Joel Settecase

How to Use the Bible to Witness to Muslims

By N. G. / 5-minute read

Sharing your faith with Muslims can seem very intimidating, however, by using the commonly shared prophets between the Bible and the Quran, we can easily show the authority of Christ and start having Gospel-centered conversations with our Muslim friends.

Listen to N. G. talk about how he brings the Good News to Muslim people on Episode 10 of our podcast.

An Important (but Complex) Question

“We all worship the same God. Can’t we just get along?” 

This is a question I have been asked several times, by many people. Muslims, Christians, and even observers who would say they do not really belong in either group. The answer to this question is not nearly as straightforward as some may think, mostly because there are actually two parts to it we need to address. 

The first half of the question, although it is not phrased as a question, carries many implications which need to be addressed. It is true; there are many similarities between the teachings of the Bible and the teachings of the Quran, however, there are many differences as well, which need to be explored. The approach I take to this revolves around a path of prophets whom the Bible and the Quran share. It goes a little like this:

Adam and Abraham

We see Adam in the garden, and I emphasize the promise God gave the serpent after the fall, where the seed of women will crush the serpent’s head, and the serpent will bruise His heel (Gen 3). Following that, we talk about Abraham who was promised descendants who would become a great nation, through whom the whole world would be blessed (Genesis 12). Abraham then established this covenant with God, but only God passed through, meaning that, if the covenant were ever broken, only God could be held accountable (Genesis 15). 

The Psalms help us elaborate, teaching that there would specifically be a high priest from Abraham’s line, who would be the one to bring the blessing (Psalm 110). 

Moses

Next comes Moses, a prophet who was described as carrying more authority than all the other prophets (Deut 34:10). In studying his life, I really go through the plagues and talk about how powerful the one true God showed Himself to be over all the false gods of the world, especially over such a powerful kingdom as Egypt. Then I like to bring to their attention to Deuteronomy 18:15, which states that there would be one other prophet like Moses, and to Him all the people must listen. 

King David

Next we follow Israel’s greatest king, David. He became king at a time when the nation was accepting all the idols from the surrounding nations. He ridded the nation of the idols and brought worship to the one true God. Because of this, God promised there would be an eternal King to come through David’s line (2 Samuel 7:12-16).

With all these prophets, I think it is so important to emphasize their role in proclaiming that there is only one God. Muslims believe Christians are polytheistic. When sharing our beliefs, tell them we are not. A person cannot say you believe something when you are blatantly saying you don’t believe that; it just does not work.

John the Baptist

This next prophet holds a role in paving the way for the Messiah which, I believe, is the most important. This is John the Baptist. You see, so many people had been waiting for such a long time for this Messiah to come, liberate them from their oppressors, and rule the world. They were waiting for a strong military leader. They were waiting for Muhammad (so to speak). However, Muhammad did not come, somebody else did. John the Baptist carried the most honorable role; he told the world here He is, don’t miss Him!

Jesus

Spend as much time as you possibly can with your Muslim friends studying the life of Jesus. Every story if you can. The Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John does not consist merely in the final chapters they each wrote. The Gospel is the entire life of Christ. So don’t just share Jesus’ wounds. Share Jesus’ ways, His words, His worth, and His wounds.

This is what the Gospel is composed of. It is the power of Christ to set us free from sin and restore our relationship with Him. The death and resurrection is so important, but it is not solely important. Share Jesus’ whole life. He is the one the world waited for, and we cannot miss Him.

Muhammad

I do also tend to speak of Muhammad. I will say he came about 600 years after Jesus in a time and place where many people worshipped many gods. He told them there is only one God (notice a trend?) and in his teachings (recorded in the Quran) he says to “follow the signs” several hundred times. Well, what are the signs? They are the seed of women, the priest in the order of Melchizedek, the prophet like Moses, and the eternal king in the line of David. “Well, all signs point to Jesus! Would you like to know this Jesus?”

So, Can We Just Get Along?

As for the second half of the question, “Can’t we just get along?” I think the answer is yes. We should strive to be friends with those of other faiths--in fact Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

However, the best way we can love them as we love ourselves is to always remember our duty to them, which is to share the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Christ, which is the Gospel. 

