Our team recently attended the 2nd annual Evangelicals for Life (EFL) conference in Washington, D.C. Hosted by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and Focus on the Family, EFL equips Christians to think about the implications of the gospel on the sanctity of human life. As followers of Jesus, we know that we cannot simply offer words, but must act. Being pro-life is much more than a statement; it is the heartbeat of a gospel people.
All are created in God’s Image
A notable thing about the conference is the emphasis on the dignity of every single human being. Many times when we hear ‘pro-life’, our thoughts automatically jump to the unborn. While being pro-life certainly includes caring about the unborn, that is not where it should end. For what is in the womb is in continuity with what is in the world. In Genesis, we are told that man (male and female) was created in God’s image (1:26-27). God does not distinguish between the man and the woman as to who was created in His image. Both hold the same status as image-bearers
In Psalm 139, David marvels at the fact that he was a person before he was born. This amazing truth is the same for us. God knew each and every one of us even before he knit us together in our mothers’ wombs. When it comes to the unborn, they are no less the image of God than a grown man or woman. Every single human being is valuable and worthy of care regardless of age, race, sex, or disability. In order to truly be a pro-life people, we must celebrate this truth.
Speaking for life is not just for women
However, pro-life views are not the only thing we need to think about. We also need to be mindful of who is actually involved. When it comes to different issues, we can sometimes pick and choose who we think should get involved in them. One big way we see this is when it comes to the issue of abortion. Many times, we think of it being a women’s issue. In fact, our culture explicitly says that it is a women’s issue. Men are often told they do not have a voice in the matter since they cannot bear children. Unfortunately, I fear this mentality has trickled down into the church. When it comes to pro-life ministries, the presence of men is greatly lacking.
During one of the panel discussions at EFL, Roland Warren, President and CEO of Care-Net, spoke candidly on the absolute necessity of men being involved. Warren says that men may actually be a leading factor in women choosing life. He suggests that perhaps this is the reason they are silenced by the pro-choice culture. They want to keep the key players from having a voice. Warren’s words are striking. We often think of men having a voice, but not as the determining voice. This fact presents important insights. Though men have the potential of playing a significant role in protecting life, the wider culture devalues and silences them.
Some may find these insights difficult to believe, but Warren’s observation is sound, even from a biblical perspective. He referenced the event in Matthew’s Gospel where Joseph, Mary, and Jesus had to flee to Egypt to escape Herod’s murderous attempts. Matthew 2:13 states, “An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt.’” When it came to the protection of Mary and Jesus, Joseph was the one to answer that call. He was the one who ultimately was responsible for the well-being of his wife and child. The same can be said today.
Men’s voices matter
Men’s voices really do matter when it comes to women in unintended pregnancies. In fact, during the same panel mentioned above, Krissie Inserra, who volunteers at a pregnancy center, stated something similar. She said that most of the women she counsels state they would feel much more confident in choosing life if the father of the baby offered his complete support. Think about that. The main factor for women deciding to choose life is men who are willing to support them in that decision. While the culture is telling us men’s voices don’t matter, they actually may be the most important voices we can hear.
As a people who deeply cares about the sanctity of life, the church must stand against the culture’s claim. We must encourage men to use their voices in speaking for the unborn and their mothers. There are so many loving husbands and fathers who support and provide for their wives and children. What if they reached out to young men and encouraged them to do the same? Think of the great change that could occur if strong men stood up and spoke. We cannot continue to let our culture silence them. The pro-life cause is not just for women. Men’s voices are needed more than ever.