Our Christian Faith & Abortion

Hello Everyone, this email was written to someone in our congregation concerning abortion. I thought that others might want to read it as well. It begins with the my saying that this person’s questioning of abortion was not in error.
Your understanding of the Scripture is not wrong. However, please consider the fact that the Old Testament is an eastern mindset document, not like our western mindset, which takes all points literally. And this results in some really awful theology. The two mindsets, eastern and western, is a major study, and one of the realities is that everything need not be taken literally. We especially find this in the first 11 chapters of Genesis. Solid Bible scholars through the ages will view these differently, and the dangerous mindset insists that everything is to interpreted all literally or the way they see it. Christians have long experienced this, which is why there are so many different interpretations. I commonly talk with or meet with those who are interested in our church and want to be sure I agree with what they believe, and more of it having to do with politics than points of theology. This is common, too common, and every pastor has to face this, and it so often involves politics, and so many other issues that are not even bibically oriented. Got to tell youI must say, anyone who desires to be a pastor these days ought to have their heads examined. This is how bad it is.

The reason I mention the Talmud is because it reflects the way the ancient Jewish scholars viewed things. It is not from the Christian community, but helps often to reveal how Old Testament passages were interpreted by those people then.

I hate abortion, and much of this has to do with the reasons some seek it. There are tragic stories out there, everything from incest, dieases, threats from others, sex traffiking, prostitution, complete ignorance, mental illness, criminality, poverty, hate and rejection, to . . . , and I could go on. 

I remember when I was in high school in the 1950s, it was not uncommon for teen girls at our Verdugo Hills High School in Los Angeles to go to Tijuana, Mexico, for an abortion. At the time we idiots laughed about it all. A couple of these teenagers I knew did not survive, and a couple were rendered sterile. Yes, they could have given birth and had these babies adopted out, but who knows what goes on within families. I will not act the judge. And we cannot forget that some abortions are done to save the mother’s life. Things can get really complicated.

My concern is that much of the press has managed to blame Christians for overturning Roe v. Wade, and it is causing havoc in churches across America. “Look at what those awful Christians are doing now, pretty soon they will ban contracepion.”––you can almost hear it now. And this whole thing will get worse and worse. I see it all as a fulfillment of 2 Peter 5:8. We cannot forget the bottom line, and that is the preaching of the Gospel that others might be saved. My concern is not so much about abortion, but the impact we are seeing now as a result of the ruling. I present no position at all. Frankly, I am not sure what the truth is. Way too complicated for a guy with my bandwidth. 

As followers of Jesus we want to let others work things out for themselves and not demand they adopt our positions. I want people to hear the Gospel and not package it with political and ethical positions. The Apostles’ Creed says enough. There are so many different reasons that compel a person to one position or another, and much of it is often emotional with very unpleasant personal experiences in the background. And by the way, I have found people will begin with a particular ethical or moral position, and over time will change their minds.

Everyone has to be free to make up their own minds. Abortion is a very complex issue, and I doubt that anyone grasps all of the complexities. I only object to villifying anyone who has a different point of view or who is simply puzzled by it all and is therefore unable to state what they think. 

As I like to say, we must agree to disagree and depend upon the working of the Holy Spirit to bring about righteous change.


Jesus Heals a Man with a Demon

Luke 8:26–39

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

1.         Jesus, for whatever reason, sails east with His disciples, to an area known as Gerasene, a Gentile area, also known as the Decapolis, meaning 10 cities.

2.         Immediately he encounters a man who had demons, and this for a long period of time. He was naked, super powerful, and crazed. How he knew about Jesus is not known. He falls at the feet of Jesus and asks that Jesus not torment him. This request is likely from the master demon in him, whom we find later is named Legion.

3.         “They” beg Jesus not to cast them into the “abyss,” which was the place where Satan and his fallen angels would be imprisoned forever. Instead, they wish to remain in flesh, and so they wanted to be cast into a nearby herd of pigs. Mark tells us there were about 2000 pigs, which is the number of soldiers in a Roman legion.)

4.         Jesus casts them out and the pigs rush into the sea and are drowned. This event, unbelievable for those who witnessed it, caused a great deal of concern for the herdsmen and the locals.

5.         When these locals located Jesus, they found the man who had the demons sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And these people were “afraid.”

