Monday, September 08, 2008

What Conservatives Aren't Saying about Sarah Palin's Daughter

When it comes to Bristol Palin's out-of-wedlock pregnancy, all conservatives seem to say is "Well, at least she didn't have an abortion." Ricardo Davis looks at this issue from a different perspective:
    Friends and acquaintances have been probing me for my reaction to these events. My response was that I'm still researching the matter. I have dear friends who have gone through what Todd and Sarah Palin are facing. I kept the matter in prayer and asked that God would give the Palins wisdom.

    After mulling over what I heard repeated in the Christian media I finally realized the cause of my unease; the three-letter "S" word -- sin -- had been completely absent in the discussion! The non-problem of Bristol Palin expressed itself in the conservative Christian media with a complete lack of discussion by Christian leaders and ministers of the problem of fornication in America and the Gospel remedy!

    Fornication is the sin that fuels the abortion industry, so it is connected to the pro-life discussion. The Gospel of Jesus Christ stands alone in effectively and holistically healing the individual, familial, and cultural decay caused by fornication. But to date I have not heard one national Christian commentator bring up the subject. Not one politically active conservative Christian leader that I know of framed the non-problem from a Biblical worldview. No one interviewed by the mainstream media admitted that Bristol and Levi committed fornication and that God's Word clearly condemns premarital sex. I haven't heard one minister with an open mike on a nationwide talk show say that as loving Christian parents Todd and Sarah Palin's primary responsibility in the matter is to help their daughter Bristol apply the Gospel -- restore the relationship between Bristol and God through confession of the sin of fornication and repentance. It is my hope that this happens. It is my prayer that the Palin family receives wise Biblical counsel in the months ahead because the parents must redemptively help Bristol work through the consequences of her choices.
Here is Sarah Palin's official statement regarding this issue:
    We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us. Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support.

    Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media to respect our daughter and Levi's privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates.
What are your thoughts? As a Christian family, did the Palins miss a perfect opportunity to address sin, forgiveness, and the Gospel?

17 comments:

Zebedee said...

While I agree with the thesis of your article, I would urge caution in making the assumption that the Palins have not dealt with this matter (at least privately), as you suggest with your question "As a Christian family, did the Palins miss a perfect opportunity to address sin, forgiveness, and the Gospel?" You are presuming to know that they haven't, when it is entirely possible that they have done so in the privacy of their own family, and opted not to make it a public issue. It is the press that has chosen to do this.

Zebedee

Lee Shelton IV said...

The Palin family chose to address this publicly, yet refused to admit the sin involved. (I'll post Sarah Palin's statement.) I think this was a missed opportunity considering that sin doesn't get much more public than an out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

Patrick Durkee said...

"The Palin family chose to address this publicly, yet refused to admit the sin involved."

I certainly agree with you here. It seems as though they've moved on to the next step already, which is, "Since we're in this bad situation, how do we deal with this in the most God honoring way, since we can't just get out of it?"

That is a necessary and correct next step, I believe, but without first admitting that you're in this situation because of your sin, it is premature.

Patrick
www.theologyofomaha.com

Anonymous said...

The Palin's "chose" to address it publicly? Sarah Palin is a VP candidate. They did not choose anything; this was going to come out into the public very soon anyway. They did not have a choice in this matter.

I vehimently disagree that the Palin family should have made a living parable out of their daughter's pregnancy. If it had been my daughter all discussion of sin and redemption would have been between my daugher and me... period. Have you ever heard a pastor use his children as illustrations in a sermon? It can be very unseemly and possibly damaging to the child.

We have what appears to be an evangelical Christian running for the 2nd highest office in the U.S. Should we not rejoice and praise God rather than pick-apart missed opportunities to sermonize on the campaign trail?

Bill T.

Spurgeon's Cigar said...

"Open rebuke is better than secret love."

I'm sure the Palin family addressed this privately in terms of sin; as Christians, how could they do otherwise? As a politician, Mrs. Palin walks a tighter rope, culturally speaking; publicly spiritualizing and moralizing about her daughter's sexual indiscretion may not have played well to the public ear- too much implied and imputed guilt to the constituency, and too preachy for a politician in the throes of a national election. Perhaps her Clintonesque parsing of the sin is just one more reason that Christians should not take her candidacy seriously.

