Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Is It Okay To Abort Children With Down Syndrome?

By Pastor Bruce Oyen


     I live in Centralia, WA. Our local paper, The Chronicle, recently had an interesting story on the Opinion page. It was by Julie McDonald, who opposes abortion. It had to do with the fact that parents of a Down syndrome child were awarded $2.9 million dollars because "prenatal testing failed to diagnose the chromosomal abnormality." McDonald also reported the parents insisted "they would have aborted the baby had they known." Their daughter is now 4 years old.
    Some things came to mind when I read this story. First, it made me wonder what persons with Down syndrome will think if they read it in the news. Many Down syndrome persons can read. I had a good friend with Down syndrome. We went to lunch together and attended church together. He played the accordion. He could read and write. He had a good sense of humor. But I don't think he would get a laugh out of the idea that some parents do abort, or would abort, a child because he or she has Down syndrome.
    Second, the story uses terminology that should wake us up to the reality of what abortion is. The story refers to a baby, and it refers to a girl. So, then, abortion is the termination of the life of a baby boy or girl. That boy or girl might be abnormal, but human life deserves respect no matter how physically or mentally abnormal someone is. That is why many of say we are pro-life. And many pro-lifers draw inspiration for their view from the Bible's Psalm 139.
    What follows is from an email sent to me by Julie McDonald, who wrote the newspaper article referred to above. It is printed here with her permission.
    Julie wrote: It’s a travesty and shows the slippery slope we’re heading down. Now more medical technicians may err on the side of diagnosing abnormalities for fear they will be sued for a "wrongful birth."
I don’t know how a birth can ever be deemed wrongful. I am staunchly prolife, and I found this news piece abhorrent. That’s one reason I wanted people to read it, since they might not read it elsewhere.
Earlier, I included a piece showing that two medical ethicists in the United Kingdom now say it’s okay to kill a baby after birth, especially if it has any abnormalities! Good gracious. They didn’t call it what it is—infanticide—but rather "post-abortion births."
 I know many wonderful people with Down syndrome and this world is a much better place because of them. That’s why my stomach turned when I read this story about a “wrongful birth” lawsuit. Where in the world are we heading as a society when something like this can occur?
I know we need to pray about all of this, but we also need to make people aware of what’s happening so that they will wake up to reality. This kind of stuff just makes me heartsick. And I’ll keep including these things in the column so people become more aware of the direction our society is moving.
 We all need to stand up stronger to say "This is wrong," despite the criticism we may receive.

   Right on, Julie! Right on!
   While some parents want to abort children with Down syndrome, many others do not. Here is a link to personal stories about parents who love their children with Down syndrome:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dreams, Out of Body Experiences, And Visions Of Heaven: What Does The Bible Say?

     The following excellent article is in the March/April 2012 edition of VOICE. This magazine is published by The Independent Fundamental Churches Of America, International. I am a member of this organization.
    The article's author, Dr. James Lowther, granted me permission to post it on my blog spot. It is very important and applicable to our times. It is hoped that you will give it an open-minded reading. Dr. Lowther's email address is provided so that you can correspond with him, if you wish to do so.

