Saturday, January 13, 2007

Chan, White, Pyro’s and the Like

I have left a few comments on various blogs regarding my old college friend Francis Chan and an evangelistic video he put on the web.

One thing this event has taught me is that knowing the person that is getting critiqued changes everything. On the one hand, it made me much more sympathetic to Francis (whether or not he even remembers me!) since I knew him in the past and have kept up on his life through mutual friends. I know something of the guy’s heart. It made me feel a little defensive for him – willing to give the benefit of the doubt.

I also learned that I had better watch out.

What I mean is this.

I put sermons on the web every week. You know, sometimes I preach things and think, “Boy, I wish I could go back and say that differently, or add this and that, or subtract this...” In fact, rarely a week goes by where that is not the case. But I still let our guys stick them on the web, where we average 247 downloads per week. I know that I could go through any one of those sermons and find fault, imbalance, and omission.... especially if I played it back section by section.

If I thought about that too much I would stop doing everything.

Look. I am a simple guy. I barely made it through High School (praise the Lord for summer school!). I managed to pass college and seminary and I work as hard as I can week by week to unfold the Truth of His Word. But I’m telling you – listen to some of my sermons from 10 years ago and you could have a field day with me! You probably could with my sermon from last Sunday, for that matter.

When I watch Francis’ video get picked apart, I just have to wonder if we aren’t going too far.

You might argue that it was an edited and produced piece and could have been corrected and so in that vein is different from a “live” sermon. There is some truth to that, yet if you watch the video it is clear it was not scripted. Maybe that was a bad decision... but in the age of infomercials and “reality” TV I thought part of the appeal of the piece was its very “live” feel. Script it and you lose that.

For an opposing view to mine you should read D.R.’s blog – especially the comments. Darrin is very good at expressing himself and I think he does so with charity and clarity. (I have to warn you though that he is a Buffalo Sabres fan... that could make his entire blog suspect!)

“What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.”

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Dangers of Genetic “Counseling”

In an earlier post expressing my displeasure for amniocentesis, I was engaged in the comments by Joe Carter who suggested the following:

“Third, your ethical objection is unsound. If a parent is opposed to abortion on moral grounds then they should never be tempted to kill their child. Saying that parents should remain ignorant about the genetic defects a child might possess since it might lead them to kill their baby is a perverse view of the moral situation.”

My ethical objection to which Joe was responding was this:

“I reject this proposal for widespread testing on ethical grounds. These tests are not perfect and they place the parent in an impossible situation. To be told that your child has a certain percentage likelihood of a genetic defect is too much. Parents are at their most vulnerable at this time.”

In the comment string, after noting the high number of false positives, I promised to flesh out these ethical objections more clearly. That is what this post is about.

A True Story

When my wife was pregnant with our son, we were advised to seek “genetic counseling” due to some statistical abnormalities that appeared during routine blood work. We made an appointment at the Credit Valley Hospital and met with a genetic counselor.

We were told that there was a small percentage that our son would be born with Down Syndrome and advised to have an amniocentesis. The counselor spoke in hushed tones with a very serious look on her face then left us to watch a video.

The video showed two boys of equal age playing in a living room. One of the boys was cute and active and bright. The other was drooling on himself, with a disfigured face, frumpy clothes and awkward small motor skills.

The video asked us: Is this what you want?

I was outraged.

The Point

For my wife and I there was no question that we were going to keep our baby. But we had a game plan going in to this. The point of the graphic video was clear – you don’t want to give birth to a kid like this! Think of the hardship and disappointment and mess and frustration.... just “terminate the pregnancy.”

Parents are placed under enormous pressure when they walk in to medical establishments that pop off lots of statistics, show propaganda and use the power of suggestion. In our situation, I can identify all three of those things.

And to be honest, in the whirlwind of the moment, it was a little hard to think straight. Once we got out of the office and prayed and talked, the truth came into greater focus and it was a no-brainer what to do.

How This Relates to Amniocentesis

Besides being an invasive procedure that can cause miscarriage, amniocentesis is being used as a test to weed out unwanted children – whether for their sex, genetic make-up or something else. This was expressly stated in the original article I quoted. I say it is unethical to subject parents to that kind of pressure.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Take the First Year of Marriage Off!

Here is a great article by a friend of a friend advising newlyweds to take the first year of marriage easy. The article is very balanced and the best treatment of Deuteronomy 24:5 I have read.

Susan and I committed ourselves to this 17 years ago and we often think back and thank the Lord for that year living in the cottage by the lake in east Oakville, Ontario with all our millionaire neighbours!

What a blessed time!

[And no, we were not in the same income bracket!!!!]

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Go Ahead, Get an Abortion... Just as Long as You're Happy

Canadian Ob/Gyn's Promote Genetic Screening

"Yes, it's going to lead to more termination, but it's going to be fair to these women who are 24 who say, 'How come I have to raise an infant with Down's syndrome, whereas my cousin who was 35 didn't have to?' " Dr. Lalonde said. "We have to be fair to give women a choice."

Such is the profound wisdom of Dr. Andre Lalonde, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Ottawa and the executive vice president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.

The National Post is reporting that amniocentesis, a test routinely performed on pregnant women over 35 to test for genetic defect, will be recommended by the SOGC for all pregnant women in Canada.

I strongly reject this suggestion.

I reject it first of all on medical grounds. Amniocentesis is an invasive procedure into the womb where
a small sample of the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby is removed then examined. There have been studies to suggest that the procedure can cause death to the child though miscarriage. The SOGC is suggesting that new studies refute this claim, however, this makes no difference in my mind.

The sole purpose of the test, as is clear from the quote above, is to determine if a baby is "worth giving birth to." I reject that such a question can be answered in the negative since worth is never determined by role or contribution to society - it is determined by man being made in the image of God. To terminate a pregnancy for suspected genetic defect is, in my opinion, pure selfishness on the part of the parent.

