Pastor's Corner

29 Jun
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Mid-Week Challenge

We continue to hear about and witness the reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision last week on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, in which the court held that the Constitution of the United States does not confer any right to abortion. This decision has caused many Christians to evaluate where they stand on abortion under any circumstance.  If you are looking to approach this subject in a serious fashion, removed from emotional rhetoric, R.C. Sproul has an excellent book, Abortion: A Rational Look at an Emotional Issue. Not only does he cover the issues, but he gives an excellent guide as to how a Christian might approach decision making.  A portion of chapter 5 of his book is highlighted in the article: What if You're Not Sure about Abortion?  The article will take about 10 minutes to read and a while to digest, but it will help direct you in making a personal decision about this very important issue.  Below are a few paragraphs from the article.

How does public opinion change on an issue?

I submit that the greatest cause of the change of public opinion is the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade. There is a strong tendency among people of any nation to take their direction as to what is ethically right from what the law allows or what the society condones. The unspoken assumption is that if it is legal, it is therefore moral. Sadly, this conclusion does not reflect much sober thinking or ethical analysis, yet the syndrome is repeated in culture after culture. We still wonder how the people of Germany could have been duped into supporting the programs of Adolf Hitler, but it is a fact of history that they were. Once a decision has been reached in a nation's highest court, that decision's subsequent influence on the shaping of public opinion is enormous.

How does one make hard decisions in disagreements?

Earlier in United States history, a folk hero who became a congressman wrestled with the problem of making ethical choices. Davy Crockett once declared, "Be sure you're right; then go ahead." This adage is both prudent and dangerous. It is prudent in that it echoes a biblical principle that gives guidance when we lack moral certainty. In his epistle to the Romans, the apostle Paul gave extensive counsel to Christians regarding such matters. The issue was the legality of Christians eating meat that had been offered to idols in pagan rituals. Some believers were convinced such dining was wrong, while others were persuaded it was acceptable. Paul gave his counsel in Romans 14

What if we are at a crossroads and still are not 100%?

To be sure, there are occasions when, after careful consideration of ethical principles, we are still not certain what is the proper action. We are out of time or have exhausted our ability for reflection, but we must make a decision and act. Either option before us may be sinful or just — we simply cannot discern which. It is in these excruciating circumstances that we remember the advice of Martin Luther to "sin boldly." Luther meant that if we have done all we can to discern what is right and the time has come to act, then, even if our actions are sinful, we should act with boldness.

How our consciences are informed is crucial. At the Diet of Worms, Luther was called on by church and state to renounce his views. He declared, "Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason — I do not accept the authority of popes and councils... my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot... recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe." Luther was saying, "Show me by the teaching of the Bible, or by clear and sound reasoning, or I will not change my position." He was not willing to follow a certain path merely because it was the conventional or socially acceptable path. He sought a clear and certain basis for his conduct.

In every ethical crisis, people argue passionately and eloquently for both sides of the issue. Sometimes the arguments on both sides are more emotional than rational.  Luther declared that to act against conscience is neither right nor safe. We have seen why acting against conscience is not right. Why did Luther add that it was not safe? Surely, he had a theological consideration in mind. He was a man who harbored a strong fear of divine judgment. Luther believed in God and was persuaded that God would hold him accountable for all of his actions in this life.

If there is a God, and if we are convinced that the evidence for His existence is compelling, then without question we are accountable to Him for our actions. Before we choose to participate in abortion, we must give serious consideration to what God's views in the matter might be. To ignore this is to ignore the call of conscience and to place ourselves in a perilous position. If an act against conscience is an act against God, then we can easily see how dangerous such an action is.

For You formed my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.. Psalm 139:13-14

Serving the Savior,

Bro. Jonathan

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