Another Encouraging Evangelism Story: Dan the Waterproofer

This story has been slightly edited and modified for posting here. We changed the name of “Dan” to protect the potential for future fruitful conversations.

Hey Joel,
I know you’re a big prayer warrior and evangelist. You and Aliza have encouraged me to be more bold with my faith. Today a guy named Dan came to our house about some water proofing for our foundation. He ended up staying an hour and half taking with me. He shared how his parents and brothers have died and he’s alone.

We started talking politics and it actually led to sharing the entire gospel with him!! He continued to ask questions and we talked. I gave him a Bible and told him I’d be praying for him. I suggested a a church where he lives.

He left and told me it was the most interesting client conversation he’s ever had in 25 years of working for the company and wished he could stay longer. He then said he would put the Bible someplace he would see it often and “you never know when I’ll pick it up to see what it has to say.”

He mentioned twice he feels like things always happen for a purpose, and meeting me came at a time [when] he [believed he was] on a jumping off point, but didn’t know what that meant. 

Please pray with me God reveals truth to him!! I told him I would pray that for him, and when God does (because we know he will) that he would remember our conversation.

Thank you to you and Aliza for being such great examples of good news bearers. You’ve inspired me and the Holy Spirit prompted and enabled me. We are praying for your family and I hope this email has brought you both  joy during a difficult time.

Hugs to you both,

Marissa from Chicago

_____

Marissa,

Thanks so much for sharing this story. We will be praying for him to him to open that Bible and meet Jesus!

Joel & Aliza

A Couple of Encouraging Evangelism Stories

By Joel Settecase / 2-minute read

It can be very encouraging to learn that other believers are sharing their faith in Jesus, to remember that we are not alone in trying to get the Good News about him out to the people in our lives. That’s why one of our goals with the Think Institute is share those stories. Today we are featuring two from Kathy H. of Chicago.

A Well-Timed Gift

A while back the Lifeway bookstore at Moody was closing and had a huge sale so I bought a pocket New Testament with the thought of giving it to Dr. John (my Chiropractor).

I have been witnessing to him by sharing scripture and Christian music - also have invited him to church, but he lives in the NW suburbs and probably doesn't want to drive into the city.

So I went to see him yesterday and we were talking while he did ultrasound on my elbow.  I was waiting for a good opportunity to give him the NT, but God had it under control.  I'm not sure exactly what he said to me, but he mentioned the New Testament and then he said he used to have a pocket size NT, and with that I pulled the NT out of my pocket and gave it to him. I wasn't sure how he would react, but he seemed genuinely happy to receive it.  He noticed the red lettering and said that those were Jesus' words.  This is the first positive reaction I've had from him.

I don't know if he has a copy of the whole Bible, but I will find out.  I have been praying for him daily since we were encouraged [by our church] to have a "one" to pray for.  Our paths have crossed for a reason and I will continue praying for his salvation.

A Pink Slip Becomes A Golden Opportunity

I can't remember if I shared the story with you about one of my coworkers.  One day she mentioned to me that she feels this void in her heart. At that moment I had to go to the switchboard and couldn't respond immediately, but I was praising God for the opportunity to share my faith with her.  (As a side note she had a goal to get me to swear).  It turned out that the next day we both received our pink slips.  I wrote her a letter about God being the only one who can fill that void and that if she gave her life to Jesus, she would have a peace that no one could ever take from her.  I only planted a seed and may never know the outcome, but praying that the Holy Spirit will cause her life to change.  She did not share her address or phone with me.

It is amazing how God gives us opportunities to share our faith - even when we are hesitant - the circumstances are so clear you can't help but share the Good News!

These opportunities help me feel more bold to share my faith.  Joel, thanks for your encouragement and I look forward to the next Apologetics lesson.

Thanks for sharing these stories, Kathy. I will pray for your chiro and your coworker to come to faith in Jesus (and I encourage our readers to do the same). —Joel

The Biblical Worldview, Part 1: What Is Real?

