An Attempt to Do Justice and Walk Humbly: A Response to the BGCO Letter Concerning SB 13 (Part 1/Introduction)

Senate Bill 13, if passed, would end abortion in Oklahoma. On February 21st the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma released a letter listing three concerns, among unstated others, which they have with the bill. They then conclude that they cannot in good conscience get behind SB 13 as it is proposed.

In a series of posts this week I want explain why I think each of these concerns fall flat. Because they are baseless, unless better reasons are provided, I believe our consciences should be bound in the other direction. Normally you lead with your best arguments. If this is the best they’ve got, I fear the worst.

Even so, I believe these men to be brothers in Christ. But as Paul’s rebuke of Peter demonstrates, a brother can be seriously wrong (Galatians 2:11). When a brother is in sin we should neither pull our punches nor flail wildly without reserve. We should call it both as it is and as we hope it to be. We should allow neither our love to eclipse the truth, nor the truth to eclipse our love. So again, I believe these men are brothers and I believe they are dead wrong.

I don’t doubt that these brothers have faced as much slander and vitriol as they have loving rebuke. That ain’t me. I hate that sin too. Nevertheless, being the victim of injustice does not guarantee that your stance is just. Victimhood is no marker of virtue.

I also believe the men who wrote this letter, and many who support their sentiments, hate abortion. I doubt not their love for the unborn and their desire to save lives. What I want to address are the lame concerns they use to prop up what I believe is a dreadful conclusion.

I could be wrong. Of these things I am certain: abortion is an abomination and abortion should be abolished. Of this I am also certain, I am a fallible human being reading a fallible piece of human legislation. There could be legit reasons not to support SB 13, but I’m unaware of any. I am open to correction and instruction. I pray I take as well as I give. When seeking to do justice, we must also love kindness and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8).


If you are a member or a pastor of an Oklahoma Southern Baptist Church and disagree with the BGCO, consider signing this letter and requesting to join the Facebook group Oklahoma Baptists for SB 13.


The August Theologian: Rotting from the Inside Out

On Scipio:

“He did not consider that republic flourishing whose walls stand, but whose morals are in ruins.” —Augustine, The City of God

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The Exegetical Systematician: Church and State

To the church is committed the task of proclaiming the whole counsel of God and, therefore, the counsel of God as it bears upon the responsibility of all persons and institutions. While the church is not to discharge the functions of other institutions such as the state and the family, nevertheless it is charged to define what the functions of these institutions are, and the lines of demarcation by which they are distinguished. It is also charged to declare and inculcate the duties which devolve upon them. Consequently when the civil magistrate trespasses the limits of his authority, it is incumbent upon the church to expose and condemn such a violation of his authority. When laws are proposed or enacted which are contrary to the law of God, it is the duty of the church to oppose them and expose their iniquity. When the civil magistrate fails to exercise his God-given authority in the protection and promotion of the obligations, rights, and liberties of the citizens, the church has the right and duty to condemn such inaction, and by its proclamation of the counsel of God to confront the civil magistrate with his responsibility and promote the correction of such neglect. The functions of the civil magistrate, therefore, come within the scope of the church’s proclamation in every respect in which the Word of God bears upon the proper or improper discharge of these functions, and it is only misconception of what is involved in the proclamation of the whole counsel of God that leads to the notion that the church has no concern with the political sphere.” —John Murray, The Relation of Church and State

The Apologist: An Explanation for 2016

We are surrounded on every side with the loss of truth, with the possibility of manipulation that would have made Hitler chuckle, that would have caused the rulers of Assyria to laugh with glee. And we not only have the possibilities for these manipulations, but people are trained on the basis of the loss of truth and the loss of the control of reason to accept them. —Francis Schaeffer, The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century