From Al Mohler’s election analysis:

Evangelical Christians must see the 2012 election as a catastrophe for crucial moral concerns. The election of President Obama returns a radically pro-abortion President to the White House, soon after he had endorsed same-sex marriage. President Obama is likely to have the opportunity to appoint one or more justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, and they are almost sure to agree with his constitutional philosophy.

Furthermore, at least two states, Maine and Maryland, legalized same-sex marriage last night. Washington State is likely to join them once the votes there are counted. An effort to pass a constitutional amendment preventing same-sex marriage went down to defeat in Minnesota. These came after 33 states had passed some measure defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. After 33 victories, last night brought multiple defeats. Maine and Maryland (and probably Washington State) became the first states in the union to legalize same-sex marriage by action of the voters. There is no discounting the moral shift that momentous development represents.

Other states considered issues ranging from abortion and marijuana to assisted suicide. While not all were lost, the moral shift was evident in the voting patterns.

Clearly, we face a new moral landscape in America, and huge challenge to those of us who care passionately about these issues. We face a worldview challenge that is far greater than any political challenge, as we must learn how to winsomely convince Americans to share our moral convictions about marriage, sex, the sanctity of life, and a range of moral issues. This will not be easy. It is, however, an urgent call to action.

You can read the whole thing here.

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93 thoughts on “The Changing Moral Landscape in America”

  1. Bill says:

    “we must learn how to winsomely convince Americans to share our moral convictions”

    This is impossible and unhelpful. We must winsomely preach the gospel and pray that God pours out His Spirit to draw people to Himself through Christ.

    1. Mark says:

      Amen, Bill! Amen!

    2. Richard says:

      “Christianity is about being saved from God, by God. It is about dying well, not living well. It’s about people being changed, not cultures being changed. The religious right gets this all backwards and is an offense to non-Christians for all the wrong reasons.”
      D.G. Hart

      1. Christianity isn’t about living well? The New Testament writers must’ve missed that memo.

        1. EricP says:

          1 Cor 15:19 — “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”

  2. Mark says:

    “We face a worldview challenge that is far greater than any political challenge, as we must learn how to winsomely convince Americans to share our moral convictions about marriage, sex, the sanctity of life, and a range of moral issues.”

    I agree with this, but in all reality the only way that America will see and agree with any Biblical moral conviction is not through our trying to convince them to agree with us. It has and will utterly fail. The only way that the tide of immorality in America will be stemmed is through the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men. That means that the church needs to get off it pew and preach the gospel message with all their heart, soul, and strength.

    A question was raised to me recently: “What would happen if the church actually lived as God calls us to in scripture?” My answer: “Amazing things.” Including the changing of the moral landscape in America.

    1. steve hays says:

      There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. No single silver bullet is going to work on everyone. Due to natural revelation and common grace, some unbelievers are open to rational persuasion. To deny that is Manichaean.

      Even if you could evangelize everyone, that wouldn’t convert everyone. Evangelism is not a substitute for law.

      God’s calling isn’t limited to evangelists. There are many different Christian vocations.

  3. Joel says:

    I am an Evangelical Christian. I voted for the President to remain in office. I know many other Evangelical Christians who did the same thing. Naturally, then, I do not see the election last night as a monumental “moral catastrophe” and nor “must” I see it that way. I become troubled when I read the political commentary that comes out of the current Reformed/Evangelical blogosphere. It is predictable, void of nuance, insensitive, and quite romantic about the office of the president and the ability to affect idealogical/moral change through the state.

    I saw almost no substantial critiques of Mitt Romney throughout this campaign, besides the obvious Mormonism motif. My eyes did not see one negative mention of the “47% comments,” which reveal a deeply ungodly posture towards the poor and oppressed (a favorite political discussion of the Prophets). This is debatable, I suppose, but I use it to exemplify a valid critique of Romney, almost unheard of in our circles.

    I have listened to the voices of my brothers and sisters who are either poor and/or of a minority and who were deeply troubled by the possibility of a Mitt Romney presidency. Most of these people are Evangelical Christians. Most of these people, like me, oppose the practices of abortion and homosexual behavior.

    We, Evangelical Christians, should be among the most loving, balanced, nonpartisan, charitable, and honest commentators in our culture. Sadly, we are not (as evidenced by the tone and language of Mohler’s post). Why? In my opinion, it is a clear indication of the lack of deep theological reflection that exists within our political discourse. When our politics are so black and white, perhaps it is an indication that they are far too influenced by the political culture that surrounds us.

    1. steve hays says:

      Joel

      “I am an Evangelical Christian. I voted for the President to remain in office.”

      Shame on you.

      “I know many other Evangelical Christians who did the same thing.”

      Shame on them.

      “I saw almost no substantial critiques of Mitt Romney throughout this campaign, besides the obvious Mormonism motif. My eyes did not see one negative mention of the ’47% comments,’ which reveal a deeply ungodly posture towards the poor and oppressed (a favorite political discussion of the Prophets).”

      i) The Bible doesn’t lump the poor into a single group. It distinguishes between those who are poor through no fault of their own (e.g. windows, orphans) and those who are poor due to their lifestyle choices (lazy, shortsighted). For the former, it has workfare programs (e.g. gleaning the fields).

      ii) If you really cared about the oppressed, you’d care about Obama’s oppressive policies. Try spending some quality time at Wesley J. Smith’s blog, for instance, or Lydia McGrew’s.

      1. Caleb W says:

        “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”

      2. Eugene says:

        Steve, before you go “shaming” people. I would have you answer some questions. Do you have any friends who are homeless? How much of yourself have you given to the poor this past year? When was the last time you clothed someone who had no clothes? When was the last time you fed someone who was starving?

        Before you start calling poor people lazy, I would check out Matthew 25-27

        1. Akash says:

          he did say there were 2 types!!

          Whenever a supposed evangelical christian in the current climate says they support Obama, I doubt their Christianity,do these people even read the bible?

          1. Anonymous says:

            Akash,

            I think you’d be very surprised how many evangelicals read our Bible and voted for Obama. I did.

            I used to be just like you — and then a Christian who read the Gospels started confronting me over and over.

            So after decades of being a Republican, even canvassing house to house, and supporting the national and state Republican party for thousands of dollars, I realized that the GOP rejects Jesus’ teachings about the poor, the marginalized, the aliens and strangers. It rejects the Prophets’ teachings about justice and mercy.

            I’m not alone. Most of my friends and many co-workers (and by the way, I work in an Evangelical Christian organization) have abandoned the Republican Party. We have switched to being Independents. Most of the young white evangelicals I know voted for Obama this year.

            1 in 4 evangelicals who voted this year, voted for Obama.

            I think you need to get used to it and read the entire Bible, not just the parts that fit your ideology.

            1. Tony says:

              I’m sorry, this comment is just ridiculous. To say that the government should be primarily used to reach out to the poor and needy is a joke. The government is put in place to protect its people, not legislate moral choices. I’m positive that God has more of a problem with sanctioned infant genocide (The biggest human rights violation of our time) and homosexuality than he does a person getting a welfare check.

              1. Anonymous says:

                Whoa! Well, Tony, please don’t put words in my mouth and then attack them.

                BTW, do you ever read before you post? You completely contradicted yourself.

              2. steve hays says:

                Anonymous

                “What a laugh! What Bible are you reading, Steve?”

                Merely giving to the poor doesn’t help the poor get out of poverty. Indeed, it can be a way for the party in power to keep them poor and dependent on gov’t handouts. Hence, make them a reliable voting block.

                “I don’t think Jesus agrees with you. He said we had to give to any who asked (not just the ones who deserve it).”

                That’s funny coming from an anonymous commenter. If you really believe that, why do you go to such efforts to conceal your identity?

                Why don’t you give your contact info so that we can direct all the poor people in your city to your address. That way, you can give to “anyone” who asks.

                “He told his followers they would get a one-way ticket to eternal punishment if they didn’t jump in and help clothe the naked and feed the hungry.”

