Tag Archives: Jesus

“Immediatist vs Incrementalist” debate analysis, Part IV: Straw men and the Bible

1010893_636469939752357_1169770429_nAbolish Human Abortion followers love to use the term “straw man” to dismiss pro-life arguments that point out their inconsistencies.

(For example, during their recent “Immediatist vs Incrementalist” debate, AHA’s T. Russell Hunter called it a “very, very silly straw man” when Center for Bio-Ethical Reform’s Gregg Cunningham challenged Hunter for saying he would let a secularist save the life of his 2-year-old but not let a secularist help him save the lives of children marked for abortion [beginning at 1:20:20 on the video].)

So today let’s talk about straw men.

Repeatedly throughout the debate, Hunter blamed incrementalists for the fact that abortion has remained legal in the U.S. for 43 years, and this because we don’t have enough faith in God. Excerpted from his closing argument (1:53:39-1:59:47), italicized/underlined emphases mine for points to make afterward:

The Word of God is clear on at least this point. When there are grave injustices and evils going on in your midst, you ought to, because you love your neighbor, do justice and show mercy.

My big beef – my big problem- with the incrementalism is that people, instead of trusting in the Word of God and coming together as the bride of Christ and bringing the Gospel into conflict with the evil of the age, and doing what we are commanded to do, instead of being like Jonah to Nineveh, we go and we say, “What do the laws say? What can I get within the current federal ruling?”…

The debate between immediatism and incrementalism, when it’s couched in the, “which should we rally around, which should we come together,” if all Christians had to say, I’m going to go all my funding all my energy, my time, my talent, my church, which project should the people of God do? You may call it binary. Should we all pick up the ax and lay it to the trunk of the tree over and over and over, no matter how long it takes…. Should we do that – should that be what we unify around – or should we continue to say that’s good, I like that, but I’m gonna work on cutting down these branches….

My contention is that the people of God are under a false delusion that incrementalism is what they ought to be paying attention to. They ought to be unifying….

I don’t find incrementalism in the Bible. I don’t find incrementalism in the historical record of fighting social justice, except for that it is as a tutor to tell us don’t play around with it….

It’s just a question of like, do you believe in that God?…

If we can get people to believe in Him and trust in Him we can abolish abortion. But if we can’t get people to believe in Him and trust in Him we will not abolish abortion.

chewing-gumThe emphasized sections highlight three flaws – straw men, if you will – in Hunter’s logic.

False premise

First, Hunter sets up a false premise, claiming we must choose between immediatism and incrementalism.

But Hunter is the only one “couching” it as an either/or. As Cunningham repeatedly rebutted, Hunter’s assumption is flawed and binary. Incrementalists pursue both strategies. We can walk and chew gum. Hunter apparently can’t.

Let babies stuck in the branches die

Second, Hunter glosses over the babies he is callously willing to sacrifice while focusing on chopping down the abortion tree with his ax, “no matter how long it takes.” Russell repeatedly refuses to stop and own the span of time between when immediatists began axing and when the tree falls. How exactly do we “show mercy” to our neighbors caught in the branches of abortion while ignoring them to hack at the tree “over and over and over, no matter how long it takes“?

Blame incrementalists when immediatism fails

Third, Hunter says we only need faith to stop abortion, but apparently the faith of he and his band isn’t strong enough. If they fail, it’s our fault. International Coalition of Abolitionist Societies reiterated their convenient escape hatch/scapegoat in a recent Facebook post:


In other words, there’s a Goliath II blocking AHA from getting to Goliath I.

Scott Klusendorf of Life Training Institute responded to that logic fail in his article analyzing the debate:

Hunter never once said how his policy of immediatism plays out in the real world. How, exactly, does it work to insist on the immediate abolition of abortion? Got the votes for that? Here is where Hunter’s argument is truly self-sealing. He states that if only all incrementalists would become immediatists, we could take the ax to the root and win.

So there you have it. When you can’t explain how your strategy actually works in the real world, you just fault your opponents for your failure to execute. This reminds me of faith healers who blame the victim for “not having enough faith” when he doesn’t immediately recover from a systemic illness….

… Hunter’s reply was that pro-life incrementalists don’t trust the power of the risen Lord and thus don’t embrace immediatism. But wait. If Hunter truly believes the power of the risen Lord enables us to end abortion immediately, why wait for us? Doesn’t that same power enable small groups as well as large ones?

