Tuesday, March 6, 2018
The Mercy Papers - Abortion Redux
Among America’s Continuing Sins
We begin worship on the corner of Lincoln and Main with these words every Sunday: “Before you were born, God knew you. Then God made you. He knit you together in your mother’s womb. God loves you so much. So He came in Jesus to save you. Now, God wants you to be His. Blessings on you! God bless America! And welcome to our family of faith where Jesus is Lord by the book and you are welcomed, included, and loved.”
More than less, that call to worship brings Psalm 139, Jeremiah 1, and so many of our Lord’s saving promises in the Bible to mind.
Because we’re Christians, our collective conscience is captive to Jesus, Holy Scripture, and common sense guided by the Holy Spirit in concert with over 2K years of confessional, constitutional, historical, and traditional expressions of the aforementioned.
Practically, we pray and work to follow Jesus; and if we’re shown error by Jesus, Holy Scripture, and common sense, we will confess, repent, and ask forgiveness as God’s redemptive recipe.
More than less, God’s grace to forgive and save us from the damning consequences of our sins brings Psalm 32, 1 John 1, and so many of our Lord’s saving promises in the Bible to mind.
Because we’re Christians by His standards, we’re pro-life.
Specifically, we are 99% pro-lifers on the corner of Lincoln and Main.
We acknowledge exceptionally sad moments when the termination of life is reluctantly, wrenchingly, awfully, and so painfully terminated.
We acknowledge “just” war, self-defense, protecting the vulnerable from murderous predators, and the like when lethal intercession is the only viable option because no other option will save existentially.
We have not missed the course on original sin.
We know there is evil in the world; producing evil circumstances when only lethal intercession will end the evil.
We are Matthew 10:16 aware – wise as serpents who know there are predators who will ravage and ruin unless beaten away or down and gentle as doves who know there are others like us who want to honor Jesus by the book as guided by the Holy Spirit to guide, provide, and protect as expected of people who claim to follow Him.
We agree with exceptions to the rules; which is why we are 99% pro-lifers and reluctantly appeal to rarely used Fletcherian situation ethics as rationalization.
Exceptions to the rules are called exceptions to the rules because they occur so infrequently that they are called exceptions to the rules; which means nations, churches, families, and all of the below are prudent when they follow the rules while admitting there are exceptions to the rules.
That’s how we approach one of America’s most horrifically unfaithful sins.
Obviously, I’m talking about America’s continuing sin of pretending the exception is the rule when it comes to abortion.
No longer protected by legislators or the highest court of our country, America’s most defenseless people – the unborn – have been abandoned by, unreal as it sounds, so many pulpiteers and pewsitters who are really wolves in sheep’s clothing; masquerading as disciples of the One who promised, “I have come to give abundant life to you.”
A lie that big can only come from the pit of hell at the direction of its father.
So, again, unless there is an exceptionally rare circumstance rationalizing an exception to the Christian rule of life’s sanctity from womb to tomb, we understand the use of lethal force as breaking the 6th commandment of God and everything taught by His incarnate self Jesus about the agape love ethic distinguishing Christianity.
Simply, we do not believe we are qualified to be the judges of who lives and who dies.
Personally, pastorally, and prophetically, my pro-life passion has been reinforced by several experiences.
◉ When I was in college, I’ll never forget a lively discussion of Daniel Callahan’s epic Abortion: Law, Choice, and Morality. Someone suggested abortion as a way to prevent child abuse. Bill shot out of his chair and screamed, “I was placed in foster homes because my biological parents beat and abused me. Are you saying it would have been better for me to have been aborted? You’ve got a lot of nerve to say I’d prefer to have been aborted than live through it all. I’ve survived and I’ve got a future and I’m happy you weren’t around to be the judge in determining my life’s viability.”
◉ Paul Swedlund, my good friend who went home to Jesus back in 1994 after falling off a mountain while hiking in Colorado, preached not too long before his tragic death, “Abortion is taking the life of a child who God knows and loves…The only difference between the children who cause your eyes to sparkle when you see them in church and the children in the womb is that you can’t see the children in the womb. But God does. And, to God, there is no difference between those in the womb and those already born.”