                You’re repeating the same misinterpretation as other commenters. You have a lot to learn.

              3. Anonymous says:

                Steve, you want to know who I am? “Get used to disappointment.”

                I assure you that I’ve given thousands of dollars to poor people this year…to whomever has asked, without any expectation of being repaid. I am well known at my church as the person who gives freely. I have done it for years and God has always provided abundantly, exactly as he promises in 2 Corinthians 9:6-12.

                And you think I am misinterpreting Jesus in Matt. 25? I disagree. Jesus’ meaning is clear: A lot of people who think they are followers of Christ, really aren’t. If you don’t take care of the poor, you get to go to eternal punishment, Steve.

                —–

                “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

                And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

                And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

                Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

                For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

                Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

                Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

                When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

                Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

                And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

                Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

                For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

                I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

                Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

                Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.”

            2. Akash Charles says:

              Really, the democratic party is the party of the poor??, apart from being fooled by their campaign, you cannot really say any party is the party of the poor or the marginalized, etc
              I do not know whether republicans really care for the poor or not, but I do know whether the the dems do or do not have the best interests in them, in countries like china and India, whenever the government has pulled out of interfering with job creation, the lives of the poor have been improved, when developing countries with much less experienced. Dems want to do just the opposite,so pls tell me how the poor’s lives are being looked after?

              Also it is interesting and heartbreaking to know that supposed christian’s affirm abortion and Gay marriage. I t seems like the voice of the unheard life in the womb is going to be heeded by very few people, Ironically you claim to support the taking care of the disadvantaged.

              Pls do not put labels to the democratic party to supposedly Christianize bits of them ( people should not be doing this to the reps either).
              From my experience left wing policies for the poor, just keep them in their place rather than lift them up with more opporunity and that is elitist to me

              1. Anonymous says:

                Well, Akash, stop putting words in my mouth and making assumptions about me, and then attacking things I didn’t say.

                Let’s look at it this way:
                If you had lived your entire life in a country without biblical teaching, and one day found a Bible and read it, what would you decide was most important to Jesus?

                It’s very obvious what’s important to Jesus.

                One of his clearest and most frequent teachings was about the poor. He was so adamant about the naked, hungry, sick, and jail birds, he threatened his disciples. He said they’d go to eternal punishment if they didn’t care for the least of these and treat them as if they were Jesus himself.

            3. steve hays says:

              Anonymous

              “Steve, you want to know who I am?”

              Not at all.

              “Get used to disappointment.”

              Don’t overestimate yourself.

              “I assure you that I’ve given thousands of dollars to poor people this year…to whomever has asked, without any expectation of being repaid.”

              Since you continue to conceal your identity, your autobiographical claims are unverifiable. Your assurance is chimerical.

              More to the point, you’re concealing your identity from all the poor people who don’t know who and where you are. So you limit your alleged charity by your concealment.

              “And you think I am misinterpreting Jesus in Matt. 25?”

              Not just me. Consult standard commentaries on Matthew’s gospel.

              “I disagree.”

              So what?

              “Jesus’ meaning is clear.”

              It’s not clear to you.

              “A lot of people who think they are followers of Christ, really aren’t. If you don’t take care of the poor, you get to go to eternal punishment, Steve.”

              I appreciate yourself-reinforcing ignorance. That’s a good way to protect your prejudice.

              1. Anonymous says:

                Steve,

                It’s time for you to repent and get right with the Lord.

                The Kingdom of God is at hand.

                You are one who says “Lord, Lord” and doesn’t do what Jesus says.

            4. steve hays says:

              Anonymous

              “I assure you that I’ve given thousands of dollars to poor people this year…to whomever has asked, without any expectation of being repaid. I am well known at my church as the person who gives freely.”

              As long as we’re quoting Jesus, let’s compare your boast with something else Jesus said:

              Matthew 6:1-4:

              6 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

              2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

              1. Anonymous says:

                Steve,

                Let me remind you that …
                1. You are the one who asked.
                2. I am anonymous, so how is it that I am practicing my righteousness in public?
                3. Paul bragged about the generosity of Macedonians and other Christians in 2 Corinthians 8:2-3.

                Not only do you discard the teachings of Jesus, your comments are illogical.

                Steve, it’s time for you to repent and get right with the Lord.

                You say “Lord, Lord,” but you don’t do what Jesus says.

            5. steve hays says:

              Anonymous

              “Let me remind you that …1. You are the one who asked.”

              Your reading skills remain as poor as ever. I never asked you to tell me who you were. Rather, I drew attention to your hypocrisy:

              “That’s funny coming from an anonymous commenter. If you really believe that, why do you go to such efforts to conceal your identity? Why don’t you give your contact info so that we can direct all the poor people in your city to your address. That way, you can give to ‘anyone’ who asks.”

              “2. I am anonymous, so how is it that I am practicing my righteousness in public?”

              You’re convicted by your own words. You said: “I am well known at my church as the person who gives freely.”

              “3. Paul bragged about the generosity of Macedonians and other Christians in 2 Corinthians 8:2-3.”

              Paul solicited donations for poor Christians.

        2. steve hays says:

          Eugene,

          You need to acquire basic reading comprehension. Go back and reread what I wrote, then trying responding to what I actually said. It helps to keep you honest.

          It’s just a fact that Scripture distinguishes between different sources of poverty. According to Scripture, some people are poor due to circumstances beyond their control (e.g. oppression, bad luck). Other people are poor because they are lazy or spendthrift. Because they don’t plan ahead. They live for instant gratification. They fritter away their youthful opportunities.

          That may not fit with your politically correct, radical chic ideology, but the Bible draws those distinctions.

          Homelessness has different causes. Some people are homeless because they can’t hold down a job due to alcoholism or drug addiction. Some people are homeless due to mental illness. Liberal organizations like the ACLU deinstitutionalized many of the mentally ill. So they wound up on the street.

          BTW, “giving to the poor” is not a solution to poverty.

          You need to explain how your vague reference to Mt 25-27 supports your contention. For instance, the parable of the virgins (Mt 25:1-3), is a classic example of some folks who plan for the future (the wise virgins) in contrast to others who procrastinate until disaster overtakes them (the foolish virgins).

          Likewise, in the parable of the sheep and goats (Mt 25:31-46), that, in context, has reference to persecuted Christians.

          1. lania says:

            Steve Hays,

            I also noticed that you never actually answered Eugene’s question:

            “Steve, before you go “shaming” people. I would have you answer some questions. Do you have any friends who are homeless? How much of yourself have you given to the poor this past year? When was the last time you clothed someone who had no clothes? When was the last time you fed someone who was starving?”

            Which is extremely telling – not to mention typical…

            So tell us. DO you give to the poor? DO you have any poor or homeless friends? DO you have any Latino or African American Christian friends who would be affected negatively by many of the policies of the GOP, from immigration to healthcare?

            I think we already know the answer…but I just want to see if you will dodge it again.

            1. steve hays says:

              His question was a diversionary tactic. Moreover, giving to the poor isn’t the same thing as caring for the poor. Do we have policies which make it easier for the poor to get out of poverty? That’s the real issue.

              “DO you have any Latino or African American Christian friends who would be affected negatively by many of the policies of the GOP, from immigration to healthcare?”

              Of course, that begs the question by tendentiously assuming that GOP policies harm Latinos and African-Americans, whereas it’s actually Democrat policies which harm Latinos and African-Americans.

              BTW, it’s not the responsibility of US wage-earners to subsidize the healthcare of Latin Americans, even more than it’s the responsibility of Latin Americans to subsidize the healthcare of US wage-earners.

              1. Anonymous says:

                Steve, you claim that Eugene’s question was a diversionary tactic?

                Hmm. It’s exactly the same question Jesus asked his followers. So I think it’s a pretty important question.

                Steve said, “…giving to the poor isn’t the same thing as caring for the poor.”

                What a laugh! What Bible are you reading, Steve?

