Monday, November 26, 2012

Regarding the Charismata: A Few Comments

Steve Hays has an interesting discussion on spiritual gifts and the continuing debate between cessationists and continuationists.  His post, The Charismata, looks briefly at a number of issues.  I will post some of Hays' comments and then intersperse a few of my own.  Last year on the Parchment and Pen blog, C. Michael Patton and Sam Storms had a charitable debate in regards to the issue of spiritual gifts--with a special focus on the more "extraordinary" ones, namely prophecy, healing, tongues and interpretations of tongues.  I engaged the discussions in the comments sections and it is from these comments I will draw some of my quotations for this post.

There are two inter-related but distinct issues below.  The one concerns the authority of Scripture and the authority of New Testament prophecy.  Does a recognition of modern prophecy compromise the authority of Scripture?  The second issue revolves around the subjectivity of modern claims to prophecy.  There are, of course, more issues than these to be addressed in a full-blown theology of spiritual gifts but these two issues are important and are dealt with a bit below.

Steve Hays writes regarding the relationship between modern day prophecy and the authority of Scripture:
Cessationists view modern prophecy as a threat to the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.

Charismatic writers are often sensitive to this charge. One way they deflect the charge is to distinguish between canonical prophecy, which is infallible–and the NT “gift of prophecy,” which is fallible. There are some Jewish precedents for that distinction. Cf. D. Aune, Prophecy in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World(Wipf & Stock 2003); C. Keener, “5. The Nature of Prophecy,” Acts: An Exegetical Commentary: Introduction and 1:1–2:47 (Baker 2012), 902-908. They also cite examples of what they take to be fallible Christian prophets in Acts 21:4,11
This issue of the relationship between Old Testament prophecy and some New Testament prophecy was also brought up by Sam Storms in his defense of modern prophetic ministry.  Storms essentially follows the model developed by Wayne Grudem.  In reference to "Jewish precedents for this distinction" that Hays mentions I wrote this to Michael Patton:
 Another very good TUP (Theology Unplugged)–thank you. In regards to the difference between OT and NT prophecy that you asked Sam about you might want to check out Wayne Grudem’s “The Gift of Prophecy in 1 Corinthians” (Univ. Press of America, 1982; Wipf and Stock 1999) pages 21-43. As you probably already know this is essentially Grudem’s Ph.D. thesis so the level of sophistication is higher than in his later “The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today” (Crossway, 1988). The reason I single out the above pages is because here Grudem looks at the Inter-testamental period of the Jewish understanding of prophecy and argues from the primary sources that there was a notion of cessation of scripture quality words alongside a different conception of prophecy of a lower level. Here is a quotation from that section that sort of summarizes Grudem’s point he is driving toward:“My only concern in this section is to show the existence of a conceptual framework in which one could think that the fact of continuing revelations was entirely consistent with a belief in the cessation of prophecy with a divine authority of actual words, because the two were thought of as related but nevertheless distinct. In order to show that, it is only necessary to demonstrate that the same writers or traditions who believe in the one also accept the other.”Grudem goes on to posit that: “Especially for a former rabbi such as the Apostle Paul, the conceptual framework was already available and would have seemed quite natural.” (pp. 32, 33) This provides something of a historical context in which Paul was writing and this too should be taken into account when seeking to understand Paul’s arguments.