If so, stop blaming the pro-life movement for not joining your immediatist crusade. After all, the gospel proclamation began with just twelve men, accompanied by signs and wonders, proclaiming the power of the risen Jesus in the very city where he was crucified in the face of hostility far worse than Hunter faces today.

Hunter also stated, “I don’t find incrementalism in the Bible.” If so, it’s only because he doesn’t want to. Cunningham gave but three examples (2:00:12-2:02:16), as summarized by Klusendorf:

First, Paul (1 Cor. 3) works incrementally to convey hard truths to weak brothers in the faith. He gives them milk instead of solid food. He revealed God’s law to them incrementally so they could digest it. Second, Jesus (Mark 10:4) says that God instructed Moses to relax the law on marriage because the people were not ready for tough divorce codes just then. Gradually, however, Christ toughens those laws. Jesus said this! Third, when Peter asked about paying the temple tax, Jesus compromised and paid lest he offend weaker Jews. Jesus was skillfully picking his fights!

Klusendorf added:

Commenting on the debate, Dr. Marc Newman, professor of rhetoric at Regent University and well-known debate coach, writes:

Look at Acts 17, with Paul on Mars Hill. He preaches a sermon during which he, quite interestingly, doesn’t cite a single scripture, but does invoke the local religion, philosophers, and poets. At the end, some scoff, some convert, and others say that they want to hear more on this subject.

Similarly, God in his foreknowledge and omnipotence, could convert all of the elect in the womb, but he does not. C.S. Lewis came to Christ incrementally: from an atheist, to a mythologist, to a theist, to a Christian – and this road has been traveled by many others.

God saves people in much the same way that incrementalists save children. God makes it clear that it is His desire that all be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-4), and that He takes no delight in the destruction of the wicked (Ez. 33:11). Nevertheless, we all come, one at a time. This one gets saved, then that one.

Imagine if the apostles waited until they crafted a strategy that resulted in the salvation of everyone before they actually began evangelizing? The Church would have been strangled in its cradle. No. The Apostle Paul says that he works separately among the cultures in all ways that don’t require him to compromise the core of the faith, becomes all things to all men, that by all means, he might saves some – not all, some (1 Cor. 9:19-23). Paul even declares that he will live as one under the law, even though he is not under the law, if by doing so he can save some. If Paul was an incrementalist, count me in.

In short, if Paul and the other apostles didn’t immediately end the social ills of their day by applying the power of the risen Christ, what makes Hunter think he can do so today?

Actually, as he stated during the debate and elsewhere, Hunter doesn’t believe “immediatism” means “immediate,” the topic of my next post.

Also read:

Part I: Let babies die today, we can save the rest later
Part II: There’s only one way to cut down a tree?
Part III: Social justice history vs TR Hunter
Scott Klusendorf: Debate between Gregg Cunningham and T. Russell Hunter
Jonathan Van Maren: Four observations from the Cunningham vs. Hunter debate

Stanek Sunday quote: Jesus the pragmatist

shrewdsnakes_1x-1Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. They sent some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to meet with him.

“Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

But Jesus knew their evil motives. “You hypocrites!” he said. “Why are you trying to trap me? Here, show me the coin used for the tax.” When they handed him a Roman coin, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”

Caesar’s,” they replied.

“Well, then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”

His reply amazed them, and they went away.

~ Matthew 22:15-22, quoted by Center for Bio-Ethical Reform’s Gregg Cunningham last night in a debate against Abolish Human Abortion’s T. Russell Hunter, “Incrementalism vs Immediatism,” as an example of Jesus’ pragmatism. The Pharisees expected Jesus to oppose the tax, and rightfully so – Jesus owed no one anything, particularly a subservient ruler, nor did the Jews, as chosen children of the true King. But Jesus determined the time was not yet right to exert His authority and trigger the revolution, demonstrating shrewdness, which Cunningham indicated could be applied to the pro-life movement via incrementalism and pragmatic public speech.


Easter Word: “I have seen the Lord!”


Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying.

As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”

At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.””

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

~ John 20:16-18, New International Version

AHA’s dangerous foray into cyberbullying

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 3.23.21 PM

I’m writing today about the latest development in the Abolish Human Abortion saga, because I’m concerned someone may end up dead if this doesn’t stop.

Everyone who spends time online has heard the term “cyberbullying.” Defined, it is:

… bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.

Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.

Particularly note, “rumors… posted on social networking sites.”

Background first.

AHA’s communicative forté is social media, particularly Facebook, stemming from the fact it grew to prominence online.

