Friday, June 26, 2009

Outta the country

Just stopping by to explain my absence. I've been prepping for my upcoming 2-week mission trip to evangelise francophone Muslims, being a francophone (but not a Muslim) myself.
So I'll be overseas for a time. Talk to you when I get over the jetlag afterwards.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Progressing? Regressing? Dunno!

Dr Eric Reitan has graced us with another post in his series: Authority Without Inerrancy?

Oy, where to begin?
Here is the comment I left:

Hello Dr Reitan,

-Rather than viewing the Bible as the very Word of God, the progressive Christian views the Bible as a seminal human testament to divine revelation.-

One hopes he'll deal, then, with the fact that Jesus thought very differently.

-in profound mystical encounters-

Which are anything but objective.

-in providential events-

Which don't communicate much of anything specific, w/o a framework already in place thru which to interpret said event.

-through our relationships with one another-

Which are sometimes good and reflect holiness and are very often evil, disgusting, harmful, and sinful. "Progressives" live in happy-happy-land.

-In many of these cases, the actual writers were probably not striving to express their own experience of divine revelation so much as striving to faithfully put to writing stories that expressed the religious experiences of earlier generations.-

Even when they specifically state that they're writing the very revelation of God? All those "thus saith the Lord"s are "their own experiences" and "stories"?

-this means that approached on a verse-by-verse basis, one cannot confidently say, simply because the passage appears in the Bible, that it truly expresses the will of God or offers us an accurate understanding God’s nature.-

Leaving the "progressive" completely and utterly in the lurch. If God has not spoken clearly, we have nothing, no objective way to tell right from wrong, holiness from sin, Heaven-bound-ness from Hell-bound-ness. In short, it sucks to "progress".


This really seems just to beg the question. Numerous fallible witnesses lead sometimes to what we think are correct verdicts and sometimes lead to the OJ Simpson trial. What about INFALLIBLE witnesses, inspired specifically by the final, infallible God?

-The revised belief system, while still imperfect-

You mean "while still imperfect, ***I THINK (without any standard outside of myself to distinguish whether I'm right)***".

-But the process is ongoing and, in philosophical terms, "dialectical." -

So we could still be in our sins, and we'd have no idea. Heaven could be a fantasy.
Progressing purpose-less and w/o a goal or destination. You're bowing before the mirror.

-If every claim about God is taken to be a perfectly accurate description of the divine, then the reader will suppose there is no trajectory of development to look for.-

And how do you know that "development" is a good thing? This is apparently your fundamental presupp, and I can't question this more strenuously.

-Instead of seeing earlier biblical images of God as stages in a process of fuller and truer understandings of the divine-

Well, it depends on what you mean. We inerrantists recognise the reality of progressive revelation. But it's up to YOU to point out precisely how our understanding is a mishmash and doesn't work. And we all know how much progressives love actual substantive debate! (Not very much.)

-the process of refining our understanding of God probably didn't end in biblical times. -

We agree there, but you're not just talking about refining our understanding. You're functionally downgrading our primary source of info about God to the same level as the clueless pundits of today. It's foolish.

-in an evolving tradition through which God is still revealing Himself. -

I'd love to see a theory of what it means that God reveal Himself, on your view. It is apparently alot like ME revealing MYSELF. What's special or authoritative about that?

-A source can be authoritative without being inerrant--as is the case with our senses, a point I made in the first post in this series.-

And I invite anyone to see how we interacted in that combox and at my blog on that topic.
This supports my contention that God revealing Himself = me revealing myself. And what special insight do I have on the ultimate nature of reality, about sin, about good and theodicy, about eternity?

-in a way, the progressive Christian's willingness to question the perfect accuracy of the biblical account of Jesus' story reflects the seriousness with which they take the resurrection story.-

That's so rich. We think it's full of holes, and that just means we RESPECT it that much more!
This is exactly like the wife-beater who cooes to his bleeding, semi-conscious wife: "I hit you like that b/c I love you so much!"

