[Remarks delivered at #defundPP rally at The Peace Center (Greenville, SC), April 23, 2016]
Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to testify before the South Carolina Senate Judiciary Subcommittee. Under consideration was the Personhood Constitutional Amendment joint resolution S.719. If this joint resolution gets passed, the people of South Carolina will be able to vote on the November ballot to put the following language in the state constitution:
The privileges and immunities of citizens of South Carolina and the United States shall not be abridged, so that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. These rights shall extend to both born and preborn persons beginning at conception.
(to keep up with this personhood legislation like our Personhood South Carolina Facebook page)
During that subcommittee hearing, it stood out to me that those speaking against S.719 were predominantly women (representing Planned Parenthood) while those speaking in support were predominantly men. Sensing the same disparity, Sen. Margie Bright-Matthews opined during the subsequent full Judiciary Committee meeting. She said, “there were a lot of men that had a lot of opinions about what should happen to a woman’s body and that was my problem.”
My first thought after the subcommittee testimony and Sen. Bright-Matthews’ statement—which, of course, was ignorant and deceptive on many levels—was this… Continue reading
Update (3.28.16): Two weeks ago, after learning that other Senators were going to recall S.719 from his committee (which would have locked up the Senate for some time), Senator Martin relented and assigned the bill to a favorable subcommittee. This committee, chaired by Senator Lee Bright, passed the joint resolution and it is now on the docket for the Tuesday, April 5 full Judiciary Committee meeting. The vote will be close. Senator Martin has said he will back the legislation in committee so that it returns to the full Senate…but will then oppose it. Please pray that his mind changes. Pray that our conversations will be used to change the legislators’ thinking.
SC State Senator Larry Martin continues to obstruct the passage of a joint resolution (S.719 / H.4093) that would allow the citizens of South Carolina to vote for a constitutional amendment on the November 2016 ballot. With the passage of this joint resolution, we the people would be able to vote whether or not to add the following language to the SC Constitution:
Section 3.a. The privileges and immunities of citizens of South Carolina and the United States shall not be abridged, so that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. These rights shall extend to both born and preborn persons beginning at conception.
Sen. Martin refuses to take even the first step in this process, to assign the bill to a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee. Please contact Sen. Martin and urge him to move the resolution forward.
“…once we have placed our full trust in Him, we call upon Him for every need, we are patient when He chooses to chastise us with the rod, and we deal uprightly with our neighbor. At the same time we should continually invoke Him in prayer and be always praising Him for His blessings. When we have that kind of fear, we may be sure that God will be faithful to us to the very end. Let us not, however, advance the empty excuse that we have been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and have the gospel as our possession. Let us rather serve God who has called us with a pure heart, and let our manner of life and our conduct among men be honest, so that we may truly show that we are the children of Him who is pleased to be a Father to us.”
-Calvin in a sermon on Luke 1:49-51
God can bring change in a hurry. Read the book of Esther. Which leads me to a not so random thought… When my children are forced to flee the rabidly intolerant and oppressive West, where will they be welcomed? Maybe Uganda. Maybe Russia. Maybe China. Maybe Syria.
Luke 14:25 Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 “Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 “Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
Every decision we make has consequences. Our Father Abraham was told to go, and he went, leaving behind everything he had known.
Chapter 14 of Luke pounds the point that discipleship with Christ is costly. He requires our willingness to go into any situation; He requires our willingness to give up anything; He requires us to break off anything that gets in the way of devotion to Himself. If we are unwilling, we are not worthy of being His disciples.
Following Jesus is costly… Continue reading
Glory, the new Christmas album by the Everlasting Word Band, will be released next week. You can begin your Christmas music binge on November 24th!
The EWB (almost named “Drink the Sweet”!) has come a long way since those first rehearsals in my garage almost ten years ago. Back then we barely knew how to hook our gear into the sound system, and we most certainly didn’t know how to get what we needed from stage monitors (I’m still repenting for some of those rehearsals…). If the quality of this album is any indication, those days are long gone. Now the EWB is putting out professional quality recordings and wonderfully creative songs, all for the sake of the church.
Speaking generally, Glory shows a commitment to the joy of Christmas. They’ve bypassed the angsty navel-gazing sort of Christmas music some bands produce. Instead, the mind goes outward to the glory of Jesus Christ and the wonder of His humble love for mankind. Thank you! This is worshipful music.
