My reflections and musings on the struggle to leave a Christ-shaped impression on the world of law and public policy.


Monday, April 26, 2010

The Fear of the Lord

It is one of the top three things I hope to impart to my children. Our God is absolutely kind, absolutely loving, absolutely concerned about them and the smallest details of their little lives. And yet, He is no mere doting Grandpa. This God that we have the privilege of knowing is the Great Jehovah.

As J. I. Packer aptly stated, "We are modern people, and modern people, though they cherish great thoughts of themselves, have as a rule small thoughts of God. ... Today, vast stress is laid on the thought that God is personal, but this truth is so stated as to leave the impression that God is a person of the same sort as we are--weak, inadequate, ineffective, a little pathetic. Our personal life is a finite thing: it is limited in every direction, in space, in time, in knowledge, in power. But God is not so limited. He is eternal, infinite and almighty. He has us in his hands; we never have him in ours. Like us, he is personal; but unlike us, he is great. In all its constant stress on the reality of God's personal concern for his people, and on the gentleness, tenderness, sympathy, patience and yearning compassion that he shows toward them, the Bible never lets us lose sight of his majesty and his unlimited dominion over all his creatures."

I have been reading through the Old Testament, where the power, majesty and holiness of God occupy the forefront. What a convicting thing it is to be reminded and to really reflect upon the fact that the God we serve today is the very same God who stood the waters up like a wall, that His people might walk out of slavery--and then let the same waters swallow up the mighty armies of Pharaoh! He is the same God who is so aggrieved by human sin that Moses--dear, humble Moses who is the very model of patience as far as I am concerned--was not permitted to enter the promised land because he struck the rock (thus doing it his own way) rather than speaking to the rock as God had commanded.

What does this have to do with Virginia's pro-life movement? Everything. J. I. Packer points out that "Those who know God have great thoughts of God. ... [They know that] God . . . rules history and shows his sovereignty in acts of judgment and mercy toward individuals and nations according to his own good pleasure." When we know the God of the Bible well, giving full weight to His attributes of omnipotence, holiness and justice as well as His other attributes, I submit that we will not plot our courses based on deference to the powers of this world (think "political realities," "Supreme Court make-up," "polling data," etc.) , but rather by the conviction that we must follow our Lord and take up the battles to which He points us.

Of course, God gives us wisdom and the ability to reason so that we might use them for His purposes. The line between prudently choosing and planning your battles and shrinking back because of the fear of man and his institutions is a fine line, indeed. But it is a line that we must walk in order to be faithful to a mighty, awesome God.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

From Assent to Action

Some time ago, Scott and I were discussing my "activist" inclinations. He knew, of course, that I have believed that abortion should be illegal for as long as I can remember. He was surprised, though, to see me becoming so actively involved in the pro-life effort.

What happened to move me from passive pro-lifer to pro-life activist? I went from believing the situation was beyond hope to seeing a way that I could work toward fundamental change. Having assumed, for years, that there was simply nothing to be done to stop abortion so long as Roe v. Wade stood, I saw little point in participating in the chorus of impotent gripes against the Supreme Court.

Thanks to my friend, Daniel Woodard, who enlightened me on the personhood movement, three years ago I took several months to research Supreme Court abortion precedent and this idea of "personhood"--that a void remained in the law where states might define "persons" for purposes of state law to include those whom the Supreme Court had found excluded under the federal Constitution.

Now, I don't subscribe to all of the legal arguments propounded by some advocates of "personhood." But I do see real opportunity, through a series of legislative actions beginning with an inclusive definiton of "persons," for states to take back abortion law. And it is this glimpse of opportunity that has changed my position from passive assent to action.

Friends, where there is a good work set before us, let us not grow weary in doing good. Let us never be content to decry the muck in our culture with our megaphones while a shovel lies before us.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Rubber Meets the Road

Last night I attended a "Mass Meeting" for the selection of persons to fill certain positions in Rockingham County's Republican Party. I also had the opportunity to hear speeches from four gentlemen who are vying for Matt Lohr's seat in the House of Delegates. It got me to thinking...

I've heard it said that when considering our choices for elected representatives, we should not be "single-issue" voters. The abortion issue is only one of many important issues facing our nation, and there is much at stake on all of these issues. I agree with that assessment. And yet, knowing what I know now, I don't think I can ever bring myself to actively support any candidate who is only nominally "pro-life."

It is true that our nation faces a multitude of important issues, many of them economic ones. But no matter how many great economic ideas a candidate may have, if he or she is willing to turn a deaf ear and a cold shoulder to the crime being perpetrated against an entire class of human beings created in the image of God--a crime being sanctioned and even funded by our government--then how can I wholeheartedly support that person's candidacy?

Hitler had great economic ideas for Germany, and he rose to power on a wave of nationalism and desire to return Germany to a place of prosperity. But I submit that most of us would condemn, in the strongest terms, those who continued to support his regime after his intentions with regard to the Jews were known. Likewise, I submit we would condemn those who held no personal animosity toward the Jews but simply allowed the slaughter to continue--no matter what their excuses may have been.

I'm certainly not trying to compare any particular person to Hitler, but the point is this: if we, as citizens, believe--if we REALLY believe--that unborn children are human beings created in the image of God, then how can we actively support any candidate who doesn't pledge to actively work to end legalized abortion? This is where the rubber meets the road. Do we believe what we say we believe? If so, I see no place for lukewarmness.

The other issues are important, too. An active opposition to legalized abortion is a necessary but not sufficient qualification, in my view. It's time to raise the bar.