Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Abortion - An Evaluation in the Light of Scripture

Introduction

The postmodern world we live in is characterized by humanism. Ethical values are dominated by human preference in contradistinction to the Bible as the only authority. Even the Church has been influenced by this to such an extent that liberal theology dominates many ethical issues in the Church. Everyone has the right to make his own choices as he sees fit. Individuals make decisions based on their feelings, thoughts and background.

Between a hundred and two hundred years ago the effect of Christianity on society was still visible as human behaviour and laws were reflective of Biblical values. The sixties saw a rebellion against everything that limit human freedom, choices and preferences. This manifested in the hippy era through the sex revolution. The sixties also saw the rise of militant feminism. The result is a liberal postmodern society that creates ethical laws around the self.

This gave rise to an era of sexual promiscuity where unwanted pregnancies are the order of the day. A materialistic society that is driven by greed and money has no room for a pregnant woman who must take time out to give birth and raise her child. Even parents who have children do not focus on raising their children according to Biblical values but are rather driven by selfish greed to make money. And so abortion was one of those issues that were legalized by a selfish postmodern society that the Church should address.

To discover what the Bible says about abortion, this study will attempt to answer the following questions: When does life begin? Is abortion a form of murder? What does the Bible say about the sanctity of life?

1. What is abortion?

Abortion is the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 20 weeks. The pregnancy is terminated by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo. The term abortion most commonly refers to the induced abortion of a human pregnancy (Wikipedia, 2014).

Here are some statistics about abortion to highlight the magnitude of this issue.

An estimated 44 million abortions are performed globally each year, with slightly under half of those performed unsafely. Unsafe abortions, however, result in approximately 47,000 maternal deaths and 5 million hospital admissions per year globally. Approximately 205 million pregnancies occur each year worldwide. Over a third are unintended and about a fifth end in induced abortion. Most abortions result from unintended pregnancies. In the United Kingdom, 1 to 2% of abortions are done due to genetic problems in the fetus. (Wikipedia, 2014).

2. When does life begin?

The medical world acknowledges that life begins at conception. John MacArthur (1992) quoted Dr Jerome Lejeune as follows:

“Life has a very long history, but each individual has a very neat beginning, the moment of its conception. The material link is the molecular thread of DNA. In each reproductive cell, this ribbon roughly one meter long is cut into 23 pieces or chromosomes. As soon as the 23 paternally derived chromosomes are united through fertilization to the 23 maternal ones, the full genetic meeting necessary to express all the inborn qualities of the new individual is gathered, i.e., personal constitution.”

To indicate that everything is present with the unborn baby, which constitute a human being, John MacArthur (1992) quote Dr Jerome Lejeune as follows:

“At two months of age, the human being is less than one thumb-length from the head to the rump, he would fit at ease in a nutshell but everything is there…hands, feet, head, organs, brains. In the fourth week is consciousness. All are in place. His heart has been beating for a month already and fingerprints can be detected. His heart is beating at two months at 150 to 170 beats a minute. To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion.”

Dr Robert P. George wrote a book in 2008 called: “Embryo: A Defence of Human Life.” He said the following about the beginning of life:

“That is, in human reproduction, when the sperm joins the ovum, these two individual cells cease to be, and their union generates a new and distinct organism. This organism is a whole, though at the beginning developmentally immature, member of the human species. Human embryos, whether they are formed by fertilization (natural or in vitro) or by successful somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT — i.e., cloning), do have the internal resources and active disposition to develop themselves to the mature stage of a human organism. Thus, human embryos are what the embryology textbooks say they are, namely, human organisms – living individuals of the human species – at the earliest developmental stage.”

According to Gilbert (2010), there exist two popular views when life begins.

Firstly, there is the metabolic view:
According to this view, there is no single development moment marking the beginning of human life. Both the sperm and egg cells should individually be considered to be units of life in the same respect as any other single or multicellular organism. Thus, neither the union of two gametes nor any developmental point thereafter should be designated as the beginning of new life.

