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b2ap3_thumbnail_Euthanasia.jpgThe day after the government unveiled the draft of their euthanasia bill, a Toronto Sun poll ask readers, “Do you think the Federal Government’s proposed doctor-assisted death law is too restrictive?” Too restrictive? How so? What is, as columnist Andrew Coyne puts it, the Left's "chief complaint? That it does not include children and the mentally incompetent.”

The Toronto Sun’s poll question was an example of carefully parsed verbiage meant to lead readers in a very specific direction.  According to an old adage whoever frames a debate wins the debate. That’s why we’re called “anti-abortion” and “anti-choice” rather than “pro-life” – the other side wants to frame us as obstructionists and troublemakers. And that’s why the Sun wants this debate to be about whether the proposed law is “too restrictive.” It’s an attempt to frame the choice so it will be between going with the Liberal legislation as is, or going further. 

Neither option is acceptable and that’s not the debate that needs to be had. What we have to talk about is how very radical this bill is. That’s the word we need to use again and again, with maybe a crazy thrown in here and there. It is radical to:

  • assert some lives aren’t worth living.
  • require doctors become killers (either doing it themselves, or finding someone who will – there is no conscience protection in this bill).
  • encourage suicide rather than prevent it.
  • portray death as a medical treatment, not a tragedy.
  • craft a culture in which parents who require care from their children could now be viewed as selfish compared to other aged parents who took the “selfless” option of killing themselves.
  • remove the firm anchor that all lives are worth living and replace it with a standard that isn’t firm and won’t anchor anything – by what standard can we ensure this suicide option won’t be extended and extended and extended?

The Devil wants this discussion to be about whether this bill is “too restrictive.” As God’s people we need to shift the discussion to how devastating this bill is, how unloving, how devaluing, how arbitrary, how very radical the notion that some lives are not worth living. 

A word on winsomeness: we don’t need to scream these words. When we call it radical, we don't need it to come out as some sort of screed...though it would also be strange to talk about a life and death issue completely dispassionately. Thus to frame the debate properly we need to speak with passion, and also self-control. We need to present the choice as it really is, between going with this radical legislation, or returning to the sanity of acknowledging all life as precious. That's the real debate. We need to make sure it continues to happen.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_If-the-unborn-web.jpgIn the West we believe all people should be treated equally, no matter their age, race, religion, etc. But why is that? Why should we treat all people equally when, in any way you measure it, no two people are equal? We differ in size, intellect, strength, coordination, hearing, visual acuity, musical aptitude, and in the amount of hair we have left on our head. No two of us are the same so why should we get the same treatment?

In any other situation we don’t treat unequal things equally. We hang a Rembrandt up on a museum wall, while our kids’ efforts only make an appearance on the fridge. Both are art, so why don’t we treat them equally? We recycle our newspapers but save our dollar bills securely in banks. Both are printed paper so why don’t we treat them equally? 

Because they aren’t equal. 

So let’s ask the question again: if we don’t treat unequal things equally, and in any measurable way no two people are equal, why should we treat people equally?

The Christian answer


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b2ap3_thumbnail_Unjust-judge.jpgDuring the election campaign it wasn’t always clear who our next prime minister was going to be. What was clear was that no matter who won, the unborn were going to lose. We had a pro-choice prime minister going in, and we have one still. And the situation we face is that before we next go to the polls another half million children will be dead.

This is wickedness on a grand scale, but it’s also a routine sort of evil. It happens to one baby at a time, every couple of minutes or so, and during regular business hours. A boy, then maybe a girl, one after another, ripped from their mother’s womb, torn apart and the pieces collected. Just another profitable murder, efficiently executed, done at the insistence of the child’s parents and with the approval of this government and this prime minister.

We could see this result coming, but now that we’re here what’s to be done? Parliament is decidedly pro-choice, so does that mean we can’t do anything for the unborn legislatively? 

No. Jesus told the Parable of the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8) during a very different time, and while He didn’t intend it first and foremost to serve as a guide to how best to engage in effective pro-life political action, it is that too. There once was a judge, Jesus tells us, “who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.” Living in the same town there was a widow in need of help, and her only means of getting justice was to turn to this judge. So what to do when faced with an unjust judge? 

“[She] kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”


At the start of 2015 the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands-Libeb2ap3_thumbnail_FRCA-2.jpgrated (RCN) had a sister-church relationship with both the Canadian Reformed Churches (CanRC) and the Free Reformed Churches of Australia (FRCA). That’s only half true now: at the FRCA’s synod this year the denomination decided to suspend their relationship with the RCN. 

What is the reason for this suspension? Well, at the FRCA’s previous synod in 2012 they decided to express to the RCN that they had serious concerns that the Dutch denomination was evidencing “a liberal way of interpreting Scripture.” Examples given included how the RCN was allowing one of their seminary lecturers to assert “creation to be a myth, along with much of Genesis 1-11.” Another related to how the RCN had adopted regulations that allowed for the amalgamation of RCN congregations with those of the Netherlands Reformed Churches (NGK). This was objectionable since the NGK have, since 2004, allowed women to be ministers, and they have also mandated a study as to whether practicing homosexuals may fill the offices of elder and deacon. 

