“But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa’s heart was perfect with the Lord all his days” (1 Kings 15:14).
Not many people know this, but Asa was a pro-life Republican.
I would like to thank John Reasnor for taking the time to engage with my comments and posts on incrementalism, and in this place return a little of the compliment. Because I believe the underlying issue here is cultural perfectionism, what I want to do is show that the hard line stance, the view that incrementalism is by definition necessarily compromised, does not meet its own standard.
Now please note—I do want human abortion in all its forms banished, outlawed, and penalized. That is the only appropriate goal. I do not want any carve-outs remaining when the battle is done, not for rape, not for incest, and no open season on zygotes. The battle must not be over so long as there is any state-authorized lawlessness regarding unborn human lives still occurring. Period. Our objective is to take Berlin. I am only maintaining that it is appropriate for us to be fighting at Normandy now. We can’t fight in Berlin yet because we are not there yet. Some people can’t fight in Berlin because they don’t really want to, but that is a separate issue.
So please note that there are many aspects of Reasnor’s piece that I do agree with. I do agree that there is a species of incrementalism that is compromised in principle, and in the practical outworking turns out to be incrementalism working in the wrong direction. His point about legal compromises prior to Roe would be a good example. So do not assume that the continuation of this debate means disagreement all along the waterfront. I want principled abolitionists and principled pro-lifers to be able to come to an agreement. I want unprincipled “abolitionists” and unprincipled “pro-lifers” to be excluded from it.
So in what ways does abolitionism (in this configuration) fail to meet its own standard? Allow me to begin with the issue of geographical incrementalism (and it is incrementalism). Reasnor argues that the issue there is one of jurisdiction. In other words, Idaho does not have the authority to outlaw abortion in Washington, and consequently does not have the moral responsibility to do so. But a legislative body that has the authority to outlaw human abortion at 20 weeks is a body that also has the jurisdictional authority to outlaw it at 18 weeks. So the argument goes. If they have the jurisdiction, why don’t they do it?
Usually it is because of false notions of judicial supremacy. They think the Supreme Court has settled the matter in Roe, and so they are trying to chip away at that settlement, but only in ways that the Supreme Court might possibly uphold. An unquestioned assumption in their “ban after 20-weeks” incrementalism is that the United States must continue on as a civil society.
But the same stakes are operative in geographical incrementalism (and again, it is incrementalism). If Idaho outlawed abortion outright from top to bottom, and still kept their covenanted political ties with Washington, they are still unequally yoked, and they are still showing tolerance for butchery. We don’t get to say, “No, no, I don’t conduct human sacrifices at all. It is my business partner that does that.” This is because Idaho doesn’t have jurisdiction over the laws of Washington, but they do have jurisdiction over their ties to Washington.
So I live in a very conservative state that is right next to a very liberal one. Driving from Idaho to Washington happens all the time. Buying products and services in Washington is routine for folks here. Outlawing abortion in Idaho while trying to pretend that all is well between us and Washington would either be compromise (because the Union must not be threatened for any reason) or incrementalism (because we are mobilizing for Washington next). But in the meantime, any bill that outlawed abortion in one state while not severing all bonds of allegiance to states that would not do the same would be an incremental approach.
Second, our abortion laws are the sacramental center of the sexual revolution. Far more is involved in this than just legislating on behalf of the unfortunate by-products of immorality. What about the civic celebration of the immorality itself? If we agree to postpone demanding anything until we are in a position to demand it all, then we have to demand far more than just the protection of the unborn. God’s law is all of a piece. “Complete” cultural repentance that included the sixth commandment without including the seventh is a contradiction in terms. Abortion is where the sixth and seventh commandment are both violated. Laws enforcing the sixth commandment might comport with libertarianism, but neglecting enforcement of the seventh is not even incrementalism. I regard it as a theonomy fail. I simply want to register this point now and lay out the arguments for it at some later point.
Third, I earlier mentioned “unprincipled” abolitionism. Now the abolitionist position is that a proposed bill must be “complete” in how it protects all unborn life, period. If the bill still allows ungodly taking of human life (say, in weeks 1-19), then how is that not despising the revelation of God to us in Scripture? But the same principle applies if that same law includes draconian punishments that are unbiblical punishments. I am not defining draconian by what the secular sob sisters would think of it. I am defining draconian by the biblical standard. Why does the law have to be perfectly biblical when it comes to its description of the victims, but does not have to be perfectly biblical when it comes to the penalties applied?
