Graeme Goldsworthy on asking Jesus into your heart

“Many evangelicals use the evangelistic appeal to ‘ask Jesus into your heart’. The positive aspect of this is that the New Testament speak of ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Col. 1:27); of Christ dwelling ‘in your hearts through faith’ (Eph. 3:17), and the like. It speaks of the Christian as having ‘received Christ Jesus the Lord’ (Col. 2:6). But it also makes clear that Christ dwells among his people by his Spirit, for the bodily risen Jesus is in heaven. Furthermore, there are no examples in the New Testament involving the asking of Jesus into one’s heart. In many cases, this practice represents a loss of confidence in faith alone

“…The gospel is seen more as what God is doing in me now, rather than what God did for me then. The focus is on Jesus living his life in and through me now, rather than the past historic event of Jesus of Nazareth living his life for me and dying for me. When the legitimate subjective dimension of our salvation begins to eclipse the historically and spiritually prior objective dimension, we are in trouble. The New Testament calls on the repenting sinner to believe in Christ, to trust him for salvation. To ask Jesus into one’s heart is simply not a New Testament way of speaking. It is superfluous to call on Christ to dwell in us, for to be a believer is to have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us. In the same way, it is not the New Testament perspective that we should call on Christ to give us the gift of new birth.”

Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations and Principles of Evangelical Biblical Interpretation (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2006), 176-177.

Eugene Peterson on American Ambitions

“Competitive ambition and the accompanying disciplines that bring about its achievement can be pursued, and more often that not are pursued, without conscience, without love, without compassion, without humility, without generosity, without righteousness, without holiness. Which is to say, quite apart from maturity. Immature entertainment celebrities routinely walk out on their families. Immature scholars and scientists who collect Nobel Prizes make do with estranged and godless lives. Immature star athletes regularly embarrass their coaches and fans by infantile and adolescent, sometimes criminal, behavior.

These are the men and women who set the standards for a life fueled by ambition, getting to the top, making a name for themselves, beating out the competition. These are the men and women who provide the images and examples for North Americans of what it means to be standout human beings. Do any of us want to live, I mean really LIVE, that way? Is that living? Has that ever, in the entire history of humankind, been living—fully alive?

I don’t think so. And I don’t think many other people think so when they stop to think, if they ever do. The misery, the emptiness, the superficiality, the boredom, the desolation that accompanies this kind of living is devastating, not only to the individuals involved but to their families and communities. And the seepage of such lives into our culture—for no man is an island unto himself—impoverishes us all.”

Eugene H. Peterson, Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012), 90-91.

How I Became Pro-Life

2012-12-10 20.04.55Although it will probably be a lot different, imagine a few people from various historic periods standing around a water cooler in Heaven.

One person lived in the Southern US during the early 1800’s.

Another person lived in Germany during the 1930’s and 40’s.

The last person was born in 1985.

As the conversation drifts to the fact that there is no slavery in Heaven, the person who lived in the 1800’s gets very quiet. It’s clearly awkward for them because they never spoke out against slavery.

As the conversation drifts to the fact that Jews are not being murdered wholesale in Heaven, the person who lived in the 1930’s and 40’s in Nazi Germany gets very quiet. It’s clearly awkward for them because they never spoke out against the evils of the Third Reich.

Which topic would make the person born in 1985 grow awkwardly quiet? The Church is pretty vocal against many of the evils of our day: pornography, sexual immorality, global slavery, greed. And yet the Church seems to look the other way in other cases: divorce, gluttony, sloth, materialism.

However, I’m convinced that there is one topic that is largely ignored and yet is the worst human rights crisis in human history. Abortion.

I’ve been afraid to write about this for a long time. Afraid that I’d upset some people I love. Afraid that angry, loud people would ‘come after me’ on social media. But the truth is, abortion is a topic about which I can no longer remain silent. I thought the best place to start would be a simple explanation of how I became adamantly, unwaveringly, and uncompromisingly pro-life.

My journey towards becoming pro-life started, of all places, on the Alaskan Canadian Highway. With my pregnant wife sleeping in the passenger seat, I began listening to a sermon I heard about John leaping for joy inside the womb when he heard Mary’s voice, and I was convinced that, for Christians, there was no other position but for us to be resolutely pro-life. I had previously been an ‘agnostic’ towards abortion; I thought it was bad for Christians but permissible for non-Christians. I would have said “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? (1 Cor. 5:12)” I thought that those who held a pro-abortion stance surely had a good reason for doing so, even if I disagreed with them. Almost like the fact that I bought a Honda but other people purchase Subarus, Fords, or Chevys. Surely, those in favor of abortion had good reasons for supporting it… or so I thought.