 Hays brings us a number of cessationist responses to the notion of a kind of prophecy that is not infallible.  He starts by bringing up the argument for its usefulness:
Cessationists counter on various grounds. What’s the point of fallible prophecy? Isn’t that innately unreliable?
This same point was brought up by various cessationists who were responding to the Patton/Storms debate.  I argued in the following manner with a gentlemen named Jim who wondered how "uncertainty could be edifying":
Jim Z. (#45):You comments need some nuance as they appear (to me) to be a bit overblown in that a seek a philosophical precision of “certainty” or else there is no possibility of edification.
1. You ask, “how can uncertainty be edifying.”
It is not the “uncertainty” in the abstract that is edifying. You have not framed the conceptual issue very well here. A more accurate question is, “how can a fallible source of knowledge be edifying?” There are, of course, all sorts of ways in which a fallible source of knowledge can be edifying. Sam’s point was that preaching was in the same boat conceptually on this count. It is a fallible source of knowledge and yet it has been known to be edifying.
2. You write: “If I came to you and told you that God may or may not have told me that you may or may not survive your current disease, are you actually going to shout “Praise the Lord!”?”
No, I would not say that. What I would ask is “why are you telling me this? What in your experience is leading you to say this?” I would also weigh the entire context (who you are, how well you know me, your past experience in such things, etc); all the kinds of things we weigh in any relationship. Don’t forget that the Storms/Grudem model places great emphasis on judging/sifting the prophecies (1 Cor 14.29).
3. You end your comment with a false dichotomy: revelation or “random synaptic misfire.” No other options? What about a revelation from God that is not “heard” very well by the hearer? What about a revelation from God that is not communicated well by the hearer? There are a number of other options between the two you give.
There was also this interchange that broached this same issue from a slightly different manner.  I made the following comment and then Jim and I interact.
This was a great TUP session! As you all discuss 1 Cor 12 and 14 you are also manifesting the reality of 1 Cor 13 and that is wonderfully refreshing. This TUP was particularly enlightening because I think it very clearly brought out the fundamental issue of tension between the perspectives being articulated. As I heard Sam state it: in the OT there was an infallible connection between a) the revelatory act and b) the communicative act. He believes that this does not necessarily hold in for the NT conception of prophecy. Michael took issue with this. Sam urged that these two contrasting views of prophecy be examined by looking at how prophecy is described and functions in the NT. Toward that end I would urge a look (again) at Acts 21.4–”and through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.” Grudem writes about this passage:
“The difficulty with the entire passage…is the fact that the expression ‘through the Spirit (in Greek, ‘dia tou pneumatos’) modifies the verb ‘they were telling in the Greek text (it modifies the imperfect verb, ‘elegon’)…So here is speech given “through the Spirit” that Paul disobeys! This fits well with a view of prophecy that includes revelation given by the Holy Spirit and an interpretation and report of that revelation that is given in merely human words, words that the Holy Spirit does not superintend or claim as his own, words that can have a mixture of truth and error in them.”
The amazing thing is that many hard cessationists handle the verse in the same way! They recognize that the Holy Spirit revealed something but the people added something else in. Richard Gaffin in “Perspective on Pentecost” talks of not confusing the revelation and their speech act (p. 68). O. Palmer Robertson likewise says: “To this perfected revelation the concerned disciples appended their own conclusion: that Paul should not proceed to Jerusalem.” “The Final Word” p. 111. He goes on to cite others (Munck, Bruce, Alexander, and Calvin) who agree with him. I have mentioned in another thread George Gillipsie’s view is the same on this passage. I know it’s only one passage but we begin to see the reality of a revelation from God that is added to by the receiver and then the whole complex of revelation/communication is said to be “through the Spirit.” This seems to accord with what Grudem and Storms want to say NT prophecy is.

.                jim says: 
September 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm 
Richard, You said”They recognize that the Holy Spirit revealed something but the people added something else in.” So the point being that a truth/revelation could be reveled to a prophet today and added to by the prophet through their speech. So where does that get us. How would I know if a revelation that is being shared with me by a prophet, is indeed the actual message that God gave to the prophet. How do I even know there was a message given at all to the prophet. And if in the end I have to check/spell it with God’s word as final authority then why bother with prophet’s at all, let’s go to the real source.


