Submission on abortion law reform

May 14, 2018

Criminal aspects of abortion law

I support the person-hood of the baby in the mother’s womb from conception. This would extend to the right to life for our young ones from conception. This would mean that anyone involved in the killing of the baby in the womb would be subject to existing criminal penalties for manslaughter or murder.

Grounds for abortion

Someone who caused an abortion to occur would be subject to the criminal code. The only possible grounds for abortion would be tested under the rules for manslaughter.

Process for getting an abortion

All government support and funding for abortion would cease. This would be replaced by increased support and funding for adoption, where the unborn child’s parents were unable or unwilling to care for them. The government would introduce programs of education for teenagers reinforcing the ultimate value of every human life.

Other aspects of abortion law

Currently the rights of the father in abortion are not recognized. Both the mother and father should be equally responsible for the life of the unborn child.

 

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A Bridge Too Far

April 23, 2018

“Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
2 Tim 2:19

Leaving a church is a sad thing, and should never be done lightly. However, if Motion 29 is passed at the forthcoming Anglican General Synod in early May, this will likely be our path.

What is “motion 29” and why would we break fellowship over it? Motion 29 will be discussed at Anglican General Synod 2018, May 4-11 2018. Motion 29 has two components:

  1. allowing bishops to authorise individual clergy to conduct services blessing same gender relationships … where the minister has satisfied him or herself that the relationship is loving, monogamous, faithful and the couple are committed to a life-long relationship.
  2. providing immunity from complaint for bishops and clergy for exercising their discretion on whether or not to authorise or conduct services of same gender blessings.

The idea is to provide a structure within the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, that allows same gender blessings, at the discretion of the local Bishop, and exempts these services from disciplinary action. The benefit of this is that it removes the “danger” from the topic. Bishops in favour of same gender blessings need not worry about being disciplined for holding services, and Bishops against likewise.

The problem here in my mind is: does this neat sidestep avoid an issue that actually needs to be addressed? The innovation here is the church “blessing same gender relationships”. Is the blessing of the church rightly to be applied here?

To determine the mind of God on a subject the first port of call for the church has always been the Bible. Fortunately for the enquirer, the direct scriptures regarding homosexuality are few, and surveying these we find that homosexuality is:

  • an Old Testament abomination, receiving the death penalty under Israelite law.
  • listed in the New Testament in the midst of a catalog of sins.
  • cited in the New Testament as a vile punishment from God on those who abandon Him for idolatry

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.
Lev 18:22

If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.
Lev 20:13

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Cor 6:9-10

The law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.
1 Tim 1:9-10

Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.  For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.  Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
Romans 1:22-27

Should the church bless that which is described in such terms? Homosexuality is not special, it is just one of many expressions of “sexual immorality” which deviate from God’s design of monogamous marriage between a man and a woman.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Genesis 2:24

The teaching of the leadership at our Anglican church of St John’s is that “motion 29” is a gospel issue. The salvation of people is in danger if the Church affirms them in any practice of immorality.

So “motion 29” seems a bridge too far for me. I believe it is not being true to God, or a true witness to the world, to avoid making a decision over this issue by “providing immunity from complaint for bishops and clergy for exercising their discretion on whether or not to authorise or conduct services of same gender blessings.”

I believe that homosexuality truly does fall into the realm of “sexual immorality”, and that the church has been provided teaching in the Bible on how to deal with it. What the Anglican church should be doing is working out the process of church discipline, not exempting this particular example of immorality from discipline.

1 Corinthians 5 provides a perfect example of how immorality within the church should be handled:

For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”
1 Cor 5:12-13

This episode involved a church that did not exercise internal discipline, but instead was proud of it’s inclusiveness of an unrepentant brother. Note that it is not just sexual immorality that is in view here.

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife!  And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.
1 Cor 5:1-11

As a church we at St Johns continue to pray that the wider Anglican church in New Zealand would choose to NOT affirm “motion 29”. I think this would be a blessing and a shining light to our stumbling nation.

Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.  Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
2 Cor 7:8-10

Submission on End of Life Choice Bill

February 11, 2018

I am opposed to the “End of life” bill for the following reasons:

