Is Complete Passivity Toward Issues (Such as Abortion) Sin?

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by psycheives, Aug 21, 2015.

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  1. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    It would appear to me that the Holy Spirit is stirring you to action here. Good for you! Continue to ask these questions. Your zeal and fire about this is encouraging. We need both individually and corporately need to speak out on moral issues. But does a guy or girl who gives money to his or her church or pray do any less than someone standing out front of planned parenthood? Although I encourage you to keep up the good fight. Some action may be more visible than others but it is action none the less. Great thread.
  2. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    There are quite a number of these, but all are not created equal. They indicate that there are differences between Christians who are against abortion, and so they can be divisive.

    Let's not forget (1) difference is to be made between sinners, and some have to be treated with compassion while others require fear; and (2) there is grace, forgiveness, and new obedience for those who have committed sin. It would be very sad to see a church be firm on the law but lax on the gospel.
  3. AJ Castellitto

    AJ Castellitto Puritan Board Freshman

    This is interesting.... And disturbing

    I recently looked into Aliester Crowley..... I think there's lots of demonic influence floating around and has for a while, of course but its very active.... Don't recommend we dwell on the dark aspects but be aware they are out there and prepare for greater spiritual battle and calling upon our Savior.....
  4. Miss Marple

    Miss Marple Puritan Board Junior

    A couple of thoughts/questions:

    There has been a lot of comments endorsing the primacy of prayer. But God answers prayer with MEANS, doesn't He? For example if there is a famine, and you pray for its relief, God sends rain, seed trucks, farmers, etc., harvesters, distribution centers, doctors. . .

    so it seems to me to seek to be part of the means is part of the result of prayer. Does that make sense?

    If it does, pray and ask what you might do.
  5. johnny

    johnny Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'm not so sure that article you linked to is entirely trustworthy.
    Catholicism is often superstitious and unbalanced among its adherents.

    He said he left the coven but continued to practice magic
    until he became a Christian and converted to Catholicism in 2008.


    There are a lot of myths about Crowley, including his famous last words "I'm Perplexed"
    He lived a sad life of excess due to his personal motto "Do what thou wilt"
    For all his so-called fame, there were only twelve mourners at his cremation.

    The counter culture latched onto him after his death, they were looking for an anti hero.
    I'm surprised they didnt go with Adolf, (probably too offensive for them)
  6. Andrew P.C.

    Andrew P.C. Puritan Board Junior

    Who said this? To my knowledge, no one on this thread made such a claim.
  7. Andrew P.C.

    Andrew P.C. Puritan Board Junior

    You can't have one without the other. Therefore I find your distinction false. It would be gross, sad, and abusive if the church was firm on the Law unlawfully. However, one of the uses of God's Law is to show the sinfulness of man. Not only are ALL men commanded to obey Christ, but they are shown to be sinful in light of their disobedience to the King.

    There is forgiveness in Christ but you can't have forgiveness if you do not understand how miserable and sinful you truly are.

    WCF 15:

  8. zsmcd

    zsmcd Puritan Board Freshman

    I apologize if I wasn't clear enough brother. I am not arguing that someone who prays or gives money is doing any less. What I am advocating against is the idea that to feel that our prayer and check writing appeases our conscience that we have done enough than I believe that we are confused. I assure you, I believe prayer to be one of the most powerful tools against evil. God is sovereign and we would be stupid to believe that we can fight sin without prayer. Again, this is more of a heart issue than it is a clearly visible matter.

    To use myself as an example again. Until a year ago I was a single guy who wasn't in school and more free time than I knew what to do with. As a single guy to feel that I have obeyed Jesus command to love my neighbor by praying against abortion once a month and giving money to a pregnancy help center (that may or may not preach the Gospel) would be foolish. I spent hundreds of hours reading big books, watching movies, going to coffee shops, etc etc etc. To think that I have loved my neighbor who was being murdered down the street by giving money to someone else in hopes that it would help to stop abortion is ridiculous. I had so much time on my hands that could have been spent preach at abortion mils and actually using my hands to love my neighbor. I had no excuse, I truly loved my 'free time'.

