In a communication even more perturbing than that of the “Christian” Democrat who declared, “God is neither pro-choice, nor pro-life,” a Charlottesville Presbyterian pastor has made a shocking claim: Decisions to abort a child can be guided by the Holy Spirit.

The clergyman’s statement was e-mailed in reaction to a local pro-lifer’s narrative of innocent babies’ lives spared through peaceful intervention at a Charlottesville abortion clinic:

“…a woman pulled up into the Planned Parenthood parking lot and started yelling at me. At first I thought she was angry with me… but then she told me she wanted to tell me something. She pointed to the backseat of her car and said she had a grandson in a car seat that was alive because people were standing outside of the clinic and she wanted to say ‘thank you’.

I ran across the street to the parking lot where my friend was parked to tell him the good news… but God wasn’t done!

A week later a young woman pulled off the side of the road to tell me that she too had changed her mind because people were standing outside of the clinic. This time I was prepared and I asked if I could get pictures of her baby so that we could see with our own eyes why we stand.”

These inspiring accounts were met with a stark response from the pulpiter:

On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 2:55 PM, Pastor Jxxxxx wrote:

Dear xxxxxx,

Please remove me from your e-mail list. While I truly value support given to those who choose not to have an abortion in the face of a difficult and challenging set of circumstances, I also value very highly the right of an individual to have her/his conscience guided by the Holy Spirit. This leads me as a Presbyterian pastor to support the work of organizations such as Planned Parenthood. In fact, I have served on the board of that organization. This does not mean that I am oblivious to the number of abortions carried out in this country. It does mean that I support the work of organizations that attempt to create and maintain safe facilities that afford women a choice at such times.

Thank you for striking me from the list of recipients of your communications.

Pastor Jxxxxx

In addition to his defamatory mischaracterization of the Holy Spirit, the theologically muddled pro-“choice” pastor’s dispatch further boasted that he had served on the Planned Parenthood board—an inherently contradictory position for a Bible-believing Christian to assume.

And this lost shepherd, hoping to avoid future encounters with the Truth, twice requested that he be removed from the pro-life mailing list.

There is a desecrating spiritual sickness infecting Charlottesville: darkness promulgated by myriad “marriage rights” churches and pro-abortion pastors, who through false teachings and distorted doctrine are leading their followers progressively down the road to perdition.

But, we were warned:

For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:25)

Ignore the Word at your own risk, Pastor J, but remember that intentional deception of the flock is a dangerous path to walk.

21 COMMENTS

  1. The Holy Spirit would NEVER direct an individual to murder an innocent unborn child. I am not sure what perplexes me more, the fact that this man can continue to dare lay claim to be an instructor in the faith, or that he even has a congregation willing to sit before him. This kind of error in teaching is why Jesus called the religious leaders of His time, ” A brood o vipers.” Take away all the current headlines. Diacount all the societal ills. You can tell where we are in Gods grand timing of things,by simply looking at the condition of the church today. To support from the pulpit is terrible enough. To sit on and advisory board that aids in the destruction of innocent life is even more despicable.

  2. So this guy defamed the Holy Spirit? His reputation has been harmed? In whose eyes?

    I don’t think Jesus would call anyone a snake for a mere error, and this pastor’s opinion is likely an error born out of compassion. I’m firmly pro-life, I support a pro-life pregnancy clinic, and I believe abortion makes God grieve. Still, I understand why good people choose it, and I think God is perfectly able to care for the souls of aborted children. They don’t suffer, at least beyond the abortion procedure, which is to say that they suffer immeasurably less than born children.

    There is a desecrating spiritual sickness infecting Charlottesville: darkness promulgated by myriad “marriage rights” churches and pro-abortion pastors, who through false teachings and distorted doctrine are leading their followers progressively down the road to perdition.

