August 30, 2004
How should Christians respond when people make bad choices?
If a waiter asked "do you want a baked potato, rice, or french fries?" and you responded "fries," would you be upset if the waiter pounded the table and yelled "No! French fries are bad for you!"?
From the beginning, God gave man and woman a free will, and He provided a delightful "menu" of many acceptable choices to choose from. The Garden
of Eden was full of a great assortment of fruit trees, and Adam and Eve were free to choose which fruit to eat according to their own interests and desires. But eating the fruit of one particular tree was prohibited, even though that tree was placed within the boundaries of the garden. The tree was not out of reach: God sovereignly chose to give man and woman the opportunity to choose to eat from a tree with poisonous fruit! But He gave them ample warnings not to eat the fruit.
Was God being unfair? No, God gave Adam and Eve such a bountiful supply of acceptable fruit to eat that He knew they could never claim that it had become necessary to eat the forbidden fruit; they could never claim He didn't offer them enough variety or satisfaction from the acceptable fruit in the garden. When they made the wrong choice, they had no excuse, and they had to live with the consequences of that bad choice for the rest of their lives.
When a woman says "it's my body, my choice" as she hurries into a killing center, she is choosing to bear the responsibility for the consequences of her decision. Because we were there to offer help and alternative choices, now she can never claim "I had to do it." By acknowledging the fact that she had a "choice," she is confessing that she could have chosen to let the child live just as freely as she chose to abort the child. Now she can never claim "the devil made me do it"; she can never say "I had no choice" (although her baby truly had no choice).
People seem to often talk about the concept of free will as if "choice" frees them from being responsible for their own actions, but in fact a true understanding of free will makes people more responsible for their actions. A person who truly has a "choice" is free to choose to do right.
When a Christian knows that someone is going to make deadly choice, the Christian has a responsibility to warn the person of the consequences of their choice. But God's people who choose to shirk this responsibility will also bear the same consequences (Ezekiel
Sadly, there is a strong movement today to tear away the foundation of pro-life ministry: the understanding that abortion is not a legitimate "choice," but it is wrong. The scriptural charge to warn those who are making a deadly choice no longer seems to apply. As I was preparing this letter, we received a packet of information promoting a new "pledge" being recommended for pro-life ministries. The pledge reads in part "We're here to help you through your situation, not to judge it.... We'll be here for you no matter what you decide." Those who sign the pledge refuse to "intimidate and manipulate a young mother to save her baby."
Now, don't misunderstand me; we offer compassionate, honest help to women both before and after abortion. But we don't hide the truth of what abortion does to a woman and her baby. Hiding the truth doesn't help women (and it certainly doesn't help the babies). But many today seem to believe that hiding the truth is the answer, in effect censoring some of the information a woman needs to make "informed and thoughtful choices." In an effort to market themselves as offering "unbiased, non-judgmental services," some pro-life ministries have gone so far as even referring abortion-minded clients to abortion chambers! (They seem to feel that they will reach more abortion-minded women if they offer "all options." This kind of humanistic
16:25 approach is a response to the decreasing numbers of abortion-minded women who come to pro-life ministries for help, which is the primary problem being faced by pregnancy help centers nationwide. But, as we have learned, the way to address this problem is to
establish a strategic location at the doorway to death -- a response patterned after the incarnation.)
Our ministry efforts have always been unashamedly anti-abortion. We refuse to "market" ourselves in a way which would appear less controversial to the world; we refuse to portray ourselves as offering "unbiased counseling" on abortion. God's people should be biased against the devil's agenda! (Otherwise we're like "salt" that has lost its "savor.")
Making the right choice isn't really that hard, if we just listen to our Creator: "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live..." (Deuteronomy 30:19). (Our Creator didn't just give us "all of our options," He expressed His "bias" for life over death.)
Thank you for freely choosing to join with us in proclaiming the free message of life to those who are perishing. We know that you have many "choices" of what to support, so it is a special honor to know that you recognize the value of what God is doing through our family and ministries. Your continued support will enable us not only to continue to minister to women and children in Bakersfield, but to encourage similar ministries across the nation.
Just the other day I received a message from a pro-life ministry in Detroit asking what it would take to get a ministry like ours started in their area. Right now we don't have adequate resources to provide significant help to those who come to us with such requests. Every month we struggle just to try to pay our bills (and we continue to fall behind on our house payments).
By the way, our family is expanding again! Terri is pregnant with #11! Please pray for Terri and the baby in these next few months. We are also looking into expanding our educational background through Summit Bible College, as Terri considers taking classes to become a "professional" Christian counselor and I consider working toward a doctorate. I'm not sure how we can find time for all of this, so please pray that God will balance our priorities and keep us in the center of His will.
In Christ's service for those who cannot speak for themselves,
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