Secondly, there is the Genetic view:
The genetic view takes the position that the creation of a genetically unique individual is the moment at which life begins. This event is often described as taking place at fertilization, thus fertilization marks the beginning of human life. During this developmental event, the genes originating from two sources combine to form a single individual with a different and unique set of genes.

From the above, it can be seen that the medical world does acknowledge that life begins at conception, although some hold to the metabolic view. The metabolic view is in support of abortion. Of utmost importance to us as Christians are what does the Bible say about conception.

According to R.C. Sproul (2010:46), Scripture assumes a continuity of life before the time of birth to after the time of birth. The same language and the same pronouns are used for both stages. God’s involvement in the life of a person extends back before conception. In Psalm 139:13-16, David said: “You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” In this passage, Scripture clearly states that the forming of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a work of God. David refers to himself as “me” before he was born, and said that all his days were accounted for before birth (verse 16). This means God’s view of human life extends back before conception. According to Sproul (2010), the Hebrew word in this passage for “unformed substance” is “embryo.”

Another passage that proves God’s involvement with life in the womb is Isaiah 49:1-5. From this passage, the following quotes show that the unborn baby is distinct from the mother and was treated with a unique personal identity. “The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother, he named my name” (verse 1). “He said to me, ‘You are my servant’” (verse 3). From this passage, we can see that God knew Jeremiah before he was born. He was known by God in a personal manner and as a personal being before birth. The unborn embryo is viewed by God as a person.

An important question is whether personhood starts at birth. Scripture regards personhood as beginning before birth. David says: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps. 51:5). David recognizes two important things in this passage. David links his personhood and state of sinfulness to both conception and birth. He recognizes his personhood at birth and conception which indicates that there is continuity between a child that is conceived and a child that is born. An impersonal being, a “blob of protoplasm,” cannot be a moral agent (Sproul, 2010:49). If David’s moral history extends back to conception, then his personal history must also extend back to conception.

Another fascinating passage that tells us how God views the fetus in the womb is Luke 1:40-44. This passage describes the meeting between Mary, the mother of Jesus and her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist. Elizabeth said: “Behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy” (verse 44). Firstly, Elizabeth called the unborn fetus in her womb a baby and not just a lifeless or impersonal fetus. Secondly, the personhood of the fetus is shown with the attributes of joy. This shows that before John was born, he manifested mental comprehension and emotions which is attributes of personhood.

3. Conception is an act of God.

So far we have seen that life and personhood extend back before conception. The Bible also shows that conception is an act of God. Conception is controlled by God under His sovereignty. It is God who makes conception possible and it is also God who prevents conception if He so wills. We will explore this further from Scripture.

In Psalm 127:3, the Bible says: “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” Children are a gift from God and He creates all life. Even in a negative sense, God prevents conception. Sarai said: “The Lord has prevented me from bearing children” (Gen. 16:2). In Genesis 20:18 we read: “The Lord had closed fast all the wombs of the household of Abimelech.” In a positive sense, it is God who gives conception. “Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went into her. And the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son” (Ruth 4:13). From this passage, it is clear the Lord enables people to conceive. Conception is a Sovereign act of God to grant life. Even the timing is in His control. “Sarah conceived and bore a son, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him.” (Gen. 21:2). These passages illustrate that God is the power behind barrenness and God is the power behind conception (MacArthur, 1992).

Paul said: “Who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace” (Gal. 1:15). God said to Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you” (Jer. 1:5). These verses imply that God foreordained people before they were even conceived and then He was solely responsible for their conception.

What about deformed babies? Is God the creator of those? “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” (Ex. 4:11). Sometimes it is the purposes of God to make people dumb and deaf and seeing and blind (MacArthur, 1992). Why does God allow this to happen? The disciples asked Jesus the same question. “‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents, but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him’” (John 9:2-3). Babies are born deformed to display the glory of God in their parents’ lives and their own lives. It is only the power of the Spirit of grace that enables parents of a deformed baby to raise him or her and give God all the honour and glory in that circumstance. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9). Likewise, when such a child grew up and in his humble disabled state, serve Christ, it is a testimony of God’s grace to even the mentally handicapped. “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor. 1:27).

