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  • Mar 27 / 2017
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couple
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We Just Sinned Sexually

The content for this post comes from a portion of Letters to a Romantic: On Dating which will be released in September, 2017 by P&R Publishing. 


Shame, fear, disappointment, and regret are emotions that often come after a couple has sinned sexually together. Perhaps you have just sinned in some way with your partner and you are wondering what to do. Should you be concerned? Is it really that big of a deal? Should you take a break, break-up, or continue to date?

The Path to Healing

Our human nature has the knee-jerk reaction to run and cover up sin. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden and realized they were naked, they hid from God. The very first act of sin in this world was followed by a cover up attempt. Adam and Eve grasped for fig leaves to cover their shame and they retreated back from the presence of God (Genesis 3:7-8).

Perhaps you have sinned with your partner and are tempted to run away from the presence of Jesus. I want to encourage you to do the exact opposite.

The way to heal sexual sin is to run to Jesus as quickly as you can. God is a tender and gracious Father who is on the lookout for his children to repent (Luke 15:20). Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it (John 3:17). I can guarantee this because Jesus bled on a wooden cross in order forgive anyone who turns away from disobedience. Jesus will forgive anyone who believes that he will wipe away his or her sins.

God promises sweet relief for a troubled conscience in the book of Hebrews:

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)

Jesus takes dirty hearts and broken consciences and makes them clean and clear. There is nothing better than a clear conscience before God, and Jesus can give you forgiveness today if you ask him. There has never been a better time to enter into the presence of God. His arms are open wide and the only thing keeping him from you is your pride and fear of judgment.

Hope through Honesty

The way to healing only comes through honesty. The Bible offers hope for everyone who walks in the light. If we do not walk in the light of truthfulness, we cannot have a relationship with God.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)

If you are unwilling to confess your sin to God and mature Christians, then you are snuffing out all hope for healing. If you remain in the dark, sexual sin will become enslaving and will lead to death (Romans 6:23). It is so serious that God says those who continue in sexual immorality will not enter into the kingdom of heaven (Revelation 21:8).

I specifically want to encourage you to avoid “technicalities” with your sin.  “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints” (Ephesians 5:3). A heart that wants to come clean is not concerned with whether or not they are a “technical virgin.” The Pharisees who were very good at parsing all the minutiae of sin will be cast into the lake of fire, but the prostitutes who were broken and weeping at the feet of Jesus found life and peace.

Sexual sin will suffocate you unless you completely come clean. I have known couples only willing to confess parts of their sin. They said verbally they wanted to change, but they held onto aspects of their sin with clinched fists and did not give a full confession. If you are tempted to only turn away from half of your sin, you are still holding onto all of it.

The Path to Holiness

All of this raises the question: “Should we end our relationship because we have sinned sexually together?” There are many factors that play into answering this question, but one of the first questions that needs to be answered is “How often has this sin occurred?” “Is this sin an isolated incident or a pattern?” “Or is it a mixture of both?”

Patterns of sin often reveal hearts that are not in love with Jesus. If you are noticing sexual sins in your relationship together, now is the time to seek out a mentor and give attention to your personal walk with Christ. Though it can be painful, ending a romantic relationship that is fueling sexual sin is the best course of action. If you are habitually falling into sin, breaking-up will allow you to focus on pursuing holiness before romance. There is nothing more important than knowing the presence of Christ. (Psalm 27:4)

If this sexual sin was a one-time event for you, you need to know that sexual activity does not randomly take place. By the time someone commits a physical sexual sin, there have been numerous transgressions that have been committed at the heart level. All physical acts of sin come from the heart.

After confession of sin has taken place, there must be an intentional path charted away from that disobedience. This change must occur in the heart, head, and hands. It is best to reach out to a godly, wise couple for assistance in making a plan for change.

When charting a new course towards purity, the following steps need to be taken:

  • ·       Confess to a spiritual authority. It is best if this is someone who can hold you accountable and offer you mature advice.
  • ·       Clear boundaries must be re-established. Jesus talks about being radical in your efforts to fight against sin and temptation. In Matthew 5:29-32, He talks about cutting off hands and plucking out eyes in order to attack sin. What were the circumstances around the sin? Have you been alone and been in compromising situation, why did this happen? How can it be prevented?
  • ·       Evaluate the entire relationship. Are both of you at a spiritually mature level to consider pursuing marriage? Are you ready to love each other by setting the bar of purity high in order to protect one another? Do you both want to honor God more than enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin?