By Joel Settecase / 6-minute read.

In my previous article, I presented seven questions that every worldview must deal with. However, I did not go into how the Christian worldview answers the questions. In this article I want to deal very briefly with the first of the seven worldview questions, namely, “What is real?”

My goal is not only to explain what the Bible teaches, but also where in the Bible you can find it, so that you can not only test what you read here for yourself like a good Berean (Acts 17:11), but also to encourage you in the knowledge that the Bible really does give the important answers, and to help you become more comfortable locating those answers.

Only Three Possible Answers to the Question

Now, on the question, “What is real?” To ask it is to deal with metaphysics, the study of “definite” or “prime” reality. We want to look at what’s “really there” behind the universe as we experience it. The world’s religions and systems have answered this question in many ways—God, the gods, the universe, Brahmin, all-is-nothing, all-is-one, etc. But in point of fact all possible answers fall into three categories.

The first is that prime reality is ultimate, but impersonal. Instances of this kind would include Brahman (the world-soul of Hinduism), the cosmos (atheistic worldviews), and the Force from Star Wars. Each of these examples portray prime reality as being unlimited in scope, yet also ultimately unknowable and without personality or self-awareness of any kind.

The second is that prime reality is personal, but not ultimate. Examples would include the ancient Greek and Norse gods and the Mormon god “Elohim,” an exalted man who dwells within our universe near a physical location called Kolob. These deities are personal, relational and knowable, but they are finite. They don’t account for the whole of the physical and spiritual universe.

The third option, which in a sense combines the first two, is that God is prime reality, and he is both ultimate and personal.

God is Ultimate and Personal

Genesis 1:1 declares God to be the uncaused author of all that exists, and Scripture is clear he is one (Deuteronomy 6:4), meaning there are no other authors rivals to his author-ity.

Yet in God’s very nature he is personal; in fact the one God, who is one in essence, is also a community of three divine Persons. It has been said that God is “tri-Personal,” and this divine community of three Persons has been existing since before creation in harmonious relationship to one another. Scripture names these three as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).

Unlike “the universe,” who is impersonal and does not have a plan for your life, God is personal and knowable. Unlike the so-called gods of ancient Greece and modern-day polytheistic religions, God is unlimited and infinite in his nature.

God’s Relationship to His Creation

Of course if the Lord alone is God, then it stands to reason that no one and nothing else is God. The cosmos is God’s creation, and while it reflects his nature it is not equal to God. Creation is not a part of God (Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 66:1). God’s creation includes the physical and the spiritual realms (2 Corinthians 12:2-4), and all his creation is dependent on him (Hebrews 1:3).

Corresponding to God’s ultimacy discussed above, God is transcendent over his creation, meaning he is outside of it sovereign over it; he retains the right to declare creation’s purpose, outcome and guidelines (Isaiah 40:22).

Similarly corresponding to his personality is his immanence—meaning he is present everywhere in the universe (Psalm 139:7-12). It is because of his immanence that he can have a relationship with us. He can hear our prayers. And he is all-knowing, witnessing everything that happens in the cosmos firsthand.

What It Means to Be Lord

Christians call our God “Lord” so often that we might be a little too comfortable with this term, and perhaps not aware enough of the implications of the word. To be Lord is to be Master. Theologian John Frame has defined God’s “Lordship Attributes” as Authority, Control and Presence.

God has authority.

He is the creator and retains his rights as creator of the universe. He can rightfully declare what actions are right and which ones are wrong for his creatures, and he may—and does—decree what events shall happen in the future (Isaiah 46:9-10).

God is in control.

Man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), so he exercises control in a certain sense. Man may freely act in accordance with their natures. Yet Scripture says that even the freely-chosen actions of mankind are subject to the control of God, who plans people’s good and evil actions to occur and ultimately work together for a good and righteous outcome (Genesis 50:20). And this is also true about seemingly random occurrences (Proverbs 16:33). The fact that man is so abundantly sinful, earning God’s wrath, and yet God, having complete control, restrains our punishment and patiently endures and redeems sinners like us, is a testament to his astonishing grace.

