The Church for Life

The Church for Life

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Plight of the "Pro-Choice" Attorney

I heard a liberal female attorney on radio the other day insisting that since the seven SCOTUS justices  declared the unborn are not human beings (Roe v. Wade 1973) she was fine with abortion, after all it was legal. It was apparent she was not familiar with or was willing to disregard what the scientific community, including embryologists, have acknowledged for years now - life begins at conception.
For example Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth, M.D. Harvard University Medical School writes, “…It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception…”

The attorney insisted that viability of the unborn determined their humanity. (See my message, "The Preborn- the Scientific, Philosophical & Metaphysical Case for Life" here.)

Even though she kept reminding the audience she was an attorney, she was evidently not aware of or was willing to overlook the words of Justice Harry Blackmun who admitted the following in his prevailing opinion (Roe v. Wade),

"The appellee…argue that the fetus is a ‘person’ within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment…If this suggestion of personhood is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the Amendment."

She vehemently objected to being called "pro-abortion" even though the host insisted that to be "pro-choice" (the attorney's preferred term) meant that you approved of the killing of the unborn.

The attorney's inability or refusal to make a rational and scientifically sound defense of her position reminds me of the spiritual deception or darkness endemic to those who defend or promote child killing in the womb.

Jesus exposed the source of this deception/darkness. "the devil is a murderer from the beginning…a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44)

The Apostle Paul further applied Jesus' statement to the condition of each of us apart from the Gospel.

"Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil--the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the Spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God." (Ephesians 2:1-2)

As I write this, I am thankful for God's work of grace in my life. As Paul wrote, "…he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins." (Colossians 1:13,14)

These spiritual realities underlying the premeditated killing of unborn human beings making abortion first and foremost a spiritual issue and therefore a gospel issue, a conclusion most of the evangelical (pro-life) church has not come to terms with… yet. It also explains the moral schizophrenia represented in the photo below.

(See my message "Abortion, the Devil & the Church -  Exposing the Spiritual Forces Behind  Abortion" at: here.)


Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Spiritual Forces Behind the Abortion Crisis

(This is the keynote address I gave at the annual fundraising banquet for the Pregnancy Helpline Center of Three Rivers Michigan on April 27, 2015. You can listen to the address with PowerPoint slides on The Church for Life YouTube Channel here.)

In the Spring of 2006, three years after leaving the pastorate, I accepted a position as the Director of Development of Hope Women's Centers one of the nations largest CareNet affiliates, where I worked for over two and a half  years. At that time Hope was operating five pregnancy resource centers in the greater Fort Lauderdale area.

There are 23 abortion clinics in Broward County where I live. Over 12,000 preborn children lost their lives to abortion last year.

As a pastor working for Hope, I saw abortion through a theological or biblical paradigm. And I began to pray and fast "Lord birth in my heart your message for the church on the subject of abortion." As a pastor I had a file of sermons on abortion. But now that my attention was more narrowly focused on this subject, the Lord graciously built a message that focused on the spiritual nature of abortion, more specifically, the spiritual forces behind America's abortion crisis.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”   Ephesians 6:12

This evening, I want to identify the spiritual forces behind abortion, with the prayer that the Lord will sovereignly move those of us in this room to rise up in support of the strategic ministry of the Pregnancy Helpline Center in a manner that will glorify God, and advance the impact of this ministry, in this community, in the lives of abortion minded and vulnerable men and women and their precious unborn children.

Last year, in his pamphlet, Field Manual for Abortion Ministry, Pastor Rusty Lee Thomas  posed these two questions. "What does Christianity look like in a nation that murders its own children?

"Has the church failed to be prolife or have we failed to be Christian when it comes to rescuing our neighbors scheduled to be dismembered?"

I still wrestle with those questions.

Foundational to every effort to end abortion and minister hope, healing and restoration to the post-abortive, is understanding that abortion is first and foremost a spiritual issue. That makes it a gospel issue. That makes it a church issue. Understanding this premise is critical to every effort we make to end America's abortion crisis.

What is propelling the worldwide shedding of innocent blood? Who is behind the epidemic of death that plagues our land? The Biblical evidence would indicate that abortion is a Satanic enterprise. The stage was set thousands of years ago as recorded in Genesis 3:15. After Satan deceived Adam and Eve and man was plunged into sin, God said to Satan, "...I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." (NIV).

And with that, the epoch struggle between good and evil began. And Satan has been involved in an unrelenting attempt to kill the offspring of Eve ever since.

Jesus, Himself, said as much. John chapter eight records an encounter between Jesus and the religious leaders of His day. In that heated exchange Jesus said this about the devil, verse 44,

"The devil…was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (NIV)

Here Jesus identifies two roles of Satan: A murderer from the beginning and a liar and the father of lies. How successful has the Devil been in fulfilling this job description?
It is estimated that every year between 40 and 50 million pre-born children are killed by abortion worldwide. That's about one in five pregnancies.  (AGI “In Brief”, October 2007)

A study released in 2013 estimated there were 1.72 BILLION abortions worldwide in the previous forty years. That is an average of 117,800 per day for 40 years. (Dr. Brian Clowes, director of education and research at Human Life International Lifenews.com 04-01-13)

Jesus said, as recorded in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy." The Devil has been very successful in carrying out his agenda to exterminate human life.

Satan is also a liar and the father of lies. Deception proliferates in the abortion industry. In fact it would be accurate to say that deception characterizes the abortion industry.

Listen to these words of an abortion clinic counselor: "Although the test is positive, you shouldn't
consider yourself pregnant," she explained.  "It's really just cells dividing at this point. We can take care of the problem quickly and easily, and you'll never have to think about it again.” She made four statements. Each statement was a lie. Her words embody the mantra of the abortion industry.

Deception also involves withholding the truth. One study of post-abortive women revealed that, “Even though the majority felt rushed and uncertain, 67% received no counseling; 79% were not told about alternatives to abortion.”(VM Rue et. al.,  Medical Science Monitor)

Do you see the critical role the Pregnancy Helpline Center plays in your community as it communicates the truth about life in the womb and the dangers of abortion? We live in a culture of death in which deception on this subject is rampant.

