Dr. George Tiller
Why on earth would an individual who is a committed pro-lifer think that it is okay to slay another person in cold blood? Inherent in the pro-life position is respect for the sanctity of all human life, as we are all bearers of God’s image. That includes people who are living in unrepentant sin.
What is repugnant to me are Christians who are actually enjoying this fiasco, saying that Tiller got what he deserved. The most common expression of this sort I hear is “What goes around comes around.” VJack of Atheist Revolution linked to this article listing tweets about Dr. Tiller. At the time of writing, 12% of respondents to a WorldNetDaily poll said they cheer the fact that Dr. Tiller is dead. Even two bloggers that I respect and like have applauded the fact that Dr. Tiller is dead, see here and here.
The fact of the matter is that God made all human beings in his image, male and female (Gen 1:27), saint and sinner. God prohibits murder (Ex 20:13). The apostle Paul said not to repay evil for evil (Rom 12:17; 1 The 5:15; see also 1 Pet 3:9), to let God administer justice in his own way in his own time (Rom 12:19; see also Prv 20:22). Therefore, we must conclude that vigilante justice of this sort is wrong.
What about people like Dr. Tiller, who live in abject and unrepentant sin? Did God not order the Israelites to commit mass genocide on the Canaanites, the Midianites, and the Amaelkites, all of whom lived in that same abject and unrepentant sin? That was Old Testament times, when the Israelites held the power to enforce God’s law. We hold no such power under the New Covenant of grace. Like Romans 12:19 teaches, leave it to God’s justice.
What further amazes me is that people are also rejoycing that Dr. Tiller is in hell. This is an affront to me for two reasons. First, we don’t know the condition of his soul; that is between him and God. We can’t know the state of someone else’s election. Second, as I’ve stated before, we should never rejoice in a soul going to hell. Hell isn’t a place we should wish on people; instead, we ought to focus on making our own calling and election sure (2 Pet 1:10).
If a Christian is haughty about the fact that he is going to heaven, while a baby-killer like Tiller is rotting in hell, this “Christian” ought to wonder if he is actually going to heaven. True devotion to God brings humility, not pride. No one is going to heaven on his or her own merit, but by imputed righteousness through faith in Christ. Think about that for just one moment. The Christian isn’t in heaven because he followed the right path; he’s in heaven because God had mercy on him! This ought to be humbling, for as Paul repeatedly has stated, boasting is excluded.
How much more to God’s glory would it have been to see Dr. Tiller repent of his sins and stop performing abortions? Alas, he was in a church that appears to tolerate his sins enough to let him serve. All too often, the American church tolerates sin and doesn’t challenge people to repent. This creates a false assurance of salvation for many people. That false assurance creates the haughtiness that we just talked about.
A real assurance of salvation, as the apostle Peter wrote, produces faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. Lacking these qualities, people forget that God cleansed them of their former sins (2 Pet 1:5-9).
So, Christians, look at your reaction to the Dr. Tiller killing. Are you pleased that a baby-killer’s life was ended, and he is now in hell for his unrepentant sin? If so, you might have to do some growing as a Christian. If you believe that this sort of thing undermines the pro-life position, and you mourn that Dr. Tiller may have yet had a chance to repent, then you’re probably on the right track.