                I don’t think Jesus agrees with you. He said we had to give to any who asked (not just the ones who deserve it). He told his followers they would get a one-way ticket to eternal punishment if they didn’t jump in and help clothe the naked and feed the hungry.

              2. Akash Charles says:

                Mr/Mrs anonymous, I never ever said , taking care of the poor was not important to Jesus, I found it ironic that you equated the democratic/left leaning parties to taking care of the poor.

                Yes is someone opens a bible for eh first time and they were thinking about an abortion and was touched by God, their conscience will tell them to not commit a murder!

                Just like when I cam to know God my conscience told me and opened my eyes to many sins that I would have and had committed!

      3. lania says:

        Steve Hays,

        “You need to acquire basic reading comprehension. Go back and reread what I wrote, then trying responding to what I actually said. It helps to keep you honest.”
        Pot calling kettle black? I haven’t been here very long, but from what I’ve seen most of your posts have been hyper-partisan replies to other people’s comments. If I didn’t know that you purported to be an evangelical Christian, I would have though you were one of Rush Limbaugh’s staff members. (You probably take that as a complement).

        “It’s just a fact that Scripture distinguishes between different sources of poverty. According to Scripture, some people are poor due to circumstances beyond their control (e.g. oppression, bad luck). Other people are poor because they are lazy or spendthrift. Because they don’t plan ahead. They live for instant gratification. They fritter away their youthful opportunities.”
        And this is relevant to the plight of the working poor because…? You haven’t bought into the pathetic “47-percent” narrative of the GOP, have you? In case you didn’t know, a large percentage of the working poor is very hardworking. They work 50, 60, 70+ hour jobs with very little to show for it. If you interacted with them (and it is pretty obvious that you don’t), you would know that.

        And besides, why are GOP Christians always going off on tangents about “categories of poverty” when it comes to the poor? Can you mention a single scripture that supports weighing the poor on a scale and determining who makes the cut for “NOT LAZY” before helping them? (The scripture must be taken in context, too; for instance, 2 Thessalonians 3:10 doesn’t cut it…if you don’t know why, find a bible commentary.)

        “Homelessness has different causes. Some people are homeless because they can’t hold down a job due to alcoholism or drug addiction. Some people are homeless due to mental illness. Liberal organizations like the ACLU deinstitutionalized many of the mentally ill. So they wound up on the street.”
        I find it amusing that you started off by correctly stating that homelessness is caused by many different things. But then, you proceeded to rattle off a rather filtered, conservative-friendly list of causes for homelessness, and the most common causes (abuse and domestic violence, inaffordable rent, decline in public assistance, lack of affordable healthcare, lack of adequate support for veterans, etc.) were somehow left off of your list. Why is that. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

        “BTW, “giving to the poor” is not a solution to poverty.”
        Exactly…isn’t why Jesus admonishes us so strongly not to do this.

        I don’t have time to address the rest of your post. The classic interpretations for those scriptures have NOTHING to do with the neoconservative commentary that you ascribed to them, and you know it. On the other hand, if I am mistaken and there ARE biblical scholars out there that would give such a poor, clearly slanted interpretation for those scriptures, I would like you to post your biblical (i.e. non-political) references.

        1. steve hays says:

          lania

          “Pot calling kettle black? I haven’t been here very long, but from what I’ve seen most of your posts have been hyper-partisan replies to other people’s comments.”

          That’s rich coming from a hyperpartisan like yourself.

          “If I didn’t know that you purported to be an evangelical Christian, I would have though you were one of Rush Limbaugh’s staff members. (You probably take that as a complement [sic]).”

          I don’t listen to Rush Limbaugh. You’re stereotyping conservatives, which is a reflection of your prejudice.

          “And this is relevant to the plight of the working poor because…?”

          Eugene didn’t confine his comments to the working poor.

          Of course, if you really cared about the working poor, you’d lobby to lower state and local taxes on the working poor.

          “You haven’t bought into the pathetic ‘47-percent’ narrative of the GOP, have you?”

          I already addressed that red herring in a response to Joel. Do try to keep up with the actual state of the debate.

          Oh, and Romney was making a point about how Democrat politicians foster a culture of dependency on gov’t. But maybe you prefer Democrat policies under which employment grew by 0.15% while dependence on food stamps rose by 46%.

          “In case you didn’t know, a large percentage of the working poor is very hardworking. They work 50, 60, 70+ hour jobs with very little to show for it.”

          You’re going off on a little tangent, which is irrelevant to what I actually wrote.

          “If you interacted with them (and it is pretty obvious that you don’t), you would know that.”

          Democrat economic policies contribute to the plight of the working poor.

          “And besides, why are GOP Christians always going off on tangents about “categories of poverty” when it comes to the poor? Can you mention a single scripture that supports weighing the poor on a scale and determining who makes the cut for ‘NOT LAZY’ before helping them? (The scripture must be taken in context, too; for instance, 2 Thessalonians 3:10 doesn’t cut it…if you don’t know why, find a bible commentary.)”

          Try reading standard Bible commentaries on Proverbs (by Bruce Waltke or Tremper Longman).

          “But then, you proceeded to rattle off a rather filtered, conservative-friendly list of causes for homelessness, and the most common causes (abuse and domestic violence, inaffordable rent, decline in public assistance, lack of affordable healthcare, lack of adequate support for veterans, etc.) were somehow left off of your list. Why is that. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.”

          You haven’t provided any evidence to refute my statement (which is easily documentable) that substance abuse and deinstitutionalizing the mentally ill are sources of homelessness.

          Of course, the litany of things you allege contributes to poverty exists in deep blue cities in deep blue states, so liberal social policies haven’t solved those problems (not to mention exacerbating those problems).

          “Exactly…isn’t why Jesus admonishes us so strongly not to do this.”

          Given your garbled syntax, it’s hard to tell what you’re even trying to say.

          “I don’t have time to address the rest of your post. The classic interpretations for those scriptures have NOTHING to do with the neoconservative commentary that you ascribed to them, and you know it.”

          Try to keep track of the argument instead of just emoting and reacting. I was responding to Eugene on his own terms. He cited Mt 25-27 on the issue of poverty. If that has nothing to do with poverty, then you’re objecting to his argument, not mine.

          1. Eugene says:

            Steve you understand the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 is referring to persecuted Christians only? Please explain your interpretation of this passage and I think this will explain much about our differences.

            And you said you don’t give to the poor, but you still care for them. What does this mean?… that you don’t give “handouts?” Or that you help them get work and not be lazy?

            I have to ask you seriously though, wasn’t the Gospel “handed out” to you? Weren’t you lazy, broken, not fulfilling your potential, absolutely poor and bankrupt spiritually, so God HAD to rescue you out of your absolute impoverished state and made you rich in Christ? I know I was and in many ways, I still am, and until I am glorified in Christ with a new body, I will still be.

            “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If you say to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but you do nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? Isn’t faith without deeds dead?

            1. steve hays says:

              Eugene

              “Steve you understand the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 is referring to persecuted Christians only?”

              Correct.

              “Please explain your interpretation of this passage and I think this will explain much about our differences.”

              If you bothered to consult some standard commentaries on Matthew, you’d discover that my interpretation is the standard interpretation. And you’ll find the supporting arguments in standard commentaries. Do your homework.

              “And you said you don’t give to the poor, but you still care for them.”

              You suffer from persistent reading incomprehension. I didn’t say if I do or don’t give to the poor. It’s none of your business. That’s just a diversionary tactic.

              “What does this mean?… that you don’t give ‘handouts?’ Or that you help them get work and not be lazy?”

              Every Christian doesn’t have the same calling in life. The church has many different members who perform many different roles. Brush up on Acts 6.

              “I have to ask you seriously though, wasn’t the Gospel ‘handed out’ to you? Weren’t you lazy, broken, not fulfilling your potential, absolutely poor and bankrupt spiritually, so God HAD to rescue you out of your absolute impoverished state and made you rich in Christ?”

              i) I see. You think saving grace is comparable to food stamps?

              ii) Welfare programs don’t “rescue” the poor from poverty. Rather, they foster a culture of poverty. Try reading a few articles by Tom Sowell for starters.