    On the other hand, there may be some who truly have devoted themselves to other means that keep them from working against abortion hands on. These people may have wept over the injustice and prayer fervently for it to end. I would never tell someone they are in sin simply because "all they do" is pray and give money. Some folks serve in different capacities. I do however feel that there are many in local churches like myself. I have met a handful of men and women recently who have been convicted of this sin of indifference and apathy towards the murder of image bearers.

    Hope that was more helpful.
  9. Warren

    Warren Puritan Board Freshman

    I didn't think complete passivity was even realistic.

    I think that's because the church isn't just an institution; its an organism of many members, and we don't really know what God will convict us of, from one week to the next. Saints though we are, we're still feeble creatures, saturated with information about matters we can't always take action with.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2015
  10. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    A number of commentators sound highly motivated to action--particularly action that is to "something more" (a few suggestions have been offered) than the Scripture specifics, which are the means of grace obligatory on all Christians. There's a clear command to pray, in other words.

    But the rest of the "activity" to which one may be called is Scripturally undefined. And because it is undefined, particulars are forbidden to be laid against the conscience. That's also a clear prohibition.

    Let us commend (unless we think a brother's choice is unworthy) the enlistment to this or that cause that is taken up by our fellows. We might even hope their enthusiasm will prove contagious.

    Anyone is welcome to summon his brothers and sisters to join him in a specific, or even a vague, course of action. The call should be winsome, even if urgent. Think of the Marine Corps recruiting ads: "Maybe you have what it takes. The Few, the Proud, the Marines." That is beautiful! (said the armyman; the rest of the military sells personal improvement, not the cause and sacrifice). The Marine doesn't despise the people who declined the invitation, but lays his life on the line for them, whether they "had a good reason" or not. That's not important to him.

    What's ugly is the sentiment within Christianity that those who aren't signing onto a movement-du-jour should be faulted for "not doing enough." The new recruit has "seen the light," his choice is surely is the sharp-end of the instrument of progress; so what's wrong with all these others who aren't making a similar commitment? Why aren't they following his lead? This offended, judgmental sensibility is exactly what Paul warns believers against in Rom.14:4.

    My wife has her hands full. Not that she needs an "excuse" for not heading out to a picket-line somewhere. She doesn't need to justify herself AT ALL if she doesn't go out, and neither does anyone else. Not to another man, only to God. So far as anyone knows, in the absence of any words of explanation, the reason to be supposed one has for not taking up a particular work is his being occupied with another, having prior commitments, prior duties.

    Just because a whole bunch of other people don't seem busy to an activist, doesn't grant him the gift of omniscience. The fact that a "good cause" seems lagging is no evidence that Christians are just lazy (or else "we'd be winning!"). That's a false impression.

    What I'm hearing some people say is: "I know what your principal duty is, so listen and I'll tell you what it is." There's a designated or vague "call to action," which explicitly or implicitly demands that those not presently on-board do an immediate reevaluation: to see if whether they are justified in continuing to not-prioritize the guidance of those with the bullhorns. The standard of judgment is a set of privileged Bible-texts, coupled with an interpretive slant on them.

    "Do justice..." Micah 6:8. Is that self-explanatory? It's not a call to the lowly to band together and enact social reform. The term "justly," the old KJV rendering, refers to acting righteously within the bounds of the law. Oppressors were being rebuked; individuals with power were being called to help rather than harm, by an appeal to basic expectations that apply to everyone: righteousness, mercy, and humility before God. Here is a perfect example of that: 1Ths.4:11, "Aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you." That's as legitimate a Christian expression as Bonhoeffer's.

    A little earlier in the thread, I pointed out that mass-appeals today often exhibit the language of "collectivism." By taking command of the language, ideas and words are used like prods and crooks as crude tools of manipulation, an attempt to create a wave of energy. Some will try then to ride that wave to prominence. I read here the repeated use of "we" and "our" by partisans for certain forms of activity, that trade on the broader forms of our shared identity as Christians, or even as Reformed. "We all agree on this, therefore..." "Our faith demands that we..." This is political, collectivist rhetoric.

    Preachers, the ones who care about proper shepherding and care of individual consciences, have to be careful in their pulpits that what they summon their congregations and Christians generally to believe and do is clearly directed by the Word. "We believe..." is only appropriate to what the Bible teaches. "Our duty..." is only appropriate to what is proved by the moral law.

