9.19.2005

More on Pro-life Christians Using Scripture

I'd love your thoughts on this everyone.

I'm always interested in the thoughts of others regarding the use of Scripture while we try to persuade women to choose birth. I've given my opinion and thoughts about this here. In short, I think that the crisis an unplanned pregnancy brings is not the appropriate time to talk to her about God unless (1) she asks or (2) she acknowledges that she is a Christian. Even at this point, I will try to draw out more of her beliefs before sharing Bible verses, etc., with her. I think that further down the road - that's the time to speak to her about God...once the crisis is over.

I wrote a popular website to ask their opinion. I didn't give them specifics about my ministry, just as I won't here. I shared my pro-woman approach. This is the response I received:

Let me say, first of all, that I appreciate so very much what you are doing to save the lives of unborn children. What a noble thing that is. Though I have great sympathy for what you are doing, I find it impossible as a Christian to divorce moral issues from the matter of God's existence and law. If the Creator of life is not brought into the equation, there is no logical way to really argue the case for the sanctity of life. No moral question can be argued effectively without appealing to God, for if there is no God, nothing is wrong. Man becomes his own lawmaker and whatever he chooses to do is right. One cannot argue, for example, that murder is wrong because it hurts the economy (or some other practical reason). There is a much more fundamental issue at stake.

Let me give you an example. There is a popular movement today called the "intelligent design" movement. The advocates of this view contend, and very effectively, that the universe cannot be the result of random chance. It is too intricately put together; it evidences "design." These men, however, are very careful never to mention "God" -on account of the prejudicial flag that such might raise. As noble as their motives doubtless are, there are seriously mistaken.

Paul, in his epistle to the Roman Christians, argued that when we do not give honor to God, as "God," we seriously err. Read Romans 1:21 especially. Perhaps you can give this matter some consideration.


So, I'm "seriously mistaken" too, I suppose. I haven't responded yet. But I have a few points that I'll make to this person:

- I don't usually make it a "moral issue" when I talk to women. Instead, I discuss their health, happiness, goals, dreams, etc. I agree that I couldn't make a statement of "abortion is wrong" without mentioning God, because that wouldn't make sense. Nor do I make a case for the "sanctity of life," even though I do believe in the sanctity of human life.

- As to the comment about intelligent design, I guess I don't draw the same parallel. I don't consider this a matter of teaching people about the unborn, God as the creator, etc. I consider this a crisis that needs to be averted. If someone was on a ledge ready to jump, would you toss them a Bible and tell them to open up to Psalm 23? Or would it make more sense to talk about the circumstances that brought the person to the ledge, his or her loved ones, why this would be a bad thing, etc? Perhaps after the person was off the ledge, we could have a discussion about his or her spiritual beliefs.

- Paul's letter to the Romans states: For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Hmmmm. I did make a point to mention to this person that my ministry is founded and rooted in prayer. I do not divorce God from my mission. My approach is strategic in that it allows many to pray for situations that are occurring with a woman, and each step taken to develop this outreach has been prayed over and is prayed over continually. I do glorify God and give thanks to Him. I'm no theologian, so I can't say what it is specifically that does not apply here, but something isn't right. I fall back on 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, which I did mention in my email and asked about. That went unanswered.

So, what do you all think? Is this just someone who doesn't understand the approach? Or is this person on to something? I'm interested in hearing your opinions.

Update - Here's the response I got back today:

Thank you for your note. You make some good points. I certainly don't have the "knowledge market" cornered relative to a complex subject of this nature. I appreciate what you are doing and pray that you continue to have success in saving the lives of precious babies.

7 comments:

LAmom said...

Hi! I'm new to your blog. I can't wait to check out the rest of it.

I agree that using Scripture with an unbeliever is generally not the best approach. But I do believe that you can make a statement that abortion is wrong without using the Bible. There are some things that our society has agreed are wrong. Examples include theft, violence, fraud, child exploitation, and killing.