-Jesus is someone with whom we can have an experiential relationship now, today. -

And maybe that contention is supported from the errant part of the text. You have proposed no objective way to know that. It would appear you'd say that we can have a relationship with Jesus if we THINK we can. Happy-happy-land, like I said. Wishful thinking, pixie dust, "Think of a wonderful thought, any happy little thought" and you can fly, first star on the right, straight on till morning. How this kind of thinking appeals to anyone who is seriously considering the truth (or not) of whether God has anything to say to us and anything to do with us is completely beyond me.
Give me Romans 8 any day, not this happy-pill crap.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Coyne flip

I've been reading Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution Is True and have been markedly unimpressed by its arguments.
He says over and over things like, "Creationists have no answer for this", yet I'm able to think of an answer with 2 seconds of reflection most every time. He utilises one BEAR many, many times, and a future BEAR many other times.
He also bases most all of his case on the fossil record. Ouch and ouch. On the cover are 4 images showing a dinosaur gradually morphing into a bird. Double ouch.
I'd like to do a more complete review, but I don't know if I'll have time before I leave for two weeks out of the country, in two weeks.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

More thinking on church and state

An agnostic with whom I'm acquainted in real life asked some good questions in this post of his. I left a comment and thought it was worth sharing (of course, I could easily be mistaken about that).
It has to do with why Christians, in his perspective, so cavalierly cast aside Old Testament laws in the way they think and talk and discourse in the political arena today. It's a good question. See useful background information here.


-ought not carry much weight in the here and now-

That's not the Christian idea, really. They should carry a lot of weight, but at the same time, we are commanded as Christians to obey the law of the land - Romans 13, 1 Peter, etc. Doesn't mean we can't act to influence or change said laws, but we have to obey them in most every case. OT Israel was its own self-contained (covenant) community, but the covenant community of God now is not a nation, but a church dispersed among every nation. So it's not that they don't carry much weight, it's that another cmdmt carries more, and the OT civil laws were never meant to last forever.
That said, I can't think of an example right offhand of an OT civil law which is no longer regarded as immoral, a sin against God. But the penalties are generally different, if they exist at all. An example is adultery, a capital offense in OT Israel but one that may not cost you much more than $100 in court fees in modern America.

-those which are only relevant within an ancient cultural context (e.g. head-coverings for women, circumcision for men, kosher food for everyone). -

Well, you mixed up the head-covering thing, which is in 1 Corinthians (unless I err) with the other things. Circumcision was the sign of membership in the covenant, which in the covenant community of OT Israel meant membership in the society. But it's replaced by baptism in NT times as the sign of membership in the covenant community of God - the church.
And the food had ceremonial symbolism that is wholly fulfilled in Christ - read Hebrews and Mark 7.

-would qualify as one which Christians should support whenever given the chance-

You might be right about that. If you intend to show that Christians can be hypocritical at times, you'll have no argument from me.

-recriminalize apostasy-

I would not support this, b/c I don't think it lends itself to a culture in which the Gospel has the best environment to be spread and for-real accepted in people's hearts. Some separation of state from church is a good idea, though certainly not to the extent it is today.
I honestly confess I don't know what "buggery" is.
Cursing - how the $%+*#&%^% would you enforce that? ;-)
Divination - ditto.
Though these are hardly victimless crimes. The point is not that, but what amount of freedom is allowable, what consequences acceptable, and what cost entails what level of enforcement.

-What is the reasoning which allows you to treat these seemingly absolute moral commands once set in stone by a perfectly moral being as mere matters of personal conscience? -

Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 are not all that specific. That is the reasoning.

As a matter of greater disclosure, this is far from a done deal among Reformed Christians. I say Reformed b/c most American evangelicals/evanjellyfish seem to fall thoughtlessly into the Pat Robertson/Dobson mold. But in the Reformed side of things, you have theonomic postmillennialists (like my friend Vox Veritatis, who leans postmil and who digs theonomy) who would indeed like to see the OT Israelite laws in place in modern society. You have libertarians like Vox Day (who's an open theist heretic, but still). You have people like me, somewhere in the middle, sorta, but who prefer more of a 2 Kingdoms model b/c they think it better fits the biblical data (though I'm not solidly convinced either way). So there's diversity of opinion here, and that is no doubt one of the reasons for your confusion. It confuses me too!

Hope that helps. As always, clarifying questions are welcome.


