Who Cares For the Most Vulnerable?

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Gard family tonight, as they mourn the loss of their baby boy.  We sorrow alongside of them.

The Gard family’s grief compels us to ask a difficult question that lies at the heart of recent debates over healthcare in America.  Who should determine and provide healthcare needs for the most vulnerable in our society (the poor, the sick, children, the elderly)?

Responding to Charlie Gard’s publicized healthcare debacle, which included a court preventing the Gard family from seeking alternative medical solutions for their child,  Mr. Ian Kennedy recently argued that in cases concerning a child’s best interest, reason dictates that we abide by the following principles:

  1. Recognize that children do not belong to their parents.
  2. Acknowledge that parents do not have rights regarding their children, they only have duties. The principal duty of a parent is to act in their child’s best interest.
  3. Any rights that parents have exist only to protect their children’s rights.
  4. Parents cannot always be the ultimate arbiters of their children’s interest (i.e. rights). The higher standard which decides what is, or is not, in the child’s best interest is “a trustworthy and independent source of authority […] a court.”

Kennedy frames his argument as a choice between reason and passion. The parental plea for the right to obtain medical attention for their child is derogatively swept aside as an emotional appeal and nothing more.  Yet Kennedy ignores important other “dichotomies” which ought to guide our reasonable assessment of the question, “who should decide healthcare for the most vulnerable in our society?”

In exploring such dichotomies, I would like to briefly articulate a reasoned response to each of Mr. Kennedy’s propositions.

  1. First, Kennedy makes an assumption that children do not belong to their parents on the premise that, since the 19th century, society has assumed a role of caring for children. Even if we concede that Kennedy’s historical argument is correct, and conceding that children must “belong” to someone, did society have a right to take such a role from parents in the first place?  Notably, Kennedy never uses the word “family” in his article, nor does he argue from an understanding of the family as its own human social institution, endowed with a similar responsibility of seeking the common good of its members through various rights and duties between parents, children, siblings, etc.  The substitution of “parents” for “family” is telling, indicating that in Kennedy’s mind the key players in such a controversy are all individuals, amongst whom the Court must adjudicate conflicting interests.  Kennedy thus ignores the proper distinction between the family and government as two different, but vital, institutions that contribute to human prospering.  While the family and government have an appropriate relationship to each other, eradicating one in favor of the other, or arrogating all the duties and rights from one institution to give to another, results in tyranny.  Particularly when you reallocate the rights and duties from those who have the ability and opportunity to love an individual best (parents) to those who neither know nor have the capacity to love that individual (a judge).
  1. Kennedy confirms this unspoken negation of the family in his second principle, which argues vaguely that either his assertion that (a) parents have only rights, not duties, regarding their children, or (b) the principal duty of parents is to act in their children’s best interest, “has been part of the fabric of our law and our society for a long time.” Or, at least since the 19th century. Kennedy doesn’t go back far enough to consider one of the threads that shaped the liberal-democratic fabric of his nation in the 17th century (a relatively short time before Kennedy’s arbitrary cut-off date).  John Locke argued profusely that there is a fundamental difference between parental and political power (see especially Two Treatises on Government).  According to Locke, children are born to an equality of natural freedom, but they are not born in a state of natural equality.  “Their parents have a sort of rule and jurisdiction over them when they come into the world,” a rightful authority that remains until age and reason free a child.  The law of nature (since children are born naturally weak and irrational) has given parents, not courts, rights to provide for their children’s well-being.  This principle was essential for Locke to defend, not necessarily because he valued the institution of the family, but because he valued the freedom for the individual that results from a limited government.  Only by protecting the rights and duties of the family could Locke distinguish between absolute, tyrannical government (such as that which the father and mother exercise over their children) and liberal, just government (such as that exercised by legislative, judicial, and executive authorities over citizens).
  1. The unspoken question resulting from Kennedy’s third proposition, which we are all asking ourselves, is who decides what is a child’s best interest or rights? If we answer, “the parents,” then rights rationally correspond to duties. Even Kennedy admits (briefly) that parents have duties; if duties, then rights.  If we answer, “the court,” then we must assume that the court (or government it represents) has parental duties; otherwise, it has rights without responsibilities.  Kennedy’s argument ultimately supports this latter conclusion.  Kennedy first argues that parents have duties without rights, and next argues that parents can have rights that are dependent upon their children’s rights. Yet Kennedy’s next principle implicitly interchanges “interest” with “rights.”  Hence, parents can rightfully care for their children’s interests (such as an interest in living) so long as a governmental institution determines that the child has a right to that particular interest.  By determining what rights a child has, the government also determines what duties the parents have.  Kennedy thus ignores the proper (or any) relationship between duties and rights. Parents have duties without rights; governments have rights without duties.

