We Know What They Are Doing

Legal abortion in the United States turned 40 this January. In his stunning article “We Know They Are Killing The Children—All of Us Know“, John Piper gives 11 reasons why we as a nation know that abortion is the murder of innocent children. I would strongly recommend you read the entire article for yourself, or at the very least read my attempt at a summary of his points listed below.

1. Anecdotally, abortionists will admit they are killing children.
They argue the right for a mother to choose is more important than the right of the baby to live.

2. States treat the killing of the unborn as a homicide.
Is it not mind-bending that the desire of the mother determines if a developing fetus is a human or not?

3. Fetal surgery treats the unborn as children and patients.
It is certifiably insane to abort some children at 22 weeks while desperately trying to save others through intra-unterine surgeries.

4. Being small does not disqualify personhood.
A six-month-old has no less right to live than an 18-year-old.

5. Not having developed reasoning does not disqualify personhood.
A newborn cannot reason either, yet to take his life is universally recognized as murder.

6. Being in the womb does not disqualify human personhood.
A person’s humanity is not based on physical location.

7. Being dependent on mommy does not disqualify personhood.
You’re state of dependence upon another does not determine whether or not you are a human being.

8. The genetic makeup of humans is unique.
At conception a completely unique being comes into existence that didn’t exist before and will never exist again.

9. All the organs are present at eight weeks of gestation.
They’re still developing and not independent of the baby’s mother yet, but they’re there and will become independent if they’re given time.

10. We have seen the photographs.
(See for yourself here.)

11. When two rights conflict, the higher value should be protected.
The right of a baby to live is of higher value than the right of a woman to choose whether or not she wants to be pregnant.

Echoed throughout his article are the words, “We know what we are doing.” And he’s exactly right. We know. We all know. Please wake up. Please open your eyes and see. Yet precisely because we know, we are able to repent, and God can forgive.  God is near to those who call on his name.  Praise him for his steadfast love.

Advertisements

A Letter to Rose French

John Piper (photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune)

Star Tribune columnist Rose French wrote an article about Pastor John Piper’s transition from his role as the lead preaching pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church. You can read that article in its entirety here: “Fiery preacher living pulpit, but this won’t be his last word.”

That article inspired me to write a letter to Ms. French, which I e-mailed to her. Below is that letter in full.

———————————————————————–

Dear Rose French,

I read your article in the December 30th Sunday paper about Pastor John Piper. Even though you made several references to John Piper’s “fiery” preaching against sin, and even though John Piper himself, as you noted in your article, “makes no apologies for his theology,” it is my earnest prayer for you that you might come to see that such teaching is absolutely liberating, life-giving, and altogether precious. It is not dour and old-fashioned as many believe.

It is very loving for a doctor to tell his patient who’s been suffering with headaches for months that she has a brain tumor the size of a golf ball and that it needs to be removed immediately or she will die. In fact, it would be hateful for him not to tell her. That’s Pastor John’s tone when he “preaches judgment against sinners”. It is a very brave, gracious, loving act, especially when it’s coupled with the news that there’s a cure!

One does not have to look too deeply to see that humanity has a serious problem. In the wake of the school shooting at Sandy Hook elementary, Governor Dan Malloy well said, “Evil visited this community.” Evil is real and manifests itself all around us every day. But it’s not isolated to crazed gunmen. The same evil manifests itself when I speak harshly and act selfishly with my wife. It manifests itself when children rebel against their parents and parents abuse their children. It is at the root of every broken relationship you’ve ever experienced, Ms. French.

You and I and all of us are suffering terrible headaches, but it’s not hateful for a man, perhaps a man like Pastor John, to come along and tell us that there’s something deeper causing those headaches—a spiritual cancer, if you will—a cancer that Christianity calls sin. It’s the beginning of hope. Now that we know what the problem is, we can finally begin to search for a solution.

Of course, the story of Jesus found in the Gospels offers such a solution. (This is the part of Pastor John’s preaching that you didn’t include in your article and that I desperately want you to know!) You don’t have to let the spiritual cancer that has you in its grip right now in this very moment win. There’s a man sent from God 2,000 years ago who lived a perfect life. He never sinned. He perfectly fulfilled every last one of God’s laws. He wasn’t infected with the disease that infects all the rest of us. That Jesus died on a Roman cross and in so doing accomplished two things. One, he suffered the punishment that God demands for breaking his good laws. If God didn’t punish evil like the murder of 20 defenseless children and the reputation-killing remarks I’ve made about my friends and family, then he wouldn’t be a just judge. So Jesus offered to take that punishment (and did so on the cross) to fulfill that demand.

Number two, Jesus credits his perfect life to all those who believe in him and who receive him. That is, when a person embraces and welcomes and trusts and hopes in Jesus as his or her only hope, God credits Jesus’ perfect life as if that person had lived a perfect life. The separation that exists between God and man due to man’s sin is removed, and Jesus reconciles the two.

I am in awe of it again as I type these words to you, Ms. French, and it is my prayer that such realities would fall on your ear not as harsh and archaic but as liberating and beautiful.

