Answering Ashwin On The Fruit Of The Womb

I’m wondering if you all can smell the brimstone . . . Ashwin thinks I’ve waaaay crossed the line, and I’m reprinting his rebuke here in its entirety. I take to heart what he says, but I’m afraid I don’t agree with his conclusions. Nonetheless, I thank him for taking the time to write.

So, here’s a comment from Ashwin on my previous post regarding the punishing or cursing of the womb –

“There is so much here that invites comment.

Mr. Marshall may or may not need rebuking. What he does not need is perfect strangers bringing down fire from heaven on his head. You may criticize whatever weird views he may hold but you may not drag our Lord’s name into it. THAT is something for those who love him. Neither you nor I can make that claim.

And for all the weirdness of his views, he and I and you hold to the weirdest view in all Creation: That the Word of God became flesh and walked among us, suffered and died on the cross for OUR sins that we may be deemed righteous before God our Father. There is no view that I know that is as weird as this one – so completely does it fly against the grain of all natural reason. And yet it is so.

And it is therefore rich that your definition of “reasonableness” involves a worldview absent of devils. There ARE devils. There IS warfare going on. And they are defeated ONLY by invoking the name of Jesus Christ for it is by His sacrifice ALONE that they are overcome. It is therefore perfectly sensible to acknowledge their existence and give glory to God for their defeat.

It does not do to be so ready to condemn ignorance in others.

And funnily enough you ARE the only Christian I know to be kicked out of a Bible study. Quite a feat to be ejected from a club that is notoriously lax in its membership criteria. This is a first.

And this is not at all a good sign especially since you find yourself capable of being quite charitable regarding Planned Parenthood’s “contribution to women’s health” while find you find nothing but “prophetic anger” towards a lady trying to comfort a devastated mother.

You have made Christ a servant to your ideology. IT SHOULD BE THE OTHER WAY ROUND!!!”

Ashwin

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OK. There’s a lot here. First, I think it’s important that I repeat what I’m pretty sure I’ve stated before: I believe there is a literal Devil, a Satan bent on wreaking havoc in the world and trying to wreak havoc in the believer’s life. But I don’t believe that having a disabled baby is evidence that he’s succeeded.

No Christian has the luxury of assigning Satan a role as some fairytale imp who somehow represents icky things while hopping about the Earth in a red leotard and bad makeup. To not acknowledge that there is a Devil eternally opposed to all that’s good, holy, righteous and pure is to ignore the clear counsel of Scripture. Liberals may want to assign the Bible’s teachings on Satan to the realm of allegory or metaphor, but I’m not a liberal Christian in my understanding of doctrine. I believe that the crux of the redemption story is that Satan has injected, with my cooperation and yours, evil into what once was pure — and will be pure again because of the fullness of the Kingdom of God, purchased by the blood of Christ Jesus and sealed by his resurrection.

There’s not a person alive who hasn’t seen evidence, all around them and in their own life, of the workings of evil. And they may understand those workings to be the natural way of the world, entirely apart from supernatural involvement, or believe as I do that there is real evil in a real Satan. Their disbelief in the Biblical doctrine of evil in no way lessens Satan’s affect on the world, or my conviction that what the Word of God says about Satan is true. Thankfully, the Lord Jesus has defeated Satan — whether or not I agree, understand it, see it around me, or give it any particular thought at all.

But there’s a tendency in the Church to conflate the reality that we all live in a fallen, sin-soaked world with specific acts of personal, directed malice from Satan. If you asked me why there’s disease in the world, I might respond that it’s because the world has fallen from its pure, holy, originally created state — that we were meant to live, not die, and yet in this sliver of eternity, death is our enemy. But if you ask me why Bucky has leukemia, my answer will not — cannot — suggest that Bucky brought leukemia onto himself by cursing Jesus or by inviting Satan into his blood. I think you would not only appreciate my response, but find it entirely Biblical.

Marshall, in my post below, did not speak that way of women who deliver disabled babies, and in fact said just the opposite: That post-abortive women deliver disabled babies because Jesus is punishing them. The Crazy Demon-Obsessed People, or the Bible study leader, didn’t simply acknowledge that we live in a fallen world and sometimes fetal development goes awry; they told women — grieving women, burdened women, Christian women — that miscarriage or Down’s Syndrome was a result of cursing God in the womb. Tell me, Ashwin, what Godly comfort that offers women? Tell me how that comports with 2 Corinthians 1, wherein we are charged to comfort one another in truth. And tell me how it’s somehow worse for me to take them to task than it is for them to make the initial charge — as ludicrous as it is ugly, as bizarre as it is uncharitable — in the first place.