              “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If you say to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but you do nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? Isn’t faith without deeds dead?

              That’s yet another example of your sloppy reading. That has reference, not to the poor in general, but to poor Christians. How affluent Christians ought to be charitable to poor Christians.

              1. JR says:

                And how utterly convenient for you that everyone here is an infidel.

              2. LG says:

                “I disagreed with you until you questioned my reading comprehension and implied that I lacked basic understanding of the Scriptures. Thank you for insulting me! Now I see how right you were all along,” SAID NO ONE, EVER.

    2. steve hays says:

      Joel

      “I saw almost no substantial critiques of Mitt Romney throughout this campaign, besides the obvious Mormonism motif. My eyes did not see one negative mention of the “47% comments…”

      Try this:

      http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/290150/message-mitt-larry-kudlow

    3. Michael says:

      You oppose abortion and homosexuality, but voted for a president who strongly supports them? That don’t make no sense.

      1. Tony says:

        Absolutely correct. That’s what I’ve been saying about “Christian” Democrats. I’m a Christian conservative independent, but as one of my friends said “I’m not a Republican, but I would never be a Democrat.”

    4. Mark says:

      Amen, Joel! I completely agree with you. I am very troubled that I never heard a single Evangelical critique Mitt Romney.

      How is it that voting for Obama is morally evil (the implication of Mohler’s comments, and others’ comments here), while Romney’s continuous, chameleon-like shape-shifting has moral impunity? I was unable to vote for Romney because I don’t know that he has a stable moral core — so how can I reasonably trust him? I haven’t the faintest idea who he is or what he stands for, nor am I sure that he even knows. (For goodness’ sake, he ran advertisements to *assure* women he *wouldn’t* overturn Roe v. Wade — and he’s supposed to be the God-blessed candidate?!) Obama offers no panacea, but at least I think we know who he is and what he wants to pursue.

      As you put so well, I think there is so often so little nuance when we Reformed/Evangelical people talk politics. It’s Manichean — black and white, with no gray.

      Is it really okay with so many Christians that Mitt Romney was waving his sabre (militarily and economically), talking about Iran and China like he was going to be a bull in a china shop, and talking about how fair his 14% income tax rate is, and so forth? Is all of that “pro-life”?

      Signed, Mark T

      1. steve hays says:

        So you prefer voting for someone you know is evil rather than voting for someone who may or may not be evil. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

        And what about Iran?

  4. J. Clark says:

    Joel, I appreciate your plea. I don’t disagree with you in principle but in application. This is the worldview problem. I believe the responsiblity for the poor rest on me, my church, and my community. There is a clash of this worldview with those from metropolitan areas (my theory) because they are living on top of people and the problem seems too large for them to broker. I disagree with them. By the way, there are few “poor” people in our country. I have seen poor and rarely recognize it here in the States.
    I do believe that there should be some narrowly defined saftey nets in government for those who fall into the “poor” category. This gets lost among the conservatives I agree. But is difficult to hold up one dollar when your rival is holding up a thousand.

    1. Joel says:

      J. Clark,

      Thank you for your reply. My comment was mostly about political commentary, not the nature of government and poverty. I was only using these examples to show that the Evangelical Christian community is a broad community of different views. But I will very briefly engage some of what you said.

      In an ideal world, the Church in America (a part of which is you and your church) should be making government welfare obsolete. This is the direction we should strive towards. I do not believe we should be spending hours of conversation and activity seeking to end government welfare. It’s not a perfect system, heck, it’s probably not even a good system, but it’s a system that keeps many people from falling into deeper poverty. The Church in this country has the opportunity and resources to do much more than it is currently doing. We should do so with a doctrine of humanity that is, on one hand realistic and on the other, incredibly hopeful about real progress and change in peoples’ lives through the power of God.

      I am skeptical of the way you discuss “real” poverty. Yes, I have been to the 3rd world, I have walked around in the slums and trash heaps in Honduras. I believe that this kind of poverty exists in the US, but probably on a smaller scale. Even when I say that, however, I recognize that the US is very large. Many people fall through the cracks of what we see. We must be cautious to assume that what we see is all of what there is. But the question is: what if we didn’t have the system of welfare we do now? The gap between the rich and the poor is such that if the welfare system was removed, the results might just look like the “real” poverty you discuss.

    2. Mark T says:

      J. Clark, you are a white person living in a really nice area, who doesn’t get out of that area very much — obviously. (I am, too, by the way — no darts or condemnation here, just stating the obvious.)

      First, who says that the poor are (exclusively — this seems to be your implication) the responsibility of the church? Of course the church should bless and help the poor. But why do you (and so many other Evangelicals) say this, as if the state shouldn’t (on biblical grounds) be involved? Rubbish. It’s an excellent model to have people contribute to the welfare of the less fortunate. Why are our taxes not to go to the poor? Where should they go (give to Caesar, etc.)? To defense and schools, but not the poor or medicine? Why? There’s no reason not to pay taxes for such things. Say that you don’t like it, but don’t say that the Bible teaches that the church needs to care for all of the poor. That’s just flatly untrue, and impossible to argue with the Bible.

      And, lastly, there are boatloads of poor people in the US! Drive west of Los Angeles for a few hours, to Hemet. Drive through Detroit. Drive through Newark, NJ. Drive through Camden, NJ. Drive through Philadelphia, Washington, Los Angeles again, Irvington, NJ, the Bronx, the rust belt along the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Drive west of New Orleans, and in New Orleans. (These are all places I’ve lived, excepting the last, which I visited). Tons of poverty.

      It’s way easier to pretend poor people don’t exist — but the church doesn’t do a very good job of helping them if we can’t even *see* them (and your whole proposal rests on the ability to see them, which you apparently don’t).

      1. steve hays says:

        Obama is contributing to poverty.

      2. J. Clark says:

        Mark, do you know me? I live in a small agrarian/rural town right now but have lived in Boston, CA,and Portland, OR. I have travelled the world and I have seen poverty. Poverty does not have a smart phone, two vehicles, an apartment, three tv’s, a wii, and obese body. This I know. I’ve been to 44 of the States and nearly every major city including working is some of the most depressed places. Down, yes. Struggling,yes? Poor, some but not many. I didn’t say the gov’t has no role to play. I don’t just mean it is the job of the churches to take care of the down and out but every man and woman who calls themself neighbor. The poorest in my area actually come to my house for help. Our church/community reguarly help those who need health care, food, housing, etc. So do you know who you are talking to?

        1. Mark T says:

          J. Clark — I re-read what I wrote yesterday, and I must admit that it isn’t a model of charitable discourse. It seemed reasonable when I wrote it last night. I’m sorry; please forgive me for being snarky.

          Returning to the issue that motivated me to write in the first place: What you originally wrote (above) was: “I believe the responsiblity for the poor rest on me, my church, and my community.” You later clarify here that you think the government does have a role to play, which is helpful in understanding your position. But I still don’t see why you’re asserting in your quotation here. Can you argue, biblically, for what you assert in this quotation? I’m honestly curious.

          I struggle a lot with the picture you paint of poor people. Are you implying that people who have a smartphone, or one or some of the items you describe, aren’t therefore poor? Are you suggesting that poor people need to look dirty and be emaciated in order to be considered actually poor? Maybe some poor people feel ashamed because they don’t fit in with all the wealthier people around them, and occasionally buy something that gets them into the picture of the norm (a smartphone, a nice coat, etc.). Why shouldn’t they? Can you blame them? Someone *definitely* can be obese (clearly not literally starving) and can also be poor. Do you know why every given person is obese? I think your assumption is troubling. (I happen to be thinking of someone I know who’s obese, and lives in a run down house with no functioning bathtub or shower, and has holes in the wall, and they can eat — but they don’t have enough money to fix their home. That is rightly called “poor.” Not total destitution, but poor. Maybe she’s obese because she has lots of pain and can’t exercise, and is also diabetic. She certainly isn’t shoveling tons of food into her mouth.) What you wrote feels really judgmental to me. (Obviously, as you discovered yesterday, I know a thing or two about being judgmental — so let me admit the log in my eye first!)