God is present everywhere.

While it is true that God is present and active at every location in the cosmos, his special, personal empowering and encouraging presence is to be found with his people (Exodus 33:14) by his Holy Spirit. This God has promised to draw near to those who draw near to him (James 4:8), and to save all who draw near to him through Jesus (Hebrews 7:25). For the Christian, therefore, it is equally true to say, “God is everywhere,” and “God is with me and will never leave me” (Hebrews 13:5).

The most foundational understanding of the biblical worldview is that God is real. Both words, “God” and “real” need to be defined and explained by Scripture, so that our mindset will be thoroughly biblical rather than a hodgepodge of our own reasoning and emotions.

When we derive our concept of prime reality from the Bible, we see that the definite reality behind the world we experience is, as Francis Schaeffer put it, “the God who is there.” He is an ultimate, tri-Personal Lord who transcends his creation and yet is intimately present everywhere and especially, graciously so, with his people he has redeemed.

Seven Worldview Questions

By Joel Settecase / 9-minute read

A Quick Test of Your Confidence

Quick, on a scale of one to 10, how confident do you feel, right now, in your ability to teach a non-Christian what the Bible teaches about life’s most important issues? Do you have your number? Is it less than 10? Less than 7? Less than 5? If that is the case, and you desire to improve that number, don’t feel bad. Everyone has to start somewhere.

If, however, your number was less than 10 and you simply leave it there and don’t seek to improve it, well then maybe you should feel at least a little bad. After all, doing so would indicate that you either (A) think the Bible has nothing to say about life’s big questions, or (B) don’t think it worthwhile to learn what those answers are. However, if you are a follower of Jesus, then the Bible is your book. That is, it’s God’s book for you, given to make you “complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).

There is, of course a third option: (C) you feel as though the Bible is so complex that you could never master what it says about life’s biggest issues to the extent that you would feel fully confident to teach those answers to others. After all, the Bible is a big book, and isn’t that what pastors and church elders are for, anyway?

True, pastors and elders do need to know their stuff. And yet the fact is this: whether you can articulate them or not, you already have answers to life’s biggest questions. For example, if I asked you, “Who is Jesus?” I’ll bet you could give me an answer right now.

If you’re a Christian, your answer would probably include facts like his virgin birth, his sinless life, his miracles, death, burial, and resurrection. You might mention that he is the Jewish Messiah and the Savior of the world, or that he returned to the right hand of the Father to reign. If you wanted to get more in-depth, you might bring up the truth that Jesus is the second Person of the Trinity.

Now if I asked you any number of different worldview questions, your answers might be in agreement with Scripture, or they might be way off. To the extent that your answers were in-line with what the Bible teaches, you would be communicating the biblical worldview accurately.

So what is a worldview?

In his quintessential worldview primer, The Universe Next Door, James W. Sire calls a worldview, “a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic make-up of the world.”

Jefferey Ventrella defines a worldview as, “a network of presuppositions… through which one interprets all human experience.”

Your worldview is like a pair of sunglasses. Just as sunglasses color everything you see, so your worldview affects your interpretation of everything you learn and experience. Your worldview provides you with the filter through which you would answer any question about the world. Sire says worldviews are, “generally unquestioned by each of us; rarely, if ever, mentioned by our friends; and only brought to mind when we are challenged by a foreigner from another ideological universe.”

Why Worry About Worldview?

Now the biblical worldview, just like every worldview, must answer certain questions. And if we are going to be faithful disciples of Jesus, who commanded us to, “make disciples… teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you,” then we need to know how the biblical worldview answers those questions.

Doing this, and doing it faithfully to Scripture, is a way of honoring God with our minds (Luke 10:27), and, because the heart of the biblical worldview is the Gospel that saves (Luke 24:27; Romans 1:16), it is a way of loving our neighbors as ourself.

If we desire to effectively communicate the Gospel and the biblical worldview, we need to prepare. One way to do that is to prep biblical answers, in advance, to the questions every worldview answers.

