Author Archives: Billy David Dickson

Billy is a writer , Bible college student, radio show host, and youth worker. He has worked with young people for over ten years. His work includes teaching children youth in Bible studies, and Sunday School classes.
He currently does a radio show everyday at 6:19 E.T. on KCRO radio 660 A.M. in Omaha, Nebraska.

You can make the case for life in the world we live in

( Below is the today’s Breakpoint radio commentary. )

This coming Friday, thousands of Americans will stream to the National Mall to voice their support for the sanctity of all human life—and to mark the deadliest mistake in Supreme Court history: Roe v. Wade.

Now, you may not be able to attend the March for Life in Washington, D. C. or in any of the other cities that host one. But you can have those important conversations about life and abortion with friends, colleagues, and relatives.

In fact, you must. Don’t stay silent. Don’t succumb to cocktail party pressure. Don’t think that it’s only the job of professional speakers and writers and activists to speak out on the killing of innocent, preborn human beings. A case can be made for life that is thoughtful, reasonable, and articulate. To make that case, we have to be prepared.

This week on the BreakPoint Podcast, I’m joined by Scott Klusendorf, founder of the Life Training Institute and one of the truly great pro-life apologists. He’s a master at training others to make the case for life.  On the podcast, Scott and I walk through the main objections people have about the pro-life position. We talk about the arguments behind each objection, and then describe not only how to refute them but how to make the case for life.

As Scott describes, we have to know how to make our fundamental case, that abortion is wrong. Our case is clear: First, it is wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings. Second, abortion kills innocent human beings. Therefore, abortion is wrong.

Now, notice we’re not telling people how we feel. We’re not quoting a Bible verse or a religious authority. We’ve simply made an objective case, and from there we should be prepared to defend that argument.

For example, we can say with confidence that the science of embryology shows that from the earliest stages of development, you were a distinct living and whole human being—not part of another human being, but a whole distinct member of the human family.  So, there’s no essential difference between you the embryo and you the adult that would justify killing you. Sure, your size, level of development and dependency, your environment were different when you were in utero, but these aren’t differences that justify killing you then as opposed to now.

That’s our case. And we’ll hear objections: “Well, you believe what you believe because you’re religious. You can’t impose your religious beliefs on me or on women.”

That’s called changing the subject. As Scott says, don’t let them do it. Tell your friend, politely, “Hold on, I just laid out a case as to why abortion is wrong. I gave reasons for my views. I noticed you didn’t refute them, you simply accused me of being religious.”

Then refer back to the main case: Killing an innocent human being is wrong. Abortion kills an innocent human being, therefore it’s wrong.

Another objection, which we hear a lot: “Women have a right to choose. Why are you against a woman’s right to choose?”

Well, ask the person: The right to choose what? Of course, women absolutely should have the choice about their careers, their health care, marriage. But some choices are wrong—like the choice to intentionally kill an innocent human being. And notice there, we’re taking the person back to the fundamental pro-life case.

Here’s one more objection: This is just a clump of cells, not a human being.

Even though embryology and science have proven this wrong, we still hear it. So you might tackle it this way: A clump of cells doesn’t grow into an adult human being. For example, take the cells on the back of your hand. They are part of you, but they, along with say, a sperm cell and an egg, are different from an embryo, which is a whole living organism, and as we’ve made clear, a whole human being, that will mature into adulthood.

And then we remind them of the case: It is wrong to kill an innocent human being.

Well, we tackle several more pro-choice objections to life on the BreakPoint Podcast this week. Please, come to BreakPoint.org, or wherever you listen to podcasts, and tune in.

You can prepare yourself to make the case for life. And we want to help you do it.

Resources:

March for Life

  • website and registration
You Can Make the Case for Life: Scott Klusendorf

  • John Stonestreet | BreakPoint podcast | January 14, 2019
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The Point: Truly Offensive

In an interview with the New York Times, Rep. Steve King of Iowa asked, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

King’s been rightly denounced by both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans like Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina. On Monday, he was even stripped of his committee memberships.

King has since called the phrases “evil,” but I don’t want King’s rhetorical question to go unanswered. What’s “offensive” about the words “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” is the idea behind them: that one racial or ethnic group is better than others.

And when did those phrases become offensive? They never became offensive. They’ve always been offensive… ever since the Garden when God created all humankind in His image and endowed each with infinite worth.

And finally, equating white supremacy with Western civilization ignores Christianity’s greatest contribution to that civilization and to the world: insisting on the dignity and worth of every human person.

The Point: Talking Life

The annual March for Life is this weekend, and we’ve dedicated a couple of episodes on the BreakPoint podcast to mark the anniversary of Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court’s deadliest mistake.

First, I speak with Scott Klusendorf of the Life Training Institute about how to respond to the key pro-abortion arguments we hear every day. You’ve heard these arguments before: pro-lifers only care about unborn babies, not the ones who are born; if you don’t like abortion, don’t have one; what about rape and incest; it’s a woman’s right to choose. Scott walks us through how to respond to each of these, truthfully and lovingly.