Pro-lifers who have heard of AHA will say the group is known for attacking both the pro-life movement and the Catholic Church. (Interestingly, AHA has scrubbed several of its most flagrant attacks at the links provided.)

AHA may dispute these as its claim to fame, although it freely admits it seeks to “clash.”

I’ll not get into AHA’s problems with the Catholic Church other than to say it shuns the papal structure, which I think plays into the current situation.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 4.27.03 PMAs for the plm, AHA’s foremost complain is against its strategy to incrementally overturn abortion. AHA advocates “immediatism” and rejects any pro-life law with any exception whatsoever.

So, for instance, even if the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act had no rape/incest exception, AHA would oppose it because it only protects babies 20 weeks and older.

To be clear, the default position of the plm is immediatism, but given the fact that abortion is legal in the United States throughout all nine months of pregnancy, together with the judiciary and political climate, and we are at this point saving who we can when we can. This strategy is comparable to that undertaken by the Underground Railroad or Nazi resistors like Corrie ten Boom, Oskar Schindler, and Irena Sendler.

If you take AHA’s immediatism to its logical conclusion, it can only support a worldwide ban against abortion, IVF, and hormonal contraception. All other laws are incremental.

I gave that background to get to this.

In recent weeks, some AHA members have begun turning against fellow members and publicly outing many perceived sins and unrepentant sinners on Facebook. This includes accusing one person of having a mental illness. This includes posting a secretly recorded phone conversation. Some of the “evidence” was received secondhand or even thirdhand.

Seems to me this is the natural flow of AHA’s legalism, now turning inward against its own people, although those making the accusations will say they are following Jesus’ mandate in Matthew 18 to try to turn fellow Christians from sin.1369195772_Nibblefest-Contest-ACEO-The-Scarlet-Letter

One difference is, of course, when Jesus said to “tell it to the church” after all private appeals had failed, He didn’t mean to tell it to millions of people on Facebook, both inside and outside the Church, which is how AHAers have been doing it.

In recent days, two of those “called to repentance” on Facebook were involved in a vehicle accident.

Their van was totalled, although thankfully neither they nor their children were hurt.

About this the AHA administrator who had publicly rebuked them responded, “wonder if it is divine discipline a wake up call to them.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 2.10.47 PMThis is simply a heinous response.

The other problem is AHA leaders aren’t cleaning their own house by condemning these cyber witch hunters – who are posting on an AHA Facebook page or in their capacity as AHA members or administrators.

Those claiming not to be in charge say they can’t do anything because there is no hierarchal structure to AHA – because the Pope.

AHA leader Don Cooper brought up the Pope a couple times to explain why there is no one in authority to stop AHA inquisitioners in his YouTube video, “Open Rebuke on Facebook: Right or Wrong?,” in which he would not answer that question, by the way.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 3.35.14 PMThis denial of responsibility has become increasingly ludicrous, particularly since AHA now has many chapters, or “societies,” around the country and even in Australia, has trademarked its logo, has incorporated (in which “principals” had to be legally be named, see left) as the International Coalition of Abolitionist Societies, Inc., and has a for-profit “small business” side venture called The Basileian Group, through which it sells its wares.

In fact, it is opening the door to anarchy to deny anyone is in charge of a group.

Such as concept may work in hippy communes but not in real life, though Cooper tries (beginning at 18:56):

If indeed it was wrong what this person did in, you know, rebuking this person on Facebook, then that needs to be proven, that needs to be argued out, that needs to be, “Let’s show in the Scriptures where that’s wrong, or let’s show that the person” – you can’t just say it’s wrong, and you need to apologize for it. That’s not how it works.

Now if we were like a cult, if we were like an organization that was run by one person or maybe like this small board of people, then you could do that. The Pope of the organization could say, “Ah, you broke our rules you’re out of here. Ah, I declare that’s wrong. There’s no discussion, no debate. You can’t try and defend yourself. This is wrong, because I as the leader have decreed it wrong, and so be it. I interpret the Scriptures to say you are wrong, and that’s that. Now let’s move on.”

If the abolitionist movement or Abolish Human Abortion was that kind of entity, then that would work, right? But it’s not. The abolitionist movement is a body of believers, people who in – there’s no hierarchy of organization to say this person’s in charge except for Jesus Christ.

This is so mixed up. To even wonder whether posting a one-sided tome itemizing another person’s perceived sins on Facebook is right or wrong – is WRONG. That’s just WRONG, Don.