Questions for Worldviews

This Spring, I have been writing a curriculum to equip Christians in what we might call Biblical Worldview Competency. A major part of building that curriculum has been to determine just what are the questions that every worldview must answer. You might think this list would be fairly easy to determine. However, if you researched the subject, what you would quickly find (as I have) is that the major authors and thinkers who teach on worldview competency all have their own lists:

Ravi Zacharias

  • Origin

  • Meaning

  • Morality

  • Destiny

    Ravi is the president of RZIM.

Albert Mohler

  • Where do we come from?

  • What’s wrong with us?

  • Is there any hope?

  • Where are we going?

    (I heard him list these on his daily podcast, “The Briefing,” during the week of May 13, 2019. I remembered them because I have used the exact same list in my own teachings. However, I did not remember hearing them from Dr. Mohler; I thought I made them up myself. That being said, it’s a lot more likely that I stole them from him than the other way around.)

James Sire:

  • What is prime reality?

  • What is the nature of external reality, that is, the world around us?

  • What is a human being?

  • What happens to a person at death?

  • Why is it possible to know anything at all?

  • How do we know what is right and wrong?

  • What is the meaning of human history?

Barry A. Warren

  • The nature of God?

  • The meaning and purpose of life?

  • Human nature?

  • Jesus is?

  • Source of spiritual truth?

    Warren is the creator of the Perspective Cards.

As you can see, there are various questions we could use, and no two authors completely agree. So then, I feel as though I am at liberty to draw from what I perceive to be the best of each of the aforementioned, combining and rewording as needed, in order to create a comprehensive list of seven questions that every worldview must answer (each one followed by a couple or three clarifying questions). They are:

  1. What is real?
    What is the nature of prime reality?
    What is ultimately real?
    What is God like?

  2. What is good?
    What is good and how do we know?
    What does it mean to sin or contravene the standard of goodness?
    What is beauty?

  3. What is true?
    What is truth and how do we come to know it?
    Is truth universal or subjective?

  4. What is man?
    What does it mean to be human?
    What’s wrong with humanity?
    How do we fix what’s wrong with us?

  5. What is the meaning?
    Is there a point to all this?
    Does God have a purpose and how do we discover it?

  6. What is our destiny?
    Where are all things headed?
    Will justice finally prevail?
    Is history more like a Greek comedy or a tragedy?

  7. Who is Jesus?
    Is Jesus merely a man, a created, divine being, or God?
    What did Jesus claim about himself and are those claims true?

How to Answer the Seven Questions

I contend that every Christian ought to be able to articulate at least a modest response to each one of those seven questions, and to do so in accordance with what the whole Bible teaches. I am not going to answer them right now. However, I want to leave you with two things to think about.

First of all, as Christians our final authority is holy Scripture. This means that our worldview thinking must progress in a biblical loop. It has to begin with a biblical foundation, progressing outward into the world (all the while maintaining biblical categories and filtering our observations and reasoning through Scripture), and culminate back upon the Bible, as we test our conclusions by what the Bible says.

In order to think in this robustly biblical way, it is necessary to know Scripture thoroughly. We have to be committed to studying what the Bible says about life’s most important subjects and to submitting our reasoning to God’s own reasoning, revealed in the Bible.

A fantastic website to help you learn what the Bible says about any given subject is the Bible verse aggregator, OpenBible. Go there, type in the subject you want to research, and it will pull up a list of all the verses that people say are relevant to that subject.

The second thing to think about is this: maybe it is time to pursue training in this area for you or your congregation. If you are leaning in that direction, there are many solid ministries who can help you and your church think biblically and develop Biblical Worldview Competency.

Humbly, the Think Institute is one such ministry. We are here to equip believers with knowledge, encourage believers to share and defend their faith, and engage believers together in meaningful conversation. Contact me if you would like to know more about partnering with the Think Institute or would like access to any of Cru Church Movement’s vast library of resources. To come to one of our trainings in your area, keep an eye on the Get Engaged section of this website.

You might not be fully confident to articulate the biblical worldview today, and you might not get all the way there tomorrow. However, by learning a little more about what the Bible says about the seven most important questions of life, you can strengthen your Biblical Worldview Competency and become that much more prepared to make disciples for Jesus Christ.

