The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

John 10:10 ESV

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Are Unborn Children Our Neighbors?

(I gave this message on November 7, 2016 at the evening chapel service at South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary in Deerfield Beach FL. You can view the PowerPoint slides on Microsoft OneDrive HERE)

Dr. Prasad told me the theme of the chapel services in early November was, "Who Is My Neighbor?" This evening I want to narrow the focus of that question asking more specifically, "Are Unborn Children Our Neighbors?

Almost 44 years ago the U. S. Supreme Court in their Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions legalized "... abortion in all 50 states during all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason, medical, social, or otherwise.” (National Right to LIfe) In other words, in our nation, the State has sanctioned the right of a mother to take the life of her unborn child at any time during all nine months of pregnancy right up to moment of natural childbirth for virtually any reason.

I am aware that this subject may be difficult perhaps even painful for anyone whose life has been touched in some way by abortion. So I address this subject in the context of two very important Biblical truths, God's grace and God's truth. You see grace and truth are theologically inseparable. They are like the two sides of the same coin. You cannot have one without the other.

Why is this important for us? Pastor Randy Alcorn writes, "Grace without truth deceives people, Truth without grace, crushes people." Therefore this evening if your life has been touched by abortion in any way, while you cannot escape the truth about abortion nor some of its consequences please know that there is forgiveness, healing and restoration in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

"Are Unborn Children Our Neighbors?" In the Court's ruling we just noted, the Supreme Court declared that an unborn child is not a person and therefore lies 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, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit  of happiness.” These words do not apply to children in the womb!

Justice Harry Blackmun, author of the prevailing opinion in Roe v. Wade recognized the significance of the personhood of the unborn in the courts decision, writing, “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 [14th] Amendment.”

So today the question remains, "Is the unborn a human being? To answer that we begin with the Biblical creation account. Man was created by God in His image and likeness, Genesis 1:27  “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them.” Genesis 2:7 (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.”

It should be clear from the Biblical creation account, that man is not the product of a random, meaningless evolutionary process over millions of years. Man is not the result of a cosmic accident. God intentionally created man in His image and likeness. Dr. John Rendle-Short, M.D. in his book Man: The Image of God, points out the Godlike qualities man shares with God.

Language. Humans can communicate. My dog Maggie can bark, whine, and growl, but I have yet to hear her utter a single word, no less speak a sentence. Intelligence. Man can think. Not only is he a rational being, he can think in the abstract. He can compute complex mathematical, chemical and engineering formulas. Creativity. His intelligence allows him to create sophisticated products. He can send a man to the moon and back. Love - relationships, fellowship, community. Man is a social creature with the ability to love and be loved, to live in a lifetime committed relationships. 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. Man can make choices. All of this “because he is human, made in the image of God.”

Notice the personhood of the unborn in this biblical account. Elizabeth, six months pregnant with John the Baptist, spoke these words when Mary, just days pregnant with Jesus Christ came to visit her.  Luke 1:41-44,

"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! She continued, "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? The text says that John the Baptist, 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 record of worship of the Messiah. And it took place in the womb. I call it intra-uterine worship. Do you see the personhood of the unborn in this Biblical narrative?

The Biblical evidence is clear. The unborn are created by God and for God. They are created in His image and likeness. They are recognized by God as distinct and unique persons in the womb. Life begins at conception.

The scientific evidence leads us to the same conclusion. Douglas Erlandson writes,

"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.”

Professor, Dr. Micheline Matthews-Roth, M.D. of Harvard University Medical School, agrees writing, “…It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception…” I hope you see the relevance of this biblical and scientific  evidence in answering the question, Are Unborn Children Our Neighbors?

Who is driving force behind abortion? The Biblical evidence would indicate that abortion is a Satanic enterprise. John chapter eight 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 lies." John 8:44  (NIV)

Here Jesus identifies two roles of Satan: A murderer from the beginning and a liar and the father of lies. Has he been successful? It is estimated that between 40 and 50 million unborn babies are killed by abortion worldwide each year. About one in five pregnancies end in abortion worldwide each year. (AGI “In Brief”, October 2007)

A study In 2013 by Dr. Brian Clowes revealed that there have been 1.72 BILLION abortions worldwide in the forty years since 1973. That's an average of 117,800 per day for 40 years. Each year over 1 million unborn babies were killed in the USA, since 1973, over 58 million. Abortion is the most frequently performed elective surgery in America, almost 3,000 a day. 21% of all pregnancies, excluding miscarriages, are surgically aborted. "Almost one in three American women will have had an abortion by the time she reaches age 45.” (Guttmacher Institute, 2011) In Florida, 71,740 unborn babies lost their lives to abortion in 2015, 47,699 through Oct. 5, 2016. (Florida Agency for Health Care Administration)

