Affirmations of the True Woman Manifesto, Part 3Are You Truly Pro-life?
Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Now in a culture of death—here’s the good news—Christians, followers of Christ can and ought to be messengers of life. Life. In a world that devalues life, we can show better than anyone else can the infinite, eternal value that God places on every human soul.
Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, June 23.
Human life is precious to God and is to be valued and protected
from the point of conception until rightful death.
That line comes from the True Woman Manifesto. Nancy’s been teaching through this document in several series this year. Yesterday Nancy gave us a deep biblical basis for the sanctity of life. She’ll pick back up on this important topic. You have to hear this message. It’s far different than most pro-life messages, getting deep into the heart of the issue. Here’s Nancy.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You may have heard about the recent headline in the Miami Herald that said, “Doctor’s License Revoked after Botched Abortion.” The first part of the article said,
Sarasota doctor has lost his license from mistakenly aborting a healthy twin during a procedure targeting a deformed fetus. Kachinas had blamed faulty ultrasound equipment for the 2006 mistake.1
So he was targeting the baby that they thought had Down syndrome and mistakenly aborted the other twin.
Al Mohler from Southern Seminary spoke about this whole matter in his commentary. And he said,
What are we to make of this? We now know that the vast majority of babies identified prenatally as carrying the genetic markers for Down syndrome are aborted. [By the way, I didn’t know that. That may be news to you.]
National statistics indicate that 80-90% of such babies are now aborted—meaning that we have launched a search and destroy mission on Down syndrome babies in the womb.
What is the real scandal here? That this doctor was ready to kill a baby with Down syndrome or merely that he aborted the "wrong baby"? 2
The late Dr. Francis Schaeffer decades ago was talking about this issue and what was going to happen in our society if we did not wake up to the importance of protecting life. And in one of his books, Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, he said,
Times of monstrous inhumanity do not come about all at once; they are slipped into gradually. Often those who use certain emotions and appeal to "rights," do not even know what they have started. They see only some isolated condition they want to accomplish, but have not considered soberly the overall direction in which things are moving. At some later point they want to go backwards. But then it is too late.
What would Francis Schaeffer say if he were alive today?
Stephen Alexander is a pastor and retired judge who wrote a very helpful piece on the biblical argument against assisted suicide. Let me read to you a portion of that piece. He said,
What happens to a society which increasingly turns to death as a resolution to its social problems? When will the "right to die" become the "obligation to die"? Our culture which was once known as Western Christendom, is slowly, but surely becoming a culture which seeks to solve societal problems with the violent act of death.
And it is especially in America that we are so obsessed with personal rights that we are willing to sever our traditional biblical ties of duty, compassion, and love to the weak and the unwanted. We are becoming not just inhospitable, but even a dangerous place for those too weak to compete effectively in what has become a "contest of rights"—the very young, the unborn, the elderly, the dying, the handicapped.3
We looked yesterday at the statement in the True Woman Manifesto that says human life is precious to God and is to be valued and protected from the point of conception until rightful death. Now most of these affirmations we're taking just one day, but I thought this was such a significant subject that we should expand it into two. So yesterday we looked at why is life precious. Why is it precious to God? Why should it be valued and protected?
But I want us today to look at this whole culture of death and see how counter-cultural God’s way really is. If we’re going to protect a culture of life, we are going to be swimming upstream against a culture that is choosing death in so many ways.
Now when I talk about a culture of death, the first thing that comes to many of our minds is the whole issue of abortion, which is now legal in two-thirds of all the countries of the world. About 55 million babies are aborted worldwide every year. There have been approximately 52 million abortions in the United States since it was legalized in 1973. That is greater than the current population of California. It’s more than the combined populations of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Lives that have been snuffed out in this country since we made it legal. Those are the ones we know about.