    We’re called to reprove each other, but not to judge the state of each others’ souls. It’s God’s place, not ours, to separate the sheep from the goats. When we presume to do so ourselves, that’s when the Holy Spirit’s reputation is harmed, so to speak. That’s when the world looks at us, sees we act no better than they do, and looks away.

  3. Has to be a PCUSA pastor. They love to tout their “ordination” as proof that they are an ethical authority on whatever axe they wish to grind. However, any denomination where belief in the Resurrection is optional for ordination (See the 1924 Auburn Affirmation) makes this ordination of questionable authority at best (with all due apologies to those PCUSA ministers who do still hold to Sola Scriptura).

    God is not schizoid. The “conscience guided by the Holy Spirit” will never contradict the Word in which that same Holy Spirit inspired. Men have done many things under the guise of being “led by the Spirit”.

  4. “Puritan,” I won’t get an answer to this, but I’ll pose the question anyhow: how are you and Rob any less setting yourselves up as ethical authorities when you express an opinion than this pastor is? After all, you think highly enough of your thoughts to post them even without being ordained.

    Ordination can’t be purchased for a nominal fee. It has to be earned. Tell me with a straight faith that if you had studied ethical issues with academic rigor, you wouldn’t think highly of your own opinion.

    I agree that this guy is wrong in his opinion. But citing Scripture as to why the pastor is wrong is no answer.

  5. “how are you and Rob any less setting yourselves up as ethical authorities when you express an opinion than this pastor is?”

    We’re not. God is the only authority on ethical issues, and His commandments against murder could not be any clearer.

    “Ordination can’t be purchased for a nominal fee. It has to be earned.”

    Actually, that’s not true (you can become ordained online for a $15 payment), though I am sure that being ordained in the PSUSA does in fact take time and effort. But time and effort isn’t the only requirement for Christian ordination. Submission to Scripture, the Word of the Living God, is also a must. Once the PCUSA adopted the Auburn Affirmation, the majority of them failed this requirement. Even the teachings of the Apostle Paul himself were subject to examination by the Scriptures (Acts 17:11). Since the teachings of those who Christ himself ordained were subject to such, how much more the teachings of any modern minister?

    “I agree that this guy is wrong in his opinion. But citing Scripture as to why the pastor is wrong is no answer.”

    On what authority will you make this claim? Citing Scripture as to why the pastor is wrong is the only answer. Sola Scriptura…

  6. God is the only authority on ethical issues, and His commandments against murder could not be any clearer.

    Again, I agree that the pastor is wrong. But Scripture does not expressly condemn abortion, or say that it is murder. That determination depends on reason and science as well as what Scripture does say, and if you look carefully at the original Hebrew of the Old Testament passages cited as prohibiting abortion, there is room for debate, which is why there is debate.

    On what authority will you make this claim? Citing Scripture as to why the pastor is wrong is the only answer. Sola Scriptura…

    To claim that someone who offers an opinion on an ethical issue is claiming to be an ethical authority, and is also wrong on the issue, is to claim ethical authority for oneself. That’s basic logic, whether the disputer recognizes what he’s doing or not. And you can’t get around it by saying you go by sola scriptura when the meanings of scriptural passages themselves are in dispute.

    But again, what I really object to about Rob’s posting is his over the top rhetoric and judgments. How did — how could anyone — defame the Holy Spirit? And where does the Scripture say that one sin earns one perdition? Or that one sin perverts while another doesn’t? The Religious Right likes to separate the sheep from the goats by focusing on the other side’s sins, which it presumes are worse than its own. The fact is that we all need grace and forgiveness, and to judge someone a worse sinner than oneself is self-righteous and foolish.

    The other day Rob was complaining that some adversary or another never responded to the Schilling Show’s criticisms, probably because he couldn’t. If the shoe fits, Rob, then wear it.

  7. I did not claim that someone who offers an opinion on an ethical issue is claiming to be an ethical authority. I said that someone who offers an opinion on an ethical issue based on the fact that his is an ordained minister is claiming to be an ethical authority. You may object that he did not use his ordination as the basis for his opinion, but then why mention that He is a Presbyterian minister?