Kennedy’s conclusion therefore follows from his silent reductions of two key dichotomies, that of the family vs. government, and that of rights vs. duties.  Yet the issue of healthcare concerns the whole person—not just the bodily parts of the person needing healed, but the spiritual parts of the person needing life-giving relationships, such as those found in parents.  Individuals prosper in close-knit communities composed of persons who truly love and are loved in return; who exercise both rights and duties towards each other.  A government is not capable of love; indeed, its aim is justice, not love.  It is certainly not capable of loving another individual enough to willingly sacrifice time or money, and to risk heartbreak or guilt, in order to save an individual’s life in a health crisis.  Therefore, the question of who provides an individual’s healthcare also includes questions of who is most invested in a person’s life.  If we democratically (or otherwise) cede that investment to the government, we must be willing to face the consequences. If we give government the duty to provide healthcare (including the costs, responsibility for management, etc.), then we must expect that the government will assume certain rights alongside those duties (such as prudentially deciding who lives, and why). In that sense, Kennedy is correct.  The problem doesn’t lie necessarily with Kennedy’s argument, but with his unwillingness to acknowledge that we have another rational, alternative answer to that most important question—the family.

52 thoughts on “Who Cares For the Most Vulnerable?”

  1. Seems pretty obvious to me. Family: wants to do everything to save child’s life. State: once we consider that you are no longer worth saving, we won’t allow anyone to save you. So why again do people love the state?

    1. Flippant comments like this do not further the debate. The Gard tragedy is far too complex an issue for it to be spoken about in simple black-and-white ways.

      1. Ok then, you can start to further the debate. Make the Christian case that the state should be allowed to stop parents from getting their children potentially life-saving treatment, even if the possible treatment has a low probability of success. I look forward to reading your argument.

      2. I should think, Mister “Probably most consistent pro-life person on this blog”. that you of all people would be able to see the black-and-white of this debate. I would join Dr. Haymond in saying that I would love to hear what is “complex” about the state preventing parents from exhausting all treatment options for their children.

        As for flippant comments not helping to further debate, there should be nothing to debate on this. There was still a treatment option remaining and the state prevented that option from even being attempted. It should not matter how little the chance of success was the state has no business making that decision. Had it been attempted and failed, then, and only then, do we enter the complex realm of end of life issues.

  2. As I said, this is a complex case. And you want easy, simple answers from me?

    Weren’t you the one who was ducking my legitimate question last week? Yes, that was you.

    Christian case? The Bible is silent on the issue.

    If anything, if one wants to take the typical evangelical interpretation of Romans 13 (which is to take the passage completely out of context), the state should be obeyed, right? Even when it is wrong, right? Leaders are God’s ministers, right? Even bad ones, and even evil ones?

    If God wanted the baby to live, then God would have allowed the child to live. No court or hospital could have stopped God’s will from taking place.

    God apparently did not want the child to live. If God did, God would have chosen to use supernatural means to save this doomed child, or would have given scientists the ability to figure out how to save the child. God apparently has a reason for choosing not to act to save a helpless child. We do not know what that is. Sad thing, there are many children who will never live to see their first birthday, even though they have done nothing wrong.

    So what do we now? We should trust God and stop using the child’s death as a cheap way to earn political points to advance some kind of libertarian, anti-state sentiment. And we should assume that since this is a private matter, there is a lot of information we do not and cannot know. And we should support science and the scientific method, both of which are God’s creations. Colleges that support anti-science (“creation science” and young-earth geology) are not helping, but rather are hurting the effort.

    That is why flippant comments like yours do not help in dealing with this complex issue. There is no clear biblical case here. There are a lot of facts we probably do not and cannot know.

    How dare you turn this into some kind of political issue.

    1. What a bunch of incoherent rambling tripe.

      The answer is easy, you just refuse to acknowledge it because you were caught in a contradiction of your supposed pro-life values.