Spiritual deception leads to moral schizophrenia, which has paralyzed the minds of millions of those at risk for abortion As Pastor Randy Alcorn has pointed out, “In America it is illegal to harm your pre-born child, but it is perfectly legal to kill him.” 

The Devil is “a murderer" and “a liar and father of lies.” These two attributes expose him as the Architect of Abortion.

The Biblical record reveals even more shocking truth regarding the spiritual backdrop of abortion. We trace the ancient origin of child killing back to Molech worship. Molech was a god of the Ammonites the descendants of Lot. Molech was a fertility god whose worship included child sacrifice. This is what God said, about Israel's participation in child sacrifice, "And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols…You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols.” (Ezekiel 16:20-21)

King Solomon built the first high place for the worship of Molech. Subsequent kings

continued the practice including King Ahaz and King Manasseh who sacrificed their own children as they led their nation in worship of this pagan god.

There is a parallel here with abortion. In Molech worship a child was sacrificed to gain the favor of the fertility god. In other words, the parents sacrificed something of value their child, to gain something at a given point in time they considered to be of greater value. Seeking Molech’s favor for a good harvest, victory in battle or financial well-being.

Similarly in abortion, the mother sacrifices the life of her child for something which at that time is of more value to her than the life of her child: her education, avoiding personal shame, financial reasons, lifestyle preferences, personal convenience, her career, birth control, and so forth.

Rusty Lee Thomas, "Though thousands of years have passed,...the pagan ritual... persists. These ancient rites continue through clinics established by organizations such as Planned Parenthood in the abortion industry. The setting has indeed changed, but the lying message and brutal practice remains the same. Can you hear its voice today? "You are too young." "You have to think about your schooling and career." "You cannot afford a baby." "It will leave stretch marks" ...Moloch and Baal still whisper, "Give your child to me and all will be well with you." (Field Manual for Abortion Ministry)

Do you see the spiritual deception? The Scriptures identify the demonic nature of this child sacrifice in Psalm 106:37,38, "They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood. "
Note three parallels with abortion today. When we abort our children we abort our family, our sons, our daughters, our grandchildren.
Secondly, notice, (verse 38). Abortion sheds innocent blood. Shedding innocent blood is the Biblical term for the unjustified taking of a human life. Leviticus 17:11 "For the life of a creature is in the blood...it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life"
This truth is central to the Biblical doctrines of both incarnation and atonement. Jesus' incarnation was the pre-requisite to His work of atonement. The writer to the Hebrews  understood this, writing, "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin." (9:22) And the Apostle Paul wrote, "In him [Christ} we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins..."  (Ephesians 1:7 NIV) No incarnation - no atonement. Theologically you cannot separate atonement, our salvation from the sanctity of human life because the life is in the blood.
John Ensor writes "Is there anything more valuable than human life and the redemption of human life? By virtue of our salvation, Christians have inherited from God a profound commitment to the sanctity of life and a devotion to make Christ known. Both come from holding blood (life) precious." (Innocent Blood, pg. 32) Those serving this community at the Pregnancy Helpline Center are giving witness to this truth.
Thirdly, "they sacrificed...to demons." (vs. 37) Roman Catholic theologian, Rev. Thomas Euteneuer writes, "The spiritual dimension of [abortion] is its systematizing of ritual blood sacrifice to the god of child murder, Moloch.…this demon appears in many forms and cultures through history (Phoenician, Carthaginian, Canaanite, Celt, Indian, Aztec ad others) but is always the same blood thirsty beast that demands the killing of children as his form of worship." He continues, "The modern abortion industry offers ritual blood sacrifice to the ancient abortion demon. It is in every way a demonic religion."
Pre-born children killed by abortion are the casualties of the war between Heaven and Hell.
Pastor Randy Alcorn has written, "As the devil loved the sacrifice of children in the ancient heathen cultures, so he loves the sacrifice of children in our modern culture. Whether children are sacrificed to a heathen god called Molech or to the god of our own convenience, he does not care." He continues, "…there are demonic forces behind child killing. Abortion is Satan's attempt to kill God in effigy by destroying the little ones created in God's image. We are not dealing here with 'one more social issue,' but a unique and focused evil in which Satan has deep vested interests…"
Eric Holmberg & Jay Rogers, in their work, Massacre of Innocence, summarize, "The spiritual heritage of the Moabites and the Ammonites is passed down to our own day through abortion. Today the church is fighting against those same spiritual forces for the very survival of our nation.”
Lest you think that abortion and the demonic is just ancient history, let me bring you up to date, modern feminism, witchcraft & abortion. In December of 1985, an article, entitled, "Feminist Spiritualism and Abortion" appeared in the feminist, Ms. Magazine, written, and I emphasize, by feminists about themselves.
"The feminist spirituality movement began to emerge in the mid-1970s [Roe v. Wade 1973] and has become one of the largest sub-movements within feminism.…to the women in feminist spirituality, witchcraft had even a more fundamental meaning. It is a woman's religion, vilified by patriarchal Christianity, and now, finally, reclaimed.”
Eric Holmberg & Jay Rogers comment on this article, "Much space was given to goddess worship or adulation of the various demons associated with child sacrifice (including Isis and Aphrodite).”
Let me give you just a sampling of the thinking of modern day feminists. Patricia Baird-Windle owned three abortion clinics, responsible for 65,000 abortions. In an interview after retirement she said, "Abortion is a major blessing and a sacrament in the hands of women..." (The 'Sacrament' of Abortion: An Interview With a Retired Abortionist.")
Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, - said the following in a sermon in 2007, “When a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to safe, affordable abortion - there is not a tragedy in sight - only blessing.”
Psychologist Dr. Ginnette Paris, in her book The Sacrament of Abortion, wrote, "It’s rare for a woman to choose abortion because in some way she dislikes the fetus. She sacrifices it for the sake of something she judges at this moment to be more important, whether it be her existing children…or her own physical, economic, or psychological survival or the fate of the planet."
You'll remember what I just shared when comparing abortion to child sacrifice? She continues, "When abortion is necessary, not only should there be no shame there should be a new consensus that to have a child who cannot adequately be cared for is shameful…It is not immoral to choose abortion; it is simply another kind of morality, a pagan one.”