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 lies. Deception proliferates in the abortion industry. In fact, deception characterizes the abortion industry. Notice, deception involves telling lies. These were 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. Each of the four statements was a lie. This is the mantra of the abortion industry.
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)
As Pastor Randy Alcorn has noted, “In America it is illegal to harm your pre-born child, but it is perfectly legal to kill him.” You see, deception Leads to Moral Schizophrenia.
The Devil is “a murderer” “a liar and father of lies.” These two “attributes” expose him as the Architect of Abortion.
The Scriptures identify the ancient origin of child killing. Molech was a fertility god whose worship included child sacrifice. Israel became involved in this form of idolatry. Ezekiel 16:20-21 records God's response, “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.”
King Solomon built the first high place for the worship of Molech. Subsequent kings continued the practice including King Ahaz and Manasseh who sacrificed their own children as they led their nation in the worship of the demon god Molech. Notice the parallels with abortion: In Molech worship a child was sacrificed to gain Molech's favor. For example, seeking Molech’s favor for a good harvest, victory in battle or financial well-being.
Likewise with abortion a mother sacrifices her child for something which at that time is of more value to her than the child: her education, avoiding personal shame, financial reasons, personal convenience, her career, and birth control.
Do you see the deception? Consistent with Jesus' words in John 8:44 and John!0:10 the Scriptures identify the demonic nature of this child sacrifice in Psalm 106. "They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. (emphasis mine) 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.
Notice the parallels between Molech worship and abortion:
1. Abortion is the “sacrifice” of the unborn. "They sacrificed their sons and their daughters”
2. The unborn are family, our sons and daughters. “They sacrificed their sons and their daughters”
3. Abortion sheds innocent blood. “They shed innocent blood”
4. The innocent blood of the aborted is sacrificed to demons. “They sacrificed…to demons.” 

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.”
Are unborn children our neighbors? Yes!
Then what is the biblical response to those whose lives are threatened by abortion? John Ensor wrote, "The demands of Scripture exist that we might be compelled to do what does not come naturally." (John Ensor, Innocent Blood)
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 you'll remember 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 deliberately 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 Blood, 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."
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 (2015) in Broward County 12,268 unborn children lost their lives to abortion. Tat's an average of almost 34 children every day. They were our 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, (Proverbs 24:10-12a)
"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."

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.”

I think he's right.
Unborn children are our neighbors.

© James P McGarvey All Rights Reserved

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Forming a Gospel-centered Response to Abortion

Forming a Gospel-Centered Response to Abortion

The challenge we face:
68,935 abortions in Florida in the year 2017*

"What does Christianity look like in a nation that murders its own children?"
~ Pastor Rusty Lee Thomas**

Sharing the truth of the sanctity of human life
76% of women indicate local churches had no influence on their decision to terminate their pregnancy***

     The spiritual battle behind abortion                                            
     Abortion the Devil & the Church-Exposing the Spiritual Forces Behind   
     Abortion - John 8:44; 10:10; Psalm 106:37-38**** Read or watch Here

  The Biblical case for life (creation, image of God, dominion, personhood)
    The Sanctity of the Unborn - Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 139:13-16**** Read Here
    Pro-Life Apologetics - defending life in a secular culture
    The Scientific, Philosophical & Metaphysical Case for Life**** Read Here
    The clash of two worldviews behind the abortion debate
    Responding to 41 Years of Legal Abortion - Romans 1:25**** Read Here
     (Updated version - "How Valuable are the Unborn to God" ***** Read Here
    Abortion and the doctrine of Blood Guilt
    How Should I Respond to the Shedding of Innocent Blood?
    Genesis 3:15; 4:8-10; 9:5-6; Deuteronomy 21:1-9**** Read/listen Here                                               

    A compassionate response to the plight of the unborn                                       
    Are Unborn Children Our Neighbors? ****Read Here                                                             
    Image of God 
    Created in the Image of God 
    Genesis 1:26-28; 2:7; Romans 1:18-25 **** Read/listen Here

Ministering forgiveness, healing and hope to the post-abortive
52% of churchgoers who have had an abortion have no one at church who knows they have had a pregnancy terminated***                                                                                                 

Nearly two-thirds of women having abortions say they are Christians (Focus on the Family 2015)

35% of Christian women who have had an abortion indicate they currently attend church once a week or more***

23% of Christian women who have had an abortion consider themselves to be an evangelical Christian*** (250,000 evangelical women abort their children each year)  

65% report symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder they attribute to their abortions.*****         

Post Abortive emotional problems
anxiety/panic; grief/Loss; fear of losing your child; guilt; self-hatred; depression; anger/rage 

Post Abortive Behavioral problems: 
drug/alcohol/child abuse; promiscuity; eating disorders; protective parenting; inability to bond with children 