    Among the Presbyterian churches that are still Christian churches (of which I am a part of – PCA, OPC, etc.), there is no debate concerning abortion. But if the PCUSA cannot even decide on whether or not Scripture teaches the virgin birth of Christ or His bodily resurrection, then why would we listen to them about murder (the shedding of innocent human blood), which abortion clearly is? Certainly, the teaching an ordained minister (especially PCUSA) should be questioned, and Scripture alone is the test. One may disagree with Christian doctrine, but one may not redefine it.

    I would say that accusing the Holy Spirit of leading you to slaughter babies is pretty defamatory.

  8. I have no love for what little I know of the PCUSA. But the pastor didn’t claim that his opinion on the issue was based on his being an ordained minister, but rather that “as a Presbyterian pastor” he supports “the work of organizations such as Planned Parenthood.” In other words, believing as he does, and holding the job that he does, he feels he should back up his beliefs with actions.

    defamatory: “injurious to someone’s name or reputation”

    As I asked in my first post, in whose eyes has the Holy Spirit been defamed? In the eyes of people who think the pastor is wrong? Obviously not. In the eyes of people who agree with him? Obviously not.

    Also, fetuses are of course human, but they are not babies. Also, to abort a child in sadness because one lacks the resources to raise it is no to slaughter it, except in the most narrow, technical sense of the term. Like Rob, your rhetoric is dramatic but not always accurate, which is to say it clouds the issue rather than clarifies it.

  9. “Also, fetuses are of course human, but they are not babies.”

    On what authority will you make this claim? That’s precisely what’s being debated here. If they aren’t babies, then what are they? Grownups?

    According to Scripture, the highest of all authority on such matters, unborn babies are children, created in the image of God, and are to be protected by law. Those killing unborn babies, even by accident, are punished.

    Far from clouding the issue, Sola Scriptura clarifies things quite nicely. It is sinceless rhetoric from the left, debating what constitutes a baby, or what constitutes a marriage, that clouds the issues.

  10. Puritan, I don’t need authority to say that fetuses aren’t babies, I can just cite the English language. We have the word “fetus” to distinguish life in the womb from life outside it. Note that I’m not saying fetuses aren’t alive. They’re just not cute little babies, which is the image you trade on when you don’t call them by their proper name. Say that abortion is wrong in God’s eyes. Tell a mother who’s considering an abortion at 3 weeks that she would be taking a human life which God loves. But don’t tell her she’s killing a baby.

    We’re called to speak the truth in love, not embellish it rhetorically. Precise language reveals the truth. Inaccurate language conceals it.

    Those killing unborn babies, even by accident, are punished.

    Killing a pregnant mother hardly parallels that mother having an abortion. If it is and Scripture is the absolute authority here, shouldn’t women who have abortions be punished by death?

    According to Scripture, the highest of all authority on such matters, unborn babies are children

    Is the Scripture correct that the sun stood still when Joshua commanded it to? Did the water during the Flood cover the entire Earth? Did Noah’s ark really hold every living species? Are bats and locusts birds? Does the Earth not move? It’s clear from scripture that God loves human life in the womb. But the Bible is not a science textbook.

  11. :Ken: “Puritan, I don’t need authority to say that fetuses aren’t babies, I can just cite the English language.”

    From Websters Dictionary – Baby: a (1) : an extremely young child; especially : infant (2) : an extremely young animal.

    I fail to see where the English language specifies after the womb. That’s something that pro-choicers add arbitrarily.

    Scripture constantly refers to unborn children as children children (2 Samuel 11:27), babies (Luke 1:41-44), and recognizes their personhood (Job 3:11).

    :Ken: “We have the word “fetus” to distinguish life in the womb from life outside it”

    So what? A fetus is a baby or a child still in the womb. How is it not a baby? I’m still waiting for an answer to that question?