Father Frank Pavone, commenting on her book writes, "The fact that some defend abortion as a sacred act should alert us to the depth of the spiritual warfare that is going on. Abortion has never been merely or even primarily a political issue. It is a false religion."  He writes of a former abortion clinic security guard who "...after being converted, admitted why he was angry at pro-life sidewalk counselors: 'You were coming to protest in front of our church. That clinic was where we conducted our worship.’”

Again, Eric Holmberg & Jay Rogers, “Witchcraft, as an organized religion, was revived in Europe and America beginning in the 1950s and 1960s. And finally, goddess worship has resurfaced in a new 20th century feminist spirituality. And its no coincidence that abortion today's form of child sacrifice came right along with it.” (Massacre of Innocence)

The irony, is that many proponents of abortion understand what much of the church has failed to understand; the spiritual nature of abortion. This truth has many implications as to our response to America's culture of death. Prayer must be the first work of ministry, prayer and fasting to end abortion. Spiritual warfare becomes the context in which we minister. When I served as the prayer coordinator for Fort Lauderdale's first 40 Days for Life I put together a brochure, Praying to End Abortion. It is a compilation of Scriptures that I used when praying in front of abortion clinics. Copies are available in the foyer.

Please never underestimate the part you can have in that regard in the spiritual warfare on behalf of Helpline's ministry.

We must be careful not to oversimplify the circumstances of many facing an unplanned pregnancy. Their needs often demand a practical and compassionate response by the church. This is another reason why the ministry of the Pregnancy Helpline Center is so critical.

Over 50% of women who choose abortion feel they have no choice, for many reasons: forced by their mother; persuaded by husband or boyfriend; loss of family support; (Frederica Mathewes-Green, Real Choices) The Pregnancy Helpline Center is a sanctuary
for many in such circumstances.

The post-abortive men and women desperately need our help. One study showed that, “65% report symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder they attribute to their abortions.” (VM Rue et, all)

The post abortive face many emotional problems such as, anxiety/panic, grief/loss, fear of losing your child, guilt, self-hatred, depression, anger/rage. And behaviors such as: drug & alcohol abuse, child abuse, promiscuity, over-protective parenting, eating disorders and inability to bond with children. For millions of post-abortive in America the root cause of these destructive emotional and behavioral problems could be an undisclosed and/or unresolved abortion(s) in their past. 

Pregnancy Helpline Center offers help to the post-abortive, collaborating with Tim and Kristi Hall and their Save One abortion recovery ministry for both men and women.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the remedy for the guilt, shame, hurt and the emotional and behavioral problems faced by the post-abortive.

Several years ago I was on Facebook one Sunday afternoon. A pro-life advocate was having an online discussion about abortion. A woman came into the discussion, telling us she had three abortions in her past. Listen to what she went on to post,

"The consequences to women who have had abortions (and men as well) cut deep into the soul…The post-abortive women sitting in church on a Sunday morning need to hear about forgiveness for ALL SIN through Jesus Christ...abortion is not the unforgivable sin so many think it is...women need to know there is healing and hope in Christ - that they may also forgive themselves.”

The host asked her about how she was dealing with the loss of her three children. This was the powerful testimony she shared, “…the fact of the matter is that I don’t grieve any more. Christ has delivered me from all of the pain through his healing power! I know that one day I'll stand in heaven finally meeting my three precious children: David, Rebekah, and Grace Hope!...when they've asked the Father why they couldn't be with me on earth or why they never knew me here, He’ll look at them with love and say, “I don't remember.”

Abortion is a gospel issue? There is only one remedy for the shedding of innocent blood, the innocent blood shed on the cross. Jesus died in our place, and He paid the penalty for our sins, your sin and my sin, any and all sin, the sin of abortion, the sin of pushing a girlfriend, wife or daughter or granddaughter into an abortion, the sin of paying for an abortion, the sin of performing an abortion, the sin of doing nothing to end abortion. It matters not what sin it is. We can be forgiven and justified, declared righteous in God's sight our sin no longer being held against us "through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."

This is the conclusion I have been sharing with the church for over eight years now. The body of Christ, the church, is the only organism (institution) spiritually equipped to engage the Satanic forces behind abortion. Therefore the Church must take the lead in the efforts to end abortion. 

On January 20, 2011, Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America issued the following statement in a press release.

"...the time is now, for the Church to rise up and not wait for political parties, or the president, or Congress, or the Supreme Court to take care of the issue. It is our responsibility. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ. Abortion will come to an end, when the Church of Jesus Christ makes up her mind it will come to an end – not a second sooner. The responsibility for ending abortion in America rests squarely upon the shoulders of the Church of Jesus Christ.” He is right!

Let me encourage you. Christ has already won the victory! “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” (Colossians 2:9-10)

Paul goes on to say, verse 15, “...having disarmed the powers and authorities, he [God] made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. How do we respond to 42 years of legalized abortion?

Unashamedly proclaim the gospel of life; and respond with compassionate and practical help to the abortion minded and vulnerable, like the Pregnancy Helpline Center is dong in this community every day that it is open, and some days that it is not open.

Tonight you can partner with this ministry in rescuing unborn children from the sentence of abortion. It's a sentence of abortion.

The writer of Proverbs, listen to what he says. It's like he wrote this for today. He said, "Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death;" Does that fit? "Don't stand back and let them die. Don't try to avoid responsibility by saying you didn't know about it." (24:10-12) Well you do tonight, if you didn't before walking through the doors.

Remember the question that I posed earlier from Rusty Lee Thomas, "What does Christianity look like in a nation that murders its own children?" "Has the church failed to be prolife or have we failed to be Christian when it comes to rescuing our neighbors scheduled to be dismembered?"

