This week on the prayer calendar we prayed for three partner pregnancy care centers located in the Lone Star State:

Even though all three are associates, we have more of a relationship with the one in Seabrook. The other two came to us fully formed, but Seabrook is a work in progress. They've made great strides recently, under the leadership of Paula Lilja, and plan to open in 6 months. 

Please pray for Paula, the volunteers who've already been trained, and the ones currently undergoing training. 

I've been "chatting" via Facebook with a friend in Kenya this morning. He opened the conversation thanking me for my posts, and said he enjoys emailing them to others. He wishes he could share them with even more people, but faces some limitations that are almost unimaginable to Americans.

In my musing yesterday I listed four challenges that overseas pro-life ministry must overcome in comparison to what we face. Here's a fifth: lack of electricity. 

Most people in places like Kenya don't have consistent, available electric power. Many also lack computers, cell phones, and Internet access. If they were able to download pro-life resources, they might lack the laser printers and paper to print them off, or the money to have copies made.

I asked what communication methods are available to him and he replied, "holding workshops."

When you think about it, that isn't a bad method. It's similar to the way the Gospel spread in the 1st century. Even here in the States, where everybody has multiple means of communication, one-on-one conversation is still the best way to share compassion and attempt to persuade. 

Please pray for Stephen, and others like him, who urgently desire to spread the message about the sanctity of human life and the dangers of abortion, but lack even the most basic resources that we take for granted.

Follow-up 8/8/14: We're highlighting this post from over a year ago as a response to columnist Ann Coulter's diatribe against American missionaries going to other lands (see Ebola Doc's Condition Downgraded to 'Idiotic' c/o All the points we made then apply now.

Indeed, would any of us have heard the Gospel if it weren't for the missionary journeys of Paul, Dr. Luke, Silas, Timothy, Titus, etc.? Were they wrong to risk their lives in the cause of Christ? Did they "waste" resources, or was the salvation of souls worth it? Didn't Christ say, "whoever loses his life for My sake will save it?" (Luke 9:24)

Another worthy response: Are Christian Missionaries Narcissistic Idiots? by Albert Mohler

This week Tom Lothamer, president of Life Matters Worldwide, will fly to the Philippines with Ray Paget, our former executive director, and John McCastle, a new board member and the president of Ultrasounds for Life.

They'll be meeting with our partners in pro-life ministry, including Melisa Serata (who does abstinence education in schools) and Dr. Mae Corvera (who leads LIFT ministries at her church and others in Manila).

The trip will be costly -- both in terms of time and money. Some might wonder, why not concentrate on needs here in the U.S. Aren't they pressing enough? Why be "worldwide"?

Indeed the need for pro-life ministry in the U.S. is great, and we must continue to develop and promote alternatives to abortion and euthanasia. Many resources are already devoted to this cause.

In fact, Kurt Dillinger of LIFE International has said that something like 90 percent of U.S. pro-life dollars are spent in this country while 90 percent of the world's abortions occur elsewhere.

That's a sobering thought. Even more difficult to swallow is the responsibility America bears, because we have exported abortion to the world.

How is that possible? Consider two countries: Romania and South Africa. They both achieved new levels of democratic freedoms in the 1990s, and both looked to the U.S. for a model to follow. What did they see? Among other things, legalized abortion on demand. Sadly, as they threw off an old bondage they replaced it with a new one. Today Romania has one of the world's highest rates of abortion.

Life Matters Worldwide has been to both countries to help missionaries and nationals respond to the crises created by sexual immorality and its consequences: abortion and sexually transmitted diseases. In Romania, we helped establish the Clinica ProVita group of pregnancy care centers; in South Africa we trained church members to offer LIFT services to people dying of AIDS.

If you think passing pro-life laws is an uphill battle in the U.S., consider that the task of pro-life ministry in other countries is even more Sisyphean. Depending on the administration in power, the U.S. often ties foreign aid to a recipient country's liberalization of abortion laws. We Christians, therefore, owe an even greater debt to Christians in other countries to help them fight abortion.

