“Help, Lord, help!”


Today’s visit to the Orlando Women’s Center can be described as a struggle between Light and Darkness, life and death. John Barros greeted us happily from the spot which he has faithfully occupied for the last 16 years, and briefed the first-timers on the rules: where we could or could not stand, what to say and how to reach out to the women, and then he led us in prayer.

Not long after, people started arriving. We looked to John to tell us whether this was a clinic worker, or a client, and then tried to offer help and hope to the women. Most hurried past us, into the brick building where they would pay to have the life of their child extinguished.

One couple that really struck me and still sticks with me was Asian. It wasn’t the woman that I noticed so much as the man. He just kept smirking. I had the opportunity to talk to him briefly, to warn him about the reputation of this place, to urge him to stand up and protect his woman and child, and in response, he just smirked. I can still see it now, and it makes me angry! He didn’t care, there was no part of him that cared, not about the woman, nor about the child. He was there in the coldness of his heart. It was so unlike a man last week, covered in tattoos. The tattooed man was angry, hostile, but at least in his anger I knew there was some feeling. Perhaps it was desperation born from trying to cover up an act of infidelity, or from feeling unable to be a father and provider. Perhaps it was guilt because he knew what they were doing was wrong, and he hated us reminding them of that. But anger meant emotion, and emotion meant there was still feeling. The tattooed man and his woman left without an abortion last week Wednesday, but as they didn’t talk to us, we don’t know if they decided to let their baby live, or if they just decided to go elsewhere.

The battle between life and death, Light and Darkness also became evident when a proudly pro-choice woman drove by, saw us, and decided she was going to spend her day battling against our efforts. She screamed at us for a bit, and then disappeared behind the clinic door to “support” the women there. Shortly afterwards, an elderly gentleman pulled along the curb and asked for our Einstein Bros orders, said he would get us anything we asked for as a token of his support and encouragement. He came back with a box of bagels and some coffees, and said he didn’t want any recognition and wouldn’t even give us his name. He was gone again as quickly as he came.

We reached out to everyone we could in the not-even-10 seconds we had as they hurried to the door, offering them whatever they needed to make choosing life for their child a feasible option. And none accepted. Then John spent some time preaching about death in Adam and life in Christ, about the punishment for sin, and how the Lord has never forsaken any that trust in Him. He shared about the women who changed their minds, walked back out of the clinic, and how not even one has ever regretted that decision. He spoke about how we are there because we love them and want to help them, and he begged that they would come talk to us. He instructed the men to be men and stand up for the ones they have a duty to protect: their women and children. He explained how we are not judging them by being there; that in fact it is them who are judging, judging their children not worthy of life and sentencing them to death. And then John put his bullhorn away and said to us that we can see how it is not our work to soften hearts and change minds, that it is God’s power alone which can turn anyone away from abortion, and that it is God alone Who can save.

So again, you try to pray. With each person we had a few moments to try to reach, with each desperate and loving offer of help, you tried to pray. But it felt as though there was no prayer today. I don’t remember feeling that at the clinic before. Today, all I could pray was “Help, Lord! Help!” It felt as though Satan had all the power there today.

So we turned to hymn singing. With each hymn, we hoped the power of God would prevail, that the words would reach the stony hearts within the building. “I need Thee every hour….Temptations lose their pow’r when Thou art nigh…. Or life is vain…. Teach me Thy will.” Not knowing the situations these women were in, not knowing what made them feel that abortion was the best option, we sang songs that spoke to a hope during times of fear and need. “In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song; This Cornerstone, this solid Ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.” Abide with Me, Rock of Ages, Amazing Grace. During this time, we saw women peeking out from behind the curtains at us, but no matter how we beckoned, none was moved from their evil plot.

Watching that, singing there, I began to feel sick. Was I just providing some pleasant music, a source of entertainment for the women as they waited? Did any of the words or meaning resonate at all? Based on the license plate, I knew one woman for sure identified as Christian, and given the stats, I wouldn’t be surprised if more did. The thought of this precious truth just being used as entertainment for women hellbent on killing their children disgusted me, or even for women to deceive themselves with a comfort not offered to those who intentionally and knowingly choose to disobey God’s commands, and I wanted to leave, to stop.

The abortionist arrived during this time, and then I remembered the babies. And thought about how close to death they were. And all I could do for them anymore was sing and pray. So I sang on, providing a soundtrack for their death, and thus I sang the final verse of Rock of Ages: “While I draw this fleeting breath, When mine eyes shall close in death, When I soar to worlds unknown, See Thee on Thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.”

An Election Reflection

In the wake of a sweeping Liberal win, pro-lifers across Canada feel betrayed by the Canadian populace. A prime-minister that shamelessly denounces the humanity of the preborn and further prevents his MP’s from voting life now leads our nation. Feeling like a liar, I will sing the anthem this morning with my students, “The True North strong and free.” Clearly, the Liberal stance is anti-freedom, anti-choice, and anti-God. But yet, I read in 1 Peter 2:17, “Honour the king.” How can I really honour Justin Trudeau and his government with all of his self-destructive policies?

