Rev. Van Baren is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Hudsonville, Michigan.
The Horror of Abortion
This past January we commemorated the 16th anniversary of the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States to legalize abortion. Much has been made of this. The presidential candidates in the last campaign took opposing sides on the issue. The new president has made it a point to show his own abhorrence of the practice. We hear the claim that the present Supreme Court will likely reverse the earlier decision. We await the outcome.
In the meantime, the killings continue. One reader recently sent in statistics that are truly sobering. In all of the wars in which this country was engaged, 1,160,581 soldiers were killed. Abortion kills about 1,600,000 annually! Since 1973 (when the Supreme Court legalized abortion), an estimated 22,500,000 abortions were performed. It is claimed that one out of every three pregnancies ends in abortion. All of this is nothing else than transgression of the sixth command, “Thou shalt not kill.”
All of this is another sign of the end of the age, when iniquity abounds and the love of many waxes cold.
What can one do? Merely to wring one’s hands in despair seems inadequate. However, to join with many others who may for various reasons (not necessarily Scriptural) oppose abortion can be a union of light and darkness with one common objective. Scripture has something to say about that (II Cor. 6:14ff.). Such union also presupposes an unscriptural position that in numbers there is strength.
What can one do? Prayer has ever been the chief means of access to the throne of our heavenly Father. Pray that the day of judgment quickly come. Pray for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Pray that though iniquity abounds, the church may be preserved and its members gathered. Rejoice too that while the unregenerate will kill its offspring, Gods people continue to bring forth, thankfully, children of whom God gathers also His children.
The Christian also has the opportunity to contact representatives in government to inform them why abortion is sin and must cease.
And when one considers the terrible bloodbath which is taking place under the name of population control, he can only pray more earnestly, “Even so come, quickly, Lord Jesus!”
A short article in the Grand Rapids Press, January 23, 1989, caught my attention. Its title was: “Grain experts worried about drought.” The article stated:
The drought of 1988 has now reached into 1989.
And now it has expanded into the country’s most important wheat growing regions, where it has begun to ravage sections of this year’s crop.
Grain specialists say they are especially worried by the spread of the drought into areas that produce most of the country’s hard red winter wheat, the principal bread wheat. . . .
The situation is also causing fresh concerns among food experts who were already uneasy about a dwindling supply of grain in the world. The U.S. wheat reserve is the lowest since crop shortfalls led to the World Food Conference of 1974. And for the second year in a row the world has used more grain than it has produced.
Wheat is the food crop in tightest supply now. World reserves, in percentages of normal use, have dropped to the lowest levels since 1973. With the world using more than it produced last year, the wheat reserve has dropped 30 million tons, to 115 million tons. In 1987, it dropped by the same amount. . . .
The threat from drought to the winter wheat crop also comes at a time when several other major producers, including the Soviet Union, Australia and Argentina, are suffering drought problems.
Though throughout history one hears of famines and shortages, surely the words of Revelation 6:6 come to mind: “And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” It was the word to the black horse with its rider who had in hand a pair of balances. The common, ordinary food (wheat and barley) would be very limited, while the wine and oil (luxuries of this world) would be unaffected. Is this taking place even in our own day?
What is debatable?
One can still be startled at what is being debated in the pages of the Banner. In the issue of February 6, 1989, two articles appear in print, one seeking to prove that the Bible is not the Word of God and another supporting the proposition that it is. The editor gives a weak rejection of the arguments of the first writer in a brief editorial. The first writer is Herman Bouma, an attorney in Washington, D.C. and member of the CRC there. He is also a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary. He makes the following claim:
I do not believe that the Bible is the Word of God.
My reason is fairly simple: I do not know of any evidence that it is the Word of God; in fact, there is strong evidence that it is not the Word of God. . . .
But my conclusion that the Bible is not the Word of God does not make it meaningless to me. The Bible is the history of redemption. It sets forth what God has done in history, particularly in the person and work of Jesus Christ, to redeem mankind.
Although the Bible sets forth the Word of God, it is itself not the Word of God. It is testimony to what God has said and done. Yet it is still, for the most part, true and valid. “This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true,” says the gospel of
Testimony can bear truth even though it is not the Word of God. . . .
The affirmative position is presented by Lyle D. Bierma who points out that it is both Scriptural and confessional to maintain that Scripture is the Word of God:
. . . But how do we know that the Scriptures are the true and authoritative Word of God? Again, the Belgic Confession: “We believe without a doubt all things contained in [Scripture] not so much because the church receives and approves them as such but above all because the Holy Spirit testifies in our hearts that they are from God, and also because they prove themselves to be from God” (Art. V). In other words, besides the testimony of the Spirit, we know the Bible to be the Word of God through the testimony of the church and the testimony of Scripture itself.
The writer then presents in brief and summary form the evidences from Scripture that it is the very Word of God. He concludes:
On the basis of this threefold testimony, then – by the church, by Scripture itself and by the Spirit—we believe that the Bible is the written Word of God. In an age in which so much of Protestantism no longer holds to the divine inspiration, infallibility, and authority of Scripture, let us in the Christian Reformed Church continue to confidently confess, “We believe without a doubt [that] all things contained in [Scripture] . . . are from God” (Belgic Confession, Art. V).
One can express a hearty “Amen” to the brief summary presented by the second writer concerning this vital truth. What is, however, particularly astounding is that a member in good standing in the church, of theological background and evidently a learned individual, can publicly and in the official church periodical present views contrary to our confessions about what ought to be (in the church) an undebatable subject. All know that many deny Scripture as the inspired, infallible, Word of God. One must indeed keep up with the arguments presented. But can a member of good standing in the church publicly repudiate what the confessions teach, and can the church give such a one a “pulpit” for his views? Does this not mislead simple souls in spite of disclaimers made by the editor of the magazine? One can only express sorrow that this subject should be open for debate within the reformed churches in light of the Confessions to which we hold.