G-d Can’t Be Pro-Life, ‘Cause He Killed Babies…Or Can He (An Analysis of Some Texts, Using Other Texts)?

AN INTRODUCTION AND SOME CUSTOMARY PROVOKING STATEMENTS

Because New York passed an abortion law or some such thing, people all of a sudden have started to talk about and exegete the news.


It has been raised as an argument against those who might be pro-life that G-d cannot be pro-life, since, in the Bible, and specifically, in the Torah, he killed babies.


I rarely discuss current events at the same time they are happening. But today I will make an exception.
ollie north
Check that. Two exceptions.


#elliotabrams

It is uncomfortable to talk about how unrighteous our government’s actions are in the area of abortion and talking about how righteous a pro-life stance is, while turning the blind eye to the warhawking anti-life nature of conducting police state actions overseas, that are the purview of Republicans and Democrats alike.

Back to what I was talking about, seriously. Sometimes we want to excuse our government’s stupidity by an appeal to one issue, when there are a breadth of issues at play. And such exegesis gets sloppy.

Some days, our exegesis, which can turn to support one group or party over another, is only painted with broad strokes that Scripture does not use.

And when it comes to Scripture, sometimes our exegesis boils down to making sure that the G-d in the right hand side of the Bible apologizes for the actions of the G-d in the left hand side of the Bible.


But here is how I would processionally explain the actions of the G-d on the left hand side of the book, in seven elements.

Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8

PREFACING THE SEVEN ELEMENTS: IS HE REALLY AS MEAN AS SOME SAY?

Consider also the fact that the “kinder, gentler” guy on the right hand side of the book, at the end of the right hand side, plagued the whole earth and wiped out a million here and there, in case we think the guy on the right hand side has more reformed ways.


Translation: parsing the Old Testament G-d and the New Testament G-d out from each other as distinct causes the whole book to fall apart greatly. Truly, they are one and the same. Revelation teaches us that. And His Judgment is His mercy.

BACKGROUND TEXTS FOR RECONCILING THE TWO PARTS

G-d, on the other hand, as Scripture RELENTLESSLY teaches throughout both the Tanakh and the New Testament, gives space for people to repent and reform before He executes against them.


Cue cluster of texts that show G-d’s mercy and granting people space and breathing room to repent before He judges.

  • Jonah 3-4, where G-d relents/repents after the capital of the flaying Assyrians repents.
  • Revelation 2:21, where G-d gave Jezebel space to repent
  • Genesis 15:16, where G-d gave the Amorites space to repent, that He didn’t have to, and would have caused something to work out between Israel and the Amorites had they repented.
  • Genesis 18:17-19, where G-d debated what he would share with Abraham, knowing Abraham’s righteousness, knowing Abraham’s heart to cry out for mercy, and knowing that Abraham was able to affect G-d’s heart because Abraham was the friend of G-d in only the way Givers can be.
  • Deuteronomy 2:9 and Judges 11:17, where G-d gave Moab their land, and commanded Israel not to harrass them, even before Moab fought against Israel (Joshua 24:9). This could have led to Moab’s national repentance and a reconciliation and commerce between Moab and Israel. And even when the national reconciliation did not take place, G-d STILL played out the drama that should have been between Moab and Israel in the story of Ruth and Boaz.
  • Genesis 46:4, where G-d SENT Israel down to Egypt, and G-d DWELT WITH Israel IN Egypt, and during which season, Israel had centuries to get to know her G-d, and the Amorites had space to repent and prepare the land for the ISRAELITES, which could have happened instead of their destruction.
  • Genesis 47:6, where Pharaoh gave favor to Israel in the land of Egypt and with the pagan ruler of Egypt.
  • Isaiah 19:24-25, where the L-rd will ultimately bring about redemption of the Egyptian nation, and the Egyptian nation will occupy the first place. SECONDLY, <GASP>, pagan, flaying, barbaric Assyria. And third, Israel.
  • Exodus 4:22-23, where G-d first reveals to a pagan nation His name of “Father”. He then commands, before the first drop of water turns to blood and before the first frog touches the land and dies, Egypt to LET HIS SON GO. And then the judgments start and increase.
    • And yes, one can argue G-d kept Pharaoh from repenting, because of Exodus 4:21 and 7:3, but to merely argue that is to see only part of the whole narrative. Psalm 115:16, “the highest heavens belong to the L-rd, but the earth he has given to the sons of men.” G-d has given people free will to choose what they will or will not do. He does not always get what He wants.
  • From the point above, through the entire sequence of issues, the L-rd showed the Egyptians what they had done in infant genocide towards the men of Israel (Exodus 1:22, note the waters turning to blood in 7:17-21 revealed the death that was in the water and the blood that was on the Egyptian hands). The Tenth Plague was the progressive outflow of the response of the Egyptian injustice of Israelite genocide. Again, there are causes and effects. And when you sow the cause, you will reap the effects.
  • Let me point out also the counsel of G-d in Exodus 9:19; He told the Egyptian people to gather their flocks and herds to keep them from the hail. Some listened, and some did not. There were Egyptians who had livestock that kept them in from the hail and their livestock was spared. This opened the door for some of them to turn. G-d uses every circumstance to bring people to Him, including His judgments.
  • Recall also Exodus 12:49, which could plausibly imply that, during the plagues, there were some Egyptians in the nation that chose to follow the G-d of Israel, and chose to align themselves with Israel, and celebrated the Passover. Even if there were none that did actually align with Israel, He still made provision for that.
  • The book of Joshua is completely devoted to the destruction of whole nations while the Israelites possessed the Promised Land.

