How Does Our Language Affect Abortion Rights?

Recently, I was having a conversation with a person when they said something that made me really think about how we view the unborn. I suspect that those who are pro-choice, pro-life and “undecideds” are all guilty of this act I am about to describe.

First, let it be assumed that our language, that is, the words we use are, in fact, important. Jesus said “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36). I think it is important that we understand the way we communicate, and there must be a level of objectivity by which we determine what is being communicated to us and from us.

I was telling a person I worked with about the baby that God gave my wife and me a couple of years ago. At the end of 2009, the Lord gave us a child who died before ever seeing the light of day. I told my coworker that we had named our child, Lily. She seemed to find it incredible that we had named the child already (Lily died in the first trimester) and said, “you already named it?”

At that point I realized how our attitude toward the unborn is manifested in our speech. No one reading this blog (in the realm of reason) would ever refer to an adult or child of unknown gender as “it.” Yet we call unborn babies “it” as easily as we refer to inanimate objects in the same manner. Maybe if those of us who DO KNOW that unborn babies are people would start to eliminate this word from our vocabulary when referring to babies, we might show our due respect for others who are made in God’s image and impact those around us who will be affected by unborn babies being personalized.

So the next time you refer to a person of any age of unknown gender, say “he or she” instead of “it.”

God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen – Extra Lyrics for you!

For those of you who enjoy singing hymns in church, I find God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen to be an enjoyable hymn to sing and research. Here are some things I learned about the song.

There should be a comma between the words “merry” and “gentlemen.” It is an unfortunate consequence of the pace of the tune itself which has brought about the idea that the address is to “merry gentlemen.” Rather, the truth is that the Lord is being asked to “keep” the gentlemen in merriment. I even found one place where the idiom “rest you merry” was treated as one phrase, like “jump in the shower.” A phrase which, when taken literally doesn’t exactly mean what it has come to mean colloquially.

My initial research also indicated that the word “merry” actually meant “mighty;” but I found the more I dug into the etymology of the word and into credible sources, it is correct to interpret the word “merry” in that great hymn as you might think: jovial, mirth or pleasurable. It actually derives from “mirth.”

The idea is that we are beseeching God to keep us merry, happy, even joyful! Upon closer inspection of the lyrics, we do see that it appears the song is far more about joyfulness in the coming of the Savior than “mightiness” in any sense.

Nevertheless, I even chose to add my own lyrics to the end of the song. If you want, sing that along with the tune, and I hope you find it encouraging and rich in biblical truth.

The door to God’s Heavenly place
By this pure son was breached.
Yet in spite of these glad tidings
There still remains unreached
With urgency and fervency,
the gospel must be preached.

O, tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O, tidings of comfort and joy

Merry Christmas!

Why Jake Plummer’s Opinion is Irrelevant…

Recently, Jake Plummer, former Broncos QB was asked his thoughts on Tim Tebow. You can read the article here. Here is an excerpt of his comments:

“Tebow — regardless of whether I wish he’d just shut up after a game and go hug his teammates — I think he’s a winner, and I respect that about him. I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ, then I think I’ll like him a little better…I don’t hate him because of that; I just would rather not have to hear that every single time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff. … Like, you know, I understand dude where you’re coming from.”

Ignoring the obvious irrelevancy of Plummer’s opinion entirely, let’s see if what he says even makes sense. Summarizing Plummer’s statements, it is fair to say that he doesn’t want to hear over and over again about Jesus Christ – but he makes it clear that he doesn’t want anyone to think he has a problem with Jesus. Is this true? Here’s a “what if” for you:

Imagine after every game that Tebow wins, Tim decides he is going to make mention of Jake Plummer. He wants everyone watching to know how much Plummer helped him learn the game of football, how he looked up to him as a young athlete and how thankful he is that Plummer led the way in Denver for guys like Tebow.