Pro-lifers in other countries face added challenges, such as:

  • A lack of biblical teaching on the sanctity of human life, even in churches
  • A lack of understanding about human development and what abortion does to the unborn
  • A lack of respect for women
  • A lack of resources*

Life Matters Worldwide is positioned to help people overseas overcome the first three hurdles, but the last is most difficult. We want to avoid making Third World ministries dependent on the so-called First World for support. Nevertheless, many people in other parts of the world who have a great desire to do pro-life ministry must spend a good share of their day simply surviving.

I think of Bentina Alusi who runs the Kibera Community Counselling and Pregnancy Crisis Centre in the world's largest slum (outside Nairobi, Kenya). By our standards she has very little but, like the poor woman of Luke 21:1-4, she gives all she has.

At one point soon after the center opened in 2009, Bentina was counseling with 15 girls a day, two days a week. Missionaries reported that the church that her husband pastors grew because of her ministry through the center. From a small seed comes great harvest! Similar results have been had through PCC ministry in Lima, Peru.

Volunteering at a pregnancy center or AIDS hospice is a luxury that few in developing nations can afford, therefore ministries in these parts of the world are well served if we help them devise strategies for sustaining pro-life work. A few years ago, for instance, we were blessed to be able to give one center in South Asia a grant toward the establishment of a pharmacy to generate income.

God has given Life Matters both the desire and the opportunity to join with others in pro-life ministry overseas. So far He's also supplied resources to enable us to help in small but significant ways. Please pray for Tom, Ray, and John as they make this trip, for Mae and Melisa as they organize the visit, and for the people in the Philippines who will be trained.

We receive new requests every week. Today there was one from a person in Kenya. Ask God to give us wisdom and grace as we steward both funds and opportunities, and as we respond to people.

Truly, life matters worldwide.

*Read about a fifth challenge here.


Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in this country. Most Supreme Court cases fade into history, but this one remains far from settled.

All you have to do is glance at recent headlines to find evidence of that. The news this time of year is full of stories about where we are as a nation as a result of Roe -- pro and con. Depending on the point of view, the stories usually reference how far there is left to go in securing abortion "rights," or how much ground our side has gained toward full protection of unborn babies' right to life.

One recurring theme concerns numbers: How many abortions there have been since 1973 (54,559,615 in the U.S.*); how many per year worldwide (approximately 44 million*); how many pro-life laws have been passed; or how many tax-dollars Planned Parenthood gets from the government each day ($1.5 million).

Numbers can boggle the mind, but don't tend to move people to lasting action. They seem to only make us angry or overwhelm us into inaction. And then we're on to the next atrocity.

Meanwhile, which side is winning or losing is scored with as much precision as presidential election polling, but we really don't know the pro-life side has won until a "vote" is cast . . . until a woman chooses life for her child. And we only get that information if we're privy to the counseling room in a pregnancy care center, or to conversations taking place on the sidewalk at an abortion clinic.

You can also feel closer to the "action" through involvement with a pro-life ministry as a regular supporter and/or prayer warrior. If you're not enlisted that way already, I recommend finding a "front lines" pro-life ministry to pray for. Choose one that's good at communicating prayer requests on a regular (even daily) basis via Facebook, Twitter, or email. It could be a pregnancy center in your  neighborhood or across the ocean. We can make recommendations.

Numbers in the millions are too many to fathom, so concentrate on one at a time. One baby at risk. One mom tempted by abortion. One pregnancy care center offering abortion alternatives.

One life lost is too many. You can be sure one life is on the line right now.

One life at a time is, after all, what God demands an accounting of. In Genesis 9:5, He said:

"From every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man."

As God demanded an accounting from Cain over the loss of Abel, so God will demand from someone an account of every unborn baby lost to abortion. He doesn't miss a single one, even if the official counters do. The blood of the innocents cries out to Him (Gen. 4:10, Psalm 9:12).

America will have a lot of explaining to do, for first legalizing abortion and then exporting it around the world.