This moment of failure can become a moment of victory. This sin may be the very act God uses to get your attention and pursue holiness. Jesus loves to take our weaknesses and make us strong. Let us plan and pray for grace to become pure in heart and hands in order that we might see God.

Until then,

Sean


Sean Perron is the Chief of Staff with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. He is a graduate of Southern Seminary and a Ph.D. student at Southwestern Seminary. He lives in Jacksonville, FL and is married to the lovely Jennifer Perron. Sean is a co-author with Spencer Harmon of the forthcoming books Letters to a Romantic: On Dating and Letters to a Romantic: On Engagement (P&R, 2017). Sean and Spencer write together at unspokenblog.org

  • Mar 13 / 2017
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quiet time
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Why You Probably Don’t Need a Quiet Time

You’ve always believed you should have what evangelicals commonly call a “quiet time.” Sometimes called “daily devotions,” a quiet time typically consists of Bible reading and prayer. Beyond these, the event can be highly individualized in terms of timing, duration, location, and content. Many add meditation on Scripture to their reading of it. Others will include some form of journaling. Some will append a brief devotional reading from another book. Generally, the goal is to feed the soul and commune with God.

Lately, however, your devotional habits have languished. In light of the struggle, privately you’ve been doing a little spiritual cost/benefit analysis about the whole enterprise.

Relax. Why stress about it? Who wants their spiritual life to be a struggle? Let me help you see why you probably don’t need a quiet time anyway.

For starters, you’re incredibly busy. In fact, you’ve never been busier. God has given you many responsibilities, and you try to be faithful with them. If you take time for Bible intake and prayer every day, you’ll lose valuable time you could devote to other important God-given tasks.

Second, you can’t be in two places at once. With so many needs to meet and people to help, isn’t it a bit selfish to get alone with God and sacrifice time you could use in ministering to others? True, even Jesus frequently withdrew from teaching and ministering to the crowds who sought Him in order to strengthen His soul in prayer. But does that mean He’s an example to us in this?

Third, you’re already spiritually mature. Think of all the Christian books and blogs you’ve read in your life. Didn’t they draw a lot from Scripture? Think of how many sermons and Bible lessons you’ve heard. By now, haven’t you reached a level of spiritual maturity where daily devotions simply repeat material you already know? Do you think God expects you to meditate on His Word day and night?

Fourth, you don’t want to be a copycat. Just because the great Christian heroes of the past had a regular commitment to prayer and meditation on Scripture doesn’t mean you should. After all, you’re helped by resources they never had. You have a smartphone and the Internet.

Fifth, you don’t want to become legalistic. To think that your soul needs to feed on God’s Word and seek communion with Him every day would almost be tantamount to saying that your body should have food virtually every day. And who would want to fall into the legalistic trap of feeding one’s body daily? Moderation is so important when it comes to the things of God, isn’t it? As Ecclesiastes 7:16 warns, “Do not be overly righteous.”

Still feeling remorse about an inconsistent devotional life? Don’t worry; you can always start again someday when life slows down.

Convinced? Well, before you completely forsake your daily devotional time, you might consider a few things.

First, making a priority of time with God is a mark of grace. It’s hard to argue with Jonathan Edwards here:

A true Christian. . . delights at times to retire from all mankind, to converse with God in solitary places. . . . True religion disposes persons to be much alone in solitary places, for holy meditation and prayer. . . . It is the nature of true grace, that however it loves Christian society in its place, yet it in a peculiar manner delights in retirement, and secret converse with God.

Next, Jesus is indeed the great example of personal piety. Yes, you could serve others more if you abandoned your devotional life. But the same could be said for the time you spend eating and sleeping. Would you discard them to meet people’s needs? While there are times to minister to others instead of replenishing your soul or body, as a long-term practice this is neither wise nor fruitful. Jesus could have met literally every need presented to Him. But even He sometimes walked away from needy crowds to pray. Jesus is our example of all things good, including the priority of meeting with the Father.

Third, even until death, the Apostle Paul wanted to saturate his soul in Scripture. In the last inspired letter he wrote, Paul pleaded with Timothy, “When you come, bring . . . the books, and above all the parchments” (2 Tim. 4:13). These writings almost certainly included a copy of the Old Testament. If a Christian as spiritually mature as the Apostle Paul required the regular intake of Scripture until death, dare we ever think we’ve “outgrown” the need for it?

Fourth, we are called to imitate spiritual heroes. In Hebrews 13:7, God commands us to remember, consider, and imitate Christian leaders of the past. We’re told, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” The consensus of the spiritual giants of Christian history that testifies to the indispensability of a believer’s devotional life should not be forgotten nor their example forsaken.

