Do All Babies Go to Heaven?

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A question that many people wonder about is the eternal destiny of children who die in infancy. Furthermore, if we believe that life begins in the womb, what about those babies who are aborted?

Having never had the chance to hear, understand, and believe the gospel – what happens to their souls? Is there some special mercy of God which is available to them?

Aside from the anecdotal evidence from 2 Samuel 12, in which David expresses his belief that he will be reunited one day with his deceased son, from a theological perspective the basic question really comes down to this: While we are all born with a fallen, sinful nature, is it this sinful nature which incurs God’s judgment, or is it rather disobedience, which is based on knowledge?

A decent argument can be made for the latter, from many places in the Bible, not least of which is found in Romans 1-2, where the wrath of God is clearly stated to be incurred by rebellion and disobedience, which are based on knowledge of God and knowledge of right and wrong. Deuteronomy 1:39 also states that infants do not have knowledge of good and evil.

We should also consider how this applies to those with cognitive disabilities.

This brings up several questions, such as whether there is such a thing as an “age of accountability” at which a person becomes responsible for their actions and choices before God? Our human laws certainly deal with people based on knowledge and understanding. If God does also, how is that age of accountabilty determined?

Here is a brief discussion that Pastor Mike and I had on this topic in our Sermon Extra video for one of the messages from our “I Could Never Believe in a God Who…” series:

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Dynel Lane, the Media and a Contradiction of Terms

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Almost a year ago, a tragedy happened here in Longmont: a pregnant woman responded to a Craigslist ad for free baby clothes, only to be attacked and to have her baby cut from her womb and abducted.

The baby did not survive, and the assailant, Dynel Lane is currently on trial this week in the Boulder District Court, however she is not being charged with murder, but with suspicion of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault and child abuse knowingly and recklessly resulting in death and unlawful termination of a pregnancy.

Colorado law does not count the death of an unborn child as murder, only if the child lived outside of the womb for some time. The issue in this case is that it’s not possible to prove how long the child lived outside of the womb – so Colorado’s wording of the law will not allow a murder charge in this case, even though wrongful death is obvious.

Dynel Lane has pleaded not guilty to these charges and has come back saying that it was Michelle Wilkins who attacked and tried to stab her, and that she was only trying to defend herself, and the reason she cut the baby out of Michelle’s womb was because she thought Michelle was dead and was trying to save the baby. This however, gives no explanation for why Dynel Lane told medical personal at Longmont United Hospital that the baby was hers, until they realized that she hadn’t given birth and the baby couldn’t be hers.

You can read Dynel Lane’s testimony here.

Today closing arguments are being presented by both sides.

This case presents a conundrum, not only for the wording of the law, but for the media in telling the story.  As one friend pointed out: The Denver Post reported that Dynel Lane “…cut out Wilkins’ fetus before taking the baby to Longmont United Hospital…”

Did you catch that?  She cut out a “fetus” and then took the “baby” to Longmont United Hospital.

It’s a very careful choosing of words which reflects a fundamental belief: that unborn children are not actually children.

The word they’ve coined to help create this false dichotomy – which this case so painfully exposes – is “fetus.” What’s ironic, is that this is based on a failure to grasp the fact that the word fetus is simply Latin for “young person.”

Fetus is Latin for “young person”

Did you catch that?  Young PERSON.    Not “young mass of tissue, akin more to cancer than to a human being.”

This case presents a conundrum for lawmakers and the media, because it shows that a fetus and a baby are not two separate things. Everyone knows that what this woman did was wrong, because she killed a baby… But if we stick with strictly considering the unborn unhuman, then why is this crime so heinous?

Is a baby only a baby if its mother wants it?   Clearly the answer is no.

I will be interested to see what happens in this case. Hoping for justice for Dynel Lane’s crime and mercy for her soul.

 

#SB50 and #Antichoice Doritos Ad

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This past weekend I watched as my Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50. The last time the Broncos won the Super Bowl I was in high school. They won with their incredible defense, which throughout the year was exciting to watch, especially in the playoffs.

On Tuesday I took my son out of school and went down to Civic Center Park in Denver for the Broncos victory parade. I remember going with my dad to the parade back in 1998, the first time the Broncos won the Super Bowl, now I was taking my kids – it was a cool moment.

Apparently my son was one of an estimated 25,000 students who skipped school to attend the parade. My dad works for the Denver Mint, which is directly behind the City and County Building, where the parade ended and the speeches were given, and he was given liberal leave, not only so that employees could attend the parade, but also because it would have been nearly impossible to even get to the Mint for work.

Authorities verified that over 1 million people attended the parade – and it certainly felt like it. I remember the parade back in ’98, and standing in Civic Center Park, not too far from the stage in the crowd of 650,000. This time the crowd was so much bigger, it was uncomfortable. People packed into the park to the point where there wasn’t even an inch to move.

My wife’s favorite thing about the Super Bowl is that it means that NFL season is finally over and no more will Sundays revolve around Broncos games. For the Super Bowl she decided to give in and wear team colors, so she put on a blue shirt – only to realize she put on Carolina sky blue. Needless to say, we asked her to be the one to take the group photo…

Like many people, Rosemary’s favorite part of the Super Bowl was Coldplay and the commercials. One of our favorite commercials was this Doritos one about an ultrasound:

Kinda creepy, but no creepier than PuppyMonkeyBaby.