And on Wednesday, I’m joined by leading pro-life activist Lila Rose of Live Action. She and I talk about the state of the pro-life movement, the political landscape for life in 2019, and how the movement is shaping up among younger Americans.

Come to BreakPoint.org to hear my conversations with Scott Klusendorf and Lila Rose or subscribe to the BreakPoint podcast to catch every episode.

BreakPoint: Tom Phillips, Chuck Colson, and Us We Can All Be a Tom Phillips

In the year 386, Augustine of Hippo sat beneath a fig tree, weeping bitterly over the state of his soul. Then he heard the voice of a young child singing, “Take up and read. Take up and read.” Immediately Augustine grabbed the Scriptures and opened to Romans 13: “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Augustine went on to become the most influential Church father in Western Christendom.

We do not know the name of the young child whose song helped Augustine to faith.

In 1736, on a ship bound for America, John Wesley trembled with fear because of a terrible storm. Despite the wind and waves, on the ship’s deck a group of German Moravians calmly sang hymns. Wesley was stunned at their faith and lack of fear, and after the voyage, learned from a Moravian bishop about “the second birth” and assurance of salvation.

We do not know the names of those faith-filled Moravians.

In August of 1973, Nixon hatchet man Chuck Colson sat crying in the driveway of a corporate executive who’d just shared with Chuck the good news of Jesus Christ. Chuck gave his live to Christ and became one of the great evangelical voices and Christian worldview thinkers of modern times.

We do know the corporate executive’s name. Tom Phillips. Last week, he passed from this life into the arms of his Savior.

Tom Phillips was extraordinarily successful. He was chairman and chief executive officer of Raytheon. He was awarded several honorary degrees. He served on numerous boards (including an advisory board of the Salvation Army), and he was a generous philanthropist.

But one of his greatest achievements was sharing his faith in Christ with Chuck Colson. Years ago, on BreakPoint, Chuck described that fateful evening:

Chuck Colson: I knew Tom had become a Christian, and he seemed so different. I wanted to ask him what had happened.

That night he read to me from Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, particularly a chapter about the great sin that is pride . . .

Tom, that night, told me about encountering Christ in his own life. He didn’t realize it, but I was in the depths of deep despair over Watergate, watching the president I had helped for four years flounder in office. I’d also heard that I might become a target of the investigation as well. In short, my world was collapsing.

That night, as Tom was telling me about Jesus, I listened attentively, but didn’t let on my own need. When he offered to pray, I thanked him but said, no, I’d see him sometime after I read C. S. Lewis’s book. But when I got in the car that night, I couldn’t drive it out of the driveway. Ex-Marine captain, White House tough guy, I was crying too hard, calling out to God. I didn’t know what to say; I just knew I needed Jesus, and He came into my life.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Chuck went on to found Prison Fellowship, the world’s largest prison ministry. Through his work in the prisons, untold thousands of prisoners and their families across the world came to Christ. They owe their salvation in part to Tom Phillips’s willingness to share the Gospel with Chuck.

All the great work Chuck did for justice reform, and of course the ministry of BreakPoint and the Colson Center, not to mention Chuck’s extraordinarily influential books on Christian worldview, can be traced back to Tom Phillips.

Very few of us will ever have the sort of towering life and influence of a man like Chuck Colson. But every one of us can be a Tom Phillips. Just think about it: that kind word in Christ’s name, that work of art that points to truth and beauty, that article or commentary, and especially that face-to-face talk about Jesus… can change a life. And that life might change the world.

Praise God for Tom Phillips.

Emily Colson, Chuck Colson’s daughter, has shared her reflections about the importance of Tom Phillips, for her father and for her, in an article that we’ve published at BreakPoint.org.

Resources:

The Man Who Led My Dad to Christ: Tom Phillips (1924-2019)

  • Emily Colson, with David Carlson | BreakPoint.org | January 14, 2019
Augustine’s Confessions: Chapter XII

  • Christian Classics Ethereal Library

Immigration Questions

Listen here.

Kerby Anderson Immigration will still be a big issue this year. That is why we need to be asking good questions, especially of our elected representatives. Michael Brown, in a recent column, asks four good questions that we might want to ask of those who are supposed to be trying to fix our immigration system. He admits that he is not an expert and has no agenda. He is genuinely asking these questions. He asks, “if illegal immigrants are flooding…

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The Point: Abortion: It’s for the Children!

Think of the children, she says, just not thosechildren.

I often speculate that a pro-life troll must be running Planned Parenthood’s Twitter account, because some of the things America’s largest abortion provider tweets are positively tone-deaf, even bizarre.

My imaginary troll might also be working as an advisor for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Last week, as she was sworn in, Pelosi invited a group of kids to the podium and said, “I now call the House to order on behalf of all of America’s children.”

Immediately after that, Pelosi and her party introduced a bill to fund international abortions, reversing one of President Trump’s first acts.

The pro-life Twitter page CatholicVote pointed out the dark irony. To portray your party’s policies as pro-children when one of your highest priorities is to keep child-killing legal boggles the mind. But that’s what we can expect from the House of Representatives for at least the next two years.