Friday, June 12, 2009

The Atheist Experience's disjointed thinking about abortion propaganda

By now you may have heard of James von Brunn, the racist fanatic and Holocaust denier who snapped and shot up the Holocaust Memorial in Washington DC, killing one guard. I'm certain that most atheists around the country and in the UK (if they heard about this in the UK; it hasn't lasted nearly as long in the news cycle as the recent gratifying death of a certain baby-murderer, big surprise) are horrified at how evil and nasty this act was and how evil and nasty this man was . Interestingly, it turns out von Brunn hated something besides Jews. Christianity and the Bible.

Reminds me something the Atheist Experience recently said with respect to the role propaganda played in Tiller the Killer's murder. Ask yourself if you've ever heard some seriously strident, vicious, and hateful propaganda has been directed recently, from high-profile atheists like Hitchens, Harris, and Dick Dawk, at Christianity. No doubt various of my atheist readers, who were quick to call 'hypocrisy', will join me in condemning the Atheist Experience's hypocrisy here.

Everyone has a breaking point. I don’t care who you are. You have one. Seriously, let’s say you sincerely believed your neighbor was mass murdering children in his home. You call the cops, frantic, and explain to them that he’s torturing and killing young children—you’re absolutely sure of it! But the dispatcher just says, “Yeah--that's totally his right. We really don’t come out for things like baby killings." You keep calling back. Surely they didn’t understand you the first fifty times you called? But the response is always the same. And here you are, on the phone, wasting time, while the monster next door is killing more and more innocent children! What do you do?!

If this was actually happening, and you knew it, and nobody was stopping this killer, at what point—if out of nothing more than pure altruism (if there is such a thing?)—would you finally say, "I don't care if I die for this or go to prison for the rest of my life—someone has to do the right thing and stop this monstrous freak!"

Groups like the 4 new atheist Horsemen, who make a point of publicly labeling Christians as child abusers and slaves of a murderous, horrible God. And maybe it’s just me—but if someone actually is going around abusing children and enslaving others to commit deeds I think are bad—I don’t think I would be “shocked” that someone stepped up and killed that person. So, why would atheists express “shock,” if they know this Christians are child abusers? Are they “shocked” that by labeling such a person a “child abuser,” that someone might think he should be stopped by any means necessary? I mean, would it shock you if you believed what they believe? What, exactly, do they think happens when you whip up masses of (often already emotionally driven) people with something like that?

We’re all supposed to play along, I guess, that they never expected anything like this to happen as a result of merely calling someone something so benign and harmless as “a child abuser and genocidal maniac”? Who would have thought people would be all “up in arms,” literally, and excited over something like that? Apparently not the Atheist Experience. But I think most other people could have seen it coming light years away. And I can’t really bring myself to play along that atheists like these would be “shocked.”

I have a saying when someone asks me to believe obvious garbage. I say, “Either you’re stupid—or you think I am.” And like most people, I don’t appreciate it when someone, or in this case some blog, communicates to me like I’m an idiot. It doesn’t upset me, but I find it hard to play along. No, atheists and especially Atheist Experience and Dick Dawk, you’re not shocked. Please stop pretending, and have your victory celebration unapologetically.

I guess that would result in some really crappy P.R. But, still, how refreshing to see some noble honesty for once?

“Mass child abuse." There's the trigger. Pun not intended, but wholly (unholy?) appropriate in this case.

Most people agree with rule of law. If they didn’t we’d have far more chaos than we do. But I don’t think there is anyone who does not understand that at some point, we would all be willing to defy the law in order to do something we consider morally necessary.

Yes, it’s cliche’, but I’m going to use an example from Nazi Germany until a better example comes along—which will, hopefully, be never. But, if I lived in Nazi Germany—I hope I would not turn someone in if I knew they were a hiding Jew. I hope I would, like I hope many of you would, end up breaking the law, and maybe even dying, myself, or potentially killing someone, to protect others from people I view as utterly wrong and dangerous. So, it's no “shock” to me, and probably not to you, either, that if you whip up huge numbers of fundamentalist-thinking people with things like "genocidal God-worshiping child abusers" you're going to get not a few individuals (I'm surprised they don’t get more) who go ape and fly completely off the rails in the worst way.