Here are a few thoughts with the limited space here: 
1. Let me respond to your last sentence, first. Why bother? Because God’s word says there is a gift of prophecy for the church that brings edification, exhortation, and consolation (1 Cor 14.3) and that these prophecies are to be tested (1 Cor 14.29; 1 Thess 5.21). We don’t have any examples of NT believers taking your view–”Well, if I have to examine it by the Scripture why bother with the prophecy at all–just go to the Scriptures.” Paul explicitly says, “Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances” (1 Thess 5.19-20). 
2. How do I know? You raise this in a couple different ways in your post. This is obviously an epistemological issue. As such it is not that different from the rest of life. Once we get past the false dichotomy of incorrigible certitude or complete skepticism we recognize that we all live with a range of varying degrees of certainty. Many times this is contextually determined. For example, I know that people can lie and have been lied to in the past. This does not mean every person lies to me. When my wife professes her love to me I don’t reason, “Well, people can lie, she is a person, therefore she may be lying!” The context of our life together brings the reality of knowing her words are true. This is important to remember because we are talking about communal prophecy in 1 Cor 14 and Rom 12. We often think and talk about these issues very individualistically. But our lives as lived out in the matrix of community is an important part of the knowing process. Do I know the one prophesying? Do I know their character? Do I know their “track record” with prophecies? Also I evaluate the actual prophecy itself. Sometimes it “rings true” to my experience. There is one example of this given in 1 Cor 14.24-25 where it speaks of an unbeliever having his heart exposed and this is very clearly known to be true by the receiver that he falls down and worships. For more on this I would recommend you look at Vern Poythress’ article “Modern Spiritual Gifts as Analogous to Apostolic Gifts: Affirming Extraordinary Works of the Spirit within Cessationist Theology” especially section 6–’Circumstantial content received through nondiscursive processes.’ 
3. My point in my post was to look at Acts 21.4 and show that both continuationists and cessationist say similar things about the revelation/response distinction. Grudem and Storms find exegetical support for their view of prophecy. What is your understanding of Acts 21.4? 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Daniel Block Interview on Old Testament

There is an excellent interview with Old Testament scholar Daniel Block over at the Gospel Coalition blog.  Dr. Block is the author of a new commentary on Deuteronomy and he has some interesting thoughts on typological connections between Moses, Christ, and Paul.  The interview brings out two items that I found significant.

First, Dr. Block has helpful thoughts on understanding the Old Testament in a Christological manner.  He comments:
Perhaps we need to distinguish between "Christological preaching" and a "Christological hermeneutic," as if under the latter we expect to find Christ in every verse of the Bible. While it's not difficult to identify overtly Messianic texts (Psalm 2; 110; Isaiah 53; Micah 5:1-5; etc.), technically the OT rarely speaks of ho Christos, the anointed Messiah. Unless we overload that expression beyond what it actually bears in the OT, I don't find "the Messiah" on every page. Still, YHWH is everywhere, and when I preach YHWH, I'm preaching Jesus, Immanuel, the Redeemer of Israel incarnate in human flesh. When I readExodus 34:6-7, I see a description of the One whom John characterizes as glorious, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
Actually, we'd improve our hermeneutic if we interpreted the OT Christotelically rather than Christocentrically. While it's hermeneutically irresponsible to say all OT texts have a Christocentric meaning or point to Christ, it's true that all play a significant role in God's great redemptive plan, which leads to and climaxes in Christ. This means that as a Christian interpreter my wrestling with an OT text must begin with trying to grasp the sense the original readers/hearers should have gotten, and authoritative preaching of that text depends on having grasped that intended sense.
However, my work as a Christian interpreter doesn't end there. I must ask several additional questions:
  1. Where does this event or institution fit in the grand scheme of redemption, whose goal and climax are in Christ?
  2. What lexical and conceptual vocabulary does this text contribute to later interpretation of the mission and ministry of Christ?
  3. What view of God that we later find embodied in Christ is presented here?
  4. How was YHWH's redemption and calling of Israel analogous to our redemption and his calling of us in Christ?
These brief comments set a helpful trajectory for understanding the Old Testament in terms of the larger story of Christ.  Dr. Block's comments also help avoid simplistic reductions of the Old Testament as some are so eager "to see Jesus" in the Old Testament that they either run past the truths that are there or force fit Jesus into texts for pedagogical or preaching purposes.