 You can help answer that questions tonight. That's what you're here for, with a generous gift and a pledge to help Helpline Center in their ministry.

John Ensor wrote the following in his book Innocent Blood, "The commands of Scripture exist that we might be compelled to do what does not come naturally." Ever found that true in your life? Boy, I do almost every day.

In Luke chapter ten Jesus helped a lawyer understand what it meant to love his neighbor. He was evidently hung up on exactly what that looked like. So he asked Jesus, "Who his my neighbor?"

So Jesus told the story of a man on his way to Jericho from Jerusalem who was robbed and beaten and left half dead alongside the road. Three different individuals had the opportunity to come to his rescue, in all likelihood to save his life.

Two of the three did not respond to the needs of the man bleeding by the side of the road. The two that did not respond to the man in distress were the church leaders of that day, a priest and a Levite, responsible for the spiritual care of their nation. And Jesus points out that not only did they fail to respond but they "passed by on the other side." In other words they purposefully distanced themselves from the needs of the dying man.

Jesus then pointed out that the one who proved to be the neighbor to the dying man  was the one who showed mercy to the badly beaten traveller. He then said, "Go and do likewise."

Friends, tonight we have the opportunity to "Go and do likewise." John Ensor, in his book Innocent Life, defines "Samaritan compassion" this way,

'Doing right in the sight of the Lord means acting to stop the shedding of innocent blood.  The only person in Jesus’ parable who is pro-life according to the demands of love is the Samaritan. Only he was willing to make the nearly dead man’s problem his own. Only he was willing to see the victim’s suffering as his own. Only he was willing to act according to what he would cry out for if their positions had been reversed."

There were 27,629 abortions reported in state of Michigan in 2014, over 1,100 of them in Saint Joseph and the counties contiguous to your county, the ones surrounding your county. Elevenhundred They were your neighbors.

Tonight, through your support of the Pregnancy Helpline Center you have an opportunity to respond in a very practical and compassionate way to help stop the violent death of unborn children in your community, and to reach out to abortion  minded and vulnerable men and women. Children will die unless someone intervenes on their behalf. In other words, you have an opportunity to "go and do likewise!"

According to Jesus' parable, our salvation has a moral imperative built into it with regards to the needs of those around us, our neighbors. The Pregnancy Helpline Center is where the truth about abortion and the truth about the gospel of Jesus Christ are confronting the lies of hell itself.  

It is where the Church, the Body of Christ, is intervening in the lives of men and women often at a very critical time in their lives, when they need love, compassion and the gospel of life; at a time when, literally, life and death decisions are being made regarding their unborn children. Again, John Ensor, "Loving my neighbor will occasionally arrest me, and maybe even require me to help prevent someone from being murdered." You can help tonight.

The Ask (transcribed):

The cards that are on your table, they 're in a manila envelope. Will you take them out, please. Table host see that each one gets one. Here's what I want you to do. I'm going to walk you through this real quickly. It will just take just a few minutes.

But on the flap of the card, on the back side, there is a place for your name, your address, your phone number. Would you please just take a moment right now to fill that out; your name, your address and your phone number.  And if you have an email address, wouldn't you welcome an email address, Ms. Executive Director? Would you welcome them putting their email address down. Yes. That would be an awesome way to communicate with you. So name, address, quickly, if you'll just write that down, your phone number and email address. I've already filled mine out.

I want you to know that God wants to use you tonight. When you turn that flap up and look inside, the inside of that flap, I want you to notice the first section. It says, "Enclosed is my gift in the amount of," and you can fill the blank in.

Here's what I want to challenge you, three things tonight, to do, once you've filled in your name and address. I want you to consider giving a onetime gift tonight. You can make the check out to Pregnancy Helpline Center, or if you are not prepared to give a onetime gift tonight with a check, you can go home and go online to pregnancyhelpline.org and you can donate online with your credit card. But I hope that even in this moment as I'm speaking you ask God, "God would you have me to share a one time gift?"

Remember Dawn shared the vision of the theater, six months worth, six months worth of advertisements preceding every film that will be shown in those six theaters here locally.  It's going to cost $4,200. Okay, $700 a month times six. I believe there are people in this audience that could write a check out for $4,200 tonight.

I encourage you to prayerfully ask, "God what do you want me to do?" You know in 2 Corinthians eight Paul was collecting an offering. Do you remember that passage? And he, he appealed to the church at Corinth to participate in that offering. And his whole comments are in the context of God's grace. In fact he used the Macedonians as an example to the Corinthian church. He said look at them, they were poor and suffering terribly. But you know what he says...they begged to give an offering for Paul to take to Jerusalem. And then he says they gave generously and they gave joyfully beyond their means. And then Paul says, and I'm sharing this challenge with you tonight, what Paul said to them. He said, I appeal to you that you excel in this gracious act of giving. So will you consider giving a onetime gift tonight?  

Secondly, if you look at the next section there it says, "I want to pledge my support in the amount of:" and again you can fill in the amount. Let me share this challenge with you. Everyone in this room lives in a home where you have monthly bills, right? Some of you pay a mortgage. Some of you pay rent. Comes due every month. Property taxes, electric bills, water bills, telephone, heating oil, the list goes on, every month. You write the check out or go onto you bank account online like I do most of mine and hit bill pay and you pay all these bills every month. Well guess what? Helpline Center does the same thing. Every month they've got a heating bill to pay. They've got waste management to pay. They have a staff salary to pay. You know where I'm going with this. Insurance; a bigger insurance liability policy now because of the ultrasound machine; I don't now if Dawn mentioned that or not but that's the reality. So they have monthly needs. And the greatest blessing you can be to this center is to be monthly sending them some money, because then they have an even cash flow and are not operating in crisis mode from month to month because the money's there; because you have been faithful in loving your neighbors here in this community.