Some of those accusations were highly personal and embarrassing, dare I say earth-shattering to some, and the Internet never forgets. Google a person’s name, and AHA accusations pop up? (Will someone sue?)

Then to create a straw man, in this case the Pope, to rationalize why leaders of an organization can’t censure behavior that might go so far as to send a weak or unstable person over the bend to harm him or herself is also WRONG, Don.

So if AHA leadership can’t come out and say it, I will: STOP with the Facebook witch hunts before someone gets hurt, or worse.

Duck Dynasty star: Don’t ever vote for pro-abortion politicians

1219-phil-robertson-2by Carder

There are about 90 to 100 million of us who claim Jesus. The problem is only half of you register to vote and out of the half of you that registers to vote, only half of that group actually goes and votes….

Therefore, when you’re looking up there and griping and complaining about what you see in Washington, D.C., you might as well shut up. The reason they’re there is we’re putting them there. If you don’t get anything else out of this, remember this — register to vote for crying out loud…

If the dude or woman is for ripping human fetuses out of their mother’s womb, don’t ever vote for that. Don’t ever say ‘yes’ to that. It’s terrible.

~ Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson admonishing Christians to register to vote and NOT to vote for pro-abortion politicians, The Times, September 15

Pro-life blog buzz 9-5-14

pro-lifeby Susie Allen, host of the blog, Pro-Life in TN, and Kelli

  • Secular Pro-Life lists 8 things that After Tiller left out of their federally funded PBS broadcast.
  • At LifeSiteNews.com, Dustin Siggins produces some interesting insights he gleaned from an After Tiller Google+ Chat, even though the panel had no representation from pro-lifers. One of the abortionists, Dr. Susan Robinson, made chilling statements of twisted logic, so often seen in those whose life’s work is ending others’ lives:

    Unsurprisingly, Robinson managed to work in the idea that women are “autonomous” beings, and thus killing an unborn child is morally acceptable. “My patient is the woman sitting before me,” she said, which is reminiscent of the Planned Parenthood lobbyist in Florida who told legislators that a baby who survives an abortion does not qualify as a patient — only the mother does.

    “I am pro-life. I am pro-women’s lives. I believe women’s lives trump the fetus under all circumstances,” Robinson said. Taking away the freedom to have an abortion “…is treating [a woman] as a housing unit,” she added, and women as a whole as ‘second-class’ members of society.”

    Other highlights include the introduction of a young doctor committed to late term abortions, Dr. Carmen Landau, who is new to Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque, to take over for the aging late term abortionists.

    MSNBC’s Irin Carmon, the call’s pro-choice moderator, remarked on the commitment of pro-life activists:

    As a result, you do have amazing pro-choice activism. But you also have people who wake up every day and think that abortion is the biggest abomination that they have ever experienced, and that they will ever see in their lifetime, and they’re fully devoting themselves to fighting it.

Moral Movement prayer vigil

  • Stand True’s Bryan Kemper tells of his experience attending a Planned Parenthood-sponsored prayer vigil. Interestingly enough, the ministers praying did not mention the name of Jesus once:

    They proclaimed that this prayer vigil was inclusive for all Christians, Muslims, gays and lesbians…. But of course there was not one mention of the innocent human beings being slaughtered in the abortion mills across America. One person even told Mark Wolf “killing pre-born humans is a narrow focus, not worthy of their prayer.

    Pro-life protesters were not allowed to show their signs depicting the victims of abortion, Planned Parenthood’s cash cow:

    [A participant] explained to me that they were welcoming all people to this prayer vigil and that she did not want our “dead baby” signs there because they were divisive. I tried to explain to her that Planned Parenthood was killing innocent human beings and that was more divisive than anything. I tried to explain to the minister standing next to her, wearing a collar, that abortion kills innocent children. He just smiled and said, “That’s your opinion.”

    I wonder which part he considers opinion – that the children are innocent, or that abortion kills them.

  • At Real Clear Religion, Jeanneane Maxon and Clarke Forsythe remember the great social reformer William Wilberforce on his birthday:

    Strategically focused, he combined long-term goals with short-term objectives. These included limiting the slave trade and reducing it as much as possible, and then regulating slavery (through e.g., registry laws) before it could realistically be prohibited.