Approximately one out of every four pregnant women in our country today will choose to terminate her baby’s life. Frederica Mathewes-Green is a wonderful writer who has spoken about this issue a lot. She says,
I lose track [and she wrote this a number of years ago] of how many millions have died; when it passes 40 million, the mind begins to swim. We can cope with such figures only by ignoring them. Once I heard someone observe that a memorial similar to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, listing the names of all these babies would have to stretch for 50 miles. That was many years ago, and it would be many miles longer today. But such a wall cannot exist because those babies never had a name. ("What Women Need")
Now when abortion becomes legal and practiced and countenanced in our country, it’s just a short step, believe it or not, to euthanasia—the taking of the life of the elderly and the handicapped, who as the Nazis would say are considered "useless eaters." And then from euthanasia to infanticide is not that big a step—taking the lives of babies.
You say, “Surely not. That’s just in the future.”
Nearly 30 years ago a major symposium on infanticide was held at Cornell University. Now that’s an ivory tower. It wasn’t popular in the thinking at that time. But what starts in the academic centers ultimately works its way into the culture. The scientists who participated in this conference concluded that infanticide is not deviant behavior or wrong. Rather, it is as "normal" as any other instinct and may actually be a beneficial evolutionary adaptation.
It’s a culture of death. Suicide is another expression of the culture of death. This has been brought home to me very intensely as just within the last week we have received here at Revive Our Hearts three emails from teenagers who are contemplating taking their lives. Is it any wonder that the taking of human life—our own or others—has become such a simple, common thing in the culture when you think about how prominently it plays in entertainment?
By the age of 18, between movies, television, and video games, the average American child has seen 80,000 murders. Now with that backdrop, how will you ever come to think about life as being precious when you can just with the flick of a wrist snuff it out? You say, “That’s not real life.”
We’re creating a way of thinking through our entertainment that life is disposable. We see stories about murder and violent deaths so often in the news these days whether it’s in the Middle East or here on college campuses or in a McDonalds or somewhere else, just these violent, random senseless murders, suicide murders. It’s so often in the news that it really has become pretty much routine. The danger is that we become immune where we can’t feel anymore the pain, what God feels, when human life that is so precious to Him is devalued in that way.
Now in a culture of death—here’s the good news—Christians, followers of Christ can and ought to be messengers of life. Life. In a world that devalues life, we can show better than anyone else can the infinite, eternal value that God places on every human soul. We are called to be actively, proactively engaged as messengers of life.
Proverbs 24:11 gives us this mandate, this challenge. “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.” We cannot just stay in our little ivory towers, our little sanctified fortresses and watch the world participating in this culture of death and not care, and not get involved.
The Scripture says we are to be actively involved in rescuing those who are being taken away to death, holding back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. Now, there are people who are stumbling to the slaughter in a lot of different ways—some in physical ways, physical death, millions and millions in spiritual death, in emotional death, believing lies that are causing them to go to the slaughter. So there are a lot of different ways we can live out that verse. But it calls us to care about those who are dying.
There are many ways to be engaged in the battle for life. At the very least, certainly, we need to be concerned about laws that devalue life. We need to know where our elected officials stand on the issue of life. It’s really not just the issue; it’s the issues related to life. We need to vote, and we need to vote knowledgably and responsibly.
I’m aghast when I hear how many people, Christians, well-meaning people (I know they love the Lord) vote for certain candidates, have voted for certain candidates who devalue life. And they say, “They have these other good points.” That’s not voting responsibly. That’s not rescuing those who are being taken away to death, holding back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
A number of the staff in our ministry are involved in our local pregnancy care center here in Niles. That’s a way to be engaged in the battle for life. There are those in this room who are providing foster care, who are adopting unwanted children. Those are ways to be engaged in the battle for life. But those are the ways you think of most often. I want to take just a few moments in this session to probe a little more personally and a little more deeply into what it means to be pro-life.
