Monday, October 5, 2015

Musings On Being Pro-Life

Pro-Life Musings

Today was the twenty-eight-life chain event in the United States and for me the 25th time I had stop to make a prayerful and silent witness of the value and need to protect unborn children from abortion. 

It was the first time I had stood there alone without my best friend and wife at my side.  My dear Terry passed into the arms of Jesus on July 14th so she could not be with me this time making a testimony of concern about the life of the unborn children and the willingness to help any woman facing a crisis pregnancy.  We had planned for her to be in wheelchair at this even during rehab but the Lord had different plans. 

So today was sad for me due to that lack of my partner and friend by my side after all these years.  It was sad also because it caused me to think about just how long my pro-life witness has been and how we are still facing this dreadful and painful reality of abortion. 

My personal journey on the issue of abortion went back to my political days in 1971 where as part of an elite mock congress of politically motivated high schools students I gained the support of the woman’s caucus for my environmental agenda by supporting their bill making abortion legal. 

This was all before the Supreme Court ruling of Roe vs. Wade in 1973.  I was a Christian and would even feel the call to ministry during that youth conference held on Georgetown University but had never heard even one message on abortion and thought it no different than other types of birth control. 

In 1972 I would be in Bible College where they would tell me that abortion was morally wrong but also said we should not get involved in politics.  The teaching on this was minimal but formally my position changed from “pro-choice” to “pro-life”. [1] Since the “rapture” was suppose to take place at anytime there was no use in attempting to make the “Titanic” of this world any better but just attempt to get people into the “gospel life boat” before tribulation began and judgment day appeared. 

Amazingly, even when the Supreme Court ruling took place in 1973 little was said or done to make note of this cultural changing event.   Now that year was difficult and wonderful to me since in it I struggled with becoming an agnostic/atheist over the problem of evil and God in his grace delivered me from my doubts, providing me fresh faith in the gospel of Christ Jesus.  So it is possible that my Bible College did say something and I was so consumed with my own spiritual struggle that it just did not come up on my radar. 

Part of my intellectual struggle had led me to Dr. Francis Schaeffer who was giving honest answers to honest questions.   I started attending a fellowship inspired in part by the La’Abri movement founded by Dr. Schaeffer.  In 1976, Dr. Schaffer’s teaching that had only been known to a few took the Evangelical world by storm with his film series and book, How Should We Then Live.   Many of us for the first time began to think of our Christian faith as a way to think about every aspect of life from science to art.  This lead us into the realm of thinking about how beliefs and ideas impact culture and politics.

Then in 1979 Dr. Schaeffer and Dr. Koop came out with a new book and film series entitled Whatever Happened to the Human Race.  The Evangelical church has supported Dr. Schaeffer’s first conferences filling stadiums around the country to see his films.  But now churches boycotted this series, which called upon us to think about and then apply consistently a Christian World View concerning abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia.   What was being proposed was just to “hot” for the church to handle. 

But Terry and I were moved by that conference.  We were determined to be part of the answer to the huge cultural problem outlined by Dr. Schaeffer From it I would motivated to finish my under graduate degree having been thrown out of Bible College over my changing perspective on prophecy and my struggles with how to think consistently from a Christian world view.  My hope was to become a teacher and helping young people gain “Christian Minds” overcome the worldview that could promote and practice abortion. 

After graduation Terry and I would found a local chapter of the Christian Action Committee in Hollywood around 1983.  We began offering free pregnancy tests and doing sidewalk counseling to woman facing crisis pregnancies.   In time we began working with a group of people and helped form “A Women’s Pregnancy Center” which eventually would evolve into Hope Pregnancy Center”. 

I would In 1984 I became the Executive Director of Communications and Counseling at Coral Ridge Ministries for Dr. James Kennedy.  We co-authored a book on abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia in 1985 entitled A Nation In Shame.   When Terry and I were on our honeymoon I was writing out my goals and one of them was to write a book.    This was the first fulfillment of that goal. 

We would do presentation at churches on pro-life, defend the pro-life position on local radio talk shows, and would adopt our first child to provide an alternative to abortion to a woman facing a crisis pregnancy.  Terry and I had young women facing crisis pregnancies stay with us in our apartment to provide them free and safe haven during their pregnancies.   We attempted in every way to help women facing crisis pregnancies and helping them see why abortion is an immoral solution to a problem of a difficult pregnancy. 

This went on for a decade. 

Then as I attempted to finish my Master and Doctorate programs we had to back away from our leadership commitments in the pro-life movement.  We continued to support pro-life causes and efforts.  But just did not have the ability to make it the priority that it had been in our schedules. 

Lots of things happened during those years I was finishing my education.  Operation Rescue would try for a decade to stage sit in to shut down clinics.  This effort fizzled out and burned out a lot of people who were pro-life.   Unfortunately, a few individuals also independently began bombing abortion centers and turning to violent answers to attempt to stop abortions.  During my educational sabbatical from active pro-life activism many things changed. 

But one effort Terry and I, always promoted and participated in was the “Life Chain”.   The first year our church along with others brought out thousands in Broward County and there was a continuous chain of thousands of people going up and down University Drive spanning Dade and Broward Counties.  But each year fewer and fewer people participated.  Sometime our small congregation who would provide 10 to 20 people would be all that we could see without any other groups in sight.   It was sad to see support for the life chain decline so radically.

