History

How has abortion affected local churches? Drilling down into the statistics reveals something interesting. And troubling.

While we acknowledge the biblical pro-life ethic has many applications, Life Matters chooses to focus on abortion and euthanasia because these attacks on the sanctity of human life are so highly orchestrated.

How did Christianity spread like wildfire in the first century when it was "on the wrong side of history"? Tim Keller offers an encouraging explanation.

Once upon a time not that long ago “everyone” knew with scientific certainty that human life began at conception. A mere three years after this editorial was written, “semantic gymnastics” made abortion-on-demand the law of the land. Would that pro-death people today could be as honest and forthright about their tactics. 

It's obvious that human beings should treat animals well, but when it comes to animal life versus human life, we must favor God's creatures who are made in His image. Passages such as Genesis 9:2-6 and Exodus 21:28-36 are instructive. Indeed, human beings are "exceptional."

She had been taken from her home and they had not allowed her to return. She'd probably seen members of her family killed, or also taken captive. This nameless servant girl probably had no hope of ever returning to Israel. But like Joseph, she maintained her faith in God and adherence to His ways.

A friend in Zambia wants to know why Christians in his country haven't led the way in caring for people with disabilities. He related abuses by religious and political forces. As recently as the 1990s, the disabled were considered tormented and demon possessed. The ruling political party herded the blind and handicapped off the streets and into remote rural areas where they had to compete with monkeys for food.

Nsomekela Daniel, of Disability Integration Initiatives for Africa, says, "We believe and acknowledge the impact the clergy has on our communities and if they deliberately turn a blind eye to issues of disability then how will the disabled be integrated in the mainstream society? Today, there are many churches that have AIDS/HIV programs and some have even prison ministries but none has ministries for the disabled. Why? . . . How are they going to live?"

Sadly, this isn't just a Zambian or African problem. In Attitudes Toward People with Disabilities, I trace historical perspectives from northern European folk legends to social Darwinism, eugenics, and Nazi Germany. It's not a pretty picture. 

The account of the man born blind in John 9 is indicative of attitudes toward people with disabilities in Jesus’ day. The disciples supposed that blindness was a punishment for sin, either the man’s or his parents’. This idea flowed from an Old Testament explanation of blessing for obedience and curses for unconfessed sin, as found in Deuteronomy 28. 

As the book of Job makes clear, however, there’s not always a one-for-one relationship between sin and its consequences. Jesus corrected the disciples by saying that sometimes a person has a disability in order to show the glory of God. This is exactly what happened when Jesus healed the paralytic (Luke 5:25-26).

Jesus encountered many people with disabilities during his sojourn on earth. One notable instance was when he healed Bartimaeus, a blind man (Mark 10:46-52). Points to ponder:

  • Society hadn't figured out how to help a blind man, other than letting him beg by the side of the road.
  • This blind man was capable of greater insight than most sighted people. He knew who Jesus was!
  • Jesus called Bartimaeus to Himself. He truly does fill His banquet hall with "the crippled and blind and lame" (Luke 14:21).

The early church adopted a gracious and sacrificial response toward people with disabilities, literally rescuing them from the trash heaps of the Roman Empire. How do you think we're doing today?

Darren Arnofsky’s film Noah is turning out to be one of those cultural touchstones that divide viewers according to worldview. It not only calls the authority of Scripture into question, but also explains other crucial themes -- the sanctity of human life, man’s relation to the environment, the nature of sin and salvation, God’s purpose in creation, and God Himself -- in a way quite different from how they are rendered in Genesis and the rest of God's word. 

Here are a few insightful critiques from those who've seen the movie:

  • In Sympathy for the Devil, Dr. Brian Mattson points out its disturbing Gnostic/Kabbalistic/mystic underpinnings.


Apparently, the movie even gets the meaning of the rainbow wrong.

We "happened" to write about Noah in our latest Life Matters copy-ready bulletin insert -- Noah: Violent or Righteous? The Bible teaches that Noah stood out as someone who was "other than" the status quo, while the movie depicts him as a killer. Movie Noah believed his mission was to destroy all the people on the ark after they had saved the animals!

Another resource that you can use in your church, Sunday school, youth group, etc., to teach biblical truths is Noah and the Last Days, from the makers of 180 and Evolution vs. God. View it online and download a free ebook.

Tributes for Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday, use words like "humility," "grace," and "forgiveness." One accolade -- that he treated people as he would want to be treated -- made me think of the sermon by Pastor John Hayden that we are using as our Pastor's Handbook update this year.

As Pastor Hayden points out, the "Golden Rule" is a uniquely Christian idea. Many ancient cultures recognized that the evil a person does often comes back to plague him or her. Instead of promoting kindness, however, the effect of this thinking is to grant permission for "doing unto others what they have done to you."

This is how many thought Mandela would behave upon his release from prison and ascension to the presidency, but he resisted that impulse and called for reconciliation and forgiveness. It is told that he invited his former jailers to sit in the front row at his inauguration as a sign of peace-making.

I cannot say whether he was a Christian, but this "fruit" is telling. A few articles I read this morning, however, raise doubt:

South African bishops wrong to laud Mandela
South African missionary cautions against new film praising life of Nelson Mandela

Sadly, this almost universally heralded leader supported abortion on demand and other sinful practices. Did he do to the unborn what he wished done to him? As much good as he may have accomplished, his was not a completely golden life.

Read The Golden Life by downloading it through our online store. Access is free of charge.

Discussions about the sanctity of human life occur everyday. Emotions rise, but few facts are shared. So today, we thought, let's talk about the facts.  

Life Matters Worldwide hopes that this video will equip you to talk to others. Share it with as many people as possible. Learning and preparation go hand in hand when it comes to sharing your beliefs effectively!


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