Tuesday, February 28, 2023

 Free the States New Video on the Status of Abortion in the USA

Check out this new video from Free the States on what abortion looks like in so-called "abortion-free" states since the overturn of Roe.  In short, it does not measure up to the media or pro-life hype.  

Monday, February 13, 2023

The Theology of Rome Will Never End Abortion

Note: it's come to my attention that this content is no longer on the online sources it once was, so I am reposting it here.  This was originally written in 2013, if memory serves.   

Last week we went to Washington, D.C. to assist CrownRights.org with filming on the upcoming Babies Are Murdered Here documentary. Our goal was to gather interviews from participants in the March for Life. Frankly, it was stunning to see the crowd of more than 500,000 people marching on the National Mall to protest abortion. The march is organized mainly by Roman Catholics. It is quite a testimony to the organizational ability of the Roman Catholics and the March for Life that they are able to mobilize this many people on one day (one c-c-c-old day) in DC.

This has been the story of the pro-life movement from the beginning. The Roman Catholics have mobilized and the evangelical Protestant church has either hemmed and hawed or they have supported abortion (in the case of the mainline denominations). Forty years later churches in the evangelical community which are sound theologically (and many that aren’t) are loathe to do very much about the slaughter of the innocents in the womb. Why? The “elephant in the room”, whenever the topic is discussed, is the Catholic church. If we stand with Catholics in front of the abortion clinics, aren’t we somehow supporting their doctrine? In good churches, doctrine matters.

After seeing the March for Life, conducting interviews, and our own experience with pro-life Catholics I can only conclude that while we can stand in front of clinics while Catholics are present, we cannot join hands with them intentionally for the purpose of: 1) proclaiming the truth about abortion or 2) doing sidewalk counseling ministry. The theological tension between the Catholic church and the leadership of the pro-life movement effectively neuters the pro-life cause. Worse, it offers no real hope to women who have had abortions.

At this point, Catholics reading this blog will get up in arms and point to their long record of standing against abortion. I am grateful for their willingness to act when so many of us have been silent. It is to our shame. Some will say that this kind of message will fragment the pro-life community, weakening it. I disagree. The way that truth works in the Kingdom of God is that it sets people free. Besides that, the pro-life community is already fragmented. It is fragmented into groups that call abortion murder in no uncertain terms and those that equivocate.

Two Important Questions

At the March, we asked the participants two important questions. 1) Is abortion murder? 2) Is a woman who has an abortion a murderer? The answers were not what we expected at a pro-life event.

To question #1, the results were split. Some would say, yes, it is murder and not bat an eye. Others would hem and haw a bit and use just about every euphemism you can imagine to describe what a woman does when she has an abortion. To question #2, the results were much more uniform. I do not believe we had one person respond in the affirmative. In every case, the woman having an abortion was portrayed as a victim.

We did a lot more filming that day, but on the way to dinner we began talking about the disconnect. Why could some say it was murder and then not call the woman having an abortion a murderer? This isn’t a great leap of logic. Further, how could you be anti-abortion, march against Roe v. Wade, and then not be clear about abortion being murder in question #1?

As we chatted, Marcus finally asked, “What do Catholics believe about mortal sin?” This question and its answer is the keystone to not only this disconnect between the two questions, it is the keystone to understanding the present pro life movement and how ministry is done amongst women who are potentially abortive.

Mortal Sin

Let’s answer Marcus’ question. What do Catholics believe about mortal sin? In order to find the answer, you have to go to their documents. You do not go to writings which are not formally endorsed. You do not go to a Catholic friend or relative to find the answer. For our purposes, we will use the Catechism of the Catholic Church (hereafter referred to as the CCC) which was published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana (the publishing arm of the Vatican). The copy in my library is the Second Edition published in 2000 and appears to be the 7th printing of this edition.

In the CCC, (section 1855) it states, “Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.” In contrast, venial sin “…allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.”

The big question is, “What is a mortal sin?” According to the Roman Catholic church it must meet three conditions: 1) it is a grave matter, 2) it is committed with full knowledge and 3) it is committed with deliberate intent (Section 1857). Murder falls under the “grave matter” condition according to section 1858. I submit that murder is always committed with full knowledge of its evil since Romans 2:14-15 says that the law of God is written on the hearts of all men and their conscience bears witness that this is so. Finally, murder is committed with deliberate intent whenever it is committed except in cases of self defense (Ex. 22:2-3). The CCC states, “Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest” (Section 1860). Note the use of the terminology “grave” and “gravest.” In the Roman Catholic understanding, a mortal sin is worse than the average sin.