Do you seriously think Plummer would have a problem with that? Do you think Jake the Snake would be saying, “Look, we understand Tim that you appreciate me. Let it go and stop talking about me.”

Of course not! The problem is that Plummer, like most people, doesn’t like to hear about Jesus Christ because Jesus Christ makes people uncomfortable who are living in their sin. Jesus Christ is a name which forces people to make a decision to love their sin or turn from it and love Him. And there is no other name under whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

Dear Christian – do not be deceived. When evil men tell you that they respect your belief in Christ, but would prefer not to hear it “all the time” realize that they are deceiving even themselves. They would not mind if you wanted to applaud their works, any more than they would mind if you used their name as a curse word all the time. Do not also fall into the trap that men who do not adore Christ being proclaimed are regenerate. Fuzzy and clever rhetoric will abound with reasons why – but the underlying theme is always the same. Men want to magnify themselves and other men and not God.

Jake Plummer’s opinion doesn’t matter because it is wrong. It is an effort to de-magnify Christ. Tim Tebow may not do everything right (neither do you, by the way, dear reader), but in a league that has had hundreds of men profess to be Christian, giving testimonies on I am Second websites and starting ministries for dad’s – Tim Tebow is the first athlete or coach I have seen consistently unashamed of the gospel. He appears to fear God more than man! Christians, if you appreciate this about him, pray for him. If you do not, pray for him even more.

🙂

180 Movie is a Hoax?

Recently I read a to be expected attack against 180 movie. To be brief, the article basically said that Ray Comfort fixed the responses of the people in the 180 movie in order to meet his Pro-life agenda. The accusers even provided some forensic evidence by highlighting the reflection of what they proposed to be a cue card in one of the interviewee’s sunglasses.

So how should we view an accusation such as this? In short: biblically. “Biblically” is, in fact, the way we should view EVERY event in life. I know, I know: you who are Christian want to come to Ray’s defense; and the non-believers out there are outraged, wondering “What is the real truth?” Let me slow you down and ask you to consider using the Proverbs 26:4-5 approach. The general idea is that we “do not answer” foolish accusations according to their fallacious reasoning so that we might not make the same mistakes; but that we “do answer” foolish arguments according to their fallacious reasoning in order that we might expose the foolishness. Bear with me as I explain how that applies in this situation!

First, let’s categorically deny the accusation. Ray Comfort, in fact, did not pay actors or people on the street to say what he wanted. He is my brother in Christ, and I trust that the Lord who could pay for Ray’s sins can also keep him walking in integrity in his Christian walk. I don’t truly entertain the possibility that the film was altered. For many Christians, this should be sufficient reasoning to reject the accusation since they have no more reason to believe the original “arbitrary” accusation than to believe this refutation of it.

But for the sake of argument, let’s say Ray Comfort did in fact “script” this entire 33 minute movie. Let’s assume that instead of an honest documentary, what we really watched was a scripted movie which exhibited nothing but the opinions of the movie makers and script writers. That would not change the message which was exposed, nor the personal feelings it is meant to draw out of viewers!

Think about it – we watch movies ALL THE TIME with paid actors who convey a message through a story which we know is not TRUE. Even if 180 is not honest in that sense – the change that can occur in a viewer’s heart and mind are still valid.
The point is that no pro-life message portrayed in the movie is invalidated by the authenticity of the movie itself.

IF the movie was not truly a documentary, then the pro-abortion movement gains nothing except the satisfaction that Ray Comfort and his team are lying, hypocrites.

In conclusion, let’s be clear that I do believe this movie to be authentic, which I do believe ADDS to the credibility of the argument from an emotional standpoint. But the comparisons made in the movie and the logical reasoning used against abortion are sound either way.

May God get the glory and may He bless Ray and his staff for their labor of love.

Proud to Support Un’Comfortable’ Abortion Movie

Many people have still not seen the shocking documentary, “180”, yet. But over a million people have! What it is about this movie that makes it worth viewing?

