By Pastor Joseph Parker
"I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you,
that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing;
therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;"
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NKJV)
I have been asked by those whose churches hold once a year events like the upcoming Sanctity of Human Life in January, "Isn't once a year adequate?" Allow me to answer that question with a question. Since the Devil strives to murder babies 365 days a year and a local church may choose to have an event that addresses the life issue once a year, who would you say is more committed to their cause?
The church’s responsibility to discuss pregnancy, to help stop abortions, and to help heal those who’ve had abortions or have been affected by abortion are all part of the issue of life today. While some churches avoid it to prevent hurting feelings or opening old wounds when these churches only preach about nice, warm topics that encourage, then they are failing to help edify, to instruct or improve someone morally and intellectually, in these issues of life.
We must preach and teach the truth in love. We are not called to condemn, yet are called to share truth in love to a world filled with destructive misinformation and lies. If we fail to preach and teach truth, people will be misled, lost, and many will sadly die in their sins. Also, people will make decisions in their life based on the lies of the world that lead to destruction, loss, and even more darkness.
Deliver those who are drawn toward death,
And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, “Surely we did not know this,”
Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?
He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?
And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?
So, in view of the commonly published statistic that 1 in 4 women in the U.S. has had an abortion before the age of 45, we cannot afford not to aggressively preach and teach what the Word of God says about standing for life along the full path they may travel.
In addition to aggressively preaching and teaching about the life issue in love, we must also intentionally provide ministry to pregnant women in their time of need. What can be done? One great solution is to vigorously come alongside the ministries of local pregnancy centers. Not passively, but vigorously!
Many believers in the church are not aware of the great and wonderful work pregnancy centers do in the local community. They provide a safe, loving, and warm environment for a woman in a crisis pregnancy to come to. They love these women, provide wise and positive counseling to help them see that in even their time of distress, there are ways to fruitfully get the help they need to keep their baby or lovingly place their baby for adoption. They provide their services at no charge to the woman and often provide free baby items for the expecting mother to receive.
Many also are not aware of how much evangelism, discipleship, and pastoral care is given to women and their families through the ministry of pregnancy clinics. A director of a pregnancy center in the Mississippi Delta shared that in the years of their providing ministry through their pregnancy center, five hundred persons had been saved over the years.
In view of these important truths about the work pregnancy centers do, how should the local church respond? How can they begin to get boldly involved to stand courageously for life?
We can begin to see the local pregnancy center as an extension of the church (which is, in fact, what they are!). A church fellowship can wisely decide to do some or all of the following things to support, encourage, and help the work of local pregnancy centers:
Post-abortion healing Bible studies
For those churches afraid of opening old wounds, the reality is these wounds remain open until God heals them. So the best way to help women who’ve already had an abortion is to lead them through the Word and to the Great Physician, Jesus.
Prayerfully consider beginning or sponsoring a post-abortion healing Bible study. Failing to provide the ministry of forgiveness and healing to these women and men would be very negligent on our part. So, starting such a much-needed Bible study or inviting an individual who leads such a study to lead one in your church could be very fruitful.
Most sources say 25% of women in the U.S. have had an abortion before the age of 45. This means that the number of people who are hurting from this tragedy is staggering! The ages of the women in these Bible studies could range from the teens to women in their 80s since Roe vs. Wade was passed in 1973.
The number of women is so widespread, that basically abortion touches every congregation in America! This issue affects the woman, the man, and other family members of each as they interact in life. Ignoring this need is similar to failing to offer water to the thirsty.
Other Useful Events
Finally, have creative events where the issue of life is addressed in a biblical, practical, and loving way. The local church could have a number of different kinds of events that focus on the issue of life.
Have events that educate believers about this issue from a biblical perspective. It is tragic that too many believers have had this issue addressed in a way that leaves them misinformed and with wrong perspectives about the issue of life. Is there a better way to address life than through God’s Word?
Also, use the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday (January 19, 2020) to do spiritual education about this topic for a local church congregation. Like I said near the beginning, we can do more.
Additionally, you could host a FESTIVAL FOR LIFE which is conducted by the American Family Association for interested churches and communities. This is a multi-media, family-friendly event that uses movie clips, music videos, and movie trailers to help to share a biblical presentation. Through this presentation we share about the need for the church to seek to biblically 1) support the work of pregnancy clinics and to aggressively 2) stand for Life. If you are interested, then call us at 1-662-844-5036, ext. 381.
There are many more things churches can do to intentionally and faithfully address the life issue. Pray for the Lord to guide you and your church family to do what He would have you do to faithfully stand for life throughout each year and beyond.
“You shall not murder”
This article first appeared on The Stand