Friday, 28 August 2015

How do you use the tool of Scripture?

There are two ways to read the Bible. 

One is to read the Bible looking for passages and verses that confirm, bolster, strengthen, prove or otherwise seem to support our already held ideas and beliefs.  Someone who reads Scripture this way usually has a concrete stance on something and is looking for ways to argue their personal perspective in a more effective, powerful and authoritative way, so they seek to rally God’s Word to their pet cause.  This is using the Bible as a tool to accomplish their own ends, which is an unbelieving and unfaithful way to employ the Scriptures.  Reading the Bible in this way is reading it the wrong way. 

The other way to read the Bible is to receive it.  The Bible is a tool (though not merely a tool), but it is one that God wields on us long before we can turn around and wield it for any outward focus or goal.  The Bible is a gift which God has given to his people to be received.  It is a sword to be wielded, certainly, but before anyone can draw this sword and point it at anything, they themselves must first be worked upon by the sword in the hands of the Spirit.  Rather than using the Bible to prove our preconceived ideas and pet interpretations, we must submit all those ideas and understandings to the scrutiny of the Word itself.  The Holy Scriptures are what is true, what is first, what is foundational, what is ultimate, what is absolute.  We are the works in progress.  We submit to God’s Word, not it to us.  We must not seek to bend the Scriptures to our preferences or employ them to our purposes.  We must seek to be formed and shaped by them, for that is God’s purpose in the Scriptures for us.  Only when we are first shaped by the Scriptures can we hope to be used by the Spirit to employ the Scriptures to shape anything else.

Too often Christians handle the Bible as though it were a block of marble and we go to work on it with hammer and chisel, hoping to show everyone else that it is shaped the way we imagine it to be.  Instead, we must approach Scripture as though it is the tool in the hands of the Sculptor and we are the slab of marble which that tool is forming into a shape that conforms to the vision and purpose the Sculptor has for us.  Holy Scripture is a tool not to be worked by us until it has first worked on us.

Planned Parenthood update round-up

See Justin Taylor's post on the 7th PP video here as well as his post on the 8th PP video here. 

Be sure to scroll down each post to see further solid and helpful additional material that Justin Taylor has pulled together, some of which informs on the scope of the abortion issue and some of which helps to form a biblical response to it.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Planned Parenthood update...

Justin Taylor at The Gospel Coalition has a round-up of Planned Parenthood related news, including the lastest videos to be released.

Doug Wilson has more clear thinking on this unfolding moral drama.

Also, I want to encourage you to encourage every pro-lifer you know to get in touch with the various corporate sponsors of Planned Parenthood.  You can find a list of them HERE.  Every one of them has a website with a "contact" tab.  Corporations make decisions based on the market (what sells) or direct pressure from consumers (why people will no longer be customers).  Hit them in the bottom line.  Tell them that if they continue to sponsor PP, you will no longer spend your money on their products and you will be sure to share the fact of their sponsorship of PP with other pro-lifers you know.  I contacted both the Canadian & American Cancer Societies as well as Starbucks to let them know of my opposition to their support of PP.  From what I've heard, many others have put pressure on them as well and both have stated that do not support or no longer support PP.  Lets make sure all on this list hear from us.  United Way is one that really needs to hear loud and clear that they won't see any more money from pro-lifers if their support for PP continues.

And don't just fight PP.  Make sure that as you take the fight to them with one hand, you take the care to your local Pregnancy Care Centre with the other. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Panned Parenthood update

Yes, the title of this post is intentional - read on.  Here is a post by Tim Challies about how to respond to the current Planned Parenthood outrage over the sale of aborted baby's body parts.  If you watch the fourth video released by the Centre for Medical Progress, you will see Planned Parenthood staff dissecting, identifying, sorting and discussing the body parts of an aborted baby while they discuss the relative demand for the various parts.  You will also hear a lab tech declare that, "it's a boy", while sorting through the dead child's remains in a Pyrex pie plate (hence my blog post title - and I'm not intending this pun to be remotely funny).

Beyond the obvious fact of the atrocities being committed by Planned Parenthood as they murder hundreds of thousands of babies a year, the thing that strikes me so strongly as I watch these videos is the casual nature of the people participating in this baby holocaust.  The atmosphere is so sterile, the conversations so matter-of-fact, the manner so casual, the evil so clinical, so efficient, so bureaucratic.  This is convenient slaughter, this is murder and dismemberment where customer service is their specialty, whether you are a mother looking to have an abortion (80% of women who come to Planned Parenthood facilities for an abortion are simply seeking to end an unwanted pregnancy, rather than wanting an abortion due to medical reasons), or a "tissue sourcing" firm looking to purchase body parts, Planned Parenthood wants your experience to be efficient and satisfactory.  They want your future business. 

I encourage anyone who reads Challies' post above to read the other articles he's linked to as well.  For some further clear thinking on this issue and how best to respond in a way that will help end this tragedy, see also these posts:

Ross Douthat at the NY Times says that there is no pro-life case for Planned Parenthood, as some liberals have attempted to argue.

Justin Taylor also links to the 4th video and notes that a senior PP staffer says their doctors often save specimens for their own projects so she knows that it is possible to conduct abortions in such a way as to save whole, intact babies for sale.  You can see this here.

Kevin DeYoung reminds us why unborn babies have inherent value and why they are, in fact, people, and why their value or viability does not depend on size, independence, intelligence, or any of the other factors that pro-abortion advocates say render them not yet human.  You can read Kevin's thoughts here.

Over at Desiring God there is a convicting post which asks if the evangelical church's stance against abortion is too weak, pointing to the estimate that of the 1.2 million abortions every year in the US, approximately 156,000 of them are evangelical women getting abortions (if the stats are correct, which they probably are - compare them with the divorce stats, after all, which is something else evangelicals are supposed to be against).  You can read that here.  And while your there, you should read this article as well.

No one I know of is doing more online to help the church think this whole thing through, and fire up the church to seize this moment as a strategic opportunity to deal a crushing blow to the abortion lobby than Doug Wilson.  Lets hope he is widely read and heard on this.  He has had so many posts about the PP outrages lately that I will just link to his blog and you can scroll down and read the applicable posts.  Doug's blog is here.