  5. Alan says:

    Seems like the US is heading the way of Europe and the UK – secularised and very low church attendance with a huge rise in agnostics / atheists.

  6. David Davis says:

    I agree with some of your points about morality but I strongly disagree about the role of government. Morality should be encouraged by example and good works. Not at the point of a gun held by a tyrant. A lot of “tough” laws are destroying families and branding people as criminals for life who should be given a chance to improve.

    1. steve hays says:

      What laws are you alluding to?

    2. Akash says:

      you seem to strongly disagree about the role of government unless its a democrat government!!

  7. Stephen says:

    There are a lot of socially conservative voters out there. They’re called Hispanics, and most of them voted for President Obama because the GOP didn’t present them with a viable alternative. When social conservatism is allied with barely disguised nativism and Ayn Rand-style economics it will lose every time. Those of us who care deeply about issues like the rights of the unborn and traditional marriage need to explore alternatives to the present-day Republican party, and what often flies under the banner of “conservatism”.

    1. Mark S says:

      Stephen

      Amen, brother! When I listen to many of my fellow Christians speak about politics, I often wonder two things: 1) how does a Republican ever win? and 2) Why would anyone ever want to be a Christian after talking to these people? The racism, conspiracy-mongering and hyper-individuality reached epic levels among Christians this election season. Don’t believe me? Go back and look at all those emails your Christian friend circulated. Shameful. By the way, did anyone get any of those emails Christians were circulating about Romney’s Mormonism and his high ranking positions in the church? No? Oh yeah, they don’t exist because Christians conveniently ignored it.

      How about we start embracing the immigrant? How about we start demanding Wall Street and big corporations follow the same standards those “shiftless poor folks?” Why don’t we demand corporations and big oil care for and protect God’s creation? How about we demand the government put real innovation into helping people cope with the rapidly changing globabized world? How about we invest in our teacher and schools so that every child has an opportunity to succeed? How about we stop worrying so much ourselves and “our” money and look at ways we can invest in our communities? How about we care for the orphan, adopt, take in the foster child, so that when we stand up the unborn there is no inconsistency in our stand for the those already born?

      1. Mark T says:

        Yes, Mark S — exactly! Amen! I agree with everything you say.

        In particular, I’m so glad you raised the issue of Mormonism. How the heck did Evangelicals jump in bed so quickly with Mormonism?! Who would’ve ever imagined this?

        I think we have to conclude that, sometimes, what is called “Evangelicalism” is actually civic religion — another beast altogether, just dressed up to look like Christianity. Or, more kindly, perhaps a fusion of the two (i.e., a fusion of Evangelicalism and civic religion), which still gives us mud in the end.

      2. steve hays says:

        Mark S

        “Why would anyone ever want to be a Christian after talking to these people? The racism, conspiracy-mongering and hyper-individuality reached epic levels among Christians this election season.”

        You yourself are indulging in prejudicial, defamatory stereotyping.

        “Don’t believe me?”

        No, I don’t.

        “Go back and look at all those emails your Christian friend circulated.”

        What emails would those be? So, no, I still don’t believe you.

        “Shameful.”

        What’s shameful is your own bigotry.

        “By the way, did anyone get any of those emails Christians were circulating about Romney’s Mormonism and his high ranking positions in the church? No? Oh yeah, they don’t exist because Christians conveniently ignored it.”

        You suffer from self-reinforcing ignorance. You despise conservative Christians, so you don’t bother to actually study what they said or didn’t say.

        Romney’s Mormonism was an issue during the primaries in both election cycles. But once he became the nominee, the relevant comparison was Obama.

        “How about we start embracing the immigrant?”

        No one is stopping you from doing that. Why don’t you invite them to stay in your home? Why don’t you give them your credit card or debit card?

        If you really cared about the plight of immigrants, why don’t you move to Latin America, roll up your sleeves, and try to fix the problem at the source?

        It’s not as if the immigrant issue has been ignored by conservative Christians. Take James Hoffmeier’s The Immigration Crisis.

        However, American can’t host all the poor people of the world. American wage-earners aren’t responsible for providing for all the poor people of the world.

        “How about we start demanding Wall Street and big corporations follow the same standards those ‘shiftless poor folks?’ Why don’t we demand corporations and big oil care for and protect God’s creation?”

        Why is big business bad, but big government is good?

        Green policies hurt the poor by shutting down job-producing industries while hiking the price of food and fuel.

        “How about we invest in our teacher and schools so that every child has an opportunity to succeed?”

        We sink thousands of dollars per child into public education. Money is no substitute for competent teachers, a quality curriculum, and motivated students.

        “How about we stop worrying so much ourselves and ‘our’ money and look at ways we can invest in our communities?”

        Why don’t you sell your laptop, discontinue your internet carrier, and give to the poor?

        “How about we care for the orphan, adopt, take in the foster child.”

        You’re fond of telling others what to do. When are you going stop talking about doing things and start doing what you talk about?

    2. Akash says:

      I highly doubt Latinos even value their socially conservative ideas.

      If supposed economic benefit overtakes supporting the bible,How are these people even socially conservative, its time to stop labelling them as that.

      There are man poor ” white people” who regardless of economic benefits vote on the basis of their bible, so pls start calling latinos socially liberal voters, they voted for that this election!!!

  8. Greg Long says:

    Joel, I am a young, white, evangelical Christian who lives in the city (in a blue-collar area, not the inner city). Although I believe charity should come first from churches, non-profits, and individuals, I do not dispute that government can play a legitimate role as a “safety net” for some.

    However, I cannot possibly fathom supporting someone who advances the moral evils of abortion and homosexuality so straighforwardly and unashamedly. Can you help me understand this from a biblical perspective?

  9. steve hays says:

    Mohler’s lament is overstated. This election was not a referendum on social values. Romney is not a culture warrior. He didn’t run as a culture warrior. He studiously avoided social issues. He was a single-issue candidate with an obsessive focus on economics.

    Many or most voters have never heard the case made for social conservatism. And even if they had, that’s not a one-time deal. It requires repetition to sink in.

    1. Caleb W says:

      Steve, Dr. Mohler often overstates on these issues. He rarely gets challenged publically, which doesn’t help.

      Also, Greg and others, legalizing abortion does not force you to have an abortion, nor does it prevent you from helping others not to have them. Sheesh, the way social conservatives talk, you’d think Obama was forcing women to have abortions. You want to prevent abortions? Try befriending and supporting the women who feel like it is their only choice. Yes, there will be those who do it for other reasons, but you might be surprised what actually being involved in the lives of people different from you can do. Try to remember, as well, that abortion and gay marriage are not the only urgent issues, as Stephen pointed out.

      I personally think that all of the ‘its a worldview issue’ talk is an increasingly bankrupt position. Not only does it logically (if not in practrice) lead to theocracy, it is a cop out argument that denies the complexities of real life. It also tends to relieve (somewhat, non-rationally) social conservatives of having to explain siding with nativism and liberatarianism, two deeply un-Christian positions.

      I am so happy to see others here, like Joel, questioning the deal that conservative Christians have struck with the GOP. It is about time to have this conversation!

      1. steve hays says:

        Caleb W

        “Also, Greg and others, legalizing abortion does not force you to have an abortion, nor does it prevent you from helping others not to have them. Sheesh, the way social conservatives talk, you’d think Obama was forcing women to have abortions. You want to prevent abortions? Try befriending and supporting the women who feel like it is their only choice. Yes, there will be those who do it for other reasons, but you might be surprised what actually being involved in the lives of people different from you can do.”

        Caleb W
        November 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm

        Steve, Dr. Mohler often overstates on these issues. He rarely gets challenged publically, which doesn’t help.