And again Paul addresses this in 2 Corinthians 9, where he said, "I don't want you to give reluctantly, I don't you to give because of pressure," but he says, "I want you to give a gift." And what he says is appropriate to making a pledge. He says, "And God will generously provide all you need. You know that when you make a pledge to this ministry, you don't have to pledge based on what you have, you have to pledge based on what you know God has. And God will give through you. Trust me, if in obedient faith tonight you make a pledge.

And I did a little calculation. I was told there'd be, well I was here yesterday as they were setting up and I counted 304 seats. Let's just say for sake of illustration we divide that in half saying that there’re many married couples here. Let's say there are 150 giving units here tonight. I'd like to think that everybody here could participate in some way. And if 150 units gave $20 a month, that's $3,000 a month $36,000 a year.

Now some of you can give more than that. You give fifty a month.  Wouldn't even miss it. Wouldn't need to make a faith pledge. You got it. Some of you can't. In faith maybe you could. I've made many pledges not knowing where the money would be and I haven’t defaulted on one yet because God always sent the money in over the twelve months. He'll do that for you. Giving is a grace if you're a believer. And God wants to bless you and He wants to bless this ministry.

He goes on to say, "And God will generously provide all you need." Now listen, "then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others." I'm just reading the Scriptures to you.

The third thing I want you to do is go back to where you filled out your name. Our director spoke tonight of the need for volunteers. Volunteers are the indispensible component of every pregnancy resource center I've ever been associated with or known of, critical. And she gave you the invitation. I just want you to do this. If you are interested or think you might be interested in volunteering, will you write word "volunteer" underneath where you put your name and address. Just write the word volunteer and then put a check mark by it and that way Dawn can be in contact with
you at the appropriate time to begin a dialogue with you as to how God might want to use you in the ministry.

Again, thank you for being here. I hope you've been encouraged. God is on the throne.
He's won the victory. He wants to win this battle. It's a gospel issue. It's a church issue.
So let's rise up. Let's serve God. Let's bless this ministry tonight. After you've finished your check writing, whatever you're doing, would you put them back, hosts, those hosts in your table, see that they get back into that envelope so that whoever is responsible for picking them up can pick them up. Thank you very much for your attention.



© James P McGarvey All Rights Reserved                                                   

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Preborn ~ The Scientific, Philosophical & Metaphysical Case for Life


(I gave this presentation at a Students For Life meeting, mostly medical students, at Nova Southeastern University in Davie Florida on March 18, 2015. You may view the PowerPoint slides on Microsoft OneDrive here, including a slides of embryo and fetal development.)

On January 22, 1973, two U. S. Supreme Court decisions, Roe v. Wade and Doe v.  Bolton, legalized the deliberate, premeditated killing of preborn children at anytime during all nine months of pregnancy right up to the very moment of natural child birth for virtually any reason. 

The Court ruled that the preborn are not persons and therefore lie outside the protection of the U.S. Constitution. In other words, the words of the Declaration of Independence, “...that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

These words of our Constitution do not apply to preborn children, therefore the preborn are the property of the mother, the Court having given her the legal “right” to keep or kill her unborn child.

This ruling parallels the 1857 Dred Scott decision of the Supreme Court that ruled Dred Scott, a freed African American slave, was not a person for one reason, his skin color was black. This gave the slave owner the right to keep, sell or in some instances kill the slave. The slave was the property of his owner without the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Justice Harry Blackmun, the author of the prevailing opinion of Roe v. Wade recognized the significance of the personhood of the preborn in the courts decision, writing, “The appellee…argue that the fetus is a ‘person’ within the language and meaning of the fourteenth Amendment…If this suggestion of personhood is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the Amendment.”

You see, If the Court were to acknowledge the personhood of the unborn they would have reason to overturn Roe v. Wade. In other words, forty-two years after Roe v. Wade "Is the unborn a human being?" remains the critical question in the abortion debate.

As Prolife apologist Scott Klusendorf writes in his book the Case for Life,
"Is the unborn a member of the human family?...If so, killing him or her to benefit others is a serious moral wrong. It treats the distinct human being, with his or her own inherent moral worth, as nothing more than a disposable instrument. Conversely, if the unborn are not human, elective abortion requires no more justification than having a tooth pulled." (Case for Life, page 27)

In other words, from both a legal and moral perspective, if the unborn are human beings the central issue in the abortion debate is not a matter of  "women’s rights,”a woman's "right to choose," but the human rights, the civil rights of the unborn.

If the unborn are human beings, you cannot extend to a mother the right to kill her unborn child, without denying her child the most basic civil right, the right to life.

Therefore we consider the preborn - the scientific, philosophical and metaphysical case for life. We begin with the scientific case for life.

Scientific evidence indicates that human life begins at conception. Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud, write the following in their book The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology,

"A zygote is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm...unites with a female gamete or oocyte...to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual." (1998, page 2)

Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth, M.D. Harvard University Medical School writes, “…It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception…"

Jerome LeJeune, M.D. Professor of genetics University of Descartes writes, “…after fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being.” Clearly,  "human life begins at conception: a fact, not a theory."
Douglas Erlandson has written, “When the fertilized egg (or zygote) is first formed, it already possesses its full complement of DNA or genetic information.” He continues, 

"That information never changes. A person’s sex, blood type, hair and skin color, and future height are all determined in that first cell.  From that moment on, unless its life is terminated, it will develop until it becomes an adult human being.” He adds, “It will never become a cat, dog, gorilla, or anything other than a member of the species homo sapiens. From the moment of conception, it is every bit as much a human being as you or I. Nothing radically changes at birth. Birth is simply a change of address one stage on a continuum of life stages.” David McDonald, further explains the science,

"Every human cell has 46 chromosomes (Chr) except the sperm and the egg which have 23 each. At conception they become a unique human with 46 Chr."

Again, Scott Klusendorf, "...the embryo...is different in kind from any cell of its parents....From the start this new entity not only directs its own internal development, it has something completely different from both parents--its own unique chromosomal structure. Later it will bear other distinctions such as a different blood type and different internal organs." (the Case for Life page 37)

In other words there are at least two bodies in every pregnancy: two heads, two set of hands, two set of legs, two beating hearts, two distinctly different DNA, and half the time the presence of male genitalia.

