Confident Faith - February 2018

Here's one of the best Pro-Life articles I've seen in a long time. It reveals the gut level inconsistency of killing the unborn.

Abortion Justifications Flip Moral Reasoning Upside Down

by Amy Hall/Stand to Reason (str.org)

Unfortunately, in the last few years we’ve had more than one opportunity in this nation to ponder this question: Why are we more grieved and outraged when a child is murdered than when an adult is murdered, even though both are valuable human beings? As I’ve watched, listened, and considered, three reasons have come to the forefront:

  • The child didn’t have a chance to live his life.
  • We feel a special responsibility to protect children because they’re dependent on us.
  • The more innocent the human being, the more deeply we grieve the crime perpetrated against her.

The younger the child gets, the more our horror increases: A high school bus is hit by a drunk driver, and we mourn; elementary school students are murdered by a gunman, and we have national grief; babies at a daycare are targeted by a terrorist, and our shock and anger at the heinousness of it consumes us. The horror increases as the age decreases...until we reach the womb. Then suddenly, all our moral reasoning is flipped on its head.

Once we go back in age beyond that magical point, we use those same three reasons not to condemn abortion, but to justify it:

  • Instead of opposing abortion because a child has her entire future outside the womb taken from her, we justify it by saying she didn’t yet have any "interests" since she wasn’t aware of what she’ll be missing.
  • Instead of opposing abortion because of our keenly-felt responsibility to protect the most defenseless of children, we justify it by saying their total dependence on us is parasitical and therefore we have a right to deny our consent for them to depend on us.
  • Instead of opposing the violent actions of abortion taken against the most innocent of us, we justify it by comparing those unborn children to violent attackers from whom we have a right to defend ourselves.

Do you see the ridiculousness of this? If it’s a tragedy when a five-year-old loses the rest of his life, isn’t it an even greater tragedy when an unborn baby loses every experience waiting for him outside the womb? A five-year-old has seen much of what life is about, though only for a short time. An aborted baby has had even that short time stolen from him. It’s the very fact that an unborn child has not had a chance to become aware of his objectively real interests that makes his death more tragic, not less.

Why are we not consistent on this moral principle of increased horror with decreased age? It makes no sense to arbitrarily flip this principle upside down and use the very points that normally condemn violence against the young to justify it.

Harold Henderson

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Confident Faith - January 2018

I have added a daily reading to my prayer time from “The Valley of Vision”, a compilation of almost 200 short prayers of our Puritan fathers. I have found these prayers from the 16th-17th century refreshing and insightful to the current day with the same flesh talking to the same unchanging God.

Below is one of the prayers from that book:

“Fullness

Thou hast revealed me to myself as a mass of sin, and thyself as the fullness of goodness, with strength enough to succour me, wisdom enough to guide me, mercy enough to quicken me, love enough to satisfy me.

Thou hast shown me that because thou art mine I can live by thy life, be strong in thy strength, be guided by thy wisdom; and so I can pitch my thoughts and heart in thee.

This is the exchange of wonderful love – for me to have thee for myself, and for thee to have me, and to give me thyself.

There is in thee all fullness of the good I need, and the fullness of all grace to draw me to thyself, who, else, could never have come.

But having come, I must cleave to thee, be knit to thee, always seek thee.

There is none all good as thou art: with thee I can live without other things, for thou art God all-sufficient, and the glory, peace, rest, joy of the world is a creaturely, perishing thing in comparison to thee.

Help me to know that he who hopes for nothing but thee, and for all things only for thee, hopes truly, and that I must place all my happiness in holiness, if I hope to be filled with all grace.

Convince me that I can have no peace at death, nor hope that I should go to Christ, unless I intend to do his will and have the fullness while I live.”

Perhaps your prayer time would benefit from reading these prayers, too.

Harold

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Confident Faith - December 2017

One of my favorite movies is the 1985 western "Silverado" starring Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, and Danny Glover. Glover plays "Mal", a prodigal son character who left his parents' farm for the big city, Chicago. He eventually decides the city is not for him only to return and find his father living in a cave after his farm had been stolen, his mother dead, and his sweet little sister survivng as a saloon floozy consorting with a cheating gambler. Mal is frequently heard saying "That ain't right!" and goes about setting things right. His part intertwines with the other heroes who are doing the same thing from different directions all converging on the corrupt rancher and sheriff who have taken over the town of Silverado.

Proverbs 24:11-12 is a call to action for us in situations that prompt a "That ain't right!" response:

"Deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back. If you say, "See, we did not know this," Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?"

