Thursday, June 4, 2015
(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