UPDATE: The headline has now been corrected to what I intended it say. Everyone needs an editor!
Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. — I Peter 2:17
How should Christians who honor the life of the unborn respond if pro-choice Barack Obama is elected president of the United States? John Piper gives eight ways to honor the president, as the verse above says we must:
1. Humbling Ourselves
We will honor you, Mr. President, by humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:6) and acknowledging that we are ourselves sinners and in need of mercy and forgiveness from God. We are not infallible. We are open to new light on this and every issue. We are not the final judge in this matter. God is. We stand before the cross of Christ on level ground with you, not above you, utterly dependent on mercy and seeking to live by the will of Christ.
2. Acknowledging God’s Image
We will honor you by acknowledging that you are a man, created in the image of God, and distinct among all the beings in the world (as it says in James 3:9). You are not a mere animal. You have the glorious potential, like all humans, of being a child of God (if you aren’t already) and shining like the sun in the kingdom of God forever and ever. We honor you as an utterly unique, human being created in the image and likeness of the living God with untold potential.
3. Acknowledging God’s Institution
We will honor you by acknowledging that government is God’s institution. He wills that there be leaders like presidents and governors. You are in power by God’s appointment and we honor that. In Romans 13:4 the Bible even calls you, “God’s servant for our good.” It grieves us that you do not intend to enact laws to protect the good of the unborn the most innocent, weak, and helpless group of Americans. But we have seen from Somalia that bad government is better than no government. The absence of some laws to protect some people is better than the absence of all laws to protect anybody. We honor your stabilizing role in this sense as a blessing from God.
4. Honoring Laws Not Conflicting with Christ’s Lordship
We will honor you by submitting to the laws of the state and the nation wherever they do not conflict with our higher allegiance to Christ the King of kings and Lord of lords. We will submit to the laws that take away
- our “right” to chose to go 75 miles an hour,
- our “right” to choose to keep our lights off when our windshield wipers are on,
- our “right” to choose to drive without a seat belt,
- our “right” to choose to fish without a license,
- our “right” to choose to make loud noises in the middle of the night,
- our “right” to choose to keep our kids out of schooling,
- our “right” to choose to send them to school without DPT shots,
- our “right” to choose to use leaded gas,
- our “right” to choose not to pay taxes,
- our “right” to choose to smoke on the other side of the restaurant, etc.
We submit to the right of government to limit our right to choose in hundreds of areas, especially when the good of others is at stake. We understand that governments exist to limit the right to choose and we submit to that.
1 Peter 2:13 says that we are to submit not for your sake but for the Lord’s sake. Verse 16 says that we are free in respect to you but slaves of God. We will submit not because you have power, but because our King commands it for the honor of his institution of civil government. Yet our submission is an honor to you because under God and from God you bear the authority to enforce the laws of the land.
5. Not Withdrawing into Isolation
We will honor you by not withdrawing into little communes of disengaged isolation from American culture. But according to 1 Peter 2:15, we will honor you by trying to do as much good as we possibly can for the unborn, and for unwanted children, and for women in distress, so that we will not be thought insolent or inconsistent in asking from you what we are not willing to do ourselves. We do this because the Bible says, “It is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:15).
6. Opposing with Non-Violence
We will honor you by opposing your position as long as we can with non-violence instead of violence, with reasoning instead of rocks, with rational passion instead of screaming, with honorable speech instead of obscenities, with forthright clarity of language instead of dodging the tough realities and tough words, with evidence instead of authority, and with scientific portrayals of life instead of authoritarian blackouts (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:2). We will honor you by a relentless effort to put truth, and not mere emotion, before you in the White House.
7. Expecting Straightforward Answers
And we will honor you by expecting from you straightforward answers to straightforward questions. We would not expect this from a con-man or a chimp. We expect it from an honorable man.
For example, are you willing to explain why a baby’s right not to be killed is less important than a woman’s right not to be pregnant?
Or are you willing to explain why most cities have laws forbidding cruelty to animals, but you oppose laws forbidding cruelty to human fetuses? Are they not at least living animals?
Or are you willing to explain why government is unwilling to take away the so-called right to abortion on demand even though it harms the unborn child; yet government is increasingly willing to take away the right to smoke, precisely because it harms innocent non-smokers, killing 3,000 non-smokers a year from cancer and as many as 40,000 non-smokers a year from other diseases?
And if you say that everything hangs on whether the fetus is a human child, are you willing to go before national television in the oval office and defend your support for the “Freedom of Choice Act” by holding in your hand a 21 week old fetus and explaining why this little one does not have the fundamental, moral, and constitutional right to life? Are you willing to say to parents in this church who lost a child at that age and held him in their hands, this being in your hands is not and was not a child with any rights of its own under God or under law?
Perhaps you have good answers to each of these questions. We will honor you by expecting you to defend your position forthrightly in the public eye. You have immense power as President of the United States. To wield it against the protection of the unborn without giving a public accounting in view of moral and scientific reality would be dishonorable. We will honor you by expecting better.
8. Trusting the Sovereign, Loving Purpose of God
Finally we will honor you by trusting that the purpose of our sovereign and loving God to defend the fatherless and contend for the defenseless and to exalt the meek will triumph through your presidency. And to that end we will pray for you as Christ our King commands us.
Read the whole article from Piper here.