Thank you for your story about this beloved man who has offered hope to many hurting, cancer-ridden sinners like myself. Yes he rightly identified the cause of my headaches, but he also held out for me a beautiful cure that has been the source of more joy to my soul than anything else I’ve ever tasted. May you come to share in my joy.

Grace and peace to you,
Eric Evans

Lincoln

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...

Abraham Lincoln, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In honor of the recent release of the movie Lincoln, I’ve compiled a couple of articles by my pastor that have to do with the president and a brief description of each.

Pastor John Piper’s article “Abraham Lincoln’s Path to Divine Providence” recounts how “personal and national suffering drew Lincoln into the reality of God, rather than pushing him away.”  May we have the same reaction.  May suffering cause us to run to Jesus rather than from him.

In “Admiring and Disillusioned, I Turn from Lincoln to Jesus,” Pastor John examines in depths some of Lincoln’s views toward blacks–at least the views he held during one specific debate for a  Senate seat in 1858, which is not to say his views never changed.  Upon closer examination, Pastor John concludes by acknowledging any and all man’s fallibilities and by calling us to cling ever more tightly to Jesus, the one hero who will never disappoint.  (Click here to read a poem I wrote with that exact theme entitled “One Hero“.)

A third article John Piper has written about Abraham Lincoln is called “The Slow Fires of Misery.”  In it Pastor John gives us insight into Lincoln’s marriage to Mary Todd.  Although a very difficult marriage, Lincoln was faithful to his marriage vows–a fact that may have helped prepare him for perseverance amid the fires of the Civil War.

The last article I’ll feature here is called “Lincoln’s Logic on Slavery Applied to Abortion,” in which Pastor John compares the rights of unborn children in our day to the rights of enslaved blacks in Lincoln’s day.  Just like a man is a man of equal worth no matter the subtle gradient of his skin’s pigmentation, so too are children as much human at 41 weeks as they are at 39 weeks.

Enjoy these articles as you remember one of America’s truly great men.  Let us hold fast to the good we see portrayed in this man, let us flee from any evil, and let us cling ever more tightly to Jesus, our hero without equal.

Five Steps to Fighting Temptation

A couple of Sundays back, my pastor’s sermon was incredibly helpful for the Christian’s fight against temptation. What he does when temptation comes his way is that he calls to mind this acronym: APTAT (which, unfortunately, my pastor lamented, doesn’t mean anything, but it’s useful nonetheless and easy to remember).

First, I’ll give you the acronym and what each letter stands for, and then I’ll narrate how the acronym works using an example.

APTAT

A — I admit I can’t overcome this temptation on my own.
P — I pray for God’s help.
T — I trust a specific, tailor-made promise of God.
A — I act, not waiting around for feelings to catch up.
T — I thank him for his help when the coast has cleared.

Without a doubt, fear is one of those temptations that’s seemingly always at the door for me. Here’s how APTAT works in the face of fear. Let’s say the fear of a job interview, for example. First, I admit to God that I can neither calm my fears nor ensure this interview goes well without God’s direct intervention. I come to him in utter humility, desperately needing his grace. If the well of God’s grace is dry at this moment, I’m cooked, and I admit it to God openly.

Then, I pray specifically for God’s help. Many times we don’t have something, like help, because we simply don’t ask for it. Cry out to God. Tell him, “I can’t, great God. This fear is going to consume me. I’ll melt before I even reach the office. I’m going to freeze and make a fool of myself. My mind is going to go blank when they ask me what my greatest weakness is! Was it that I work too hard or that I’m too kind? And what if they don’t like me? What if they don’t choose me? Take this fear away! Please, God, I beg you.”

After that, I trust a specific promise from God’s word. At the beginning of 2009, God gave me a verse that has proven to be for me personally one of the most powerful verses I’ve ever known. Countless times since then God has spoken to my trembling heart directly through this verse. This verse is as close as I’ve ever come to hearing the audible voice of God. The verse is Isaiah 41:10. In my most fearful, panicky moments, time after time God has bent down and whispered these words in my ear: “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” And he speaks it to me personally: “Fear not, little sheep. I, the Creator of every atom in your body, am with you and not against you. You don’t have to be dismayed. For the LORD, not your job or that interview committee, is your God. They don’t have any sway over you whatsoever. I do. I will strengthen you for this task. I will help you right now in this job interview and at every other moment of your life. I will hold you up so well that you will neither stumble nor fall, and I’ll do it with my righteous right hand.”

And when his voice becomes quiet, whether my emotions have gotten the message or not, I act. Even if I the fear hasn’t completely dispersed and been replaced by warm fuzzies, I stand up and take a step toward the office door. And I open my mouth. And I answer their questions. All the while trusting that God is with me in that room, hemming me in behind and before and laying his hand upon me.

Finally, when I get done and head back out to the car, I praise him for his faithfulness in being with me. Whatever happens as a result of the interview, God was with me in it. He sustained me through it. He helped me as I was jabbering on about all my “qualifications.” What was it I was afraid of, exactly? Thank you, Father!

May this simple tool, five little letters that don’t spell anything in particular, help you fight the fight of faith.

For more examples of how to use A.P.T.A.T. against other, specific temptations, or to read or view the rest of this sermon, click here.