The second significant item was Dr. Block's comments on the law and its applicability for today.  The following comments were especially noteworthy:
Chris Wright helpfully speaks of Israel's constitutional texts (my expression for what most call law codes) as presenting a picture of righteous living that's "paradigmatic" for God's people in all contexts for all time. Let me concretize the issue with a specific example: In Deuteronomy 22:8 Moses says, "When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring the guilt of blood upon your house, if anyone should fall from it." When people ask me whether Christians need to keep this command, I explain this is the wrong question. The question for me as a Christian is not, "Do I have to keep this law?" but rather, "How does God, my Redeemer and covenant Lord, expect me to keep this law?"
When we realize this isn't a mandate for a certain style of architecture but an opportunity to display covenant righteousness, the answer is obvious. This command assumes the head of a household is responsible for the welfare of everyone who enters his house, that he'll take all steps necessary to protect their well-being. In Chicago this means I "fulfill righteousness" if I shovel the sidewalk in front of my house after a snow so that all who pass by are safe. Not all commands are this straightforward, but the question, "How does God expect me to fulfill this command" is generally more helpful than, "Do I have to keep this law?"
Admittedly, the regulations of Deuteronomy are culturally conditioned, but we must accept as normative God's revelation communicated through these contextualized regulations. After peeling away the cultural husks of the laws in Deuteronomy, modern Christian interpreters must accept as normative the ethical and theological principles they communicate. In cases where the work of Christ has brought an end to a given practice (e.g., food regulations), the theological principles underlying those regulations remain relevant.
I found these comments very similar to the teaching of Dr. Greg Bahnsen as he had developed his "theonomic" understanding of God's law in relation to the Christian.  Dr. Bahnsen would even use the same text (Deuteronomy 22.8) as an example.  In discussing the "discontinuities" with the Old Testament law and contemporary application Bahnsen comments:
 Some discontinuities with the Mosaic law (or laws) are redemptive-historical in character and pertain to the coming of the new covenant and the finished work of Christ, while others are cultural in character and pertain to simple changes of time, place, or lifestyle.  The latter are conceptually unrelated to the former.  There are cultural differences not only between our society and the Old Testament, but also between modern America and the New Testament (e.g., its mention of whitewashed tombs, social kisses, and meats offered to idols); indeed, there are cultural differences even within the Old Testament (e.g., life in the wilderness, in the land, and in captivity) and within the New Testament (e.g., Jewish culture and Gentile culture).  Such cultural differences pose important hermeneutical questions--sometimes vexing, since the "culture gap" between biblical times and our own is so wide.
However, the differences are not particularly relevant to the question of ethical validity.  That is, it is one thing to realize that we must translate biblical commands about a lost ox (Ex. 23:4) or withholding pay from someone who mows fields (James 5:4) into terms relevant to our present culture (e.g., about misplaced credit cards or remuneration of factory workers).  It is quite another thing to say that such commands carry no ethical authority today!  God obviously communicated to his people in terms of their own day and cultural setting, but what he said to them he fully expects us to obey in our own cultural setting, lest the complete authority of his word be shortchanged in our lives.
Moreover, it should be obvious that in teaching us or moral duties, God as a masterful Teacher often instructs us not only in general precepts (e.g., "You shall not murder," Ex. 20:13, "love one another," 1 John 3:11), but also in terms of specific illustrations (e.g., rooftop railings, Deut. 22:8; sharing worldly goods with a needy brother, 1 John 3:17), expecting us to learn broader, underlying principles from them.  Again, those biblical illustrations are taken from the culture of that day.  After the New Testament story of the good Samaritan, Jesus said, "Go and do likewise" (Luke 10:37).  It does not take a lot of hermeneutical common sense to know that our concrete duty is not thereby to go travel the literal Jericho road (rather than an American interstate highway) on a literal donkey (rather than in a Ford) with a literal denarii in our pockets (rather than dollars), pouring wine and oil (rather than modern antiseptic salves) on the wounds of those who have been mugged.  Indeed, one can be a modern "good Samaritan" in a circumstance that has nothing to do with travel or muggers.  Unfortunately, however, this same hermeneutical common sense is sometimes not applied to the cultural illustrations communicated in Old Testament moral instruction.  For instance, the requirement of a rooftop railing (Deut. 22.8), relevant to entertaining on flat roofs in Palestine, teaches the underlying principle of safety precautions (e.g., fences around modern backyard swimming pools), the obligation of placing a literal battlement on today's sloped roofs.
There are, then, cultural discontinuities between biblical moral instruction and our modern society.  This fact does not imply that the ethical teaching of Scripture has been invalidated for us; it simply calls for hermeneutical sensitivity.  Greg Bahnsen "The Theonomic Reformed Approach to Law and Gospel" in The Law, the Gospel, and the Modern Christian: Five Views edited by Wayne G. Strickland (Zondervan, 1993), pp. 100-102.
I was encouraged to see Dr. Block endorsing similar sentiments regarding the ethical use of the laws from Deuteronomy.  I have no doubt that Dr. Block would have differences with Dr. Bahnsen's full-blown approach but, nevertheless, there is a similar desire to appropriately apply God's law today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Business for the Glory of God

I came across this five minute video over at Disciple Nations Alliance blog and thought it was great for a couple of reasons.  First, it has a good theological message about business being done for God's glory.  Second, it revolves around a businessman here in Phoenix, Arizona and so it hit "home" in a real way for me.