I was surprised to see that NARAL, an abortion advocacy group, took issue with the ad, claiming that it was “antichoice” (I didn’t even know that was a word…)

The problem? The ad “humanized” unborn children (whom they refuse to call children…)

What’s next? Will they begin advocating against ultrasounds? Because as ultrasound technology has advanced, we have only found more and more reason to consider yet unborn children fully human: as one spokesperson said:

“If NARAL is scandalized by the notion that a human fetus is human, then they are scandalized by science. We know children in the womb have distinct and human DNA. We also know that they exhibit all sorts of human behaviors in the womb such as yawning, thumb-sucking, and even dancing thanks to tremendous advances in ultrasound technology.

But groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood rely on a denial of these scientific realities better suited to the Dark Ages to maintain their rabid insistence that those unborn babies are undeserving of basic human rights.”  – Ashley McGuire of The Catholic Foundation

For the most part, I think NARAL is shouting into the wind. Trying to take away a person’s humanity is a long-used method for justifying or coping with doing something wrong to another person.

That being said, I highly doubt Doritos was trying to make a political statement. For NARAL, fetal behavior which reflects their humanness is an inconvenient fact – but a fact nonetheless.

A Compassionate Christian Response to #ShoutYourAbortion

Social media is full today of the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion in response to the consideration of a federal ban on late term abortions. Those who started the hashtag are encouraging women to share their stories of abortion in an effort to remove the stigma associated with it.

I read some of the tweets, as well as a few articles by women who have had late term abortions, and it seems that they generally fall into 2 categories: those who chose abortion because their baby had serious birth defects and/or brain damage – and those who chose abortion because it was advantageous to them in some way, usually relationally or economically.

I noticed that Christian Today posted an article stating that what was lacking was a compassionate Christian response to those who have had abortions. Instead, the majority of responses from Christians have been angry and accusative, calling those who have had abortions murderers and the like.

I am grieved by this on so many levels:

I’m grieved by the stories of couples who had sick children, many of whom were deemed “incompatible with life” and my heart breaks for them. Particularly the stories from women who have babies that are basically brain dead, but their bodies twitch or seize inside the womb, giving the impression that the baby is well and kicking. My wife being pregnant right now herself, I consider what it would be like to receive such news, that my child would have to be restrained and be so uncomfortable for his/her whole life, that they would not be able to sleep until the point of exhaustion. It is certainly a terrible position to be in.

I am grieved by the stories of women who choose to abort their child for other reasons: because they were scared or thought they were too young or too poor to raise the child the way they would like to. It is these abortions that are most tragic. I had a couple contact me recently; they are poor and pregnant and considering abortion. I recommended they give the child up for adoption. If they are not prepared or willing to raise the child, then at least give him/her a chance to live with one of the scores of couples who would love to raise that child and shower them with love and provision.

I am grieved that Christians are not responding more with the Gospel. Instead the main response is the hashtag #ShoutYourMurder – rather than the promise of forgiveness and restoration for all who have sinned if they turn to Jesus and embrace the Gospel.  I believe in the sanctity of human life, and that we have no right to end a human life, and that an unborn human is absolutely a full-fledged human being. I believe that Planned Parenthood’s selling of body parts for profit is shameful and utterly evil and that government funding of them is completely inappropriate and should end immediately.

I am grieved because I know that people who have chosen to end their own child’s life carry a burden of shame and guilt – the #shoutyourabortion hashtag campaign itself acknowledges that. Having personally known people who chose abortion, my heart goes out to them, because I know that they live with deep pain, sorrow and regret and deep shame and guilt over what they did. Although an abortion provides momentary relief, it is deeply scarring to the body, mind and soul.

To anyone who has had an abortion, for whatever reason, I would say this: the way to cope with your feelings of guilt and shame is not by trying to make yourself feel better about what you’ve done by celebrating it or attempting to justify it. Rather I encourage you to embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ, through whom you can be forgiven, healed and restored. Whatever is in your past, the message of the Gospel is that God loves you and Jesus gave his life for you, so that through him your past can be forgiven and you can have a new life and a new start in Him, in which you can be right with God and free of shame.

Opinion Article in Longmont Times-Call Advocates that Fertilized Eggs are Human

I was surprised to see today that the Longmont Times-Call posted an opinion article by a Longmont resident on the topic of when an unborn child becomes a true person – since this is a controversial topic which is very much at the heart of debates over abortion and human rights.

I was even more surprised when I realized that the article was advocating for seeing fertilized eggs as fully human – not what I had expected to find when I saw the title of the article.

The author, Brad Jolly, is writing in response to atheist doctor Richard Juday, who believes that humanness develops over time.

Check out the article – I found it surprisingly refreshing, especially that it appeared here in the local paper: http://www.timescall.com/columnists/opinion-local/ci_26964706/brad-jolly-fertilized-human-eggs-are-human

Thank you Longmont Times-Call for representing a broad spectrum of viewpoints!