Tag Archives: Abortion

Don’t dismiss best practices for Christian living as “legalism” and “denying grace”

On Sunday, I listened to a very interesting discussion between Sean McDowell and Jessica van der Wyngaard on Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable show. The topic was on the pros and cons of purity culture. I didn’t know a thing about “purity culture”, and had never read any books about it. I didn’t really disagree with anyone on the podcast, but I did want to say something about it in a blog post.

Description:

20 years ago Joshua Harris was the poster boy of the evangelical ‘purity movement’ having authored the bestselling book ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’. Today, Harris regrets writing the book, and has also recently changed his mind about Christianity.

Justin is joined by Jessica van der Wyngaard, director of the documentary film ‘I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye’, and Christian apologist Sean McDowell, to discuss purity culture, singleness and the Joshua Harris story.

The MP3 file is here.

First, here’s a brief summary of what everyone said on the podcast:

  • JW: the book urged people to give up dating in favor of courting and suggested other rules that would guarantee a successful marriage to your soul-mate
  • JW: some of the rules proposed by the book were not Biblical
  • JW: I’m not a virgin and I’m in early-30s, but I accept that we should teach what the Bible says about abstinence
  • SM: purity culture is the idea that if you remain sexually pure, God will give you a spouse and bless you in the future
  • SM: purity culture is the idea that if you have premarital sex, you will be tainted forever
  • SM: I’m afraid that those reacting against purity culture will build a sexual ethic solely based on their shame, their hurt, their concern about legalism, and this will not help the next generation
  • SM: let’s have a balanced Biblical approach to sexuality instead
  • SM: there is scientific data to back up the Bible’s teaching that marriages work better when sex occurs only within a marriage
  • SM: it’s a mistake to define your spiritual standing based on whether you are a virgin or not
  • SM: following the Bible’s rules for sexuality is an important part of discipleship
  • SM: the Bible is replete with examples of people restoring their standing before God through forgiveness and redemption

Right now, we are living in a secular culture where people are hooking up, having premarital sex, living together, and breaking up far more often than in the past. There is this pattern of choosing partners based on secular criteria: outward appearance and ability to entertain. And this approach to dating – choosing people for the wrong reasons, and trying to force a commitment using premarital sex – is now common practice, even among Christians.

I think people should have a plan to counter this trend that’s realistic and guided by studies and evidence. For example, studies show that people who have no sexual partners before marriage are more likely to still be married 10 years later. Studies show that cohabitation negatively impacts the stability of a future marriage. It’s difficult to accept that this is the way the world is, but if a stable marriage is a goal for you, then you should care about the best practices for having a stable marriage.

Take a different example. Suppose you have a lot of shame and bad feelings over having run up $90,000 of student loans. Now your retirement will be much more difficult. The answer to these feelings of shame is not to say that you can invoke “grace” and that will make everything OK. It won’t. It might help you to make better decisions going forward, but that debt is going to affect your future spouse, your future marriage and your future children.

There are real costs to these behaviors for your future, and being forgiven through Jesus’ atonement isn’t going to instantly make the effects of those choices disappear. It’s good to warn young people about these costs. It’s also good to help people who have made mistakes undo the damage by investing in them. I don’t want us to throw out evidence-based best practices as “legalism”, because they help us to reach the discipleship goals specified for us in the Bible.

The goals of the Bible (e.g. – not aborting, not divorcing) are good goals. If we find out from science that premarital promiscuity or cohabitation reduce our odds of achieving Biblical goals, then it’s a mistake to dismiss that evidence because it make us feel bad about our past. It’s not legalism to investigate evidence and consult wise advisors in order to choose how best to achieve goals like marriage. That’s actually being wise.  Making good decisions doesn’t give you the right to be proud and compare yourself to others, but it is good to make good decisions for yourself, and to share your reasoning with those who ask you.

I agree with the speakers that purity culture is wrong to promise people a happy marriage if they only keep their virginity. That’s just the prosperity gospel, and it really is not a Biblical view of the Christian life.