Frankly, it makes you un’comfortable’. The quotes are a play on words, since the primary voice you hear in the interview is that of evangelist, Ray Comfort. Mostly known for the Way of the Master television show and evangelism training kits, Ray uses a unique and innovative style of analogy and interviews to change people’s minds on abortion.

Amazingly, in our culture today – we have access to millions of gigabytes of information at a moment’s notice, yet many people form strikingly ‘uninformed’ opinions. Ray Comfort, realizing the utter shallowness of the average American young adult, has found a gentle yet effective way to exploit this! By carefully and honestly asking several young adults some very simple questions about the WWII Holocaust, Ray effectively provides a method for getting people to verbalize their own idea that they ‘indeed value human life.’

Ultimately driving the conversation to the issue of abortion, Ray is able to help people to see that if they would think through the application of what they truly believe, then they must also adamantly defend all human life; including that of the unborn.

What you get in the end is a shocking picture of the ignorance and persuade-ability of American youth. It will make you uncomfortable either because you may be pro-choice; or you may realize how silent you’ve been on a topic you thought you felt strongly about. But you are left with HOPE as well. There is hope that as more of us will become willing to imitate Ray as he imitates Christ that (one person at a time) we will be able to have an impact on our culture for Christ and the unborn that He loves.

Are Amish Christian?

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a gathering in Columbus where I was able to view some plans for the new ark being built in Kentucky. Answers In Genesis, the good folks who brought us the Creation Museum put on the presentation. It was inspiring in several ways. I was able to gain a deeper understanding of why they believe this ark will be ‘successful,’ and I got to meet the makers of the VBS my church uses every year from Answers In Genesis.

One part of the presentation concerned me. The speaker told us that the ark will be built by Amish. At least in Ohio, Amish are known for their work ethic and craftsmanship; but what concerned me was when they (the Amish) were categorically described as “faithful.” Faithful to what I wondered? My understanding from a former Amish man who became born-again and had to leave the Amish community is that Amish do not believe in justification by grace through faith alone. I approached the speaker and asked the questions. He assured me these Amish people were saved, and that the Amish were like any protestant denomination. It ended friendly, which was good, but I left feeling like there was more to say. Here is the letter I wrote him today via email:

While we were together, I brought up a concern that I had concerning the description of the Amish as faithful. I believe the implication of the statement would lead a listener to believe that Amish is a valid part of the Christian church. I know at the time you understood my concern in general, but I wanted to follow up with some more information for you to digest. I am bringing you this information as an evangelist who loves the lost, and a brother who believes we may have a disagreement (however slight). I trust the Spirit of God will lead us to Truth.

Here is a link to the missionary I mentioned which can provide much more information to you about the Amish than I can. I encourage you to take time to peruse their site.

I think I can sum up what I want to say quickly. (oops, I should’ve removed that sentence!) Amish is not a denomination of Christianity which holds to some different beliefs about non-essentials. I would maintain that what is clearly known of the Amish religious practices is nothing less than another gospel, that is, a gospel of works-righteousness. Amish can be better compared to Roman Catholicism than to any mainstream protestant denomination like Baptist or Presbyterian.

Now does that mean the people who you have building the Ark are not born-again? I don’t know. I have confidence that the people at AIG are capable of listening to someone’s testimony and asking them probing questions which reveal what the person truly believes. It is the loving thing we can all do. We certainly wouldn’t want the Ark builders to miss the “boat.” 🙂 But sometimes it can be hard and offensive to question people about their faith. And the Amish are notoriously reserved about it. That’s a really bad sign…how can we keep from singing His praises if we know we’ve been saved from His wrath by Him?

I would seriously wonder why a saved person would want to be identified with a religious organization which is so clearly understood to be outside of “justification by faith alone” Christianity. I would question any Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness or Catholic who claims to have been born-again, yet cling to the religion of their youth. We would certainly do it with any Muslim or Hindu! So please, do not stamp Amish people as saved, any more than you should stamp Baptists, Methodists or Presbyterians!