4. God is sovereign over all things.

God is sovereign over all things. Over life and death and good and evil. God directly does the good and He allows the evil to happen without Him being the author of sin. After the death of his children, Job said: “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). The Lord said through Isaiah: “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things” (Is. 45:7). “All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be” (Is. 66:2). After everything played out in Joseph’s life when he was sold into slavery by an evil plan of his brothers, he said: “You (his brothers) meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Gen. 50:20). Everything works out according to the purposes of God for His good (Rom. 8:28). Even the bad and evil in the world. This means that even a baby who was conceived during a rape is not exempt from the Sovereignty of God. We can therefore not conclude that any conception is an unwanted pregnancy and can be terminated. God even allowed that conception to take place through the evil act of rape.

The Bible indicates that unborn babies are considered living human beings before they are born. The Biblical evidence shows that life begins at conception. The Bible further shows that conception is a Sovereign act of God. God grants the life that starts in the womb of a woman. Who are we to intervene and stop that process? Who are we to interrupt the process, which God granted for a new life to begin? It is a violation of the sixth commandment to take a person’s life into one's hand and deliberately terminate it.

5. Is abortion murder?

One of the core issues with abortion is whether it is murder to deliberately abort a fetus? Is the fetus potential life and is abortion the termination of potential life? Is abortion a violation of the sixth commandment of God, not to commit murder?

To answer these questions, we have to look at the sanctity of life. How does God view human life? Who has the right over life and death? We already saw that Scripture shows that life extends back before conception. We also saw that God is Sovereign over conception and that he grants it or prevents it. God is even Sovereign over evil and everything falls within His decrees; good or bad. If this is true, then we are busy with human life, which God views as a person, which He willed to be conceived in the womb of a woman. Do we then have the right to terminate that life? What is the Biblical view of the termination of the life of another person and in this case, the unborn baby who is regarded by God as a person?

Helmut Thielicke said: “Once a man ceases to recognize the infinite value of the human soul… then all he can recognize is that man is something to be used. But then he will also have to go further and recognize that some men can no longer be utilized and he arrives at the concept that there are some lives that have no value at all” (Sproul, 2010:17).

What do we mean when we say life is sacred? In Biblical terms, the sanctity of life is rooted and grounded in creation. Mankind is not viewed by the Bible as a cosmic accident, but a product of carefully executed creation by an eternal God (Sproul, 2010:21). Man is the crown of God’s creation and is assigned high value by his Creator. “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female…God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:26-31). The creation account provides the framework for human dignity. Creation in the image of God sets humans apart from all other creatures. The image and likeness of God by which mankind was created, connects God and mankind uniquely. In creation, humanity was given the ability to mirror and reflect the holy character of God (Sproul, 2010:22). When man fell into sin, the image of God was greatly affected by sin. To such an extent that man lost his sense of God and the ability to see the beauty of God’s creation in man. This caused humanity to have a low view of human life and that is why Cain killed Abel. This also affects people today and is the main reason abortion is practised. Humanity is in slavery to sin and their minds darkened by the fall. They have a low view of an unborn baby as an image-bearer of God and therefore they can easily discard it.

In James 3:9, speaking about the tongue, James says: “ With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God.” James acknowledges that with the tongue we curse that which was made in the image of God. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.” (Gen. 9:6). In this verse murder of another person is directly linked to the destroying of the image of God. The Biblical ethic is that because man is endowed with the image of God, his life is so sacred that any malicious destruction of it must be punished by execution (Sproul, 2010:24). This verse implies that assault against human life is considered by God as an assault against Him.

The sanctity of life is also reinforced by the Ten Commandments. “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13). “He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death” (Ex. 21:12). Jesus expounded the Ten Commandments even further. “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell” (Matt. 5:21-25). Jesus explained that the anger in a person's heart against another image-bearer of God is viewed by God as potential murder. This is even more clear when Jesus equate lust in a person's heart with committing adultery (Matt. 5:28). A fetus, although not yet a new born baby, is a person with the full potential of an actual human being. Without interference or unforeseen calamity, it will become a living human person. Any act to deliberately disrupt or destroy a fetus is an act of deliberately destroying potential life, which may be viewed as a potential murder.