Fifth, rightly motivated devotional habits are never legalistic. Neither the strictest obedience to the Word of God nor the most zealous pursuit of holiness is ever legalistic if one’s motives are right. The measurement of legalism is not the consistency of one’s devotional practices but the heart’s reason for doing them.

Finally, you’ll likely never be less busy. If you can’t make time to meet God through the Bible and prayer now, it’s very unlikely you will when—if—life does slow down.

Significant changes in your life may indeed be needed. But think: How can less time with God be the answer?


This article was originally posted in Ligonier Tabletalk Magazine here.


Dr. Donald S. Whitney serves on the advisory board of Speak for the Unborn. He is Professor of Biblical Spirituality and Associate Dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and Founder and President of the Center for Biblical Spirituality.

  • Mar 06 / 2017
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prodigal
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A Prodigal Pro-Lifer: My Journey to Pro-Choice and How God Brought Me Back

I always thought I was pro-life until I was sixteen and faced with an unwanted pregnancy. It was at that time that I realized I was mostly pro-my-own-life. After having my first abortion in high school, I became timidly pro-choice. It was not until my third abortion failed that God brought me back to Him and revealed what it truly meant to be pro-life.

Becoming pro-choice

My parents supported my abortion when I was a teenager and, again, when I was a freshman in college. They thought my life would be ruined if I had a child outside of marriage and at such a young age. I told myself that all my reasons for choosing abortion were good reasons and that I made the best choice at the time. I wanted to have children one day, but just not now. While I knew deep in my heart what I had done was immoral, I could not quite grasp the damage that destroying these beautiful creations had done to me.

I spent the years after my first abortion discussing the merits of the pro-choice stance on abortion. I talked about how I was personally against it, but that it was not right to take the choice away from someone who really needed it. I would even defend abortions and women who received them when I would hear disparaging remarks by saying, “You can’t know their situation. You can’t understand how terrifying it is to be faced with that decision.” I had no idea how destructive that fear could be or how deeply the effects of destroying another life would plague me.

The price of destroying life

See, though I had grown up in church, I had never been taught that we are all image bearers and, as such, every life created by our Father is a precious gift. Destroying His most prized creation always comes at a price. My heart was hardened toward others, and I missed out on the value of the life around me and within me. After I was married, I had five miscarriages. I never really mourned the loss of these priceless children. Instead, I became bitter towards a God who would allow me to suffer the pain of infertility. When I had a son with autism, I did not treasure his unique life, but rather bathed in my self-pity all while asking why God would do this to me.

Everything with our first child felt so hard. He did not do anything on time, and he always acted very different from his peers. I gave up on trying to raise him the “right way.” He was not “normal,” so we did not have to follow all the “normal” rules when teaching him about life and how we treat other people. I had no idea that God would use his special place on the autism spectrum to teach me the importance of loving all life — even lives I do not understand.

Only God can give true life

Years later, after spiraling into sin and rebellion, I became pregnant as the result of an affair. Already having three children with my husband, I could not keep this “pregnancy.” I would not even think of this “pregnancy” as a person. It was a menace sent to destroy my life. God was trying to teach me a lesson and punish me for my sin. I had to get rid of the thing.

Three weeks after my attempted abortion, an ultrasound showed me what God truly had for me: life. Not only was I dead inside from all of my rebellion, I had tried to destroy all of the life within me. Being confronted with the reality of this thriving little person inside of me showed me that God gives life. It was shortly after this time that I finally and fully submitted my own life to Christ. He did a mighty work in me when he saved my son from my selfish desires. He opened my eyes with His Word and He transformed my heart through His holy spirit.

The prodigal comes home

The fear I felt from having a child created from infidelity turned to joy upon his arrival. Not only has he been the perfect addition to our family, he remains a wonderful, daily reminder of God’s goodness and mercy. At this pivotal moment in my life when God showed His sovereignty, I was not only a wayward pro-lifer brought back, I was also a prodigal child returning home to my Father. I finally saw that His image-bearers are all valuable, no matter their circumstances.

It is with this love for all human life that I teach my four children, not only their own value, but the value of others. My oldest son’s autism does not make him any less valuable. He is still a precious creation of God and just as much a gift as my daughters. In the same vein, my youngest son being the result of a sinful act does not make him a “mistake,” but rather reinforces that all life is a gift from our Father.

 


Lauren Sachitano lives in Kingwood, TX. She is a wife, mother, and lover of coffee and naps. She and her husband attend Northeast Houston Baptist Church with their 4 children.

