Thursday, August 12, 2010

Focus for Impact [Jay]

Last night we launched the first of a 10-week series of classes at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church on The Case for Life. As we introduced the manner in which we will be discussing engaging our culture on the issue of life, we first set out to simplify the debate. I wrote two questions on the white board:

1 – What is wrong with abortion?
2 – Why is abortion wrong?

When I asked the class to address the first question we soon realized that we could list things all night. There is a lot wrong with abortion and cataloguing every evil related to it and how it impacts our society from the pain and suffering endured by many women to the general devaluing of human life is an overwhelming endeavor. And this is how many pro-life advocates approach engaging our culture on the issue of abortion. They overwhelm their audience with information in an attempt to supply as full an answer as possible to question one.

In this class we will not be doing that. We will be addressing question two and only question two. I informed the class that we will also explore how that type of singular focus helps the pro-life advocate engage their opponent. Our concentration on number two in no way minimizes the importance of all of the issues that are brought up by question one. We simply recognize that our main goal is to understand and articulate why abortion is wrong to those who disagree with us.

Why is abortion wrong? Because abortion unjustly takes the life of an innocent human being. That answer is so clear and so obvious that a simple test can demonstrate why it is the only answer to question two. If no woman ever suffered emotional and spiritual pain from a past abortion would abortion still be wrong? If no woman ever faced an increased risk of breast cancer as a result of abortion would elective abortion still be wrong? If there were absolutely no negative secondary effects on our society from the killing of innocent unborn human beings would that killing in and of itself still be wrong? Of course it would.

We must simplify the issue in our discussions because time is short. Scott once wrote an article entitled "No More Rambling Monologues" where he persuasively made the argument that we get very little time to present our case so we must focus our presentation. Instead of exhausting ourselves and our listeners by trying to answer question number one we should persuasively and winsomely build a case for our answer to question number two. The unborn are human beings, human beings matter, and it is morally wrong to kill innocent human beings without extreme justification. We still have some work to do to support our claims, but it is focused work and we have a compelling case.

If the unborn are fully human, then abortion is a great evil. Great evils produce terrible consequences beyond the immediate offense, but the evil itself is the willful destruction of innocent human life for elective reasons. That is our wheelhouse and that is where we will focus our energies for the next 9 weeks in this class. If you are in the area, please feel welcome to join us.


  1. Jay,

    I just read an e-novel that you might want to use as a tool in your class to answer that second question. It's called "The Lincoln Conversations" by L. Paul Brehm. I picked it up on Amazon and downloaded it onto my PC. Brehm has a whole litany of answers, but he focuses in on how cowardly it is. The narrator is a highly successful businessman in Mainline Philadelphia named Douglas Ehrlich, who has to decide whether or not to procure an abortion for his daughter. The way he turns this little fetus into an enemy and threat to his lifestyle is pathetic. It is worth taking a look at particularly if you are running a discussion group. It will give you plenty to talk about.


  2. You've made it unnecessarily complex you see.

    1. Nothing

    2. It's not

    see, much simpler than trying to come up with a load of spurious and baseless subjective tripe and no evidence.

    Anonymous, it's a novel. It's fiction. Is that the quality of 'educational' material you people use?

  3. Tom,

    So which claim is unproblematic. Do you reject the idea that the unborn are fully human? Do you reject the idea that it is morally wrong to kill members of the human family?

    As to the notion that nothing is wrong with abortion, you seem to be in a minority even among abortion supporters. The desire of pro-choice advocates to decrease the number of abortions or to make them rare certainly works against your claims.

    Of course you claim that we have put forward spurious and baseless subjective tripe with no evidence. You now need to get specific to support your own claims. Address specific claims with arguments because at the moment the only person saying nothing at all of substance is you.

    Thanks for the comment,

  4. Is the book required or suggested for the class?

  5. The book is not required, though it is offered for sale in the class by the church.

    I am teaching through the chapters and content of the book, but obviously not a page by page study.


  6. Tom,
    I suppose if someone asked the question, "why is it wrong to kill Tom?" you would just as much prefer you answer - "it's not," right?

    Just applying Prov 26:4-5 here. I'm going to say no more.


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