Element 1: G-d’s decisions, even those decisions that result in human death, are ALWAYS executed in the context of His mercy and His justice, which are the twin facets of His love. What will drive His children to seek Him?


Element 2: G-d’s purposes are aimed at a long-game strategy. He weighs all decisions with an eye toward redemption and how they will impact eternity and His house.


Element 3: G-d aims to eradicate sin, rebellion, iniquity, and abomination from the earth.


Element 4: G-d’s yearning desire is to walk among us, be our G-d, and for us to be His people. Whatever keeps that community from happening He may remove from us.

Element 5: G-d looks for the fruit on the tree. He looks for fresh water or salt, hot water or cold, humility or assertion, upness or downness, filiality or bridality. He looks for consistency that He can utilize. He looks for and brings organized sequence.


Element 6: Sin twists and perverts the good, and that twisting is revealed in the fruit of the tree that is planted. G-d despises things that twist and mar.
Element 7: Everything G-d is, does, or permits to happen is ALWAYS with an eye toward straightening out the twistedness.


Look, it is not like G-d on a bipolar whim massacred millions of innocent babies in an unprovoked rage.

He gave all of these nations, including Mizraim, CENTURIES to repent. And when a culture of death and murder is embraced, somewhere down the line, death is going to be result, and the empire that embraces death is going to self-devour.


He exposed the Egyptian culture for the death-bringing culture it had become. Blood was already in the waters before the first plague. He just forced the nation to see the blood that was in the water. He untwisted the reality of the waters. And in so doing, He allowed all of those baby boys’ blood to testify (Hebrews 12:24).


The Golden Calf is an example of a culture self-devouring. The Levites massacred 3,000 of their own families and so were ordained through G-d’s warring against the defiled spirit of idolatry.


National sin has national consequences. Longstanding sin has consequences. G-d even showed longsuffering toward the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities on the plain, and Lot interceded for Zoar, and as a result, G-d spared that city.


And one of the names of G-d (Exodus 34:5-6) is The L-rd Who Is Longsuffering.


G-d is not Hitler, G-d is not Pol Pot, G-d is not Stalin, and G-d is not Mao.
And it is not really the church’s job to justify the behavior of G-d to others. G-d can work in, around, and through our objections and the obstacles. But we have to recognize that the principles of Scripture do work. Sexual sin has sexual consequences, murderous sin has murderous consequences. Abortive sin has abortive consequences. Actions do have reactions. Sum of the Forces, Newtonian approximations, and all that jazz.

And Jezebel’s genocide resulted in her blood being shed.


And Naboth’s Vineyard landed on Ahab’s head.


The Principles work, without prejudice, and without caring what you think about how nice G-d or anyone else is.

And ultimately, G-d can work every situation to His glory.


But for us, now is the time to wake up, acknowledge reality in the stead of hiding from it, and bless New York, as we should have, instead of cursing it.

G-d was there first, and this decision on New York’s part is not helped by cursing New York. Rather, gang, let’s not carry on with eighty-five reams of conversation, and instead work with what we know about the Giver and Exhorter design of the state and Manhattan, respectively.


Bless the Giver and the Exhorter dynamic of that state.
Just some thoughts here, gang.

My Overarching Issue With the Majority Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement

Since I first connected with the P/C movement in college, I have struggled with a number of issues. Things like elitism, condescension, pretenses of intimacy, control, manipulation, covering, the fivefold ministry, and many of these I have written about.

But, a pattern has arisen that I could not verbalize until just a few minutes ago.

And I finally put my finger on what it is….

What it is that drives so many of my generation from the usual corporate expressions of worship….

What it is that keeps us who want and yearn for relationships with groups of other believers….

What it is that keeps us from moving into depth one with another….

What keeps us from fulfilling any sense of duty to one another (Greek αλλαλους)…

And, maddeningly, what keeps us from becoming a body….

This quality has kept us from behaving cohesively…

It is a sense of entitled secrecy.