Most of our listeners I think if a poll were taken would identify themselves as pro-life—not all, but certainly most. I would say that undoubtedly that most in this room today would consider ourselves to be pro-life. But then the question comes, “Do we really treat all human life as precious? If we’re so pro-life, what are we doing to honor our Creator’s view of life? Do we value and protect life around us? So let me just in a stream of consciousness here give you a few things to think about along this line.
First a question: Are you or perhaps your children being entertained by movies, shows, or video games that sensationalize or trivialize murder or that promote a cheapened view of life? Think about the shows that you go to see, the movies that you rent in your home, the TV programs you watch, the video programs your kids are playing. Are they showing a cheapened view of life? If so maybe you’re not as pro-life, truly pro-life, as what you claim.
You see, the value we place on life, the value we really place on life, is not so much seen in what we call ourselves, what label we put on ourselves as it’s seen in how we view and treat other people including children. When I hear somebody say, “I can’t stand children,” I’m thinking this is not a pro-life person. They may call themselves pro-life, but if you’re pro-life, you will love children. Now children can be nuisances. Children can get in the way. Children can create issues. I’m not doubting that. But God loves the little children! And you can’t be pro-life and not love children.
God loves the poor. None of us would say, “I don’t like poor people.” But how many of us go out of our way to avoid having to engage with someone whose needs are such that it’s going to call upon a response and we just don’t want to go there? Whether we’re really pro-life is seen in how we view the poor, how we treat them. How we view and treat those with disabilities, the elderly, those who can no longer care for themselves. How we view and treat our parents, in-laws, difficult people, those of other faiths, those who are immoral, people with whom we disagree politically, theologically, ideologically.
These people, and everybody else I could name, are precious to God and they need to be precious to us. The way we talk to and about others says something about whether we are really pro-life, how we view life. When words come out of our mouth that are harsh when we’re talking about others, that are slanderous, when we destroy the reputations of others, when we say things about others behind their backs that we wouldn’t say to their faces, can we call ourselves pro-life? Can we say we view those people as precious to us, to be valued and protected?
Let me just tell you one place where this really gets violated and it’s become a great heartache to me is on the Internet, in the blogosphere. What gives us the license? I’m talking about Christians here who disagree with someone theologically or ideologically and they slam them in the blogosphere, and they’re consigning them to the pit of hell for taking a different theological position.
I saw some this week (and maybe it’s why it’s so heavy on my heart) that came into another ministry talking about another Christian leader. Now, you may not agree with everything this person stands for. You may not like their personality. You may not like their style. But what gives us license to ridicule them, to be harsh and mean-spirited? To be cruel and demeaning?
When we talk that way, when we write that way, we are demeaning the image of God. An attack on another human being, even if they are the most evil human being ever created, an attack on that person is an attack on God Himself. Now some of those people need to be dealt with. I’m not saying that there isn’t an appropriate way through legal means, through means that God has instituted to deal with evil people. But for us just to mouth off, spout off about people we disagree with . . .
You see this is not just an issue out there. This is an opportunity for us as God’s people to model what it really means to view life as being precious. When the world sees us able to disagree even with pagans in a way that is civil and courteous and kind and gracious . . . Now I realize some of these are huge. How do you deal kindly and courteously with some of the heinous things people believe and do? It’s not easy. But when they see us speaking the truth in love it says that we’re of a different kingdom.
I’ll tell you some of the most notable pro-abortionists who’ve been converted to the pro-life position have been won because of love, because someone took a personal interest in that person. Instead of just slamming them in the press and in ways that were vicious or unkind, they said, “This is a human soul that I value, that I care for, that I want to reach.”
Scripture says that "the tongue is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not so to be" (James 3:8-10). These people are precious to God. Do you treat them that way?
What about this? Do you harbor hatred or anger in your heart toward anyone? Now it’s not just the way I live, it’s not just the way I talk, now it’s the way I think? Uh-huh. Because in Matthew 5 Jesus equates hatred and anger to murder (see verses 21-26). You say, “I would never murder anybody. I value life.” Do you murder them in your heart? Do you wish they were dead? Some of us need to confess that we have really not been pro-life, that we’ve not valued and respected and cherished human life as created in the image of God as we ought.