In fetal development we see both the humanity of life in the womb and the biological evidence that the embryo is an entity distinct and separate from its mother. Listen to a description I have compiled, of the development of the unborn in the womb.

At 17 days, the new life has developed its own blood cells; the placenta is a part of the new life and not of the mother. At eighteen days, there is the occasional pulsation of a muscle. This will be he heart. At nineteen days, the eyes start to develop. At twenty days, or almost three weeks the foundation of the entire nervous system has been laid down.

In Lennart Nilsson’s famous Life magazine photo essay, "Drama of Life Before Birth,” April 30, 1965, he writes of the unborn at three and a half weeks,

“This embryo is so tiny - about a tenth of an inch long that the mother may not even know she is pregnant. Yet there is already impressive internal development, though not visible here. This embryo has the beginnings of eyes, spinal cord, nervous system, thyroid gland, lungs, stomach, kidney and intestines. Its primitive heart, which began beating haltingly on the 18th day, is now pumping more confidently. On the bulge of the
chest, the tiny buds of arms-not yet visible are forming.” At twenty eight days forty pairs of muscles are developing along the trunk of the new life; arms and legs forming. At thirty days, regular blood flows within the vascular system; the ears and nasal development have begun.

By the forty to forty third day the brain registers waves on an electro encephalogram and the heart energy output is reported to be almost 20% of an adult. By the forty second day the skeleton is complete and reflexes are present and movement of the baby in the womb may begin. By the eighth week or fifty sixth day you have a perfectly formed baby with hands, fingers, including distinctive fingerprints feet and toes. All vital organs are present and functioning. The baby responds to touch.

By the ninth week the baby is the size of your thumb and will respond to pain, can grasp an object and make a fist. In the eleventh week (about 3 1/2 months) all bodily systems work. The baby swallows, tastes, sleeps, wakes, responds to light and darkness, warmth and cold.

In the eleventh and twelfth weeks, the arms and legs move, the baby sucks its thumb, inhales and exhales amniotic fluid and nails begin to appear. By four months, or sixteen weeks, the fetus is five and a half inches long. The genital organs are clearly differentiated. The baby swims, kicks and turns somersaults. The baby cries, hears voices, has rapid eye movement, eyebrows and eyelashes.

This is Baby Walter Joshua Fretz, born premature at nineteen weeks surviving for only moments. At five months the baby can learn and remember, is well coordinated and kicks are being felt by the mother. A photo of a six month old preborn child.  This slide helps us visualize the implications of science and embryology,

"It is wrong to kill this person, [the preborn] for the same reason it is wrong to kill this person." [the newborn] (see PP slide)

Secondly, note the philosophical case for life. On The Case for Life.com, this question is posed: "Do all human beings have an equal right to life or do humans come to be at one point, but only become valuable later in virtue of some acquired characteristic?"              

This is the philosophical and moral dilemma faced by those who, despite the evidence for the personhood of the unborn insist that they are disposable .Scott Klusendorf, in his book, Stand for Life, co-authored with John Ensor writes,

"As philosophy professor Stephen Schwartz points out, there is no morally significant difference between the embryo you once were and the adult that you are today that would justify killing you at the early stage of development." He continues,
"Differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not relevant such that we can say that you had no rights as an embryo but you do have rights today."(Stand For Life, page 9)

Philosopher Stephen Schwartz uses the acronym SLED to help us remember these nonessential differences. Please note the four nonessential differences between the preborn and human life outside the womb.

Size: While it is true that an embryo or fetus is smaller than an adult size does not determine their value. They are not of lesser value because they are smaller in size. Most men are larger than women. Are they more human because they are bigger in size? Larger men do not have more rights than smaller women. Size does not determine one's value.

Level of development: There is no question that a fetus is less developed than a twenty one year old, just as a toddler is less developed than a teenager. But the value we place on a human being is not determined by their level of development.

Environment: Does where you are, determine who you are? Does your value change when you get out of bed or walk outdoors? Does the value of the preborn change because it moves six inches down the birth canal? Can we kill the preborn but not the newborn simply because of a six inch change in their location?

Degree of dependency: Viability does not determine value. Diabetics depend on insulin and those with kidney failure on dialysis. Are they therefore less valuable? A two year old is more dependent on parental care than an eighteen year old. Does that determine their value? Can we kill the unborn because of their heightened degree of dependency while in the womb of their mother?

Again, "...there is no morally significant difference between the embryo you once were and the adult that you are today that would justify killing you at the early stage of development." (Scott Klusendorf)
                                                                                                          
This brings us to, the metaphysical and the case for life. The following words were posted on the progressive online magazine solon.com by Mary Elizabeth Williams in January 2013. The title of the article was, "So What if abortion Ends a Life" The subtitle: "I believe that life starts at conception. And it's never stopped me from being pro-choice." She writes,

"While opponents of abortion eagerly describe themselves as 'pro-life,' the rest of us have had to scramble around with not nearly as big-ticket words like 'choice' and reproductive freedom.' The 'life' conversation is often too thorny to even broach. Yet I know that throughout my own pregnancies, I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that’s what a fetus is: a human life. And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice." She goes on to explain,

"Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always."

An astounding admission. She continues, "I can say anecdotally that I’m a mom who loved the lives she incubated...If by some random fluke I learned today I was pregnant, you bet your [expletive] I’d have an abortion. I’d have the World’s Greatest Abortion."

Ms. Williams acknowledged that "a fetus is: a human life" but goes on to declare, "Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides." Because the mother is "the boss. "While she acknowledges the scientific case for life of the preborn, acknowledging they are human beings, she denies their right to live  for a metaphysical reason. Metaphysics literally means "beyond the physical" In other words, it explores the nature of reality. Merriam Webster, "the part of philosophy that is concerned with basic causes and nature of things."