I’ve listened to their new songs twice and here are a few comments, song-by-song… Continue reading
Happy Reformation Day! Here’s the conclusion of Luther’s On the Bondage of the Will (1525). Such Christian love as Luther had for Erasmus is hard to find in our day when diffidence and collegial discourse are virtues and exhortation and assertions, no matter how faithful to God’s Word, are rejected as arrogance. There is nothing new under the sun…
My dear Erasmus, I beg you now for Christ’s sake to do at last as you promised; for you promised you would willingly yield to anyone who taught you better. Have done with respecting of persons! I recognize that you are a great man, richly endowed with the noblest gifts of God—with talent and learning, with eloquence bordering on the miraculous, to mention no others—while I have and am nothing, unless I may venture to boast that I am a Christian. Moreover, I praise and commend you highly for this also, that unlike all the rest you alone have attacked the real issue, the essence of the matter in dispute, and have not wearied me with irrelevances about the papacy, purgatory, indulgences, and such like trifles (for trifles they are rather than basic issues), with which almost everyone hitherto has gone hunting for me without success. You and you alone have seen the question on which everything hinges, and have aimed at the vital spot; for which I sincerely thank you, since I am only too glad to give as much attention to this subject as time and leisure permit. If those who have attacked me hitherto had done the same, and if those who now boast of new spirits and new revelations would still do it, we should have less of sedition and sects and more of peace and concord. But God has in this way through Satan punished our ingratitude.
Unless, however, you can conduct this case differently from the way you have in this Diatribe, I could very much wish that you would be content with your own special gift, and would study, adorn, and promote languages and literature as you have hitherto done with great profit and distinction. I must confess that in this direction you have done no small service to me too, so that I am considerably indebted to you, and in this regard I certainly respect and admire you most sincerely. But God has not willed or granted that you should be equal to the matter at the present at issue between us. I say this, as I beg you to believe, in no spirit of arrogance, but I pray that the Lord may soon make you as much superior to me in this matter as you are in all others. There is no novelty in it, if God instructs Moses through Jethro and teaches Paul through Ananias. For as to your saying that you have wandered very far from the mark if you are ignorant of Christ, I think you yourself see what it implies. For it does not follow that everybody will go astray if you or I do. God is preached as being marvelous in his saints, so that we may regard as saints those who are very far from sanctity. And it is not difficult to suppose that you, since you are human, may not have rightly understood or observed with due care the Scriptures or the sayings of the Fathers under whose guidance you think you are attaining your goal; and of this there is more than a hint in your statement that you are asserting nothing, but have only ‘discoursed.’ No one writes like that who has a thorough insight into the subject and rightly understands it. I, for my part in this book have not discoursed, but have asserted and do assert, and I am unwilling to submit the matter to anyone’s judgment, but advise everyone to yield assent. But may the Lord, whose cause this is, enlighten you and make you a vessel for honor and glory. Amen.
The church needs to be singing the Psalms. There is a range of expression, emotion, and intensity in those inspired songs that must find a place in our worship today. If we do the hard work of setting the psalms with singable, beautiful, and modern melodies, we’ll realize how indispensable these texts are for the proper reverence of God and for the encouragement of God’s people. To that end, my friends at Clearnote Church have set a lofty goal of setting all 150 psalms, but they need your support.
Here is an example of their great work (Psalm 3)… Continue reading
Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man (Genesis 9:6).
The above verse from the book of Genesis is the basis for Western society’s condemnation and prosecution of the sin and crime of murder. Scripture makes it clear—as did the laws of our land until 1973—that persons born and preborn are to be protected. The personhood legislation that you are considering would bring a resolution to the moral conundrum we’ve been trying to resolve since the US Supreme Court’s infamous Roe v. Wade opinion denied the wisdom found in God’s Word and the hundreds of years of legal precedents derived from it.
Each time personhood for the preborn is debated in the SC legislative assemblies—as it has been for far too long now—those who speak in opposition mention several “difficult situations” that would arise if such legislation became law. Ectopic pregnancies, modern reproductive technologies (such as in vitro fertilization), accessibility to certain abortifacient contraceptives are mentioned as reasons that personhood should not be granted to the preborn.
On the other side, those who support personhood for the preborn—as I do—speak of the humanity, dignity, and inalienable rights of those children peacefully floating around in the amniotic fluid of the wombs of their mothers. Continue reading