Tuesday, April 17, 2012
America's Abortion Crisis
(The following is an edited version of the message I gave at the January 21, 2011 Rally for Life outside of the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale Florida. The event was sponsored by Broward County Right to Life Foundation. I serve on their Board of Directors.)
In Psalm 106 we read the Psalmist’s account of Israel’s involvement with child sacrifice. ”They did not destroy the peoples as the Lord had commanded them, but they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. 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. They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves.” (Psalm 106:34-39 NIV)
There is a distinct parallel between Molech worship and abortion. First of all, abortion is the “sacrifice” of the unborn. “They sacrificed their sons and their daughters.” Secondly, the unborn are our sons and daughters – our family. Thirdly, abortion sheds innocent blood. Fourthly, the innocent blood of the aborted is sacrificed to demons. And, lastly, the blood of the aborted desecrates the land.
Jeremiah records God’s response to the shedding of innocent blood, “…they have filled this place with the blood of innocent children. They have built pagan shrines to Baal, and there they burn their sons as sacrifices to Baal. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! (Jeremiah 19:4-5 NLT).
Michael Spielman, founder of abort73.com says, “This is a stunning statement to come from the mouth of a sovereign and all-knowing God!” Then he makes this statement, followed by a question, “The domestication of abortion has made it tragically commonplace, so much so that we seem to have lost our ability to be outraged by it. How is it that even we who oppose abortion are not more overwhelmed by the fact that it is legal, in the United States of America, to tear apart the tiny bodies of helpless unborn children?”
That is a question the church must answer. In 2009 almost 13,000 babies were killed by abortion in Broward County – about 82,000 statewide. God wasn’t caught by surprise by the sin of His people. Rather these words reflect His horror and dismay in response to the shedding of innocent blood.
How should we respond to America’s abortion crisis? I believe that Satan is the Architect of abortion (John 8:44); that abortion is a Satanic enterprise. Therefore, I believe the church is the only institution (or organism) that is spiritually equipped to engage the satanic forces behind abortion. Therefore, the church must take the lead in the efforts to end abortion.
Flip Benham, Director Operation Save America, in a statement released yesterday, said, “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.” Rev. Benham is right. The question is – what will it take for the church to fulfill its role in ending abortion? Let make four suggestions.
First of all the church must repent of abortion in the church. Several years ago Pastor John Ensor of HeartBeat International, speaking to a group of pastors in Davie reminded us that if Christians would stop having abortions, abortion clinics would close. Why? Because, 43% women having abortions identify themselves as Protestant; 27% women as Roman Catholic (AGI, “In Brief” July, 2008); and one in six of women who have an abortion are evangelical Christians (A. Guttmacher Institute.) In other words, in America about 70% of the women aborting their children identify themselves as either Protestant or Catholic. How can this be?
Secondly, Christian pastors must repent for the silence of the pulpit. In Leviticus 20 Moses warned the people of Israel about following their pagan neighbors in sacrificing their children to the demon god Molech. But there was another warning as well. He warned them against looking the other way. When others in the community sacrificed their children, “If the people of the community close their eyes when that man gives one of his children to Molech and they fail to put him to death, I will set my face against that man and his family and will cut off from their people both him and all who follow in prostituting themselves to Molech.” (Leviticus 20:4-5 NIV)
Three things happen when pastors refuse to speak about abortion. First of all, women in the church continue to abort their children. Secondly, the post-abortive continue to live in unresolved shame and guilt. Thirdly, the church fails to fulfill the role that it alone can have in bringing abortion to an end, including providing practical and compassionate help to those at risk for abortion.
Why then the silence? Mississippi African Methodist Episcopal Pastor Joseph Parker has said, “Too many pastors and spiritual leaders have been silent or quiet about the…abortion issue too long due to fear or ignorance and some due to political ties and commitments.”