Seven Questions About the Alabama Abortion Ban Christians Must Be Ready to Answer

By Joel Settecase / 16-minute read

Last updated: June 1, 2019.*

With the spate of new legislation severely limiting access to abortion, the debate between those in favor of the practice and those in opposition to it has never been more intense. Christians need to be able to speak clearly about abortion and answer certain key questions about these new laws. In this article we examine the Alabama law which outlawed abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

In an article datelined from this morning, May 15, 2019, the “Sun,” a British news website (along with many other news sources) is reporting that the state of Alabama is very close to outlawing abortion after six weeks of gestation. The bill, currently trending on Twitter as the #AlabamaAbortionBan, passed the legislature and, at the time of this writing, is on Governor Kay Ivey’s desk, who is expected to sign it into law [update: by the time I finished writing this piece, she had signed it].

The law, which threatens life imprisonment for doctors who perform abortions, will mark a watershed moment for the pro-life movement and a major advancement for the rights of pre-born Alabama children. Many Christians and conservatives are understandably celebrating this new law—understandably so because it marks a milestone of an achievement for a pro-life movement that has steadily intensified since SCOTUS’s Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973. However, there are many on the political, religious and ideological left who are not celebrating.

Debate between the right and left about the Alabama bill has ranged from cordial and respectful to all-out mudslinging. Much of the debate has centered on the passage of the law itself, but the law has served as an occasion for both sides to revisit more fundamental questions about human nature, religion and the relationship of both to political policy.

This afternoon I had a conversation about the Alabama bill with a law student from the UK, and our discussion wound through questions of constitutionality, morality, and the proper relationship of religious conviction to legislation.

Our debate was sparked by a tweet from Charlie Kirk, president of Turning Point USA, who said,


I tweeted out a reply, and that reply (which has since become my most liked-and-retweeted ever) initiated my debate with my new unbelieving friend. I will share how I answered Charlie Kirk’s tweet at the end of this article. First, however, let us look at several questions arising from my discussion, that I believe Christians need to be prepared to answer.

1. Is the law unconstitutional? Does it violate the Bill of Rights?

My interlocutor asserted that this law, if based on Christian principles, contradicts the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. Is that true? Well, for starters, the Bill of Rights was for the federal Constitution, not for states, so it would not apply here [edit: someone on Twitter pointed out that Article 6 contains the Supremacy Clause making the Constitution the “supreme law of the land.” While this is true, the Framers’ intention for the Bill of Rights was not to put any restrictions on the states whatsoever, and jurisprudence prior to the Civil War reflected that, as this article and this article explain. Importantly, most states already had their own bills of rights.]

Anyway, this law is not the establishment of a state religion in any sense. Even if legislators are acting on the basis of their religious convictions, that is a far cry from the establishment of a state religion and could not possibly be prohibited by the Constitution or any other law. In fact, due to the fact that every person on earth, and legislators are no exception, operates out of a worldview, it is a given that their worldviews, religious or otherwise, would impact their drafting of this bill.

Wait a minute—what about the Fourth Amendment? It is true that the Roe v. Wade supposedly discovered the right to an abortion in the “right to privacy” in the Fourth Amendment. Yet even the slightest investigation reveals that this right was invented out of whole cloth; the right of a mother to kill her unborn child cannot even be imagined to have been in the minds of the Framers when they ratified the Fourth Amendment. Abortion, as the killing of a innocent child (which, again, I elaborate on below), already contradicts laws against murder by taking away the child’s right to life.

Furthermore, as someone else on Twitter pointed out,

So the Alabama law is far from being unconstitutional.

2. Is this law un-American, given that America is a secular state?

Who says America is a secular state?

No, America was not founded as a theocracy. However, neither was it founded on secularism. Secular values could not provide a basis for the unalienable rights liberties protected in our founding documents. Such language conveys a belief in absolute moral values, which are impossible from a purely secular starting point.