There's one more that needs our attention: the woman regretting her abortion at this moment. She needs to hear of the blood of Jesus "that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel." It's a word of invitation, not accusation. He wants her to unload her burden of sin at His feet. He's offering forgiveness and a new life. We are privileged to bear that message.

*We're forced to rely on abortion providers and the government for figures on abortion because otherwise we'd have no access to them. Corrected 1/22/13: The link given above is to a National Right to Life compilation of figures through 2011; adding another year of 1.2 million abortions to the that total yields 55,772,015 abortions since Roe v. Wade.

Time & Abortion
Roe v. Wade: 40 years later
Roe v. Wade month - part 1, part 2
40 years after Roe, human dignity hangs in the balance
You Can Change Our Culture's Mind on Abortion - tools to use
Better Reporting for Abortions

There is no "hobby lobby," but maybe there should be. Advocates of crafting everywhere, UNITE!

There is a Christian-owned company by that name, and it has become a focal point in the battle over government intruding on basic religious freedoms.

Earlier this year, Hobby Lobby petitioned the government for relief from the mandate that employers provide insurance covering contraceptives that can cause abortions. The case is still pending appeal, but the Supreme Court recently denied a request for an emergency injunction. Hobby Lobby says it has no intention of complying, and so, beginning on January 1, the government will fine them an unfathomable $1.3 million dollars per day!

In an open letter, CEO David Green lays out the principles that guide the company:

We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. 

We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.

But now, our government threatens to change all of that. . . . Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one.

. . . So, Hobby Lobby – and my family – are forced to make a choice. . . . My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the government is going to make that much more difficult. The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law. I say that’s a choice no American – and no American business – should have to make.

Blogger Kevin DeYoung says, "Millions of Americans are already outraged. And rightly so. Our government not only allows for abortion, and celebrates abortion rights, and wants women to have unfettered access to abortion on demand, it now requires other Americans to pay for abortion-inducing drugs or face crippling fines. It is not an endorsement of any political party to conclude that this policy is morally degenerate. More Americans should be alarmed than are already."

Denny Burk agrees: "This is the most egregious violation of religious liberty that I have ever seen." He goes on to explain this case is not about banning contraception. "Nothing could be further from the truth. No one wants to outlaw contraception. This controversy is about the fact that the government is forcing pro-life business owners to pay for chemical abortions. If the federal government can force citizens to purchase items that they believe to be immoral, where will this end?"

To borrow freely from Martin Neimoller:

First they came for Hobby Lobby,
but I didn't speak out because I wasn't crafty . . . or a Christian employer;
then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

January 5th was a Hobby Lobby Appreciation Day, but it's going to take more than one day of shopping at the chain of big-box arts and crafts stores to win this battle. Something sacrificial. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty represents the company in its lawsuit, going as David against the Goliath of the U.S. government. I don't know how much it will take to win, but they are accepting donations.

Related: Hobby Lobby: First martyr under Obamacare?

Update: Hobby Lobby Delays Obamacare Fines for Now

Which would be harder to hear: "Mom, Dad . . . I'm pregnant" or "Mom, Dad . . . years ago I had an abortion because I was afraid to tell you I was pregnant"?

It's not a hypothetical exercise. Given the numbers of teen pregnancies and abortions in this country, for many families it's all too real . . . like the family to which the Garden of Hope recently introduced us.

A young woman called their hotline last week, seeking information about abortion. She thought she'd "quickly and secretly" terminate her pregnancy while on a visit to Grand Rapids. As a college student, having a child would complicate her life, but her greatest challenge would be telling her parents.

We talked for a long time and this dear, sweet girl had no clue about the devastation brought on by the decision to end the life of her child. I assured her that her parents would know something had happened because the sparky, happy young girl that left their house to come to GR would never be back and they would want to know what was happening to their daughter.

As she hung up the phone, she promised to talk to her parents, and the next day she called back to report. Her mom "felt badly" she'd been afraid to talk to them. They support her plan to continue the pregnancy and assure her they'll work out everything together.