People who choose to have premarital sex haven’t separated themselves from marriage. But studies indicate that they have damaged the stability of their future marriage if they do nothing to counteract the effects of their choices. And I think there is more to counteracting these bad effects than just stating to your partner “Jesus forgives me, so you can’t judge me”. The focus of the “no-rules because I feel ashamed” crowd doesn’t seem to be on taking the damage seriously and fixing it. Their focus seems to be on not being judged.

I don’t think that a cursory response (“don’t judge me!”) is adequate to undo the damage from premarital sex. But if a person is willing to be honest about their past, and put in the work to understand the effects of premarital sex on their future marriage, renew their minds, and re-establishing their bonding ability, then they should be able to fully counteract the damage. I have met people who have done this, and you can see in their choices and lifestyle that there’s been a complete turning against their former use of sex for fun and attention and self-esteem. It’s not “idolizing virginity and idolizing marriage” to look at the data, and make choices that are likely to lead to a stable marriage.

What adjustments should Christians expect during a Biden / Harris administration?

Enraged Joe Biden howls out his hatred for Bible-believing Christians
Enraged Joe Biden howls out his hatred for Bible-believing Christians

One of my male co-workers who is a Christian voted for Biden – Harris on Monday. He was laughing at the notion that Kamala Harris was the most progressive senator in the senate. (His sources of information are Reddit and Star Wars movies) I got into the team chat and mentioned that GovTrack was the source for that, but other groups (e.g. – Heritage) had rated her most liberal, too.

So, I thought I would write a post that explains to Christians what they can expect in a Biden-Harris administration. I found an amazing article on Christian Post written by a woman who did a ton of research on it.

Biden-Harris intends to eliminate all state-level limits on abortion:

Biden has promised, within his first 100 days, legislative and executive actions that will not only target all state restrictions on abortion, but also decimate religious charities at home and abroad.

First, Biden commits that “his Justice Department will do everything in its power to stop the rash of state laws that so blatantly violate the constitutional right to an abortion, such as so-called TRAP laws, parental notification requirements, mandatory waiting periods, and ultrasound requirements.”

Biden chose in Kamala Harris a champion of abortion so extreme she supports aborting viable unborn infants up until birth, which the great majority of Americans do not. She even voted against requiring medical care for live babies born in botched abortions.

So, I’m expecting that a Biden-Harris administration overturns every ultrasound and waiting period law in all 50 states.

Biden-Harris is likely to eliminate all faith-based charitable organizations that accept the Bible’s teaching on LGBT issues.

She writes:

Tucked in the weeds of his platform is the statement that “many government-funded foster care and adoption agencies still discriminate against LGBTQ+ families.”  This is followed by the promise to reverse the broad religious exemptions to existing nondiscrimination laws and policies across federal agencies.”

This is wonk-speak for “if you have views and policies consistent with a biblical or religious understanding of marriage, sexuality and gender, Biden’s administration will shut you down.” The ability of agencies to deliver care is impacted in myriad ways by government regulation, funding and taxation. Thousands of children and families have already been harmed nationwide by politicians who have used these means to put ideology before compassion, solely because they disagreed with a provider’s religious views.

[…]An estimated 8,000 faith-affirming agencies will be affected by this case. Unconscionable numbers of families, children and expectant mothers will be denied homes, adoption, and critical life-giving care if Biden’s agenda passes, cementing into law this intolerance toward religious providers.

Do you remember how in certain Democrat-run states, Christian business owners have been persecuted for refusing to affirm atheist views on LGBT issues? That happens because those states have SOGI laws. SOGI laws make it illegal for Christians to take the Bible seriously as an authority on LGBT issues. I’ve already blogged about the Equality Act, but this will be a top priority of the Biden-Harris administration. Basically, if makes every state a SOGI state.

