Friday, January 21, 2011

Abortion – A Rational Look at an Emotion Issue

Tomorrow marks the 38th anniversary of the Roe v Wade ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States. As most know, this was the landmark ruling that defined a woman’s right to abortion in the 1st trimester of pregnancy. This ruling opened the flood gate of abortion on demand and fueled one of the most volatile and enduring controversies in the history of our country.

It is safe to say that Christians have been somewhat less than unified in their position on this ruling and its implications. Some liberal Christian denominations have favored the ruling, while the Roman Catholic Church has been consistently and vocally opposed to it. For the evangelical, the one who adheres to the authority of the Bible, the issue is not open for discussion. If that statement seems to be too dogmatic, too presumptuous, or too absolutist, then the one who objects needs to read Abortion – A Rational Look at an Emotion Issue by Dr. R.C. Sproul. The 20th anniversary edition has been revised and reprinted by Reformation Trust.

In his forward, Dr. George Grant notes:
In the two decades since this landmark book was first published, four different presidents have occupied the White House, seven justices have come and gone on the Supreme Court, and eleven sessions of Congress have held sway in the Capitol … Through it all, the divisiveness of the abortion issue has remained constant. The many and varied political turns of events during the past twenty years have done nothing to ameliorate it—much less, to resolve it. If anything, the divide over abortion has become more pronounced, more acrimonious, and more entrenched. While political gridlock on nearly any and every other issue ultimately has been overcome, no rapprochement on the issue of abortion is anywhere in sight.

In his usual fashion, Dr. Sproul approaches this issue from the perspective of logic, history, theology and Biblical exposition. After reading the book, I am persuaded that one could be convinced to re-examine his or her views relative to the pro-abortion position based upon the logical arguments alone. In other words, this is not an issue that requires commitment to evangelical faith to know the truth. Of course, as one of the leaders in the evangelical movement, Sproul is careful to cite Biblical evidence for the pro-life position. Nonetheless, the arguments from logic and natural law are convincing in themselves.

What is absent from Dr. Sproul’s work is the vitriol that often flows from advocates of the pro-life position. Sproul does not demonize the opposition. Certainly, this is an issue that arouses passionate debate. In Sproul’s case, there is not more heat than light. Both are in sufficient quantity.

I understand that Reformation Press will send a copy of this book to every member of the new Congress. I pray that many will read it. I am sure that some will. I am sure that some will throw it away. If read objectively, the book has the potential to change a lot of the thinking on Capitol Hill

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Reformation Press as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, January 17, 2011


So, I have joined the ranks of those who can read electronically. For Christmas, I received a Kindle. Actually, it was a combined gift for both my wife and me, but I imagine I will get the most use from it. The books she reads – and she reads a lot – are readily available at the library.

The 1st book I read on my Kindle was Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand. I had meant to purchase the book after Christmas, but thought that this might be a good way to test drive the device. I must admit that I enjoyed reading this book on the Kindle. But, it is a great book that I would have enjoyed reading in any form. I couldn’t wait to snatch a few moments to read.

Unbroken is the story of Louis Zamperini, a member of the US Olympic track team in 1936. It is a story of human endurance in the most desperate of conditions. As a bombardier in a B-24, his aircraft crashed in the Pacific. He endured nearly a month and a half at sea in shark infested waters. Finally spotting land, he came ashore and was immediately made a prisoner of war by the Japanese. The trials spent as a POW made the hardships of shipwreck pale in comparison. Without disclosing all of the details, Billy Graham’s famous crusade in Los Angeles in 1948 makes a significant contribution to the end of the story.

Zamperini’s treatment as a POW speaks volumes about human depravity and the power of hope. That the Japanese could so brutalize their prisoners and that the Nazi’s could deal so inhumanly with Jews, Slavs, and all they considered to be inferior, testifies to the Biblical doctrine of total depravity. As the book shows, not all of Zamperini’s captors were harsh and brutal. In fact, after the war he went to Japan to try to locate one who claimed to be a Christian and treated him with dignity. Yet, as I read this book, I took these thoughts away for further development:

• Unlike John Lennon who accused religion of being the chief propagator of warfare in history, it was non-Christians, both in Germany and Japan (not to mention Russia) who were the most sadistic and inhumane.

• What was going on in the world that at the same time in history, such brutality could emerge in both Europe and Asia?

• Germany and Japan were both civilized and technologically advanced societies. Yet their achievements did not save them from themselves. Our culture and society likewise cannot save us from ourselves. The remedy for depravity is not found in education, politics, or economics. It is found in the gospel of Christ.

Friday, January 14, 2011

With All Your Mind

Jesus’ counsel to “love God with all your mind” is recorded in 3 of the gospel accounts (Matt.22:37, Mk. 12:30, and Lk 12:27. Dr.Albert Mohler describes what this looks like in a Christian worldview:

A robust and rich model of Christian thinking—the quality of thinking that culminates in a God-centered worldview—requires that we see all truth as interconnected. Ultimately, the systematic wholeness of truth can be traced to the fact that God is himself the author of all truth. Christianity is not a set of doctrines in the sense that a mechanic operates with a set of tools. Instead, Christianity is a comprehensive worldview and way of life that grows out of Christian reflection on the Bible and the unfolding plan of God revealed in the unity of the Scriptures.

A God-centered worldview brings every issue, question, and cultural concern into submission to all that the Bible reveals and frames all understanding within the ultimate purpose of bringing greater glory to God. This task of bringing every thought captive to Christ requires more than episodic Christian thinking and is to be understood as the task of the Church, and not merely the concern of individual believers. The recovery of the Christian mind and the development of a comprehensive Christian worldview will require the deepest theological reflection, the most consecrated application of scholarship, the most sensitive commitment to compassion, and the courage to face all questions without fear.

Read the entire post here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Kennedy Detail

The Kennedy Detail by Gerald Blaine is an insider’s look at the Secret Service agents responsible for the protection of President John F. Kennedy. This is a fascinating story of the lives of the men who protected JFK and how they interacted personally with the First Family. For these men, protecting the president was the most important responsibility one could have. When they failed to do that, all of them became traumatized.

It is interesting to see how the Secret Service performed their responsibilities with what we would today consider primitive resources. There were no computers or databases, no cell phones or smart phones, no wireless communication except for the cumbersome walkie-talkie that was carried by one agent. Information was kept in personal notebooks, written in the field by the agents who did the legwork.

I gained a new respect for the Secret Service from Blaine’s account. He likewise managed to portray this iconic president and his family in very compassionate and human terms. This is refreshing in a day when there has been so much ink devoted to the less than sterling moral character of the family of Joe Kennedy. For whatever JFK was, he was still a father, a husband, a brother, a son, and a president.