According to R.C. Sproul (2010:29-30), Jesus sees the law against murder as including not only the act of actual murder but also actions of potential murder. He further notes that the Biblical law against adultery also requires purity. Thus, when the law prohibited negative actions, it implies the opposite positive actions as well. Therefore, a negative prohibition against actual murder implicitly involves a positive mandate to work for the protection and sustenance of life. Abortion does not promote the protection and sustenance of the unborn child, neither does it promote the sanctity of life.

Conclusion

Man is the crown of God’s creation. Even more so, man is created in the image of God. Human life is sacred in God’s eyes. Speaking with slander against an image-bearer of God falls into the category of murder. Humankind is endowed with the ability to make choices and to reason and think about things. He is also endowed with a conscience as a moral compass. God has commanded explicitly that the deliberate termination of another person’s life is murder (Ex. 20:13). Because of his ability to choose between right and wrong, God will judge any person who ends another person's life with eternal death unless he repents and receives God’s forgiving grace in Christ.

Life and personhood extend back before conception. God has decreed all life and He is sovereign over it. God is even sovereign overall good and evil. God gives the power and energy by which people commit evil deeds. Therefore, to regard any pregnancy, even those which result from rape, as unwanted and terminate it, is to deny God’s sovereignty over life and death. It is only God who can allow the termination of life by allowing it under his sovereign decree. We as human beings have no right to deliberately interrupt or terminate the process of life which was started at conception by God. There are difficult cases where the life of the mother is, for example, threatened by a dangerous birth. In those cases, the preservation of life still gets priority in the preserving of the mother’s life for the sake of the unborn fetus.

The ultimate conclusion is thus: abortion at any stage of the developing fetus is murder and God hates it. People who engage in the deliberate abortion of unborn babies are under the wrath of God and must repent and seek God’s forgiving grace. This article does not present all the answers about abortion but rather deals mostly with the normal cases of abortion due to unwanted pregnancies. That said, the principles discussed, relate directly to the difficult cases of abortion and must be prayerfully considered before termination of life by abortion. The principle of sanctity of life must always be maintained. We must always realize that we are dealing with the gift of life, created in the Holy presence of God, under His mercy and love, according to His sovereign decree.

Bibliography

Sproul, R.C. 2010. Abortion: A Rational Look at an Emotional Issue. Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust.

De Bruyn, P.J. 2013. The Ten Commandments. Potchefstroom: Potchefstroom Theological Publications.

MacArthur, J. What is Abortion? http://www.gty.org/resources/sermon-series/2 Date of access: 15 September 2014.

Gilbert, S.F. 2010. When does life begin? http://science.jburroughs.org/mbahe/BioEthics/Articles/Whendoeshumanlifebegin.pdf Date of access: 28 September 2014.

Wikipedia. 2014. Abortion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion Date of access: 28 September 2014.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Wat maak ons gereformeerd?

Wel, nie die blote feit dat ons Christene is nie. Talle Christene is nie gereformeerd nie. Die groot meerderheid Christene is nie gereformeerd nie. Ons betwyfel nie hulle Christenskap, omdat hulle nie gereformeerd is nie. Ons respekteer hulle oortuigings. Tog is dit vir ons self belangrik om gereformeerd te wees, omdat ons glo dat die gereformeerde verstaan van die Bybel die suiwerste is.

Maar wat is die besondere kenmerk van die gereformeerde verstaan van die Bybel? Daaroor kan baie gesê word, maar vir ons doel hier is dit belangrik om net die volgende te noem:

Die evangelie van genade

Gereformeerdes verstaan die boodskap van die Bybel as die evangelie van genade. Alle Christene kan dit ook sê, maar almal verstaan dit tog nie eenders nie. Saam met die Lutherane verstaan die Gereformeerdes die evangelie van genade as die boodskap dat ons uit genade alleen, sonder enige verdienste van ons kant, slegs vanweë die kruis van Christus gered word, en dat ons dit maar net kan ontvang deur die belofte van die evangelie te glo.