Here’s more from the article:

Biden promises to “make enactment of the Equality Act during his first 100 days as President a top legislative priority.” This misnamed Act renders punishable by law “discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity…in a wide variety of areas… public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing to include places or establishments that provide (1) exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays; (2) goods, services, or programs; and (3) transportation services.”   Religious organizations nationwide — under religious freedom protections — provide all these services to poor communities nationwide. But not if Biden prevails. He promises to destroy those protections: “[t]he bill prohibits the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 from providing a claim, defense, or basis for challenging such protections.”[iii]

The 25-page “Biden Plan to Advance LGBTQ+ Equality in America and Around the World” is masterfully comprehensive.  It includes:

  • bans on counseling minors

  • reinterpretation of Title IX to erase both athletic opportunities and privacy protections for women and girls in locker rooms and restrooms

  • forcing medical insurers and providers to carry out gender transition therapies (including surgery)

  • using federal funds for gender transition therapies

  • forcing homeless shelters, prisons and schools to allow access by opposite sex transgender individuals to women’s housing and restroom facilities.

Indeed, once the Act is signed, “Biden will also direct his Cabinet to ensure immediate and full enforcement of the Equality Act across all federal departments and agencies. The word “enforce” occurs four times in this introductory section alone, promising a dictatorial sweep of all personnel, agencies and programs in the name of eradicating “discrimination.”

If you think that Democrats will show any respect for the consciences of Christians, you’re mistaken. You only have to look at how the government went after Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor to force them to cover abortion-causing contraceptives. They have no respect for Bible-believing Christians. On the contrary, they have a sick and perverse delight in forcing Christians to choose between believing the Bible and having a job, so they don’t starve.

Also, your taxpayer dollars will be used to push for abortion and LGBT activism all over the world:

Biden’s Agenda extends around the globe, to be proclaimed his inaugural week in a “Presidential Memorandum prioritizing his administration’s support for LGBTQ+ human rights and development worldwide” followed by:

  • Immediate appointments of “senior leaders across the government,” including at the National Security Council, US Agency for International Development (USAID), Department of State, and in the judiciary
  • “[P]ublic information campaigns” overseas
  • Prioritizing US foreign assistance to empower LGBTQ+ organizations and activists
  • Ensuring “development assistance will be screened and evaluated” accordingly

This campaign will be waged with “the full range of our diplomatic tools and foreign assistance,” up to and including sanctions on non-compliant countries.

What happens when this far-reaching ideological assault encounters desperate needs for humanitarian assistance in countries with traditional or religious frameworks?  With governments deemed to “foster a climate of intolerance” or engage in violations of LGBTQ+ rights, “the Biden Administration will aggressively use pressure tactics, as appropriate, including sanctions.”

So, if I had the freedom to speak to my young Christian co-worker about what he had just voted for, this is what I would have said. Alas, I did not feel free to say this to him, because young people are intolerant and crazy when you disagree with them. The election is Tuesday, November 3rd. Please make your voice heard.

Related posts

What are the positions of Joe Biden and Donald Trump on abortion?

Major pro-abortion group endorses Joe Biden for President
Major pro-abortion group endorses Joe Biden for President

Time for another comparison of Biden and Trump policies, this time on abortion. I guess everyone knows that Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris are both for abortion through all 9 months of pregnancy. That’s been their settled position for some time. Trump on the other hand has a different position. And you can tell what his position is by looking at his pro-life record.

First, here’s Biden on abortion, reported by Life News:

The evidence is strong that Democrat presidential team Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support killing unborn babies in abortions up to birth.

[…]They want to force taxpayers to fund abortions, codify Roe v. Wade into federal law and reinstate rules that force nuns and other religious employers to fund birth control that may cause abortions in their employee health plans.

[…]Biden and Harris also have sponsored legislation to expand late-term abortions, including the “Women’s Health Protection Act.” Nicknamed the “Abortion Without Limits Until Birth Act” by pro-life groups, the bill would have invalidated nearly all state and federal abortion regulations, including waiting periods, informed consent requirements, bans on late-term abortions and sex-selection abortions and more.

Harris also voted against a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks and another to protect newborns who survive abortions from infanticide.

Their party supports abortions without limits and taxpayer-funded abortions, too. The party platform calls for “reproductive health, rights, and justice … including safe and legal abortion” and opposes “federal and state laws that create barriers to reproductive health and rights.”