Honour can mean so much more than paying allegiance to authority. Let me ask you to pray for our new government. They are in darkness and they need our prayers that God would direct them to His Word. Commending our leaders into God’s hand is honouring them, for only in this Word is there freedom. Let me ask you to continue to show the truth of abortion and the bloody waste of human life to our leaders. Throwing the light of truth on the darkest corners of injustice with uncompromising love and compassion to the perpetrators of that injustice is honouring those perpetrators – for in the words of the old cliché, “Truth will set you (and them) free.” They are prisoners to a cleverly planned assault on humanity and this we must show them. Let me ask you not to falter in this fight, for the silent screams of the children will only grow louder and the chains of inhumanity will only grow tighter. Honouring Trudeau means showing him those screams about him and those chains around so that he can no longer deny the truth and reality of them. Let us fight, not only for the children whose lives end between the merciless shears of the abortionist knife, but also because our leaders have blood on their hands and shackles on their hearts. We have the cloth necessary to wipe it off and the keys to unloose their bands. This is honouring the king, for though we cannot take away the stain that pollutes their hands or the scars of oppression, we can dry up the fountain of blood and loosen them from these manacles.

This election is a blow for the pro-life movement, but it is not the end. William Wilberforce nearly passed the abolition of the slave trade in 1796, losing by only four votes – and that because several of his supporters found more interest in a play than voting for abolition. It would be another decade before success crowned the work of Wilberforce. But success came at last – because the truth will trump the lie. Courage then, though the lie seemingly triumphs, truth shall grow if we continue to nourish it. Let us move to the fourth stanza of our anthem and sing with hope, “As waiting for the better day, we ever stand on guard.” Stand on guard for the children! Stand on guard for freedom! Stand on guard for truth! Stand on guard against the lie, against death, against oppression, against selfish patriotism, against discouragement! Honour the king with prayer, love, compassion, and uncompromising truth!

The Reformed in today’s society

It should be obvious to any observer that the world we live in is becoming increasingly hostile to Christians. Many Christian views are now considered to be hate speech. Christian tax dollars are taken to dismember pre-born children in government-funded clinics. Christian schools, especially in Alberta in the wake of Bill 10, are now under threat of being forced to teach their children ideological beliefs that directly contradict biblical teachings on sexuality. The schools haven’t been forced to change their teaching yet—although the Catholic school system in Ontario has already knuckled under—but be assured that the day is coming where the government will try. Secular activists are not satisfied with having thoroughly infiltrated and rebuilt the public system. They want Christian schools, too.

In the last decade, we’ve seen a moral revolution at warp speed. The culture has shifted so radically left on virtually every social issue that we’ve been left gasping—if we’ve even noticed.

The response to secular threats has been, for decades, to build the walls higher. A strong defence. And this has, in many cases, worked very well. It has successfully kept many of the wicked influences out of church communities. But with the dawn of the Internet, those days are over. Walls can be built higher, but Wi-Fi connections go right through them. Those children who are not presented with biblical teaching on pornography, sexuality, abortion, and so many other issues, will simply find those answers elsewhere. And by the hundreds, they are. I talk to them all the time.

The response of many is that we must pray. And this is absolutely true. We are commanded to pray without ceasing”—and especially when the times are dark, as these certainly are. But what we often forget is that we are also commanded to work. As Augustine said, “Pray like everything depends on God. Work like everything depends on you.” Prayer and work, as one Bible doctrine book of the Netherlands Reformed Congregations puts it, are like two paddles in one boat. Both are essential.

To say that we shouldn’t engage or interact with the culture is to say that a farmer can sit in front of a barren field (and what an apt comparison to our culture that is.) Instead of ploughing the field, and planting the seed, and watering the plants, and weeding the field—all the while prayerfully, as God rules over nature—he instead sits in front of his field and waits. He prays for crops to spring up where there has been no work done. He hopes the plants will spring up where no seeds are planted. And of course, the field remains barren.

Rev. Kersten, the founder of the Netherlands Reformed, advocated strongly against a withdrawal from the public square, recognizing the dangers of this. His well-known biography by Rev. Golverdingen states that Rev. Kersten himself felt drawn into politics because “he could not resign himself to the passivity he observed in the congregations.” Rev. Golverdingen notes that “Rev. Kersten also berated the indecisiveness and indifference toward national interest by some members of his own circles,” even preaching a sermon where he compared those who refused to defend Christian principles in the public square to the tribe of Reuben refusing to join Deborah in going to battle against Sisera and the Canaanites.

Many of us have fooled ourselves into believing that the world can burn, but as long as we keep the doors of our churches and communities tightly shut, we are safe—even when the flames are licking at the doors.

Even in political manners, many vote with their business interests in mind rather than social issues. We seem to have forgotten that in a democratic system where we choose the leaders who rule over us, we are morally responsible for the decisions that they make. When the Alberta NDP declares that we need more abortion clinics, and we vote for the NDP, we are voting for more abortion clinics. To focus simply on economic security only when voting is to believe that God will prosper a nation that has now butchered more than four million human beings created in His image.