  • Feb 27 / 2017
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world
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Pure and Undefiled Religion: Keeping Oneself Unstained from the World

 

When we think of caring for the vulnerable, James 1:27 is often one of the first verses people think about. James tells us that caring for the widow and orphan is pure and undefiled religion. His powerful language evokes a sense of urgency in caring for the vulnerable. It is probably why many Christians use this verse for ministries and mission trips. We cannot hope to truly live for Christ if caring for the vulnerable is not part of that.

However, there is one portion of the verse that is sometimes overlooked. James tells us that pure religion is “to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world (emphasis added).” Sometimes we may focus so intently on caring for orphans and widows that we completely miss keeping ourselves unstained from the world. Caring for the vulnerable is definitely a vital part of our Christian walk, but it is just as important to make sure we are not losing focus and compromising our faith in any way. In fact, sometimes caring for the vulnerable may be what draws our focus away.

There are so many ways to help those in need. You can look just about anywhere and find an opportunity to serve others. It is really encouraging to see the countless ways people can receive the help they need. It is also encouraging to see so many people wanting to help others. One of the best ways for Christians to show the love of Christ is to be actively involved in caring for the vulnerable. There is something to be said about those who sacrifice their time and resources for others. However, there is also a caution with this. When we are seeking out ways to help others, we need to be careful to guard ourselves from losing our focus on Christ and his gospel. It is helpful for Christ-followers to remember that, ultimately, our good deeds mean nothing if they are separated from the message of the gospel. When we water down the gospel, or eliminate it completely,  to help others, we are not remaining unstained from the world. Instead, we are compromising our faith.

Of course, leaving the gospel out is not always blatant or purposeful. How many times have I helped people without explicitly sharing the gospel with them? It is not an intentional thing. We often get busy with whatever we are doing that we do not give it much thought. James’s words may very well be more of a word of caution than anything else. Maybe he knew how easy it was to lose focus on the heart of the gospel message when busy doing good deeds for others. All of us have probably fallen into that at some point in our Christian walk.

In fact, James is not the only one to have mentioned the concept of remaining unstained by the world. Paul also tells us in Romans to not be conformed to the world (12:2). The things of this world can, and often will, cause distractions. We may only think of this in terms of the bad things around us. However, even good things can draw our focus away from the Lord. The good may actually be more likely to do so since we are not as guarded with it. The enemy is very crafty and loves to use the good things in our lives to distract us. He enjoys seeing God’s people move further and further away from their faith. When we allow ourselves to lose focus on the gospel, we slowly start to fall into worldly things. Before we know it, we find ourselves exactly where we should not be- stained by the world.

There is also the danger to be so concerned about compromising our faith that we think the best thing to do is to completely cut ourselves off from the world. However, we must guard ourselves against this thinking, too. All through James 1, James is making the case that the Christian life must have both faith and good works. They go hand in hand. When we have strong faith, our good deeds automatically flow out of it. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, so we are supposed to concern ourselves with the plight of others. The issue is not if we are supposed to be in the world helping others. The issue is if we are staying focused on the Lord while we are out in the world helping others. When Christ is praying to the Father in John 17, he says that he does not want his followers to be taken out of the world, only that they would be protected from falling into evil. He expects us to be out in the world sharing his love and helping those in need.

We need to continue to find ways to care for the widow and orphan. We must never lose this passion to help others. Our desire to care for those in need is a beautiful, God-given desire. However, we must also be sure to guard ourselves against the enemy and his schemes to make us lose focus on the One who gave us the desire in the first place. Only then will we be able to fully live out James’s words to care for the widow and orphan and remain unstained from the world.

 


Katie Van Dyke is the Assistant Director of Speak for the Unborn. She received an M.A. in Biblical Counseling from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. She currently lives in Houston, TX where she teaches 5th and 6th grade girls at Northeast Houston Baptist Church. You can follow her on Twitter: @KatieJoVanDyke.

  • Feb 20 / 2017
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Abortion, Pro-life, Unintended pregnancies

I Regret My Abortion- An Interview

 

regret

 

Recently, Billie Garza publicly shared about her personal abortion experience. She was gracious enough to answer some questions in an interview with our Assistant Director, Katie Van Dyke. We are very thankful to her for allowing us to share her story!

______________________________________________________________

Katie Van Dyke: When did you have an abortion?

Billie Garza: I had the abortion in February of 2000, when I was 21 years old.

 

KV: What were the reasons surrounding your decision to have one?