  1. The Hippocratic oath which guides the medical profession states in part “I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course.” This bill is in direct contravention of this guiding principle of medicine.
    1. The World Medical Association states: “Euthanasia, that is the act of deliberately ending the life of a patient, even at the patient’s own request or at the request of close relatives, is unethical“. ” The World Medical Association reaffirms its strong belief that euthanasia is in conflict with basic ethical principles of medical practice, and the World Medical Association strongly encourages all National Medical Associations and physicians to refrain from participating in euthanasia, even if national law allows it or decriminalizes it under certain conditions.
    2. The New Zealand Medical Association  is opposed to both the concept and practice of euthanasia and doctor assisted suicide. Euthanasia, that is the act of deliberately ending the life of a patient, even at the patient’s request or at the request of close relatives, is unethical. Doctor-assisted suicide, like euthanasia, is unethical.
  2. This bill seeks to allow the practice of “assisted suicide” whereas the law of New Zealand has never before allowed this. The witness of previous generations is against this bill.
  3. Suicide is an action that is currently never recommended in New Zealand. Anyone contemplating suicide regardless of their situation is always directed to other actions by society and medical professionals. This ensures that situational factors, including the views of the individual, are always secondary to the value of the life of the individual. This ensures that the focus of treatment for suffering individuals is on their inalienable positive value to society, not on the negative forces they are experiencing. Suicide should never be provided as an option to anyone, particularly to those traumatized in experiencing extreme pain from physical and or mental causes. Rather, as it is today, society should always say “We love and need you. We will help to heal your pain.”
  4. Suicide in New Zealand is currently only an option for individuals who must perform this action alone contrary to the law, advice and practice of society. This provides a powerful deterrent to a deleterious practice that should be as rare as we can make it.

Points 1.1 and 1.2 above were not in my submission to the select committee.

The witness of God in the Holy Bible does not condemn suicide explicitly, but the following points can be taken:

    1. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man” – Genesis 9:6
    2. There are only two suicides recorded outside of time of war: Judas, the betrayer of Jesus Christ, and Ahithophel the betrayer of King David.
    3. Two leaders of Israel, Saul and Abimelech, both sought “assisted suicide” in war. Saul to avoid capture in defeat, and Abimelech to avoid the dishonor of being killed by a woman. In the case of Saul, the man who killed him was judicially executed:
      So David said to him, “How was it you were not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?” Then David called one of the young men and said, “Go near, and execute him!” And he struck him so that he died. So David said to him, “Your blood is on your own head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the Lord’s anointed.’”
      – 2 Samuel 1:14-16

Which history?

October 3, 2014

hbirdDavid P. Barash believes that the different views of creationism and evolutionism are irreconcilable. He is correct; however he is backing the wrong horse. These two world views have very different views of history. Creationism is founded on the view of history revealed in the bible, and evidenced by scientific study of biology and geology. Evolutionism is founded on an a commitment to atheism with evidence drawn from biology and geology in support. I place Professor Barash’s comments indented below, with my notes following.

It’s irresponsible to teach biology without evolution

The evolution Barash is talking about is how the biological machinery we can see today came about. This is his view of history, or his creation myth.

Many Americans don’t grasp the fact that evolution is not merely a “theory,” but the underpinning of all biological science

Thank God many Americans are not so foolish as Professor Barash.

Teaching biology without evolution would be like teaching chemistry without molecules, or physics without mass and energy

Not really. Cells, behavior, molecules, mass and energy are well within the reach of scientists to observe today. Molecules to men evolution is a speculative theory of HISTORY, that cannot be observed today.

Everything that we know about biology and geology proclaims that the Earth was not made in a day

Barash is waxing lyrical from the pulpit here. There is no presentation of evidence, just bold rhetoric. Strangely the secular creation myth would have us believe that nothing created everything instantly in the big bang. Actual history from the creator states that everything was created by God over a six day period.

Evolutionary science … has demolished two previously potent pillars of religious faith and undermined belief in an omnipotent and omni-benevolent God

  1. Argument from complexity,  we have come to understand that an entirely natural and undirected process, namely random variation plus natural selection, contains all that is needed to generate extraordinary levels of non-randomness.

  2. Illusion of centrality,  we are perfectly good animals, natural as can be and indistinguishable from the rest of the living world at the level of structure as well as physiological mechanism.

  3. The problem of pain, just a smidgen of biological insight makes it clear that, although the natural world can be marvelous, it is also filled with ethical horrors: predation, parasitism, fratricide, infanticide, disease, pain, old age and death — and that suffering (like joy) is built into the nature of things.

The pillars of belief in a creator remain potent.

  1. Argument from complexity, see biochemist Michael Behe’s book “Darwin’s black box” for one revelation of the biological complexity that is unattainable to evolutionary processes.
  2. Reality of centrality, the creator states: “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground”. Centrality is not an illusion. The primary place of man evident by his rule over the ecosystem today is reality.
  3. The problem of pain, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.”

The more we know of evolution, the more unavoidable is the conclusion that living things, including human beings, are produced by a natural, totally amoral process, with no indication of a benevolent, controlling creator.

There are none so blind as those who will not see. Barash states that the natural world is “marvelous” and “wonderfully complex” but he cannot see that this itself is a clarion call of our benevolent, controlling creator. Wake up David P. Barash.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A modern parable

June 16, 2014

“This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.”