This year was better than last year and we could see people holding signs and praying on both sides of University.   It seemed that some of the concern had been revived.   I know that Terry would be happy about that because this event was always an important event each year for her.   This year also saw us have about 25% or our congregation shows up numbering 20 people, so I praise God for that effort by so many. 

Today in prayer and preparing spiritually to participate in the Life Chain the huge weight of what has happened since 1973 hit me.  It is estimated that about 40 million children are aborted each year worldwide.  This means that from 1973 till now we could be looking at 2 billion babies aborted around the globe.  The impact of this number is staggering.  It makes Hitler’s holocaust seem like child’s play in comparison. [2] 

In the United States it would appear that the number is around 56 million children, which have been aborted.[3]  How could any nation come to admit that it had allowed the killing of 56 million innocent citizens?   The weight of the cultural guilt would simply be staggering.   Only a movement of God’s Spirit could bring us to a cultural repentance concerning abortion.  It took Germany 25 years to face their national guilt for the Holocaust of the Jews. [4]So how could America ever face the reality of 56 million unless the Holy Spirit brought about a change of mind and heart concerning all of these deaths?

Today in worship I listen to the song “Be my voice; cry of the unborn”.  Part of the lyrics were:

“I’ll be your voice,
Crying out to break the silence
I’ll be your strength,
A defender of the dawn
I’ll be your light,
And take away the darkness
O Lord help us,
To cradle them in loving arms”

I found myself crying as I sang these words.  Part of my tears was remembering the long battle that Terry and I had battled all those years and now missing my partner in this long crusade.  The other was how after all these decades we were still facing such horrible realities. 

I also cried because I knew I had not done enough or been a faithful enough voice for the voiceless.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who originally preached that we should be the voice of the voiceless, is one of my spiritual mentors through his writings.   He once said:

“The only fight which is lost is that which we give up.”

So we must continue this battle for the unborn children, for mothers with crisis pregnancies, and for those who now suffer emotional distress due to abortion.  Our hearts must go out to all those who have suffered loss and harm due to having abortions even as we strive to end abortions. 

But how?  Clearly we must continue to do many things we currently do.  Yet, we need to begin to seek for God to bring us a “great awakening” so that the massive repentance that is needed can take place.  Such times of spiritual movement have radically change societies in the past. 

“Only a mighty spiritual awakening as we have known in our past can reverse these plagues! We need a massive course correction that only a Sovereign King can bring. Without it we will continue to spiral down into moral oblivion. We need God to “rend the heavens and come down”19 in manifest, saving power. And He has done it before. Every major awakening in American history has been followed by extensive cultural transformation that nothing else could accomplish.

During the Welsh Revival, the jails were emptied, drunkenness was cut in half as were unwed pregnancies, and the judges were issued white gloves signifying there were no more cases to try!

Currently the American people would not support a reversal of Roe vs. Wade and are deeply divided on the morality of abortion.[6]  Only if there was a significant and deep change of mind about abortion being moral could we hope to see a change.  Culture ultimately is controlled by the values and beliefs of the people in the culture.  

If 90% of the women in the nation were full convinced that abortion was morally wrong then the “market” for having abortions would dry up and for all practical purposes it would stop even if the laws were not changed.  This would be double the current number who holds to this position.  So just as in the Welsh revival the jails were emptied because of the power of the gospel and Spirit, so a spiritual awakening today could empty the abortion clinics in America without any change in the laws. 

We must strive to help people see clearly why abortion is immoral, provide alternatives to abortion to women facing crisis pregnancy, and show respectful love towards those who disagree with us on this issue.  Our hope is in the seeing the Lord change the hearts and minds of people.  Ultimately, without this we can never see long-term protection for the lives of the unborn. 

So I can see that there is a need to again pray for a revival of right moral reasoning, which will lead to conviction about our sins.  One of these moral failures is that we have failed to provide counsel, nurture, care and support for women facing crisis pregnancies and especially those among the poor.[7]  By providing practical alternatives to abortion many women might see an alternative to this action and take it.  Our efforts to provide such alternative need to increase.  We must show compassion and help to women facing hard decisions. 

We must also be there to minister to the deep guilt that women will feel if they come to see that abortion was not the right choice and had and abortion.  Also men who recommended and pressured women to have an abortion will have to face the fact that they promoted the death of their own children.  If millions changed their minds about abortion they would need to know there is forgiveness in Christ Jesus for participating in an abortion. 

The only atmosphere in which the gospel of the free forgiveness of our sins through the sacrifice of Messiah/Christ Jesus and HIS resurrection is gladly heard and received is when people see that they need a Savior from their sins.  A self-righteous and guilt free society has no need of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Only people who are convicted of their sins see any need for the Lord Jesus to save them and bring forgiveness.  So the first step towards revival has to be a moral renewal and awareness that we are moral failures. 

So we must explain, teach, and discuss the morality of abortion but also the gospel of free grace and forgiveness in Christ Jesus must also be presented to give people hope.    Confession and repentance normally can only take place where there is the promise of forgiveness and restoration provided by God (1 John 1:8-10).   This will be critical as we pray and work to see a new great awakening take place in our generation.


The Life Chain Sunday was a time of sadness and struggle as I thought about many of these things.  It was a day of rejoicing in seeing many take a prayerful stand for life.  It was a rekindling of a passion to try to be a voice for the voiceless.  May the Lord have mercy.  Amen

[5] Paulus, Byron; Elliff, Bill (2014-03-01). OneCry: A Nationwide Call for Spiritual Awakening (Kindle Locations 730-735). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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