Not all parents are this understanding -- some overtly pressure reluctant daughters to abort their babies -- but most are mature adults who know how to handle disappointments and setbacks. Parents love their children, have sacrificed much on their behalf already, and genuinely want what's best for them. Young people need encouragement to enlist parental input and not act on mistaken assumptions their parents will "kill" them when they receive bad news.

Still, as Russell Moore cautions in his response to TIME magazine's cover story on how the pro-life side seems to be winning, "It’s easy to identify as 'pro-life' when one sees nothing really at stake." He goes on:

A feminist leader once said that most Americans are pro-life with three exceptions: rape, incest, and “my situation.” When the teenage daughter is pregnant, the theory is abandoned and bloodthirsty pragmatism rules. I fear this feminist is all too right.

Pharaoh was pro-immigrant until the Israelites threatened what he wanted. The first Herod Administration was pro-Messiah until the actual Messiah threatened his throne. The second Herod Administration was fine with desert prophets until one meddled with his “adult entertainment.” Lots of people are pro-life and pro-child until the lives of children become personally inconvenient.

. . . [W]e must have a realistic view about how ingrained the abortion-rights worldview is in our culture.

Yes, in our culture, and in our hearts. As with other temptations, it's well before we face this one that we need to determine what our response will be. If we expect our teens to do the right thing when their backs are to the wall, we also must be firm in our minds how we'll react when they make a mistake.

Most Christian parents are zealous about getting the message of sexual purity across to their teens. The trick is striking a balance between that and the equally biblical message of the sanctity of human life. So that his daughter wouldn't err into thinking abortion was better than coming home pregnant, our president Tom Lothamer repeatedly told her, "If you make a big mistake, like getting pregnant outside marriage, don't run to the world for help. Come home! It's safer. Whatever it is, we'll handle it together."

Truly, grace is greater than all our sin. The challenge is to be "cross-bearing for the child-bearing," as John Ensor writes. "To be a lifesaver, you must do what lifesavers do every day" in pregnancy care centers. In closing, I summarize his points:

  1. You must listen and love
  2. Lower her fear and increase her hope
  3. Amplify the voice of her own moral conscience
  4. Inform and educate her
  5. Offer your personal help


Hospice for dogs?

Blogger Jonathan Dudley started something when he wrote "When Evangelicals Were Pro-Choice" (for CNN) and "How Evangelicals Decided that Life Begins at Conception" (for the Huffington Post).

His contention is that "what conservative Christians now say is the Bible’s clear teaching on [abortion] was not a widespread interpretation until the late 20th century." For proof, he cites individuals and groups who agreed with the legalization of abortion in some, if not all, circumstances in the late 60s and early 70s.

Dudley explains the migration to the current pro-life view as evangelicals falling under the influence of powerful leaders of the "Religious Right," such as Jerry Falwell. Christians should, in his view, "consider the possibility that they aren’t submitting to the dictates of a timeless biblical truth, but instead, to the goals of a well-organized political initiative only a little more than 30 years old."

Why does it matter that what evangelical leaders say is "the biblical view on abortion" was not a widespread interpretation until about 30 years ago? For one thing, it's harder to argue the Bible clearly teaches something when the overwhelming majority of its past interpreters didn't read the Bible that way. For another, it illustrates that evangelical leaders are happy to defend creative reinterpretations of the Bible when it fits with a socially conservative worldview -- even while objecting to new interpretations of the Bible on, say, homosexuality, precisely because they are new. And for another, by looking at the history of how today's "biblical view on abortion" arose, one can begin to see the worldview that made it possible. In the process, it becomes apparent it is that unacknowledged worldview, and not the Bible, that evangelical opponents of abortion are actually defending.