When the people of Israel demanded a king “like all the nations” the prophet Samuel was commanded to tell them, “And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day” (1 Samuel 8:18). Similarly, if we are not trying to impact the culture on these issues of utmost importance, if we are not trying to curb and combat national sins, and if we are willing to vote for those who uphold the most wicked of political positions, then we cannot be surprised at the implosion of our culture. Indeed, we have contributed to it.

In his book Practical Religion, J.C Ryle states: “When St. Paul said, ‘Come out and be separate’, he did not mean that Christians ought to decline all intercourse with unconverted people, and refuse to go into their society. There is not warrant for such conduct in the New Testament.” He further noted: “To know nothing about what is going on among mankind, and never to look at a newspaper,–to care nothing about the government of one’s country, and to be utterly indifferent as to the persons who guide its counsels and make its laws—all this may seem very right and proper in the eyes of some people. But I take leave to think that is an idle, selfish neglect of duty…Christians who plume themselves on their ignorance of secular things are precisely the Christians who bring religion into contempt.”

Opposing or ignoring those who try to defend these values in the public square is, for Christian communities, cultural suicide. The secularists are not willing to live and let live. They have been successfully transforming society for more than four decades now. And they have met very little opposition.

The simple fact is that there has never been so much self-interest in cultural engagement. Those Christians who believe that our society is going to live and let live have quite simply not been following the news. It is not just the imminent threat to Christian education. It is even in our ability to say what we believe. A jeweler in Newfoundland, for example, is currently under attack by a gay couple who purchased rings at his store because they noticed that he featured a small sign supporting the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. They are demanding a refund, an apology, and the backlash has already been so severe that the jeweler has been forced to take down his business’s Facebook page.

They don’t just want to change the way society behaves. That they’ve already done. They want to change the way Christians think—regardless if it takes overt bullying and government enforcement to get there.

We can ignore these trends. We can wait for the time when, not so very long from now, government officials demand that we change the way we teach our children and demand that we begin excising from our curriculums those biblical teachings that contradict the new secular dogmas of our day. Or instead, for the sake of our children and our communities, we can speak up, and we can fight back.

The history of the people of Israel provides us with a powerful picture of what happens when the church fails to live according to God’s revealed will. It should serve as a reminder to do all we can to counter this trend, while praying for an inward change as well.

“Come, and let us return unto the LORD; for he hath torn, and he will us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we will live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth” (Hosea 6:1-3).”


A personal poem written by someone that has been adopted herself and speaks to the love and beauty of adoption for others. “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” (Matt 25:40)

Reality, too hard to embrace, stares her cruelly in the face.
The room seems to spin, so many decisions, unsure where to begin.

First love, stolen kisses, innocent fun, fast forwarded feels like life is coming undone.
Amid a whirlwind of emotion, she clings to the security of his devotion.

He holds her close and guides the way. The fragile new life begun is here to stay.
Uncertainty doesn’t end here, past the point of going back, panic is near.

Affirmation of truth on this dismal day, revealing their state of disarray.
Armed with the beautiful choice of life, this decision still comes with undeniable strife.

Too young to care for this child in the womb, yet unwilling to extinguish its life so soon.
Fears are faced, decisions begin.  They can’t fathom this dream that they’re trapped in.

At the hospital, the time is near. Nervous anticipation is tainted with fear.
Resolving together to get through this despair, remembering their choice was made with great care.

Baby is here. A little girl with no name.  Joy is laced with feelings of shame.
Papers to sign, goodbyes to be said, at long last, alone, lying empty in bed.

A waiting family receives an answer to prayer, they thank the Lord and begin to prepare.
Two hearts breaking, two swelling with joy.  Gods plans are for good and not to destroy.

His hand reigns over all, this is where she belongs. Although it was hard, it never felt wrong.
Prayers answered, a family completed. Two teens helped from feeling defeated.

Life continues at a more bearable place, everything’s as it should be, by Gods grace.
The child grows up from her youth, nurtured in the ways of biblical truth.

Good for them” is heard in a dismissive way, “Its not for me” so they say.
Precious children estranged from their parents, caring for these is a work of great merit.

So many lives by our Maker created, “Care for the Fatherless” He has stated.
Unwilling, we stand as the children cry, refusing to help them as they sigh.

Don’t point to others to carry the load. Everyone should prayerfully look down this road.
“The fruit of the womb is His reward. Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord.”

All children are included don’t forget one. When a child is hurting all objections should be done.
Everyone deserves to be loved and belong. The Bible shows examples of adoption’s sweet song.

The merciful shall obtain mercy, so we hear. Follow the command and do not fear.
Adoption is a gift, often misunderstood.  A beautiful opportunity to show good.

Answer the call, take the lead.  If not us, who will satisfy the need?
Become a refuge for the fleeing. Show the hopeless grace, their fears relieving.

We are commanded to “love one another.” Give a child a gift of a father and mother.
Let the love of God shine.  Change a life, like adoption changed mine.

The Church and Violence Against Women

Male violence against women is a real problem in our culture, one the church must address. Our responsibility here is not simply at the level of social justice but at the level of ecclesial justice as well.