Allow me to use a ludicrous example simply to make the point. If a bill were introduced that would protect all unborn children from abortion, but also stipulated that abortionists would be need to be drawn and quartered without a trial, would that be a bill worthy of support? The answer is no, even though it purports to protect all unborn children (as it ought). No. We want to go as far in the biblical direction as we can go, and we want to refrain from introducing any new unbiblical practices as we proceed.
Last, if I did not make it obvious above, I really appreciate Reasnor engaging with us on this topic.
I greatly appreciate the work that American Vision does for a biblical worldview, postmill, and biblical law. And although I have had my issues with Joel McDurmon because at times he can come across as a little arrogant in his attacks of his opponents. Frankly, that’s what their initial response to Wilson’s first piece on “smashmouth incrementalism” seemed to me. No condemnation, I think their heart is sincere in what they desire and want to achieve, just an honest criticism. But I greatly appreciate Reasnor’s second response to both Sumpter and Wilson because he took the honest time to interact… Read more »
It’s almost a fact that we need to incrementally convince other Christians to take incremental biblical stances in these culture wars.
“Our objective is to take Berlin.” Your objective is to declare war on women. Your goal is to gain control of territory. But bible, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Step one in eradicating abortion is to stop perceiving women as the enemy, to let go of your desire for revenge,punishment, and control, and to humble yourself. Abortion would begin to fall almost immediately. So you can… Read more »
MeMe, as a regular reader of this blog, I find myself regularly mystified by your comments. I’m not a frequent commenter, but wanted to take the time to respond to you here with a brief suggestion: Could I suggest that you simply stop reading and commenting on this blog? The overall tone of your comments certainly does not seem to be either righteous or rational. I wonder if reading and commenting so frequently is really helpful for you or anyone else.
“Could I suggest that you simply stop reading and commenting on this blog? The overall tone of your comments certainly does not seem to be either righteous or rational.” You sure could suggest such a thing, in fact those who care about me have often asked why I persist in trying to communicate with people who do nothing but abuse me, call me names, like irrational and Hitler. It’s because I care about these issues and because we are losing and I know why, and in the process of our losing we are also driving people away from Jesus Christ… Read more »
“why I persist in trying to communicate with people who do nothing but abuse me, call me names, like irrational and Hitler. ”
“Alas, people are not very smart,nor do they really care about saving babies at all.”
Do you not see these sentences as being in conflict with one another?
It’s because I care about these issues and because we are losing and I know why, and in the process of our losing we are also driving people away from Jesus Christ Himself. If people were smart they would take my words into consideration,they would try to understand what I was saying. Funny thing is, I’ve seen many people attempt to understand, accurately represent, and interact with, what you’re saying. I’ve done it myself. And yet, I’ve seen very little evidence that you’ve tried to meaningfully understand or accurately represent those who disagree with you. But do note, MeMe, that… Read more »
If you ever wonder why people call you names like Hitler, just remember that it does fit with your proclamation that you’re going to staunchly defend Berlin…
MeMe doesn’t appear to be willing to differentiate people who have called her Hitler, from those who haven’t.
“If people were smart they would take my words into consideration.” I think that might be the most conceited thing I’ve heard day, and I live with an actress. Why would I want to consider your words? Are you the oracle at Delphi? Why should we think you are any wiser, more rational, and more knowledgeable than anyone else? MeMe, I understand exactly what you are saying. I think we all do. I think many of us disagree with you. And not because we’re too thick to comprehend you. It’s because we’ve thought about your point of view, shaken our… Read more »
“No one is listening to you MeMe.”
No one is listening to God, either. That truth, that fact, should call us to repentance, but it doesn’t seem to. Instead people just cloak themselves in more self-righteousness, pretending they can fix the world with their politics and legal declarations. Nobody ever considers the fact that God changes our individual hearts, one at a time, beginning with your own, not the heart of all the sinners out there who just need you to set them straight.
“No one is listening to God, either.”
Wrong. I’ll choose God (through his Word) every time over your woe-is-me, misandrist, arrogant claptrap.
+10 if could vote.