Rather, the United States of America was founded on values based on Christian presuppositions. Today, to the extent that we have drifted from those foundational values, we can perhaps be best described as late-Christian or post-Christian. This does not change the fact of where we began.

Our American legal system was established based on a long tradition of English Common Law, which had been shaped by Christianity for centuries. Similarly, it was codified in a milieu in which the biblical worldview, or something very close to it, was accepted by a majority of Americans.

Today we are running on the fumes of our Christian heritage. You can see this if you pause and observe all the Americans bandying about absolute moral judgments about concepts such as (for example) human rights (As I write this, #WomensRightsAreHumanRights is trending on Twitter.) Universal human rights and absolute morality come straight from the pages of Scripture and emphatically cannot rise from any kind of pure, godless Secularism.

The United States is not yet fully secular, though it seems to be heading that way and there are many ideological zealots pushing hard in that direction. I might also add, however, that there are many Christians who want to see the opposite happen: the winning of America for the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

3. Is this law unscientific?

At one point my interlocutor asserted that the Alabama law was wrongly influenced by religion rather than science. Of course this claim presumes to pit science and religion against one another. More on that in a minute.

First of all, the idea that science can provide a basis for moral reasoning or legislation is false and is bound up with Scientism, the flawed worldview that enthrones science as the arbiter of all knowledge.

Science can tell you what is, but not what “ought” to be. There is nothing in science that says that a woman should be able to kill her child. On the contrary, science can and does show that the unborn child is human. However, science on its own cannot ascribe moral dignity to that unborn child. The right to life cannot be discovered in a test tube. The converse is also true: science on its own cannot strip a child of any rights or dignity. When it comes to morality, empirical science is necessarily silent.

As for the idea that science is in opposition to Scripture, quite the opposite turns out to be true. As I have written about elsewhere, science actually depends on God.

4. Does it open the door for other religions to impose their religious legal frameworks, such as Muslims and Sharia Law?

Whereas the Alabama pro-life law is in accordance with existing law (against murder) and within the broad Christian worldview consensus undergirding our legal and constitutional system, Sharia controverts these. As a 2005 article from American Thinker details, Sharia calls for such atrocities as the amputation of thieves’ hands, crucifixion for robbers, capital punishment for criticizing Sharia or Islam, and enslavement. All these directly oppose our American legal system, originally based, as it is, on Biblical teaching.

As a side note, while biblical Christianity provides the strongest defense against Sharia, Secularism as an ideology provides no basis for morally condemning of any of Sharia’s outrageous laws, because Secularism has no higher authority to appeal to than the will of the people, expressed in the actions of whoever happens to wield power at any given time. It is hard to see how that gives a defense against the takeover of Sharia. Rather it welcomes such a takeover!

5. Does it unjustly (mis)represent non-Christian Alabamians?

This law extends the protections of Alabamians already on the books, by prohibiting unborn Alabamians from being unjustly killed after six weeks of gestation.

Any law that protects a right necessarily limits a liberty. This is true whether the law is rooted in Christian values or not.

For example, the right of one man not to have his wallet stolen impinges the liberty of a thief to steal it. In the same way, protecting the right to life of the unborn child impinges the liberty of his mother (or anyone else) to kill him. Yet this protection is no more invasive or misrepresentative of non-Christian views than any law prohibiting murder. Again, we must reiterate: abortion is murder. Prohibiting abortion is only a religious issue insofar as prohibiting murder of any kind is a religious issue.

6. Does the Bible really teach that life begins at conception, anyway?

We certainly get that impression from Exodus 21:22-25, in which the Lord requires punishment for injuring a pre-born baby and death for killing one.

Then there is Psalm 139:13, in which King David sings of how God knit him together in his mother’s womb. Notice it was him that was being knit. The “fetus” in the womb did not become David at some point after he was formed. Rather it was David himself who was being formed. This means that there is an ontological continuation—a unity of being—between David the Psalmist and David the fetus. And how far back in prenatal development does that unity stretch?

According to Psalm 51:5, it stretches all the way back to the point of conception. In that verse, David says, “I was sinful when my mother conceived me.” At the exact moment of conception, that newly conceived life was the same David who would grow up to become king of Israel. So then, the biblical teaching is clear: a person’s life begins at conception.