      1. Nathan,

        Is there an argument in that cheap insult?

        The sovereignty of God–the underlying assumption to my response–is indeed a biblical concept. I don’t see how that is “incoherent rambling tripe.”

        To each his own, I guess.

      2. The sovereignty of God is a very important Biblical concept. But it is only relevant in hindsight and as comfort to those hurting. To say that the decision was the right one, or that we cannot criticize what happened because of it does not diminish acceptance of God’s sovereignty. Otherwise the Gestapo and SS monsters at Nuremberg could have argued that they should not be punished for their crimes because since God allowed the holocaust to happen, it must have been his will. I believe in a certain way God used it as part of his overarching plan of history but while God often turns evil to good, he doesn’t stop hating the evil.

        As for cheap insults… if you can’t take them, don’t dish them out. I have said nothing to you that you have not said to someone else.

    2. Jeff,

      The issue is complex; my post was intended to lend some clarity to the different arguments that one could think through in response to the question defined in the post. Rather than assuming that the state is the best “person” to make such health/life decisions for an individual, as Kennedy does, we could acknowledge that Scripture gives us two institutions for human prospering–really, three–and then have a discussion about which institution’s roles and responsibilities (as defined by Scripture) the issue of healthcare properly falls within. Per Jeff H.’s request, you would need to make an argument from Scripture that the government’s biblical roles and responsibilities point to it as the best institution to make healthcare decisions for individuals. This argument may be possible; my argument rests on the belief that is the family, not government, which the Bible points to as the best providers of healthcare for the weak among us. I made this argument on the assumption that familial love plays a large role in deciding life or death issues, as well as on the intimate connection between duties and rights. If there is no family, I would argue that the Church’s biblical characteristics and operations qualify it for that role. Perhaps only as a last resort should we turn to the government, based on what both scripture and perhaps common sense tell us about the character and powers of government in relation to the individual. You are certainly free to disagree with my assumptions regarding the institutions given us in Scripture; however, in order to have that discussion, we would need to agree that (a) the question in the post is a good one to ask, and has multiple answers that could be given, (b) scripture gives us such institutions, and (c) we can discern between the roles/responsibilities of such institutions. If you do not agree with (a), then there is no point in responding to the post, since we have no common ground on which to build a conversation.

      Above all, I did not want to use the grief of a family as a means to politicize a private issue. What I am trying to accomplish, via thinking through the questions this tragedy presents to us, is a de-politicization of our conversation about healthcare–ironically. I am trying to renovate a proper view of the family’s role in society. We have forgotten the power of the family and church in our lives. If we sweep the question of the blog post aside by claiming that the issue is too complex, or assert that political and social institutions have no responsibility to thoughtfully consider the limits of their power due to the sovereignty of God, then we have no room to take part in a conversation, and we have conceded to the assumption that the state is the best person to care for person’s health needs without considering our options.

      1. Emily: Thank you for the thoughtful post and reply. I am interested to see your inclusion of the Church here in the reply….during the coverage of this case I often found myself wondering more broadly what the role of the Church should be in these issues. I completely agree with your concern over the role of the government, but I also know that at times even families struggle to be proper advocates as well…..either because of a broken family structure or simply because they are so close to the situation that it is difficult to see all sides or accurately judge what is best (speaking from experience here….it is harder than imagined when it is your loved one that is ill). Not just in high profile cases such as this one, but in more “everyday” situations of hospice, end-of-life care, experimental treatments, I have wondered how the Church could better come alongside those families that are incapacitated by grief or in some other way unable to navigate these types of situations clearly; perhaps just overwhelmed with the amount and magnitude of information. I think that may be a role for the Church that perhaps we haven’t explored to the fullest extent….not just stating our beliefs, but walking alongside families throughout the entire life spectrum. Good thoughts and I appreciate the post.
        As a side note, I also appreciate both the tone, depth, and thoughtfulness of your response. It is what I hoping to find on a blog such as this.

    3. “As I said, this is a complex case. And you want easy, simple answers from me?”

      Who asked for simple answers? There is no character limit here for your response as far as I’m aware–give us your comprehensive case. Seriously, all you do here is criticize. So I’ve challenged you to put forward a positive case for your position–whatever that is. You poked at my answer–which is fair–but I then have the right to ask you to man up and say your position. Its easy to be a critic. A little harder to make a case. Water’s warm, jump on in.

