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POLITICIANS DEFYING THEIR CHURCHES BECOMING COMMONPLACE
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to continue on the subject of the sanctity of life. KSTX radio out of San Antonio recently did interviews with two Democrats that are running for governor in the state of Texas. Andrew White was one of those two. He’s a Houston businessman and he’s never run for elected office before. He’s the son of former governor, Mark White. He calls himself a “commonsense Democrat.”
Harry, the thing that’s alarming about this interview is that Andrew is also a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, the denomination in which you’re a pastor. In this interview, he said, “I support Roe v. Wade 100 percent. It’s the law of the land. We just celebrated the 45th anniversary of that. When I’m governor, I’ll veto any legislation that’s coming out that limits a woman’s right to choose.”
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN AMERICA HAS CLEAR STANDARDS
DR. REEDER: The PCA has a position paper that clearly states any PCA member who is a civil magistrate that is involved in the leadership of the land is called upon to stand for the sanctity of life in their office. He not only is not standing for the sanctity of life, to use his language, he is celebrating Roe v. Wade and promises, if anything comes to hinder a woman’s right to choose to kill her child, he fully embraces the Democratic platform which has absolutely left the “legal, safe and rare.”
Now, he tries to go back and be Clintonian. “Personally, I’m opposed to it but, in my office, I am going to support the law to kill babies. By the way, on this side, I’m going to try to enact policy that will make the killing of a baby safe, legal and rare.”
It’s not safe for the baby. Let me tell you what the mortality rate is of children who are the subject of abortion: it’s about 99.5 percent.
Legal? Yeah, why don’t you just go out and say, “We’re going to make the killing of babies in the womb legal.”
Rare? Why would you say rare? It’s just a medical procedure? It doesn’t matter? This isn’t a person? I don’t know any governor running on a platform, “I am going to make tonsillectomies safe, legal and rare.” If this is just a medical procedure, why don’t you just go ahead and step up and say, “It’s nothing to it. If we want to kill babies in the womb, it’s okay.” You see, deep down, you know it’s wrong.
PASTORS AND ELDERS MUST ACT
I can assure you that, if this was a member of the congregation I pastor and they were running, there would be sessional action to sit down and deal with the inconsistencies of promoting the violation of the sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not murder,” with public policy that murders the life of an unborn child. Why this church doesn’t do it or hasn’t done it, I have no idea.
This isn’t simply a Matthew 18 – “If your brother sins, go to him in private” – this is a matter of public policy. He has published a position, he celebrates and embraces Roe v. Wade as a public policy. “We believe it’s the law of the land and needs to be celebrated and I promise I’ll go beyond that. Any legislative attempt to limit Roe v. Wade for the sake of the child in the womb, I will veto that to make sure there is the unhindered assault upon the womb.”
And then, Tom, I am further perplexed because, in the same week this came out, came a Pew Research – they’ve got a pretty good track record – and they say, from their surveys, that 56 percent of the members of the PCA find no issue and embrace Roe v. Wade and its decision concerning abortion.
ARE NEW MEMBERS PROPERLY DISCIPLED BY PASTORS?
How is this true? Let me just say where this may come from. Part of it may be, when you win somebody to Christ, they don’t automatically embrace sanity of public policy positions. You not only have to be evangelized to come to Christ, they have to be discipled. The PCA is an evangelistic denomination. People are coming to Christ and you got to get time for them in discipleship to get lined up, but that should not be a majority percentage still in that category.
No, I think it’s something else and this is what I think it is. I don’t think they’re being taught, first, the importance of Christians thinking about public policy as a means of common grace as well as redemptive grace. Secondly, I think we have pastors who are afraid to deal with the issue. They don’t deal with the issue. They don’t deal with it from the pulpit and they don’t deal with it in discipleship – they avoid it.
PASTORS CANNOT BE SILENT
Now, these same pastors very likely will take on racism – and rightly so – will take on sex trafficking – and rightly so – but there are certain things that, if we stand for the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of sex and the sanctity of life, then we get marginalized and ridiculed. And so, they hide behind, “Well, we’re not going to deal with these things publicly, lest we cut down on our evangelistic outreach to people who are in the sexual anarchy community. We don’t want to hinder our evangelism to them.”
Well, I got news for you: John the Baptist didn’t have any problem saying, “It’s not lawful for you to do this.” Nathan didn’t have any problems saying to David, “You’re the man.” If you’re leading people to Christ, you’re leading them to be saved from their sins. How can you lead them to be saved from their sins if you’re not willing to identify what is sin? And not just the sin that the culture says that it’s okay to talk about, but the sins that the Bible says are sins and heinous.
Listen, you’re being silent about the shedding of innocent blood. That’s the very first thing in the Bible that calls God to come down in judgment when the innocent blood of Abel was shed. We’ve got 60 million cries out to heaven from the ground in this country and you won’t speak to that?
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, getting back to Andrew White, who is a ruling elder in the PCA, how ought the denomination deal with this?
DR. REEDER: The Westminster Confession and the large and shorter catechisms are clear on the sixth commandment and what our positions ought to be. And he is an officer – not just a member – who is supposed to be above reproach and takes vows to the standards. When you become a member of a PCA church, members do not take vows to our confessional standards. It’s merely a confession of faith that “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.”
That’s the membership vow but, when you become an officer, you have taken vows to our standards and our standards are clear on the sixth commandment so they ought to start Matthew 18 with him and then move to church discipline. If they don’t and this is down in the weeds a little bit, then two churches from that Presbytery could initiate a process into that church in terms of dealing with that officer in that church who is now embracing a public and scandalous sin of supporting a policy that assaults the life of those who are made in the image of God, the unborn.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER EVANGELICALS?
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, no doubt there are people listening to us now who are involved in an evangelical church. If these statistics are true in the PCA, I’m quite certain they’re also going to be true in a number of other evangelical churches. How should a Christian who is involved in those churches, when they encounter individuals who would adopt this same affirmation of Roe v. Wade, how ought we respond?
DR. REEDER: Oh my goodness. I think we need to pray. Yes, the Southern Baptists and Assemblies of God, you need to go check the Pew Research as well. I’m just looking at my own house right now. If I’m a member of a church like that and I’m a ruling elder and my pastor is silent on the issue of the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage and doesn’t frame it in a Gospel way but doesn’t frame dealing with the issues of sin and discipleship that would promote a right view of the law of God, including “You shall not commit adultery” and “You shall not commit murder” – if my pastor is silent on those things, you’ve got to confront him. Now, you can pray for him and you’ve got to go to him personally and you’ve got to appeal to him but, ultimately, I’d just march up in front of the session and I would say, “Why is our church silent on a holocaust? We ridiculed the confessing Church of Germany because of its silence while Jews were being killed. Why are we silent?”
I want to challenge the seminaries who are producing the pastors for these evangelical denominations – are you training people in terms of how to deal with these issues? I just can’t even stand the thought that if I was silent, and I appear in eternity and here are the faces of these children, however they’re going to be fashioned in eternity, and they would ask me, “Why were you silent? Why were you silent when my life was taken before it could ever come forth a birth canal? Why were you silent?” The Gospel does not tell you, “In order to get a hearing, only deal with the sins that the culture allows you to deal with.”
GOD SAYS SHARE THE GOOD NEWS — BUT BEGIN WITH THE BAD
Get up on the mountain and announce good news and the good news begins with the bad news. Hear, O people, these are the sins against the God of glory. And it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of God in rebellion against Him, but this same God loves sinners in His hatred of sin and He has made a way for you to be saved. Turn from your sins and come unto him.
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.