Diary

For the Dual Citizens Among Us: Doing it Right in Greenwich Village

If Political Issue #1 for the evangelical Christian is Life, and we are surrounded by a culture of Death, and we are forbidden to employ weapons of the flesh (including “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk (Col. 3:8)”, cursing, and vengeance) to destroy its strongholds, and yet we will be scoffed at if we so much as quote a Bible verse, then how can we possibly speak with persuasion into the situation?

One example occurred yesterday morning at one of the 300 protests across the nation organized by Protest Planned Parenthood, as Rev. Kirk van der Swaagh, senior pastor of Neighborhood Church of Greenwich Village addressed, not fellow protesters, but a number of workers standing outside the Margaret Sanger Planned Parenthood Center across the street. Notice how, although his rich baritone (you should only hear his theater-trained voice in full song!) was at full volume, he had no need to yell or scream, curse or demean, but spoke to his hearers as fellow images of God, worth pleading with in terms they could grasp, both for the cause of Life and hopefully the sake of their own souls.

Please note how much of his plea is done in terms of Natural Law, with no reference to Scripture. Among Reformation-rooted churches (and developed most recently and thoroughly by Cornelius van Til), many of us believe that Scripture itself (springing from Romans 1:18ff) teaches that the natural man, having never heard a Bible verse, nevertheless has a sufficient knowledge of God and the requirements of his moral law not only to be guilty, but to know that he is guilty, and to compound his guilt by suppressing that knowledge in unrighteousness. Believing this to be absolutely true, we waste no time pleading for an unbeliever to believe in God, we simply assume it and speak directly to the knowledge we know he has. Knowing that we are as much in need of a Savior as he, we also waste no time (nor dare to offend our Lord) by demeaning his person in relation to our own. In tearing down his belief about an ethical issue–as Life–we are confident that there is sufficient data in his own conscience, and evidence from his own self-contradictory behavior, to show him his error. If he listens, it is time to both buttress the argument and bring full conviction of sin by employing the Scriptures–and since Natural Law cannot show him Christ as Savior, that can come only via Special Revelation, the preaching of the Gospel–but that is not the immediate goal of a 7-minute sidewalk protest speech.

Here’s what it looks like when it’s done right (h/t to my brother in Christ, Naeem, who filmed and got this onto youTube):