Abortion

Q. In general Christians are against abortion but abortion is not in the Bible. If my own daughter got raped, I won’t hesitate to support her in getting an abortion. What do you think?

A. The word “abortion” does not occur in the Bible but the idea does. The principle is in “You shall not murder”, which is reiterated 5 times in Ex 20:13; Deut 5:17; Mt 5:21, 19:18 and Rom 13:9. The word “murder” translates:
• the Hebrew verb ratsach, which means to slay, kill, whether premeditated, accidental (manslaughter), as avenger, or intentional, to assassinate
• the Greek verb phoneuo, meaning to kill, slay, commit murder.

Contrary to what pro-choice claims, the fetus is not part of the woman’s body. It has its own DNA distinct from that of his/her mother. According to the Bible, life begins at conception, not after the baby is born:
Ps 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
• Ps 139:13-16 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

So to kill an unborn baby for the sake of convenience is premeditated or intentional murder, and trespass the sixth commandment.

Having said that, I sympathize with anyone’s wife or daughter who was impregnated when raped. It is not her fault that the violence was forced upon her, nor the fetus’ fault who is simply a passive recipient of the violence. It is the rapist’s fault who should be punished for his crime. So why kill the innocent baby for the perpetrator’s crime?

The victim may not want to raise up an unwanted child, a reminder of the wrong done to her. But why commit a second wrong by abortion, when it can’t rectify the first wrong of rape? Hard as it is to ask, if she does not want the child, can she deliver the child and then give him/her up for adoption? There are many couples lining up to accept and love the innocent child. Can the mom do good by bearing with the pregnancy and then place her child with a loving family? This is redemption by turning a bad thing into good. I hope and pray more would consider it.

Divorce

Q. I know an abusive husband who beats his wife black and blue. I have no qualms advising her to divorce him. What do you think?

A. What I think is not important. What God thinks is. The Bible is very clear on the subject of divorce:
Mal 2:16 For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the LORD of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”
• Mt 5:31-32 It was said, ‘WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Also Mt 19:7-9; Mk 10:11-12; Lk 16:18
• 1 Co 7:11-12 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife. But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.

God hates divorce, but allows it for the reason of unchastity, when the marriage covenant had been broken. Being married to an unbeliever spouse is not a biblical ground for divorce, nor is spousal abuse specifically allowed as an exception to the rule of “no divorce”. I sympathize with the spouse who is subject to abuse, and would advise “separation” to protect herself/himself against further abuse.

One point seldom discussed. Although God hates divorce, He Himself sent Israel and Judah away and gave them a writ of divorce because of their spiritual adultery:
Is 50:1 Thus says the LORD, “Where is the certificate of divorce By which I have sent your mother away? Or to whom of My creditors did I sell you? Behold, you were sold for your iniquities, And for your transgressions your mother was sent away.
• Jer 3:8 And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also.

Yet He waited for them and gave them opportunities to repent and return to Him. I think we can follow not only what He said but what He did.

We once met a sister who cried throughout as she told us how her husband abused her not just physically, but mentally, verbally and sexually. I don’t know the extent of his perversion, but “unchastity” translates the Greek word porneia, which is defined as illicit sexual intercourse, including:
• adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.
• sexual intercourse with close relatives (i.e. incest, Lev 18);
• sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman (Mk 10:11-12);
So depending on what he had done, he might have broken the marriage covenant already, even though he did not have a mistress.

She did not want to report him to the police for fear that he would be jailed, and that there will be repercussions. We advised her for the sake of her own and their children’s safety, she must separate themselves from him. Since he is perverted, he might go after the children when he no longer gets excitement after abusing her.

To try to get to the root of the problem, we also witnessed to her husband in the hope that he would repent. He listened to the gospel but did not receive Christ at that time. However, we were glad to learn that he had treated his wife better from that time on, and occasionally would even come to church himself. We understand your concern for your abused friend, but I would follow the Bible as best as we can without going beyond what the Lord permits.

Father’s Blessing

fathers blessing 1

Q. Why is the blessing of the father so important in OT days? Is there relevance for today?

A. A father’s blessings was important for several reasons:

1. They were usually given before the father’s death, and served as a “last will and testament” governing inheritances:
Gen 27:4, 7, 10 so that my soul may bless you before I die. … and bless you in the presence of the LORD before my death. … so that he may bless you before his death.

The firstborn receives a double portion as his right:
Deut 21:17 But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn.
But sometimes the firstborn lose their birthright because of folly or sin:
Gen 25:33-34 And Jacob said, “First swear to me”; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
• 1 Chron 5:1 Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel; so that he is not enrolled in the genealogy according to the birthright.

2. The blessings contain the father’s observation of the sons’ character, and provide commendation or caution of their conduct to encourage or warn them as the father departs:
Gen 49:28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them. He blessed them, every one with the blessing appropriate to him. (Read Gen 49)

3. They expressed the father’s wish (“may”) but, at least in the case of the patriarchs, were prophetic and fulfilled, possibly due to their covenant relationship with the Lord:
Gen 27:28-29 Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, And of the fatness of the earth, And an abundance of grain and new wine; May peoples serve you, And nations bow down to you; Be master of your brothers, And may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, And blessed be those who bless you.
• Gen 27:33 Yes, and he shall be blessed. …

Isaac’s words indicate that Jacob will be blessed despite his deceit, because the blessing was not conditional.