    :Ken: “Note that I’m not saying fetuses aren’t alive. They’re just not cute little babies, which is the image you trade on when you don’t call them by their proper name”

    Your trying to justify the pro-choice position on the subjective grounds that the embilical cord has been cut. In any case, you have already agreed that they are human. On what basis will you give more of a right to life outside the womb?

    :Ken: “Say that abortion is wrong in God’s eyes. “Tell a mother who’s considering an abortion at 3 weeks that she would be taking a human life which God loves. But don’t tell her she’s killing a baby”

    Why not? Why is abortion wrong Ken? If it’s not because a baby is being murdered, then I fail to see what’s wrong with it. Perhaps more women need to see it for what it is instead of dumbed-down rhetoric like “choice” and “fetus”. Perhaps they should all watch an abortion take place before they have one. Perhaps they should watch the little babies get their skulls crushed or their skins burnt off. Sorry Ken, but there is no syrupy, peachy way to describe this monstrous act.

    :Ken: “We’re called to speak the truth in love, not embellish it rhetorically. Precise language reveals the truth. Inaccurate language conceals it.”

    I’m being quite precise. You’re trying to blur the distinction (or at least the status) between unborn and born infants, but have given no logical reason for doing so. Even if I accept your premise that a “fetus” is totally different than a “baby” (and I don’t), that becomes only a subjective definition, a mere tautology with no explanatory value. However you want to define it, abortion is murdering a living human being.

    :Ken: “Killing a pregnant mother hardly parallels that mother having an abortion.

    You err, not knowing the Scriptures:

    “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” (Exodus 21:22-25)

    The Scriptures call for the death penalty for anyone who accidentally kills a baby in the womb while fighting.

    :Ken: “If … Scripture is the absolute authority here, shouldn’t women who have abortions be punished by death?

    Well why not? Is murder no longer a capital offense? Let’s now forget her hired killer as well.

    :Ken: “Is the Scripture correct that the sun stood still when Joshua commanded it to? Did the water during the Flood cover the entire Earth? Did Noah’s ark really hold every living species? Are bats and locusts birds? Does the Earth not move? It’s clear from scripture that God loves human life in the womb. But the Bible is not a science textbook.

    What’s with the red herrings? The answers are 1.) yes, 2.) no, but the entire “erets” (land), 3.) all the species of that land, yes, 4.) before modern animal classification (more tautologies, yes, and 5.) the earth moves. (These objections have been answered many times, but I’ll digress). If you are a Christian, then God’s Word is the ultimately authority. Of course, maybe you aren’t, but His Word is still the ultimate authority, because the denial of it leads to irrationality. He is God, therefore ought to be obeyed. Who cares if it a science textbook? We’re discussing ethics, for which science has no explanation anyway.

  12. Oops. Hopefully a little clearer…

    Ken: “Puritan, I don’t need authority to say that fetuses aren’t babies, I can just cite the English language.”

    Response: From Websters Dictionary – Baby: a (1) : an extremely young child; especially : infant (2) : an extremely young animal.

    I fail to see the distinction.

    Scripture constantly refers to unborn children as children children (2 Samuel 11:27), babies (Luke 1:41-44), and recognizes their personhood (Job 3:11).

    Ken: “We have the word “fetus” to distinguish life in the womb from life outside it”

    Response: So what? A fetus is a baby or a child still in the womb. How is it not a baby? I’m still waiting for an answer to that question?

    Ken: “Note that I’m not saying fetuses aren’t alive. They’re just not cute little babies, which is the image you trade on when you don’t call them by their proper name”

    Response: Your trying to justify the pro-choice position on the subjective grounds that the embilical cord has been cut. In any case, you have already agreed that they are human. On what basis will you give more of a right to life outside the womb?

