I sent this open letter to the CPSO. For more information about Bill C-7 (Euthanasia) and to learn what you can do visit: Canadians for Conscience | The Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience
Dear College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO),
I wanted to respectfully add my voice to your consultation regarding Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), specifically the matter of forcing medical professionals to make arrangements or be complicit in euthanasia/medically assisted suicide should such participation be against said professionals conscience or religious conviction (My arguments are limited to this and do not extend into the realm of what I consider to be the immoral nature of the subject generally).
I make this recommendation on a fourfold argument:
Rev. Dr. Chris W. Crocker (Markdale Baptist Church; Professor- Toronto Baptist Seminary)
Reading through the opening chapters of the Book of Acts reveal some key marks of the early Church. These are helpful to recognize to see what ought to be the marks of the Church today:
May we pray that the Church of today will reflect our glorious beginnings!
Among the 120 that made up the earliest body of believers after the Resurrection, were not only the Disciples, the women, but “His brothers.” (Acts 1:14b). His brothers! You mean the brothers who it says in John 7:5 didn’t believe in Him? His family who thought He was mad (Mk 3:21). Those brothers, James, Joseph, Simon and Judas (Mt 13:55)? Yes!
They grew up with Jesus, no doubt beholding His uniqueness, but also His commonness. They had difficulty believing He was their Messiah. Perhaps difficulty seeing what their mother, Mary, saw.
Yet, somewhere in the 40 days between the Resurrection and the Ascension they saw their Risen brother and came to believe. Everything that had happened to Him, including His perfect life lived before their eyes, now made sense when the one they’d [presumably] seen slain, they now saw risen from the dead in glory.
The most famous of these, James, went on to be a pillar in the Jerusalem church and author of the Book of James. He came to be a slave of the very brother he had once not believed in (James 1:1).
The mere words “His brothers” should cause two things in us:
 Joseph and Mary went on to have other children and then, presumably, Joseph had died before Jesus’ ministry.
If salvation is only found in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12), what about all of those people who lived before Him? That is a good question.
In Mk 12:26 Jesus spoke about the subject of a future Resurrection. He referred to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whom the LORD said to Moses that He was the God of. Jesus said, “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (v. 27). The patriarchs, who lived long before Christ, are alive in Him. How is this possible?
Faith in the Lord and His promises and covenants, which since the Fall (Gen 3:15) have always pointed to Jesus, is how those of long ago could be saved long before Christ came. All of the OT was pointing to Jesus (Lk 24:44b). By virtue of these forward looking promises the people of old who trusted them were saved (That is what Ro 3:25b is speaking of).
Specifically, to reverse the curse of the Fall God chose (when He didn’t need to choose any) to do so through one man’s family, Abram (Gen 12). God would bring about a blessing to the nations through Abram’s offspring, Jesus (Mt 1). From this time, specifically, God’s Covenant promises of salvation became caught up with this people, the Jews, until Christ came when it was opened more fully to the Gentiles. This didn’t mean all Jews were saved, only those who had faith in the promises (Gal 3:7). This also didn’t mean that non-Jews, or Gentiles, couldn’t be saved either. The OT has a number of examples of Gentiles who came to fear God and join this Covenant community. People like Rahab and Ruth and the Queen of Sheba. God has been saving a people unto Himself ever since the Fall.
Just as salvation is exclusive to those who trust in Christ since the coming of Christ, the same was true before Christ came, but it was by faith in the promises of Christ that they too were saved.
Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. (John 21:25)
The Bodleian Library at Oxford University is one of the most famous libraries in the world. It contains some 12 million books.
A local library averages some 8000 books and a household some 50–100 books (though today that is certainly declining).
Though “books” have changed in their form over the years, it is interesting why John would end his Gospel talking about them.
He’s already alluded to the “signs” recorded in the Gospel so that the reader “may have life in [Jesus] name.” (Jn 20:30–31). How is it that all the works of Jesus, were they written, would not be able to be contained, not simply by the libraries of the world, but the world itself? (The world is pretty large!).
Surely all of the stories of Jesus’ life, ministry, miracles and teachings, could be captured, if not in a local library, in something like the Bodleian! Not so, why? Because Jesus is the eternal Word (Jn 1:1), He created the world, of course the world couldn’t contain all His works, for as its Creator He is greater than the world (Col 1:16)!
Jesus is not just a man but Lord and God (Jn 20:28), as John demonstrates in His Gospel. This ought to lead us to worship, submit to and follow Jesus. The beautiful thing in this story is that because of the greatest of Jesus the believer has an eternity to get to know Jesus’ story (Himself); one in which, as C.S. Lewis said, “every chapter is better than the one before.”
 Ironically, even though fewer libraries have Christian content, all libraries speak about things that Christ created in this world and so are full of Christian things, even though people don’t acknowledge them (Ro 1).
What precisely happened on the Cross? The momentous events surrounding it like the darkness, the earthquake, etc, all point to the fact that something of cosmic significance took place.
