as to what we should do. Yet it is clear he thinks we have gone astray on this issue. Several things stood out to me.

First, this is a very short amount of time for such a dramatic change in Christian views of sexuality.

Second, Christianity Today played a substantial role in making birth control acceptable among evangelical Christians.

Third, soft eugenics and postmillenialism played a large part in the acceptance of birth control between 1915 and WWII. After that the key factor for evangelicals was the population explosion. Billy Graham, as well as many other Christians, used the coming population explosion as sufficient proof that we need to use birth control.

Fourth, prior to 1973 abortion and birth control were linked by evangelicals. Their acceptance of birth control led to many leaders also considering if not outright supporting abortion. After Roe v. Wade views on abortion were revisited and modified. However, the birth control issue was not.

Fifth, the elevation of companionship as the primary reason for marriage was a key component in getting evangelicals to accept birth control.

Finally, Margaret Sanger and later Christianity Today used the Roman Catholic-Protestant divide to get Protestants to accept birth control.

I found the book very fascinating with a lot of excellent detail. For example, Carlson got access to boxes of notes, etc. at Christianity Today that have not been published. He also does a good job in showing the shifts in mindset that resulted in certain practical outcomes. I am looking forward to doing more reading on the subject, but this was a good start.

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