      “Weren’t you the one who was ducking my legitimate question last week? Yes, that was you.”
      No, you completely changed the subject (per usual), and when I said I’d answer my position on a specific case when you named one (which was totally off track from the post), you did, and then I gave a specific answer. Just because you don’t like an answer doesn’t mean you didn’t get one. No Mr. Adams, no one is ducking, except you in your unwillingness to lay out your own positive case for what I believe is indefensible.

      “How dare you turn this into some kind of political issue.” This is EXACTLY what kind of issue should be discussed, and the political ramifications. We are privileged to be in a republic and therefore have the ability to shape to some degree what the public policy should be. Dare we not to try to have public policy that is beneficial to people? Obviously I think the UK’s position was wrong. You’re free to disagree. But to say we shouldn’t be talking about this politically is ridiculous–Given the mountains you routinely make out of the smallest of molehills, I can only conclude that you are saying that simply because I took a position that you don’t like.

      1. If you don’t like critics, then don’t post. Whining about critics is, quite frankly, unbecoming of an academic. My goodness-get some thick skin already, lol

        Quite frankly, you are a rude and condescending poster (an opinion shared by others here). And rambling all of the place. For example, when you wrote this: “You poked at my answer–which is fair–but I then have the right to ask you to man up and say your position. Its easy to be a critic. A little harder to make a case. Water’s warm, jump on in.”

        Huh?

        You do have a right to make this tragedy political. You also have a right to pick your nose in public and wipe it on your car, but that right does make that choice any less distasteful. I find it in very bad taste that you would turn a child’s death into an anti-government screed, especially right after the child has passed.

        Have you no shame?

        Any comments on what I wrote? Thank you.

      2. “Quite frankly, you are a rude and condescending poster (an opinion shared by others here). And rambling all of the place.”

        Quite frankly, this description is true of you and not Dr. Haymond (an opinion shared by others here).

  3. Nathan said, “There was still a treatment option remaining and the state prevented that option from even being attempted. It should not matter how little the chance of success was the state has no business making that decision.”

    Even if that child was suffering in agony? The hospital specialists were of the belief that the child is capable of experiencing pain, though not expressing it.

    This is NOT a simple black and white issue. I don’t see any evidence that anyone in this case–the NHS, the courts, the hospital, the parents–acted out of disregard for the child. This is just one of those sad cases that escape the urge to scapegoat.

    We should stop the blame game already and let the child rest in peace.

    1. Yes, even if the child was in agony, because, guess what, the treatment might has eased that agony. I agree that it was likely not to work, and as I said, after the failure, then all that can be taken into account, but to not even try? Sorry, that is black-and-white.

      And there is no blame game to play. The state deserves the blame it is getting. No game about it.

      And you are the one that wants to make this political (and once again, try to score cheap points on Christians with your cute little Romans 13 and will of God bits). For most of us, this is moral, not political.

      1. I am the one who wants to make it political? You cannot be serious.

        I have not even stated a position on the issue. Indeed, I am straddling the fence because I don’t and can’t see this as a black-and-white position. I am sad for everyone involved, since so many had to make heart-rendering decisions. I am blaming no one–family, judges, hospital, NHC bureaucrats.

        Those who are making this political are those, like the writer of this post, who have made this an issue of government v. family. Some of the anti-government screeds out there are frightening, as are those who have expressed their opinions through violent means.

        This looks like Terry Schiavo chapter two. IOW, another blemish on the face of the gospel.

      2. I am dead serious.

        And frankly, it IS an issue of government vs. family so if anyone politicized the issue in the first place, it was the judges and politicians who interfered with the Gard family in the first place.

        And if anyone is a blemish on the face of the gospel, I would suggest looking in the mirror.

        FYI, I had no problem when they took Shiavo off support. Treatment options had been exhausted and there was no hope. I would have said the same about Charlie Gard had they allowed the one last treatment to be tried.