We must teach from our pulpits, our Sunday school classes, and our Vacation Bible Schools that women are to be cherished, honored, and protected by men. This means we teach men to reject American playboy consumerism in light of a Judgment Seat at which they will give account for their care for their families. It means we explicitly tell the women in our congregations, “A man who hits you has surrendered his headship, and that is the business both of the civil state in enacting public justice and of this church in enacting church discipline.”

Church discipline against wife-beaters must be clear and consistent. We must stand with women against predatory men in all areas of abandonment, divorce, and neglect. We must train up men, through godly mentoring as well as through biblical instruction, who will know that the model of a husband is a man who crucifies his selfish materialism, his libidinal fantasies, and his wrathful temper tantrums in order to care lovingly for a wife. We must also remind these young men that every idle word, and every hateful act, will be laid out in judgment before the eyes of the One to whom we must give an answer.

In the public arena, Christians as citizens should be the most insistent on legal protections for women. We should oppose a therapeutic redefinition of wife abuse as merely a psychological condition. And we should call on the powers-that-be to prosecute abusers of women and children in ways that will deter others and make clear society’s repugnance at such abuse.

Whatever our views on specific economic policies, we must recognize that much economic hardship of women in our age is the result of men who abandon their commitments. We should eschew obnoxious “welfare queen” rhetoric and work with others of goodwill to seek economic and social measures to provide a safety net for single mothers and abused women in jeopardy. We should join with others, including secular feminists, in seeking legal protections against such manifestations of a rape culture as sexual harassment, prostitution, and sex slavery.

An abusive man is not an over-enthusiastic complementarian. He is not a complementarian at all. He is rejecting male headship because he rejecting his role as provider and protector. As the culture grows more violent, more consumerist, more sexualized and more misogynistic, the answer is not a church more attenuated to the ambient culture, whether through a hyper-masculine paganism or through a gender-neutral feminism.

Instead, the answer is a truly counter-cultural church, a church that calls men to account for leadership, a leadership that cherishes and protects women and girls.

Reprinted with permission from the author; originally posted on Moore to the Point

Pricking the Conscience of Our Culture

When doing pro-life activism on the streets we often hear interesting results from the Christians that cross our path. Some appreciate what we are doing. Some have concerns, and some of those concerns are interesting ones. After only three months of doing this work full-time I have the feeling that I’ve heard it all. I haven’t, of course, there are always interesting new angles to look at. As a CCBR intern, I have been taught how to reply to nearly every pro-choice argument in the book, but when it comes to people who bring up the Bible there are endless questions that are brought to our attention and many that we need to think through on the spot. However, one question that is definitely a recurring theme is, “Why do you think that God needs images? Don’t you think that He has the power to change minds through His Word?”

The first answer to this question is that we don’t because He doesn’t and, absolutely, God’s Word is the most powerful thing that man has been given. The first thing I always feel the need clarify is that these images don’t replace the Bible. We are not on the streets claiming that all we need is images. Changing hearts and minds is much larger than that, much larger than the images, much larger than we are.

However, when a woman came up to me and asked me why I was denying the power of the conscience, and worse, the power of God’s Word, I was confused. I didn’t understand how showing the truth of what abortion looks like was a ploy to usurp the work of man’s conscience. After all, I explained, our images don’t replace the conscience, we merely pray that God will use them to prick the conscience and spur people to repentance and action. Without our God-given consciences we wouldn’t be here showing these images to the public. Without God-given consciences these pictures would have no affect whatsoever on the public. Without the conscience our work would be fruitless and that is a fact that we all admit freely.

Saying that these images could be used to prick consciences of those who have had abortions, are considering an abortion, or have done nothing to stop abortion usually leads to further questioning. After making this point once on the street I was indignantly asked who I thought I was. Did I think I could change the world? Did I think that it was just because of me and my activism that children were saved from abortion? My answer to each question was a firm, no, I do not, but I followed it up with a question of my own. What, in my actions, makes you think that I think that I can change the world, and even more startling, save children on my own? All I am trying to do is to respond to the command given to us in God’s Word to reach out to my neighbor and to deliver those drawn unto death.

However, I had more to say than just a reminder on the commands given us by God. I felt that I had to defend myself from the claim that because I was here with my images, because I dared hope that I could make a difference, that I was arrogantly pushing the work of God to the side in order to prove that I could do it better. The first point that I brought up was the fact that the images do indeed work. Pro-lifers have held in their arms children that have been snatched from the jaws of death as a result of women seeing these images. These images are effective, we have indisputable proof that they are. So what does that mean? Does this proof show that in our visual culture images are more powerful than the Bible?

Again the answer is no, absolutely not. What this proves is that all truth is God’s truth and that God still works in powerful, wonderful ways. When a child is saved, when a mind is changed, we dare not be so arrogant as to say that we saved that life or that we changed that mind. All this proves to us is that God used these pictures to do a marvelous thing. Any good work is a work of God for nothing done by a sinful person can be better than filthy rags.