What is the penalty for a mortal sin? The CCC answers, “If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of Hell…”.

Therefore murder is a mortal sin and is deserving of Hell. This is the clear teaching of the CCC.

The next question for the CCC is, “Is abortion murder?” The CCC answers in the affirmative. It states, “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable” (Section 2271). The same section goes on to cite the Didache and other early writings as proof. In the next section, it states, “Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life” (Section 2272).

So what’s the problem? Abortion is murder and murder merits Hell in Roman Catholic theology. Why don’t Roman Catholics speak more plainly on the issue of abortion if this is all that there is to it?

Theological Loophole

It suggests the question, “Is there a theological loophole in the CCC which allows a Roman Catholic the freedom to sidestep the question, “Is a woman who has an abortion a murderer?” It turns out that there is.

Section 1860 reads, “Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders.” It is worth noting that in this section, there are no footnotes. There are no cross references to Biblical passages because the Bible does not teach this.

So here is what is happening. In the pro-life movement, if you can deem the woman who has an abortion to be “unintentionally ignorant” or a victim of their own “feelings and passions”, you can conclude that she is indeed a victim, not guilty of mortal sin, and is therefore not a murderer. This is the only theological rationale that makes sense in light of the answers we received in DC at the March for Life. This victim mentality is evident at a March for Life. The vast majority of signs, usually provided by the Catholic organizers, emphasize a positive message. Their own website states, “Purposefully, the Life Principles are not framed in the negative tone of “thou shalt not,” and are framed in the positive tone of duty and responsibility of each human being and of society.” The signs at the march which state that abortion is murder are usually made by individuals and not mass produced and handed out to marchers.

The problem is that the Bible teaches the exact opposite. We cannot plead temporary insanity regarding our sin. In Exodus 21:22-25, the situation of two men fighting in a heated emotional argument is given. If in the course of their fight, they hurt a woman who is with child unintentionally and the baby miscarries, the death penalty is given for the man who is guilty, in spite of his emotion. It is eye for eye, tooth for tooth and life for life. In the context, it does not appear that it is their intent to murder the baby in the womb. If they do, intentional or not, they are given the death penalty.

In short, Roman Catholics who are pro-life who will not call abortion murder or women who abort, murderers are NOT in conflict with their own catechism. They ARE in conflict with the Word of God. By the way, so are evangelicals who adopt this same victim mentality of the woman at the abortion clinic.

The Law

Listen, if we ever have the opportunity to repeal Roe v. Wade and abortion is illegal in this nation, then what will a woman be guilty of if she has an abortion after that point? She will be guilty of murder. I am quite sure that lawyers will plead mental duress or temporary insanity, but the charge will be murder. The law will be right to say so. Marching at the March for Life and stopping in front of the Supreme Court to protest Roe v. Wade while equivocating on abortion being murder is a contradiction in the same act of protest. It doesn’t make any sense logically and even less sense theologically.

The Gospel

I’m not Catholic. I believe in sola Scriptura, the Reformation doctrine of Scripture alone as the rule of faith and practice. The CCC carries no weight in my theological thinking. The Bible defines sin as transgression (rebellion) against God’s Law (1 John 3:4). It does not distinguish between mortal and venial sin. All sin condemns people to Hell: murdering and disobedience to parents all fall under the scope of God’s law. There is no free pass for being emotionally traumatized when you commit it.

Therefore, with this right view of sin we’re all in the same boat. We are also dealing with an extremely urgent situation at an abortion clinic. Carrying this truth to the abortion clinics, I can minister to women going in AND coming out of the clinics without internal conflict. I can say, “Please don’t murder your baby” and “You can be forgiven if you repent and believe the gospel” because I too am a sinner who has sinned grievously before God. I can talk about the gospel without referring her to the priest for the sacrament of penance (which includes confession to a priest and whatever reparation he prescribes) or requiring them to become Catholic. These things are not the gospel. They forgive no sins. What I have to offer is the righteousness of Jesus Christ credited to them in place of their sin via repentance and faith (2 Corinthians 5:21). I can tell them that Jesus Christ has satisfied God’s wrath against them and we can be declared innocent on the basis of true repentance and trust in Him, not the sacraments.