Elections have consequences, and those consequences are often measured in sad irony, and sometimes in lost lives.

BreakPoint: Making End-of-Life Decisions The Problems with Advance Directives

We’re all going to die one day. Are you prepared? Yes, for heaven, but also, have you made decisions about how to handle your medical care?

So what did your family discuss this past Christmas Eve? The beautiful lights? Maybe some childhood holiday memories? Hopefully, the immeasurable gift of the Incarnation and the love of God?

Well, according to the online medical journal STAT, you should have talked about the importance of advance medical directives. As Dave Barry likes to say, I’m not making this up.

In an article published on, of all days, Christmas Eve, STAT told readers that advance directives are a “perfect holiday conversation.” Yep, break out the eggnog…

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, an “advance directive” is “a legal document in which a person specifies what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity.” The most basic example of an advance directive is a “do not resuscitate” order. There are also more complex ones, like “living wills,” that specify what kind of treatment the person will or will not receive.

While I disagree that Christmas is the best moment for this discussion, STAT is absolutely right to say that people should be thinking about their medical care and should be discussing it with their loved ones. As bioethicist Wesley J. Smith notes, preparing an advance directive is “an important task given the evolving economics of medicine.”

But as Smith and others have pointed out, there are far more than merely economic considerations to be discussed. Our plans for the end of our lives ought to carefully reflect our deepest convictions about the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.

Done badly, an advance directive can be like a prenuptial agreement. Just as a “prenup” assumes the impermanence of marriage, many advance directives create a presumption in favor of death and efficiency (and an all-out avoidance of suffering) over the sanctity of human life.

Watch the language, and beware whenever the term “quality of life” as defined by medical professionals is elevated over the “sanctity of life” inherent to all image bearers. And especially look out for economic undertones in advance directives. Economically-driven decisions about the end of life will only reflect and advance the culture of death. This is especially true when directives use broad and imprecise language, which many do—language that opens the door to a purely utilitarian approach to end-of-life care.

And here’s another problem: Many advance directives operate as if our lives belong only to ourselves, as if all that matters is what we want when it comes to pain, suffering, or treatment. This ignores what they think. And by “they,” I mean the husbands who belong to their wives, and vice-versa, the parents who belong to their kids and vice-versa, and all of us who belong to extended families, communities, and churches.

Then there’s this: Years can pass between the writing of an advance directive and death. So you might be subjecting your loved ones to a decision you made long ago, when they have more information about the options than you ever knew about. Just as a life lived in pure autonomy never ends well, neither does a death.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to advance directives and living wills. One of these is what’s called a “durable power of attorney,” which designates a trusted person—a friend or a family member—to handle your affairs if you become mentally or physically incapacitated. The key word here is “trusted,” someone with whom you share convictions about the sanctity of human life and who is prepared to act on them even in the face of pressure.

This keeps decisions about care out of the sole hands of hospitals or doctors who might embrace an agenda or belief system diametrically opposed to yours.

I understand … this isn’t the most pleasant of subjects. But “it is appointed to men to die once and after that comes judgment.” This knowledge should prompt us to want to not only live, but to die as well as we can, bearing witness to our convictions about Whose we are and Whom we serve.

And be sure to check out today’s BreakPoint podcast. Warren Cole Smith speaks with Ben Mitchell about end-of-life decisions, advance directives, and the growing threat (and popularity) of doctor-assisted suicide. Tune in at BreakPoint.org or wherever you listen to podcasts.

We’re making it too hard to have a ‘good’ death

  • Joshua A. Rolnick, David A. Asch, and Scott D. Halpern | STATnews.com | July 5, 2017
The End-of-Life Bureaucracy 

  • Wesley J. Smith | The Weekly Standard | December 7, 2015
Talking about advance directives is a perfect holiday conversation

  • Kenneth R. White | STATnews.com | December 24, 2018

Something the church could learn from the world

Today

(The following was posted on Face Book by the wife of  my late Bible teacher. Thanks Pat Olson. ) 

 

 

Today we celebrate Epiphany

 

“After hearing the king, they went their way; and behold, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them [continually leading the way] until it came and stood over the place where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And after entering the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, after opening their treasure chests, they presented to Him gifts [fit for a king, gifts] of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned [by God] in a dream not to go back to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.” Matthew 2:9-11

New Congress has fewer Christians, more religious diversity

Just two members of the 252 Republican members do not identify as Christian: Reps. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., and David Krustoff, R-Tenn., are Jewish.

In stark contrast, of the 282 Congressional Democrats, 61 do not identify as Christian. Over half are Jewish, with 32, while 18 declined to specify a religious affiliation. Three members are Muslims, three are Hindus, two are Buddhists, two are Unitarian Universalists, and one is religiously unaffiliated.

 

The results, based on the members’ reporting of faith identities, show Christians dropped by 3 percent in the new class, from 91 percent of members to 88 percent. There are four more Jewish members, one additional Muslim, and one more Unitarian Universalist, as well as eight more members who decline to state their religious affiliation or lack thereof.

( Read the rest of this story.)