Responding with practical Gospel centered compassion  
Luke 10 - "Love the Lord your God...and love your neighbor as yourself." The lawyer asked, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, the traveller left for dead. What is love? Jesus, it is "Samaritan compassion." "Go and do likewise." According to Jesus our salvation has a moral imperative built into it with regard to the needs of those around us, our neighbors - those vulnerable to choose abortion, the 72,000 unborn murdered by abortion each year, and the post-abortive. "Loving my neighbor will occasionally arrest me, and maybe even require me to help prevent someone from being murdered." ~ Pastor John Ensor (Innocent Blood)
Some of the churches where I have brought sanctity of human life messages:                        
Calvary Chapel Pompano Beach, FL - Ken Kerrigan
Calvary Chapel Deerfield Beach, FL - Rian Gittman
Calvary Chapel Coral Springs, FL - (formerly Gus Flores)
Calvary Fellowship Freewill Baptist Church, Hollywood FL
Cathedral Church of God (COG Cleveland TN), Deerfield Beach, FL - (formerly Eddie Solomon)
Community Alliance of S. Florida (Brazilian) - Eddie Dutra
Community Baptist Church, Stuart, FL - Phil Smith
Faith Bible Church, Deltona FL - Zach Coleman
Fellowship Baptist Church, Hixson, TN
First Baptist Church Stuart, FL - Darrell Orman
First Baptist Church Oakland Park, Oakland Park, FL - Merlin Berkey 
First Christian Church Wilton Manors, Wilton Manors, FL - John Stauffer 
Hollywood Hills Alliance Church, Hollywood, FL - Tim Williamson 
Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, Pompano Beach, FL - Robert Stanley 
Jesus Is Lord Worship Center, Miami, FL - Verbert C. Anderson
Jesus Supernatural Life Center, Pompano Beach, FL - Gary McLamore
Moorepark Community Church, Three Rivers, MI - (formerly Ken Miller)
Mount Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, Pompano Beach, (formerly Alonzo Neal) 
New Hope Community Church (C&MA), North Port, FL - Eddie DeJesus 
New Hope Fellowship (Nazarene), Palm City, FL - Gary Durham 
New Life Romanian Baptist Church, Hollywood, FL - Florin Vancea 
Piedmont Park Alliance Church, Tallahassee, FL - Chris Greaves 
Pines Baptist Church, Pembroke Pines, FL - Luis Acosta
Plantation Baptist Church, Plantation, FL
Restoration Outreach Church & Ministries, Miramar, FL - Gerard Bishop
Riverside Church, North Lauderdale, FL - Brian Brookins
The Harbour Church, Pompano Beach, FL - Darren Davis
The Lighthouse Chapel (C&MA), Port St. Lucie, FL - Jeff Norus
Tropical Farms Baptist Church, Stuart FL - (formerly Lee Fielder)
Westwood Church, (C&MA), Orlando FL - Dan Hall
Worldwide Christian Center, Pompano Beach, FL - O'Neal Dozier

Other venues:
40 Days for Life - Fort Lauderdale Campaign - Cast the Vision - September 2012
40 Days for life - Fort Lauderdale Campaign - Kick Off Rally - September 2012
40 Days for Life - Fort Lauderdale Campaign - Mid-Point Rally - October 2012
Faith Forum at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale FL
Florida Baptist Children's Home SOHL Regional Training, Miami FL
Florida Right to Life 2013 Pro-Life Leaders Forum, Orlando, FL
Florida State University Noles 4Life, Tallahassee, FL 
Flourish 2016 Conference (Catholic Witness), Fort Lauderdale FL
LifeChoice Pregnancy Center Banquet, Winter Haven FL
Nova Southeastern University Students for Life, Davie 
Tampa Bay ProLife Alliance, Tampa FL
Three Rivers Pregnancy Helpline Center Banquet, Three Rivers MI
Trinity Baptist College, Jacksonville - Chapel - Jeremiah Stanley, Dean of Students 
Trinity College, Trinity - Chapel - Al Depoutot, VP Student Development  
Trinity International University, Davie - multiple class lectures
Westminster Academy, Chapel, Fort Lauderdale FL
 15th Annual Pregnancy Care Center Conference, Lake Yale FL
South Florida Bible College & Theological Seminary, Deerfield Beach FL

The Church for Life online resources
The Church for Life blog - see right side bar for messages & resource indexes 
The Church for Life on Facebook 

*See State of Florida Abortion Data - Induced Terminations of Pregnancy [ITOP] Reports (by county)                                                                                                                      
**Field Manual for Abortion Ministry, 2014 - Free download from Operation Save America website                                                                   
*** Study of Women Who Have Had An Abortion and Their Views On Church CareNet - Free  
**** This message is available online - see side bar indexes 
*****Rue VM, et al

The Church for Life
Helping the Church form a Gospel centered response to America's abortion crisis