I can certainly imagine that run of the mill unregenerate folks would have very little problem “faking it” for the sake of a multi-million dollar business project. I’m not saying that is what is happening, but it refutes the idea that the only reason they would want to be a part of this endeavor is because of shared faith. Catholics everywhere will advance pro-life material with Jesus’ name in it, regardless of whether it is protestant or evangelical in nature due to a general lack of discernment.

Brother, please take this seriously and trust that I love you and want only the best for you, Ken Ham and AIG. I do, in fact, have confidence that the Lord is the focus of AIG and the ARK. I do believe this is a worthwhile project, and I look forward to using it in my evangelism. Once I get an Ark replica, maybe I’ll take it downtown with me when I street preach and see if it sparks any conversations.

Thanks, brother. I hate to be long-winded, but I hate to be unclear more. Have a great day.

Michael Coughlin

Please let me know what you think. Do you know anything about the Amish religion? Was I too harsh or unclear? Thanks.

7 Reasons Christian men should not get married!

As my good friend and brother Fred approaches his wedding day, I thought I’d publish this word of warning to him, or any man who is considering this endeavor. Please read it carefully and let me know what you think.

  1. Food will never taste the same. What I mean by this is that there will still be times in most men’s lives when they will have to make their own meal. These meals will always be lacking something. The dissatisfaction partially ruins eating; the worst part is you will never be able to really pinpoint why you didn’t like a particular meal. There will just be general disappointment. Going out to eat is no longer very enjoyable either.
  2. Say bye-bye to that fat savings account. Your desires for earthly things will diminish as you try to lead another person and hopefully children into a sanctified life absent of coveting. The realization that you must lead from the front in this area will result in less technology and sports apparel purchases and more giving, both to your family and to God and His church. Soon, what little you thought you had will be gone, replaced with smile and a cheerful, giving heart.
  3. There will be a lack of joy in your life. All your blind, self-love will diminish. You will hate yourself more all the time. I’m not talking about pop-psychology self-loathing, but rather a sort of godly type of self-abasement whereby you will see all of your sin and shortcomings as to how they hurt her. Every time you are rude or insensitive or prideful or lack compassion, it will be magnified. But for the first time, you’ll really care. That lack of joy? That’s a lack of the ignorant bliss you once felt while deceived about your own sin.
  4. Your life will become even busier! You’ll spend more time praying. Remember when you were too busy to pray? Forget that! Now you will find yourself praying at strange times. Your love and concern for your wife will bring you to your knees in a way like never before. Sure, we’ve all hit our knees, but when praying for ourselves, some part of us always (I think) “knows” that somehow we’ll get through stuff by our own power, at least a little bit. Wives have a way of helping a man truly submit to God with his requests and admit his own helplessness.
  5. You will find out how little you know about God and His Word. As you “establish” rules (sometimes called putting your foot down) as the head of the household, you will be challenged to defend them by providing scripture. Your own traditions and presuppositions will become painfully obvious to you. Other random questions from the wife and the kids will magnify your ignorance. This will thrust you into deeper study. See #4
  6. You will lose confidence. Your self-reliance: gone. Not only will you become more dependent upon God to meet your needs, but your entire life will become quite dependent upon her. Like #1 one, you may even forget how to do certain simple tasks like wash clothes or put dishes away. Note: It is not that these things are no longer necessary, you just don’t do them. A quick warning, you might be reminded periodically if you fail to “notice.”
  7. Your job will start to be unsatisfying. When you go to work, you will really miss your wife. You will wonder how you ever lived before knowing her. You know there was a time ‘before her,’ but you won’t be able to recall much about that life which was worthy of comparison to even the hardest times you face now.

In conclusion, if constantly enjoying food, becoming more dependent upon God and finding love greater than any love but Christ’s still sounds good to you, please do find a Christian woman and marry her.