Thursday, January 28, 2016

Proof Planned Parenthood Is Breaking the Law

The following is a letter I sent to Bob Cesca in August, 2015, responding to an article he wrote for Salon.com. I never got a reply from Mr. Cesca. There are some points in this letter that I believe are relevant to current headlines involving Planned Parenthood. The following is for your edification. Some edits have been made for grammar and spelling.

Greetings, Mr. Cesca

My name is Gabe Hughes, a pastor in Kansas. I read your Salon article, Wing-Nut Conspiracy Theorists Have Done It Again: The Truth About Planned Parenthood Hoax Revealed. You had a few "facts" that weren't accurate. I wanted to shed a little light on them for you. You used the word "objective" to describe your facts, so considering that you believe in objective truth, I hope you will receive this objectively. I offer this to bring peace.

"Planned Parenthood is not selling fetus parts for profit or otherwise."

Actually, they are. These are quotes from Planned Parenthood staff, and none of these comments are doctored or taken out-of-context. They imply what they imply:
  • "They want to break even. And if they can do a little better than break even, and do so in a way that seems reasonable, they're happy to do that." That was Dr. Nucatola in the first video. Mr. Cesca, "do a little better than break even" is profit, is it not? "Happy to do that" means they want profit, right? She went on to say that Planned Parenthood tries to do this in a way that "doesn't look like they're making money." If that's what PP is trying to do, then is it not possible they've fooled you into thinking they're legit?
  • "You know, in negotiations, the person who throws out the first figure is at a loss, right?" That's from Dr. Mary Gatter, haggling over the prices of fetal body parts. If Planned Parenthood is not trying to make money, why is there not a flat fee? When CMP asked about a flat fee, we got this next quote...
  • "I think the per item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it." That's Dr. Savita Ginde, Vice President and Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

"Only three percent of Planned Parenthood's activities involve abortions."

In 2013, Planned Parenthood performed 327,653 abortions at their clinics. They did 1,880 adoption referrals, and prenatal services for 18,684 clients [Edit: which we now know is a lie]. So abortion is 94 percent of the pregnancy services offered by Planned Parenthood. (Rev. Kevin DeYoung debunked the 3% myth a few years ago. You can find his article here.)

Even by the most liberal estimates (no pun intended), it'd be hard to present a case that abortion is any less than 12 percent of Planned Parenthood's total services. PP saw 2.7 million total customers at its health centers in 2013, and performed 327,653 abortions. So 12 percent of their total clientele got an abortion.

Reasonably the 94 percent number is more accurate, though it's probably more fair to state that number this way: Of every pregnant woman that walked into a Planned Parenthood center in 2013, we know that 94 percent of them walked out no longer pregnant.

"Per the Hyde Amendment, no federal funds can be used for abortions. And there's no evidence Planned Parenthood has done so."

That's not true. And you say it yourself in your next bullet point...

"Consequently, de-funding Planned Parenthood would put into jeopardy its ability to save lives and, germane to this issue, prevent abortions. The Washington Post editorial board concluded: 'No federal money is used by Planned Parenthood to provide abortions except in some rare exceptions.'"

So The Washington Post actually concluded that federal funding has been used to pay for abortions. That, Mr. Cesca, is illegal. [Edit: It could be argued that the Hyde Amendment allowed for federal funds to be used in the case of incest, rape, or to save the life of the mother, but the Post doesn't specify that. The evidence clearly shows Planned Parenthood is using taxdollars to pay for abortions. No doubt about it.]

"Along those lines, in 2013 and 2014, 3,577,348 patients were provided with birth control services by Planned Parenthood. That's upwards of 3.5 million potential abortions prevented. What happens when these services disappear? Maybe the press should quiz anti-choice Republicans about this one."

My personal feelings about certain methods of birth control aside (and what actually constitutes as "birth control"), I want you to reasonably consider your statement. According to you, 3.5 million people received birth control from Planned Parenthood, and if federal funding to Planned Parenthood were to be cut off, 3.5 million people would now have no other way to get birth control, and we'd see a potential rise in 3.5 million abortions. Does that really seem like a reasonable claim?