BG: There were several things that led me to this corner. For one, I had a 3 year old son whose father had chosen to be absent. I was on my own, with little family, trying to raise this sweet little guy and I already felt like I was failing him. To add to the despair, I was pregnant by someone whom I was no longer in a stable relationship with. The relationship was not only over, but it’s end was tumultuous and volatile. We had a physical altercation in which he attempted to strangle me. I could not conceive being linked to someone like that for the rest of my life.

 

KV: Was it an easy decision? Why or why not?

BG: It was the hardest decision of my life. In middle school, I had performed many debates opposing the act of abortion. It was a place I never could have imagined that I would find myself. It took several attempts before I was able to actually “see it through”.

 

KV: How did you feel in the moments right after it?

BG: To be honest, it all happened so fast that I am not sure how I felt right after. That stage for me was … numb, I suppose. But a sad and defeated numb, if that makes sense. I will say this, it was the onset of a deep dark depression for me.  I felt like everyone expected me to be grateful that I had side stepped this landmine, but I just felt more lost than ever. How had I ended up here? How could I have just done this? It plunged me into a downward spiral of inner turmoil. I felt alone. I felt like no one understood my sadness. I guess, in hindsight, I was mourning the death of my baby, but the feelings were magnified by the fact that I was the one responsible for the death.

 

KV: Did you have any long term emotional effects?

BG: Seventeen years later and I can hardly speak about it without it triggering extreme sadness and regret. It is the one single most regrettable moment of my life, and I have lived a largely misspent life full of poor decisions and bad choices. Still, I regret nothing more than this.

 

KV: If someone would have been there for you to completely support or encourage you in choosing life, would that have made a difference?

BG: That is a tough question. I have often wondered this very thing. I don’t know for sure if I would have changed my mind. However, there was no one- not one single person- who believed there was a better option than abortion. So, I would have to say, having someone there offering encouragement surely could have made a huge difference.

 

KV: Were you ever able to find forgiveness?

BG: Yes, but if I am honest, this has been a journey for me. I have found total forgiveness in Christ. And I believe His blood has washed away my every sin, even this horrendous sin of murder. But it has not erased the pain, sadness, and regret that I continue to carry. I still ache for the baby that grew inside of me but that I never got to meet.

 

KV: What word would you give to churches on addressing this issue?

BG: We have to continue to be on the front lines on this matter. Not only fighting for the sanctity of the unborn life, but also in ministering to these girls (and the fathers). Many of them, just like myself, never imagined they would be in that place. Many are longing for someone to come along side of them and show them a more excellent way. They are scared and they feel alone. They need someone to tell them that it is going to be okay, and that this little person growing in them is a blessing and not a curse.

 

KV: What word would you give to women who find themselves in this situation?

BG: I would tell them that even though the baby will be removed from their womb it will never be removed from their memory. It will forever be a part of them, and a possible source of pain and regret if they choose to take this baby’s life away.

The clinics never prepare you for the mourning that takes place afterwards. They make you feel as though once it is all over, it will just be a relief. That was NOT my experience. All I felt was pain and sadness, I never felt the “relief”. I would want any woman facing this decision to know the gravity of it.

Most importantly, I would tell them what I wish someone would have told me- there is hope. There can still be a bright future. There is not just one resolution to the situation they have found themselves in. There are other options and many people willing to help them choose the best one.

 

KV: Thank you so much for your honesty and transparency. We appreciate you sharing your story with us!

______________________________________________________________

Billie is not the only one to have experienced this. In fact, there are many women right now who find themselves in a similar situation. If churches were meeting these women where they are and engaging them with the truth and love of the gospel, the outcome could be so different. As a gospel believing people, we have such a great responsibility to care for these women and their unborn babies. At S4U, we focus on equipping local churches in doing just that. We would love for you to partner with us! Click here to learn more about our exciting strategy for 2017.

 


Billie Garza lives in Houston, TX where she serves her community by teaching the Word of God in her church, Star of Hope, and through various other speaking opportunities. She is a devoted wife to her husband, Henry, and mother to her 3 beautiful children. She and her husband are members of Park Temple Baptist Church.

  • Feb 13 / 2017
  • 0
Uncategorized

My Son Should Have Been Aborted

bike

I remember speaking to a pro-choice activist who worked for years in children’s services. She recounted the unfortunate conditions of some orphanages she had visited, made worse only by the high number of children that lived there. They had no family. They were totally dependent upon the system, just years away from being turned loose upon a society that largely had rejected them. In her mind, these were the epitome of “unwanted” children. Knowing my position on the sanctity of life, she challenged my pro-life convictions by touting a supposed lack of concern for children like these. After I asked for specific ways that our local churches could help, I couldn’t suppress the question that lingered in the back of my mind since the beginning of the conversation. I asked her, “Do you think that any of these children should have been aborted?” Without hesitation, she retorted, “Yes, each and every one of them.”

