Many Christians have gone from relative apathy or comfortable complacency over the presence of abortion in this country to revulsion and shock at the fall-out from the Kermit Gosnell arrest, trial, and conviction. Still, for a large number of believers, being shocked back into the revolting reality of abortion and its proximity (both geographically and spiritually) to the Church doesn’t necessarily answer the question: “Now what?”
What are we to do now that we realize many years from now our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will look back on our generation and ask what their relatives “were doing” while millions of unborn children were being legally murdered in this country? Were you a faithful member of your Sunday school class? Were you a volunteer at the homeless shelter? Did you tow-the-party-line and vote the way the cable news prompted you to in all matters political? But take a moment and consider: Do you care about about what else the Christians living in Germany were doing during the height of Hitler’s extermination of the Jews? We don’t ask those questions because we know the answer doesn’t matter. Whatever else they were doing, they were not doing the one thing necessary — which is the same reason that Jesus failed to mention the reasons the priest and the Levite ignored the plight of the broken and beaten man on the side of Jericho road (Luke 10:25-37). All we know is that they should have stopped and they did not — and in not doing so, they hated their neighbor, instead of loving him.
While there are countless ways to begin loving our unborn neighbors who, every day, are being slaughtered in their mother’s wombs, below you will find 8 essentials to get you started. These points are not ultimately to provide a checklist for fulfilling some token duty toward the unborn, rather they are prompts to goad our hearts into a position that is receptive to the love of Christ toward us — and his call upon us to “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; [and] hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter…” (Proverbs 24:11)
1) have a pro-life family
Have an openness to children – Christians are not called to minister out of a inconsistent love for others that has no reality in their own hearts and families. We cannot give a testimony to the watching world that they should not murder their unborn children while at the same time doing everything physically possible not to conceive our own. If we believe the things Scripture says about children, we should have families that reflect those truths with an openness to receive them. (“Start Your Family” – Steve and Candice Watters)
Communicate your valuation of children as blessings and not burdens – Once you open your marriage to receive children, share the vision with others — especially with the young. Challenge the world’s (and even much of contemporary evangelicalism) concept of the burdensome, inconvenient, and unwantedness of children within a marriage. Intentionally share this vision with young couples and children, as they will be the next generation of families standing as a testimony of the ‘goodness’ of life.
Lift up adoption – Come to a biblical understanding of the place of adoption in a Christian worldview. Even if you decide not to adopt personally, become an advocate for it, praying for those families around you who are adopting, and support the movement with your time, resources, and encouragement. (“Adopted for Life” – Russell Moore)
2) be intentional about your language
Children are not choices – Christians need to speak differently than the world does about conception, pregnancy, children and families. We don’t make babies – God specially creates them and gives them to us. There are no surprises, as far as He is concerned, only perfect plans. When Christians intimate that they “decided” to start a family, it gives the impression that they could have just as easily decided not to — further giving credence to the world’s idea that children are merely optional by-products of a sex act. When there is no morally inherent place for children in relation to sex and marriage, it should be no surprise to us that when they do come, our culture naturally believes they have the freedom to “decide” they don’t want that life…at least right now. Much of the traditional “wisdom” being thrown around in pastoral counseling sessions about “planning” your family has more in common with secular sexual education than it does with Psalm 127.
3) be educated politically
The fact that a politician “says” he’s pro-life, or even that a “pro-life” organization gives him an endorsement is only the beginning. Its like being “republican,” which now days has more to do with the color of tie you wear than the kind of votes you make in DC. We should want good laws, absolutely. But there’s not a narrow way to get there, regardless of what Karl Rove and the NeoCon establishment would have us to think. A large portion of our prolife political engagement has been focused solely on the Supreme Court, at the detriment of good state legislation and local movement money. Simply voting for a candidate because they promise to appoint a pro-life Supreme Court justice has gotten us absolutely no where in the 40 years since Roe v. Wade, and it’s time for Christians to acknowledge that fact. This means that deciphering pro-life credentials will be more difficult, but that’s part of being “wise as serpents and gentle as doves.” We need to look at the immediate impact of their platform and not only some “hopeful” nomination down the road.