What if I were to make this claim: "If Planned Parenthood were to lose federal funding, the 3.5 million people who previously received birth control from Planned Parenthood would stop having sex out of fear of having an unwanted pregnancy." Does that seem like a reasonable claim to you? No, it doesn't seem like a reasonable claim to me either. But it's just as reasonable a deduction as the one you made.

"Additionally, Planned Parenthood would lose the ability to conduct breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings — hundreds of thousands per year. It’d also lose the ability to perform thousands of vasectomies every year. How many unwanted pregnancies will result from the loss of this particular option?"

Again, you're concluding that women have no other way of receiving these services. You're also concluding that without government funding, Planned Parenthood will no longer be able to provide them [Edit: They don't actually provide them]. Why is it so unreasonable to demand that Planned Parenthood be able to stand on its own like every other non-profit that survives without government funding?

You're attempting to justify that it's okay for Planned Parenthood to receive federal tax dollars while dismembering and distributing the organs of dissected fetuses -- for profit or not is beside the point -- so long as they provide these other services. Who cares what those videos show or what's going on in a Planned Parenthood freezer or back room, right?

"Journalist Nicholas Kristof reported that Planned Parenthood and other family planning facilities 'prevent about one million unintended pregnancies a year, of which 345,000 would have ended in abortion.' This according to the nonpartisan Guttmacher Institute."

Again, there's a radical conclusion being drawn. But let me only state here that the Guttmacher Institute is as non-partisan as Planned Parenthood. GI started in 1968 as a division of Planned Parenthood. Partisan they are indeed. GI exists to advance birth control and abortion.

"If women who visit Planned Parenthood are forbidden from donating fetal tissue to biomedical labs, that tissue will be tossed in the waste bin. Republicans appear to prefer this option for some reason. Meanwhile, eliminating the legal tissue donation program would put a damper on research into preventing Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease."

There are no other ways to acquire tissue for research than through an abortion? We can end a viable, growing human life as long as it saves other lives? That's the only way Alzheimer's and Parkinson's cures work?

And I'm not calling a fetus in the womb a human life just to support my argument. I'm taking that from another Salon writer who fully acknowledged that a child in a womb is indeed a living human person, yet would choose to kill that human person anyway. Are you arguing for the same thing, Mr. Cesca? Killing human lives to save lives and making the tax-payer pay for it, their scruples be damned? Is that really the pro-choice ethic?

Thank you for reading, and I hope you will carefully consider my comments. If indeed this is something that has convicted you -- if it has cut you to your core to realize a fetus is not some discardable tissue but is in fact a human life, needing to be protected and cherished -- then I hope you will repent of this murderous sin. There is forgiveness in Christ Jesus.

As you have recognized, there is such a thing as objective truth -- a truth that exists outside of ourselves. That truth is established in Christ alone; the way, the truth, and the life. No one gets to the Father God except through him. All of us have broken his law and deserve death, but it is through Christ that we receive eternal life. If you would like to know more, I'd love to share it with you. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Pastor Gabe

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Heresy of False Teacher John Pavlovitz (a response to "10 Things This Christian Doesn't Believe About the Bible")

A little over a year ago, I wrote an article about a then-lesser-known blogger named John Pavlovitz, warning Christians to stay away from his stuff because he's a wolf in sheep's clothing. A couple days ago, he wrote a blog that confirms just how true that continues to be.

His article is entitled 10 Things This Christian Doesn't Believe About the Bible. It's a mad irony that every one of his bullet-points begins, "I don't believe the Bible." I wish I could say he's removed the wool and leave it at that, but unfortunately too many people are still being devoured by his rhetoric.

I don't often write more than one article about a false teacher. None of my points from that first article have changed. But I've received a few messages about his blog and thought I would offer a response, defending the sheep and eager to teach sound doctrine (1 Peter 5:2). Here are Pavlovitz's ten points, followed by what the Bible says.


1) What Pavlovitz Says: "I don't believe the Bible was dictated by God."
He says that the Bible was written by human beings who brought some of themselves, their emotions, and experiences into the writing. That's absolutely true. In fact, it's necessary study. That's part of understanding context: to know who the author was, who his audience was, what his purpose was for writing, when it was written, what was going on at the time, etc. Unfortunately, Pavlovitz is not trying to make a sound doctrinal point. He's trying to distance himself from those who teach the Bible is the very word of God, and persuade others not to listen to them.