Friday, November 16, 2012

40 Days for Life Fall 2012 Results

Shawn Carney of 40 Days for Life gives this update from the latest 40 Days campaign.

In addition to the 789 lives confirmed saved during this
fall's campaign -- and one Planned Parenthood abortion
center CLOSED DOWN -- we also saw six workers leave the
abortion industry ... three of them during the final
days of the campaign.

On the webcast, former Planned Parenthood abortion
center director Abby Johnson reported the impact this
is having on the nation's largest abortion chain:

  "Planned Parenthood is terrified of all of these
   workers who are leaving. We know just from the
   workers that have left there is definitely a
   heightened sense of paranoia inside the abortion
   clinics. They don't feel like they can trust any of
   their workers. You know what? They can't. Because
   it's a constant fear, oh gosh, are they talking to
   people with 40 Days for Life?"

Abby explained that many of the quitting workers turn
around and take action to overcome the injustices and
corruption they witnessed inside the abortion industry:

  "Currently there are four pending lawsuits out against
   Planned Parenthood that would total billions and
   billions of dollars that these affiliates would be
   required to pay back to federal and state government.
   Because all of these cases, one thing that we have in
   common is that we are all accusing Planned Parenthood
   of Medicaid fraud ... there are huge implications if
   these lawsuits are successful."

One BIG encouragement that Abby shared about 40 Days for
Life efforts:

  "I remember the last Planned Parenthood conference
   that I went to before I quit. We were actually
   talking about the 40 Days for Life. Planned
   Parenthood was saying that their no-show rates go
   up as high as 75% when people are simply standing
   and praying outside of abortion clinics."

A 75% abortion no-show rate ... WOW.

Bottom line: God is making a profound, life-saving
difference ... through YOU!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election 2012: Brian Mattson's Views

Brian Mattson continues to write in an insightful manner on politics.  Here are a few pieces from his fine essay entitled Random Notes on the 2012 U.S. Elections:
I admit that I get a bit irritated by Christians whose insta-reaction is to brush it all off, glibly posting Facebook updates that communicate, in effect: "It doesn't matter." Yes, in the ultimate, grand scheme of things, the God who will be openly vindicated at the end of time is in control and our political contortions are not of ultimate concern. But it does matter, nevertheless. The stuff in the middle matters: culture, the material world, real people, real problems matter, and they matter to God. The sting of defeat is not salved by Gnostic cliches.
I admit that I also get irritated by Christians whose insta-reaction is to interpret "Honor the King" as a mandate to engage in a big group hug and proclaim our love of Barack Obama and liberals. The title of this Russell Moore piece gave that impression to me, but I found its content very, very good anyway. I recommend reading it. We must be the political opposition, yes. But the loyal opposition.
I look at the electoral map and I see a sea of red and tiny pockets of blue. Those pockets of blue are major urban population centers, filled with young millennials bewitched by the mind-numbing, soothing language of Progressivism: tolerance, compassion, social justice, etc. They are persuaded by the likes of JayZ and Katy Perry, as depressing as that is. Politics is downstream from culture. We have a lot of work to do persuading these voters that a culture of life, strong civil society, free market enterprise, and the impartiality of justice (i.e., not identity politics) leads to human flourishing and Progressivism does not. We cannot simply assume they'll grow out of it as they get older. They may, and often do. But we need to be more proactive because these people obviously vote before their eventual enlightenment. I have some ideas of my own and I'm open to suggestions.
But these ultra-liberal urban centers are also filled with upper-income elites who seem utterly entrenched in political liberalism. What is so amazing about this is that these rich liberals are not engaging in free sex or aborting their babies (a major campaign pitch of the Obama campaign in the final days). They are getting married, staying married, and having kids. Yet they seem to think the Republic is at stake if those young millennials don't get free contraceptives or abortifacients. My point? Upper class liberals live more conservatively than they vote. This is a fact, and you can read all about it in Charles Murray's Coming Apart. We need to start persuading these people.
I look at these blue urban pockets and something else strikes me. How would these electoral areas look if large evangelical church pastors had not stubbornly refused for the past few decades to teach and preach anything politically related? I think of Tim Keller, of whom I have the greatest admiration. I believe he is under-serving his people in New York City if his teaching never translates into political matters. And he purposely makes sure it never translates into political matters. Upper income elites need to be encouraged to vote the values they actually live (by and large), and young millennials need to be encouraged to make the connections between the Christian Faith they get on Sunday and the ballot booth they enter on Tuesday. (I've written a book to do just that, by the way. Buy it now. More than ever. Give it to your children and all their friends.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cloud Atlas and One-ism