Keep in mind also that every piece of legislation has multiple impacts. Although many groups may push for things like cleaner, more regulated abortion clinics, the legislative effect is only to enshrine the practice of abortion even more in state law. The abortion industry is a many-headed monster, so the days of simply voting for someone who is anti-Roe v. Wade is over. We need to press our candidates on their fundamental views on the sanctity of life and the impact that will have on every piece of legislation they vote on.
4) be educated scientifically
Nowadays the fight for life begins in the lab and in the womb, and the debate often engages with scientific questions of viability, location, and distinctiveness. Christians need to know when life beings, how to communicate this persuasively and simply, and have some idea about the implications such beliefs bring for technologies such as IVF, cloning, etc. (“Embryo” – Robert P. George) (“Stand for Life” – John Ensor)
5) use social media well — and often
Share, speak, and comment about the abortion atrocity with consistency and abundant grace, knowing that you are engaging with real people who need to be awakened to the abortion dilemma or who may have had their own abortions. Some are complacent, some are ignorant, some are scarred — the answer for all is the reality that Christ’s blood flows as a fountain of cleansing for the repentant, and is the impetus for “loving the least of these” in Christ’s name and for his glory. Make your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, a go-to place for sermons, quotes, stories, pictures, encouragement for others to stay in the fight, get informed, and go in the power of the One who came to give Life abundant. (Abort73.com)
6) support pro-life pregnancy counseling centers
These are the front lines. They are a great place to get involved if you are new to the movement and want to hear stories of the impact that Christian presence actually makes in the abortion fight. Many counseling centers take donations of baby supplies and have training for those interested in doing crisis pregnancy client counseling — and every center would be glad to accept a cash donation to pay for their staff and resources. Keep in mind that not every center is created equal, but many are rooted and grounded in the gospel and share faith in Christ with the women at the same time as they urge them to keep their child. Best case scenario, these are a ministry arm of a local church (for volunteers, prayer, cash flow, and most importantly a door for these women into the community of faith).
7) engage in realigning your church’s culture
One of the most important issues in this fight is confronting a church culture that has pushed the entire abortion issue into a dark corner. For a great many conservative evangelical churches it would be more shameful and embarrassing for a girl to be pregnant out of wedlock and publicly confess it to a self-righteous church, than to – under the cover of darkness – have an abortion and deal with the guilt, pain, and sorrow all by herself. This is tragic but reality. Somehow this must be changed. We need to cultivate a church-wide love for and pursuit of these young girls in crisis – and a willingness and hopefulness to minister to them. This doesn’t mean ignoring the sin of sexual immorality and refusing to urge for repentance, but it does mean becoming the first place and not the last that a young girl feels comfortable coming for help. This is really just an outgrowth of #1 (having pro-life families) and extending it to the church. Speak of and encourage a culture of adoption in the church and look for opportunities to minister to unwed mothers and at-risk teens. (SpeakForTheUnborn.com)
8) hold fast to the end.
We want flames – not roman candles. The memories and disgust of #Gosnell will fade. Other political issues will loom large over our cultural horizon. But the call of a Christian to stand for righteousness and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves is not a temporary call. Pro-life ministry cannot be another fad, where you came, got the t-shirt, and went back to whatever you were blissfully doing before. It doesn’t mean that we all quit our jobs or take some other hip, radical step to show the world how much we care about this. It’s much more mundane than that. It means treasuring up your family as God’s precious gift to you and a good fruit of the marital bound. It means doing the hard work of not only loving with your heart but loving with your mind, by educating yourself politically, scientifically, and even changing the way you talk about children. It means having the kind of life you would have if every morning you had to walk by a concentration camp filled with human beings — who’s only question is: Have you forgotten about me?
Our answer must be “No” – and neither has our Lord.