This passage does not leave inaction as an option. Jesus did not take a pass on the "That ain't right!" of sin. He stood up, took on human form, and walked all the way to a bloody cross for us. God's word should compel us to action - to stand and not be quiet in the face of lies, and to present a gracious yet firm reason for the Truth - the "Hope within us" of 1 Peter 3:15. How are we doing standing up to evil?

As an example. look at the German Christians who largely rolled over as Nazisim grew in 1930's Germany. A few stood and paid the price but most just sang hymns louder as the trainloads passed enroute to the extermination camps. Look at the American church that largely rolls over in the face of cultural pressure for abortion and same sex marriage. Let me make a staggering point. The German holocaust may have killed over 20 million people, but since Roe v Wade legalized abortion in the United States, close to 60 million human beings have been killed!

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate those who are right-minded on abortion and other evils, those who pray, and those who take the extra step to give money to organizations like Life Choices -- but the action words "Deliver" and "hold them back" of Prov 24:11-12 are a call for active personal involvement, a call for action!

"That ain't right" situations in the world need to be confronted with Confident Christianity in Action. What are you doing?

Harold

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Confident Faith - November 2017

"You can't be certain about the claims of Christianity," says the lady to whom you are witnessing. How do you answer?

The key is the word, "certain." Ask her what she means by "certain" and for an example of a decision she makes on that kind of certainty.

Is she imposing a standard of absolute certainty (no possible doubt) that no one really lives by? There is almost no decision in our lives that we make with 100% certainity. You drive through the green light, but do you have 100% certainty that you won't be broadsided? No. You know there are people killed every day because someone ran a red light, but you know the probability is very low. That knowledge, and past experience, leads you to make a "reasonable" decision to drive through the green light inspite of the "possible" deadly consequences.

J. Warner Wallace, cold-case homocide detective, explains this in light of life impacting courtroom decisions:

"So, when someone tells me that they can’t make a decision about the existence of God or the claims of Christianity because they still have possible doubts or unanswered questions, I simply remind them that criminal juries make critical decisions every day without possessing the level of certainty they are imagining. In fact, none of us know much of anything “beyond a possible doubt.” Instead, we move forward through life with a very different standard of proof, growing comfortable with decisions that are “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If that standard is good enough for the most critical decisions we make in the courtroom and in our daily lives, it’s good enough for any decision we might make about God’s existence or the truth of Christianity.”
"Rapid Response: 'You Can't be certain about the claims of Christianity" by J. Warner Wallace at http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/rapid-response-you-cant-be-certain-about-the-claims-of-christianity/

Challenge this unrealistic expectation, and then go back to the evidence for the Gospel. That's Confident Christianity overcoming obstacles.

Harold

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Confident Faith - December 2016

When Eternal Agape Came Down to Us. I’ve previously written about the Trinity being a “solution” rather than a “problem” for Christians, particularly as it provides an eternal foundation for love (agape). Love was not created but is an eternal, personal, binding characteristic of the three persons of the Trinity.

Islam claims Allah is self-sufficient, eternal, and loving, but since Allah is a monad – god in one person, this is a contradiction. Love requires something to love. This makes Allah dependent on something else for an essential and eternal characteristic. Islam vehemently rejects the Christian Trinitarian God, but this biblical formulation of one God in three persons provides a coherent foundation for a relational and loving God where Islam fails.

Below is a quote from the book: “No God but One: Allah or Jesus” by Nabeel Qureshi (in the church library) that adds to our appreciation of Agape love through the Trinity.

“This is not a trivial difference [between Islam and Christianity], though; it has major implications. Since mankind is made in the image of the triune God, love is woven into our very nature. The Trinity gives us the most consistent, most powerful basis for being self sacrificial and altruistic.

This is an important point to unpack. Of course, many people are very altruistic, regardless of their worldviews. A person does not need to believe in God to genuinely care for others, as secular humanists demonstrate. There are even people who do not believe in any kind of morality yet still desire to care for people. Ultimately, though, such ungrounded altruism is a sentiment, something a person just wants to do. Unless one believes in a transcendent basis for altruism, one’s desire to care for people is unanchored and ephemeral, little more than a whim. According to this amoral worldview, nothing behooves a person to be kind. Even though someone might wish to be altruistic, in the next moment it would be entirely consistent with their worldview if they chose to be selfish.”

Agape is so much greater than just optional altruism. At Christmas, we celebrate the transcendent agape take on human form, be born as a baby, and dwell among us that we might see what love really is – all the way to a cross.

I hope this adds to your appreciation of Christmas – when eternal agape came down to us, and made the way for us to join into the eternal loving fellowship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Merry Christmas.

Harold Henderson

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