  4. Jeff, consider these stories. The first, I have heard told before. The second is a true story which is very sad. Both have a person acting with the logic you are promoting here.

    http://epistle.us/inspiration/godwillsaveme.html
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/christian-faith-healer-pastor-trial-pneumonia-medicine-rowland-foster-ella-fundamentaliism-a7814261.html

    God can act in different ways to help us, not just with miraculous events. He gives us the intellect to improve medicine. He may use any method of healing he chooses to help us, either miraculous or through medicine. For someone who, as Nathan said, claims to be “Probably most consistent pro-life person on this blog” this is a stunning, illogical, and foolish position for you to hold.

    Side note, Jeff, why would believing in creation or a young earth be “anti-science”?

    1. Please explain how this is, as you say, a “stunning, illogical, and foolish position.”

      These are strong words that demand strong support.

      1. Not the position itself. Everyone is entitled to a position. That you would hold this position and yet claim to be so pro-life. It doesn’t add up.

  5. “Per Jeff H.’s request, you would need to make an argument from Scripture that the government’s biblical roles and responsibilities point to it as the best institution to make healthcare decisions for individuals. This argument may be possible; my argument rests on the belief that is the family, not government, which the Bible points to as the best providers of healthcare for the weak among us.”

    The Bible is silent on issues such as modern healthcare, mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, and encephalopathy.

    I am also aware of the evangelical tendency to turn to the Bible to cherry pick verses that will support one’s own preconceptions. I consider this an abuse of Scripture and a form of idolatry.

    The sovereignty of God IS a timeless biblical concept. I already made that case for that.

    We have nothing else to talk about. You have not made your case.

    1. “I am also aware of the evangelical tendency to turn to the Bible to cherry pick verses that will support one’s own preconceptions. I consider this an abuse of Scripture and a form of idolatry.”

      And you have never done this?

      1. This comment was not about a position, just stating in past posts you have cherry-picked verses trying to support your own preconception as you are accusing others of on this post. I can go back and find them if you wish.

      2. Jeff, you abuse scripture all the time. Can’t help it that you cannot see it. And as far as I am concerned, you are naive now.

    2. “The Bible is silent on issues such as modern healthcare, mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, and encephalopathy.”
      Jeff, the issue was precisely who gets to make the call on those issues–the state or the family. We’ve had many cases of the state being able to trump family positions in favor of life (e.g., mandatory blood transfusions), but few in favor of death. This is a sad direction to go in.

      1. The Bible is silent on this issue. That is my point. No one has said anything to even begin changing my mind on the subject.

        If the Bible teaches us anything, it is that both are essential institutions that are often fallible. We should be distrustful of the power of both and sensitive to the painful decisions others have to make.

      2. “If the Bible teaches us anything, it is that both are essential institutions that are often fallible. We should be distrustful of the power of both and sensitive to the painful decisions others have to make.”

        Aahh, common ground at last!

  6. “Foolish is too strong, I’ll admit. The other two still stand, however.”

    They are standing on nothing but bluster.

    Good luck with that, lol.

    If you make a claim, you NEED to support it. You made a strong claim, and yet have not actively supported it.

    1. Your position is that the issue is too complex to be seen as black and white, correct? Also, your position is that because the child died, it must mean God did not want the child to live, correct?

      “The Gard tragedy is far too complex an issue for it to be spoken about in simple black-and-white ways.”
      “God apparently did not want the child to live. If God did, God would have chosen to use supernatural means to save this doomed child, or would have given scientists the ability to figure out how to save the child.”

    2. Jeff Adams saying someone else’s arguments are “standing on nothing but bluster”… oh, that’s a good one.

  7. “Ok then, you can start to further the debate. Make the Christian case that the state should be allowed to stop parents from getting their children potentially life-saving treatment, even if the possible treatment has a low probability of success. I look forward to reading your argument.”

    Dr Haymond,

    I have to say, I hope you have patience cause through all this bluster (even some of my own) and dodging you still seem to be waiting for a legitimate response.

  8. We are all still waiting for a legitimate response from Jeff to the original question from Dr. Haymond that kicked of this whole back-and-forth. So I will restate it.

    “Make the Christian case that the state should be allowed to stop parents from getting their children potentially life-saving treatment, even if the possible treatment has a low probability of success.”

  9. So, after reading all that has been said, I wish to address a couple of Mr. Adams’s points…

    1. Submission to Government: This really is irrelevant to the issue. Being critical of the government is a right we possess and one protected by that government. Because Christians are to submit to the government (and that is NOT taking the passage out of context) does not mean that Christians cannot criticize the government when it is wrong. What it means is that we cannot take the law into our own hands to remedy the problem.