Scott Klusendorf writes, "...although the pro-life view is implicitly religious, it is no more religious than alternative explanations about human value and human rights. Everyone is asking the same exact question: what makes humans valuable in the first place?" He continues, "Science can't answer that question because science deals only with things we can measure empirically through the senses. If you want an answer, you'll have to do metaphysics." (The Case for Life, page 57)

Ms. Williams has answered that question. She defends the right of a mother to take the life of another human being, her own child, for a metaphysical reason, because all human beings in the world in which she lives, do not have the same rights. In the case of a mother, she's the boss, with the power and ability to end the life of the baby for her own personal reasons. It sounds like the survival of the fittest, doesn't it?

Let me see if I can explain how Ms. Williams could come to that conclusion and then give you an alternative metaphysical paradigm for determining the value to human life. 

The Apostle Paul in Romans one points out that there are essentially only two worldviews that govern our metaphysical decisions. Verse twenty five, "they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen."

You can either acknowledge God the Creator and worship Him or you can deny the Creator and worship the creature, the latter being the premise of humanism which inevitably leads to moral relativism. Dr. Francis Schaeffer over thirty years ago in his book, A Christian Manifesto wrote,

"The term humanism...means Man beginning from himself, with no knowledge except what he himself can discover and no standard outside of himself. In this view Man is the measure of all things, as the Enlightenment expressed it." (page 24)

When you deny God the Creator, when you repudiate any notion of transcendent truth, there is only one inevitable alternative, man becomes the center of his own universe. He puts himself in charge, and is therefore accountable to no one but himself! It is the self-deification of man. This is the premise of Darwinian evolution.

And here is the devastating result. Again Dr. Schaeffer, "Those who hold the material-energy, chance concept of reality...not only do not know the truth of the final reality, God, they do not know who Man is...They have reduced Man to even less than his natural finiteness by seeing him only as a complex arrangement of molecules, made complex by blind chance. Instead of seeing him as something great who is significant even in his sinning, they see Man in his essence only as an intrinsically competitive animal, that has no other basic operating principle than natural selection brought about by the strongest, the fittest, ending on top. And they see Man as acting in this way both individually and collectively as society."  (CM pages 25-26)

Therein lies the explanation for Ms. Williams defense of abortion. But as the Apostle Paul wrote, there is an alternative worldview: the acknowledgment and worship of the Creator. We look to transcendent truth to answer the question "what makes humans valuable in the first place?" We begin at the beginning.

Notice first of all man was created By God. God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..." (Genesis 1:26a ESV) "...then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature." (Genesis 2:7 ESV) 

The Biblical record indicates that man was not the product of a meaningless, random  evolutionary process over billions of years,  rising to he top of the evolutionary chain having succeeded in the survival of the fittest.

Man was not the result of a cosmic accident, not the product of random chance. How is this relevant to the abortion debate? As already noted, the Founding Fathers recognized that man was endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including the right to life. Endowed by their Creator, not the federal government, not the Supreme Court not the state of Florida but their Crestor! You see, the Founding Fathers understood Genesis one. They looked to creation to answer the metaphysical question "What makes humans valuable?"

Secondly notice that, man was created in God’s image and likeness. The inherent value of human life shouts from this transcendent truth. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them." (Genesis 1:27 ESV) Pediatrician, Dr. John Rendle-Short in his book, Godlike Qualities Man Shares with God, identifies some of the Godlike qualities man shares with God.

Language - Humans can communicate. My dog Maggie can bark, whine, and growl, but I have never heard her utter a single word, no less speak a sentence. 

Intelligence – man can think. Not only can he think as a rational being, he can think in the abstract. He can compute complex mathematical, chemical and engineering problems and formulas.

Creativity – he can create sophisticated products. Think of the technology of our modern scientific, medical, engineering and construction industries, just to name a few. He can send a man to the moon and back, and communicate instantly around the world from i-phones and the internet.

Love - relationships, fellowship, community. Man is a social creature with the ability to love and be loved, to care for and nurture its young, and live in enduring committed relationships like marriage and family.

Holiness – man has a moral conscience, the ability to tell right from wrong.

Immortality - he is eternal. Unlike the rest of the animal world, he will live forever.

Freedom – he can make choices. This is “because he is human, made in the image of God.” (Man: The image of God, John Rendle-Short, M.D.)

What a huge statement this makes about man’s capacity to relate to God. You see,
the fact that God created man in His image and likeness speaks of God’s intention and purpose in creating a unique creature having the capacity to live in relationship with His Creator. Here is where creation and the gospel intersect. As Marcus Dods wrote years ago,

“Man is dear to God because he is like Him...-Man, alone among God’s works, can enter into and approve of God’s purpose in the world and can intelligently  fulfill it....Man is incommensurable with the rest of the universe. He is of a different kind and by his moral nature is more akin to God than to his works.”

Adam and Eve walked in fellowship with God in the Garden because they wee made in His image and likeness. In other words, they had the capacity to know God. Sin broke that relationship, but God in His love for man went to extraordinary lengths to redeem sinful man through the incarnation. God became a human being in the person of Jesus Christ so He could die a substitutionary death on the cross paying the penalty of man's sin, thereby offering him forgiveness and eternal life by faith in His Son Jesus Christ. That act of love is in itself one of the greatest statements as to the intrinsic value God places on human life. 

Thirdly, the personhood of the unborn.  We see personhood in God’s relationship to the unborn. It was written of John the Baptist: “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.”  Luke 1:15 (ESV)

The prophet Isaiah’s testimony. “Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name.”  Isaiah 49:1b

The Apostle Paul, “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace.”  Galatians 1:15  (ESV)

God said of the he prophet Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5  (ESV)

Listen to this incredible incident. These words were spoken by Elizabeth who was six months pregnant with John the Baptist when her cousin Mary, just days pregnant with Jesus Christ, came to visit her. Luke 1:41-42,

"When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears,the baby in my womb leaped for joy.’