Dit beteken dat Gereformeerdes die boodskap van die verlossing uit genade op ’n radikale manier verstaan. Alle Christene glo dat ’n mens deur Gods genade gered word, maar in die meeste gevalle word tog een of ander element van menslike verdienste ingevoer wat meebring dat die redding nie as enkel uit genade verstaan word nie.

Soms word die genade as ’n soort krag verstaan wat God aan ’n mens gee om te kan doen wat Hy vra. Die krag van die genade sou ’n mens dan eintlik in staat stel om te doen wat nodig is om gered te word. Andere dink weer dat die geloof ’n voorwaarde is wat vervul moet word, op grond waarvan God jou dan red, al is jy nie in staat om goeie werke te doen nie. Die geloof word dan die één goeie werk op grond waarvan ’n mens gered word.

Albei hierdie opvattinge bevat ’n wettiese misverstand. Wanneer Gereformeerdes sê dat ’n mens deur die geloof alleen gered word, verstaan hulle die geloof nie as ’n verdienstelike werk nie, maar as die leë hand waarmee ons maar net ontvang wat God uit genade aan ons gee. Ons word werklik verniet, gratis, dit is: net deur Gods genade gered. Ons geloof is geen prestasie nie: dis maar net om te ontvang wat God ons uit vrye guns gee.

En wat meer is, ook daardie geloof is ’n geskenk van God. Die Bybel leer dat ’n mens se verlorenheid so radikaal en totaal is, dat ons geestelik dood is (Efesiërs 2:1). Ons kan nie uit onsself glo nie. Eers as God die wonder van ’n opwekking uit die dood aan ons verrig, kan ons glo. En God gee dit aan wie Hy wil. Dis ’n daad van sy verkiesende liefde. Dis genade om genade te kan ontvang. Dat Gereformeerdes die Bybelse leer van die uitverkiesing met dankbaarheid as die hart van die evangelie aanvaar, onderskei hulle van die meeste ander Christene. Maar juis dit maak ons gereformeerd.

Kerk van die Woord

Omdat Gereformeerdes glo dat ’n mens slegs uit genade en deur die geloof in die beloftes van die evangelie gered word, is die verkondiging van Gods Woord vir hulle van beslissende belang. ’n Protestantse kerk, glo Gereformeerdes, moet ’n kerk van die Woord wees. Die ideaal is dat die gemeente deur die omgang met die Woord van God opgebou word tot ’n mondige gemeente van belydende gelowiges wat nie net selfs in die heil deel nie, waar wat die eer van God op alle terreine van die lewe soek en as profete, priesters en konings vir Christus in die wêreld lewe en getuig.

Dit het geweldige gevolge vir die verstaan van die aard van die erediens. Nie die liturgie, sakramente, godsdienstige seremonies en religieuse praktyk nie, ook nie die gesellige saamwees van die gelowiges nie, maar die gepreekte Woord wat die verlorenheid van die mens onthul en die genade van God aan sondaars toesê, vorm die hart van die erediens en die hele bediening van die kerk.

Wanneer die Woord van God in welke opsig en om welke rede ook al uit sy sentrale posisie in die erediens en die kerklike lewe as geheel verdring word, is die gereformeerde karakter van die kerk in gevaar. Ook hierdie oortuiging maak ons gereformeerd.

Die wet van God

Dat die eer van God op alle terreine van die lewe gedien moet word, hang vir Gereformeerdes met hulle oortuiging saam dat ’n mens wat uit genade gered is – ook persoonlik deur die Gees geheilig en in die wêreld uitgestuur word om dáár die wil van God te doen.

Daarom neem Gereformeerdes ook die hele Woord van God ernstig op, as Ou en Nuwe Testament, as wet en evangelie. Hulle verstaan die Bybel nie net as die blye boodskap van vergiffenis nie, maar ook as die blye boodskap dat Christus die mag van die sonde oorwin het en dat gelowiges geroep word om in hulle hele lewe uit hierdie oorwinning van Christus te lewe en Gods gebod in alles te gehoorsaam.