    Let me say once again, that the need to speak out and to urge the Body to do what they can for righteousness sake is laudable. But to shame them into adopted support for a more narrowly defined movement or cause is despicable.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2015
  11. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    Once we're finished with abortion, I have another action list for everyone. Hope everyone is ready.

    1. Let's tell all Christians they must picket the local Mormon Church because "souls are murdered here". (1st Commandment)
    2. Let's tell all Christians they need to do whatever they can so that Roman Catholic Churches are banished, since souls are being led astray by idolatry. (2nd Commandment)
    3. All Christians must be bound to make Hollywood shut down because they blaspheme the name of God. (3rd Commandment)
    4. All Christians must call for the end of all businesses that operate on the Lord's Day, as they prevent God's People from being at Church, unbelievers from being converted and are therefore complicit in the murder of souls. (4th Commandment)
    5. All Christians must shut down Fox News and MSNBC because they are often guilty of dishonor towards our magistrates (5th Commandment).
    6. We already seem to have the abortion issue worked out. (6th Commandment)
    7. All Christians should be actively involved in making sure that p0rnography is no longer being sold. Every Christian's duty is to stomp it out while families are being torn asunder (7th Commandment)
    8. Every Christian must write their governors and demand that the pay day loan people are shut down. (8th Commandment)
    9. Let's make sure to shut down Fox News and MSNBC because they often seem to have an issue with bearing false witness. (9th Commandment)
    10. All Christians must boycott products made by Apple, or marketed by Madison Ave., etc. for their fanning the flames of covetousness and leading people into debt that they cannot repay. (10th Commandment)

    Are you doing enough against these? If not, you are part of the problem.

    This line of reasoning reminds me of Arminian Preachers who tell their congregations that people are going to hell because they are not doing enough evangelism and missions work. Let's not load men, women and children with burdens that they were not meant to bear. It would be chilling for the elders of a church to put this kind of burden on a congregation.

    May the Church preach against the ills of our society, I'm all for it. Our church preaches against societal ills, and we also pray and fast for the end to injustice, abortion, etc.

    But let's not state that one who doesn't take political or social action for a particular societal sin is guilty of that sin. Often times the people who take this stance are particularly passionate about a particular cause, having been convicted of it, and are upset when others do not take it up themselves.

    I fully support those who wish to see Abortion outlawed. I also support those who wish to restore Sabbath Laws. I also support those who wish to outlaw p0rnography. How could I not?

    But what I cannot do is mandate that it is every Christian's duty to be active in particular social movements and that if they do not, they are sinning.
  12. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    From one side I hear that we should not be passive in the face of sin. From the other side, I hear that we should not guilt people into action.

    I believe the two sides are not mutually exclusive, nor are either side advocating the worst fears of the other side.
  13. zsmcd

    zsmcd Puritan Board Freshman

    Is there also not a clear command to love your neighbor? Of course, as we have mentioned several times, this is going to look different for everyone. But the command is clear. No one is trying to add to the Law of God and demand that others love their neighbors this or that way. Just as no one should be adding to the Law of God and demanding that others pray trice daily, for thirty minutes, for these specifics things.
    I don't believe we should judge anything by our "wins or loses" but simply by our faithfulness to obey the Law of God.

    I don't believe this to be true. I am simply quoting the clear command to love your neighbor and I am asking what it looks like in a specific situation. i.e. Nazi Germany or modern day America.

    Brother, if I have in anyway expressed the desire to shame anyone or done anything despicable please point it out. My desires are clear. I desire to stir others up to love and good works. I am simply trying to ask two questions.

    1. In a city where 50 unborn children are 'lawlfully' murdered weekly by their parents, what does it look like for me to obey Jesus command to love my neighbor and especially the least of these?
    2. Am I being faithful to this duty?

    Of course, this is going to look different for everyone. No one is arguing against that. But I am afraid that many of us do make excuses and many of us don't really love our neighbors. I know this because I was at that point a year ago, but thankfully a brother was loving enough to call me to repent.
  14. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Yep, fleshed out a bit further in the 2nd Table especially and in other particulars found in Scripture. Can you say whether JoeChristian has fulfilled the law of Christ by looking at his resume? No, neither positively or negatively. No one can say whether anyone else is spiritually "efforting" up to his potential.