– Jesus the Son of God

A King went away on a long journey leaving his three servants in charge of his country. Many years passed, and a message with the King’s seal came to his three servants. The message was read in their presence. “Prepare for my return on the third day”.

The first servant hated the King. He had been enjoying life without reference to the King’s wishes. Further he had received many reports that the King had been killed in battle years ago. The first servant laughed. “The King will not return! The King is dead! He has been proclaimed dead in this very court! This message is not from the King.”

The second servant loved the King and had never accepted the report of the King’s death. The reports readily accepted by the first servant had come from the King’s enemies. The second servant examined the message and verified the King’s seal upon it. “This message is from the King! The King returns!” he exclaimed. “We must ready ourselves!” The first servant looked with disdain on the second servant. “You fool! Your King is dead!”

Then the third servant stood and took up the message. The third servant loved some of the King’s laws, but had accepted the many reports of the King’s death. “Wait friends” he called. He stared intently at the message for some time. Finally he spoke: “This message is undoubtedly from the King, as it has his seal”. The first servant began to rise angrily from his throne. “However, this message does not herald the return of our King!” The second servant began to rise as the first servant subsided. “Hold brothers!” said the third servant. “The King is dead as most of us are aware, so this message must mean something else. I propose we hand this message to our finest scholars to determine its true meaning.”

“The King is dead” said the first servant, “but do as you wish.” The second servant said “It is the King’s seal, I at least will prepare for him”. The third servant retorted “Why? You fool!” “It cannot mean what you believe. The King is dead”.

Complaint to the NZ Human Rights Commission

November 7, 2013

Let’s see what the Human Rights Commission make of this. It occurred to me today that the nullification of one’s democratic vote is actually quite a serious thing.

I am complaining because I believe I have been discriminated against because of my:

Political opinion

What happened?

I cast my party vote legally and intentionally for the Conservative Party of New Zealand at the 2011 general election. The NZ electoral system, specifically the “threshold” rule took away my vote along with 59,237 other votes for the Conservative party. My opinion, collectively with other Conservative voters, should have entitled me to 3 representatives in the 120 member New Zealand Parliament. New Zealand Government legislation denied me this representation of my political opinion.

How has this affected you?

My political opinion has no expression in the New Zealand democratic parliament.

What kind of solution would you like?

Lowering of the electoral threshold to allow representation of opinions that would see 1 list seat in the 120 seat parliament, or 0.83% of votes cast.

Response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire

October 21, 2013

At his recent “Strange Fire” conference John MacArthur closed with 8 statements for theological conservatives who do not believe that spiritual gifts ceased in the 1st century. As one of these pentecostal theological conservatives, I reply below.

Continuationists give legitimacy to the contemporary charismatic movement.

Indeed, the existence of theologically conservative Christians who hold to the continuation of spiritual gifts does point to the legitimacy of that view.

Continuationists degrade the miraculous nature of true gifts given by God to the 1st Century Church.

Hardly. A small modern miracle is still a miracle. It is nowhere written that God is currently limited to demonstrations of his power that are pre-recorded for us in the Bible.

Continuationists severely limit how people can be responsive to charismatic confusion.

This is partly true, but not all that is charismatic is confusion.  It would seem that MacArthur wants a blanket ban on charismatic expression. The question is, has God really stopped pouring out the gifts of the spirit?

Continuationists who insist that God gives special revelation today gives way to people being led by confusion and error.

The chief answer to this is that continuationists are channelled by past revelation of the God who does not change. Any word for today will not contradict God’s word in history. Refusing to accept a direct word from God today (prophecy) sounds very much like that person is dull of hearing.

Continuationists tacitly deny the reformed tenet of Sola Scriptura.

MacArthur is correct here. Put another way, continuationists expect God to speak in other ways than through the pages of the scripture. However, the wise Christian realizes that while every word of God is truth, not every word of man is the word of God. The bible is an arbiter of truth because it is the approved word of God, but God may speak in any way he chooses.

By all means the Christian must “test all things, clinging to the good, avoiding every kind of evil”. This is not achieved by putting a blanket ban on something that God does not.

Continuationists open the door to speaking in tongues which is the mindless ecstacy of the charismatic expression.

Tongues in the Bible were not just languages. “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.”

Continuationists assert the gift of healing and in turn affirm the fraudulent ministry of healers.

Is God unable to heal today? “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.”

Continuationists distract from the Holy Spirit’s true ministry by enticing people to buy into a false ministry.