The use of abortion imagery does not in any way take away from God’s Word or from God’s work. All the fruit of the pro-life movement shows is that we, in a very small way, can be used as tools in God’s Almighty Hand to fight for the rights of the tiny children fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. All these pictures do is bring people face to face with God’s perfect law. We are merely messengers of the truth of the horror of abortion; God is the One who changes minds, He is the One who saves lives, He the only One who can perfectly heal and redeem broken hearts.

Unformed Clump

Editors’ Note: This meditation first appeared on April 24, 2014, on the youth page of “De Wachter Sions,” a weekly publication of the “Gereformeerde Gemeenten in Nederland.” It was translated for the Reformed Pro-Lifer and is reprinted here with permission from the editor.

You have probably seen a picture of a pre-born child, similar to the one I have in front of me while writing. It’s a beautiful full-colour image of an embryo five weeks after fertilization, about ten millimeters long. That’s only a third of an inch!

The subscription reads, “The head will begin to straighten and separate more from the torso. Eyes, nose, and mouth are clearly distinguishable—the eyes are developing to the extent that the cornea is beginning to form. The ear canal and ears are further forming this week, as are the limbs, though legs and feet grow somewhat slower than the arms and hands.”

The photo below this text shows a frontal image of the tiny head—the start of a recognizable face, eyes, nostrils, and a small opened mouth with the upper lip slightly pulled up. And all of that is part of a head of less than half a centimeter!

Psalm 139

There’s one thing I don’t see in these pictures: a uncoordinated clump of cells. Yet, in Psalm 139 verse 16, the Dutch Statestranslation (Statenvertaling) refers to the clearly formed embryo as an “unformed clump”—”Uw ogen hebben mijn ongeformeerde klomp gezien.” How is this possible?

Was David wrong? Was he not inspired by the Holy Spirit in writing Psalm 139? Is is not true for him, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21)?

Of course it is true that today’s advanced technology was not available at that time to capture images in the womb. Yet, the Bible cannot contradict reality—or can it? What we see in pictures like the one mentioned above by no means is an imperfect substance. Do the Bible and science contradict each other perhaps? You may not even dare to think or ask this but… is the Bible wrong in this case?


In situations like these, it is important to distinguish between the languages in which the Bible was written on the one hand, and the translation of that text on the other hand. God’s Word was inspired in the original language. Only of that version (Hebrew in the case of Psalm 139) we can say that it does not contain errors.

Then there’s the translation. The Dutch Statestranslation is generally known by friend and foe to be the most accurate Dutch version. It is nevertheless likely that small mistakes were made during the translation process. So let’s take a look at the translation of Psalm 139 verse 16, specifically the description of the young human embryo. Could this be a mistake?

As it turns out, the passage speaks of the very first beginning of a human being. The annotation to the Dutch Statestranslation explains that imperfect substance or unformed clump, in fact, refers to the very first period of our life, beginning at fertilization.

While contemplating this, I turn again to prenatal development pictures. What does an embryo look like one week after fertilization? When a sperm and an egg cell become one, cell division immediately takes place and it multiplies into all directions. To illustrate, there’s a picture of a small bunch of eight cells, then sixteen. In our beginning stages, during that first week after fertilization, we are an unformed clump of barely a milimeter.

The subscription of one image reads, “When the clump of cells reaches the uterus it consist of about 100 cells and is called a blastocyst.” There’s even a scientific term for this little clump! I cannot help but think that the Dutch translators were (no doubt unconsciously) far ahead of their time in calling a newly conceived human embryo “an unformed clump.”

The original

So what does the Hebrew text say? The inspired version of Psalm 139 verse 16 uses the word “substance,” the same word found in the King James Version. What is a substance? A dictionary defintion points us to “the foundation or core of a matter” or “the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists and which has a tangible, solid presence.” What a fitting word, especially considering what we know now!

When an egg cell and a sperm cell fuse, the new nucleus contains an entirely unique composition of DNA. The countless genetic characteristics of this new human being are stored there from his or her very beginning, and with every cell division the DNA is copied and passed on to the next cell. Physically speaking, this is the basis of an independent body and everything that functions within; in other words, a substance.

Add to this the imagery of verse 15—wrought or woven together—and you can’t help but be in awe at the knowledge and wisdom given to David by the Holy Sprit. The human body is like a piece of embroidery, made of many individual cells that together grow and form one final whole, and the blueprint can be found in each and every cell.

Have you ever thought about the process of growth? From the seemingly unformed clump or imperfect substance the cells multiply into all directions. Due to the continually copying example found in one’s DNA, the body internally “knows” exactly where the arms, legs, ears, nose, mouth, eyes, etc. have to be formed. Mindblowing!

When all goes well, the body is equipped in such a way that the heart can beat; that we develop eye sight, hearing, taste buds, and a sense of smell; and that our arteries, nervous system, gestational tract and many other systems begin to function. It is no wonder that David exclaims in verse 14, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well!”

Of me

Did you notice that it says my substance? This implies that even this very beginning is of the person David, of me! “Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.” “I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.” That is when David, by God’s providence, came into existence. That is true for all of us. And that is also when the soul enters the body. Do you now understand our opposition to birth control, one of the arguments being that a separate and unique human may be destroyed during the very first stages of his or her life?