So, Doug Wilson humbles himself (whatever that means) and women will stop having abortions? What planet do you live on? Do you think most people who have abortions either know or care what evangelical or Catholic Christians think about it? Do you think they read a few religious blogs before scheduling an appointment down at the clinic? Your argument, or intuition, seems to be that if no one opposed abortion but just showered love on everyone involved, there would be nobody wanting to terminate pregnancy. Guess what? There have been people like the Sisters of Life showering love and zero… Read more »
In fact, a couple of posts ago, our host Doug Wilson, came out with a post which spoke against lounge lizards! ; – )
Could we at least have a “war” (speak against) bald faced lying hypocrite lounge lizards! ; – )
Jill- CatholicChristians is any oxymoron
Hi Leslie. I hope that one day you will meet Catholics whose love for our Lord Jesus makes you change your mind about that.
Jilly, are you suggesting that God is the actual Judge of the quality of a person’s faith, and other people are not the judge of other people’s faith? ????????????
God is indeed the judge but our behavior can make it easy or hard for people to make a guess!
“our objective is to declare war on women. ” This is a lie, slander, and misogynistic. You have no basis whatsoever to impute this negative intent on anyone, and doing so requires that you ignore the millions upon millions of women against abortion. “Step one in eradicating abortion is to stop perceiving women as the enemy, to let go of your desire for revenge,punishment, and control, and to humble yourself. ” Step one for you would be to introduce some basic honesty about the nature of this disagreement. Nearly half of women in the country are on the side of… Read more »
In other words, abortion must continue unabated until there is not a single Christian man left on the planet who ever expresses an unkind thought about women. I’m glad that wasn’t the school of thought that opposed the Third Reich. “If we stop being mean about Hitler, then he won’t murder any more Jews.”
Now that you have conceded that you believe eradicating abortion is war on women, that makes the rest of your opinions clear. If you think outlawing abortion is war on women, why would you give us the inside scoop on how to do it (according to you it’s to stop perceiving women as the enemy).
To borrow Wilson’s metaphor: We should not take advice from Hitler on how to capture Berlin most effectively.
MeMe, I think the real ‘war on women’ comes from men who want them for sexual pleasures with no consequences! That is the real driving force behind abortion-on-demand and in my opinion it always has been.
“I think the real ‘war on women’ comes from men who want them for sexual pleasures with no consequences!”
I completely agree! There is a world of difference between that attitude and acting as if women are Nazis, Berlin to be seized, advocating for the death penalty against some scared girl, and declaring women shouldn’t vote.
” and acting as if women are Nazis,” Women are not the Nazi’s in this analogy, pro abortion laws are. “advocating for the death penalty against some scared girl,” I have been involved with active and fairly political significant pro lifers since I was 16. Never, not once, ever have I heard any significant movement for the mother to be treated to the death penalty. Fairly universally the mother who aborts the child is considered a victim, lied to by doctors and the pro abortion establishment who know perfectly well what they’re doing and mislead the mother into making the… Read more »
Denying women the right to vote and discussing the death penalty for women who have abortions is a frequent topic at Wilson’s site.
Neither are “frequent” topics here. As for the right to vote, is it a sin to suggest that? If so, what’s the Biblical evidence or historical church teachings for your claim? Or does it just not feeeeeelll right…because it’s so pre-20th Century?
Some people come here and talk about denying women the vote. Therefore, whatever Wilson advocates is logically tied to denying women the vote.
I don’t know why that doesn’t work with her own comments. Why doesn’t Wilson get credit for agreeing with her, since he gets blame for everything everyone else here says?
Maybe we should have a ban on all women commentors…?
I have said this in the past. But don’t expect her to accurately represent my position.
Let me hasten to add that I am not much of a fan of voting in general. I like consitutional monarchy.
Constitutional still leaves all the power in the hands of elected officials. Think of all the stuff Elizabeth II has been forced to sign off on over the decades. Under the law, she would have to sign off on the abolition of the monarchy if Parliament demanded it. I grew up under it, and I think it has a lot of symbolic value when the monarch and his/her family are virtuous. It is a clear division between love of country and love of government which I think is very useful. You can hate the government and love the Queen, and… Read more »
Of course, constitutional doesn’t tell us much about the particular form of the governance. I guess it could be a constitutional oligarchy (House of Lords?)
I gone for awhile, but when I made it back I wrote you. If you are interested.
Thanks, Demo, I’ll check my email.
We would have to go a long way back to find a constitutional monarchy in which all political power is vested in the aristocracy. Historically, monarchy has been at odds with the aristocracy and has allied itself with the upper middle class. Given the traditional licentiousness of aristos, it would be hard to make a claim for them from the point of view of ensuring that rulers are virtuous. On the other hand, the English aristocrats were more benevolent to the under class than their merchant counterparts.