I believe nowadays the written will has replaced the verbal will, and that our wish for our children are not prophetic in the same way as the patriarchs’ were. However, the second reason, that of appreciation or advice, is still valid. Frequently a child’s success in life is integrally tied to his acceptance and approval by the father, the lack of which often leads to his struggling to win what he did not have. In that sense I feel the blessing, even though it may be informal, is still relevant today.

More from Grand-children

You don’t know what goes on in their little brains! Last Sunday there was a baptismal service in our daughter’s church. So after the kids got home KSP started practicing baptizing NCP! It’s good to bring up your children in church. They absorb the Christian worldview naturally. Prov 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.

SEL learned phonics in JK and practiced at home. This is her first attempt and she was at the bottom of the first column when the movie camera started rolling. It’s way better than the rote memory method we used when we were kids.

Preparedness (2 of 2)

preparedness 2

(Continued from yesterday)

5. Medicine
Get a first-aid kit to disinfect and bandage up cuts, burns, and basic off-the-counter medicine to relieve pains, colds, flues, diarrhea, allergies etc. For prescription drugs, both government and private health insurance plans only provide for a 3-months supply. If you want longer you have to pay for it yourself.

6. Sanitation
You still need to use the bathroom even when you are in the dark and there is no heat. So get enough toilet paper and soap to maintain hygiene.

7. Communication
For outbound to call for help, cordless phones may not work when there is no power. The old land lines still do because they have their own backup generators. Keep extra power cells for your mobile phone. For inbound to receive news, a hand-crank short-wave radio is a good investment.

8. Safety
Our US neighbors would likely associate this with carrying firearms to protect against riots and looters. For Canadians not into carrying guns, this may mean retreating to rural areas until the dust settles, which in turn translates into having a means to evacuate. Since you can’t store large quantities of gasoline in the city, at least top up your fuel tank when it’s half empty. Gas stations, in addition to supermarkets, go empty very quickly when trouble starts.

9. Money
In these days of cashless society, few people have more than a couple of days of currency on them. But what if banks and ATMs are closed and you can’t use debit or credit cards for anything? Cash becomes king until normality is restored, or when bartering kicks in. Have enough cash on hand for essential goods and services to tie you over the crunch.

Others would add mental and physical preparation, travel documents, survival skills etc., but the above would be basic to get you and your family through the storm.

preparedness 4

Preparedness (1 of 2)

preparedness 3

Q. You wrote on spiritual preparedness. How about the physical? What preparations would you recommend for tough times ahead?

A. Well, if you’re thinking about the end of the world, then you can hardly prepare enough to last through the Great Tribulation! Some people have actually built for themselves bunkers stocked with food and water, with a generator so they can survive for months or even years! But that would be beyond the reach of ordinary folks like us. How many people you know have a rural cottage where they can hunker down? Few, I suppose. Having said that, all of us should be prepared for shorter-term emergencies such as natural disasters e.g. snow/ice storm, hurricane, flood, or man-made ones like riots, terrorism, financial collapse etc.

What you need to prepare depends on many factors such as the type of disaster, its duration (days, weeks or months), your location (urban vs. rural), the season (summer vs. winter), how many members to your family (their age and health), your finances etc. But most people would focus on the following areas:

1. Water
On average, each person drinks 2 liters of water per day, plus use another 2 liters for cooking and cleaning. A large bottle of distilled water in grocery stores holds 18 ltr. or about 5 gal. Calculate the number of bottles you need based on how many people and how many days you want to prepare for.

2. Food
You need 2,000 calories per person per day, in a balanced diet of all 5 food groups:
• Carbohydrates – grain, pasta
• Vegetables – canned
• Fruits – dried
• Protein – beans
• Dairy – powdered
The problem is shelf-life, only 2-3 years for sun-dried or canned foods, which means rotation to replenish older stock. You can’t depend on the refrigerator either, as frozen food starts going bad when power goes out for more than half a day. Some buy MRE (meals ready-to-eat) packaged food, which have a shelf-life of up to 20-25 years if stored in a cool dry place. These are vacuum-packed, freeze-dried or dehydrated foods which you only need to add hot water.

3. Light
Conventional flash lights using batteries do not last very long. More energy efficient, longer lasting are LED nights. Better still if they have solar panel for recharging. You also need to store candles and matches.

4. Heat
The trouble with gas or oil furnaces is that the blower fan stops working when there is power outage. For that you need a generator hooked to essential appliances such as furnace, fridge, and some lighting. However, If you have a gas fireplace, they keep going even when power is out.

The other usage is for cooking. For short-term emergencies, get a camp stove or hot-pot stove that use propane or butane in containers. Make sure you avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by cooking or boiling water in a well-ventilated place.

(To be continued)