Skip to comments.Letter To Paul Hill [1994 Fla. shooter of abortionist Dr. Britton] [part 7 of 13]
Posted on 06/06/2009 6:35:28 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
Your problem is a theological one. But you did address a real problem. The problem you addressed is the problem you would not admit. The problem is that the American community agrees with the Supreme Court of the United States. The general American public agrees that abortion should be legal.
Maybe it does not agree that the third-trimester abortions should be legal, but it is not going to throw out of office the civil magistrates who enforce the Supreme Court's ruling. In fact, the Supreme Court has authorized third-trimester abortion and any other kind of abortion, but the public will not fight it. A handful of people have fought it, but the public refuses. The voting public will not vote out of office a man who is pro- abortion. In fact, time and time again, the public re-elects those people to office.
So, the fact of the matter is this: your problem is not that Deuteronomy 21 is not being enforced just because it is an Old Testament law. Your problem is that the basic presupposition of that law is being manifested today. God is eventually going to bring corporate judgment against a society that approves of the slaying of the innocent. This is our problem. It is not some local doctor down in Florida who was practicing abortions. The problem is a majority of the community approved of the doctor in Florida who was practicing the abortions.
I have already said that abortions have been going on for a long time. Abortions have been universal. But God's wrath isn't universal because most societies in the past have had laws against abortion and have tried to stop the abortionists. So, God acknowledged that they were doing the best they could. He did not bring His judgment against those societies because they were at least trying to stop this terrible practice. The problem comes when communities decide that the murder of the innocent is a convenience worth legislating. When societies make abortion legal, God's wrath can be expected. And so I will put it in one phrase. The problem is not abortion as such, the problem is legalized abortion.
If you identify an individual abortionist as a murderer, you are saying that he is guilty of a terrible sin. You are correct: he is guilty of a terrible sin. Nevertheless, the Bible is silent on the systematic practice of abortion. The governing passage in Exodus 21 can be used and should be used to justify laws against abortion, but it does not deliberately talk about self-conscious abortion. It says that when two men are struggling, and one of them strikes a pregnant woman and the child is born, if the child is born dead, he should be executed. >From the relatively narrow concept of abortion in this case, we can make legitimate judicial applications. If, as an accident, a woman has her child aborted, and this is a capital crime, then we can legitimately conclude that if it is a self-conscious effort to kill the woman's child, then abortion is still a capital crime. We move from the narrow case law to the broader application. This is the biblical judicial principle of "If this, then how much more that."
But the reality is that there is no verse in the bible that says directly that the practice of abortion is illegal. There is no verse in the Bible comparable to the original clause of the Hippocratic Oath forbidding abortion. There is nothing this graphic; there is nothing this specific. But there is undoubtedly a very clear passage, which you quote at least indirectly through Michael Bray, regarding the blood guiltiness of a society that does not wash its hands ritually of murder when it cannot locate the murderer. The fundamental judicial principle is clear: societies must enforce God's law and must seek out, as best they can, the perpetrators of crimes, and bring sanctions against convicted criminals. That is what is clear in the text. The law against abortion is less clear.
I contend that the Christian's focus of legitimate concern regarding the abortion law is the abortion law itself. The focus of God's primary civil concern is not with the practice of abortion as such, but rather with the moral character of the people. He wants to see if they will pass laws against abortion and enforce these laws against abortion. He wants to see if they will legalize abortion. When they legalize abortion, they subject themselves to God's corporate sanctions against bloodguiltiness.
This covenantal concern is not the focus of your concern. It is also not the primary focus of most pro-lifers. They are concerned with stopping individual abortions. The more radical their theology, the more they focus on the deaths of specific infants at the hands of specific abortionists. This is not the focus of the Bible.
I am not saying that abortions are right. I am saying that the practice of abortion as such is not God's primary focus of concern. It is the practice of legalized abortions that is the focus of God's concern and wrath. When abortion is legalized, this testifies to the depraved moral condition of the community. It is the moral condition of the community that concerns God, not the fact that this or that physician is practicing abortions. God can bring judgment in eternity, and will, against those who practice abortion and against the mothers who authorize it. Abortion is a crime in God's eyes. But the focus of God's concern is not with stopping the abortions by his representatives' individual actions. The focus of God's concern is to legislate against abortion and then to have the representative ordained agents, that is, the civil magistrates, take public action against the abortion. God's judicial focus, in other words, is corporate and judicial. This is the focus of God's concern in the question of abortion.
The local question -- whether or not babies are being killed by specific abortionists -- is a secondary matter judicially. In the eyes of God, the primary concern is corporate and judicial. This is what we are supposed to learn from Deuteronomy 21:1-9. This has not been understood well by the pro-life movement. And surely, this was not understood by you.
The problem is the community. The community approves. Let us not mince words: the United States electorate approves of abortion on demand. It will not bring political sanctions against those politicians who remain silent on abortion or who actively promote abortions. The problem is in the hearts of the people. This is our primary covenantal problem.
What can be done about abortion if the primary focus of concern is not abortion but the legalization of abortion? What has to be done is to change the minds of the people. Then, second, what has to be done is to enact laws against abortion, and to pass a constitutional amendment authorizing the law to legislate against abortion. The matter is judicial. The matter is civil-political.
Dr George Tiller, the infamous Kansas late-term abortionist was shot to death the last Sunday of May 2009. At some point, comparisons will be made to the shooting deaths of Dr. John Britton and abortion escort/bodyguard James Barrett in the summer of 1994.
This thread series features a letter written to Britton's murderer, Paul Hill while he was awaiting trial for the killings (Hill was convicted, sentenced to death, and executed for the double-murder). The author is "Christian Reconstructionist" writer Gary North. The letter (published in book form under the title Lone Gunners for Jesus: Letters to Paul Hill) articulates a Reformed response to the question of whether the killing of an abortionist can be considered morally justified in Scripture.
Pt 1: Introduction
Pt 2: Judicial Theology
Pt 3: Murder, Defined Biblically
Pt 4: The Fundamental Issue
Pt 5: The Guilt of the Community
Pt 6: The Question of Judicial Representation
Pt 7: Community Standards
Pt 8: The Technology of Low-Cost Murder
Pt 9: Voices of Virtue
Pt 10: Perfectionism and Unlimited Guilt
Pt 11: Non-Violent Resistance
Pt 12: Caught in a Crossfire
Pt 13: Conclusion