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Monday, June 01, 2009

My Point

I rarely do this, but the news is so pressing that I feel I must ... so here's a second post on the same day ...

George Tiller was a controversial abortion doctor. He endured threats, protests, and even a bombing. He often wore a bullet-proof vest and drove an armored car. And yesterday, Scott Roeder shot him to death ... in church.

Now, I am against abortion. To me it is painfully obvious that killing babies is wrong. I am opposed to it and would love to see it ruled illegal. One might think, since I see it as murdering babies, that I would applaud Scott Roeder. I don't. One might think that, since I believe in the death penalty, I would think that Mr. Roeder acted heroically. I don't. Despite the fact that I believe Dr. Tiller was an egregious murderer, I do not believe that any person off the street had the right to carry out some death sentence, some perceived justice.

I have argued that there are two parts of God's rules. One is the moral ruling -- "This is right or wrong" -- and the other is the penalty -- "If you violate this rule, you must ___". The penalty for God's moral rules is applied when you have a theocracy -- when God is directly in charge. On the other hand, if God is not directly in charge, we don't have the option of applying that penalty. Instead, we are to "be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God" (Rom 13:1). We do not have the option of taking control of the government for our purposes or of usurping that authority for what we deem right. It's as wrong as a "pro-life murder".

Arguing that we do not have the right to apply God's penalties when we don't have the civil authority to do so does not mean that the moral rule is no longer in effect. It means that we still stand for what is right while we place justice in the hands of the Almighty, trusting Him to do what is right.

I'm grieved to hear of Tiller's murder. I'm grieved to hear that it happened in a church. I'm grieved to hear that it was perpetrated by a person of strong pro-life views. It's all so wrong. Now Dr. Tiller's family faces life without a father. Dr. Tiller's own opportunities to repent are gone. The man is presented as a brave and courageous man who persevered in a climate of intimidation and fear while pro-life advocates are tagged "killers". Christ gets a black eye and Christians get a black eye. It's all so wrong.

But just because I believe that Dr. Tiller should not have been murdered doesn't mean that I believe that killing babies is justifiable homicide. Just because I am quite certain that we don't have the responsibility or right to carry out the biblical penalty for murder (or adultery or homosexual sex or ...) doesn't mean that I think that these are perfectly okay to commit. That's because I believe in a just God who will, when all things are done, do what is right. In the meantime, my prayers are with the Tiller family ... and with those who will see this mindless murder in all the wrong ways.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


One of your other readers the other day said he was with you out in "right field". I just wanted to second that.

Hang in there and stay true to the Bible. I think some of your readers have "itching ears" and want to make the Bible say what they want to hear:

2 Timothy 4:3 NIV
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

(Makes for interesting reading though! But you need to do what you know is right, and you are, so keep it up - each man is going to face the Lord and be held accountable for himself. Ouch!)