Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Pro-Life Statesman [Scott]

A colleague of mine asked what adjustments pro-life advocates should make to better position themselves for 2011 and beyond.

That's a loaded question that's best left to brighter minds, but my general reply was as follows: Pro-life Christians should bring God glory. At the practical level, that means they must not only state their case persuasively, but transform themselves into winsome statesmen without sacrificing the intellectual content of their ideas.

I then sketched out a rough (and very incomplete) outline of what that transformation might look like, including those principles that I strive to live by as a pro-life apologist.

Thesis: The pro-life statesman completes five key tasks:

I) The pro-life statesman presents a persuasive case for life in forums where our message most needs a hearing:
A. in Catholic and Protestant high schools
B. in presentations to clergy
C. in debates at high schools and universities
D. in training seminars for lay people
E. in talks to elementary age children
F. in worldview courses for high school students

II) The pro-life statesman engages the debate in the academy:
A. in philosophy:
1. He defends the substance view of human persons
2. He challenges naturalism as a foundation for human rights and ethics
B. in Law: refutation of moral and legal neutrality
C. in Ethics: He helps Christians think biblically about medical technology related to the edges of life (beginning and end of life)

III) The pro-life statesman clarifies theological misconceptions
A. in Evangelical theology: He challenges the mistaken belief that we should only preach the gospel and never do politics--but he does so without sacrificing fidelity to the gospel or Scripture
B. in Catholic theology: He confronts the mistaken belief that social justice requires that all moral issues carry equal moral weight
C. in Pastoral theology: He engages clergy who mistakenly think the gospel of grace means ignoring sin
D. in personal theology: He challenges the mistaken view that individuals must get a personal assignment from God to do pro-life work
E. in youth ministry theology: He challenges the claim that today's twitter generation can't handle serious pro-life content

IV) The pro-life statesman connects the dots
A. in churches: He helps pastors win connecting biblical truth to abortion
B. in politics: He graciously explains why all political parties are not equal in their defense of human life
C. in pregnancy center ministry: He inspires staff and volunteers to minister to women AND impact culture

V. The pro-life statesman functions with intellectual integrity:
A. in his study: He masters the moral logic of the pro-life view
B. in his speaking: He cites sources for ideas and illustrations not his own
C. in his tactics: He graciously engages critics with questions designed to gather information and reverse the burden of proof
D. in his presentation: He avoids bad pro-life arguments
Admittedly, this is a very sparse outline, but stay tuned. I sense a talk may be developing.

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