        Also, Caleb and others, legalizing child abuse does not force you to abuse children, nor does it prevent you from helping others not to abuse them. Sheesh, the way social conservatives talk, you’d think NAMBLA was forcing men to abuse little boys. You want to prevent child abuse? Try befriending and supporting pedophiles. Yes, there will be those who rape little boys anyway, but that’s no reason to criminalize child abuse.

        1. Caleb W says:

          Abortion and child abuse are clearly different issues. So is slavery, another topic that social conservatives like to invoke in the abortion debate. The old tactic of changing the words around to suggest that what I said also supports child abuse is tired.

          Also, invoking NAMBLA a tired rhetorical flourish.

          1. steve hays says:

            Caleb W

            “Abortion and child abuse are clearly different issues.”

            In terms of how you chose to frame your position, they are relevantly similar.

            “So is slavery, another topic that social conservatives like to invoke in the abortion debate.”

            Just because you say so?

            “The old tactic of changing the words around to suggest that what I said also supports child abuse is tired.”

            Actually, it’s a reductio ad absurdum.

            “Also, invoking NAMBLA a tired rhetorical flourish.”

            That’s not an argument.

            1. Caleb W says:

              It is only a successful reductio ad absurdum if you show that an absurd result follows from the acceptance of my argument. I do not think that your statement about child abuse follows from the acceptance of my statement about abortion because child abuse and abortion are not “relevantly similar.” Likewise, we are in different ontological realms when discussing abortion and slavery.

              I also do not have time to explain to you in detail why invoking NAMBLA is tired. In brief, NAMBLA is a fringe group of pedophiles that has nothing to do with this discussion. But you brought it up, as do many other social conservatives in this debate, to suggest that any argument that sees abortion as a grey area somehow supports the cause of a group like NAMBLA because you think that the position represents extreme moral relativism. It would be like me bringing up Army of God in a discussion with someone who is pro-life, which I did not do.

              1. steve hays says:

                Caleb W

                “It is only a successful reductio ad absurdum if you show that an absurd result follows from the acceptance of my argument. I do not think that your statement about child abuse follows from the acceptance of my statement about abortion because child abuse and abortion are not ‘relevantly similar.’”

                My counterexample closely paralleled your argument. Anyone can compare them, back-to-back. Naturally you’ll deny it, but saying that and showing that are two different things. All we have is your bare denial. Big deal.

                “In brief, NAMBLA is a fringe group of pedophiles that has nothing to do with this discussion.”

                Their fringe status is irrelevant. I responded to you on your. Now you’re drawing ad hoc distinctions.

                You thought you could get off a free round of cheap shots. The moment you encounter real resistance, you fold.

      2. Michael says:

        He just forces us to pay for people to have abortions, which is forcing us to pay for the killing of innocent people.

        1. Caleb W says:

          For some reason there is no ‘reply’ option on Steve Hays’ latest response.

          Steve,

          I’m not sure where I have folded.

          Comparing and paralleling my argument to the example that you gave is not the same thing as a reductio ad absurdem. I just think that should be clear.

          Your second reply is incomplete. Whether or not their fringe status is relevant, I’m saying that invoking NAMBLA is irrelevant to the abortion discussion. I think you did it for rhetorical reasons. Could you clarify for me why you did?

          I am liking some of the questioning of the social conservative Christian ideology that is being raised here, by other commenters. Just thought I would add that.

          Michael, your point is a difficult one. The issue, as I see it, is that Christians want to universalize their arguments against against abortion, which depend on ‘revelation’ (the only way you can be sure that life begins at conception is an appeal to the Bible, and to a particular interpretation that says that if God is the author of life who knits us together in the womb, then the moment of conception is the moment that human life begins) and make them the law for everyone. If you are going to exist in a secular state, I don’t think you can do that. Others are going to differ on this issue and I don’t see how you can maintain a secular state but have laws that enforce the morality of a minority on the majority. I don’t think you want to head down the theocracy road. So I would say again, influence the moral code and conditions of life for individual people and you will have fewer abortions without denying liberty. We also need to be realistic, if we really care about preventing abortion, and not be so anti-contraception in sex education.

          I would also like to see the staunchly pro-life side (I’m not accusing Michael of this) be less defensive, or more thoughtful, or something, when people bring up their views in other areas that seem to conflict with a consistently pro life position. That is, why don’t more American Christians complain when the government uses their money to develop and maintain nuclear weapons, prosecute illegal or unjust wars, spend trillions of dollars on machines designed to end human life, promote economic activity that is corrosive to the very conditions of possibility for life on earth as such, or stop caring for the poor or elderly, etc. To limit yourselves to abortion strikes me as odd.

          1. steve hays says:

            Caleb W

            “Comparing and paralleling my argument to the example that you gave is not the same thing as a reductio ad absurdem. I just think that should be clear.”

            One way of performing a reductio is to mount an argument from analogy, using an absurd, but analogous parallel. Hence, if the analogue is absurd, so is the original position.

            “Your second reply is incomplete. Whether or not their fringe status is relevant, I’m saying that invoking NAMBLA is irrelevant to the abortion discussion. I think you did it for rhetorical reasons. Could you clarify for me why you did?”

            It’s part of the argument from analogy. I used child abuse/pedophilia as the analogue. And NAMBLA takes the place of your statement about Obama not forcing women to have abortions.

          2. steve hays says:

            Caleb W

            “That is, why don’t more American Christians complain when the government uses their money to develop and maintain nuclear weapons, prosecute illegal or unjust wars, spend trillions of dollars on machines designed to end human life, promote economic activity that is corrosive to the very conditions of possibility for life on earth as such, or stop caring for the poor or elderly, etc. To limit yourselves to abortion strikes me as odd.”

            i) We don’t limit ourselves to abortion. We’re concerned with other issues, like mainstreaming homosexuality, euthanasia, speech codes, secular indoctrination, &c.

            ii) You’re taking your own moral valuation of these issues for granted, then imagining that other American Christians are inconsistent or hypocritical. But they don’t share your operating assumptions regarding the moral status of these issues. You’ve generated a bogus inconsistency by imputing to them a perspective they don’t accept.

            BTW, several hostile commenters on Justin’s post commit the same blunder. They treat their chic hipster Jim Wallis/Ron Sider viewpoint as a given, not bothering to argue for their assumptions or acquaint themselves with opposing arguments, then project hypocrisy onto evangelicals like Justin Taylor or Albert Mohler. It’s a nice back-patting exercise, but it’s not intellectually serious.

            1. Caleb W says:

              Steve,

              I do not think that your analogy is valid. You just asserted it. Abortion and child abuse, I am saying, are not analagous. Your ‘analogy’ would be like me saying “Accepting the Bible as the word of God because it says it is, is like accepting the Koran as the word of God, because it says it is. So if you accept the testimony of the Bible you must accept that of the Koran.” I think you would agree that this is not a valid reductio, but it seems to me to be the same kind you are trying to use against me.

              All you (and Andy) are doing is saying ‘Well, if you allow for abortion then you must allow for [insert morally repugnant thing here]“. But you have not given an argument for this leap of logic other than the fact that you think abortion is clearly morally repugnant, and so its legality opens the door to other acts.

              “We don’t limit ourselves to abortion”. Of course you don’t. I’m saying that the overwhelming political emphasis is on abortion (and gay marriage). Just look at the political blog posts on the Gospel Coalition leading up to the election. Al Mohler, RC Sproul, and a host of others cited abortion as the most important issue of the election. I’m not sure how you can deny the overwhelming emphasis on these things. I spent 25+ years in conservative Christian circles and this is what I heard, all the time.

              I’ve also never read Jim Wallis or Ron Sider or anyone like them, really. It isn’t fair to set up a strawman of the kind of person you think is disagreeing with you so you can dismiss it.

              I also think it is fine for me to posit the moral status of the issues that I mentioned. It is impractical to have to justify the moral status of each on a blog comment that is meant to suggest that the overwhelming emphasis of my religious community is not on them. You get to assume your denial of their moral importance without justifying it. So why can’t I do the opposite? I never called Al Mohler or anyone else a hypocrite. All I said was that is was strange to me that the pro life movement does not also interest itself in other issues that have to do with life as such. A blog comment is not a dissertation.