Presentation Vs. Vulnerable Reality

We have failed at humility, transparency, honesty, and straight-shooting, in favor of slicked-up presentation, and appearances. And my generation is sick of those presentations that do not find root in bare reality.

Because of a presentation that is nothing more than a distraction from what is really happening behind the scenes, I despise the phrase “brother” and do not usually reciprocate in kind.

That bald-faced fakery is why I despise being called Dave by anyone other than those who respect me.

Secrecy, and the hidden hand. Guile, shrewdness, and all kinds of glad-handing, verbal barfing account for my sickness with most of what passes for “fellowship” (gag!).

It is as if we are more interested in coming off or appearing to be real and tender and affectionate with each other than we are in actually BEING real and tender and affectionate with each other.

A Possible Reason Why

Perhaps part of the reason we do not engage in reality is that we have been so wounded and damaged (cue Plumb’s cut called “Cut” from Chaotic Resolve) that we are fearful of exposing ourselves again. We get castigated repeatedly for not belonging to the church, and for picking expressions of the church that are not part of established and recognized congregations, and yet, those traditional routes for corporate expression are precisely the routes that brought us to a place of shipwreck.

And we are sick of hearing expressions that tout the fivefold as the right expression for church leadership that have not apologized for the toxic abuse of the extant forms of the fivefold.

Back to the entitled secrecy.

Jim Bakker, Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Todd Bentley, and The Passion “Translation”

Jimmy Swaggart helped initiate Jim Bakker’s downfall.

Jerry Falwell, evidently offered Bakker one thing in exchange for his help and then did another.

Swaggart, the second time he was caught in infidelity, said “The Lord told me it’s flat none of your business.”

Todd Bentley never came clean with what happened to his first wife, and why he was justified biblically in divorcing her.

And finally, when straightly asked to identify and name the members of his translation team, Brian Simmons refused to. He talks about a translation team, by calling himself a “lead translator” and then fails to identify the group he is leading. By comparison, the translation teams for the NIV, the NLT, the NKJV, the ESV, the NRSV, the NASB, and even the KJV are all known.

I don’t care how you slice it, that sequence of events where we evade those for whom we are responsible is a twofold sin. First, it is secrecy of things that should be brought to the light, and secondly, it is either arrogance or fear of rejection that will create a natural gulf between leader and followers.

It’s as if, in each of these situations, there is either a an elitism or a massive wound that the leader is guarding, that keeps Charismatics or Pentecostal leaders from putting any “skin in the game” when it comes to humility or vulnerability or following through with Paul’s injunction to “be subject one to another out of reverence for Christ.” Where is the subjection that is the leader’s portion to those he is supposed to be serving?

Does anyone wonder why we are so riled up when Todd Bentley’s name is mentioned? It has diddly squat to do with a demonic spirit of vengeance and zip to do with our opposing his being restored to ministry. Instead, it has EVERYTHING to do with his refusal to repent and expose this crap, and be truly and biblically restored to his G-d and his family.

This right here is my guff with the Passion “Translation”. The refusal of a man to be vulnerable and authentic with those he is leading and placing the manuscript of the New Testament in alignment with the Greek originals.

Greek Is Only The Language of The Mind and Philosophy

The marketing rhetoric of the Passion lands as if Greek is a language of the mind and is devoid of emotion and passion. Let me say this. The nation of Greece has the Redemptive Gift of Prophet. When was the last time you knew of a Prophet by Redemptive Gift that was devoid of emotion and and zeal and heart. Are Prophets not the volcanoes of the body of Christ?

To sum up, I have witnessed a pattern in Charismatic and Pentecostal circles where, when leaders do put something forth for us to grasp, it costs them very little; it is a plastic extension, but not part of them. They extend very little of their own flesh and blood to us, and as a result, we never get to know them as they really are and there is therefore little intimacy, while we parrot “brother” and “we need to connect” and other triteisms. But the end result is, instead of the real unity and vulnerability to which they exhort us all, a farce and a show.

Gunning For Real κοινονια and στοργε

κοινονια is the Greek word for “community”.

στοργε is the Greek word that is described by maternal affection for a child.

You cannot make much of your accomplishments when you won’t also accept a complimentary amount of the priority of humility and submission to those whom you serve. If there is no risk, there will be no reward. If there is plastic risk, then there will be a plastic participation reward. If there is the risk of gold, silver, and precious gems, then the reward will be that valuable.

They are practicing terminal non-reality and expecting a massive harvest of community.

Be not deceived. G-d is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, that also shall he reap.

If you plant corn, you reap corn. If you plant plastic, don’t expect cotton and life.

Expecting to reap much without embracing pain, vulnerability, humility, and submission to those whom you lead, the end result will usually be tragedy.