    Loving the neighbor in America? That's a huge place with millions of situations. And Germany in the 1930s was a big place too. You're asking too much. It's too much to ask, because loving one's neighbor encompasses the whole Christian life. It includes a mom who's taking care of her child. It includes the man who didn't take today off for anything, and is bagging groceries. It might include somebody marching, for or against something. But not necessarily any of these things.

    Getting specific about abortion, ChristianMom taking care of her child is antiabortion. So is ChristianJoe bagging groceries. If those assertions don't sound reasonable to you (and maybe they do), why is that? I'm quoting you now, because you asked me questions. I didn't quote anyone in particular before, because I didn't want to pick on anybody.

    These questions say "me" and "I." That, to me, is an important rhetorical distinction, over against "we ought" and "our duty." "Let us" is an appeal for support, a generally reasonable word choice.

    But, then in the following paragraph, you lapse into collectivism again with "us" language.
    So, you demonstrate your supposition other people aren't "pulling their weight." Now that you stepped up, and listened to a (hopefully non-accusatory) call to action, you seem willing to accuse others-of-your-stripe of making excuses and not loving--in other words, disobeying God. "WE could accomplish so much more if only more of US adopted OUR agenda."

    In fact, sin is everywhere, and no one loves their neighbor as they ought. Many Christians are making excuses, and not loving their neighbors; and the instances are as wide as this whole world, even more than a single nation. Singling out abortion as an issue, and "raising the bar" on obedience in opposing it--that is what I'm resisting.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2015
  15. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I am not saying we shouldn't be strict on the law. Only that such strictness would be very sad if it were accompanied with laxness on the gospel.

    "Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know the law is good, if a man use it lawfully."
  16. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    The thread begins with Bonhoeffer, the man who espoused religionless Christianity -- where what matters is not the beyond but this world.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2015
  17. Andrew P.C.

    Andrew P.C. Puritan Board Junior

    Granted. However, we are looking at the claim he made. Not the man.

    What does discrediting a man have to do with the claim he made? The claim is that not saying anything is evil.. which is what the thread is about.


    I hope you know I have to utmost respect for you. I always look forward to your comments which are thought provoking. I just wanted you to know this.
  18. Andrew P.C.

    Andrew P.C. Puritan Board Junior

    Brother Rom,

    The words "social issues" or "social movements" keep coming up and they keep getting the same answer. These aren't "social". They are in direct violation of God's Law and are punishable by death. Abortion doctors are murderers and what does God require of these men? Their lives. The confusion comes in when people think Christians are calling for other Christians to pick up arms and march on. Rather, it is the states duty to put these men to death. If God requires such a thing, and the state is rebellious against God, then who will cry out?

    I can speak for myself when I say that I am not asking every Christian to protest PP directly. They do so by pray, fasting, and being vocal against such atrocities. I encourage Christians to protest such evil places, but I do not require such a thing. I think this is where the water gets murky (spelled right?). I agree with you and others when prayer necessary. They also should call a spade a spade. When abortions or homosexual mirage is happening, they need to call it for what it is: evil.

    By the way, I must admit that your 10 "commandments" are quite genius. I would love to respond to them when I get more time.
  19. AJ Castellitto

    AJ Castellitto Puritan Board Freshman

    On a related note, Ted Cruz calls on pastors to take a stand.... I think we should just explain how abortion is part of the bigger assault on truth.... This is not political but it does call for a big platform ..... And a sound, sincere message, not just alot of hot air or social reforms.
  20. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    I believe I did mention that the church should preach against these great national sins. And you are right to recognize that it is the responsibility of the magistrate to honor God's Laws. We have no quarrel here.

    Where I draw the distinction is where a burden is placed on individual Christians to "do more". Certainly, let the Church preach against the Magistrate for their evils! I come from a tradition that wholeheartedly supports such a thing. But let's not heap up burdens upon believers that they were not meant to bear, and say that unless they "do more", they are indifferent and in fact sinning. This is very dangerous. Any person can create their own societal evils chart (like I did), and require action from Christians.

    I don't believe we disagree, brother. But the general angst shown by many in this thread is that "this is not good enough", not when babies are being butchered. The point I was trying to make with my list is that there are many evils and atrocities being committed, not just abortion - and while abortion is heinous, it is by no means the only things Christians in this country are grieved over. Where do we start? Where do we stop? What evil crosses that threshold of you must act or else be in sin?