I thought about this conversation not too long ago as I stood in the middle of an African orphanage. The courtyard of the small complex was filled with young children. Some wore tattered clothes, likely hand-me-downs from those who came before them. Many had flies covering their faces like bees on a honeycomb. Most of them were abandoned as infants. All of them were laughing and smiling. One of them was my son. After nearly a five-year long adoption process, here we stood, watching our son kick a ball with the only family he had known to this point in his life. He didn’t understand it then, but he had a new last name. And while there are many questions surrounding the early weeks of my son’s life, we do know that by the world’s standards he was unwanted. Then it dawned on me: according to this pro-choice activist, this is precisely the kind of child that should have been aborted. As I watched him toddle around the courtyard with friends, I felt the chill of her cold and icy words. Yet my heart was warmed towards these children. Many of them may have been “unwanted,” but these were real people with real smiles and very real personalities.

It is hard for me now to imagine our family without my middle child. To be clear, my son did not become valuable as soon as we received the adoption referral. Human beings are not valuable because someone wants them; they are valuable because God made them. And we need to remember that this is exactly what we are talking about when we talk about abortion. We must never forget that beneath the compassionate rhetoric of the abortion industry is a beast that bears its fangs against actual human beings. The Scripture says that the Devil prowls like a lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). He is not simply interested in an issue; he is interested in image-bearers. The Adversary is unconcerned with who wins the abortion debate, so long as there are the bodies of men, women, and children left in the wake.

The pro-choice movement has sought consistently to dehumanize the unborn. Whether it is changing the terminology (“fetus,” “pregnancy tissue,” ect.), or shifting the focus to the rights and health of the woman, the abortion industry tries to make us forget that we are talking about human beings. We must remember, abortion is not simply about an issue to be debated, it is about lives to be defended. We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted from the fact that lives are taken through abortion. The rhetoric smokescreen filling our culture should never cloud our view on what is happening. For we know that life is precious at every stage.

How should Christians respond? Through our faithful witness, the people of God should display the glory of a gospel that leads to a high value of life. Our local churches should be beacons of hope in the midst of this culture. On any given Sunday, for instance, my local church is filled with families that reflect God’s love for the unwanted. There are transracial families united through adoption and foster care. There are men mentoring others recovering from destructive patterns of addiction. There are children with special needs being celebrated as fellow image-bearers. There are single mothers patiently teaching their children about the life-giving message of the gospel. There are brothers and sisters sacrificing time to serve children in the nursery. All of this is a declaration to the world that the kingdom of Jesus is different.

Jesus modeled this when he welcomed children (Matt 18:1–6; 19:13–15). Contrary to the expectations of the disciples, children have a place near Jesus. When the children did come, he did not separate them into those with stable home situations and those without. Both the ‘wanted’ and ‘unwanted’ were welcomed. Rather, he blessed them all, stating that “to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 19:14). In the gospel, we see that privilege and priorities of the world are put to rest in an empty tomb. That is why for James it is unconscionable that a follower of Christ would not care for the vulnerable (James 1:27). This is integral to our Christian identity, because we too were orphaned and in need of rescue. While we were weak, says the Apostle Paul, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly (Rom 5:6). Before the creation of the world, God purposed believers to be part of His family. We love like this because we have been loved like this.

While they may not say it so bluntly, the world looks at my son as one whose life should have been cut short. Maybe his birthmother couldn’t afford an abortion. Maybe she lacked access to available “reproductive healthcare.” Maybe the cultural stigma of abortion was too much to bear. Either way, if she had taken the life in her womb, there would be a gaping hole in my family. But more than that, there would be one more image-bearer consumed by a prowling beast hell-bent on destruction.

As the people of God, we proclaim and display the glory of a better lion, one who has jaws strong enough to swallow death. In Him, we are reminded that the unwanted and unlovable are safe. I journeyed to Africa to bring my son home; God came from heaven to rescue His. And He will stop at nothing to make sure all His children make it to the place he has prepared for them. As we uphold the sanctity of human life, we make clear that people are valuable, not because they are wanted, but because they bear the image of their creator. This may be counter-cultural proclamation, but such is life in the kingdom.