I don't have much experience with counseling people who are actually considering abortion at that very moment, so I'm not the best one to have an opinion about what is the right way to deal with women in that situation. But in the overall abortion debate, the fact that abortion is wrong because kills a living being can be asserted without any kind of religious reference.

JivinJ said...

I think the web site is mistaken - there are numerous ways to argue for saving the unborn without bringing in God. Many of these tactics can eventually lead to discussions of faith. For example, when arguing with a pro-choice individual who doesn't believe in objective moral wrongs its impossible for them to recognize the need for repentance, forgiveness and God if they don't recognize that some things are objectively wrong.

It often takes questions that don't mention God to get them to admit that some things are objectively wrong. (Is rape ever morally good?) The idea that things are objectively wrong can then introduce the idea that objective moral law must come from some source (an objective moral law-giver aka God).

The Pro-Woman Pro-Lifer said...

LAmom - Thanks for visiting and responding. I guess it is true that some things can be known as "wrong" without bringing in God's Word. Things that are against the law, for instance, could be "wrong" simply because of that.

Then again, I do not make that statement when I work with women. So, that really isn't a huge concern for me. I prefer to bring her to her own conclusion about why abortion isn't right for her.

JivinJ - Thanks for your comments. I agree that other approaches can lead to discussions of faith - especially when a friendship develops over time. It seems there is a greater chance that they'll recognize God's love through us if we wait and plant seeds slowly over time.

sarahfaith said...

I find that I can't catagorically say that I will or won't use scripture with every woman I counsel. I am still pretty new at it so I am still getting a feel for it, but you can usually see if the woman is open to it. On the intake sheet at our center we ask what religion they are, usually you can tell right then if they will be open to talk about God. I would say I am also more likely to talk about God with someone who has a negative pregnancy test, because the weight is off their shoulders and they tend to be fairly open-minded at that point. Often I will have a woman who I don't think I should outright discuss God with, but I feel will be receptive to an offer to pray with her, and many times women really appreciate the prayer.

Lee Anne said...

I HATE the actions of those Christians who bash people over the head with scriptures. It is one certain way to drive a person away from God. One becomes a judge and jury when they do that, and we are not judge nor jury.

We need to meet people where they are - Christ met the woman at the well, He did not berate her, He simply reached out to her and told her what He knew.

I listened to a program on Life on the Rock the other afternoon. It was with a man who had been caught up in acting out in a homosexual way. He attributes his coming out of that life style to a man who walked beside him, never preached the gospel to him, but loved him and shared his own trials and tribulations with him.

As St. Francis said, "Preach the gospel and when necessary, use words."

Blessings -

Jenn said...

No, I think you are the one who are on to something. In the long run, the way you approach your ministry is bound to save more children and more parents a lot of grief and pain.

I liken this to another situation. Sometimes telling a grieving person at a funeral that it is all part of God's plan is not what they want to particularly hear at the moment. They need to work through the stages of grief before they can even hear such a thing or to give it any consideration.

I think you are on the right track and that your approach is very loving and centered on what the individual needs at that precise moment.

The Pro-Woman Pro-Lifer said...

Thank you Sarah, Lee Anne, and Jenn. What everyone said made a lot of sense.

Sarah, I do use the Bible and talk about God to the women who ask about certain things, and if a woman says "I'm a Christian," I do further question her to find out what she feels God thinks, and I might point her to certain Bible verses and ask her to tell me what they say to her. So I don't really categorically say that I won't use the Bible either. I will say though, that it's a rare occasion. Probably less than 10% of the time.

Lee Anne, everything you said helped a lot. Especially the quote from St. Francis. I think we can go far just by being a Christian friend at a time when no other Christians might be in a person's life. Leading by example and being compassionate, concerned, and graceful are ways to preach without words.

Jenn, thank you for your kind words. I pray that you're right about helping more children and families! :)