Second, let’s look at Trump’s record, from an article posted by the Susan B. Anthony List – the pro-life group that is most concerned with law, policy and judicial appointments:

Appointed Pro-Life Judges

In April, 2017, Judge Neil Gorsuch was successfully confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. And in October, 2018, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was successfully confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. To date, 157 of President Trump’s judicial nominees have been confirmed, including two Supreme Court justices, forty-three U.S. Courts of Appeals judges, and one hundred thirteen District Court judges.

Permitted States to Defund Planned Parenthood of Title X Funds

In April 2017, Congress sent a bill to President Trump’s desk that permits states to defund Planned Parenthood of Title X family planning funds passed in Congress. President Trump signed the bill which reverses an Obama-era rule that disbarred states from doing so. Because this was passed using the Congressional Review Act, future Administrations cannot enact a similar rule to Obama’s.

Stopped Tax Dollars Funding Abortion Overseas

President Trump not only reinstated the Mexico City Policy, but expanded it to the new Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance program. This new policy ensures that our tax dollars are protected from funding the abortion industry overseas across ALL global health spending, not just family planning dollars. The Bush-era Mexico City Policy protected roughly $500 million in spending – the new Trump policy protects over $8.8 billion overseas aid from funding abortion.

Defunded the Pro-Abortion UNFPA

The UNFPA has long been complicit in China’s oppressive population control activities, including birth limitation policies and forced abortions. President Trump’s State Department cut U.S. Taxpayer funding to the UNFPA.

Required Health Insurance Companies to Disclose if Plans Cover Abortion

The Trump Administration Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued a rule requiring that insurers specify in each plan Summary of Benefits whether the plan covers abortion.

Settlements & New Rule Regarding HHS Mandate

The Departments of HHS, Treasury, and Labor issued two interim final rules, which means they took effect immediately, while allowing a comment period, that provide permanent, enforceable relief from the previous HHS mandate for both religious objectors, such as Little Sisters of the Poor, and moral objectors, such as Susan B. Anthony List. The new rule also exempts private employers and educational institutions that have sincerely held religious beliefs or moral objections against providing contraceptives or abortifacient drugs.

New Office for Conscience Protection at HHS

In May 2019, the Trump administration finalized new regulations to strengthen enforcement of federal laws protecting the conscience rights of health care workers who do not want to participate in abortion. The regulations clarify what recourse is available to victims of discrimination under the law and what penalties the HHS Office of Civil Rights may enforce for violations. Additionally, in January 2018, the Department of Health & Human Services announced the creation of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division within the Office for Civil Rights. This new office works to protect health care professionals who do not want to participate in abortion. In May, 2019, HHS issued a proposed rule amending Obama-era regulations, clarifying that Section 1557 shall not force a recipient of federal funding to provide or pay for an abortion. It shall also be consistent with the First Amendment and with pro-life provisions, conscience provisions and religious liberty protections in current law.

Allowed States to Defund Planned Parenthood of Medicaid Funds

The Obama administration attempted to prevent states from defunding Planned Parenthood of Medicaid dollars, issuing guidance claiming this may be a violation of federal law. In January 2018, the Trump administration rescinded this guidance, allowing states to defund Planned Parenthood of Medicaid dollars as they see fit.

Cut Planned Parenthood’s Tax Funding by up to $60 Million

In February, 2019, the Trump administration finalized the Protect Life Rule to redirect Title X family planning program funds away from the abortion industry. The rule advances President Trump’s promise to stop taxpayer funding of abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, who will no longer receive Title X funding if they choose not to comply.

Canceled Huge Contract for Taxpayer-Funded Experimentation with Body Parts of Aborted Babies

In June, 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced they would not renew a major contract with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to fund research using the body parts of aborted babies. (learn more)

My favorite was the conscience protections! I really hate the idea of being forced by secular leftists to violate my conscience.

I think it’s very important for pro-life voters of all parties to understand that Trump has taken action on pro-life concerns. He listened to pro-life leaders, and did far more than other Republican presidents who were pro-life in name only. Americans often have this annoying habit of forming their opinions based on what they feel and what they hear in the culture. But we need to be informed voters. Let’s look at the facts and decide based on actions.