7. “So what?”

As Jeff Durbin has masterfully shown, any attempt to establish moral duties without a direct appeal to the absolute authority of God can be refuted simply by asking “so what?” This may be a bitter pill to swallow, but Kirk’s tweet, which conveys so well the personhood of the unborn child, does not tell us, “so what?” In other words, anyone could ask, “Alright, so it’s a person in there—a little girl. So what? Why can’t I kill her?” As repulsive as that question is, Kirk’s tweet, and other mere appeals to the fact of the personhood of the unborn, do not go far enough.

The “So what” question needs a response from a higher authority than emotion or empirical observation. Absolute moral claims must come from an absolute moral authority. The Bible, as the very word of God Almighty, is that authority. The Bible says that murder is absolutely wrong. Murder is the unjust killing of an innocent person. Abortion, therefore is murder, and according to the absolute moral authority of Scripture, abortion is sinful.

This is the clear teaching of Scripture, but it is also clearly seen by any 4D ultrasound, in which anyone can see the (adorable) little one performing all the actions Kirk lists in his tweet.

Now back to Charlie Kirk’s original question

So why, as Kirk asked, are “brutal late term abortions” allowed? Why are any abortions allowed? The answer is in Genesis 1:27 and Romans 1:21. In the former verse, we read that God created man, both male and female, in his image. As descendants of the first man and women, human infants therefore carry that divine image. In the latter verse, we read, "Though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened."

There is the answer. People sinfully, wrongfully, immorally reject and suppress the glory and the grace of God. Part of that rejection manifests itself in the denial of God’s image in humanity—even the hatred of that image. The Romans passage continues to talk about how those who suppress the worship of God turn and worship animals instead; one has to wonder if this explains why some of those with the most cavalier attitudes toward unborn, image-bearing human children are simultaneously the most ardently in favor of animal rights, even the supposed rights of the Gypsy Moth.

Sin is a serious issue

Before abortion is a sin against the unborn child, it is first a sin against God. This realization comes with bad news, but also good news. The bad news is that all sin brings upon the sinner God’s righteous condemnation and judgment. The same Bible that so clearly condemns abortion also clearly depicts eternal hell as the destiny of those who die in their sin, who leave this world without being reconciled to God.

Now for the good news, which is the ultimate good news, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The same Bible that condemns sin also promises the hope of forgiveness and salvation. This hope is promised to every person who will turn from sin and receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. Jesus, who is both God and the one truly innocent man to ever live, was brutally killed, taking the punishment of his people.

Jesus came to us in all our sin and brutality, our selfishness, our suppression and rejection of God’s truth; he took that sin upon himself. He did this in order that any sinner coming to him in repentance and faith will be completely forgiven and receive eternal life. No sinner and no sin is beyond the power of Jesus Christ to forgive, and that includes abortion and anything else. In fact every individual who has come to Christ Jesus in repentance and faith has done so acknowledging the weight and shame of their sin before God. This means that there is absolutely no room for pride or arrogance on the part of Christians. We may not ever view ourselves as more deserving of God’s love and forgiveness than anyone else; nor may we view any of our fellow sinners as beyond the possible reach of God’s love and forgiveness (recalling that we ourselves were lost in our own sin before Jesus saved us).

Even this article is written in the prayerful hope that someone will read it and, along with being convicted over his own sin (whether abortion or something else), would come to true faith in Jesus.

Abortion is a theological issue

Abortion is therefore not merely a constitutional issue or a scientific one, or a political one. It is not less than these, but it is more than these.

Abortion is first and foremost a theological issue. It is one that must be addressed by Christians standing firmly on God’s word as the foundation of all truth, confidently rooted in the biblical worldview. The Alabama law was not the first opportunity for Christians to defend biblical truth, and it undoubtedly will not be the last. Let us pray that the next one, whatever it may be, finds us prepared.

*Corrected to say it was the Fourth Amendment, not the 14th, where the Supreme Court claimed to find the right to abortion in the supposed right to privacy.