Josh Gelatt said...

Isn't there an element of voyeurism here? Why do we need to have the Palin's fill us in our their painful conversations with their daughter regarding this subject.

The girl sinned. We know that. She knows that (repentant? who knows). Mrs. Palin knows that. But, the world doesn't know that--or at least they don't care.

I am less concerned about making the nation aware of the sins of a teenage girl from Alaska, and more concerned about making them aware of their own sins and need of a Savior.

kristarella said...

Josh, if the world doesn't know or care that she sinned, if Christians don't stand up and admit their own sins or that of their family, how will the rest of the world be made aware of their sin. All they're going to take away from this situation is that the Palin's love their daughter (as any humanist should!).

I don't know what I think of the way they approached it. Their approach seems to say to me that they're willing to dumb down the 'bad' side of Christianity (sin, God's wrath) to get into office. However, my impressions from half-way across the world probably aren't correct.

Josh Gelatt said...

Keep in mind that as a Christian, Palin teaches her family that pre-marital sex is wrong.

As the Vice-President, her job is to protect and enhance personal liberty, even the liberty to engage in non or extra marital sexuality.

These are conflicting tensions that she must hold together. Her role in the White House is not to convert people to Christ, it is to lead a democratic nation.

The family, and the church, is the place to confess personal sin--not the news media. Her comments and approach are perfectly consistent with biblical, historic (even reformed, though she aint one) Christianity.

Mrs. Palin perhaps didn't take an opportunity to address the goodness of abstinence, but she did take the opportunity to inform the world of her love for and committment to her child.

Hardly something worthy of slamming her committment to Christ, or hardly worthy of accusing her of watering-down her faith.

The Pharisee said...

On the one hand, what do you expect from the Assemblies of God? On the other hand what do you expect from the Palins?

The fact that they are getting married in the "traditional sense" would have them married already in Biblical times.

We're caught between several influences, the laxity of the AOG, the "none of your business" aspect of the problem (and there but for the grace of God go YOUR children) and the fact that we've fooled ourselves into thinking that there is a role (beyond advice) in marriage for the Church or a role in marriage for the state.

Scripturally, there is no example, mandate or suggestion that marriage occur with church or state sanction or officiation.

Lee Shelton IV said...

Thanks for your comments, Josh.

Here's my take. Sarah Palin brought the pregnancy to the public's attention. Why? Because it would become obvious eventually. So what? Why would anyone care? Because even non-believers, while not necessarily seeing it as immoral, would recognize it as being inconsistent with the biblical standards espoused by the Palin family.

If it isn't her place to acknowledge the sinfulness of the behavior, then why even bother publicly reaffirming her love for her child? Why is that the more appropriate response? As Davis wrote, "Fornication is the sin that fuels the abortion industry, so it is connected to the pro-life discussion."

No one is slamming Palin's commitment to Christ. I just found her response rather odd for someone with her beliefs in her position.

Ricardo Davis said...

Josh,

You comment, "As the Vice-President, her job is to protect and enhance personal liberty, even the liberty to engage in non or extra marital sexuality."

First of all, Mrs. Palin's first duty before God Almighty as a civil magistrate is to be a faithful minister of justice. This includes obedience to His Word regarding what God requires of civil magistrates. This means personal holiness (fear God, hate bribes, etc.) and public righteousness (equal justice for rich and poor, defending the widow and orphan, administer punishment for biblically-defined crimes, etc.) Your definition is more akin to the Libertarian Party platform than Scripture.

"These are conflicting tensions that she must hold together. Her role in the White House is not to convert people to Christ, it is to lead a democratic nation."

I believe the woman can chew gum and walk at the same time. Do you believe that Jesus Christ has no authority over the nations of the earth now and His Great Commission is null and void once a believer takes an oath of office? Time and again godly civil rulers in Scripture used their influence to proclaim God's word to turn the hearts of the people back to Him.

"The family, and the church, is the place to confess personal sin--not the news media."

Scripture would indicate that those who rule would be better off to confess their sins publicly and repent, otherwise God himself promises to expose the sin publicly before the nation. King David is one example.