The Bible Says: "All Scripture is breathed out by God, and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). Every single word of the Bible is exactly what God intended its writers to put down, guided by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 59:21, Zechariah 7:12, Acts 4:31). There are even times when God audibly told the writers what to write (Exodus 34:27, Revelation 3:14). To say none of the Bible was dictated is to say that Moses and John were liars. The Bible says that if you won't believe Moses and the Prophets, neither will you believe Christ (Luke 16:31).

2) What Pavlovitz Says: "I don't believe the Bible explains the time and manner of earth's creation and population accurately."
Genesis 1 and 2 are a who story, not a how story, he says. However, he thinks the Bible isn't clear but science is. Genesis "should not be read as a literal explanation of the fashion or timetable of what Science clearly tells us were the far older and more gradual evolutions of life than a literal Biblical translation contends."

The Bible Says: "By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible" (Hebrews 11:3). I believe all things were created instantaneously by the word of God, not because I read Genesis 1 and 2 a certain way, but because I believe the whole Bible. Peter wrote a day was coming when people wouldn't believe that all things were formed by the word of God (2 Peter 3:5). What Pavlovitz doesn't care to understand is that science doesn't say anything. Scientists do. And the Bible tells us not to be taken captive by "empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of this world, and not according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8).

3) What Pavlovitz Says: "I don't believe the Bible accurately represents women for the times in which we live."
I don't believe Pavlovitz has any idea how the Bible represents women. It's common for him to talk about the Bible but never reference it. These blanket generalizations are meant to appease secular readers and lead the saints astray -- if the latter were possible (Matthew 24:24).

The Bible Says: Men and Women are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and receive the same reward (Galatians 3:28), but God has uniquely designed them for different roles (1 Corinthians 11:3). For one such example, watch this :90 video. I also went into a deeper explanation of this in my teaching series on Titus, which you can view on YouTube here. Each of those 15 videos are about 5 minutes in length.

4) What Pavlovitz Says: "I don't believe the Bible has much of consequence to say about gender identity and sexual orientation."
Perhaps you're aware there's an ongoing debate about whether or not certain passages in the Bible actually condemn homosexuality? Well, regardless of the outcome of those debates, Pavlovitz doesn't care what the Bible says about it. Whether homosexuality is a sin or not, whether or not the research even shows how a homosexual lifestyle would destroy a person, Pavlovitz would go right on telling someone to keep being gay. How is that loving?

The Bible Says: Homosexuality is a sin that God has promised he will judge, and to encourage a person in that sin is unloving (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). For a concise explanation, complete with the good news of the gospel, watch this :90 video.


5) What Pavlovitz Says: "I don't believe the Bible provides a unified, consistent message regarding marriage, war, violence, or sex."
By this point, it's difficult to digress from an obvious pattern: "I don't believe what the Bible says about anything."

The Bible Says: Paul said to the Colossians that in Christ "are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments" (Colossians 2:3-4). Everything we need to know, our complete satisfaction, is in Christ Jesus. It is through him and his word that we are able to understand everything about the world, including how God designed marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33), that God has a purpose with war (Matthew 24:6) and even violence (Habakkuk 1:1-5), and that sex is a gift from God meant to be enjoyed between a husband and a wife (the entire book of Song of Solomon).

6) What Pavlovitz Says: "I don't believe the Bible is without error."
"While the Bible can contain great truth," he says, "it cannot be as pure and pristine as it would need to be to be called perfect or without inconsistencies or inner conflicts." This is the same Satanic whisper the serpent hissed in Eve's ear: "Did God actually say...?" (Genesis 3:1)

The Bible Says: His word is perfect and true (Psalm 18:30). Heaven and earth will pass away, Jesus said, but his word would never pass away (Mark 13:31). The word of the Lord stands forever (1 Peter 1:25). God has exalted above all things his name and his word (Psalm 138:2).

7) What Pavlovitz Says: "I don't believe the Bible is the only source through which we hear or experience God."
He takes a poke at Sola Scriptura, Latin for "by Scripture alone." It is one of five solas and a doctrine that teaches the Bible is the ultimate authority in all matters of belief and practice.