Yet, the essence and significance of this Psalm can be found much higher than in the physical alone. God’s might and providence in forming each human being is incredibly great—no doubt about it. But the greatest wonder for David was that this high and holy God was merciful to him, a wicked sinner. David received faith to believe that he, from all eternity, was known by God and loved by Christ—and that everything in life, also concerning his body, was provided for by His faithful Father, already long before David was born.

Blessed David!

God and Reason Part III

The revelation of time as the Bible puts it and the logic of time that can be inferred from scientific theories based on discovery and inference may actually coexist, but in which the Biblical time remains the real time. Here is how to think about this problem: God created all things in their mature stage. They appeared in an act of sudden creation. Adam is called into being as a mature man, not as an embryo, baby or teenager. In like manner, trees, animals, rocks and planets appear in their mature state. For argument’s sake, let’s say Adam was 60 years old when he appears. Given his total life span of 930 years this would seem a reasonable and cautious number. Given the nature of the material, we should consider that trees and mountains were proportionally much older than flesh. Genesis mentions that the fruit on the first trees was created and not grown (1:12). If you looked at that pear or orange on day eight after creation and calculated that the tree must be three years old to bear fruit and the pear some 6 weeks to have ripened, you would have a lot of discrepancy in terms of inferred time compared to its actual age in terms of creation.

In other words there is creation time which is the real time and then there is inferred date of age and origin time. Imagine you could be in the Garden of Eden on day eight and meet Adam. If you analyzed his appearance and were able to do a few tests you might find him to be 60 years old while in fact he was only 2 days old, the discrepancy between creation time and inferred time would be 2 days versus (rounded number) 22,000 days. The discrepancy ratio would be 1:11,000. This discrepancy ratio alone would put the 6000 year-old created earth in the scientifically inferred age bracket of some 66 million years. Let’s take this thought a step further. It is likely that the spread in the ratio for other created things such as trees and rocks may be even bigger than for human flesh. If fruit trees were created mature, some of the larger evergreens or broad-leaves might show more than 300 years of rings. If you analyzed a piece of rock taken out of a mountain on day 8, applying current methods of dating, that rock may show to be hundreds of millions years old, yet God called it into being only days ago.

There is another important piece of information in Genesis 1. It explains that earth, water and space were first created, but subsequently from verse 3 onward formed more fully. It is thus clear that these first forms were subsequently mixed up and rearranged. When the earth and sea were separated as we read in verses 6 and 7, continental shapes may have been rearranged and mountains formed. Old shapes and new shapes were dramatically mixed up. We read that stars and planets were first formed and then set in their constellation. My point is this: what science with its available tools infers as a slow process of shaping, aging and forming, was in fact a much more rapid process that God declares he did and that he used mature material to do so. Science traces this process back in time with the best inferences it has, but these do not include the miraculous creation and reshaping by God. Therefore, it is not possible for science to have a truer or more real story of what happened, only an inferred story that does not account for God’s intervention. To set God’s own account aside for the inferred scientific account is to say we do not need God’s revelation to explain this question. What we have here is substitution: science claims it can substitute for God because it cannot measure what God has done. Christians do not need to join this argument.

Similar logic regarding the question of time needs to be kept in mind when we consider the ‘Big Bang theory.’ Remember that this theory does not explain the very essence of origin: how we go from nothing to something as we discussed earlier. But for now, let’s consider the element of time as used by the theory. Essentially, it says, given the laws of nature as we understand them today, this is how many billions of years we need to go back in time to come near to the start of matter. The point is logical and Christians must not belittle it. It follows logically from the rules of observation. But the problem with that view is that creation is actually a sudden miraculous intervention. Without this sudden creation, the logic of science would simply keep counting backwards in time. Given that the universe is expanding, certain laws of physics measure the rate of expansion and apply it backward in time to determine the rate of implosion. When you follow it through, you come to something around 15 Billion years ago as the point of scientific beginning. But what God reveals is that He did not begin under the laws of science. He intervened miraculously and sovereignly, entirely in His own manner. He brought into being that which is mature. He did so by His Word and Spirit.

Moreover, God created time. In Big Bang logic, time is a product of our understanding of the laws of the universe and time is without origin even though material being is. So Big Bang scientists have moved one step beyond ancient philosophy which thought material existence was also without time, but they are still a step removed from what the Scripture says, namely that God brought time into being.

Thus, the so-called Young-Earth argument is not lacking in knowledge and logic. Science does not compel Christians to interpret Genesis 1 and 2 as a symbolic story without factual data. To single out the first two chapters in that manner violates the key Christian contribution to the whole issue of creation and origin, namely that we have both revelation and observation (science) and that full reconciliation may not be possible. But it is possible to think of the two types of information as parallel in which science’s account would be all we had if God had not revealed His action.

In conclusion, the sudden appearance of time and mature matter called into being by an all-powerful God explains a young time frame full of old-looking matter. At the end of the day, Young-Earth Christians must be humble and cautious about the idea of time. Science is a marvelous gift God has willed us, human beings, to explore and use. The Bible often warns that we only know parts of the story.

