Saturday, April 07, 2007

Isn’t Evangelism The Only Hope?

As an evangelical pastor, my attitude towards the abortion issue was simple:
"Abortion is evil—but there are many evils in society. The only cure for society is to evangelize and as a result of the personal growth in Christ of the new believer, society will eventually be impacted and 'reformed.' Lead as many persons as possible to Christ and everything else will look after itself."
There….that was simple, wasn’t it?

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, and there are other considerations for the believer who desires to live a full and consistent Christian lifestyle. In retrospect, I wish someone had visited me many years ago with a reasonable and credible alternative to my superficial point of view. Again, unfortunately, this kind of thinking is very prevalent in the evangelical community.

In a letter I recently wrote to family and friends, I shared the following:
If there is anything to fight for, to struggle for, in this nation of Canada, it is the scream of the unborn child, for without being born, there can be no joy of salvation from sin, there can be no thrill of conversion, no delight in leading others to Christ, no fulfillment through contributing to a better world, no satisfaction and joy in old age, and no peace in death. God’s will is immensely thwarted. What pain for God! And should His people be indifferent to their Lord’s pain and deny such a gift to a fellow human being created in the image of God?

What are we commanded to do in such desperate situations? What has God said? Consider some of His thoughts:

“Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not requite man according to his work?” Proverbs 24:11-12.

“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” Ephesians 5:11

Neither of these verses gives Christians the freedom of passivity and the luxury of moral withdrawal. We are commanded to get involved, to help and to expose.
But those were simply a few of my personal thoughts on the matter. The folks at Abort73 have fashioned thoughtful and compelling arguments for Christians to get involved in society’s current abortion crisis.

In answering the charge that The Only Biblical Way to Oppose Abortion is to Preach the Gospel, they note:
This objection mainly has in view the soul of the aborting woman. It recognizes that even if you convince this woman to keep her baby (or place if for adoption), she will be no more qualified to stand before God on the Day of Judgment than if she had aborted ten children. Without hearing and responding to the gospel, she will perish. This is true (as it applies to the woman), but it fails to consider what’s at stake for the baby. While changing a woman’s mind about abortion will do her no eternal good (if she dies in unbelief), it will make a world of difference for her child. It is the difference between life and death.

When physical life hangs in the balance, our first priority is to intervene for it as quickly and most effectively as possible. If any of us were to witness a young child being kidnapped and assaulted by a sexual predator, we wouldn’t try and save her by sharing the gospel with her attacker (under the confused notion that conversion is the only way to stop the violence or that “forcing our morality” on them will do no real good).

With regards abortion, there are masses of unsaved, unrepentant people who still know enough about abortion to oppose it. If we only share the gospel with the people around us, then those who reject it will see no reason to ever curb their abortion-minded lifestyle. But if we share the gospel and educate people about abortion, then thousands, even millions, of children will be spared, even if their parents live their whole lives without submitting to Christ.
In addressing the similar claim that People Will Not Change Without Being Regenerated:
This premise is similar to the last, but speaks more to possibility than responsibility. Whereas [the former] argues that reformation without salvation is worthless, [this claim] argues that reformation without salvation is impossible.

Such a claim ignores significant historical precedent. Slavery, segregation, child labor... these are all examples of massive injustices that were largely eliminated through secular means, apart from widespread spiritual renewal. The souls of the “reformed” gained no benefit for their change, but society (and particularly the victims) certainly did.

Where certain behavior is prohibited by law (and met with punishment), that behavior goes away (not completely, but significantly). God ordained government to restrain those who would not restrain themselves. Change through law is indeed possible, and changing the law starts with changing individual minds.
More of the Abort73 rationale can be found here, here and here.

There is much more than we commonly hear in our Christian circles to this question of the urgent need for Christians to join in defending the rights of unborn children. It’s not simply about the non-descript word “abortion” and it’s not simply “another social issue.”

If you are a Christian, particularly a pastor, unconvinced about God’s call to get involved in this “issue,” please follow up on the links, do the reading and provide something upon which the Holy Spirit can pass judgment.

Just don’t dismiss it. PLEASE.


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