The Bible Says: The Bible is the very word of God. While all of creation clearly speaks of God's eternal power and divine nature (Romans 1:20), that's not how we get to know God. You can know I exist because you saw my face in a picture, but that doesn't mean you know me. How do we know God? By reading his word. And it is through his word that we can understand how God can communicate through every other experience. This :90 video explains.

8) What Pavlovitz Says: "I don't believe the Bible should guide our government."
"It is irresponsible to try and superimpose the Bible on our civil system," he says, "as our government (like all governments) does not represent or serve people of a single faith tradition."

The Bible Says: The government is on His shoulders (Isaiah 9:6). There is no governing authority except that which is given by God (Romans 13:1). Jesus himself said to Pilate that the authority Pilate had been given came from God (John 19:11). We are to be subject to the governing authorities, but we are first citizens of the kingdom of God before we are citizens of this earth (Philippians 3:20). Therefore, all matters of public policy should be in submission to God also. I guarantee you John Pavlovitz will vote his beliefs when he steps in the voting booth. Yet he's trying to say you shouldn't, and neither should any politician lead according to their beliefs, if that belief is guided by God's word.

9) What Pavlovitz Says: "I don't believe the Bible can be objectively interpreted or evaluated."
This would be laughable if it wasn't so sad. As Pavlovitz said in point number 2, science should be accepted as objective and incontrovertible truth. But the Bible shouldn't be.

The Bible Says: Lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). The Bible says whoever trusts in his own mind trusts in a fool (Proverbs 28:26). And the person who trusts in his own flesh is cursed (Jeremiah 17:5). For more, watch this :90 video.

10) What Pavlovitz Says: "I don't believe the Bible is worthy of worship."
This is a back-handed statement as if to suggest that those who revere God's word as inerrant are actually bowing down and worshiping a book. The Bible is "not Divinity" he says, "and cannot and should not be made into an idol to be blindly worshiped, especially when that worship reinforces or justifies discrimination, bigotry, or injustice based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, birthplace, or income level." Uh... what?

The Bible Says: God's favor is upon the one who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at his word (Isaiah 66:2). The Bible does not advocate racial discrimination or that a person should be looked down upon for any reason. What it does say is that God loved the world enough not to leave us in our self-absorbed, self-glorifying sin, but sent his Son Jesus to die in our place as a sacrifice. All who believe in Jesus will receive eternal life. Those who do not are under the wrath of God (John 3:36). Let us love the world as God does, enough to take that message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone without prejudice or hesitation.

BONUS 11) What Pavlovitz Says: "I don't believe the Bible should be used to defend the Bible."
Pavlovitz came back and added an 11th thing he doesn't believe about the Bible, making an excuse for why he doesn't quote the Bible. He basically thinks it's rude to quote Bible verses. I would be willing to guess that Pavlovitz doesn't quote the Bible because he doesn't know it. In an e-mail I received from him (referenced below), he told me that I was acting unbiblically. When I asked him if he would tell me which passages he thought I was disobeying, he replied, but gave no references.

What the Bible Says: Jesus quoted Scripture quite a bit (other than the fact that everything he said was the word of God anyway). Look at Matthew 21:12-17. In the story of Jesus cleansing the temple, each response he gives is an Old Testament reference. One figure I read said that Jesus quoted the Old Testament 78 times from 27 different books. His apostles quoted the Old Testament 209 times. If Pavlovitz really wanted to be like Jesus, he'd know the word of God, he'd love it, and he'd use it.


In Conclusion
John Pavlovitz wrote to me back in September and said that my opinion "is no less valuable or correct that anyone's, regardless of how you feel about it." He didn't seem to understand that same measure of judgment applies to him as well. His blog is called Stuff that Needs to Be Said. But based on Pavlovitz's own standards, that stuff possesses no real value, regardless of how he feels about it.

This man calls himself a pastor, but he doesn't believe the Bible. That's heresy. Christian, I hope you can see how such voices shouldn't be trusted. Do not listen to false teachers scratching itching ears to suit worldly passions (2 Timothy 4:3). Listen to the word of God. Repent of your sin and obey the words of Christ. Those who obey him are the ones who are truly his, and no one will snatch them out of his hand.