This article was first published in Insight Into, a youth magazine published by the Netherlands Reformed Congregations. It has been republished here with permission from the author.

What a Woman Is Worth

Editors’ Note: This article was first published on-line by A Deeper Story and is reprinted here with permission from the author, who is not affiliated with the Reformed Pro-Lifer.

It began with a question even before I was born.

Just a swell in my mother’s belly, I was punched by a hand that was meant to hold me. I was not even here yet, and already my worth was in doubt. As I grew, so would the question, and it would gnaw at me—unarticulated, insidious, and damning.

My world told me stories of my worth, and I believed them. So I lived into what I believed, which is to say, I did not live fully well.

Still, story was what I knew; how, in rare moments, I lived; how I could still, in some small way, be the truest me. So I let out a bit of my story into the online pages of A Deeper Story. I knew I was searching for a story deeper than the one my world had been telling me, and so I broke and I bared and I finally asked out loud the hardest question of my life in a blog post entitled, What’s a Girl Worth?

I was 13– Excited to be out late at Denny’s with my friends, talking and laughing, effervescent, carefree. He was much older, at least in his 30s, but he zeroed in on me. He leered, scruffy face so close, stinking drunk, and he loud-whispered words I’d never heard about what he wanted to do to me. He said he would make me quiver, and he did. Just not the way he meant.

I sought comfort from two women I thought would understand, but they could only see the moment through their own dark-tinted lenses. My experience wasn’t as bad as theirs had been, and they brushed it off. I was alone with fear and shame.

What’s a girl worth?

I was 15– Too young and too scared, desperate to keep my older boyfriend, reluctantly willing. He gave me a magazine as a guide, full of bodies and skin, excitement and impossibility. He wanted me to learn what to do for him. So I did. And when he used me all up, he left me to guilt and self-loathing. And I dared not seek comfort where it had not met me before.

What’s a girl worth?

I was 17– Feeling like a woman behind the wheel of my red convertible, waiting for the light to let me get to my hostess job, mature, nearly grown. He honked his horn and filled the space between his car and mine with shouts and dirty laughter: He liked how I ate my banana. I drove away stupid and small.

What’s a girl worth?

I was 31– Creating a place of laughter and heart-baring, writing good words, typing out truth. I opened up so others could too, and I invited conversation. He was anonymous and cowardly. He sent a message to describe how he’d defile me if he had his way. I was shaken and suspicious.
When I turned to my communities, two scoffers stood out among the supporters. Women who suggested it was my fault, expected, deserved.

What’s a girl worth?

I know the statement of my worth comes from the lips of the One who made me, but yet– but yet. When the shouts of men say, You’re just a thing to ****, when the sneers of women say, Oh well, the voice of truth is hard to make out through the din.

And I need the strong voices of my brothers and the sweet singing of my sisters to raise loud the truth of our Father’s words, to remind me what a girl’s worth.

Have you ever struggled to believe what you’re worth when God and the world disagree?

I clicked “publish” and stared at my own story on the screen, now in full view. I was bare and frightened, bold and free. Right away, responses flooded in, but the one that was clearest was this: I was not alone. The question of worth was universal, and people were aching to find it answered.

So I began to gather their stories, and I read over and over that, different as they seemed, our stories were the same. We were all wounded and wanting, longing for acceptance, most of all from ourselves. And as I handled each woman’s story closely and with care, I saw my own wounds I had ignored for so long; I saw that I needed the same close care.

And so I offer this book not as a reflection of an editor who is herself a neatly tied-up work, but as a person who is still very much a work in progress. I offer you stories of hurt and of healing so that you might begin to listen to and claim your own. I offer you hope that the story of redemption is one able to be woven into all others. I offer you invitation to discover alongside me what a woman is worth.

Pick up your copy of What a Woman Is Worth here.

Blast from the Past: Sexting in the Church Community

When I was a teenager, I thought this guy was interested in me and since we lived in different provinces, we started emailing back and forth. When I got a cell phone, emailing became texting. We weren’t in a relationship, but we were getting to know each other and I was hopeful.

Gradually, so I didn’t even see it coming, the tone of our conversations changed. He started talking about my body and eventually started requesting that I send pictures.  This was before sexting became a well-known phenomenon and I didn’t know how to respond.

I had never had discussions about this with my parents or educators, but I had been taught that there were parts of my body that were private, that you didn’t share. But he knew what to say, how to convince a naive innocent girl that maybe our parents’ ideas were outdated, and that this was normal. It was the progression of things. How can he get to know me if I don’t share myself with him? He even sent me a picture of himself to show me how easy and how normal it was, and how this was a two way street, he wasn’t just taking advantage of me. I started to doubt what I thought I knew. But I was not comfortable with the idea of sending him a picture. I felt like if I did that I would lose control over who would see it, a picture sent over text or via email was too permanent, and I wasn’t going to do that.