6.         The formerly possessed man wanted to remain with Jesus, but Jesus told him to go back to his home and declare the miracle he had experienced. And Luke tells us that is exactly what he did.

A Lamp under a Jar, Jesus’ Mother and Brothers, & Jesus Calms a Storm

Luke 8:16–25

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

1.         Three stories now, one involving a lamp, then the story of Jesus’ mother and brothers (maybe sisters too), and Jesus calming a storm at sea

2.         A lamp, when lit, is not covered up, no, the purpose is to be able to see in the darkness. Jesus here teaches that everything will be clear, understood, indeed, the darkness will be separated from the light. We find that Jesus is “the light of the world” in John 8:12.

3.         At one point, fairly early on in Jesus’ ministry, members of His family come to Him, for an unknown reason, and in trying to speak with Him are unable to make contact due to a large crowd. When Jesus is told of this, He responds that his mother and brothers, His actual family, are those who both hear and do the “word (Logos) of God.”

4.         Then a storm at sea, the Sea of Galilee, reveals the incredible authority that Jesus has.

5.         Jesus falls asleep in the boat, quite a large one, able to accommodate at least 13 adult men, and out of fear the disciples wake Him up and announce, “we are perishing.”

6.         Jesus “rebuked” both the wind and the waves, and there was calm.

7.         Then Jesus wants to know what happened to their faith. Their response was a kind of fear as they were face to face with what Jesus had just done. They wondered, Who is this person?

Women Accompanying Jesus & The Parable of the Sower & The Purpose of the Parables

Luke 8:1–15

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage.

1.         Women in those days, both in Greek and Jewish cultures, were treated as inferior. For Jesus to accept women as followers, in plain sight, was revolutionary. It would open the door to all manner of accusations.

2.         The Parable of the Sower is perhaps the most significant of all of Jesus’ parables. The parable, used extensively by Jesus, made it easier to remember and memorize important teachings.

3.         The emphasis of this parable is thought by most commentators to be the ground on which the seeds landed. The subject matter, farming, would have been readily understood.

4.         The first two parts of the parable, the seed sown on the path and that which was sown on rocky ground, well, nothing comes of it. The seeds are wasted; there is no fruit.

5.         The seed sown among thorns, plants did appear, but the thorny plant choked out any real fruit.

6.         The seed sown on good soil yielded good fruit.

7.         In His explanation, Jesus says the seed sown is the Word, the Logos of God, or as we know it, the Gospel.

8.         Jesus then explains the parable. It is thought that in the first two instances, where there is no fruit, means there was no conversion. In the second two instances, there was conversion, actual salvation, but in only one case does the plant yield fruit, even hundredfold.

A Sinful Woman Forgiven

Luke 7:36–50

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

1.              A Pharisee invites Jesus to his home for a meal. A woman, known to be sinful, enters the house of the Pharisee uninvited.

2.              Jesus, like all the others, is reclining at a table, and the practice was to lay on the left arm, head toward the low-lying table, about one foot off the floor, with legs extended out.

3.              The woman, standing behind Jesus, at His feet, begins to weep, the tears falling on His feet. She begins to wipe or clean Jesus’ feet with her hair. (Long hair was a symbol of a prostitute).

4.              She also has brought with her an alabaster flask, a soft stone jar used to hold perfume, which she uses to anoint Jesus’ feet. Not only did she do this, she also kissed His feet.

5.              The Pharisee, witnessing this extremely bizarre event, said to himself, “Well, this Jesus could not be a prophet because if He were, He would have known what an awful sinner this woman is.”

6.              How Luke could have known about what was in the mind of the Pharisee at that moment prompt some to speculate that it was an indication that the Pharisee, at some point, became a follower of Jesus.

7.              Jesus, figuring out what the Pharisee, whose name is Simon, was thinking, poses a question. (Simon was a common Jewish name.) Two debtors, one owing a huge amount of money to a moneylender, the other owing ten times less, find that  the debt of both are cancelled.

8.              Jesus then poses the question, which one would love the moneylender more? The answer is clear, the Pharisee gets it, perhaps grudgingly, and answers Jesus correctly.

9.              Jesus then turns to the woman and announces that her sin is forgiven. Those who heard this so very incredible pronouncement say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

10.           The incident concludes with Jesus saying to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” This is what Jesus says of us also at the moment of our salvation.