◉ I’ve never been able to imagine any of my heroes like Saint Francis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, the apostle Paul, or anyone else not to mention Jesus Himself performing abortions and being anything less than 99% pro-life.
◉ I’ll never forget preaching a pro-life sermon in Winston-Salem, North Carolina’s First Presbyterian Church. I went on and on and on as I’m prone to do about the sanctity of all human life from womb to tomb. Well, after the second service, an abortion doctor who was very big in the church castigated me and threatened to take himself and his money out of the church. Frankly, something similar happened to me nearly a dozen years ago on the corner of Lincoln and Main with somebody who was very big in the church and threatened to take himself and his money out of the church if I talked about things like abortion, human sexuality, and so on. BTW, both left! Anyway, I was pretty depressed about it; for if you read Luke 15, you’ll discover even the most brazen of undershepherds like me get bummed out when people leave for all of the wrong reasons. About a week after the sermon and rebuke, a letter appeared on my desk that I keep framed and visible in my home as encouragement:
Dear Dr. Kopp,
It’s a little late, but I loved last week’s sermon. My mom
almost stood up on the pew and screamed, “Amen!”
Thanks for giving her a heart attack!
George (12 yrs. old)
P.S. You didn’t give her a heart attack, but I’m glad you
spoke against abortion because I’m adopted.
I’ll also never forget ____ who came in to blast me after I preached something like that in Kansas City’s Second Presbyterian Church.
She was a young woman in her late 20s or early 30s.
She started in on me, “I can’t believe you spoke out against abortion. You are so wrong and I am so mad at you. I want you to know I had an abortion because I was married and the father wasn’t my husband. Planned Parenthood told me to do it. Your predecessor ____ told me to do it. All of my friends told me to do it. Who do you think you are to tell me that I was wrong?”
“I’m nobody,” I replied, “but Jesus is Lord and Savior and all about life here, now, and forever.”
She began crying uncontrollably; and, immediately, I felt discernment by the Holy Spirit that she had been living with the guilt of sin for years.
I said, “____, I don’t believe you believe any of those people who told you that it was the right thing to do. I believe you believe you were wrong; and I believe you need to be set free right now from continuing to hold on to a bad decision – a sin that aborted your child.”
She started crying even harder.
So I said, “Give it up! Tell God that you know you were wrong. Admit you were wrong. Admit you sinned. God will forgive you. All you have to do is confess it and He’ll forgive you and you can feel the relief of being forgiven.”
She lost her anger and guilt and felt God’s love and was saved.
She was saved from her bad choices by confession (admitting she was wrong) and repentance (turning from sin to Him and trying harder to live as He modeled in Jesus and explained in the Bible).
It was a Psalm 32 and 1 John 1 moment.
That same offer is available to us.
Whenever we’re holding on to sin, we’re miserable.
We’re not righteous; and when we’re not trying to be right with God, we’re not right.
No matter what it is, the only way to get over it is to get away from it.
Admit being wrong.
Turn from sin to Him.
Immediately, He will forgive and restore us to the peace that only comes from wanting and working to be right with Him.
As we look at America’s continuing sins like abortion – especially how we have pretended exceptions are now the rules – we should not be surprised at the decaying and dying of our country.
Still, He saves.
He lives to save us!
Over and over and over again in the Bible, we are reminded He wants to save us from our bad choices.
Whether it’s abortion or same-sex weddings or enabled drug traffic or not caring enough for the poor and homeless and “the least of these” who He says are part of our family if we’re really part of His family or anything else that so sinfully separates us from His best saving desires, His promise is never too old to recall because it’s always timely and especially now: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal there land.”
Let me put it another way.
The worst of America’s continuing sins is rejecting the only One who can save us.
Yet, amazingly, He’s still knocking.
Blessings and Love!
Shatter the sound of silence!
Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!