I really appreciate John Reasnor’s demeanor and reasonability as he seeks to take me to task over my pro-life incrementalism. There are some back-benchers in his corner who are pretty surly (but enough about Boljidar), but I think Reasnor is going out of his way to have an actual discussion, and I do appreciate it.
Reasnor says that he will let Joel McDurmon handle my questions about the seventh commandment, but the questions still remain for all that. I am concerned that if they are not careful, American Vision is going to fall between two stools. There really does appear to be something like theonomic mission drift going on, and it seems to me to be entirely possible to alienate your natural constituency without winning over any new constituencies. I am making no accusations, but I would urge caution.
Reasnor said this:
“We have to understand the difference between a just King going from town to town (thus not overnight) destroying idols, and a compromised King going town to town only tearing down a fraction of the idols he comes across.”
Which makes me wonder why Reasnor didn’t respond to my citation of Asa. He was a compromised king, perfect in all his days.
“But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days” (2 Chron. 15:17).
I grant that Asa had problems—the text says that he did. But I am submitting that in this gnarly world, it should be possible for an uncompromised prophet to work with (and to praise) a compromised king. The text also says that he was perfect all his days—high praise for a man who stopped short.
Let me see if I can highlight the issue, and so here is a thought experiment. Suppose I run for governor, and I do so as an outspoken abolitionist. I agree with everything Reasnor has argued, and I argue that way myself. I get elected by some fluke, probably having to do with my plan for the tax rates, but I get elected in some red state like Idaho. That would mean that my legislature is full of standard-issue pro-lifers, of the very kind that Reasnor objects to. That means that for the first time the governor is to the right of the legislature on abortion. Still with me?
Let me say further that in my state, for the last 20 years, there are one thousand legal abortions a year, and that 900 of them happen prior to 20-weeks. The legislature passes and places on my desk a “pain-capable” bill, banning abortions after 20 weeks. If I sign it, then 100 unborn lives a year will be saved. If I refuse to go along with such compromised triage, refusing to save 100 because they wouldn’t let me save all 1,000, what have I done?
I have refused to establish a beachhead at Normandy, that’s what. And this would be culpable even if I succeeded in coming to an agreement with Reasnor that my legislature was full of pro-life temporizers. I could agree with that, but I would still sign the bill–and I would do it with a song in my heart. Of course I would issue a signing statement along with it, saying that this bill was merely a start in the right direction, and that when it comes to the dignity of all human life, it was entirely inadequate. We can do better, etc.
Boil this all down. If Reasnor were in that position as a governor, would he sign the bill or would he refuse? If he would sign it, then I have no fundamental differences with him, and we should debate and discuss the terminology we are using. If he wouldn’t sign, then I would want to move the debate over to the proposition that perfectionism paralyzes.