Note from Randy: Some Christians have a deeply held belief that prolife work distracts us from the “main thing” of sharing the gospel. To those who say the job of the church is strictly evangelism, I would point out that prolife activities open great doors for evangelism. Students who make a speech on abortion have follow-up conversations that can lead to sharing the gospel. Those who work at Pregnancy Resource Centers have regular built-in opportunities they would otherwise not have to share Christ. Those who pass out literature at abortion clinics regularly share the love of Christ. People who open their homes to pregnant women can demonstrate a love that is more than words, then follow with the words of the gospel. My own family had the joy of seeing a pregnant young woman come to the Lord while living with us.
Many, both church leaders and members, still insist that it isn’t the job of the church to get involved in prolife activities. But what is the job of the church? I appeal to you to come to grips with the fact that loving God cannot be separated from loving our neighbor (Matthew 22:34–40). To a man who wished to define “neighbor” in a way that excluded certain groups of needy people, Christ presented the Good Samaritan as a model for our behavior (Luke 10:25–37). He went out of his way to help the man lying in the ditch. In contrast, the religious hypocrites looked the other way because they had more “spiritual” things to do.
In Matthew 25:31–46 Christ makes a distinction of eternal significance based not merely on what people believe and preach, but on what they have done for the weak and needy. Can anyone read this passage and still believe that intervening for the needy is some peripheral issue that distracts the church from its main business? On the contrary, it is part and parcel of what the church is to be and do. It is at the heart of our main business, which includes both speaking the gospel and living out the gospel.
That’s why EPM loves the work of LIFE International, a prolife ministry that views the global issues created by abortion as a mission field. In this article, their President, my friend Kurt Dillinger, shares honestly about his own journey as a pastor into prolife work, and shares examples of how God is using their efforts to spread the good news of Jesus.
Early in my life as a pastor, I saw a line that separated my Gospel calling from cultural issues like abortion. To tell the truth, I wasn’t sure what to do about abortion, so that line gave me some comfort. But one morning, as I read from Genesis 1, I began to see that I was forgetting something.
“So, God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
This is a beautiful and awe-inspiring statement, but I sensed God saying something new to me: “Kurt, you do not know my heart for the lives I create. You have not recognized that every attack on a child is also an attack on me, his Father.”
At that moment, I realized that defending preborn children is entirely within the scope of my calling and the Church’s mission. If the love that sent Jesus to the cross is for everyone (which we boldly proclaim), then every person is immensely valuable to God.
There is no source of life apart from God. None. Not random biological processes, as many in our culture would claim. And obviously not God’s adversary, whose mission is “to steal, kill, and destroy.” No, every human life comes directly and personally from God, and to needlessly take an innocent human life is to destroy God’s work and God’s image.* Leaving aside the cruelty of abortion, this is also an inherently spiritual and evil act.
God’s word erased the dividing line that once gave me comfort. I have been called to proclaim the Gospel. Which means I have also been called to proclaim the value of those to whom the Gospel is offered. There is simply no division between the Gospel and God’s heart for human life.
We founded “LIFE International” to live out this calling. We purchased an ancient synagogue that had fallen into use as an abortion clinic and reclaimed it, rededicating the building to express the Father’s heart for life. (There’s much more to that story! See lifeinternational.com/who-we-are)
Abortion has created a global mission field, and preborn children are the largest endangered people-group in the world, with more than 60 million aborted each year. The Gospel compels us to enter this mission field and proclaim the immense value of every child.
Since 2001, we have been training people around the world to provide life-giving service in their own communities—to the preborn and their families, but also to other neighbors whose lives are considered less valuable, including the old or sick or disabled, the poor or less-educated, and those who have been exploited in various ways.
Our training program, The Journey of a Life-Giver, prepares believers to live out the Gospel. We demonstrate the biblical foundation for recognizing each human life as sacred. We teach the importance of prayer and spiritual preparation for ministry. We present God’s design for sexuality, marriage, and family. We provide technical insights into the amazing processes of human reproduction and prenatal development and the brutal reality of abortion procedures. Finally, we provide a safe place for participants to confess their own failures and receive God’s great mercy and forgiveness.
Our list of partners around the world grows exponentially as the leaders we train venture out to train others. We are currently working in more than 100 countries and developing partners in the remaining nations. Here are two examples:
Nubako and Claudine Selenga are church leaders based in the large city of Kinshasa (DR Congo), once known as “the rape capital of the world.” After our first Journey of a Life-Giver training, Claudine had an idea. What if sexually abused women, rather than being pushed away from the church by their shame and injury, could be drawn into the church and restored? This desire led to the formation of the Tabitha Center—a training center that invites women for friendship and vocational training. Over six months, participants receive counseling toward the healing of their hearts and spirits. They also learn a trade, enabling them to support themselves after graduation.
In the seven years since this program started, the Selengas have formed 240 Tabitha Centers across Kinshasa, bringing hope and restoration to thousands of vulnerable women!
Here’s another stunning demonstration of the power of the Gospel to transform lives.
During abortion-recovery training in Katmandu (Nepal), our team included a new member—a quiet and unassuming young pastor. As we discussed our previous experiences while presenting the Gospel and the sanctity of human life, this man told of an extraordinary event. He had been describing the miraculous process of prenatal development to a group of 100 women in his home nation of Cambodia. Their awe at the beauty and complexity of this process was obvious, so he asked if they would like to learn about the Person who created it. They did, and so the pastor presented the Gospel. All 100 women accepted Christ!
When we see God’s brilliance and experience His love, we are transformed. This is our message around the world: God’s love is expressed in creation, in each person who bears His image, and—most clearly of all—in the Person of His Son. Each one of us was made for Him, each one of us has immense value, and each one of us remains broken until our relationship with Him is restored.
Our work at LIFE International continues to accelerate. Our U.S.-based office is growing, and our 10 regional hubs are expanding their outreach to member nations. The message of The Father’s Heart for Life continues to spread—through those who have already been trained and the many educational resources we provide.
Perhaps, as I did, you struggle to fit abortion into your worldview. Even knowing that a human being is sacrificed each time an abortion is performed, we are left with the difficult question of what to do about it. I am convinced Scripture answers this question. The Gospel compels us to love those whom God loves, to speak up for them within our culture, and to help in practical, life-giving ways.
If you agree, we would love to work with you through LIFE International. Please visit our website (lifeinternational.com) to learn more.
*Of course, I speak of needless destruction. In very rare cases such as ectopic pregnancy, the child will not survive procedures necessary to preserve her mother’s life.