Andrew King is the Executive Director of Speak for the Unborn. He holds degrees from Mississippi State University (B.A.) and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div., Ph.D. candidate). He lives with wife and three children in Louisville, KY. He is a member of Immanuel Baptist Church.

 

  • Feb 06 / 2017
  • 0
Pro-life

Standing for Life: A Call to Men

Holding Hands

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.

  • Jan 30 / 2017
  • 0
Uncategorized

Win Signed Copies of the Gospel for Life Books

 

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The Gospel for Life series, edited by Russell Moore and Andrew T. Walker, is designed to apply the truths of Scripture to issues that we all face in ordinary life. These excellent books are an easily-accessible resource for helping Christians cultivate a Kingdom mentality on a number of important issues.

We are excited to give away signed copies of four books in this series. Gain entries for the giveaway below! The winners will be notified Monday, February 6th.

 

 

  • Jan 23 / 2017
  • 0
Abortion, Pro-life

Breaking the Silence: My Abortion Didn’t Empower Me

Breaking the Silence

Yesterday, January 22nd, marked the 44th anniversary of Roe vs Wade when it was ruled that abortion was a fundamental right protected by the US constitution. This year, it happened to fall on Sanctity of Life Sunday. On this day every year, I am reminded of my abortion ten years ago. This year was no different. In fact, I think about my abortion and my baby often.

This weekend, I thought of my baby as I watched women march in DC for the right to have abortions. Next week, I will be joining evangelicals from across the country to march for life in the exact same place. When I think about why I am marching, it is hard to silence the accusation of hypocrisy.

You see, I’ve had 2 crisis pregnancies. Both times I was unmarried, below the poverty level income, and terrified. The first time I decided to keep my baby. The second time I did not. Those were my choices. I could keep my babies. But, if I didn’t want to, I had every “right” to kill them. So, there is always a voice in my head telling me that I have no right to speak up. It tells me I am a hypocrite for wanting to take that “right” away from other women. But, ultimately, I silence that voice inside of me.

Instead, I know that I must stand up for what’s truly right. As Christians, we know that right and wrong are not ultimately determined by the constitution. Rather, they are determined by the character of God. I hope to encourage other women to not be silent, either. People need to hear our voices and our experiences, no matter how hard they are to share.

If I had heard a mom describe her “fetus” as a baby or read an article about the pain that my “right” would cause me, I may have changed my mind. Even hearing just one woman share her story may have made all the difference in the world.

Current abortion statistics are staggering. This is all the more reason we need to speak up and share our stories, even our hurt, in the hope that even one person would change their mind. We can’t change abortion statistics of the past, but we can for the future if we are willing to speak.

The Pain of Abortion

My “right” hurt me in so many ways. It hurt me physically. I remember screaming, but the nurse told me to stop because I would scare the other women. I remember the nurse asking me afterward if I was RH negative because they forgot to record my bloodwork. They could have killed me had I not remembered my blood type from my previous pregnancy. I remember them running in to give me my Rhogam shot in a panic.

It hurt me emotionally. I remember going numb for months after my abortion. I remember the trust issues I had with everyone. I remember feeling extremely overprotective of my daughter because I thought I didn’t deserve a healthy child. I remember the pain when I found out my son had autism and thoughts crept in of it being a punishment for my abortion.

It hurt me spiritually. I remember feeling so ashamed of myself. I felt low. I felt disgusting and unforgivable.

Years later, the hurt is ongoing. I will never forget the first time I really thought about who my baby could have been. I wept uncontrollably. I still cry for my baby. I remember the pain of telling my daughter that I had an abortion and having to console her the many times she’s cried since. I remember when I saw the Planned Parenthood videos describing what I did to my baby. And, now, I have to forever live with the excruciating reality that I ended my baby’s life.

We often hear the cry about women’s rights and empowering women to make their own decisions about their bodies. These rights are supposed to help us. However, all my “right” did was cause me a lifetime of pain. This is not the empowerment I was promised.

Hope for All Women

However, that is not the end of the story. There is also hope and healing to be found. For those who find themselves in an unintended pregnancy, my prayer is for you to see that God created that precious baby in your womb. God has a purpose for your child. Please know that you are not alone. I pray you will turn to a church who will support you and show you how to be a truly strong woman by choosing life for your child. Don’t make the same mistakes that so many have before you.