    If we wish to lead people, we should do it without shackling them with guilt that they must do more. Show them the evil, and pray that God's People will be a positive force for change. But we need not twist arms and tell them that if they are not actively involved, they are sinning. Reformed Presbyterians all throughout this country were marching against Planned Parenthood last Saturday. I supported this wholeheartedly. But this was a voluntary act, driven by those who wished to do something. No one said that if you stayed at home, you were in sin. No church officers (that I am aware of) told their congregation that if they didn't go out and protest, they would be sinning. But that appears to be the path that some are always tempted to go down.

    Many a tender conscience might get the wrong idea if reading a thread like this about what they have done (or not done) regarding this issue. I made the claim that this is similar to Arminian preachers who guilt people into becoming missionaries because souls are going to spend an eternity in hell. I still stand by that.

    We must be very careful.
  21. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    That is very kind. I am only trying to help guide over what has become a very rough road for the reformed witness. There was a system to Bonhoeffer's thought and it works like a whirlpool. It is impossible to stay unaffected by his errors whilst stepping into his ethical views. Its this-worldly agenda and socialistic moralism was directly opposed to the reformed emphasis on election and salvation of individuals.
  22. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    No I'm sorry I wasn't singling anyone out. I totally agree with you. I like your zeal. I just like to remember that God works through small acts and big acts. I am totally for the church being a moral witness and proclaiming the truth, it is our DNA so to speak. No I think your right.
  23. zsmcd

    zsmcd Puritan Board Freshman

    Indeed, we can never know fully the heart of a person and whether they are truly obeying Christ's command. In fact, many who spends their daily lives fighting abortion at clinics could be doing it for all the wrong reasons while someone else who doesn't have the time could be considered more obedient. But again, this isn't the question of the thread and if you believe my goal was to look around and judge the hearts of men via a internet forum than you are mistaken sir. The question asked was "Is Complete Passivity Toward Issues (Such as Abortion) Sin?" And I believe the answer to be "duh." As I have said a number of times, this looks different for everyone but complete passivity is indeed and is indeed rebellion against God and closing your eyes to injustice. I am not trying to heap burdens onto folks shoulder. I just thought the question being asked seemed to be a good one and it seems that many are being stirred up to love their neighbors and I want to echo a resounding "thank God that people are repenting of apathy." Respectfully Reverend, if your conscience is clean and you believe that you have obeyed your Lord than there is no need for us to disagree.

    I am not asking too much at all. I am again asking the question "what does it look like to love my preborn neighbor who is being murdered down the road from my home/church/work?" America is indeed huge. Germany was indeed large as well. I'm not supposing that one Christian tackle the evil of abortion happening in America. I am simply asking why there is an abortion clinic in Alexandria, Virginia surrounded by five "gospel centered" churches and yet there are only Catholics outside of the clinic who don't have the hope of the Gospel themselves. Is not child sacrifice a repeated problem throughout redemptive history that God hates? Is it happening in your neighborhood? And is not the Gospel the answer to child sacrifice? I'm not arguing that we need to tackle America. I am arguing that children are being sacrificed within miles of our homes and many of us turn a blind eye.
    Indeed you repeat my point "no one loves their neighbor as they ought." and "many Christians are making excuses." So is the answer to through our hands up and say "well, the church isn't perfect." or is the answer to confront the sin and call people to repentance with the Gospel? By the way, I am not singling out abortion. Although I do believe abortion to be the most atrocious crime in the world (and again in our neighborhoods) today, I don't believe we should only focus on it.

    I do appreciate your wise counsel, please do not take all of this as my attempt to get everyone into my specific "agenda." That is not my purpose, I just desire to see the church loving it's neighbor, not in my specific way, but in anyway that glorifies our Lord.
  24. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor


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  25. AJ Castellitto

    AJ Castellitto Puritan Board Freshman

    The only thing left to say, and the sad reality of the situation, is that when the people elected to public office have no respect or regard for our rule of law or God's word of which our common law was founded.....

    We will proceed to be further discouraged & outraged. It may be better to turn off the news entirely at this point
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2015
  26. AJ Castellitto

    AJ Castellitto Puritan Board Freshman

    It's sad because a significant portion of our nation's founders and forefathers were Calvinists, no?
  27. AJ Castellitto

    AJ Castellitto Puritan Board Freshman

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