Nine Marks of a Prolife Church

Nine Marks of a Prolife Churchby John Ensor /

This is the last of three posts on abortion this week by John Ensor. The first two are here and here. On Thursday, each attendee at the Evangelicals for Life Conference in Washington, DC, received a copy of John’s book, Innocent Blood: Challenging the Powers of Death with the Gospel of Life.
  1. They know the Word. The people are taught the Scriptures regularly and repeatedly regarding the intrinsic value of human life, the inviolability of shedding innocent blood, and the call to cherish and defend innocent human life, including the preborn.
  2. They fear God and let their babies live. More than half of American women having abortions self-identify as Catholic or Protestant. The problem is not “out there,” but in our midst. So is the solution. The prolife church creates an environment where no matter how embarrassing or difficult a pregnancy is, abortion is no more acceptable than killing a two-year old.
  3. They love their pregnant neighbor. The prolife church hears sufficient testimonies to understand that pregnancy often presents itself as a crisis; for some mothers a pregnancy feels like a death sentence and abortionists look like saviors. The prolife church responds as a Good Samaritan, providing direct, practical, life-saving help.
  4. They hold true, but link arms. Without compromising theological convictions, the prolife church intentionally cooperates with other churches, even those that differ in meaningful ways, to establish and sustain a pregnancy-help organization that identifies and assists those in pregnancy-distress in their communities.
  5. They articulate the case for life. From teenagers to grandparents, the prolife church is trained to make the case for life to our secular culture. They know how to use the science of fetal development and our common philosophy of human rights to show that if the unborn are human beings, then abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent human being, and therefore unjust.
  6. They affirm the administration of justice. The prolife church encourages Christians to seek out positions of authority and leadership in every area of society and to use their authority to protect or advance human dignity. Whether as headmaster, police chief, corporate CEO, or a civic or political leader, those who “enforce justice” (Hebrews 11:33) promote life.
  7. They practice citizenship. The prolife church respects governmental authority and submits to just laws, even as they advocate, organize, and vote for new leaders and laws that protect human life and well-being. They take full advantage of living in a democratic republic.
  8. They bring the gospel to the guilty. They bring the atonement of Christ to the anguish of mothers and fathers who have chosen abortion. They proclaim the cross as full payment paid for full punishment due: innocent blood for innocent blood. They offer the cleansing power of God’s Spirit, which turns the secret shame of abortion into glorious testimony.
  9. They pray for the end of abortion. Concerted, public prayer protects them from making peace with death. It prevents elective abortion from becoming settled law. It acknowledges our limited power to affect change, but confesses God’s almighty power to so work in us that future generations may one day look back on abortion the way we look back on slavery. It fuels enduring strength to say with Wilberforce, “Never, never will we desist till we have…extinguished every trace of this bloody traffic, of which our posterity, looking back to the history of these enlightened times, will scarce believe that it has been suffered to exist so long a disgrace and dishonor to this country.”

John EnsorJohn Ensor, an ordained Evangelical, is President of PassionLife, a leader in the prolife movement, and author of several books, including Innocent Blood: Challenging the Powers of Death with the Gospel of Life.

Of Poplars and Petri Dishes

Of poplars and petri dishesby John Ensor /

This is the second of three posts on abortion this week by John Ensor. The first is here, and the third will run on Saturday. Today, each attendee at the Evangelicals for Life Conference in Washington, DC, will receive a copy of John’s book, Innocent Blood: Challenging the Powers of Death with the Gospel of Life.

Between 1882 and 1968, nearly 3,500 Black Americans were lynched in the United States. Among them were Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, murdered in Marion, Indiana on August 7, 1930. The night before, they had been arrested and charged with the armed robbery and murder of a white man and the rape of a white woman. The case was never solved, partly because, with thousands in attendance, the men were hung from a tree in the town square on the night of their arrest.

Studio photographer Lawrence Beitler was there with his camera equipment and captured what has become the iconic image of lynching in America. (For this post, we chose to emphasize from that larger image the astonishing callousness of the onlookers). The photograph helped inspire the poem and song, “Strange Fruit,” by Abel Meeropol. Billie Holiday sang it with such gripping lamentation that her rendition is now part of the iconic history of civil rights.

Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees…

What is God’s response to the lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith? Whom shall he hold accountable for their lifeblood? I’m not asking who should feel guilty. I’m talking about final judgment. Whom shall he hold liable for this blood-guilt on the Great Day? “For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted” (Psalm 9:11).

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The Whoopi Doctrine

The Whoopi Doctrineby John Ensor /

With the annual March for Life taking place on Friday, this is the first of three posts this week on abortion. The others will appear on Thursday and Saturday. Also on Thursday, each attendee at the Evangelicals for Life Conference in Washington, DC, will receive a copy of John Ensor’s book, Innocent Blood: Challenging the Powers of Death with the Gospel of Life.

On the occasion of Pope Francis’ arrival in the U.S. last summer, Whoopi Goldberg raised the question of abortion and the Bible. While many Americans do not acknowledge the Bible as an authoritative source, many of us do. And you can be sure that if the Bible affirmed abortion in any way, it would be quoted by secularists quite often. So the matter of what the Bible says about abortion is important.

Whoopi stated on The View, “Well, there’s nothing in the Book that says anything about abortion.” And I agree! If she means that nowhere in the Bible can you find the word “abortion,” she’s right on the money.

In saying this, she is echoing how a number of Christian clergy give their blessing to elective abortion. For example, Tom Davis, former Professor of Religion at Skidmore College, founding member of the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion, and author of Sacred Work: Planned Parenthood and Its Clergy Alliances, recently affirmed his position, saying “There is no law against abortion in the Bible….So when you don’t have a specific guidance on something, you look at what is the most human thing to do in a situation, what is most helpful and sometimes abortion is indicated.”

Interesting logic. Come to think of it, the Bible has “no law against” domestic violence, gay-bashing, lynching, or genocide, either. Are we to conclude, then, that in the absence of “specific guidance” these could be “sometimes indicated” as “the most human thing to do”?

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