All sin is mortal sin. All of it. It’s not just the “really really bad” people who deserve Hell. We are all really really bad: totally depraved (Romans 3:10-18). If you consider murder to be a worse sin than the average venial sin (or skate around it altogether) you’re not going to refer to abortion as murder or the woman as a murderer. What matters in most pro-life counseling ministry is the life of the baby and if you have to lie to get a save, then so be it. I want to see the baby saved AND the woman who was planning on murdering it saved from Hell. This requires plain speaking.

If you deny total depravity and want to see Roe v. Wade overturned you win support by following the cultural trend of soft-selling sin. Yet we all know that abortion is murder. It’s self evident to anyone who doesn’t have an agenda. Our nation will not repent of a choice. No one will. It might repent over a sin. If the March for Life was a call to this nation to repent, it tried to do so without naming the sin we’re guilty of, just as it does not use the word “murder” on their website.

The Victim Lie

This may seem harsh to those who have been trained to do Crisis Pregnancy Center ministry by Roman Catholic activists, but if you have spent any time outside of an abortion clinic pleading with the women going in to save the life of their baby, you know that these women are not victims. They may be very emotional but they are not deceived by their emotions. They are murderers and in most cases, they act like it. They cuss you out, they spit at you, they threaten you and in some cases they attack you. The men who sometimes have the guts to bring them are just the same. When they come out of the clinic they often joke about having just murdered their baby. Abortion is murder. Period. No equivocation, no compromise.

To my evangelical friends who either are doing abortion clinic ministry or plan on it: you do not help a woman find forgiveness in Christ by soft-selling what she is doing at the clinic. Biblical repentance includes an acknowledgement of the sin: they will call it what God calls it. When women justify their actions based on circumstances or emotions you are not looking at Biblical repentance. You might be able to talk them out of the abortion by sympathizing with them, but until they admit that what they were planning on doing was premeditated murder there is no repentance. Biblical repentance looks like Psalm 51 and not a session with a psychologist.

If you have been doing pro-life ministry with Roman Catholics and have adopted their victim mentality of the women who are having abortions, you need to repent. Open your eyes to the behavior that you are seeing and call it what God calls it: murder. Only then will you have the ability to offer real forgiveness and hope to those whose lives have been wrecked by their decision to murder their child in the womb.

Jon Speed & Marcus Pittman

Monday, October 31, 2022

The Procedure, Animated by [Names Redacted], On LOOR.tv

Why did this medical professional quit after what he witnessed?

What do you get when you put Kevin Sorbo’s voice over talent, Aaron Fullan’s musical gift, top tier animators [names redacted] and Laura Klassen’s passion to end abortion?  

You get The Procedure.  

CHOICE42 and Loor have partnered to bring the truth about abortion in an animated short.  The four minute video tells the true story of a hospital ultrasound tech who assisted on a second trimester abortion and then quit his job over it.  

On October 31st Loor.tv and CHOICE42 released the video for free.  And now you can watch the trailer here.  

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Molech is Alive and Well in the United States

 This is the best 2 1\2 minutes of animated film you've seen from a Christian worldview.  

Please share this on social media, email lists and blogs.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Trick or Treating for the First Time

Trick or Treat!

