“In recent days, you may have read discussions about Oklahoma State Senate Bill 13, the ‘Abolition of Abortion Act.’ Regarding SB 13, after considerable prayer and careful study of the proposed policy, including direct conversations with the bill’s principle author, we have several concerns.” —Open Letter from the BGCO to Oklahoma Baptists
I’m trying to be a faithful prophet here, but not that kind of a prophet. I do not posses any knowledge of the several unnamed concerns. I would like to hear them. I hope they are more substantial than those given. To the best of my knowledge, the particular leaders whose signatures are applied to the letter haven’t explicitly disclosed any further rational. But in the smorgasbord of the interwebs I do keep seeing two staple reasons from some Southern Baptists pastors as to why we shouldn’t support SB 13 and should support the leadership of the BGCO.
The first staple I’m hearing we must have a healthy helping of is unity and peace. I do want to fight for unity, but I also want to contend for the faith. These two battles are not at odds. The fight for true Christian unity is a fight for the truth of Christ. Unity by itself is not a virtue. D.A. Carson explains, “The Bible itself recognizes that unity is not an intrinsic good. There is good unity, and there is bad unity. Bad unity occurs in Genesis 11 when rebellious humankind unites to build a tower to heaven to defy God.”
Disagreement is not division. Uniformity is not unity. Let’s hash this out and not kill all discussion with demands for peace. If we must part ways here, as did Paul and Barnabas, I will pray both for your repentance and for your fruitfulness in preaching the gospel of Christ.
The leaders have expressed their conscience. Are we not allowed to express our own without being accused of causing division? If so, this is an easy flip. It is the expression of their conscience, as representatives of our churches, that has sown division.
If that’s the meat, here are the potatoes:* some don’t want to get behind this legislation because of radicals who may be involved with it. This is the genetic fallacy. A prophecy concerning our Lord came through pagan Balaam and was true nonetheless. I don’t care if Hitler wrote this legislation, if it would end this holocaust and do no injustice otherwise, I’m voting for it.
Protestants owe much to Francis Schaeffer for the fact that we’re fighting for life. Initially Schaeffer faced kickback for his efforts against abortion by Evangelicals who said the life of the unborn was a Catholic agenda. Schaeffer used the language of “co-belligerents” in reference to Catholics in this war. We are certain to face this battle with both allies and co-belligerents. The presence of co-belligerents with whom we have disagreements should not cause us to falter.
It is naive to think that once any good legislation is put forward other persons more radical than we won’t get wrapped up in it as well. I wouldn’t fault an American soldier for using a foreign weapon. Others may be offering up this meat to an idol. We need not participate in their worship and we are free to buy their meat from the market. Meat is meat. Truth is truth. Man’s hands may dirty the surface, but if there’s truth, it’s God’s. A good hammer shouldn’t be trashed because of whose fingerprints are on it. If it is being used as a murder weapon, bring forth the evidence. Otherwise, let’s build.
Is our concern God’s justice or man’s justification? Am I hitting the nail on the head?
*The meat and potatoes are often served with the gray gravy of “this bill isn’t worded well.” I take this to refer to the previous concerns I’ve dealt with. If not, I haven’t found any words telling me what isn’t worded well.