Then he started talking about coming to visit me. That was exciting. This young man wanted to see me. It felt like our friendship was progressing and I was hopeful. Then he started to ask if I knew of a place we could go for some privacy when he was visiting. The young romantic in me was thinking of things I had envisioned doing on an official date. I suggested horse riding. We could pack a picnic lunch and ride through the country around my parent’s place, stop and sit in the grass and talk and I was so excited at the prospect. It was one of my dream dates, revolving around my love for horses, and my romantic notions that dates were laid-back activities where you could just sit and talk and get to know each other. But it became clear that that was not what he had in mind. He wanted a private place where we could get to know each other without chance of interruption. Except he wasn’t talking about my mind or my personality. He was talking about my body. I had never been in a serious relationship, and I didn’t know what dating looked like. I loved reading historical fiction novels, and they spoke of courting. That was what I envisioned, but he convinced me that my dreams were unrealistic. It just didn’t happen that way. He wanted to be friends with benefits. Didn’t that sound great? I really wanted him to like me and so I compromised. I felt like maybe I could give him some of what he wanted without crossing that final line and having sex. So I agreed to work something out. He didn’t have immediate plans to come, so I wasn’t under immediate time pressure.

His texts started gearing towards preparing me for this encounter. He spoke of masturbation and encouraged me to try it out, detailing for me how it should work. I felt increasingly uncomfortable with how he was talking and the more time passed, the more certain I became that I didn’t want to go where he wanted to go, at least not until we were in an official relationship and I told him so. He replied that he didn’t know if a relationship was what he wanted, and he wouldn’t know that unless I gave him what he wanted. I started to question him on whether he did or had done this with other girls. He said no, he was a virgin, and I would be his first, and it would be special. I doubted him because if he was willing to have sex with me without even the context of a relationship, how did I know for sure that there hadn’t been others.

I regret how naive and stupid I was, and how close I came to trusting him, all for the desire to be wanted, to be loved by a man. But I thank God for protecting me from him. I am so thankful that he and I were in different provinces, because if there hadn’t been distance between us, I likely would have caved under the pressure, and I wouldn’t have had the time to rethink my decision before it was too late.

A few years later, I was hanging out with a friend, and discovered that he was a mutual friend of ours. I told her how he had pressured me and what he wanted from me, and she replied, “that’s just how he is. You just have to stand your ground and not give him anything you don’t want to.” I wasn’t comfortable with that because I knew how hard it could be to stand firm against increasing pressure. I had already stopped talking to him, so this conversation was purely retrospective. I was again thankful for the distance between us.

I didn’t think of him again for years. Then last year, I was home visiting my family, and my aunt had stopped by and was chatting with my Mom. They were discussing a “new” thing called sexting. Surely it wasn’t that big of an issue in our communities, but it was good not to let kids have cell phones in their rooms, or open internet on their cell phones. A little bit of parental control would go a long way in preventing this from happening. My memories came flooding back and I snapped at them. This does happen in our communities. This happened to me. And that was years ago already. Don’t fool yourselves into thinking that this isn’t still happening and probably at a much larger scale than you think. This was the first time I had ever mentioned anything about it to either of my parents, and my Mom didn’t know how to respond or react. She just stood there in silence as I pleaded for them to support any education for the children in our community about this issue. If only we had talked about it before I was almost trapped into it. I broke down and left the conversation, and we never talked about it further.

I never thought about him, and I certainly never expected to see him again. And then I came face to face with him. I recognized him instantly, even years later, and I felt physically ill. He greeted me and asked about my life. I was polite. I didn’t know how to respond. We got on the bus and he sat down beside me. I couldn’t breathe and I felt nauseous. I knew I had to talk to somebody, so I switched seats with my friend so he couldn’t see what I was texting, I added a texting travel pack to my phone so that I could text without incurring huge roaming charges on my phone bill, and I started talking to my Mom about it and actually sharing some details with her for the first time ever.

I had been caught off guard not only by seeing him again, but by my own response to seeing him again. I am not a hateful or angry person, and suddenly I was being overpowered by my feelings of hatred and anger towards him. Feelings that I didn’t have years ago when this was happening to me, so when did these feelings develop? I felt unsafe around him, and saw my weekend being ruined.

I think when he saw me again he imagined we could pick up where we left off, and he would sit by me and try engage me in conversation. Although I was nothing but polite, with perhaps a slightly cold shoulder, he must have realized very swiftly that I was no longer the naive impressionable girl that I had been, and I wasn’t going to fall prey to him again. I made sure I was never alone over the course of the weekend, but worried about the other girls there too.

After the initial shock wore off, I refused to allow his presence to ruin my weekend, and had a good time regardless. But occasionally I would watch him interact with the other young people, and he seemed so normal, so friendly, so much like everyone else there, that I started to doubt my memories. How is it possible that he can mingle with the rest of us without there being some obvious indication of his perversion? And if he can, how many of the others have secrets like his too? Or how many of the girls have secrets like mine?

Girls, I share my story to try prevent similar things from happening to you. Make sure he respects you the way you deserve to be respected. As my friend Jonathon Van Maren said in his article “Personalized Pornography,” which also cites examples from inside our communities: “You are a person with a body, not a body with a person. If the boy you’re talking to doesn’t recognize that, then drop him hard, and wait for someone who does. There will be guys who want to spend time with you, not just your body.”