    2. As per the God’s will arguments, then I would put this question to you, Mr. Adams. You have consistently railed against Trump’s travel ban as unchristian and immoral. Since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Trump’s travel ban, then do you accept that since God allowed it to happen then it was obviously God’s will and that any further criticism of that policy from those Christians who oppose it should be deferred? My guess is that you would not. The mysteries of God’s will and sovereignty vs. the free will and obligations of man and man’s institutions will never be fully understood until the consummation of history and the inception of the Eternal Kingdom. So, just as I am sure you will never accept that Trump’s travel ban should have been permitted, so will myself and many others never accept that the courts should have prevented Charlie Gard’s parents from attempting all treatment options.

  10. Jeff Adams’ fatal flaw is that he said that the Bible doesn’t speak to the specific issues involved in this case. He is only correct in the very narrow sense that it does not mention the particular issues he mentions as being involved. But if the Bible is to be useful at all for life, as it itself says it is, and as I believe it is, then it cannot be required that it specifically address by name and category every possible future issue that may arise. What it does do is give us principles which we may legitimately apply to specific issues in any future. For example, humans are made in God’s image, humans are fallen and therefore sinful, God values life (see Genesis 9: 6 for one example), “Caesar” has his temporal role but God also has His kingdom, which ultimately trumps even Caesar (Matthew 22), etc. All these and more are more than sufficient to address any current issue like the Gard case.

    1. Marc

      It is idolatry to put your own human-derived principles on par with the Bible.

      As a result, you attribute to the Bible that which is not there.

      There is nothing that says that the “Bible” as we have it now is to be applied in the future to issues, That is what YOU say. The “Bible” as we know it now did not exist until centuries after its books were written.

      Humans are made in God’s image. Yes. So that means what? Some Christians would say that because of that, God would not want a child to suffer, so doctors should take baby Charlie off of life support. Some would say the opposite, that we should keep the child on a ventilator. Some would even say that modern medicine is not even necessary, because God heals whom God wants to heal? After all, God made humans in God’s image.

      Reading the tea leaves might sound impressive to you. I demand a little more precision.

      Like premillenial dispensationalism, integration of Scripture and knowledge is a modern concept that humans made up. It is a GREAT marketing technique for Christian universities such as your employer, I admit. Heck, I used to believe in it myself and in fact read everyone of Francis Schaeffer’s books during one summer home from Cedarville!

      When you put your own wisdom and call in Scriptural, you are guilty not only of idolatry, but of pride–your own fatal flaw.

      1. Jeff, it is comments like this that sadly make me seriously question whether you are truly Christian or not. If the Bible is NOT to be used to help us navigate issues that arise, then it is useless. I refuse to accept that and I have a hard time believing any true Christian could actually believe that the Bible is useless.

        And there is countless evidence to refute you claims on the Bible. Most of the books of the Bible were written, and were being accepted by the church, mere decades after Christ. With you, it is an authority issue. You simply do not want to accept as valid for today much of the NT because it would mean invalidation of many of the idolatrous beliefs that you espouse.

      2. Jeff:
        Integration of Scripture with life and thought is most certainly not a modern phenomenon. We see it in Thomas Aquinas, the Puritans, the early church and the Bible itself. What after all does the Bible call Christians to do with God’s revelation of Himself and His will, but to live it out–the Bible is shot through with such integration. We may disagree on interpretations, but if one says we really can’t do it, one is effectively saying the Bible has no usefulness for life and thought. I can’t seem to discover where you fall, Jeff. Either you don’t think Scripture has anything to say or you believe there is no way to arrive at any objective interpretation, both of which fly in the face of orthodox Christianity.

    2. Jeff Adams says about Dr Clauson: “When you put your own wisdom and call in Scriptural, you are guilty not only of idolatry, but of pride–your own fatal flaw.”

      Examine Clauson’s ‘fatal flaw of pride and equaling himself with Scripture: (Jeff if I remember once you said there was no such thing as Scripture, so why cite it now?) I believe pride can be confused with confidence in this case. I believe, and Dr Clauson can confirm if so, that he is confident in the Spirit who resides in him. We, as Christians, have the Spirit to help us discern what is true or not. We have the Bible and which books are canon or not, through the working of the Spirit, not human reasoning as Jeff claims.