I don't think the Atheist Experience crosses a line against free speech—such as someone who might say, "Somebody needs to put a bullet in these Christians. Can I interest you in further details?" would be doing; but, when they try to divorce themselves from a natural—and, let’s be honest here, pretty predictable—consequence of their influence—that's where I want to cry "hypocrite." Not “foul.” Not “lock you up for what you said.” But “Don’t talk to me like I’m stupid—that did not shock you.” In fact, if it shocked any one of you, you don’t get out enough.

This isn’t a video game about killing Christians. This isn’t a music CD about killing Christians. This is a group of real human beings calling other real human beings “child abusers”, and a group of real human beings calling a real God "genocidal egomaniac" and then saying they can’t believe that simply being consistently and publicly labeled as a “child abuser” would make someone want to kill you. I mean, he was just a child abuser - nothing to get all worked up about and start shooting people.

Really? Can’t imagine how an agenda of working nonstop to convince (many already deluded) people that these Christians are child abusers, could result in someone getting hurt?

Are you stupid, or do you think I am?

What’s sad, though, is that if they were really shocked—then this man killed for some mysterious agenda. “Shocked” means you don’t really think what he was doing was something a person might kill another person over. And that means you don’t believe Christians are mass child abusers, because who wouldn’t expect a mass child abuser might be, himself, killed by someone one day? So, what is going on over at the Atheist Experience, where they aren’t at all responding like they believed they are mass child abusers? What if they had some other, ulterior motive—and these Christians end up as collateral damage for some superficial propaganda blitz? That would really be hosed up, wouldn’t it?

But—other than their inexplicable, “shocked” reaction—why would anyone think the Atheist Experience wouldn't be sincere about their claims that Christians are committing mass child abuse, unhindered within our own borders?

Well, here’s my theory: If these atheists truly believed what they say they are convinced of, then child abuse in Christian homes is probably the largest, mass child abuse ring in history. I’m going to assert that these atheists would all be shooting Christians. And, I would hope that if I really, truly, sincerely believed there were millions of mass child abusers on the loose and nobody was stopping them—that just maybe I would courageously do the same thing—if I really believed it. Of course, if I just wanted to emotionally manipulate a huge bunch of people, and I didn’t really believe or care about what I was saying, then I’d be doing exactly what the Atheist Experience does—taking my time in courts, standing on corners with signs, taking people’s money, telling them who to vote for, and watching them hang on my every recommendation as I play on their fear and hate.

The fact that groups like the Atheist Experience stop short of reaching the, not only logical, but obvious conclusion of what needs to be done if their claims are believed—and human children are being abused in droves—demonstrates to me, or to anyone, a lack of genuine belief in their own propaganda. I think, like most religious views, they "believe" it in some weird way on some odd, superficial level where it hits emotional response (and, I mean, come on, how easy is that?), but doesn’t ever sink down into thought centers, where it would normally ruminate and ferment into a more cohesive and fully formed “idea”—with actual implications and repercussions and consequences. But they obviously don't believe it on that sort of level—on the sort of level where any real, proportional “action” would necessarily follow—as I would expect action to follow if any real, thinking human being believed unhindered mass child abuse was happening unabated?!

Where is the courage of conviction here?

Where is any conviction here?

What the hell do these people honestly believe?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


I've been commenting again at Dr James McGrath's blog and he asked a very good question, and I thought I'd go ahead and share my initial reaction to it here.

I'm tempted at this point to ask which is essential for a Christian viewpoint: to believe that murder is wrong, or to believe that we can be philosophically certain that murder is wrong?

I guess I'd have to say it depends on the level of knowledge one has. One can be a very simple, unsophisticated believer (a farmboy, to use the Reformation-era example) and believe that he has done bad things and that Jesus alone can save him from them, and God saves him. Or one can be a super-prof of theology and be responsible for much, much more. One can be a sorta-well-read layman who struggles against pride, like me, and be responsible for quite a bit as well - what to do with the knowledge I have, how to understand it, and what not to reject when I'm corrected. So I'd say for me, I couldn't in good conscience reject either proposition. But start removing education and intellectual prowess (not that I have a lot to begin with), and somewhere in there (God knows where) it's simply enough to believe murder is wrong, and perhaps even further, our simple farmboy might not have ever even thought about it. But we trust the Holy Spirit to make that good in the life of the believer, from the simplest to the most erudite, and thank God.