The spirit gives gifts to all:

“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,  to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”

The Lord gives ministries as he wills:

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

Marriage

March 25, 2013

What is marriage? That seems to be the question of the day. My particular view is informed by my understanding of the Bible’s revelation. This is not an experimentally or statistically or democratically derived view; I would call it a historically informed Christian view. Marriage is: a creation of God, a picture of God himself, a means of multiplying children for God, and a prophecy of humanity’s final destiny.

Marriage began at the very start of creation, if not as the first work of God, it certainly was his crowning achievement. The first marriage came about in the creation of man, which happened in this way. On the sixth day of creation, God created a man named Adam from the dust of the earth. But although Adam was able to enjoy the rest of God’s creation, God saw that it was not good for him to be alone. So God took one of Adam’s ribs, and formed from it a woman, to be Adam’s helper. God brought Adam and the woman together, and Adam named her “woman”, because she was formed from his own flesh. From this we see that God’s answer to a lack of relationship for Adam was not the creation of another being the same as him, from the same dust, but a different being, yet from his own flesh. So, in the first marriage we have a coming together which is a kind of reunion where that which was removed from Adam is rejoined to him.

Man was created in the image of God. Moses tells us: “In the image of God he created him, male and female he created them”. Paul adds “Man is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man”. Although it is true to say that it is Adam who pre-eminently bears that image, Eve both shares and completes that image. Firstly, woman was created from Adam’s flesh, and secondly in marriage Adam and Eve are joined together and become one flesh again. So the image of God in humanity is complete when man and woman are joined together in the relationship of marriage.

Adam also named his wife “Eve”, which means “the mother of the living”. Marriage is not a loose joining together of two equivalent partners, as in a friendship or contractual arrangement between peers. Instead, the marriage joins back together two different beings who share the same flesh for a God-given purpose that individually neither can achieve. For although God had a particular purpose in Eve for Adam, to meet his immediate need for relationship, he had a further purpose: to multiply the image of God through Eve’s children. So marriage is beautiful in that it knits two awesome creatures of God together in a unity which is a picture of God himself, and also in that it multiplies that image in sons and daughters.

Marriage has a further purpose in God’s design however. God’s creation is a picture of the whole scope of time from the beginning to its end. To summarize that picture, God works for a time building the world, and at the end we have a culmination where Adam and Eve are joined together in marriage to rule the world under God. This is the completed creation which is supremely beautiful and good. But we do not see this completed creation today, or in the previous thousands of years of history, as we are all painfully aware. However, God’s plans may seem slow, but they are never frustrated. The beautiful marriage at the end of creation is still coming! For the marriage of Adam the son of God to a woman created by God for him, is a pre-figure of the marriage of Jesus the Son of God, to his church at his second coming. Even to this day, Jesus waits while God prepares for him a beautiful bride, in the Christian church. This church is not made of stone, but it is a living church made up of all those, men and women, who accept the image of the son of God in their lives, who can call the Son of God their Lord.

I think the primary thing to take from the reality of what marriage is, is that it is God’s. He created it. He has a plan for it both in the microcosm of one man and one woman and in the macro of his only son Jesus and his bride. In whatever way we relate to marriage we must remember whose it is. As the Bible warns: “Let the marriage bed be held in honour by all, but the sexually immoral and adulterers God will judge”.

Item on 3 News, Christchurch’s Forgotten Residents

July 25, 2012

http://www.3news.co.nz/Christchurchs-forgotten-residents/tabid/423/articleID/262058/Default.aspx

My MMP Review Submission

May 14, 2012

Should the 5% threshold be kept or changed? Why? If you recommend change, what should it be and why?:

The threshold should be lowered. Currently we accept that up to 4.99% of voters may have their votes discarded. This is undemocratic. I am in favour of the threshold being enough votes to achieve 1 list seat.

Should the one electorate seat threshold be kept or changed? Why? If you recommend change, what should it be and why?

If a party wins an electorate seat, this should have no effect on the threshold for the party vote. With the current 5% party vote threshold, If a party wins an electorate seat, and achieves 4% of the party vote, they should still receive only one seat. Any party vote threshold should always apply. This would discourage the sort of election engineering which happened with Act/National in Epsom. In the last election, the Conservatives received much more of the party vote than Act, but all conservative votes were discarded.

Proportion of electorate seats to list seats. Is this a problem, and what should be done to fix it?:

I see list seats being a problem when list members go against the party platform which saw them enter parliament.  Also, list MPs can be virtually guaranteed a place in parliament via list position, making them less accountable to the electorate. One idea I had was that “list seats” would be vested as proxy votes with the party leader, instead of becoming MPs. This would mean that all seats are electorate seats with proportionality of parties achieved by the party leaders potentially having more than one vote in parliament. In the case where a small party achieved enough party vote to enter parliament, but did not win an electorate seat, the party leader would enter parliament with a number of votes to match the share of  the party vote.