Living By Faith - Episode Three
April 16, 2020 Speaker: Josh DeGroote
Topic: Abortion Passage: Proverbs 6:17–6:17, Deuteronomy 6:4–6:4, Titus 1:2–1:2, Titus 2:13–2:13, Acts 5:3–5:4, 2 Corinthians 13:14–13:14, Isaiah 40:8–40:8
Welcome to the Living By of Faith podcast. My name is Josh DeGroote, and this is episode number three. Thanks for checking this out. This is a podcast where we look at current news and events, theology, practical issues, and a little bit of history from the perspective of the life of faith in Christ - I hope you find it helpful, informative, and encouraging. Let’s get started.
Current news and events
I want to take turn down a road today in our discussion of life in America in the era of COVID-19. We are now weeks into the re-ordering of American life due to the pandemic known as COVID-19 and it is becoming more and more clear: our lives have been fundamentally re-ordered. Millions of people out of work, children out of school and now being homeschooled, traveling halted, businesses shut down, places of worship restricted to virtual gatherings and meetings, and families essentially under near entire quarantine. This is the way it is in most states. And all of this is in an effort to save lives, we are told. Okay, sounds good. Let’s save lives. I just have one question.
Why on earth is are abortion clinics still open? Why are they considered essential businesses? When non essential surgeries and medical procedures are being sidelined until a later date, why is an abortion considered an essential medical procedure? I thought the point was to save lives! And clearly abortion does NOT save lives! Abortion takes lives, to the tune of 60 million in the US alone since 1973.
Now, clear disclosure, I think all abortion clinics should be shut down… like yesterday and never re-opened. I think abortion is an absolute abomination. So there. But this just shows the utter incoherency of a secular worldview. Here’s the logic of many: “We must do everything we can to save lives… from coronavirus. At the same time, we must do everything to fight for the right to continue to take lives… by means of abortion.” In the last 4-6 weeks (roughly), there have been just over 28,500 deaths by coronavirus - though there is some discrepancy as to whether all the deaths were caused by coronavirus or just people died with coronavirus (and there IS a difference). But let’s just say 28,500 deaths. In the same period of time, there have been roughly 80,000-120,000 abortions - 80,000-120,000 baby boys and girls violently dismembered in the place they should be the safest, their mother’s womb legally. And this is viewed by many in power as essential.
But this is where it is important to remember that whoever defines the terms of words controls the narrative and usually wins the debate - on any issue. And abortion advocates have done a masterful job at defining the terms of the debate. They have convinced a large portion of the public that access to abortion is an matter of vital women’s heath care. And to be against abortion is to be against women receiving good health care.
As Christians, we do not have the luxury of falling prey to such nonsense. We must say about abortion what God says about it. It is violence. It is murder. God hates it. Proverbs 6:17 says, “God hates the hands that shed innocent blood.” Every person, at every stage of development, is made in the image of God, knit together in his or her mother’s womb. Knit together by God. And so the ending of life by means of abortion is the intentional, gruesome killing of an image bearer of God. That is what abortion is. And abortion is designated as an essential service, while the worship gatherings of Christians are not. God is not mocked. We should pray that he have mercy on us as a nation.
The next section is what I call the catechesis section. For centuries Christians gave themselves to the practice of learning the doctrines of the Christian faith by way of a catechism. Catechesis simply means to teach orally or instruct by word of mouth. This practice would benefit us much in our day. A day in which confusion about truth and when, even in the church, ignorance about the Christian faith, flourish. Good, healthy doctrine is a constant emphasis in the New Testament and so a catechism goes a long way in helping promote and instill good doctrine.
So I’m making my way through a modern catechism called New City Catechism. It takes the form of 52 questions and answers with scripture - so one for each week. You can buy the book online or you can download the app on your phone for free. And I should note that if you download the app, there are shorter answers for younger kids.
Question 3: How many persons are there in God?
Answer 3: There are three persons in the one true and living God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are the same in substance, equal in power and glory.
This goes to the nature and character of God as triune, or the triunity of God. There is one God and three coequal, coexistent persons. The Father is not the Son who is not the Holy Spirit. And yet they are one in essence. Of course, this is a great mystery. Therefore, we should never go beyond what the scriptures teach. Of course, you won’t find the word trinity or triune in the bible. If you go to a concordance, you won’t find those words. But reading through the scriptures, Christians have for centuries have understood the truth of the trinity by deduction. Let me explain.
The bible makes the claim over and over again that there is one God. There is one God, not three or a hundred. Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Here O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” But then there are texts that say the Father is God (Titus 1:2), others that claim Jesus is God (Titus 2:13), and others that claim the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). Some have then made the error of saying, “Well yes, that is just the one God manifesting himself in different modes” - this is the error of modalism. But that doesn’t work. Because there are times we see all three Persons - for instance at the baptism of Jesus in Luke 3 (explain). Or when Jesus prays in John 17. Who is he praying to? Himself? Of course not. He is praying to the Father, a unique Person in the Godhead.
In a day where there is a big emphasis on being Christ-centered and gospel-centered, we need to remember the centrality of the trinity in the Christian faith. The Christian faith is certainly Christ centered and gospel centered. But even more fundamentally (and beautifully), it is trinitarian. The Father, Son, and Spirit working in harmony to redeem sinners (Galatians 4:4-6). Which leads to the scripture for this question and answer, which is a powerful trinitarian benediction or blessing.
2 Corinthians 13:14 - The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Christian History Section
In our history section, I want to talk about an important early church council and a key figure. In fact, it is often considered the first ecumenical council. It is the council of Nicaea in 325 AD. This is the council from which the Nicene Creed came. Constantine brought bishops and leaders in the church form all over the Roman Empire. And it was to decide what to do with the Arians and the teachings of Arius - their leader. Arius had led a revolt against the orthodox truth of the trinity and was leading many away from the truth.
The most ardent defender of the trinitarian position at the council, though he was not an author of the creed was a man named Athanasius. Well, the words of the Nicene Creed have stood for now almost 1700 years as a standard of the true, orthdox, Christian faith. In it, we hear the one God, three Person truth loud and clear.
- We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
- And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made.
- And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.
To which we should all say, Amen. Well, the council of Nicaea was important, but it did not end the battle with the Arians. That fight would continue and Athanasius would be the tip of the spear in the fight for truth. Exiled multiple times, often on the run for his life, Athanasius stood against the onslaught of the Arian error - almost alone. At one time, a friend said to Athanasius, “Athanasius, the whole world is against you” to which he responded, “Well then, Athanasius is against the world.” And those words were on Athanasius’s tombstone: “Athanasius contra mundum”, the Latin phrase which means "Athanasius against the world". What a great reminder for us that we live in a world where we will have to fight for the truth and sometimes it will seem like we are on the losing side. But we’re not. God’s truth will prevail. Remember the words of God in Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God abides forever.”
Thanks again for listening to the living by faith podcast. If you found it helpful, please subscribe, like, and share. Until next time, “may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Spirit be with you all.”