"Mrs. Palin perhaps didn't take an opportunity to address the goodness of abstinence, but she did take the opportunity to inform the world of her love for and committment to her child."

I believed you've missed the point. Please read the entire article, which deals with the missed opportunity of Christian leaders -- particularly ministers/pastors -- to address the sin of fornication and the Gospel remedy. In my article I state, "Sadly, I am convinced that a redemptive discussion on fornication has been trumped by a desire to say nothing that would expose the McCain-Palin campaign to any criticism during the Republican National Convention."

For the King,

-Ricardo

Josh Gelatt said...

Ricardo,

Your first paragraph is excellent, and I truly feel a superb biblical overview of the God-given role of government. Yet don’t push me too far into the libertarian camp; quite frankly I am at a loss to see how you could have so quickly assigned me to a certain political party simply due to my use of the word “liberty”. I certainly hope it is not only the Libertarians who cherish that word (and I am not convinced they correctly understand it). That notwithstanding, I agree completely with the overview you gave. I would also affirm that this is governments first and most important role (i.e. justice). With that said, such a role is true of all forms of government: communist, dictatorships, monarchies, etc. Whatever the form of government, that government’s primary role is to promote justice. I agree. However, I was not speaking of government in general (or else my statements may have sounded like yours), but rather a specifically democratic (or more accurately, a representative) government. In such a government, the chief concern specific to itself is the protection and enhancing of personal liberty.

Fornication, specifically a moral stand against it, has no place in the role of government as you have defined it. Government is to promote justice, not the Mosaic law. You write: “Time and time again godly civil rulers in Scripture used their influence to proclaim God’s word to turn the hearts of the people back to Him.” That is a very interesting comment, considered that in Old Testament Israel there was no such thing as a “civil” leader. Israel was a theocracy---a religiously determined government. If America were a theocracy, I would agree with you. But, it is a democracy. Not that this is better, but it is what it is. You approach sounds like something from Rushdoony and the Christian Reconstructionist movement. Don’t get me wrong, Bahnsen is one of my hero’s, but sadly made the same error that you appear to be making.

Also, I did not miss your point…I simply disagreed with it. Blessings.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

I like all the varying perspectives expressed in the comment thread.

The liberal media has insinuated that Palin eloped because she was pregnant before she got married. I don't know if that's true or not, but if it's true, then perhaps that's why Gov. Palin has kept any conversations with her daughter Bristol private.

The speck/log thing.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you all just pray for her and her family. And while you're at it why don't you pray that God will show you what sin you have going on in your life so you can ask forgiveness. I know plenty of "non-Assembly of God" people who have sin in their lives -some obvious and some not. Guess what, God loves them and He knows that we're all in need of Him!

The Pharisee said...

My only point about her being Assemblies is that they have a loose view of accountability.

Namely, none.

Anonymous said...

So right, Pharisee. The same passage in the New Testament that condemns homosexuality also condemns fornication, but one does not hear the evangelical folks talk about that much, as I have observed that they have accepted our national standard on that issue. At the same time, they feel comfortable with going after gay people. This is of a piece with her lies about the bridge to nowhere, all the pork for her state, etc. If I do it, it's fine. If someone else does it, it's sin.

The Pharisee said...

The Old Testament Law of God as given to and through Moses, gave the father of the girl fornicated with the absolute right to demand of the man who fornicated with her, marriage.

I would continue to stress that what defined marriage in the Old Testament, which is pretty much the only source of definitions we are ever given, is vastly different than what we THINK marriage is now.

Marriage in the Old Testament was an entirely family matter. The New Testament does nothing to change this other than the possible addition of an advisory role for the church.

By Old Testament definition, consenting to marry and engaging in sexual relations would constitute a marriage, thus the Palin's daughter is in my view, married already and the matter close entirely. The fact that society, which has NO ROLE WHATSOEVER in marriage doesn't think they are married is irrelevant. The fact that the church supposes a marriage needs a ceremony in which they preside somehow is also irrelevant. Even the fact that the Palin's think there is some future ceremony necessary to solemnify the marriage is ALSO IRRELEVANT. They're married. The Palins have given their consent and clearly sexual relations have begun.

Since it's a family matter, and it's resolved on the basis of definitions handed down to us from antiquity, I say it's none of our business and we should butt out.

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