Jill, constitutional monarchy doesn’t just refer to situations like the modern British monarchy where the monarch is a mere figurehead. It can also refer to systems where the monarch wields substantial, yet limited, power.
I meant an actual constitutional monarchy, one with an actual monarch. Britain ceased to be a monarchy in any real sense long ago.
The revealed Law is the Constitution. We are then governed by a monarch with real power. No parliament necessary.
I understand you now. I took constitutional monarchy to mean the British system of monarch as figurehead but holding no real power. That is because of the many years I spent in Canadian schools having the principles of constitutional monarchy (and Magna Carta and the Glorious Revolution and William the Silent of Orange) drilled into my heedless head.
Gotcha. I simply meant it as opposed to absolute monarchy. Man can never be autonomous (a law unto himself), whether monarchial or democratic. The revealed Law must be the basis of all governance, and the godly monarch must have the power to institute it. The church, which would be a separate sphere, acts as the moral and prophetic voice. When these three work in tandem, the Kingdom of God would be operating at full steam ahead. Problem is, that whole sin thing gets in the way. So, we are all a work in progress, by grace alone. As much as… Read more »
Do you think abortion should be outlawed, or should women have the right to choose?
I think the argument that makes me craziest is the one that goes, “I think abortion takes a human life but who is the state to make that decision for any other woman?” This from the people who demand that the state ban plastic grocery bags!
Did it occur to you that abortion itself views the woman’s body as a battleground, with an enemy within it?
Yes, as a matter of fact, I have. And so women, at the most vulnerable time in their life, now have war declared on them from both sides of the aisle. So, what if rather than attacking her like we would Berlin, we learned how to empathize and began to perceive her as collateral damage in a war?
For the last four decades every Catholic prolifer I know has treated women who have abortions with empathy and has viewed them as collateral damage. This has not significantly lowered the abortion rate, and there is no real reason to think that it would. In Canada, where abortion is unrestricted through the whole nine months, there is zero talk of punishing women. The vast majority of Canadians do not care much about abortion, and are sympathetic to people who have them. No major political party dares touch the topic. The government will pay for your abortion and shower you with… Read more »
MeMe — “Your objective is to declare war on women. Your goal is to gain control of territory. ” — “Fortunately there are a lot more people like me than there are misguided radicals who perceive women’s bodies as enemy territory belonging to them.” You can’t possibly be serious…never in my life have I heard such absurd assertions. What man do you know (outside of Sharia) wants “to gain control of woman’s bodies” and “perceives woman’s bodies as enemy territory belonging to them.”? If you know of such a man…RUN!…because he is evil incarnate. Then again, if these are the… Read more »
MeMe, I would like to see abortion come to an end, but I most certainly do not view women as the enemy. I believe the enemy of our souls is the devil, who has deceived us (men and women alike) into believing that the child in the womb is not really human, that abortion is a “right” women have over their own bodies while ignoring the rights of the most innocent and helpless of all, and that men and women can engage in adultery and avoid the responsibility that comes as a result of that sin. We know abortion takes… Read more »
Put me firmly in the abolitionist camp. A deal with the devil is not worth our time. The biggest problem I have in this debate is that we seem to have missed the fact that laws are downwind of culture in our republic. Of course we fight for proper laws, but without also fighting for cultural influence, we are doomed to failure. If we raise kids whose goal is to be like the culture, even if it is under the guise of engaging the culture, they swallow those assumptions. Ask anyone under the age of twenty what the purpose of… Read more »
Kilgore, when I ask people under 30 the purpose of marriage, they tell me they don’t have a clue. Why would anyone bother, they tell me. Unless it’s gays, and then of course they should get married because they can. I find most young people a little depressing these days. For one thing, they never seem to produce an original argument.
I’m 29 Jill if it makes you feel better. You have about a month where you can ask someone under 30 about marriage who will give you God’s reasoning.
I might faint in surprise.
In the wider culture, though, it is a mystery what marriage is supposed to confer. Sanctioned sexuality? Obviously not. Exclusive sexuality? No, everyone tacitly understands that beyond a certain point, a sexual relationship is supposed to be exclusive or else a major betrayal has occurred, and that point is independent of marriage, and always precedes it. A proper foundation for child-bearing? Nope. Among the non-Christian millennials of my acquaintance, the marriage frequently happens somewhere around the toddlerhood of the second child. A permanent relationship? Only in a sort of mythic sense, as the idea of ending a marriage simply because… Read more »
Marriage does hold a certain mystery, similar to “Why wear clothes?” Because God has declared it to be! And marriage will continue until He comes!
