Sunday, November 13, 2005

On Abortion, It's the Bible of Ambiguity - New York Times

On Abortion, It's the Bible of Ambiguity - New York Times:
"Flip to the back of any of the fancy, leather-bound Bibles that are so common in evangelical churches these days, and chances are there is an index. Called a concordance, it offers a list of specific words mentioned in the Bible and where they are referenced in the text.

There a reader can find, for example, how many times Jesus talked about the poor (at least a dozen), or what the Apostle Paul wrote about grace (a lot). But those who turn to their concordance for guidance about abortion will not find the word at all...."
I'm not sure what to make of the phrase "fancy, leather-bound bibles", but for a well-used Bible, a plain leather binding wears a lot better than the best of the hard-cover editions, which is why so many Christians choose them. It certainly is not a defining characteristic of evangelical Churches.

What this article does correctly point out is that not every issue in modern life has a specific Bible passage that can be used as "definitive guidance."

In the issues of life (abortion, capital punishment and war) there are very few people that have a consistent position, yet the Bible has been used to support both sides of each issue.

Where the Bible is silent as far as specific guidance is concerned, we need to look at the totality of God's Word to determine how we believe and act:
"...According to Mr. VanGemeren and many other evangelical Bible scholars, no single passage in the Bible clearly supports the anti-abortion stance, but they argue that the broad narrative of the Bible, with its themes of creation, God's blessing on life and humanity bearing the image of God, speak against abortion...."
The problem, of course, is that different people understand Scripture in different ways, but they at least are starting from the right place. According to Michael Gorman, who is quoted in this article, "There's an impetus in the Bible toward the protection of the innocent, protection for the weak, respect for life, respect for God's creation."

Gorman hits it squarely. This is not a conservative/liberal dichotomy. Christians who read the Bible regularly and accept its authority cannot fail to overlook Micah's prophetic words:
Mic 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
I have used this passage many times in the three months this blog has been in existence, and I will, no doubt, use it again. It is one of the best descriptions of what an evangelical Christian is.

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