Monday, June 08, 2009 Project, Part 3 - Synthetic Life

(My previous posts on
(Vox Veritatis' previous posts on
(Atheism Is Dead's previous posts on
(Blue3's post on

Continuing with the project (and this may be my last post on this topic, at least for a while), departs from its stated purpose in the article "Synthetic Life".

They say:
A common argument used by theists to support their belief in God, (sic) is that life is so complicated that it could have only been made by God. Often this is accompanied with (sic) the assertion that there is a "vital force" that separates inanimate objects from living things, and that God is the source of this "vital force".

Hmm, perhaps it is common, and I guess I don't know what to think about this, actually. I don't know if it's a big deal either way, whether human scientists are able to create synthetic life forms at some point in the future or not. I kind of doubt it will happen, but I've been wrong before, to be sure.
A few observations about this page.

1) How is this article furthering the site's goal of proving that the Bible is evil?
2) It's amusing to watch the author start off with a lofty assertion - that humans have created life - and then proceed almost directly into a couple of serious qualifications:

Some people will probably say that a virus is not a living thing, but that all depends on how you define life. Clearly a simple virus is not as complex as a mammal, but it does have much more properties associated with living things than properties associated with inanimate objects.

Yes, it certainly does matter how we "define life". No less an authority than ERV [/tongue-half-in-cheek] recently interacted with a paper on that topic, interestingly. She is in agreement with here, that viruses are a life form...and yet the paper she's responding to was the one published in Nature magazine; she wasn't. Point is, it's still a controversy, 7 years after the study cites.

3) no doubt believes that this experiment is evidence that life does not require a God to create it, and by further implication that life could have possibly evolved from non-life by natural processes. They don't say this explicitly; I'm inferring a bit from every other atheist I've ever encountered.
As far as the former assertion goes, fair enough. Perhaps I'd be willing to grant that, for now, with the previous 2 qualifications firmly in mind.
But if affirms that naturalistic, unguided evolution is responsible for not only life's arising out of non-living material and for the variety of organisms we see today arising from a common ancestor, they need to consider that this experiment actually provides evidence AGAINST that claim and FOR the idea of an intelligent designer. Think about it - intelligent agents working in a controlled (by intelligent agents) lab that was designed by intelligent agents and constructed by intelligent agents intelligently applied this and that chemical and environmental factor, intelligently learned from previous failures and intelligently tweaked this or that. And the result? An intelligently-designed virus!
I don't suppose the authors of are some of those atheist-yet-conscientious-objectors to evolution that would agree with the famous Discovery Institute list of objecting scientists, are they?

At any rate, though evidencing an intelligent designer is not identical to evidencing the God of the Bible, it lends support thereto rather than chipping at its foundation. Many thanks to for this, at least.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


I had a weird dream the other night of a sort of shady 'businessman' who was trying to draw me into his biz by challenging me to write political papers on this and that subject (and oh yeah, sell his junk door-to-door), on a daily schedule. My friend from church was warning me not to go with the guy, but I felt like I should at least write his first paper - on stem cells. So when I woke up, I had an idea for a post. I guess you could say it's inspired by a dream!

I actually just wanted to take this in a direction that I don't often hear explored.
My position, first of all - no embryonic stem cell research is justifiable. At all. Pursue other avenues of stem cells: adult stem cells like from bone marrow, umbilical cord blood stem cells, wherever else you can find them. Why? B/c I believe the only justifiable position is that fertilised human eggs aka embryos are human beings and entitled to full protection of law, human rights, and ethical behavior. If someone were inclined to object, I'd simply ask them a series of questions to ascertain when exactly a young offspring of humans becomes a human being.
Typically the answer takes one of two forms:
1) When the baby is viable outside the womb to live by himself or herself.
-Yet there are quite a few humans I know of who are not viable outside the womb.
The pro-murder person might answer that most of these people WERE viable but have become non-viable.
I ask how that matters in the slightest except in my opponent's arbitrary morality by personal fiat.

-No baby is viable to live outside the womb without help. They require things like shelter, milk, and diaper-changing. To insist that these things are merely givens begs the question.