    Ken: “Say that abortion is wrong in God’s eyes. “Tell a mother who’s considering an abortion at 3 weeks that she would be taking a human life which God loves. But don’t tell her she’s killing a baby”

    Response: Why not? Why is abortion wrong Ken? If it’s not because a baby is being murdered, then I fail to see what’s wrong with it. Perhaps more women need to see it for what it is instead of dumbed-down rhetoric like “choice” and “fetus”. Perhaps they should all watch an abortion take place before they have one. Perhaps they should watch the little babies get their skulls crushed or their skins burnt off. Sorry Ken, but there is no syrupy, peachy way to describe this monstrous act.

    Ken: “We’re called to speak the truth in love, not embellish it rhetorically. Precise language reveals the truth. Inaccurate language conceals it.”

    Response: I’m being quite precise. You’re trying to blur the distinction (or at least the status) between unborn and born infants, but have given no logical reason for doing so. Even if I accept your premise that a “fetus” is totally different than a “baby”, that becomes only a subjective definition, a mere tautology with no explanatory value.

    Ken: “Killing a pregnant mother hardly parallels that mother having an abortion.”

    Response: You err, not knowing the Scriptures:

    “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
    (Exodus 21:22-25)

    The Scriptures call for the death penalty for anyone who accidentally kills a baby in the womb while fighting.

    Ken: “If … Scripture is the absolute authority here, shouldn’t women who have abortions be punished by death?”

    Response: Well why not? Is murder no longer a capital offense? Let’s now forget her hired killer as well.

    Ken: “Is the Scripture correct that the sun stood still when Joshua commanded it to? Did the water during the Flood cover the entire Earth? Did Noah’s ark really hold every living species? Are bats and locusts birds? Does the Earth not move? It’s clear from scripture that God loves human life in the womb. But the Bible is not a science textbook.

    Response: What’s with the red herrings? The answers are 1.) yes, 2.) no, but the entire “erets” (land), 3.) all the species of that land, yes, 4.) before modern animal classification (more tautologies, yes, and 5.) the earth moves. (These objections have been answered many times, but I’ll digress). If you are a Christian, then God’s Word is the ultimately authority. Of course, maybe you aren’t, but His Word is still the ultimate authority, because the denial of it leads to irrationality. He is God, therefore ought to be obeyed. Who cares if it a science textbook? We’re discussing ethics, for which science has no explanation anyway.

  13. Ken “We have the word “fetus” to distinguish life in the womb from life outside it”
    Response: So what? A fetus is a baby or a child still in the womb. How is it not a baby? I’m still waiting for an answer to that question?

    Ask Merriam-Webster to define fetus: “an unborn or unhatched vertebrate especially after attaining the basic structural plan of its kind; specifically : a developing human from usually two months after conception to birth”

    Ask the Free Dictionary: “The unborn young of a viviparous vertebrate having a basic structural resemblance to the adult animal.”

    Ask Dictionary.com: “the young of an animal in the womb or egg, esp. in the later stages of development when the body structures are in the recognizable form of its kind, in humans after the end of the second month of gestation.”

    Ask medicine.net: “The unborn offspring from the end of the 8th week after conception (when the major structures have formed) until birth. Up until the eighth week, the developing offspring is called an embryo.”

    Ken: “Note that I’m not saying fetuses aren’t alive. They’re just not cute little babies, which is the image you trade on when you don’t call them by their proper name”

    Puritan Lad: Your trying to justify the pro-choice position on the subjective grounds that the embilical cord has been cut. In any case, you have already agreed that they are human. On what basis will you give more of a right to life outside the womb?

    This tiresome response is sadly typical of the level of thinking I find from much of the Religious Right. I have said any number of times here that I am pro-life, and that I think abortion is wrong. In other words, I’m not saying that the distinction justifies abortion. Is that clear enough? Because if you mischaracterize my position again, consider the discussion over. I’m not here to debate words put into my mouth. I’m saying that honesty demands precision.

    Puritian Lad: Why is abortion wrong Ken? If it’s not because a baby is being murdered, then I fail to see what’s wrong with it.