I think marriage is one of God’s greatest creations. I absolutely adored being married.
True, but we have readier answers than those, even though the mystery lies below it all. We can name distinctions between marriage and non-marriage that are not apparent when one looks at the secular version.
A. Because God said so.
B. In His wisdom, God knew and designed it to be that children do better with a mother AND a father–which is why the enemy has so vehemently and diligently sought to discredit and destroy fatherhood.
Jane, I think when most non-Christian millennials get married they are not thinking about entering any kind of state or having any benefit conferred but about throwing a huge expensive party of which they can be the focus. They have the desire to celebrate but no cause. For many couples the wedding seems to be the culmination rather than the beginning of their relationship, and after the months or even years of planning and anticipation of the wedding, the comedown is too much and they, in bewilderment, watch the relationship fizzle out. A couple I know has been together for… Read more »
So true, Indighost. I know a young couple who found themselves pregnant and decided to marry. All well and good, and the sooner the better, I thought. But they decided to postpone the wedding until after the birth of the baby to give the bride a chance to get slender again. After all, she needed to be able to rock a wedding dress on her special day. If they had been 18, I would have shaken my head sadly but not been surprised. But these were two professional people in their thirties.
Your thought here reminds me of a sentiment of C. S. Lewis on a similar topic:
“I do not, therefore, think that our hope of re-baptizing England lies in trying to ‘get at’ the schools [or legislature, in this case]…. To convert one’s adult neighbor and one’s adolescent neighbor (just free from school) is the practical thing.l
I agree wholeheartedly with your rationale, though not necessarily with your conclusion. In terms of creating laws before culture, I tend to think of how God more often than not deals with mankind. The Hebrew people wanted a king. God told them quite correctly that this was a stupid idea. They wanted a king anyway. So what does he do? Does he forbid them from having a king? No. He gives them a kings and low and behold it was a stupid idea. We get the government and the laws we deserve. Now, that being said, whether or not you… Read more »
I have been enjoying your posts a lot, Justin. May I say without a trace of condescension that you are wise beyond your years!
Well thank you Jill, I appreciate that. Living where I do it’s rare to find many who appreciate my point of view. It was just last year that while walking my kids in their stroller I found just a block from our house written on the street in chalk “death to the white christian taliban”. The tolerance and open mindedness of progressive Washington state is true a sight to behold. The occasional reassurance that I’m not the crazy one is a blessing.
“The tolerance and open mindedness of progressive Washington state is true a sight to behold.”
Presuming that to be sarcasm, you might be interested to know that Washington state is represented here, too, but not by someone “progressive”.
I’m not so sure it was stupid idea.
And, an out and proud theonomist, I am more than happy to institute God’s Law upon the unwilling. My point was that under our current system, unless we influence the culture, we simply won’t be able to keep any kind of law against moms hiring surgeons to dissect their babies for very long.
Trey, we have seen this movie before back in the 1980’s which was the last time we had a real opportunity to turn back the tide and almost nothing was done because of infighting in the ProLife ranks. Back then IF you did not ONLY support pure Human Life Amendment, then you were not really ProLife but pa
rt of the problem.
I read Mr. Reasnor’s article. And to continue the military metaphor (and thus presumably incur MeMe’s indignation)… I think he would argue that supporting a 20-week abortion ban is NOT akin to fighting in Normandy en route to Berlin… rather, it would be more akin to Germany’s sinking of the Lusitania, or the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor. That is, it is an effort in the war that feels at the time like a tactical victory, but which in actual effect achieves very little, and strategically actually works against the larger war effort, ultimately becoming a major cause of defeat in… Read more »
I am somewhat reluctant to join this conversation because of the hostility that is frequently displayed in the comments, and I’m afraid I may simply be throwing more fuel on the fire. Nevertheless, there is another course of action that I feel should be explored. Most discussions of the abortion issue focus on political solutions, and I confess that I used to subscribe to this thought process. It seems clear to me now that pursuing political solutions to spiritual problems is a failing endeavor, with any gains temporary and superficial. I believe that allowing Christ to work through His followers… Read more »
“It seems clear to me now that pursuing political solutions to spiritual problems is a failing endeavor, with any gains temporary and superficial.”
Praise the Lord! Somebody else in the world understands the nature of the problem.