2) When the baby begins to exhibit brain waves.
Why does this matter? Often they allege it is b/c at that point the baby is capable of experiencing pain.
A great many pro-death people have worldviews that are highly influenced by, if not full-blown, naturalism and empiricism.
I ask: How do you know, how have you observed that brain waves = now the baby can experience pain?
They answer: B/c we see human pain reflected in adult and child brain waves, so we compare them to fetal brain waves.
I ask: How have you observed that brain waves are the sole connection to someone's experiencing pain?
They answer: What else could it be? The cosmic ether? A divine miracle?
I ask: My position on this question is irrelevant. How have you observed it?
They answer: ...
I ask: Exactly. You haven't observed and can't observe whether a one-day-old embryo can experience pain. I don't remember when I was one day old, you don't remember it either, and we can't enter into the psyche of said embryo to find out. So your justification for killing this whatever-it-is is bogus. I suppose you're OK with shooting a machine gun at random while blindfolded too, b/c you probably won't hit something valuable and living.

I also ask: What makes "capable of experiencing pain" the touchstone of humanity? I'd lay down a typical dialogue on those lines, but they never answer.

I also ask: So, it's OK to kill embryos, whose consciousness and capabilities and capacities we don't understand all that well, in the interest of furthering medical research, but you'd cringe at my experimenting on and killing horses/puppies/bunnies/monkeys/chimps/elephants/golden condors for the purposes of furthering medical research? You're on board for killing the offspring of humans, but not the slightly-older offspring of elephants?
That's one of my favorite things (and by "favorite", I mean "most revolting") about the Left and pro-choicers. In general, they support pro-choice AND the general prevention of cruelty to animals. But they have no problem sticking blades into, dismembering with suction devices, and using chemical weapons on very young babies. There's no way they'd do that with animals! But with really young babies, you know, what the hell, why not? I mean, we're not sure what they are, but we DO know their mother is inconvenienced by their presence, so let's go for the gusto (and the jugular [literally])! They're DEFINITELY of less value than rabbits!

You can't observe that the conditions for your own process of moral justification are in fact so, and thus said conditions remain unproved on your own empiricist worldview. You have no justification for your discrimination. You are an age-ist bigot.

Consider an illustration in closing, in response to the common question "But what about the existing lines of embryonic stem cells, frozen and awaiting destruction or some other fate?"
These lines are extracted/enabled by a process I don't understand well, but I do know that it involves the destruction of most of the embryos in the process, much like in vitro fertilisation. Once the human egg is fertilised and develops a bit, she is deep frozen to preserve her for later experimentation. To thaw her and attempt to implant her in a living woman to bring her to term and deliver her is dicey under current technological conditions and carries a low probability of success, even with proper care.
The pro-baby-murder advocate will thus argue that, since these frozen embryos have such a low chance of survival and delivery as a baby, we should go ahead and use them for the existing stem cell research.
Let's say we had a nursing home filled with 100 people between the ages of 70 and 90 yrs, and all of them have the same terminal disease. Without any of the proper care, all of them will die of this disease within a month or so. With proper and directed, specific care, a low % of them will recover from the terminal illness and will probably be able to live years longer, not a month. Shall we conclude that it is permissible to take these terminal patients and deny them the proper and directed care, immobilise them and render them unconscious, and harvest their bodies for organs and bone marrow and brain tissue for the purpose of medical experimentation and the furthering of medical technology and understanding?
What's the difference between this and using these "existing stem cell lines"? 2 things only: the embryos are much smaller, and the embryos have no families or stockbrokers or powers of attorney to speak for them to object to this inhumane treatment by cruel and morally blind age-ist bigots.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

More thoughts on Tiller the killer

Another few thoughts I'm thinking about the abortion of Tiller the abortician. From this article, worshipers at Reformation Lutheran were horrified at the abortion taking place in their own church's foyer. One wonders if they'd be similarly horrified if someone were to eat a chicken dinner in the foyer - the problem is that it took place in the wrong venue, right? I mean, you're *supposed* to eat chicken dinners in the fellowship hall, near the kitchen. Not the foyer! Similarly, you're *supposed* to perform abortions at the abortuary, where it's out of sight from normal everyday well-groomed, well-dressed churchgoing folk. Not in the foyer! So, bring an abortion out of its assigned geographic locality, the people of Reformation Lutheran get all upset. Duly noted. They should probably make that really clear on their website, though I didn't see anything about strict policies of segregation of activity to specific and denoted rooms in the building. Presumably they'll get on that first thing after the funeral.