I reject this proposal for widespread testing on ethical grounds. These tests are not perfect and they place the parent in an impossible situation. To be told that your child has a certain percentage likelihood of a genetic defect is too much. Parents are at their most vulnerable at this time.

I reject this proposal from personal experience. Although we rejected amniocentesis as an option in our son's pregnancy (for the simple reason it might have killed him), we were given indicators through non-invasive testing that there might be a genetic problem. Readers of my blog will know that my son was born with a genetic defect labelled Williams Syndrome - a full-orbed physical and mental disability.

Is my son an accident? A faltering of the progressive cycle of evolution? A drain on society and its money? A thing not as valuable as a fully-functioning "normal" person?

My son is my flesh and blood and his worth is bound up in the fact he was made in the image and likeness of God, knit together in his mother's womb and held together by the grace and power of Jesus Christ right now. If he never moved a muscle, never spoke a word, never made my life happier at any point, he would be no less valuable to the One who made Him. And no less valuable to me.

Dr. Andre Lalonde disgraces the medical profession and ought to be ashamed of himself.

24 Things Wrong With "24 - Season Four"

Spoiler Warning: I give away every major plot line here! (And reference earlier seasons.)

Comments Warning: I turned them off. I have my reasons...


  1. Jack stabs himself in the stomach and two hours later has stopped all bleeding and is not even wincing!

  1. Audrey goes from being in love with Jack, to being in love with her estranged husband Paul, to hating Jack – in about 8 hours!

  1. Paul has three major surgeries in 5 hours! You know... just getting a bullet removed from his spine... day-surgery really.

  1. Paul is sitting up and talking minutes after the first two surgeries!

  1. People keep “bleeding out” with, oh, about 4 ounces of blood on the floor!!!

  1. A young couple is asleep in their tent and just happen to have parts of Air Force One land 80 yards from them and he gets wakened because he “thought he heard something.” Yeah, like large portions of a stinking 747 crashing half a football field away from you! Were they deaf!?

  1. Beruse gets pumped full of bad meds by Richard in interrogation, but is fine 20 minutes later. Don’t these kinds of drugs leave a slight hangover?

  1. By the way, whatever happened to Beruse?

  1. Chloe, the personally-challenged computer geek, shoots a bad guy. Okay, that was not wrong – that was the best moment in the whole season!!!!

  1. Every agent that goes somewhere bad with Jack gets killed. Has no one figured out that it is not a good idea to go on a mission with Jack?

  1. Whilst fleeing the electrical sub-station, the CTU helicopter can catch one Jeep, but somehow is incapable of stopping the second... even though it is out in the middle of the dessert and a whopping ¼ mile away. Gee, should have used some of that infrared satellite technology!

  1. Every new computer function comes with a new computer sound.

  1. The really bad woman that blew up the plane and poisoned David Palmer in earlier episodes... am I the only one that noticed that while she was holed up in the apartment the sun was shining through the windows, but when she looked and eventually went outside... it was still dark (and raining)?!!

  1. A nuclear warhead gets blown up real good over the city of Los Angeles... and everybody calls it a day at CTU! Seems to me you would want to find that nuclear stuff!

  1. Jack calls President Palmer to inform him of his escape and Palmer stands in the hallway of the White House with people all around him calling Jack “Jack” on the phone!

  1. They are called Computer Graphics – the producers might want to investigate this. That way, when Agent Bauer is forced to drop known terrorists from high buildings it won’t look like a man laying on a blue screen with the camera zooming out fast. Sheesh! (And 16b. I sure don’t recall any 15 storey parking structures in LA... seat of massive earthquakes!)

  1. One punch from Curtis drops the really bad woman... but repetitive head butts and shoulder slams from Tony leaves her unhurt. Tony must be a patsy.

  1. Doesn’t it get hard to believe that a man as spineless as Logan could actually be elected President? Don’t answer that.

  1. I don’t have 24 reasons... just 18... and #18 was stretching it.

  1. I had a great time watching this season!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Persevere! (And Help Your Brother to do the Same)

A few days ago I sat and read John’s Revelation from start to finish. I must admit that my motivation in doing so was to receive the promised blessing (1:3)! And blessed I was. In particular, I was freshly impressed with the need to persevere in our Christian walk. As John begins this apocalyptic book, he includes warnings to “the seven churches,” all of which include something like this in them: “To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (2:7b).

To the one who conquers...

Later on, the warning will be repeated with slightly different language in several other locations. For example, “If anyone has an ear, let him hear: If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints” (13:9-10).

Here is the call for endurance...

As I pondered that this morning, my mind was drawn back to Jesus’ words to four of His disciples on the Mount of Olives. Speaking of the same trials and tribulations that await His followers in this life, Jesus said to them: “But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13b).

The one who endures to the end...

Last Sunday I preached on Romans 15:14 and the need for mutual admonishment in the Body of Christ. One Scripture that has come to mind since then is that kind word found in 1 Thessalonians 5:14: “...encourage the fainthearted, help the weak...” It strikes me that one of the primary tasks of any Christian is to encourage endurance in his brothers and sisters. Satan’s purpose in those trials is to get you to give up and walk away. The lure of sin is the false promise of relief from the discomfort of following God in a sinful world. Brothers and sisters, let’s not fake it. We all need encouragement to press on.

Why not purposefully seek a way (a note, a phone call, a face-to-face conversation?) to encourage one Christian today? Go out of your way and out of your comfort to urge a brother to endure to the end!

Monday, January 08, 2007

List Your Church Here!

Carla has a helpful summary of web pages to which you can submit your church information for others to find.

Of course, each list has different requirements, but all are sovereign grace.