Gereformeerdes is mense wat nie net hulle persoonlike lewe nie maar ook hulle gesins- en gemeenskapslewe, hulle arbeid en ekonomie, ja, óók hulle politieke lewe volgens die eise van Gods wet wil inrig. Hulle glo, soos Abraham Kuyper gesê het, dat daar geen duimbreedte van hierdie aardse werklikheid is waarvan Christus nie sê: “Dit is Myne!” nie. Dit is tipies gereformeerd om die wet van God op alle lewensterreine te wil gehoorsaam.

Die verbond

Dit was nooit die bedoeling dat daar binne Protestantse geledere verdeeldheid sou ontstaan nie. Tog het dit ongelukkig wel gebeur. Die eerste skeiding van die weë het gekom toe sommige binne die Protestantse geledere radikaal met die kerklike tradisie gebreek, die kinderdoop verwerp, die buitengewone gawes van die Gees nagejaag en die geesdriftige Christendom van 1 Korintiërs 14 as model vir die ware kerk aanvaar het.

Hierdie beweging, wat die Dopers of Wederdopers genoem is, het die ideaal van ’n radikale reformasie nagejaag. Hulle wou nie net die kerk hervorm nie, maar na die ervarings van die Pinksterdag en die soort godsdienstige belewing van die Korintiese gemeente terugkeer (1 Korintiërs 14). Daarby het hulle ook die kinderdoop verwerp.

Die Reformatore het hulle duidelik van die Dopers gedistansieer. Dit het hulle egter gedwing om die Bybelse gronde vir die kinderdoop te verhelder. Die Gereformeerdes het dit gedoen deur die leer van die verbond te ontwikkel. Die kerk het altyd geweet dat die verbond ’n basiese werklikheid in Gods verhouding tot sy volk is – soos daaruit blyk dat die Bybel se twee dele die Ou en die Nuwe Testament (dit is: die Ou en die Nuwe Verbond) genoem word. Maar dit was die taak van die gereformeerde teologie om die verbondsleer vollediger te ontwikkel.

Gereformeerdes glo dat God se verbond met Abraham vir die kerk van alle tye betekenis het. Hulle glo soos Paulus dat die kerk van die Nuwe Verbond ingeënt is op die olyfstam van Israel, die gemeente van God in die Ou Verbond (Romeine 11). Daarom aanvaar hulle dat die gemeente van Christus dieselfde verbondstruktuur as die gemeente van die Ou Testament besit. Die gemeente bestaan nie uit bekeerde individue nie, maar uit gelowige stamme. Die doop het in die plek van die besnydenis gekom. Spesifiek ook hierdie oortuiging maak ons gereformeerd.

Die Psalms

Die Reformasie het weggedoen met die liturgiese erediens van die Katolieke Kerk. Prediking en gebed het die hoofsaak van ’n sober erediens geword. Omdat Gods Woord die kerkdiens moet beheers, is daarop aangedring dat ook die kerklied Bybels moet wees. Dit was voor-die-handliggend om slegs Skriftuurlike liedere, en dus in die besonder net berymde Psalms te sing.

Ook toe later aanvaar is dat Nuwe-Testamentiese liedere in die erediens gesing moet word, was die bedoeling tog nie om die Psalms af te skeep nie. Wêreldwyd sing Gereformeerdes nog steeds graag die Psalms, omdat hulle hulleself deel maak van die een volk van God in die ou en die nuwe bedeling, en omdat hulle die Psalms verstaan as die geïnspireerde reaksie van Gods volk op sy liefde en tugtiging. ’n Kerk wat nie meer Psalms sing nie, kan moeilik gereformeerd bly.

Die ouderling en diaken

Ten slotte: Gereformeerdes is op grond van die Bybel daarvan oortuig dat plaaslike gemeentes selfstandige kerke in hulle eie reg is en dat die drie Bybelse ampte van leraar, ouderling en diaken in die kerk onderhou moet word. Op hierdie eenvoudige gegewens is die gereformeerde stelsel van kerkregering gebou wat alle priester-heerskappy en hiërargie uitsluit en daarvan uitgaan dat die Woord van God die maatstaf moet wees waaraan die besluite van alle kerklike vergaderinge gemeet moet word. Ook hierdie vorm van kerkregering maak ons gereformeerd.