    One urban legend that needs to be dispelled is that Wilberforce “repented” of his “incrementalism,” or step-by-step approach. There’s no historical record of this. The fact is that Wilberforce pursued abolition of the slave trade and the full abolition of slavery along with short-term objectives that would limit it. It was not either/or; it was both/and.

  • Survivors writes about being contacted by a woman in need of materials to present to a friend who is considering abortion. “She said I have two weeks to convince her. This is day one of those 14 days.” The group mailed the woman information, but is also asking for prayers and encouragement in this situation as she seeks to save both mother and child from abortion.
  • Wesley J. Smith points out the rhetoric used by those in the fertility and research industries to dehumanize human beings for their own means:

    By lying about the nature of the embryo, pro embryonic stem cell research advocates hoped to manipulate society into supporting their research agendas.

    These arguments were always–and remain–false….

    Nor is there such a thing biologically as a pre-embryo – as Princeton biologist Lee Silver admitted. That is a political term invented to skew ethical debates and decisions to permit the manipulation of human life….

    This is biology: At no point in a human life are we not a human life–that started from the time you were a one-cell embryo and has continued uninterrupted until the moment you read these words. And that is true whether your genesis occurred in your mother’s fallopian tube or a Petri dish.


  • John Smeaton reports on a protest the SPUC staged outside the Polish embassy in London to show support for pro-life Professor Bogdan Chazen, who was fired from his post at Holy Family Children’s Hospital in Warsaw for refusing to perform an abortion on a disabled child who died naturally following birth.
  • At Women’s Rights without Frontiers, Reggie Littlejohn shares an interview in which she discusses her personal faith journey and how God called her to her ministry.
  • Saynsumthn’s Blog says that the web address for Planned Parenthood’s award-winning teen sex education website, Teen Wire, has apparently been purchased by a porn site. Since PP’s site wasn’t exactly telling teens how to abstain from sex, maybe this isn’t such a stretch:

    According to CNS News, some time ago, David Pounder, a successful pornography star and producer, said that Planned Parenthood’s [teen] website was an excellent source for young people to learn about what he considers the benefits of viewing pornography….

    “Planned Parenthood is an excellent organization that helps people by focusing on how people actually are behaving (i.e., having sex, watching porn, doing drugs, etc.), as opposed to helping people based on how they should be behaving (abstaining from sex, watching the news, eating healthy, etc.),” Pounder, a pornography producer and actor, told Cybercast News Service.

    “Men in their teens are accessing porn, and I think it’s a normal thing,” he said.

    What will they say now???

Faithful should stay in politics but remember to make Jesus first

Quotation-Timothy-S-Goeglein-culture-politics-Meetville-Quotes-216001I think as we descend into more cultural and societal chaos on the road to the last day, it will be more and more important for those of us in politics to decide which comes first, faith or politics. They can be balanced. I try, sometimes fail, but keep trying. A growing number of people on the right are no longer trying to balance. They are either going completely out of the public square, or all in without Christ in their heart or on their tongue thinking they can just visit him on Sunday.

We should find balance. We may fail, but we should keep trying. We should not recede from the public square and a growing number of conservatives are showing more willingness to drive from the public square those who urge greater measures of Christian grace and charity than they prefer.

On the last day there will be a narrow gate. That makes me pessimistic about my future in politics and the future voices on the right when cultural and social issues come to the forefront. But for those here and elsewhere, though I may fall short because I’m a sinner, I’m with Jesus first and all the rest comes after.

~ Erick Erickson, Red State, August 21

Pro-abortion Pelosi invokes Baby Jesus for illegal immigrants

by Carder


Those who have read “The Word,” know that Jesus was not a refugee, never did anything illegal, and, more importantly, is God. Mary, an unwed teenager (whom Pelosi most likely would have encouraged to abort Baby Jesus) was returning to Bethlehem with her betrothed Joseph for a census. There was no violence; just no room in the inn.

Moses was one of few boys who lived when the King of Egypt ordered all newborn boys be killed to reduce the Hebrew population.

In fact, both Baby Jesus and Moses would not exist in America today if the infanticide policies Pelosi and President Obama support were legal. There would be no need to support the illegal trafficking of children (which had been well orchestrated many months prior) because these children could be killed instead.

If Pelosi truly cares about these children, she can provide them with housing on any of her many properties and pay for their basic needs out of her own pocket of over $30 million.

~ bblankley contradicting House member Nancy Pelosi’s statements equating the lives of Jesus and Moses with the need for compassion towards the thousands of illegal immigrant children at the US/Mexican border, RedState, July 28