There is an interesting discussion of the new movie Cloud Atlas over at The New York Review of Books that delves into the intellectual foundations and inspirations for the movie's ideas.  Cloud Atlas is brought to us by the same guys that brought us The Matrix--well, sort of.  The Matrix was done by the Wachowski brothers--Larry and Andy.  One of the brothers has gone and got himself "de-duded" and is now transgendered Lana.  So they know get referred to as the Wachowski siblings.  Anyway, these siblings continue to push their version of monistic philosophy in their films.  They find inspiration in the writings of Ken Wilber.  For Christians wanting to engage the underlying philosophy they should read Peter Jones' One or Two: Seeing a World of Difference in which Wilber's philosophy comes in for brief  analysis.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Couple Pro-Choice Slogans Analyzed

Be sure to read Scott Klusendorf's short but excellent piece entitled Why Your Friends are 'Pro-Choice" (And What You Can Do About It).  He looks at two of the most used popular phrases that come up in the abortion debate.  The first refers to the slogan: "Don't like abortion? Don't have one."  Klusendorf responds to this sound-bite argument in the following manner:
Notice the bumper sticker completely transforms the nature of the abortion debate with a single word---"like."
When pro-life advocates claim that elective abortion unjustly takes the life of a defenseless human being, they aren't saying they dislike abortion. They are saying it's objectively wrong, regardless of how one feels about it. Notice what's going on here. The pro-life advocate makes a moral claim that he believes is objectively true---namely, that elective abortion unjustly takes the life of a defenseless human being. The abortion-choice advocate responds by changing that objective truth claim into a subjective one about likes and dislikes, as if the pro-lifer were talking about a mere preference. But this misses the point entirely. As Francis J. Beckwith points out, pro-life advocates don't oppose abortion because they find it distasteful; they oppose it because it violates rational moral principles.
Imagine if I said, "Don't like slavery? Then don't own a slave." Or, "Don't like spousal abuse? Then don't beat your wife!" If I said such things, you would immediately realize I don't grasp why slavery and spousal abuse are wrong. They are not wrong because I personally dislike them. They are wrong because slaves and spouses are intrinsically valuable human beings who have a natural right not to be treated as property. Whether I personally like slavery or spousal abuse is completely beside the point. If I liked spousal abuse, you would rightly say I was sick! You wouldn't resign yourself to, "I guess abuse is right for you but not for me."
The second slogan revolves around the notion of "keep the government out of the abortion business."  Klusendorf brings up two points that make this impossible.
Ironically, the pro-choicer fails to recognize two key facts that completely undermine his appeal for government neutrality. First, the federal government is already deeply involved in abortion. In fact, one branch of the government, the federal courts, has completely co-opted the abortion issue---leaving the executive and legislative branches with no say. As law professor Hadley Arkes stated in his testimony before Congress, the courts have exclusive authority to first invent, then broadly apply, the abortion license---leaving the people with no voice on the matter through their elected officials. The American people may talk about abortion all they want, but they have no real say on the matter. Federal judges speak for them.
Second, government neutrality is impossible on abortion. The law either recognizes the unborn as valuable human beings and thus protects them, or it doesn't and permits killing them. By agreeing that human fetuses are fitting subjects for abortion, the federal courts are taking a public policy position that the unborn don't deserve the same protections owed toddlers or other human beings. This is hardly a neutral position; it's an extremely controversial one with deep metaphysical underpinnings. Thus, when people tell me the federal government should stay out of the abortion decision, I take my cue from Arkes and ask, "Including the federal courts?"
Klusendorf is an excellent teacher in regards to pro-life apologetics and this short article is a great primer on dealing with two ubiquitous slogans that are bantered about incessantly.

For those wanting more training in pro-life apologetics see Klusendorf's presentations HERE.