One of the things I have been teaching on a lot lately at our fellowship is that our faith and belief "statements" should not just be for thick books and seminaries. If they don't affect our daily life, in the grit and grind of living in this world and being salt and light in it, then haven't we missed something? Jesus didn't spend His whole time on earth in some ivory tower coffee house of safe discussions—He lived very much in this world and interacted with it and touched it. Then Jesus said He was sending out the church as the Father sent Him. Additionally, Ephesians tells us a pastor's job is to equip the saints (the body of Christ) for the work of ministry. Our faith is supposed to impact our daily life, to define its choices and change our priorities and expectations and values and words. We are in the world for a reason, for the work of ministry, otherwise the Father would take us immediately to Heaven where there is no pain, sorrow, death, sickness. This is one of the reasons I stress so much knowing a person's world view—because if they are true to it (which you would hope they would be if they really believe it) then it should affect their lives completely.
Last night's Vice Presidential debates really struck a note with me, though not a good one. I listened to Vice President Biden say that his personal belief is that life begins at conception (that's his supposed world view). Then he said he'd never force that on someone else or take away a woman's choice in the issue. My mouth almost dropped open. How can someone truly believe life begins at conception and then not take a stand to defend that defenseless life? What is the difference between that and removing laws against murder? How can he truly believe that is a life, a baby, inside the mom and then say he won't legislate to stop someone from killing it? If he truly believes it is a life inside a woman then, whether or not he'd admit it, he is saying that he believes a woman should have a choice to kill it.
Now I need to say that I believe Christians have handled the abortion issue tremendously wrong in many ways, and we have come across as cold, insensitive, hateful, angry, etc. I think we often haven't shown a mom to be the compassion of understanding her fear, her dilemma, etc., especially in the cases of unwanted pregnancies. I think we have spilled words that condemn a woman whose had an abortion instead of showing her the love and forgiveness of Jesus. But, all that said, if it is a life in her—and we believe it is—than that is a separate life and it must be dealt with as any other life, and we don't allow murder of anyone else no matter how convenient or expedient it is.
It is not just about the woman's choice! There is another life involved, and if we believe that we must—must!—defend the defenseless. That is God's mandate! I remember for me the turning point in the whole issue came when a brother said to me something to the effect of, "Everyone talks about a choice. What if they ask the baby its choice? What if they said to it that it was an accident, would it like to die? No one talks about the baby's choice." That, for me, was the defining moment. I realized that if I truly believed that was a life inside a woman then it, too, had rights and a choice, and if it couldn't defend or stand up for them on its own then others must. That is what God is about, and American used to be about. Are we still? He still is.
At its core this whole issue reveals an even higher and more important truth in a man or woman—what is our true (not just professed) world view, and what is our highest standard of truth? This issue, like many others, has at its core a much greater truth and that is the truth of where we stop as the final word in truth and right and wrong. Will that highest point that trumps all be God or man's opinion? Questions like this cut through all the expedient words and empty professions and reveal the true heart and belief of the person making them.
Note: Even Congressman Ryan wasn't consistent with his world view as he was listing exceptions to his anti-abortion stand. I think that when we start to make murder OK even in a few situations we are opening a slippery slope that won't stop just because we say, "no more." Once an avalanche begins it is unstoppable. It then becomes not a question of right and wrong, but a question of how far right or left the demarcation line is put, or of when it is right or wrong. The reality of that is that we aren't any longer saying something is right or wrong as an absolute, but we have changed over into saying man's wisdom defines right and wrong. That, then, becomes arbitrary which leads to moral relativism . . . one of the most dangerous philosophies a society can have. The rejection of absolute right and wrong is not tolerance, it is naive foolishness and the first step on the path to death.