Norm, if we were somehow under the impression that we could cause righteousness through means of political power, then your point would be well taken. And there may be some people who are under that impression, and such people indeed need correction. But on the whole, I think you’re misunderstanding us. When I engage in a subject politically, it’s not out of a belief that the Kingdom of God depends on the result of any political battle. It’s basically the other way around. All authority in heaven and on earth has already been given to Jesus, and both individuals and… Read more »
I think thoughtful and well meaning people can get sidetracked by this reasoning as it applies to abortion. We wouldn’t argue that we can’t legislate against child abuse or sexual assault until hearts have been changed by the Gospel.
Norm, I agree with you that the political will never be enough in itself. We are told that in the future, most abortions will be chemically induced and will be more private and less easy to restrict. That in itself means that we can’t rely on legislation alone. But I think that there is a place for legislated restrictions. Waiting periods seem to me to be reasonable, and actually give the woman a chance not to make a tragic decision out of sheer panic. I got curious the other night, and read a summary of abortion laws in other western… Read more »
Anyone who is serious about their faith in Christ believes this. But at what point does the gospel’s influence eventually result in legal change? Or do we grow the church only so far as it never hinders the secular government? Or do you suggest that the Kingdom of God keeps abortion legal, because it is a heart issue?
Kilgore, I think you and I probably differ a lot about whether the state has a legitimate role in preventing or punishing vice. I would not support the criminalization of fornication. But the state has an overwhelming duty to protect innocent human life. Which is why I think it can’t afford to wait for mass conversions to do something about abortion.
God disagrees with you about criminalizing fornication. Surely you have read those verses, no?
Plus, as a theonomist, I’m not trying to wait for mass conversions. I’m just trying to deal with the reality of the current situation. We can’t give our kids to secularists to catechize. Allow those same indoctrinated secularists to vote for our laws. And then somehow expect to fix things by Supreme Court fiat.
Well, as a Catholic, I’m not much into theonomy–even if we papists get to run it, given that the Catholic church has been, from time to time, a bit tyrannical when entrusted with power over the state. I’m inclined to agree with C. S. Lewis who said: “Theocracy is the worst of all governments. If we must have a tyrant, a robber baron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point be sated; and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes… Read more »
Jill Smith wrote: Catholics tend to see this world as ruled by the prince of darkness, and our hope is for the heavenly kingdom to come. This is why Roman Catholics generally depict Christ as either still at Mary’s breast, or still pinned to the cross. As in much of evangelicalism, there is little comprehension of what to do with the idea of Christ as ascended and crowned King of kings, seated at the right hand of the Father, ruling the nations with a rod of iron, until all His enemies are made a footstool for His feet. There is… Read more »
Katecho, I think Catholics have a fairly robust understanding of Christ the King. I think the reason for our depiction of Christ as Infant or on the cross is because it makes us ever mindful of the Incarnation and the Crucifixion. We meditate that He became man for our sake, and that He suffered an agonizing death to atone for our sins. Catholic eschatology differs from yours. Christ has begun His temporal kingdom in the church. But His kingdom will not have come fully until He returns in glory to judge the living and the dead. Before that can happen,… Read more »
Kilgore, You and I are approaching the issue of abortion with the same desired endstate in mind (that unborn children not be murdered), but I suspect we may view the role of law and politics from different perspectives. I don’t think I can answer your questions in a manner that is both succinct and complete; but I’ll take my best shot, answering them sequentially. If I overstate the obvious, my intent is not to be condescending. 1. I do not think that legal change (legislation) is relevant. The kingdom of God transcends human regulation. The good news of the kingdom… Read more »
Norm, it’s one thing to say that the Kingdom of God is neither dependent upon nor stymied by unjust laws in the present day. We can agree on that. But to say that unjust laws are “irrelevant” is a much stronger statement. Does not God deal with nations, as well as individuals?
And you seem to have a semi-stated assumption that we are expending something (I’m not sure what) on political activity that could otherwise be spent on evangelism. Please elaborate.