For those who have already had an abortion, you can find forgiveness and ultimate healing in Jesus. No one is too far gone for Him to save. Despite our sin which cuts us off from a perfect and holy God, He loved us so much that He sent His Son to live a perfect life, die on the cross, and rise again to pay the penalty for our sin. Only through Christ can we be made whole. My prayer is that you will seek Christ for your healing and forgiveness. He eagerly waits to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Our God delights to give life even to those who have taken life.

A Word to the Church

I also plead with the Church. We must actively get involved in this cause. What about supporting a single mom by helping her with prenatal care? What about rallying around post-abortive women to encourage them in their healing? What about encouraging and empowering women by showing them they can be strong, beautiful working single parents? What about showing women the wonderful and selfless option of adoption? What about offering them ultimate hope by sharing the love of Christ with them? We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are called to care for the vulnerable. I pray that God’s people will not be silent. Instead, we must stand up for these women and their babies. We must point them to the gospel of Jesus Christ where true hope can only be found.


Allison Hill is an autism advocate who is passionate about encouraging other special-needs parents. Her youngest son, Jacob, has autism and is the inspiration for her blog www.jacobsjourneythroughautism.blogspot.com. She received her Master’s degree in special education from Ball State University. Allison lives in Houston, TX with her husband and three children where they attend Northeast Houston Baptist Church.

  • Nov 02 / 2013
  • 1
Pro-life

The Inadequacy of Being Pro-Life

Vote-Pro-life-Uncle-Sam

People are pro-life for many different reasons. Recent statistics evidence a slight tilt in public opinion to a more conservative position on the issue of abortion in this country. While the results of such polls can fluctuate, what is sure is that a large number of Americans identify themselves as “pro-life” to some degree. Yet, with such a large cross-cultural demographic comprising the pro-life movement, inevitably there is a wide range of belief systems represented as well. In many cases, religious differences are set aside for the common goal of the rescue of the unborn. Here one’s personal religious convictions are said to be divisive, and therefore out of place in the discussion. Yet, I would suggest that separating biblical doctrine from pro-life ethics is a damning dichotomy.

Let me state up front that I am thankful for those who speak for the sanctity of human life. The defense of the helpless in any culture is an evidence of God’s common grace upon a people. Governments that uphold righteous laws and punish wickedness are instruments of God’s justice (Romans 13:1-7). Likewise, those who champion the cause of life are, in some sense, agents of God’s restraint of evil in a society.

That being said, I think that it is a fundamental misstep to try to divorce one’s theology from one’s pro-life ministry. I have said many times on the sidewalk that the only reason I am pro-life is because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Indeed, if Jesus has not been raised from the dead, I could not care less what a woman does with her body and/or family. But in the resurrection, Jesus defines what it is to be truly human. The problem is not ultimately unfavorable legislation, but rather, global rebellion against the sovereign king of kings. An honest look at one day of your life betrays your guilt before God. The Apostle Paul says that the God’s Law speaks “so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God” (Romans 3:19). None are exempt from his verdict. No one can get off the hook without serving the just sentence for cosmic treason.

It is just at this point that the person and work of Jesus comes clearly into view. When one understands how dire their situation is, they begin to grasp the necessity of a savior. Jesus came into the world to stand in the place of his people, bearing the full punishment of sin in order that they may be reconciled to God by faith and repentance (1 Peter 3:18). Or as the author of Hebrews says, “Consequently, [Jesus] is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). This is truly glorious news for sinful people who come to Christ: he takes your punishment and keeps you secure in him for all of eternity.

When the pro-life narrative is set in context of a biblical worldview, primary and secondary issues emerge. Though a 5 second interaction outside an abortion clinic may consist of pleading for the life of a child, the ultimate aim of a truly pro-life ministry should be the salvation of souls. This is of primary importance. Any call to choose life that does not include a call to repentance is part of a culture of death that stretches all the way back to Genesis 3. There are many on the last day who will say, “Lord, Lord, did we not sidewalk counsel for years in your name, and legislate abortion restrictions in your name,” as though a pro-life badge is an entry card into the favor of God. Yet, all those who would cling to their righteousness on the day of judgment will be found without refuge. This is a hard truth, but one clearly delineated in the Bible (cf. Matthew 7:21-23).

I would implore you to discern the motivation for your pro-life ministry. Speaking for the unborn is necessary, but it is not enough in and of itself. Our ministry here is first and foremost about the gospel. We are pro-life because God has caused us to be born again to new life in Christ. We seek to rescue the unborn in obedience to the God who saves. But ethics, however right, without sound theology is deadly. Both pro-life and pro-choice proponents are unified in this: both are desperately in need of the forgiveness of sins. The good news is that Jesus is very much a pro-life savior.

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