Being bold in the truth…

As someone whose family and friends have first-hand been affected by abortion, I’m not posting this glibly or lightly – i know it can make for painful reading, and i also know I’ve posted on this issue fairly recently. This week though I read two succinct philosophical treatises on this issue that moved me, but were then powerfully eclipsed by a passage in my daily Bible readings. The first was the oft quoted conjecture that our society would celebrate the discovery of an amoeba on Mars (this hasn’t happened, in case you’re wondering!) as ‘life’ while denying life to hundreds of thousands of unborn babies; while this argument is familiar to those who are pro-abortion, and often met with the counter argument that the early stage foetus is alive but not a living person, the second treatise (penned by philosopher Peter Kreeft, summarised by Justin Taylor below as quoted by Andrew Wilson here on the thinktheology blog!) is, i feel, much more robust and runs like this: 

Philosopher Peter Kreeft argues that “either we do or do not know what a fetus is.”He explains: either there is “out there,” in objective fact, independent of our minds, a human life, or there is not; and either there is knowledge in our minds of this objective fact, or there is not.There are four possibilities, he writes:1.The fetus is a person, and we know that.2.The fetus is a person, but we don’t know that.3.The fetus isn’t a person, but we don’t know that.4.The fetus isn’t a person, and we know that.Kreeft then looks at what abortion is in each of these four cases.In Case 1, where the fetus is a person and you know that, abortion is murder. First-degree murder, in fact. You deliberately kill an innocent human being.In Case 2, where the fetus is a person and you don’t know that, abortion is manslaughter. It’s like driving over a man-shaped overcoat in the street at night or shooting toxic chemicals into a building that you’re not sure is fully evacuated. You’re not sure there is a person there, but you’re not sure there isn’t either, and it just so happens that there is a person there, and you kill him. You cannot plead ignorance. True, you didn’t know there was a person there, but you didn’t know there wasn’t either, so your act was literally the height of irresponsibility. This is the act Roe allowed.In Case 3, the fetus isn’t a person, but you don’t know that. So abortion is just as irresponsible as it is in the previous case. You ran over the overcoat or fumigated the building without knowing that there were no persons there. You were lucky; there weren’t. But you didn’t care; you didn’t take care; you were just as irresponsible. You cannot legally be charged with manslaughter, since no man was slaughtered, but you can and should be charged with criminal negligence.Only in Case 4 is abortion a reasonable, permissible, and responsible choice. But note: What makes Case 4 permissible is not merely the fact that the fetus is not a person but also your knowledge that it is not, your overcoming of skepticism. So skepticism counts not for abortion but against it. Only if you are not a skeptic, only if you are a dogmatist, only if you are certain that there is no person in the fetus, no man in the coat, or no person in the building, may you abort, drive, or fumigate.

This kind of solid logic appeals to me and is, I suspect, likely to persuade or at least sway to some degree anyone willing to give it some thought. What hit me even harder later in the week though was that this is nothing compared to the rock solid truth of the gospel and the word of God; I felt God burn this on my heart once again as I read 2 Corinthians 10, and especially the following verses…
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Now Paul is talking here of church discipline (it’s worth reading the whole chapter to see this in context!) but the principles in these three verses are founded on the superiority of God’s truth over every argument, pretension and claim of the world that is in opposition against the knowledge of God. This is one of so many passages which beggars the same question of me – “where’s our boldness Lord!?!?”  Believing what we believe as a certainty should flow through all that we say and do, it should give us confidence in every situation and it should give us a gentle scorn for every falsehood touted as truth in our society, gentle for the sake of the people we are called to love, but scorn for the weakness and malicious strongholds at the root of these lies. As our recent God on the Billboards series showed, we’re preached at every day in diverse ways – reading the Word of God shouldn’t be chore, a duty or even a luxury – it’s a glorious necessity, essential if we’re to have our understanding and world-view shaped by God and to walk in the Spirit of boldness that is ours as children of God… God is not indifferent to issues of justice – I’m stirred to pray that increasingly our voice will be his voice…
1 Peter 4:11 – If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen!

Akhtar Shah

Leadership, Social Action, Evangelism.