Editor's Note: First published November 6, 2014.  I still have not lost my salvation in subsequent years.  However, the publishers are still trying to sell books to scare evangelicals about Halloween on social media, so I am re-publishing here since the original site seems to have been hacked.  10-23-18
On Friday night I took my kids trick or treating for the first time.
They're not three and four years old. My boys are eight and ten and my eldest daughter is twenty. She had never been trick or treating before.  My youngest daughter, Samantha, preserved the family's salvation by staying home and passing out gospel tracts with the candy that we gave to 100 plus kids. Amazingly I did not awaken Saturday morning with an unnatural desire to sacrifice an animal, dance in front of a fire or worship satan. Whew. That was a close one.
This year I began to ask myself early in October, Why haven't I taken my kids trick or treating? After all, I went trick or treating as a kid. The answer goes back to dispensational fundamentalism.
When our daughters were just pre-schoolers, we made the decision to keep the girls at home, buy them a bunch of candy, and pass out gospel tracts to the kids who came to the door. As a pastor, I was vocal about it.  I encouraged our congregations to do the same thing. Halloween is evil. I knew because I read the Jack T. Chick tracts and comic books. I knew because Dr. Rebecca Brown (who has since been thoroughly discredited as a fraud) warned about opening your soul to satanic influence with the briefest of exposures to Halloween. I knew because Mike Warnke, a Christian comedian who said he had been a Satanic high priest (and was also later exposed as a fraud), warned us all in the 80's about trick or treating.
So, as a loving father and as a caring pastor I was duty bound to warn people about the evils of trick or treating.  Love not the world. [There is an amazing irony here. While I was warning my family and church about the evils of Halloween I was addicted to pornography. I wasn't even saved. I sure am glad I purged myself of trick or treating. Yes, that is how legalism works.]
There's no doubt that we are commanded to stay away from the occult. Ouija boards, seances, tarot cards, necromancy, astrology are all condemned in the Word of God.  That much is obvious.  Dressing your kids up and taking them out to the neighbor's house for free candy?  That isn't satan worship. That is free candy and dress up.  Unless of course, you dress your kid like Freddy Krueger or Jason from the Friday the 13th series.  
But what about the jack-o-lanterns the Druids invented to scare off the demons?  And the human sacrifices? And how trick or treating was invented by bands of Druids who would roam the countryside and kidnap children from castles in the middle of the night as they knocked on castle doors?  And the satanists urinating in the candy corn as part of a satanic ritual?
First of all, that is Jack Chick (among others), who has been known to have some credibility issues when it comes to his sources.  It sells a lot of sensational comic books but this is not real research. Second, none of that has anything to do with kids dressing up in costumes and getting free candy.  None of it.  As a parent I let my fear of the devil's ability to steal our souls keep my kids from participating in a pretty fun and harmless event.  
The Theology of Trick or Treating
There has been a bit of a discussion lately between a couple of men I respect.  Kirk Cameron on one hand is challenging us all to lighten up a bit about the origins of Christmas and our Christmas traditions.  In the process he has challenged us as believers to have the best Halloween parties in town. After all, Jesus is Lord of the calendar and He conquered death.  Much of the devil with a pitchfork and tail imagery is nothing more than mockery of a defeated foe. Use the day to mock satan.  Get the gospel out there in the process.  
On the other hand, Mike Gendron warns us that Halloween is a Roman Catholic holiday where pagan practices were the M.O.  He cites a Catholic Encyclopedia as his proof for these practices.  Now, I know Mike fairly well; he has spoken at evangelism conferences I have organized and at the church I am planting here in Syracuse. I have sold his books in my book store. He is a man of God and great integrity. He has provided resources for the Church to proclaim the gospel to a deceived group of people: those who hold to the Vatican's teaching on salvation.  I do not doubt for a moment that what he says is true about the superstition surrounding the Catholic observance. I AGREE with him that such observances are pagan and often are part and parcel of the Roman Catholic expression of their belief in areas around the world. That superstition has nothing to do with trick or treating. Neither does Catholicism.  
I am not sure which encyclopedia Mike is referencing, but there are two major encyclopedias produced by the Catholics in the 20th century. I have had both of them: the older edition was for sale in my store.   The newer edition I have as a reference in my personal library.  The newer edition, which is far and away much more scholarly, does not get into the pagan practices of Roman Catholics on All Saints Day.  It does however painstakingly attempt to trace the origins of the observance. There is some evidence that there was a special holiday set aside to remember the martyrs of Edessa on May 13th The earliest reference to this observance is in a hymn from 359A.D.  It appears to have switched to November 1st sometime around 799A.D.  The purpose of the holiday was to honor the martyrs, but evolved later to become an observance of almost any church member who had died (New Catholic Encyclopedia NY: McGraw-Hill, 1967. Vol. I. 318-19).  None of this is crystal clear historically speaking. The language of probability saturates the discussion of All Saints Day and Halloween.  