Pastor Bruce Oyen


By Dr. James L. Lowther

     Many Christians read and enjoy popular accounts about people who claim that they have been in heaven and have come back to report on it or that they have died and hovered over their own bodies before being brought back to life.  Does the Bible have anything to say about these phenomena or the many accounts of visions and dreams about spiritual matters?
    This is a timely topic since there are many who take these accounts as not only being factual but a direct revelation from God.  Someone may ask what is the harm in believing in these accounts?  The answer is threefold.  First, we have a complete revelation from God in the Bible.  Second, Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 12 that he was not allowed to speak of what he saw in heaven.  Third, there are people who take these visions as confirmation that they are going to heaven when they are actually lost.
    Before we discuss the topic at hand, let us consider three Bible passages to give us some bearing:  Eccl. 5:3, 2 Cor. 11:14-15, and 2 Cor. 12:1-4.  Whereas, none of these passages are definitive when it comes to the topic of dreams and visions, they are helpful to give us a framework for discussion.
Ecclesiastes 5:3 informs us that through much activity comes many dreams.  In other words, the busyness of our lives and minds causes the brain to continue to work in sleep, producing dreams of many kinds.  The key point of this passage is that it is the activity of daily life that stimulates the mind to produce dreams.  The mind is the origin and not some outside source.
    2 Corinthians 11:13-15 tells us that Satan is a great deceiver, appearing as an angel of light, and his ministers (servants) also appear as angels of light. In other words, there will be those who teach false things who look and sound like they are teaching the things of God.  They sound real, godly, and genuine.  In fact, they sound so real and convincing that many true believers are led away by their clever rhetoric.  Would it then be surprising that Satan could use our minds and visions in the same manner?
    Finally, 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 tells us that the Apostle Paul was taken up into Paradise, which is in heaven today, and saw and heard things that "are not lawful" to reveal to anyone else.  Surely, if Paul was not allowed to speak of what he saw in heaven, no one else is either. The secret things still belong to God (Dt. 29:29)
     Laying aside the charlatans and self deceived for a moment, let's discuss what is actually seen by those who see tunnels and lights, angels and Jesus; departed loved ones and mansions.  No one can say with any certainty what the origins of these visions are but we do know that the mind is a marvelous entity that can produce many wonderful images on its own.
    Those who see lights, tunnels, angels, and the like actually see them and hear them.  Just as someone on a psychic drug actually see writings and pictures on the wall, those who see things in near death cases and in visions actually see them.  But this is not the same as those things being real.  A movie may depict a story, but the story itself may have nothing to do with anything that is real or historical. So the little boy near death actually saw and heard the things he described, but were they real or imagined?
    Let me illustrate the problem here.  If one would take all the accounts from all the people in near death experiences one would notice a great variety of contradictions among the accounts.  Jesus had blue eyes or brown eyes, a red sash or gold sash, a white robe or purple robe, etc.  There are those who describe going down a tunnel with light at the end of it, while others describe sheer terror and darkness. None of these descriptions align with anything in the Bible.  Herein lays the danger, the deception, and the warning to all of us.
    The danger of any dream is not in the dream itself but in the interpretation given to it by the dreamer. Let me illustrate this principle in this fashion. One day I and another man were visiting a lady in order to share the Gospel of Christ with her.  She informed us that she did not need the Gospel since she had a vision of her deceased grandfather standing at the end of her bed and he told her that everything was going to be all right. She took this to mean that she was going to heaven just the way she was.  We both knew that she was lost and bound for a fiery eternity, but she was convinced that she was saved and heading to see her grandfather in heaven. No testimony from the Bible could convince her otherwise. I cannot say that a devil sent her the vision, but it does not matter, for the results are the same. Here before us was a soul bound for the Lake of Fire because she was depending on a dream to confirm that she was already saved. The results are obviously devastating and the deception utterly destructive.
    To add to the tragedy of this story there are literally tens of thousands of people just like this woman. They have had some vision, dream, experience, or vivid inspiration that comforts them and leads them to believe that they are fine and their eternity is secure. This false hope and comfort is the devil's security blanket that will be consumed in the raging fires of eternal conflagration.  
    What shall we say then to these heartwarming descriptions? First of all, we need to warn that as vivid as the experience was it was still more of a product of the mind than of reality.  Second, we need to remind ourselves and others that there is no independent confirmation for what is attested to.  If only one person sees a pink bunny on a wall, it is not really there, but if everyone sees it, say hello to the pink bunny. Third, return to what can be attested to, the Word of God. There is nothing wrong with a good allegory, but when that story is believed to be real, problems surface.  In such cases something apart from the Bible is competing with the Bible as revelation.  
    In spite of my best effort to warn the saints there are still going to be a number of believers who will insist that these experiences are real. I can hear them now: "Oh, preacher, you don't know what you're talking about. I know that this little boy actually saw heaven. I know that Uncle Ted really met Jesus at the end of a long tunnel. I know in my heart that these thinks are real."
    To such a person I will give two warnings: First, our hearts are very deceitful (Jer. 17:9) and we are easily tricked. We can be sincerely wrong, believing that we are right.  Second, what we are going to stand before the Lord and be judged on is our compliance with the Word of God and not visions or experiences. If we sincerely hold to a vision instead of the Word and teach others to do the same there will be very dire consequences to follow and much irreparable damage as a result. Remember, it is not our emotions that will dictate truth, but the actual teachings of the Word.  Every one of us has been fooled by illusionists before & spiritual illusions are no different.
    The best advice that I can give you in this regard is to stay with the Scriptures. It is the Word that is inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:15-16), that chastens the heart (Heb. 4:12), that will never return void (Is. 55:8-11), that should be meditated upon day and night (Ps. 1), that is to be taught exclusive of all other spiritual instruction (1 Pet. 4:11), is exclusively trustworthy in all matters of life (2 Pet. 1:16-21), and is sufficient to guide all people into godly living (Ps. 119).
    Not only are all the descriptions of visions, heavenly visitations, and extra body experiences dangerous, they are totally unnecessary. They add nothing to our understanding of Scriptures and can only detract from them. When people truly experience these amazing things what they experience is of an unknown source.  It does not matter, for these visions are not of genuine spiritual realties. They may be interesting, could be distracting, and definitely may be destruction. Stay with the Word, stay with the Word, stay with the Word!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Should We Still Warn About Mark Driscoll's Teaching on Sex?

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

      This is a revised edition of previous warning about a very popular preacher from right here in the state of Washington. His name is Mark Driscoll, and his church is called, "Mars Hill Church."  The revision is a result of having heard that Driscoll has moderated some of his controversial teachings to a more-Biblical position and manner of presentation. If that is true, we all should rejoice in the changes for the better.
      But even if it is true, there could well be many other churches that still teach what previously was taught by Mark Driscoll. Christians should forsake such churches and attend the ones that are upholding Biblical moral standards by preaching the Word of God w/o compromising it. In 2 Timothy 4:1 - 4, the apostle Paul told preacher Timothy to "preach the Word."  And in doing so, we preachers should deal with sexual subjects in a dignified and discreet manner.      
      If you do not know Mark Driscoll's past views on sexual topics, and his manner of presenting them, click on this link: But be forewarned that it is somewhat shocking to those who are not used to sexual matters being discussed in Driscoll's former manner.
     One lesson to be learned from this matter is that, even if someone has really changed for the better, they most likely will long reap the consequences of a previous bad reputation. It will take time for them to live down that reputation.
      Dr. John MacArthur, the well-known preacher and author, did a 4-part series of brief articles about Mark Driscoll's sermons on the Song Of Solomon. If you want to read them, click on this link:'s%20song.
      Drisoll's sermons on the Song Of Solomon are available on his church's website. Here is a link to them:
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,
Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved