Ending Abortion a Pipe Dream?

Tim Brister —  September 1, 2008 — 29 Comments

Two evangelicals talking about abortion.  One views abortion socially and wants to reduce the number of abortions, the other views abortion theologically and wants to eliminate it.

Donald Miller – “Just deal with it.”

John Piper – “Don’t mess with that!”

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  • http://www.takeyourvitaminz.blogspot.com Zach Nielsen

    Two comments on Miller’s comments:

    1. If abortion is not wrong and should be a constitutional right, why should we reduce it? Either it’s wrong and should be outlawed, like stealing, rape, or let it have full rights. Saying we should “reduce abortions” doesn’t make many sense unless it is really wrong.

    2. Saying it won’t ever go away has zero to do with the issue. Rape and stealing most likely will never go away, but don’t we all want laws against those crimes? We don’t say it’s “idealist” to legislate against these even though we know they are not going to go away.

    z

  • http://lawngospel.wordpress.com/ brotherhank

    Good words Zach. Miller has been duped by the Dems, and just happens to have ample room in his theology to work in a democratic platform. He’s right about the same temptation on the Republican side, but seriously – does he really think Planned Parenthood’s Barack Obama is interested in reducing abortions?

  • http://kowalkerjourney.com/ Erik

    Classic John Piper:

    “Psalm 139 says that I am mysteriously and wonderfully made. And the language that is used is ‘I am being knit together in my mother’s womb’. Well, who’s the knitter?! The knitter is not nature, the knitter is God. Which means what is happening in a woman’s tummy is ‘God’s at work; God’s making a human being.’ You don’t mess with that.”

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  • George Rank

    Every time I see an interview with one of the leaders of the Emerging Church Movement I wonder why we don’t see more challenges to their theology or their lack of theology.

  • http://www.adamwinters.blogspot.com Adam Winters

    Donald Miller and William Wilberforce probably wouldn’t get along. I’m guessing that after fighting the slave trade unsuccessfully for decades a lot of his friends told him it was a “pipe dream” too.

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Yeah, I think Zach nailed it here. Miller’s logic is tenuous and his political pragmatism scoffs at the standard of Scripture. And this is couched in supposed objectivity while advocating Barack Obama who advocates infanticide.

    When you take God out of the equation with God, one is left to giving irrational responses. We should give up on fighting against abortion because 20 years of propped propriety can somehow nullify that which is eternally defined and determined.

    Adam makes a good historical point too. The social reformers like Kuyper and Wilberforce represent a theological vision with earthy traction that transcends generational trends and translates into true, culture-changing action. The difference between them and the ones we see today is the difference of writing a book and being written about.

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  • http://prozacstan.blogspot.com/ Stan McCullars

    I suppose Donald Miller would have sided with the appeasers leading up to World War II.

  • http://www.gavinbrown.wordpress.com Gavin

    I want to echo Zach’s sentiment about Miller’s take on abortion.

    Miller obviously hasn’t thought through his position logically. What is implied in his view is that laws ought not exist that can’t put an end to the action or behavior that they are outlawing. This is absurd.

    A biblical view of man’s condition is enough to know that murder, theft, and rape will never cease in this life, yet it would be insane to suggest we legalize those behaviors in hopes of reducing them.

    And this is aside from the obvious moral dillema that Miller’s view creates.

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  • http://www.adamwinters.blogspot.com Adam Winters

    Let me also say that I think Piper’s interview is tremendous. His rhetroical point about erring on the side of caution and uncertainty when it comes to killing a human being is great.

  • Ryann

    Miller is truly, as Doug Groothuis has written, “fetus fatigued.” He is so disillusioned by the Christians=Republicans world and their abusing of this issue that he overreacts completely. He would not say that abortion should be a constitutional right. He would say that we should give up trying to make it illegal because it’s never going to happen and belaboring it will only lead to more divisiveness. That sort of brazenness is both shocking and, perhaps, even evil.

  • J.P.H.

    Zach writes:

    “1. If abortion is not wrong and should be a constitutional right, why should we reduce it? Either it’s wrong and should be outlawed, like stealing, rape, or let it have full rights. Saying we should reduce abortions doesn’t make many sense unless it is really wrong.”

    This doesn’t necessarily follow. There are many self-destructive behaviors that “we”, collectively speaking, have a prevailing interest in mitigating while still stopping short of criminalizing. Smoking cigarettes, for instance. I’d argue that the right for adults to smoke cigarettes should not be rescinded. I’d also argue that it behooves us as a society to reduce the prevalence of smoking. Another example is obesity.

    Personally, I’m solidly in Piper’s camp on this one. That said, I don’t think your statement above really negates the notion of reducing abortion through means other than criminalizing it. My view is that a joint solution is the only real solution. Criminalize it, yes, but also go the extra mile and give sacrificially, as a nation, in a way that negates much of the perceived “needs” women have to pursue an abortion:

    1. Make adoption easier. I’m convinced many women who abort rather than offer their child up for adoption do so because they take an extremely dim view of the life their child will have after having been given up. This view is not necessarily inaccurate. Now, this is no excuse for aborting, but it’s one motivation we should be able to do something about.

    2. Make pregnancy and delivery easier from a financial perspective. No woman should ever feel the need to abort because she can’t afford pre-natal care and the costs associated with delivery. Nor should she fear loss of income if her pregnancy renders her unable to work.

    3. Do our part to reduce the stigma of pregnancy. This last one is huge. Look at how Sarah Palin’s daughter is being treated in light of her pregnancy. We cannot change all of society, but we can change how we, as believers, treat individuals in her situation. Not ignoring their sin, but regarding them in humility and love, aware of our own failings. Some women pursue abortion for the sake of convenience, yes, but I’m convinced many, especially young, women do so to avoid the shame of their pregnancy.

  • Todd B.

    What strikes me is how Miller seems to talk down to me in this interview. The one thing that annoys me most about evangelicals in my generation (GenX) is the kind of glib, condescending, “I’m-mature-and-contextual-and-you’re-not” attitude toward anyone who disagrees with them about anything.

    The main problem with his argument is that he presents a false dichotomy between ending abortions ultimately and reducing the number of abortions now. I want to do all that I can to accomplish the latter while I work, hope and pray to accomplish the former.

  • http://www.celldrifter.com celldrifter

    Sounds like someone wants to serve 2 masters…

  • http://www.celldrifter.com celldrifter

    Right on John Piper! Its God’s decision alone! Awesome. Sorry about my above scathing remark. I fail in this too. Pray for me & Miller for more of God’s revelation in where we are deceived.

  • http://www.csaproductions.com/blog/ Brendt

    Two thoughts on Miller:

    1) “Even Hillary Clinton…” — Wow, when a dyed-in-the-wool Dem calls out Her Majesty in public, that’s saying something.
    2) George, I think the reason that we don’t see more challenges is because critics of “the leaders of the Emerging Church Movement” are too busy over-generalizing them.

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  • http://laughter4daystocome.blogspot.com Jeana

    Okay, I had to watch it three times to be sure Donald Miller said what I thought he said, right after he says ending abortion is a pipe dream:

    “Many people will disagree with that. They will say, ‘No we have to win a moral victory’ and winning that moral victory will cost many lives and they would say ‘it’s worth it to be right’ and I would say no…”

    Huh?

    Is he honestly saying that ENDING abortion would cost many lives? Am I hearing this wrong? What does he think abortion is? And does he seriously think that pro-lifers are in it “just to be right”?

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Jeana,

    Great observation. I, too, would like to know what he meant those statements.

  • Todd B.

    Jeana and Timmy,

    To be fair to Miller, let me offer an explanation of his comment. I took him to mean that if we fight to end all abortion, a fight that he presupposes we will lose, we will in the mean time lose many lives to abortion that could have been saved had we focused on reducing the number of abortions now.

    IOW, he thinks that fighting to end abortion will result in many lives being lost that COULD have been saved if our efforts had been placed on abortion prevention rather than ending it legally.

    I understand his reasoning, however, as I noted before, he presents a false either/or scenerio (we can and should do both) AND wrongly assumes we cannot win the legal battle.

    Blessings,
    Todd

  • Justin

    I’m with Todd B. As a conservative-value, Gen Y, I took miller the same way as Todd.

    It feels like if I’m supposed to be a Christian, then I better vote for who’s going to end abortion vs. reducing abortions. Reducing abortions is a step in the right direction, and I don’t think it’s a dead-end step. Our moral values in America have become so polarized that my generation doesn’t believe that the battle for complete, 100% pro-life can actually be won. So for those of us in the Gen Y that are feeling culture slip away, we’re content with voting for who we feel can actually make the most difference. We don’t feel that abortion will ever be completely outlawed. So we vote for where the most right can be done.

    If we don’t try to reach middle ground now in this, there won’t be middle ground later.

  • http://begods.wordpress.com Matt

    “20 years in”? He doesn’t even know how long murdering babies has been legal in this country.

  • Terri

    After adopting 10 children, I am humbled by the fact that any one of them could have been aborted due to being an unplanned, accidental problem. If you were to meet our kids you would wonder how they could be a problem to anyone! I praise God for the strength that these birthmoms mustered up to be able to love their babies enough to let them live and then place them for adoption in to a Christian home! By God’s grace every one of them will go on to do great things for God. They may have started out as unplanned by the birth parents, but have turned out to be very much a living thriving part of God’s sovereign plan on this earth and into eternity! Each face, each cuddle, each “I love you” is a blessing to my husband and I. Jeremiah 29:11!!! Adoption is a A Hope and A Future!

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  • http://www.rocksinmydryer.net Shannon

    I grieve to hear Donald Miller’s words.

    I know it’s already been said, but it was the first thing I thought when I heard him: rape, theft, child abuse…these things are all going to “happen anyway”. Should we just make them all legal and hope for the best?

    It is the highest calling of government to protect its most vulnerable citizens. And you don’t get any more vulnerable than an unborn baby.

  • http://shaleesdiner.com Shalee

    Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is right. We’re human and we often make mistakes in understanding the wisdom of God. Look at euthanasia: it’s legal, but not of God. Look at prostitution in Las Vegas. It’s legal if it’s done by following a certain procedure. Today’s laws which have been set by humans with human minds should not be equated with God’s law, which has been set with the mind of One who is perfect and without fault.

    By the way, you don’t see God saying, “Well, those humans are going to sin anyway, so I’ll just make it easier for them.” No rather than say that, He kept reminding His people to be “in the world, but not of the world,” “to flee from sexual immorality, keeping the body as His temple”, to “take your stand against the devil’s schemes,” so that “when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” In other words, He reminds us to not give up or give in.

    To say “if you can’t beat them, then you might as well make it easier for them to proceed” is a pessimistic, ungodly view. Personally, I think that even if we spend our lives fighting to protect the lives of those that need our protections and never see it come into law, it would still be worth the fight because, ultimately, it’s not before man that I will stand, answering for my actions, but God. And seriously, if I’m begging for mercy so that I can live eternally with him, shouldn’t I fight the same fight for those who should get the same right to live in this age?

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