      “There is nothing that says that the “Bible” as we have it now is to be applied in the future to issues, That is what YOU say. The “Bible” as we know it now did not exist until centuries after its books were written.”

      The Bible itself says it applies (2 Tim 3:16). And the last book of the Bible was completed by John an apostle and eyewitness of Christ. The Spirit moved the church leaders to decide what was canon.

      Perhaps the main difference between Jeff and Dr Clauson is that Jeff relies on the observable and human reasoning, while Dr Clauson trusts the Spirit and has confidence in Him to know what is truth. Reliance on human reasoning and not the Spirit is by far closer to idolatry than anything Dr Clauson has said or done.

  11. While I regret the tone of some who have responded to your post, I appreciate both what you have written and the way you have written it. We need people like you to help us think through these kinds of issues in a Christian manner. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    1. Thank you. I mean no harm here.

      If I were Charlie’s father, I probably would do the same thing his parents have done. One of my own is severely disabled, and I never give up hope. Love sometimes makes you do things that are not necessarily rational. Thank goodness we have the law, at least something less emotional.

      I feel for everyone involved here and am saddened, if not disgusted, at how this tragedy has become so political. We indeed live in a broken world.

      This will be my last post on this issue.

      1. What are you thanking him for? I am pretty sure he wasn’t referring to you. And, yes, Mr. Adams, you do indeed mean harm here. You may say otherwise, but your actions and words tell a different tale.

    2. Jeff Gates, I am guilty of a harsh tone in some of these responses which is my bad. I guess I let some illogical, off the wall responses get to me.

    3. Jeff Gates,

      Yes, you are correct, the tone can often become harsh and I fully admit my part in it. Believe it or not, I regret it too. However, I am confident in asserting it would not be so except for one person, who long ago, when he first began replying and posting on this blog, acted rudely from the get go and then somehow expected everyone else to not return the favor. The reason I am confident in saying this is because I often converse with many people who disagree with me on many issues. Typically I have always been able to do so with others with mutual respect between us. However, with the person I refer to, it is virtually impossible to converse with him without him turning to less civil forms of debate. From then on, with most of us, it is reactionary.

  12. “The sovereignty of God is a very important Biblical concept. But it is only relevant in hindsight and as comfort to those hurting. To say that the decision was the right one, or that we cannot criticize what happened because of it does not diminish acceptance of God’s sovereignty. Otherwise the Gestapo and SS monsters at Nuremberg could have argued that they should not be punished for their crimes because since God allowed the holocaust to happen, it must have been his will. I believe in a certain way God used it as part of his overarching plan of history but while God often turns evil to good, he doesn’t stop hating the evil.”

    Comparing the doctors at the hospital who made all reasonable attempts to save a child’s life to the butchers at Nuremberg? Really?!

    How dare you.

    Ever hear of Godwin’s law? You have lost the debate. Next!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

    1. Really? You question why I dare to say something that I did not say?!

      And you still wonder why there are those of us who question your motives for participation on this blog.

      My argument about Nuremberg was strictly meant to be a radical example of the dangers of what can be excused with the phrase “since it happened, it must have been God’s will”. I was NOT comparing the doctors in this case to those monsters by any means whatsoever.

      And just because you declare I have lost the debate really means very little. Your cheap declarations of victory, another common tactic, reek of pride and arrogance.

      1. BTW: I read the article on Godwin’s law. Interestingly, it says that Godwin’s law “does not claim to articulate a fallacy”. So even if Godwin’s law applies to what I said, it does not automatically invalidate my argument.

    2. Unfortunately, Jeff, you do not get to twist someone’s words into something they did not say, argue against it, and declare victory like you are prosecutor, judge, and jury. Trying to declare victory before given a chance for response is petty and shows you think your arguments are weak and can be defeated. You are grasping at straws here.

  13. All, Mr. Adams is purely a troll. If you ever expect to get an honest response to the legitimate questions posed to him, you are fooling yourself. Reading this entire thread (and others on prior postings), Jeff will continue to “dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge” by contorting your words and moving the debate ever further from its origin. Because his goal here is not to debate but to rant.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.