We call what happened on the Cross the atonement, what Christ did in His life, and ultimately His death, that earned the believer’s salvation. Put another way, what He did to enable sinners to become right with their Creator (at-one-ment, the act of making someone at one with someone else).
The atonement, because of the infinite criminality of our sin against a holy God, has a certain wonderful multifacetedness to us. Not only does it have a depth but a breadth. This is borne out by the number of different pictures of the atonement that Scripture uses to convey just what transpired on that day. Knowing these helps us contemplate the wonder of the Cross.
* Moral Example: I don’t include this in the numeric list because this is less what Jesus accomplished and more the example He set. Nevertheless, in His death, Christ did set an example for us of self-sacrificial service. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (1 Pet 2:21).
Long title; short blog.
To many people the knowledge of God can lead to pride: that they know Him, how much they know about or of Him. Scripture paints a very different picture. The knowledge of God is humbling:
May we know Christ and make Him known, in humility. Surely, the Lord will use this for His glory.
I was recently asked a question, the answer to which I thought would be helpful to share as we journey through C2C.
The question was this: “Can the principle of Matt 18:20 stand on its own outside of its context…[it seems to hold a more universal principle].” In other words, can we take verses that seem clear and use them out of their context?
The answer is no and kind of…
We need to remember that context is king. Three basic contexts are always helpful to ask when studying a verse, its literary, historical and theological contexts. Literary- how does this verse fit with the surrounding passage and book? Historical- What historical aspects in this verse or passage do I need to understand to see it correctly? Theological- How does this verse or passage fit into other wider passages on the same subject (i.e. what does the Bible say on the subject as a whole). CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT.
That context of Mt 18:20 is about life in the community of Christ, particularly what to do in cases of discipline. Christ has given the local church, in an official sense, the authority (v. 18, “bind”) to recognize who is a believer and who is not. This corporate witness and authority (itself harkening back to v.16) is affirmed by Jesus’ promise to be authoritatively and helpfully present in such circumstances.
Knowing the context is of vital importance to rightfully reading a verse, but also to reading it in all its richness.
There are verses that would be very dangerous to pluck out of their context. The classic is someone who opened their Bible, turned to Mt 27:5b (“Judas hung himself”) and then to Lk 10:37b (“go and do likewise”). We could flick open our Bibles and find a great many verses that we would mutilate the meaning of if we separated them from their context. Jer 29:11, “for I know the plans I have for your,” is a famous instance. It’s not meant to be a cushy verse just for anyone. In its context it is talking about Judah’s exile and is a call for the faithful to look to and hope in God during this difficult period in their history. It’s speaking specifically to believers, not saying there won’t be hardships, but that there is hope because of God’s plan of history. Once we’ve grasped the context, we can then apply the principle to situations the Christian may face today.
That said, I would tend to agree with our initial question that even though there are some verses that must be contextually understood, there are some verses, at least the principle of which, that can clearly and more independently stand on its own, like Ro 12:9, “hate evil and cling to what is good” (though it is of course enriched by its context).
The principle of Mt 18:20 is readily recognizable. It is one realized by say Christians imprisoned together by their faith, that when the proper number of witnesses to Christ come together Christ bears witness to them in a special way by presenting himself spiritually in a way that could not ordinarily be experienced by a lone believer (another good reasons for the corporate nature of the Church/body!).
So context is king, even if there are some verses, that to a degree, might be better suited for their principle to stand alone.
Click here to read a blog on our other church apologetics blog. It is on the question of human nature.
A question that is often asked of Christianity is this:
“What about all those who never hear about Jesus; is God just to sentence them to hell?”
The question is usually asked because someone wonders as to the ethic of such an exclusive claim of salvation.
So let’s begin with an example of an exclusive claim to salvation, Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
The objection then often arises, but what about someone in a secular community or a remote island nation who has never heard of Jesus, doesn’t have missionaries or a church or a Bible to instruct them in the way of salvation, is that person eternally damned to hell?
Yes, they are “without excuse.” Why?
To understand this one must realize what the Bible says about humans, we’re fallen, sinful beings, cut off from God and incapable of any spiritual good that might please Him and therefore earn our salvation (read more here). This is why God graciously sent Jesus, to be the rescuer of all those who’d hear the Gospel message and put their trust in Him. This is the basis for an exclusive salvation. We’re sinners, God appointed a means for salvation, we must believe in Jesus in order to be saved.
But is that fair? (Another option would have been for God not to have saved anyone, we see His grace in that He choose to save some; something to think about). Yes, because people are “without excuse.” Why are people without excuse?
If I were born on a stranded desert island with no knowledge of Jesus I would be without excuse for not believing in Him for three simple reasons from Romans 1:
For these sorts of reasons Paul says that unbelievers, everywhere, are “without excuse” (Ro 1:20b); even if they’ve never heard of Jesus. Knowing of Jesus and rejecting Him only increases our culpability; not knowing of Jesus doesn’t diminish it.
Author: Chris Crocker
Pastor, historian and beekeeper.
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