Norm Mitchell wrote: It is simply that Jesus is calling us out of the artificial kingdoms of this world and into the authentic kingdom of God. We need to be careful to distinguish counterfeit authority structures from the kingdoms and nations themselves, otherwise we risk being more pious and high minded than Christ. Jesus came to inherit, not just individuals, but the nations, and the kingdoms of the earth, as nations and kingdoms. The kings of the earth will bring their glory into the Kingdom as the nations are discipled. Recall that: Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were… Read more »
I promise to try to avoid sounding hostile….. ;) But something occurred to me in this regard… I generally agree with you, that it is a spiritual/moral problem. And thus, the real solution is to change people’s hearts for the kingdom, and everything you said. However, one additional observation…. one way Of influencing people’s moral perspectives is, in fact, by changing laws. I cannot tell you how many people I have talked with that believe that same-sex marriage must be “moral” since the Supreme Court decided it was ok. Especially young people I talk with. If we could succeed in… Read more »
Doug mentions that abortion violates both the sixth and seventh commandments. But we should note that, in some states, at least one out of four women who are having abortions is married to the father of her child. Because many states don’t collect data on marital status, this number could be higher. Utah has a low abortion rate over all, but 27% of abortion seekers are married women.
I’m not asserting anything here, but it’s worth raising the question of how many of these marriages are in conformity to the seventh commandment. Even there, faithless sexuality may be poisoning the attitude toward children.
Having read Reasnor I think there is some cross purpose discussion going on and I do not think the argument is about incrementalism at all. If there were a law banning all surgical abortion but not specifying medical abortion at all in the legislation, most would approve. If there were a law defunding Planned Parenthood immediately, no opposition. The debate is whether a specific incremental law is in fact incremental, or is it window dressing. Does it do nothing at all but purport to do something? Or worse does it do nothing to prevent abortions but reinforce the types of… Read more »
I’ve been wishing there were a better argument being made for whatever it is that Reasnor believes, since so much of his writing seems besides the point.
Your point is a good one. If a given law accomplishes very little and makes further progress more difficult, that would be a pragmatic objection. But note that he does not position his objection as pragmatic, he claims it is entirely about principle. Perhaps he’s mixing things up?
I believe the principled position will also prove to be the effective position.
I’m glad to see you comment here! Are there any restrictions on abortion (shy of a total prohibition) that you would endorse?
The devil is in the “ism”. Increments are good and fine, just not increments that by their very nature deny the ideas that are being fought for. This will, necessarily, preclude many but not all increments on the political level, but most certainly not increments on the personal and ministerial level. For example, convincing one mother at a clinic to follow our Lord and not murder her baby is an increment. Just a tiny one on a personal and ministerial level.
Ah, this may be a good opportunity to ask a particular question about your view of increments. Suppose a Christian were able to convince a young woman not to abort her specific child without convincing her that no one should abort any child, how would you feel about this? To be clear, I mean that a young lady is brought to believe that it would be wrong to abort her child in her specific circumstances, but she (the mother, distinct from the Christian) maintains a belief that there could be some grounds for abortion in some hypothetical case.
Hi John. Yes, that is what I took your article to mean. From your frustration it seems you don’t want to accept some restrictions on abortion because you don’t truly see them as progress.
And I think Doug in a large part would agree with you. A concession in name that firms up the foundations of the wicked and doesn’t have any real effect on sin is not a concession.
Completely in agreement with this clarifying statement, although I do have to note that it means Reasnor isn’t against increments, in principle.
I’m even willing to be persuaded that a 20 week ban must, by it’s very nature, deny the goal of a complete ban on abortion, but so far I haven’t been persuaded that it must.
bethyada wrote: Having read Reasnor I think there is some cross purpose discussion going on and I do not think the argument is about incrementalism at all. I agree. Reasnor doesn’t actually come across as being against incrementalism, in principle. Rather he seems to be against certain specific legal approaches that happen to be incremental. I think Reasnor makes a very eloquent and powerful case that Christians can take no rest in an abortion ban beyond 20 weeks. However, he assumes that, by supporting a ban beyond 20 weeks, it must be tacit approval of abortions before 20 weeks, as… Read more »
Not that it matters, but those who say “it’s a matter of the heart” don’t want to repeal laws against: rape, theft, murder, etc. Those are also “matters of the heart” and are “spiritual” and “won’t be cured with laws.”
Yet, those laws stay. The reason you don’t want laws against abortion is because you want abortion to be legal.
Mys, I have become skeptical of all “Utopian” arguments for demanding legal abortion. “Until no man ever takes advantage of a woman, there must be abortion.” “Until the government provides 100% support for a pregnant woman and her unborn child, we need abortion.” “Until every mother is a willing mother and every child a wanted child…..” Because they know that the “until” can never, ever be reached.
You are precisely correct Jill.
And, if I may troll and trigger needlessly in other directions, your comment applies to the current state of race relations also.