The article states:
Church members said anti-abortion protesters have shown up outside the church on Sundays regularly.
"They've been out here for quite a few years. We've just become accustomed to it. Just like an everyday thing, you just looked over and see them and say, 'Yup they're back again."'

And this church never did anything about it, did they? How their consciences must be seared by now! To have a career baby-murderer in your congregation, a member in apparently good standing, an usher who is typically accompanied by a frakking bodyguard...You smile at him, "Hey George" while mixing Sweet 'n' Low into your coffee cup Sunday morning, thinking (or not) that a mere 24 hours later he'll be using chemical weapons against the smallest, weakest, and most invisible, marginalised, and voiceless members of our society. You ask what it means when the Bible mentions "their consciences seared with a hot iron"? Exhibit A: Reformation Lutheran of Wichita.

The article continues:
He added: "We had no idea that someone would come into our church and do such a bad thing like that — inside of a church."

Apparently Reformation Lutheran includes as an unwritten part of its paltry belief statement the superstitious view, like on the TV show "Highlander", that a church is 'holy ground' or something by virtue of the building's carrying the word "church" in its title, on the placard somewhere.
Revelation 3:1 To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: "I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3 So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you."

This church is a dead church, having a name like it's alive, and lookie here - Jesus has indeed come to them like a thief, in judgment on one of its members. Mercifully, I'd say - this time around He only enacted judgment on the main evildoer, an individual in the midst of the enabling group, rather than on the evildoer AND the enabling group as He's done many times before. No doubt He is giving them time to repent, and I pray that they will. But where did this guy get the idea that violence is any better or worse inside a building that calls itself a church? I might agree with that in MY church, yeah, b/c of the environs and people that, there, give glory to Jesus and take what He says very seriously. Clearly this church does not do that, however, so we have to ask whence comes this sentiment? How does this guy know that violence is wrong? Why should anyone honor his building and gathering with the title "church"?

In a Facebook thread discussing this incident, an acquaintance of mine said this more or less:
It is sickening to imagine that God would allow a man to be shot by a crazed vigilante who could just as easily have decided to direct his hate toward an ethnic minority or gays.

A couple of things:
1) Note the implicit seared conscience, again.
One is BORN as a member of a certain ethnicity.
One CHOOSES to engage in homosexual behavior.
One CHOOSES to murder babies.
It is certainly understandable that some people might find the existence of a serial baby-murderer in their city intolerable to the point that they might pick up arms to take care, themselves, of what the gov't wouldn't. I invite you to get off your high horse and consider the similarity of this action to, say, the firebombing of a legitimately legal KKK headquarters building, a group of brothers ganging up to beat the daylights out of the drug dealer who raped their younger sister, concerned citizens slashing tires in the dead of night outside a known crack house, etc. None of these actions are, strictly speaking, legal, nor are they necessarily ethical. But one can certainly see how the sentiments leading to the actions arose and accord to the perpetrators a measure of sympathy: "I wouldn't've done it like that, but I definitely see where he was coming from."

2) I encourage you to read the book of Habakkuk, among other places such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Judges, the list goes on and on. Habakkuk has long been a favorite of mine, even when I was an atheist, as it contains complaints from a human perspective against God on the subject of theodicy. (When I was an atheist, I only liked the complaints from Habakkuk, not God's answers, but anyway.) It follows this pattern:
Habakkuk: God, evil all around. Won't You act?
God: Be patient, it's coming. In fact, when it comes it's going to be horrifying, way worse than you could have imagined. What's more, I'm going to use the evil, hated, idolatrous Babylonians to enact My judgment on Judah.
Habakkuk: Another brief complaint.
God: Repeat.
Habakkuk: Ah. Let me take this moment to compose a psalm of heartfelt praise.

The pattern follows in this most recent example. It was not right for this gunman to abort this late-term fœtus named George Tiller, any more than it was right for Tiller to abort so many thousands of fœtuses before. Thus, this gunman is an evildoer whom God used to enact judgment on another evildoer. Sound familiar?
Let us pray that God will have mercy on our nation for allowing this travesty and evil of baby-murder to enjoy legal protection as it does today. Perhaps we will escape the fate of Judah, perhaps not. Lord, have mercy.