The RCN didn’t heed this warning. Since there was no change the FRCA felt they had no choice but to suspend their relationship and warn the RCN that “if the next synod of the RCN in 2017 does not express and demonstrate evidence of repentance” then this sister relationship “will become untenable.” In other words, it will end.

In the meantime this suspension means that FRCA congregations will no longer automatically accept attestations from the RCN, and the denomination’s pulpits will no longer be open to RCN ministers.

While the CanRC has expressed its own concerns, at this point they are continuing on with their sister-church relationship with RCN. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_Glenn-Beck.jpgI know some people who called themselves freedom-loving capitalists. But when the Oregon shooting occurred, they called for more gun control legislation. They also supported the Wall Street bailout. And they think that Obamacare is simply what a compassionate America must do. They want me to call them freedom-loving capitalists, but I can’t. It’s not a matter of me being unloving. It’s just that words have meanings so I can’t call them capitalist since they aren’t.

Glenn, you call yourself a Christian, saying you hold Christ in common with me. And in a recent Facebook posting you shared how hurt you felt when someone asked you to stop calling yourself a Christian and you wondered at the "arrogance of anyone who thinks their doctrine is enough to kick people out of the tent of Christ." 

But your prophet Joseph Smith did just that when he claimed long ago that he was told all other churches were wrong and “all their creeds were an abomination in [God’s} sight.” Your prophet thought there was a divide between your beliefs and mine, and that one of us is right and one of us is damnably wrong. Now, I don’t believe Joseph Smith was right about which religion was wrong, but I agree with him that Mormons are not like any of the Christian churches. Just consider some of these differences:

  • Christians believe that Jesus was never created but Satan was; Mormons believe both Jesus and Satan are created beings.
  • Christians believe that Christians are adopted children of God and in that sense are brothers and sisters of Christ; Mormons believe all created (sentient) beings are spirit children of the Father and thus not only are we brothers and sisters to Christ but so is Satan.
  • Christians believe that the first sin involved trying to become like God; Mormons believe that we can become gods.
  • Christians believe that God the Father does not have a bodily form; Mormons believe that God the Father had a physical body and continues to have one.
  • Christians believe that God is eternal and without any beginning; Mormons believe that God had a beginning – the Father had a father.
  • Christians believe that we have one Heavenly Parent, God the Father; Mormons believe that we have a Heavenly Father and Mother.

So this isn’t primarily about doctrine (though it is that too) but about who Jesus really is. When someone claims to know me, but tells my buddy that I’m short, hate basketball, and like soap operas, my friend can confidentially say, “No, you don’t know Jon – that isn’t Jon.” When you say you are a Christian, but you say Christ is the brother of Lucifer, had a beginning, has a mother, and his Heavenly Father has a physical body, then I can confidently say, “No, that isn’t Christ – you don’t know Christ.” It isn’t an insult; it is simply that words need to have meaning and that such important differences – about who Christ really is! – should not be muddied.

Clearly we don't worship the same God, so rather than pretending we do, we should be trying to help each other figure out Who God really is. You should be saying to me that you don’t think I’m a Christian because the Jesus I describe – eternal, not the brother of Lucifer, no mother – isn’t the person you know as Christ. That would be the straight-forward approach, rather than taking any sort of “I’m offended” defense. There is no more important issue – not even Planned Parenthood or ISIS compare – than for us to seek after and learn who God really is. And to do that we first have to be clear about the fact that the God you describe as your Lord is very different from my Lord. Can't we agree that we have a disagreement about who Christ is?

Picture by Gage Skidmore and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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Someone asked me why abortion should be the only issue that determines how we vote. It seemed silly to them that in an election when so many issues are on the table that we would decide things based on just this one issue.

But is it silly? Consider that there are many other “single issues” that would be enough to disqualify a candidate from our consideration. If a candidate agreed with us on free trade but wanted to bring in Sharia law, we wouldn’t vote for them. This one issue would be enough to rule them out. And we couldn’t vote for them even if all the other candidates were worse.

We also wouldn’t vote for someone who approved of slavery. We wouldn’t vote for a Communist, an anti-Semite, or a homosexual activist. So there are many “single issues” that, by themselves, would be enough to disqualify a politician from our vote.

The reason it might seem silly to let the single issue of abortion disqualify a candidate is because abortion happens outside of our view, and because it has been with us for so long. It's understandable that we will have lost sight of the horror.



  • Alzheimer’s and the Hope of a Reformed Faith

    Christianity Today’s David Neff points out how little hope liberal theology offers the family and friends of Alzheimer’s patients. Such theology “requires Christians to act for their salvation/liberation. That is no comfort to those whose dementia leaves them without the capacity to act.” After his father-in-law was stricken, Neff took comfort in a more Reformed understanding that instead emphasized, “that it is God who acts on our own behalf.”