    Again, it’s because the fetus is human, and because the Scripture explicitly shows that God loves life in the womb.

    Puritan Lad: Even if I accept your premise that a “fetus” is totally different than a “baby”, that becomes only a subjective definition, a mere tautology with no explanatory value.

    Differences are not subjective, and emotion clouds reason. It is wrong to take fetal life for reasons I’ve given above, not because it’s cute, which it isn’t anyhow. Argue on the facts, and if the facts are on your, or in this case our, side, then you have done all you can.

    Ken: “Killing a pregnant mother hardly parallels that mother having an abortion.”

    Puritan: You err, not knowing the Scriptures:
    “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (Exodus 21:22-25)

    You missed my point, but I should have been clear. That was the very verse I was referring to. The harm done there is not just to the life in the womb, but to the mother as well, and because the Scripture doesn’t directly address abortion – or, if you prefer – intentionally induced abortion – it’s reasonable to assume that the penalty called for takes into account that double harm. If you really want to get down to it, “ so that her children come out” doesn’t specify whether they come out live or dead. The life is “life for life” could be the fetus’s, or it could be that of the woman who dies in childbirth.

    Ken: “If … Scripture is the absolute authority here, shouldn’t women who have abortions be punished by death?”

    Puritan Lad: Well why not? Is murder no longer a capital offense? Let’s now forget her hired killer as well.

    Because for one reason, following Jesus’ command in Matthew 5, we no longer take an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, etc. For another, the Founding Fathers whom the right loves to cite knew that theocracies cause wars and set improper limits on freedom, including the freedom to sin. You’d kill the mother of three and take her away from her children because she had an abotyion, would you? Or would you just kill the woman with no kids?

    Puritan Lad:(These objections have been answered many times, but I’ll digress).

    You haven’t answered them on the grounds on which they’re asked, i.e. the grounds of science.

    Who cares if it a science textbook? We’re discussing ethics, for which science has no explanation anyway.

    I don’t care that it’s not a science textbook except when people treat it as if it’s scientifically accurate in all cases. If you take “infant” as meaning there is no distinction between fetus and baby, then you have to accept that the sun stood still, etc. And it’s not that I don’t believe in miracles, by the way. God could certainly have made the sun stand still, as the Scripture say he did – that is, if it had been moving in the first place!

  14. By the way, Puritan Lad, I’ll read whatever you have to say in response to this, but I don’t have time for another point by point rebuttal. I think we’ve both made our positions clear by now.

  15. everyone dies–we don’t know they whys of when–we just know they–we–all do.

    the pastor’s words are not shocking to me. because i believe everyone has an individual walk with God. and one’s mistakes are as much a part of that as one’s triumphs.

    look at all the women who say that having an abortion brought them to God–the precondition for that was HAVING THE ABORTION.

    this is a discussion for another forum–another venue. But wrongful death occurs in all sorts of contexts. Abortion is one, but war, famine, pestilence take their toll, too.

    my question to those who exhibit such certainty about God’s will and his ways that they think they can judge the hearts of everyone else is just this: if we were all good, not just good but all perfect, what would God … be for?

    My pastor says we should strive to be careful of making God fit our image of ourselves (as in thinking: God is a Democrat or God is a Republican). When what we SHOULD be doing is asking how we can be like Jesus. Yeah, the Jesus who drove the moneychangers from the temple, but also the Jesus who showed mercy to sinners and pariahs and the woman at the well…

  16. Why not just apply for Barrick’s job? With your literary background and your inside knowledge of city hall, you’d be far more qualified. I bet you’d even take the job for substantially less than $93k!

  17. The Bible clearly says that blasphemy against God or Christ can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not forgivable. How can that be? I believe because human consciousness is the Holy Spirit and the only hands God has to elevate Humanity to God's image. God as Man is Christ. Man as God is the Holy Spirit.

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