Do you realize what took place here? The text says that John the Baptist six months old, leaped for joy in his mother's womb when he came into the presence of Jesus Christ, God incarnate who was but days old in the womb of his mother Mary.

This is the first recorded worship of the Messiah, and it took place in the womb. The Psalmist wrote, "For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother's womb...“Your eyes say my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (139:13,16 NIV)  Do you see the personhood of the unborn in these historical narratives?

Pastor John Piper, “Psalm 139 emphasize(s) God as the primary workman - nurturer, fashioner, knitter, Creator --in this time of gestation. Why is this important? It’s important because God is the only One who can create personhood. Mothers and fathers can contribute some impersonal egg and some impersonal sperm, but only God creates independent personhood.” (Brothers We Are Not Professionals, p. 219-220)  

What is God’s View of human life in the womb? Douglas Erlandson has written,

“God deals with the lives [of man] from conception to adulthood. The Bible does not appear to recognize a special change in God’s dealings with man at birth. God values each of the above men while he is still in the womb – knows him, chooses him, shapes him.” (Abortion: Answering the Arguments)

The Bible gives an answer to the metaphysical question that everyone is asking, "What makes human beings valuable in the first place? The unborn are created by God and for God. They are created in His image and likeness and are recognized by God as distinct and unique persons from the moment of conception. So valuable to Him that He sent His Son to die on the cross so they could be reconciled to their Creator.

What is propelling the worldwide abortion crisis? The Biblical evidence would indicate  that abortion is a Satanic enterprise. The stage was set thousands of years ago as recorded in Genesis 3:15 (NIV).  After Satan deceived Adam and Eve and man was plunged into sin. God said to Satan, "...I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." And with that, the epoch struggle between good and evil began. And Satan has been involved in an unrelenting attempt to kill the offspring of Eve ever since.

Jesus, Himself, said as much. John chapter 8 records an encounter between Jesus and the religious leaders. In that exchange Jesus said this about the devil, "The devil…was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of all lies." John 8:44  (NIV) With those words Jesus identified two roles of Satan: a murderer from the beginning and a liar and the father of lies.

The devil is 'a murderer.' It is estimated that between 40 and 50 million babies are killed by abortion worldwide each year. About one in five pregnancies end in abortion worldwide. (Alan Guttmacher Institute, “In Brief”, October 2007)

It is estimated there have been 1.72 BILLION abortions worldwide in the first 40 years after 1973. That is an average of 117,800 abortions per day for 40 years. (Dr. Brian Clowes, director of education and research at Human Life International Lifenews.com 04-01-13)

In America, almost 58 million preborn children have been aborted in the last 42 years. Over 72,000 Florida in 2014

In John 10:10, Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. The Devil has been very successful in carrying out his agenda.

Satan is a liar and the father of all lies. Deception proliferates in the abortion industry. Deception characterizes the abortion industry. Deception involves lies. The words of an abortion counselor: 

"Although the test is positive, you shouldn't consider yourself pregnant," she explained. "It's really just cells dividing at this point. We can take care of the problem quickly and easily, and you'll never have to think about it again.”

She made four statements. Every statement was of was a lie. Deception involves withholding the truth. This study showed that, “Even though the majority felt rushed and uncertain, 67% received no counseling; 79% were not told about alternatives to abortion.” ( VM Rue et. al.,  Medical Science Monitor)

You see, deception Leads to Moral Schizophrenia. Randy Alcorn, “In America it is illegal to harm your pre-born child, but it is perfectly legal to kill him.”

The Devil is “a murderer...a liar and father of all lies.” These two “attributes” expose him as the Architect of Abortion.

The ancient worship of the fertility god Molech involved child sacrifice. God said, “And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols… You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols.”

Randy Alcorn writes, “As the devil loved the sacrifice of children in the ancient heathen cultures, so he loves the sacrifice of children in our modern culture. Whether children are sacrificed to a heathen god called Molech or to the god of our own convenience, he does not care.”

“Whether these children are born or unborn does not matter  to God’s enemies, for each of them is equally created in the image of God, and by killing them Satan comes as close as he can to striking out at God Himself. In killing those created in God’s image, Satan kills God in effigy.”

In Luke chapter ten Jesus helped a lawyer understand what it meant to love his neighbor. He was evidently hung up on exactly what that looked like so he asked Jesus, "Who his my neighbor?" Jesus then tells him the story of a man on his way to Jericho from Jerusalem who was robbed and beaten and left half dead alongside the road.

Three different individuals had the opportunity to come to his rescue, in all likelihood to save his life. Two of the three did not respond to the needs of the man bleeding by the side of the road. Those two were the church leaders of that day a priest and a Levite, responsible for the spiritual care of their nation.

And Jesus points out that not only did they fail to respond but, they "passed by on the other side." In other words they distanced themselves from the needs of the man dying by the side of the road.

Jesus then pointed out that the one who proved to be the neighbor to the dying man was the one who showed mercy to the badly beaten traveller. He then said, "Go and do likewise."

John Ensor, in his book Innocent Life, defines "Samaritan compassion " this way,

"Doing right in the sight of the Lord means acting to stop the shedding of innocent blood. The only person in Jesus’ parable who is pro-life according to the demands of love is the Samaritan. Only he was willing to make the nearly dead man’s problem his own. Only he was willing to see the victim’s suffering as his own. Only he was willing to act according to what he would cry out for if their positions had been reversed."

May I suggest to you that according to Jesus' parable, our salvation has a moral imperative built into it with regards to the needs of those around us, our neighbors.

Last year (2014) in Broward County 12,359 unborn children lost their lives to abortion. That's an average of 35 children every day. They were your neighbors.

Children will die unless someone intervenes on their behalf. In other words, we have an opportunity to "go and do likewise!"

Again, John Ensor, "Loving my neighbor will occasionally arrest me, and maybe even require me to help prevent someone from being murdered." The writer of Proverbs said something very similar. "Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; Don’t stand back and let them die. Don’t try to avoid responsibility by saying you didn’t know about it."


© James P McGarvey All Rights Reserved