We live in “the viral generation.” When an idea with universal appeal hits YouTube, practically the whole world knows about it overnight. It’s like a trumpet blast, rallying everyone together all at once.
“Yeah,” you say, “I think I see where you’re headed with this. Problem is, there isn’t ‘universal appeal’ for this issue yet.”
Exactly. But we can fix that.
“Who’s ‘we’?” you ask.
The evangelical church, that’s who.
“Yeah? And just how?”
I was afraid you’d never ask. It’s so simple it makes a body ache to think it hasn’t been done yet. Stay with me while I set this up just a little bit more.
A Matter of Priorities
In great measure, we march to the loudest drumbeat. We fall in step with the worldview that commands the most deference and respectability amongst our 70-80 million American evangelical friends and leaders. We give ourselves to what we perceive as God’s highest priorities. So the question becomes, “Do we perceive the battle for the unborn among God’s highest priorities?”
In my opinion, we do not. Because if we did we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
The zeitgeist, the shared consensus, the thread of common consciousness and call to mission that unites and excites and incites most evangelicals to heroic prayer and jackhammer preaching and the kind of sacrificial action from which legends are spawned, is not pro-life activism. It is missions and evangelism and church-planting and other respectable work that, to be sure, is exceedingly high among the great list of kingdom priorities. But it is not the highest.
The Great Commission and the Greater Commission
The aforementioned ministries, important as they are, are not supreme. They conform to the Great Commission, but there is, if you will, a Greater Commission. It is what Christ called “the great and foremost commandment” (Matthew 22:38). It’s called love.
Echoing the words of Christ, the apostle Paul said, “Love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10), and “he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law” (v. 8), and “the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Galatians 5:14)
Important as the Great Commission is, it is not to be performed to the dilution, neglect, or negation of the Greater Commission. If a neighbor’s house is burning down around him, God’s will, God’s priority, is clear: You risk all to save the precious life.
Who among us can’t see the holocaust engulfing the unborn? The house is burning down around our little neighbor and we consider it merely “important.”
But the pro-life cause is not “important.” It is crucial. You’ve heard of “damning with faint praise.” Well, what we’ve been doing is “damning with half-hearted action.”
You don’t tell a patient, “It is ‘important’ for you to keep breathing.” If you don’t breathe, you die. It is crucial that we do every lawful (and I stress the word lawful) thing possible to end abortion. If we don’t, they die. And you know what? For all practical purposes, so do we (see Revelation 3:1).
Over 50 million children have been aborted in America under sanction of federal law since Roe v. Wade. Fifty million.
If we honored each of those 50 million human beings with a single minute of silence, we would remain speechless for over 95 years. How about instead of remaining speechless as, to our everlasting shame we have done now for 39 years, we open our mouths and blow the trumpet?
If I Have All Faith, but Have Not Love . . .
Too many of us are preoccupied with “ministry.” The entire law, the whole duty of Christians, is summarized in one word: love. “Ministry,” if it is not the incarnation of love for people, is unlikely to be able to look straight into the eyes of Love Incarnate on the Coming Day and survive the realization that to do everything else in life well but fail in this one, all-important point, is to fail in all. Read Matthew 25:31ff again—“for the first time.”
Let’s quit “straddling both sides of the fence” on this. Where do we stand? The all-revealing test is easy to perform. Just ask yourself, “If it were MY child they were going to put to death, what would I do?”
Preacher, missionary, Christian worker—if it was your child they were going to put to death under sanction of a perverse and evil law, what would you do?
Well, enough browbeating. And no, I’m not apologizing for it. As someone said, if the truth hurts, it should. But we need to move on to the “how to.” I said we could end abortion virtually overnight. Here’s how we can “go viral” with this.
If every Sunday, in every pulpit, in every evangelical church across America, ministers would devote one minute—ONE MINUTE—to decrying the evil of abortion on demand, such universal solidarity within the ranks of Christian leadership would accomplish two things, maybe three.
First, it would dispel ambiguity and send a clear signal to every pew-sitting believer that this is a top-line priority with God, not a fine-print codicil, not “one more good thing that Christians ought to do when they have time.”
Second, it would foster unanimity amongst all believers—at least on this one all-important issue—and enable us together to render unto God what is God’s (i.e., sufficient advocacy at the ballot box to get Roe overturned) while at the same time rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s—which, don’t forget, includes the advice and consent of “the governed.”
And third, maybe, just maybe the voice of conscience would become less easily ignored by those outside the church and we would see abortion on demand outlawed, not only in America, but around the world—“overnight.”
But it’s a big “if.” After all, how many ministers can spare a whole minute?
Rolley Haggard is an IT manager for a multinational corporation in the Southeast, and a frequent commenter at the BreakPoint Blog.