Some of our readers may remember our Journal article Who Will Be First in the Kingdom? which looked at some of the teachings of Vision Forum. In the article, one of the issues we looked at was an article by Brian Abshire which stated that God does not permit women to vote. There was a flurry of activity and a number of threats from Vision Forum regarding the article (these along with our responses are on our blog site under Vision Forum/Patriarchy). The Vision Forum article stated:
American Christians saw the “height” of Christian activism as banning alcohol while at the same time affirming a woman’s right to vote. Both ideas were unmitigated disasters; God has not allowed the civil magistrate to outlaw wine and God does not allow women to vote (cf. 1 Tim 2:11ff).
Oddly, the original article was removed from Vision Forum’s website sometime in 2008 (but the original July 15, 2005 article is on an archive site). Doug Phillip’s publically talked about he and his wife Beall voting in the election. It seems this article needed to be taken down, because, as we pointed out in our article and blogs:
In addition we raised the question of women voting. As we pointed out in our response to Dr. Abshire, in the paragraph immediately preceding the one we quoted we read, “God does not allow women to vote (cf. 1 Tim. 2:11 ff).” Aside from being unable to figure out how 1 Tim. 2:11 supports the claim, wouldn’t that mean that if a woman votes she is doing something that God presently (“does not” is a statement in the present tense) allow? If the assertion is true, then by voting she would be sinning. On the other hand, if she is not sinning than isn’t the assertion false?
Subsequent to the elections,a a subtly revised copy made it’s appearance on the web. Neither Vision Forum nor the author, Brian Abshire, really addressed the issues but just quietly made changes which permitted Beall Phillips and other women to vote. Did God give Vision Forum or Brioan Abshire further revelation? Were they just wrong before and are unable to admit false teaching now? They probably won’t tell us any time soon.
The timing seemed appropriate to revisit Vision Forum and one of the views which they seem to be holding on to very tightly.
The Barna Group came out with their latest research on Current Views on Abortion. They point out:
Abortion continues to split the nation.
The Barna study of 1,001 adults explored Americans’ views on abortion by asking if they believe “abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases, or illegal in all cases.” Given this set of four options, the nation’s population leans toward retaining legal status for abortion: 49% prefer keeping it legal in all or most cases versus 42% who would like to make it illegal in all or most instances.
This week we were informed that Scientology pressured women into having abortions. Being pro-life, I find this abhorrent and indefensible but false teachers are largely uncorrectable. These stories also brought me back to Vision Forum. They have their upcoming Baby Conference. As important as this may be, there is, as you might have guessed, a view they hold that is dangerous, even deadly. Our friend, Karen Campbell has wrote doug phillips poses threat to lives of homeschooling moms and our friend, Cynthia Kunsman wrote, Will You Die for a Cause, or Will You Live for It? Ectopic Pregnancy and Ideas about Honoring Life.
I am not a physician or associated with medical practice but after contacting ministry supporters who are involved in the medical field and doing a little bit of research, I have to agree with Karen and Cynthia, there is a problem here. One of the responses I received about this was:
Not to be crude, but would those boys want to have a bowel movement through their penis? It would be a painful death.
They went on to point out that the uterus is designed for carrying and providing for the developing child in a way that no other part of the female anatomy is able. For those who are unsure of what I am referring to a medical discussion on Ectopic Pregnancy explains the problem and probable results:
An ectopic pregnancy is a condition in which a fertilized egg settles and grows in any location other than the inner lining of the uterus. The vast majority of ectopic pregnancies occur in the Fallopian tube (98%), however, they can occur in other locations, such as the ovary, cervix, and abdominal cavity. An ectopic pregnancy occurs in about one in 50 pregnancies
The question at hand is not whether the child is a child or a human, it is both. The question is, will it develop to full term birth or will it not survive and take the life of the mother with it? As MedicineNet states, 98% of the time, ectopic pregnancies occur in the Fallopian tube. They write that:
Ectopic pregnancy remains the leading cause of pregnancy-related death in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Doug Phillips and Vision Forum take the view that the medical treatment which preserves the life of the mother, abortion, is not an option and cites the case in Canberra, Australia which trumpets the headline Mother Gives Birth to Girl After Nine-Month Ectopic Pregnancy, No Abortion
This may sound persuasive unless you actually read the article which clearly states:
Doctors are calling Durga a miracle baby and say the chances of both mother and baby surviving are a million to one.
Using this as a persuasive argument is like using the true story of Michael Holmes, Skydiving miracle: Man falls two miles (the jump is on video ) to prove that sky diving without a parachute is safe.
The issues here are difficult to be sure. Does being pro-life only include the life of the unborn. Is the life of the mother, by virtue of already being born, not matter? The Bible doesn’t really address this directly but I think does give us some indicators on how to make such decisions.
The penalty for breaking the Sabbath was death (Numbers 15:32) and yet, Jesus worked on the Sabbath and when pressed by the religious leaders asked, “And He said to them, “What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Sometimes, a higher law supersedes in our decision making. In this case, it is most likely that the child will not survive (a million to one). The mother will most likely have a very painful (physically and emotionally) loss if she attempts to bring it to full term, that is if she lives. Years ago, we looked at the issue of abortion and one of the callers asked, Dr. Francis Beckwith (Politically Correct Death) about abortion in the case of the life of the mother. This would be one of the few instances of this situation. His response was, it is better to save one life than lose two. This is the area where a higher law supersedes another. Protecting the life of the child is biblical. In the case where the child is not going to survive (a million to one) it is better to save the life of the mother than to lose both.
This is an issue which needs to be discussed between the mother, father and physician. Neither Vision Forum nor MCOI are medical organizations. It seems irresponsible to sentence women to death when a sound biblical case can be made that it is better to save the life of one than to lose the life of both and it is a consistent biblical and pro-life position.
Thank you for bringing attention to this topic.
One caveat though: I take issue with the odds of a million to one for a live birth resulting from an ectopic pregnancy. I spoke with the Am Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AOG) yesterday and they agreed with me that a figure given by British physician of 60 million to one might not even be accurate because these births are so rare. The physician quoted by Vision Forum calculated an arithmetic average as a birth rate for these surviving babies without consideration of a mode or median which makes Vision Forum’s use of this as though it was a probability statement even more misleading. (Per the rigors of statistics used in healthcare and to evaluate probability, this technical probability is zero. Good thing we human beings are dynamic creatures and don’t fit into the boxes these statistical tools assign to us!)
It is more ethical and efficacious to state that ectopic pregnancy accounts for 6 – 9% of all pregnancy related maternal deaths in the US and abroad. The British medical journal, The Lancet, just reported in April of this year that global pregnancy-related maternal mortality rates in 2008 were an estimated 342,900. That means, at a conservative minimum, well over 200,000 women died worldwide from ectopic pregnancy in 2008.
That is 20,000 women at least, died in 2008 alone.
Good article. One thought, what is an “out friend”? Is this a typo or does Cynthia in a special class of used-to-be-friends?
Indeed, it was a typo. Thanks. I corr3ected it. These things are tough to do int he truck while we are bouncing along down the road.
I am grateful for your attention regarding this issue, and I believe it has made a significant difference. The American Academy of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a 2,500 member special interest group within THE American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (who govern the practice and board certify OBGYNs), issued a position statement on ectopic pregnancy.
Ironically, it was released on the first day of Vision Forum’s “Baby Conference” where they plan to discuss this and other ethical issues.
Also glad to know that I’m not an “out friend.” (Or at least I wasn’t on June 17th!) 😉
Thank you so much! I pray that this ongoing discussion makes a difference and I’m glad that MCO was a part of the process.