              I also don’t think your tone is really justified. You’re making assumptions about the intellectual ‘seriousness’ of people you don’t know who disagree with you based on a few blog comments.

              1. steve hays says:

                Caleb W

                “I do not think that your analogy is valid. You just asserted it. Abortion and child abuse, I am saying, are not analagous.”

                This was your original argument:

                “Also, Greg and others, legalizing abortion does not force you to have an abortion, nor does it prevent you from helping others not to have them. Sheesh, the way social conservatives talk, you’d think Obama was forcing women to have abortions. You want to prevent abortions? Try befriending and supporting the women who feel like it is their only choice. Yes, there will be those who do it for other reasons, but you might be surprised what actually being involved in the lives of people different from you can do.”

                You didn’t build any qualifications into your argument which would essentially distinguish your argument from my analogy. If you’re going to deny that my analogy is truly comparable, then you need to qualify your original contention to show how they are crucially different.

                Of course, that’s dicey for you. The moment you attempt to qualify your argument, I can qualify my argument in tandem.

                Do you have any qualifications, which are not ad hoc qualifications, that essentially distinguish your argument from my analogy? How do you limit the force of your argument to eliminate my analogy? What are the key differential factors?

                “Your ‘analogy’ would be like me saying “Accepting the Bible as the word of God because it says it is, is like accepting the Koran as the word of God, because it says it is. So if you accept the testimony of the Bible you must accept that of the Koran.” I think you would agree that this is not a valid reductio, but it seems to me to be the same kind you are trying to use against me.”

                You have it exactly backwards. You’re the one who presented an unqualified argument for the rape exception. Given the unqualified terms of your argument, it is, indeed, valid for me to introduce a parallel unqualified analogy.

                “All you (and Andy) are doing is saying ‘Well, if you allow for abortion then you must allow for [insert morally repugnant thing here].’”

                No, that’s not what I’m doing. Rather, I’m mimicking the contours of you own argument.

                “But you have not given an argument for this leap of logic other than the fact that you think abortion is clearly morally repugnant, and so its legality opens the door to other acts.”

                You keep missing the point. You’re the one who framed your position so broadly that it invites these comparisons. If you reject the comparisons, then you need to go back and recast your argument in narrower terms.

                Mind you, that might not salvage your argument. Success would depend on whether you can introduce some principled distinctions that exclude my analogy, without reintroducing my analogy in revised form.

                “I’m saying that the overwhelming political emphasis is on abortion (and gay marriage).”

                The liberal social agenda is incremental. It generally attempts to gain a foothold, securing one goal at a time, then using that to soften resistance to the next installment.

                Indeed, when social conservatives predict the trajectory of the liberal social agenda, they are dismissed as “alarmist.”

                Euthanasia has been more of a backburner issue, but that’s beginning to move to a frontburner status as liberals increasingly try to mainstream euthanasia.

                We see the same thing happening with pedophilia, where there’s a move in psychological journals to begin laying the groundwork for abolishing the age of consent.

                “I also think it is fine for me to posit the moral status of the issues that I mentioned.”

                In which case we don’t have to take your examples seriously.

                “You get to assume your denial of their moral importance without justifying it.”

                I can’t present a counterargument to a nonexistent argument. Since you haven’t bothered to make a case for your examples, there’s really nothing for me to respond to. It’s hardly incumbent on me to refute your bare opinion.

                “I never called Al Mohler or anyone else a hypocrite. All I said was that is was strange to me that the pro life movement does not also interest itself in other issues that have to do with life as such.”

                That’s what you insinuated.

                “You’re making assumptions about the intellectual ‘seriousness’ of people you don’t know who disagree with you based on a few blog comments.”

                Since you don’t give supporting reasons, your examples have no persuasive value.

          3. Andy says:

            Caleb,

            Scientifically (with no reference to religion), human life begins when it has acquired all the genetic information needed to chart the course for its development for the rest of its life – this happens with one cell.

            Your argument in support of the pro-choice position seems nonsensical: you agree that abortion is the destruction of human life, yet believe that the government must make this an option so that it is not a “theocracy.” In other words, since a large percentage of the population deriving its views from non-Biblical sources agrees with the murder of the pre-born, we must give them the right to murder. Analogously, if sizable percentage of a society believed in child sacrifice, the government must create “free and fair” policies that allow those wanting to engage in child sacrifice to do so.

            By adopting this “secular government must not impose Christian values on those disagreeing” view, you’ve opened the door to supporting any policy in which the government takes a hands-off approach toward something many of its constituents want (including slavery and Jim Crow laws, etc.), even when that something includes harm to innocent human beings and goes against God’s teaching in the Bible.

            1. Caleb W says:

              Andy,

              You are abstracting the fetus from the context of the womb – the woman’s body. I know the arguments against that view, but don’t find them convincing enough to use the law to force women to remain pregnant. I am not arguing for unlimited abortion. Sometimes I get the sense that this is the assumption.

              We could also talk about the difference between life and personhood. I do not think that this is as clear-cut as your appeal to science implys. Or perhaps you know of a scientific argument for equating personhood with life at conception? I am asking that honestly.

              Of course the above is the key point of disagreement. Afterwards, you’re again saying ‘if you allow abortion, you must allow x.’ But that assumes that abortion and x are clearly of the same moral status. Abortion is not the same thing as child sacrifice or slavery or Jim Crow. They are ontologically distinct. Within limits, abortion is a grey area, where child sacrifice, slavery, and Jim Crow are not. I say all of this in the context of all of my posts here.

              I must be crazy to be making these arguments on this blog :)

              1. steve hays says:

                Caleb W

                “You are abstracting the fetus from the context of the womb – the woman’s body. I know the arguments against that view, but don’t find them convincing enough to use the law to force women to remain pregnant.”

                That’s what the womb was made for. It’s designed to host a baby. Protect and provide for the baby. That’s its intended function. If you want to talk about context, that’s the larger context.

                And we’re not talking about generic “women.” A pregnant woman is a mother. The “fetus” is her baby.

                So this is an issue of parental responsibilities.

        2. EricP says:

          The Hyde amendment prevents federal money being spent directly on abortion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyde_Amendment I realize by funding planned parenthood’s other programs, abortion is indirectly subsidized.

  10. The Believer says:

    It was just so sad that the American people had no choice but to vote for anyone of the two (Obama & Romney) who both obviously do not represent the Evangelical and Biblical faith’s leadership principles. So yes, all that the Church can do and should do now is just but pray the God would, by divine intervention, bring a strong conviction upon the heart of Obama, for him to be transformed and be changed in his many un-Biblical political views and stances.

  11. James says:

    John MacArthur said a long time ago That God has pulled out the restraints on America and has let her to her own devices. The 1st … chapters of Romans sums it up clearly enough and America surely is living it and has turned it’s back on God. Jeremiah after 42 years of preaching can be summed up in 4 words – “They would not listen” and eventually they were taken out. It’s the same message Isaiah preached and they didn’t listen then either and they were taken out. I can only amagine hearing Jeremiah speaking to Judah saying you see what happened to Israel because of the same things your doing and worse… what part don’t you get God is going to do the same to you but they refused to turn from the era’s of their ways… they didn’t care, they didn’t listen and God brought judgement on them as he will do on America. Satan has been allowed to sift America like wheat only thing is America won’t pass the test either. It’s only going to get worse, it’s all a part of God’s plan not that the Christian should toss in the towel God forbid. In the Old Covenant we read book after book And this king did evil in the sight of the Lord but very few times do we read and this king did right in the sight of the Lord Do we really think that we the people will ever hear – And this President did right in the sight of the Lord. Only those who did right in the sight of the Lord were God fearing men…/

    1. tricia says:

      James: Agree with your comments and observations,sadly what happens in America has a profound effect throughout the world.
      May God have Mercy on every single one of us.
      Tricia South Africa

      1. James says:

        Hi Tricia,
        Yes you are right about that unfortunately in the spiritual sense, America is not the example setter. Do you remember back when Reagan was president that (I believe it was…) it was said “America is the axis of evil” I’ll never forget that…even though it was directed to the U.S government. This morning as I was reading my bible in Jeremiah I read this – …(they)answered Jeremiah, saying: Jer 44:16 “[As for] the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you!when I read that The story about Nebuchadnezzar came to mind and immediately this came to mind also – Look what my hand has passed!!(same sex marriage) Look what I put into law (abortion) who can thwart my hand I am the president of the United States, as though in the same like manner shaking his fist at God strutting like a peacock saying look what I have done! to bad God is not in the business turning prideful people into animals any more sending them to a field to eat grass or there would be allot of presidents suddenly disappearing. (ha ha).