WD Jonker, Die Kerkbode, 7 Junie 1996

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Covid-19 and Conspiracy Theories: what sits behind all conspiracy theories?

At the heart of Conspiracy Theories is a weak god in a duel with the wicked one - a form of yin and yang. A dualistic view of God and Evil, light and darkness, and victory and defeat. A god who is in an arm wrestle with darkness. Sometimes he has victories and other times he loses. Sometimes he outwits the evil one and other times he loses. This is the result of defeatism eschatology that people has been brainwashed with. An eschatology that taught people to focus more on the triumph of the wicked one and his schemes and not on the victory of Christ.

The evil one has been destroyed and Christ has him under his feet. God judges the secrets of evil men as all of them finds themselves in the grave today. Those who are alive today will follow the same course. The Bible teaches whatever man meant for evil God meant for good. In all things, good and evil, His good purposes will be accomplished. Science and medicine will accomplish the good purpose of God. We can rest on the cushion of Christ's victory and the Father's sovereignty.

Stop listening to Google, YouTube and the Internet, trying to kick up dust for the defeated enemy, trying to create a smoke screen for his nonexistent victories. It's all an illusion of a defeated and disarmed enemy. Satan is a pion in God's hands. Like Luther said, "The devil is God's devil." Wake up Christian and live in the peace of Chris's victory and reign. God's people is not part of a loosing kingdom. The message of Revelation is: the King of glory has won and His kingdom is busy overtaking the world.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

God's Covenant Children

This sermon was preached by Dr James Montgomery Boice on Genesis 17. He explores the idea that children of believers are included in the covenant and hence eligible to receive the covenant sign. He further explains how this principle continues into the New Testament. In other words, God has never changed His mind, the children of believers are covenant children (1 Cor. 7:14; Acts 2:39).

You can listen to his sermon below.

Play or Download Here

Friday, January 31, 2020

THE HOLOCAUST OF OUR GENERATION

“You shall not murder” Exodus 20:13

At the heart of abortion rests one overarching question: Is abortion murder - the wilful destruction of a human being? In South Africa, over 1 million babies have been aborted since its legalisation in 1997. The argument used to justify abortion is that the fetus is not a human life and can therefore be terminated. Is this true?

When does life begin? The Bible tells us that life begins at conception. “You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works” (Ps. 139-13-16). Even the medical world acknowledges that life begins at conception. “When the sperm joins the ovum, these two individual cells cease to be, and their union generates a new and distinct organism. This organism is a member of the human species.” ~ Dr. Robert P. George

Conception is an act of God: The Bible says, “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Ps. 127:3). “Who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace” (Gal. 1:15). God knows a baby even before conception. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jer. 1:5).

What about deformed babies? “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” (Ex. 4:11). Babies are a gift of God whether they have a disability or not. Would you kill a new born baby that has Down syndrome?

What about unwanted pregnancies? God is sovereign over everything. The Bible says, “I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things” (Is. 45:7). Joseph said, “People meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Gen. 50:20). Unwanted pregnancies, even in the tragedy of rape, have a purpose through the wisdom of God.

Is abortion murder? Yes, because a woman is not merely carrying cells in her womb; she is carrying a person who has been created in the image of God. “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female” (Gen. 1:26-31). At 4 weeks a heart beat; at six weeks bodily movements and brainwaves recorded; five weeks later a smile; and by 12 weeks already sucking his thumb. The Bible says, “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13). “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind” (Gen. 9:6).

What should you do? All of us have fallen short of God's perfect standard (Rom. 3:23). Whether we have lied, stolen, hated, are considering an abortion, or have already had one...all have sinned, and will be held accountable by Him, with Hell being the place of eternal punishment. But there is great hope for sinners - for you and I both. God provided the solution to sin by sending His only Son to "reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross" (Col. 1:20).

Jesus, who is God, became a man to die in your place so that you may live. "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Turn from your sin (repent) and put your faith & trust in Jesus Christ alone. He will forgive you, and grant you the gift of everlasting life. Then begin to grow as a believer by reading the Bible, joining a faithful church, and being much in prayer.

Please watch: https://www.livingwaters.com/movie/180movie/

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