When I research Halloween in perhaps the most scholarly encyclopedia ever published, the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (also for sale in my store: shameless plug) the origin of the celebration of Halloween itself is extremely muddy. Any proof that occult practices on the holiday preceded religious observances is conjectural at best. At the very least, it is unclear.  However, the conjecture gets repeated (as is often the case in articles in encyclopedias, almost to the point of brazen plagiarism especially in theological encyclopedias).  So much for the pagan roots of Halloween preceding even a Catholic observance.
So what are we doing? We choose to believe the conjecture because those who are marketing Halloween focus on the evil side of it. We are keeping away from every appearance of evil.  Right?
Wellll, sort of....
Clouds Without Rain
Those who are criticizing Kirk Cameron over his idea of retaking Halloween are a bit disingenuous.  If you really believe that trick or treating is supporting witchcraft, what are you doing giving out candy on that night at all? Handing out a gospel tract with the candy does not change the supposed origins of the holiday!  By passing out the tract with the candy aren't you doing the same thing you condemn Kirk for? Aren't you trying to reclaim the holiday for Jesus Christ? Yes, you are and I applaud you for it. So what is the harm in taking your kids out to get some free candy?  
And by the way, those who criticize Kirk for finding meaning in the Christmas traditions that could be made to point to Jesus need to likewise go the whole way. If you think that the observation of the Lord's birth on December 25th is a Roman Catholic attempt to hijack the winter solstice, then pray tell, how do you justify observing it at all?  Is this criticism out of Worldview Weekend going to result in a mass exodus of evangelical Christians from the department stores this holiday season?  Are Christmas trees in Christian homes going to be relics of a bygone era?  Are Reformed dispensational pastors who have "concerns" over Kirk's direction with Saving Christmas going to cancel their Christmas services?  Are Christians going to tell their employers, "Ah, skip it.  December 25th is pagan.  I will be at work tomorrow."  Scrooges everywhere sure hope so.  
While I highly doubt it, I will give them the benefit of a doubt.  I look forward to the Reformed dispensational exodus from any observance of Christmas. Watch for it on a podcast near you.  Just don't hold your breath.
Speaking of Halloween, this is a witch hunt. A witch hunt that is being orchestrated simply because Kirk left behind Left Behind's eschatology and now embraces post-milennialism. This is the same old stuff you hear at dispensational prophecy conferences about the evils of those who don't believe in the same future for national Israel. The difference being that this time, they are accusing Kirk of preaching a false gospel.  
Ironically their "concerns" for Kirk may have their own origins in a false gospel.
You cannot divorce dispensationalism from its easy-believism roots. Dispensationalism held to easy believism from its academic beginnings which is why MacArthur had to write a book (The Gospel According to Jesus) to combat it as a dispensationalist. Extra-Biblical rules were instituted by dispensational local churches to protect the products of the sinner's prayer. The gospel message they responded to was man centered and didn't call for nor did it expect true repentance. They had to get goats to act like sheep.  If Christianity could be defined as people who do not listen to rock music, wear suits and dresses to church, wear their hair in a certain style and skip Halloween all you had to do was make those unwritten rules the expectation and you might be able to conserve some evangelistic fruit.  
Of course, it doesn't work.  Unbelievers who have responded to a false gospel will not be preserved by extra-Biblical rules.  They abandon the faith--not because they took their kids trick or treating--but because they were never regenerated.  The doctrines of the Reformation fear nothing from trick or treating.  Remember, "the prince of darkness grim? We tremble NOT at him?" The doctrines of dispensational fundamentalism (i.e. easy believism) do. They ought to tremble because their gospel could not save a flea.  
Just Stop It
For some reason, those who are in the Reformed dispensational camp have not allowed their theology to inform their consciences. Some habits die hard.  They have rejected the easy-believism without rejecting its manmade rules.  At this point you have an option.  You can continue to hold on to the rule making or you could just stop it.  There is no solid evidence that trick or treating is a soul damning activity.   If you choose to remain the weaker brother in the face of a lot of evidence that your conscience is poorly informed and continue to insist that every Christian bow his knee to your conscience, you are a spiritual tyrant who would probably spiritually abuse your followers if you were in the position to do it.  So stop it.  
There are alternatives. You could rejoice that Christ has conquered death and that satan is a defeated foe who happens to be on a leash that God Himself holds. You could take your kids out to meet the neighbors.  You could enjoy the excitement of seeing your kids run up to a house that has its porch light on and see them run back to you chattering about how much candy your smiling neighbor gave them.  You could smile with your kids.  You could remember being a kid. You could give your neighbors a tract. You could praise God that your kids are having innocent fun. And you could use Halloween to explain to your kids the defeat of satan and the triumph of the gospel.  THAT'S discernment. That's freedom.  That is also the way the Lordship of Christ works in a family.