Just in these closing moments, I want to speak briefly to two specific groups of people who are among those listening to my voice today. Some of you have taken the life of your unborn child. You’ve been guilty of abortion, and you’re eaten up with guilt. You may have failed to value life in the past in that or some other way.
I want to just remind you that there is grace. That’s what the cross is about. That’s what the gospel is about. It’s for sinners. It’s for murderers. It’s for every one of us because we’ve all sinned. And through repentance you can be forgiven and you can begin to promote a culture of life.
I want to read to you a testimony that appeared on our True Woman blog not too long ago from a woman who has become a friend of our ministry. She said,
Before knowing Christ I had an abortion. The doctors warned me about the high possibility of having a baby with birth defects due to a severe chicken pox virus that happened during the time of conception. Since my husband and I "walked in the counsel of the wicked" at that time, I underwent what they called a "therapeutic abortion" at or around eight weeks of pregnancy.
This was a very dark period in my life even though we still did not know the depth of our sin. We didn’t know at the time that even special children are a beautiful gift from the Lord and that He created "the mute, the deaf, the seeing and the blind" for His own glory.
Years later God stepped into our lives, and in His infinite mercy, brought repentance to our hearts and we received His forgiveness. Today my husband and I counsel young people and challenge them to allow God to reign supreme over their childbearing decisions. I challenge girls not only to choose life and oppose abortion, but to be open to God’s desire to bring life through them, so as to continue to raise generations of faithful children.
Today, sadly, even committed Christian families choose not to have children or tell God how many children they are "planning to have." This really grieves our hearts. We challenge these couples to be receptive to God’s voice and to be channels of life and not to base their decisions in selfish desires or self-seeking advancement, but rather in the advancement of the Kingdom and the glory of God.
So here’s a woman who was not pro-life, took the life of the unborn, but that God is now using as an ambassador of life to give life to others. I just want to say that can be true of you as well.
Then there’s a second group among those of you who are listening today, and that is some who are considering taking your own life. You’re listening to my voice and entertaining thoughts of taking your own life. I just want to say to you your life is precious to God and you don’t have to die. Christ died for you. He gave His life to give you life. And the Lord had you listening to this program today to say there is hope and by God’s grace you can choose life through Christ.
Let’s pray. Lord, if we’re honest, all of us would have to say we don’t value life the way You do. We have sinned against other human beings with our words, with our thoughts. We have harbored anger and bitterness. We’ve wished others would just vanish. And so Lord, give us Your heart of compassion. Make us true women who really do value life as being precious and who do what we can to protect it from the moment of conception all the way to the final breath.
Thank You Lord for giving Your life for us. I pray that as a result of this program today there might be some lives that might be saved for Your glory and for the advancement of Your kingdom. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
Leslie Basham: Wow. Valuing life is a huge contentious issue in our nation. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has taken us past the controversy into the heart of the issue. Each of us who claim to be pro-life need to seriously consider the challenging words we just heard. Those words come to you each weekday thanks to listeners who support Revive Our Hearts financially. Today’s message was so hard hitting, we wanted to air as much of it as we could, so I’m going to be very brief.
We need to hear from you. Without support from listeners there would be no Revive Our Hearts. When you donate any amount, we’ll say thanks by sending the new book Nancy edited called Voices of the True Woman Movement. If you live out the messages in this book, your family and those around you are going to see God through you in a powerful way.
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The Bible calls children a blessing from the Lord. Do you truly believe it? Nancy explores that tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.
Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.
All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.
1 “Doctor’s License Revoked After Botched Abortion ,” The Miami Herald, Monday, April 12, 2010. http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/04/12/1575129/doctors-license-revoked-after.html