Well mys, I happen to believe that laws against rape do very little good and that sexual abuse is also a heart issue.
Me Me, I agree with you that sexual abuse is a heart issue (as is most crime) but why must it be an either/or? Why can’t we see rape as both a heart issue and an issue for the criminal justice system? The rapist (who tends to be a repeat offender, according to the statistics) certainly needs to be converted, but isn’t it better for society if he is behind bars in the meantime? The law can’t prevent every rape, but it can take some rapists off the street and prevent at least the minority who get caught from continuing… Read more »
And theft. It’s a heart issue as well. Do laws against it do very little good? Should we repeal laws against theft?
Yes, we will repeal all laws until everyone is naturally good and see how that works out for us. What is not being recognized here is that 24 hours of absolute anarchy would convince everyone to pass the most draconian laws imaginable. We would be chopping hands of thieves out of sheer panic.
You really wish to repeal laws against rape?
How about theft and murder?
I take Wilson’s point about geographic incrementalism. True enough, we’re a long way from being “One Nation, under God” . Which leads very nicely into the 2nd point about how criminal laws can’t roll back the sexual revolution. This is where we get into the vice vs crime kind of discussion and at what point do we want to have a closed society where civil government is tasked with upholding moral codes that aren’t yet considered abhorrent enough to land one in criminal court proceedings. (That’s a whole different discussion about the proper role of government and where it should… Read more »
You couldn’t keep your own wife or daughter from having an abortion (rejecting patriarchal authority and having no means by which you might enforce it) but you fantasize about using state to dictate the actions of women you’ve never met on the other side of the country. The state is your only hope in either instance, since you have no authority, moral or otherwise. Christianity cannot end abortion in America, though Islam could. Maybe there’s a clue there about why Islam is taking over the West.
You should listen to Jordan Peterson’s recent conversation with Camille Paglia.
I haven’t watched it yet but suspect it could be interesting. I assume this is the video? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-hIVnmUdXM
I listened to a podcast but it’s the same.
Barnie, unless you keep her under lock and key, how can the most rigidly exercised patriarchal authority prevent a woman from obtaining an abortion when clinics are so widely available? Her terror of what you might do about it would be countered by the near certainty that you would never find out. Only the state has the power to close abortion clinics, and it is their cheap availability that drives the abortion rates.
So, if my wife decided to have an abortion then the only possible response is for me to write a letter to my congressman. Only the state could restrain such behavior, it could only apply such restraint to abortionists and not those seeking abortions (Unless she’s a doctor, right Wilson?) and could only legitimately do so if it were carrying out the will of the majority of the people rather than acting in an authoritarian manner. There are a lot of unpacked assumptions here that lead to the Supreme Court as the only authority even in momentous acts occurring between… Read more »
Barnie, to what in our recent history would you attribute this undeniable shift (although we disagree about whether it is entirely a bad thing)? 40 Acres of happy memory seemed to blame most moral rot on Virginia v. Loving, but would you go farther back to the 19th Amendment, or even farther back to the passage of married women’s property rights? It’s not that writing your Congressman is your only recourse. It’s that, in a free society which recognizes female autonomy, your only recourse against her having an abortion is to use the legislature and the courts to ensure that… Read more »
If you’ve messed up badly enough to marry a woman willing to abort your child against your wishes, you missed your chance to exercise the right kind of authority. You abdicated it when you married her. I don’t know exactly what society is supposed to do to empower you now to exercise authority in a situation where you chose to give it up irrevocably.
Jane- Are you saying that a man cannot exercise authority over his wife, as is biblical, if he messed up and married the wrong woman? If he married the wrong woman, he missed his chance? In our conversation a couple of weeks ago, this is what I was talking about. All women benefit from feminism. The man is supposed to know better, and not marry “the woman who would abort.” A woman, though, if she is beaten by her husband, “how dare people not show compassion to her?” Yes, compassion, because your comment seemed to lack compassion for the man… Read more »
Compassion is not what’s called for in this instance.
This is actually the opposite of what the Bible teaches about marriage and authority. You made it up on the spot to sooth your resentment of God’s created order.
You think I resent God’s created order?
Not you, Jane
All good. Hard to tell who is talking to who on here sometimes.
I sometimes wonder if some RINO could use the “abolitionist” position as a cover for there liberal views on abortion. “I’ll never vote for a restriction on abortion unless it goes all the way and makes it illegal everywhere, for every reason!” and hence they never have to vote for a restriction on abortion.