Central Streaming: Church and State

Paul’s Letter to the Romansapostle-paul

Christ must have our first and complete loyalty.  Still, human government is also instituted by God.

Romans 13.1-7.pdf       

Romans 13.1-7.mp3

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Thoughts on the Life/Choice Debate

This week we are in Galatians 1:11-24.  In Galatians 1:15, Paul says God “separated me from my mother’s womb” and called him to a very specific ministry. 

This is a thread that runs all through the Bible.  Abraham, for example, was promised a son (and a whole bunch of descendants, for that matter) some 25 years before the birth of Isaac.  Jeremiah was called to be a prophet “Before God formed him in the womb” (Jer. 1:5).  And so on, we could follow this thread for a very long time. Therefore, abortion has long been frowned upon by those who take the Bible as authoritative.

There is, however, another argument in favor of a pro-life stance which does not rest on biblical authority (an unacceptable basis in American political culture these days).  Here is how it goes and I welcome all comments and counter-arguments.  Thanks to Norman Geisler for stating the case similarly (2004).

Both the right to life and the right to liberty are important values to both sides. The controversy is really only over which value applies in the case of abortion.

There is good reason for anyone to believe that an unborn child or fetus is a person. For example it has its own:

  1. Unique genetic code at conception.
  2. Blood type, which is determined genetically at conception
  3. Gender determined at conception
  4. Body: For example, heartbeat and brainwaves can both be detected by 3 and 6 weeks, respectively.

This list could go on and on.  Therefore, many would agree that such details make the unborn child, or fetus if you insist, a unique person.  This is a convincing set of facts.  Can we at least allow that it seems difficult to prove otherwise?  For example, can we prove conclusively in the face of such evidence that it was simply part of the mother’s body – and not a person at all?

Now, for the sake of argument, let’s still say the question is up in the air and we’re still uncertain. Maybe it’s a person and maybe not. Therefore, an abortion may kill a person or it may not.

In that case, the pro-life stand is still preferable to pro-choice, because it is reckless to do anything that has a 50-50 chance of killing an innocent human being.  Would you throw a bowling ball off a bridge onto a freeway because an innocent person might not die?  Remove the railing from your balcony?  Shoot a gun into a dark room?  Caution dictates that the right to life has to take priority over the right to liberty.

Palmer St. Podcast: Romans 13

What was the attitude of the apostles toward the Roman government? Did they organize themselves into rebellious militias? Did they become angry misfits like Unabomber Ted Kaczynski or Timothy McVeigh? Here in Romans 13, a chapter written to the churches in Rome, we’ll read first hand what Paul actually taught regarding a proper attitude towards the government. As it turns out, it was not very controversial.

Listen:  Romans13.mp3

Read Notes:  Rom13.pdf