The next piece of the puzzle was Tumblr. Before I decided to share a quote on this blog every Friday, I had a Tumblr site where I would send them. One day, I posted a link to this video:

Looking back, I don’t really know what motivated me to share that video. I was still a little on the fence about abortion. However, that video was quickly reposted by some abortion advocates and I got to see ‘pro-choice logic’ first-hand. Most people just attacked John Piper (ad hominem), which did nothing to convince me that abortion should be legal. Others argued that a fetus can’t sustain itself, and thus could be aborted. But, if a fetus can’t sustain itself, why would someone need an abortion? In other words, the fetus can sustain itself in its environment, which is why women get abortions in the first place. Furthermore, even a toddler can’t sustain herself without her parents. Can we ‘abort’ toddlers? Another person argued that the fetus looked like a “f***ing shrimp,” so who cares? In short, because a fetus is unattractive it should be expendable. But, using that logic, does that mean that all ugly people should be killed? And who decides who is ugly? A few others appealed to women’s rights. But what about unborn women’s rights? All of the ‘pro-choice logic’ that I encountered was completely illogical. Most of it was self-refuting; none of it was convincing.

Then, on November 22, 2011, my wife went into labor a week early. I remember realizing that Kara was coming a week early. Since Oregon has no abortion restrictions on the books, they would—technically—have still allowed me to get an abortion up until my daughter’s due date. And yet, here she was, a week early. Completely, 100% viable, and yet still abort-able?! Nothing biological was going to change when she was born. In fact, nothing had changed enough to make Kara morally different at any point, whether inside the womb or out. Certainly there had not been enough change in her to morally justify killing her at any point. (Note: I’m not saying there were no biological changes, I’m saying there were none that were substantial enough to morally justify killing her.)

Why then is abortion legal? It certainly isn’t constitutional. I was deep in my thoughts when it came time for my wife to start pushing. Our daughter was born on November 23rd, early in the morning.

The more I learned about abortion, the worse it got:

  • There are about 3,300 abortions every day in American, or 2.3 every minute (do the math here).
  • In 2007 there were 1,210,000 abortions in America, making it the leading cause of death in our country, the next closest is heart disease at 597,689 deaths (source).
  • In 2008, there were 43.8 million abortions in the world. To give you a comparison, during WWII (when people were actively trying to kill one another), there were about 10 million deaths per year (see WWII Casualties and divide by 6, the number of years the war was officially fought). In other words, the abortion holocaust is 4 times more deadly than all the armies in the world during World War II.
  • Despite the rhetoric, only 0.006% of abortions in UK are performed to save the mother’s life (source).
  • In the US only 2% of abortions are because of rape/incest or the mother’s health (source).
  • Planned Parenthood targets blacks and Hispanics; 79% of their clinics are in minority neighborhoods (source).
  • In fact, when you combine natural deaths with abortion deaths, African Americans are dying in our country faster than they are being born (read more here).
  • Although abortion is touted as a women’s right, it was legalized by 7 unelected men, is primarily performed by men, and in many cases is pressured on women by men (see point 2).
  • Abortion is a world war on women: “In one recent study of clinics in Bombay, of 8,000 abortions, 7,997 were of female foetuses, leading to a move to ban ultra-sound for sexual differentiation. In one hospital 96% of mothers who were told they had a daughter aborted, while 100% with sons carried to term (source).” See also It’s a Girl: The Three Deadliest Words in the World.
  • Finally, pro-abortion logical inevitably leads to infanticide. In February 2012, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva published a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics called “After-Birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?” with their first line of reasoning being that “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus…” (source). Their argument is that, since we kill children in the womb, why not kill them outside the womb?

I’m convinced that the greatest way to fight abortion is by educating people about it. (If you’re pro-choice and you don’t believe me, just go look at some pictures of abortion victims. There’s a reason they’re so disturbing.) With abortion taking over 40 million lives per year globally, it is the worst human rights crisis in human history. Our generation can no longer remain silent on this issue. We must speak out for those who have no voice. A society founded on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness will lose its pursuit of happiness if it does not respect liberty. It will lose its liberty if it does not respect life. Life is the most fundamental right to any human. We cannot look the other way. We cannot remain silent.

Our sin is like the sin of Sodom. In Ezekiel 16, the Lord sends Ezekiel to rebuke Jerusalem and he says this: “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it. (Eze. 16:49-50).” The sin of Sodom was that they did not aid the poor and needy. There is no one more helpless—more poor and needy—than a child inside her mother’s womb. There are 3,300 poor and needy every day—2.3 every minute—who are stripped of their most fundament, most sacred, of human rights. We can change this. Indeed, we must. Pray, learn, and speak about this human rights crisis.