You may believe, brother Ashwin, that Jesus smites post-abortive women by striking their wombs. I prefer to believe that the wrath of God against sin is, as the Scriptures triumphantly proclaim, nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ. As the hymn says, “I bear it no more; praise the Lord, it is well with my soul.” You may believe that Down’s Syndrome is the result of a curse — and I know thousands of parents of Down’s Syndrome children would vehemently, passionately, in the name of Jesus, refute you. They believe their children to be “perfectly themselves,” as they are, and I would not want to be one who suggests that the apples of their eyes are somehow rotted fruit from a poisoned tree. Do you?

Finally, you are angry with me — and I absolutely affirm not only your right to choose to be, but the care for my soul that I believe accompanies your wrath — for my public rebuke of Marshall, the Crazy Demon-Obsessed People, and the hapless Bible study leader. I was in relationship with the CDOPs and the woman leading the study, and their errors were severe — as severe in their context as Peter’s error in not eating with Gentiles, which prompted immediate, public, strong, and specific rebuke from Paul. And Marshall, representing the work and Word of the Lord Jesus, spoke public error, for which public rebuke is appropriate, Biblical, and necessary. Of course he’ll never read my words; if he did, who knows what he’d do with them. But people around me, people who read my blog, have read what he said. They deserve to know that there are Christians who believe that the reasonable, not to mention kindest and most Christlike explanation, for fetal abnormality is not that the woman must’ve had an abortion — or, that if a woman who has had an abortion gets pregnant again and carries to term, that baby could very well carry a message of cursing from God in the form of a missing chromosome.

So here’s my view of evil: Satan has poured effluent — crap, shit — into the perfect world God made, and we swim in that world. You swim in a sewer, you’re going to have some of its filth cling to you; it’s impossible to live in a sinful, fallen world without sinning and without being stung by the sin around you from eternity past. And while all of us are contributing to the filth and decadence of the world around us, it negates the enormity of the atonement and resurrection to suggest that we’re helpless, hopeless, or, worse, conspirators whose pain is justified, even after we’ve trusted in the Christ who delivers us. Surely you know that.

You’re correct, and blessedly so, that the weirdest thing in the world is God-made-human, securing our redemption, our cleansing, on a murderer’s cross. But that weirdness brings life. That something else is “weird,” or a mystery, or supernatural, doesn’t mean that it corresponds with truth. God has revealed how we are to come to him — in faith in Christ Jesus — and we are not free to conjecture, particularly when it devastates the tender, grieving members of the Body — how we can fit Satan into the whole mess. Or the whole blessing.

2 Responses to “Answering Ashwin On The Fruit Of The Womb”

  1. Ashwin says:

    There is no question that you had “waaaay” crossed the line. It may be understandable in the circumstances to lose one’s temper but it was in no way justified. Losing one’s temper is NOT one’s duty – contrary to what a surprising number of people seem to think.

    The correct approach would have been to quietly counter the points that you disagreed with.

    And after having dropped the ball the advisable thing to do would have been to apologize to all concerned and to resolve never to repeat such behaviour.

    And you may have misunderstood the “Demon-Obsessed Couple” whom I shall call the Spiritual Warriors. I am quite certain that their view is NOT that sickness and other hardship are a result of God wreaking vengeance on the infidels. Their view is rather that Jesus’ blood is the ANTIDOTE to the poison that is ALREADY corrupting all Creation. That is what that poor woman meant when she said that the lady with the Down’s baby should have invoked Jesus during her delivery and that if she involved Jesus in her bringing up the afflicted child, He would redeem the situation is His own wonderful way.

    And while I do disagree with your take on that situation, I am scarcely angry with you. You have done me no injury. What I am trying to point out is that this sort of behaviour is NOT at all conducive to a Heavenly existence. And I CAN point this out because I am in no way involved in the situation. If I were immersed in it, I may well have behaved just as badly as you did. Nevertheless, the behaviour was bad – to be apologized for and not to be justified.

    And no Christian believes that Jesus – the Sacrifice for our sins – strikes down sinners. I am quite sure those Spiritual Warriors you disapprove of don’t either. If you would have listened to them a bit more charitably – even as charitably as you listen to Planned Parenthood – you would have heard what they are trying to say.

    And if someone does err – and we all do – you do not get very far with him by going after him hammer and tongs. Gentle answers – meant as much for oneself as for him – are the way to win over a brother

  2. I’m sorry, Ashwin, that you assume that I got angry, stormed out, screamed, acted belligerently, slammed doors, etc. Nope. I don’t operate that way. On the contrary, I gently but persistently and strongly tried to get those in error — who did, by the way, teach that Satan invaded the wombs of Christian women — to see that they were both unkind and ill-advised. Your impression of me — that I erupt in anger at the drop of a doctrinal hat — is something that people who know me in person don’t see. I wish you were one of them.

    Keely

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