Question from a Reader:
Why do some churches avoid showing pictures of aborted babies, and how could it be done respectfully?
Answer from Randy Alcorn:
Many times the tendency of a church’s leadership, in my opinion, is to play it safe and thereby fail to speak prophetically into people’s lives. As a result we sometimes “protect the peace” by not speaking the truth. Not that we speak untruths; just that we fail to speak the whole truth. (Pastors, of course, will want to be sensitive towards the many women who’ve had abortions who will find this difficult, but this can be an opportunity to offer the love and forgiveness of Christ and the emotional support they need.)
But especially related to a Sanctity of Human Life Sunday presentation, pictures can be shown to those open to seeing them. This can easily be done by playing music and alerting people who don’t want to see the pictures to close their eyes or look down until the music is over. It’s so fascinating that we would allow a group’s preferences to not see photos—which can be accommodated by closing their eyes—to prevent other people from even having the opportunity to keep their eyes open and be touched deeply by what they see. The way to respect both is to show the photos and allow those who don’t want to see not to look.
I do wonder how many children’s lives have been lost and how many women’s lives have been horribly scarred because church leaders feared the criticisms that inevitably come if they allowed these terrible pictures to be seen in the assembly.
The same thing is true of showing pictures of starving children. It’s unpleasant; it would make us feel guilty about our lifestyles, and we want people to feel safe and comfortable in our church services. But does God call us to make people feel safe and comfortable or to sometimes feel profoundly uncomfortable so that we might be moved to obey God? The truth that makes us uncomfortable is ultimately the truth that sets us free. And Satan, the liar from the beginning, wins his biggest victories when God’s people don’t come to terms with the truth—including that he’s not only a liar but a murderer. John 8 says it all.