The American pulpit fears man more than God. I am afraid that many of America’s pastors remain silent because it might conflict with another agenda, their prominence, popularity, prestige, and power. They fear the man and woman in the pew. They fear the scorn, ridicule and criticism of the world. Some of them fear how it will affect their political allegiance or party loyalties.
Listen to these words from a pastor, “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the CONSCIENCE of the state. It must be the GUIDE and the CRITIC of the state, and never its TOOL. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.” Was he speaking of today’s church? Perhaps prophetically. It was written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (emphasis mine “Strength To Love”) published in 1963. He was assassinated five years later.
Another pastor wrote, “The church is guilty of the deaths of the weakest and most defenseless brothers of Jesus Christ. The church must confess that she has desired security and peace, quiet, possession, and honor to which she has no right. She has not born witness to the truth of God and by her silence, she has rendered herself guilty, because of her unwillingness to suffer for what she knows to be right.” I fear that those words describe the twenty-fist century American Church.
Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote those words from a prison cell in 1940 – five years later the Nazis hung him naked with a piano wire in a German concentration camp. Speaking the truth in love often comes at a price. Redemption has always come by way of sacrifice.
Thirdly, Christians must repent of their support of politicians, judges, officials and institutions that support and promote the killing of the unborn. In Psalm 94:20-21 (ESV), the Psalmist asks God this rhetorical question; “Can wicked rulers (throne of iniquity NKJV) be allied with you, those who frame injustice by statute? They band together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death.” Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton legalized wickedness! Christians cannot in good conscience support legislation, court rulings or politicians that support the killing of the unborn. How do you explain the fact that in the 2010 general election one in four Evangelicals and one of every two Roman Catholics voted for a radically pro-abortion presidential candidate? Could it be related to the silence of the pulpit?
Fourthly, pray for God’s mercy. Remember Psalm 106 that spoke of the sacrifice of children to Molech? Listen to what followed the verses I read at the outset of this message: “Therefore the Lord was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance. He handed them over to the nations, and their foes ruled over them. Their enemies oppressed them and subjected them to their power.” (Psalm 106:40-42 NIV)
It is foolish for us to believe that America will not face God’s judgment for the slaughter of the unborn. I believe that we are under His judgment as we speak. Only a small remnant of the church (like those here today) are responding appropriately to the abortion holocaust. The church has largely remained silent, immobilized by its own self- indulgence and fear of persecution and public opinion. By its neglect, the Church is leading this nation in turning its back on God’s truth and His warning of judgment.
In his book, Answering the Call, Pastor John Ensor writes, “Because God loves, and he gets angry. Because he cherishes innocent human life with a burning heart and commands all men everywhere to do the same, his revulsion at the murder of innocents knows no limit, nor does His wrath when it is finally unleashed….For God to warn us of His wrath is another sign of His love. For us to ignore it is a sign of how hardened we have become and how ripe we are to receive His wrath.”
Ultimately, the gospel of Jesus Christ it the solution to America’s abortion crisis. Innocent blood has polluted the land and profaned the name of the Lord. But there is a greater blood shed at Mount Calvary that can transform the heart of a mother so she will choose life for her child that can cleanse the guilty, forgive, heal and restore those involved in abortion. What America needs to hear is God’s truth about abortion wrapped in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
God always responds to repentance. Psalm 106 ends on a note of revival. As God’s people turned to the Lord, He heard their cry and verse 45 says, “…for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented.” (NIV)
Church we can win this battle! Christ has 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 NIV) “…having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians. 2:15 NIV) “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV)
Dr. Herb Lusk II, is the pastor of an African American church in an abortion clinic infested neighborhood in Philadelphia. His church opened a pregnancy resource center shortly before he spoke at CarNet’s annual conference in October 2008. He said, “If you don’t do anything about the horrors of abortion you’re not part of the solution, which means that you’re part of the problem…as long as a baby is in danger we’re in war. As long as the life of one infant is threatened, the war rages on.” May God help us and God bless America.