  12. Open 24 Hours says:

    The early church overcame and defeated the evil magistrate by dying at his hands for being Christ-like and faithful to God’s truth.

    He proved to be an outstanding martyr…. By his endurance he defeated the unrighteous magistrate and so received the crown of immortality. Martyrdom of Polycarp 19

    Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.

  13. I was disappointed at the lack of concern to alert as many as possible to the referendums on gay marriage. I addressed it here http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/election-day-and-gay-marriage/ but did not see many efforts to expose the issue by evangelicals.

    Yet I would disagree a bit with Mohler’s concern. President Obamas re-election was nothing close to a national mandate for his ideology. Half (and probably far more of the nation given electoral apathy) is adamantly opposed to his big government philosophy. But 6 out of 10 Americans say that they don’t pay attention to politics. What does it tell us about the process when pervasive apathy and growing disgust have become the majority posture? Ask the average person if he thinks his vote makes a difference. Two of the most common opinions are that “nothing ever gets done” and “they’re all (politicians) corrupt and a bunch of liars.”

    In a recent survey, only 39 percent could even identify the name of the vice president. People say that they’re too busy to be bothered and have lost interest in the whole political scene. It’s reported that 131 million Americans (or two-thirds of eligible voters) voted for president in 2008. This left more than 15 million registered voters who didn’t participate and an additional estimated 30 million unregistered Americans. Projections tell us that the number eligible voters casting a ballot will be fewer in the 2012 election.

    This is not merely apathy. The sentiments run deeper, even among those who did vote. Is the moral climate drifting further from God? Yes. But let’s not fall for the notion of a mandate in this election.

    1. James says:

      Hi Steve,
      I went on the Internet and used 3 different websites to make certain that my polling place would be assured. And sure enough using address and zip code all 3 sites confirmed that my polling place was just down the street from my house. So I waited for a convenient time to go and fortunately it worked out great got right in no wait handed the man my Drivers license with the same current address he swiped it and said “your in the wrong place”. It was 6 miles in the opposite direction so I went there only to to find a 2 day line and hundreds of cars and more people arriving needless to say I’m outa here and yes I didn’t vote…

    2. The Believer says:

      That’s pretty understandable, James, I experienced the same scene here in the Philippines, but it’s even worse as the 2-day line thing starts to happen even during yet the voters’ registration period, ‘coz Filipinos have the lame habit of procrastinating ’til the last day.

      One favorite columnist of the #1 daily broadsheet here in the Philippines once wrote, that we (the Philippines) deserve the government that we have (but that was still during the previous corrupt administration), and that was at the time when, similarly as pointed out by Steve, Filipinos had become apathetic and indifferent, majority have lost hope for a better government, many no longer care to vote. But thanks be to God, He has arose a righteous president for our country now, albeit not an Evangelical believer but a devout Catholic, has the strong political will not to give in to traditional politics, who has the moral authority and leads by example. But I believe it’s got a lot to do also with the aggressive voices trumpeted by many church leaders (vote the Catholic and the Evangelical church) against immoral and un-Biblical initiatives that are yet brewing, the churches here could never be silenced when it comes to issuing pastoral stances regarding divorce, same sex marriage, and abortion, that politicians have to concede or else they’d lose in the election. We’re still blessed somehow that the Filipino people still regard our church leaders highly, and have maintained a Biblically conservative positions in all controversial agenda being planned by some legislators.

      The Philippines have patterned our Constitution with that of the United States, were we’ve put an emphasis on God for the just and righteous governance of our people, and somehow by the grace of God, despite liberalism that’s also creeping into the current generation, majority still have kept a conservative views and positions.

      Let’s pray that God will raise up new leaders for the American people who have genuine fear of the Lord, but while Obama is still in place, let’s not give up praying still for God’s hand to move in his life, for unless he has a genuine encounter with God (however he consistently claims to be a believer), he will remain the same, or might even worsen.

      As light and salt to everyone, it’s really the believers basic duty to show to everyone how to live righteously by the grace of God, never compromising godly principles, however strong and persistent the voice of the enemy may be.

      One Filipino pastor has once also said, that the state of our nation is the reflection of the state of the Church, that unless the Body of Christ would unite, set aside minor doctrinal differences and focus on the most essential, pray together and rally the members to live lives honoring God in their workplaces, schools, and wherever they may be, then we wouldn’t influence our nation.

  14. Nicholas says:

    I must take issue with Dr. Mohler’s comment that we must “winsomely convince” others to adopt our views on sanctity of life, marriage, etc. Unfortunately, this election clearly shows that that train left the station a long time ago. We must earnestly pray for God to send revival, and until then those of us who hold to biblical values will find fewer and fewer people who also share those values and live them out in their lives and their decisions.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Al Mohler is right about the demographics, but on other issues he really doesn’t get it.

      His only answer is to try harder–to be more “winsome” as we try to convince others of the sanctity of life and marriage, two issues that the general population is obviously in the process of rejecting.

      Americans know our arguments, and guess what? They don’t care. Speaking a little more winsomely won’t help.

      And Mohler’s new emphasis on Hispanics? Could the pandering be more obvious?

      Mohler’s initial comments were so good I almost posted a link to this on Facebook, but the rest of his insights completely sunk the post.

  15. Jesus' Other Beard says:

    Steve Hays need to write a book or have a podcast. He is the most brilliant man in the Reformed circuit without a book or podcast.

    Selah.

    1. Lou G. says:

      Thank you for making me laugh so hard my coffee came out of my nose. ROFL.

      1. Akash says:

        HA HA HA

  16. Flyaway says:

    How do we pray for evangelicals who think disarming America of nukes, feeding the poor, and other social justice issues are more important than preventing unborn babies being ripped limb from limb in the womb and more important than the deception of homosexuality being forced on society?

    Romans 1:18-27
    Unbelief and Its Consequences
    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions ; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural , 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Wow, Flyaway, how is it that you read the entire Bible and come away believing that abortion (no Bible verses on this) and homosexuality (only a few verses) are more important issues for Christians that the poor (lots of verses) and than justice (lots of verses)?

      That’s simply bad Bible scholarship.

      I challenge you to read the Gospels and make a list of the things Jesus thought were most important. Jesus was pretty adamant about care for the poor. In fact he said his disciples would go to eternal punishment if they didn’t.

      1. Tony says:

        This “Anonymous” is clearly misguided.
        Frequency of a topic in the bible doesn’t make something more or less valid. The gospels talk about finances and Hell more than anywhere else in the bible. Money is a strong force that can control any person if they let it. Christ didn’t speak on issues that didn’t need change (like homosexuality, a sin clearly evident). The Old Testament attests to it being wrong, as well as supporting verses in the NT. Claiming homosexuality isn’t as important or “a muddy issue” is akin to claiming fornication and adultery are as well. Abortion is the greatest human right’s violation of our time. It’s the modern version of throwing infants to crocodiles, we’ve just made it….”civilized.”

        1. Akash says:

          It is every women’s right to decide whether she can feed her children of to the crocodiles!!!, how dare you be so patriarchal and infringe on my rights.

          “It is the crocodiles right to eat infants, how dare you abuse crocodiles”!

          Current human ideology just sickens me

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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