Several Christian writers generated helpful responses: Mark Galli of Christianity Today (here and here), John Stonestreet of Breakpoint, and Albert Mohler. I'd like to add a few points to the discussion:

  • InterVarsity may have published (and then rescinded under pressure) a 1984 book that said abortion was legitimate in some instances, but it had already published Michael Gorman's Abortion and the Early Church in 1982. This book built the case that from its earliest days, the church opposed abortion.
  • Regular Baptists, from which Life Matters Worldwide sprang, were solidly pro-life from the beginning. In 1971, two years before the Roe v. Wade decision, the GARBC (which would call themselves "fundamentalists" rather than "evangelicals)" acknowledged that "the sanctity of human life is well documented in Scriptures" and resolved to "go on record as being thoroughly opposed to abortion on demand."
  • Diverse methods for interpreting Scripture -- in the past or today -- better explain why there's diversity in Christendom on abortion. Your stance on this issue has more to do with where you land on the errancy/inerrancy spectrum than anything else. Those who approach the Bible with a non-literal hermeneutic are the ones who come up with novel interpretations (concerning homosexuality, for instance), while we who take God's word literally have always maintained it's a sin. 
  • The same is true of abortion. Taking God's word at face value and employing grammatical-historical methods of interpretation, we are satisfied with statements about the personality of unborn humans as found in Genesis 16:11-12 and 25:22-24, Psalm 139:13-16, Jeremiah 1:5, Hosea 12:2-3, Luke 1:15 & 41, and Galatians 1:15-16. 
  • What hindered many Christians from early involvement in the pro-life movement was not lack of biblical support, but hesitancy to join the political fray. What increased the comfort-level with the pro-life movement for many evangelicals (and brought them into the political arena by the backdoor) were hands-on ministries such as pregnancy care centers that sprang up in the 1980s. PCCs gave them opportunities to prevent abortions by offering alternatives. They could serve families in their communities, reach out to women who'd already had abortions, and share the Gospel.  

Over time, our understanding has grown about just how pervasive the sanctity of human life ethic is in Scripture, and what we are called to do about it. More than a few proof-texts, it's a theme from Genesis to Revelation.

Every age has been confronted by challenges that require Christians to go to work "rightly dividing the word of truth." If, as Peter says, "His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness," then we are equipped to handle questions that didn't necessarily arise in the 1st century -- or the 3rd, or the 13th.

No, the word "abortion" never appears in the Bible, but if you study topics such as violence or the murder of innocent people, you'll find those are the domain of wicked people. Furthermore, the treatment of widows and orphans as well as all poor people is also tied to the sanctity of human life. Thus, if you make a move to strike someone, or abandon a hungry person to her own devices, you're placing them at risk of death -- their blood would be on your hands.

Abortion is nothing if it is not violent; it is the ultimate injustice. The pregnant mother and her unborn child must not be abandoned. We are learning what to do when it comes to this issue.

Postscript 12/6/12: Here's a pertinent article by Phil Cooke that appeared on a Huffington Post blog -- How Christianity Lost Its Voice in Today's Media Driven World

While some people are critical of social networking (and the Internet in general) as being a time-waster and a dangerous source of filth and misinformation, I'm a fan. Unlike mainstream media, it's a form of communication that we can turn to our advantage.

I wouldn't be blogging if I didn't think so, but I do acknowledge the truth of what the critics say. As with any good thing, moderation and discipline are advised. I want to add another misuse to the list: Social media such as Facebook and Twitter give occasion for people to spout off in ways they probably would not in polite company.

I can't count the number of times I've cringed at the response of someone who claims to be a Christian because what he or she has said was disrespectful or hateful. Mom was right: We should think before we post.

And we should apply Paul's words to Timothy about communication with or about opponents:

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 24-26)

I apply these words this way:

  • The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome . . . on Facebook or in comments posted elsewhere online. I don't think this means we shouldn't respond, but we mustn't be argumentative. Any reply should be for the reader's benefit and not for me to "score points."
  • The Lord's bond-servant must be kind to all . . . on Facebook or in comments posted elsewhere online. I take this to mean there ought not be any name-calling, verbal abuse, or harshness.
  • The Lord's bond-servant must be able to teach . . . on Facebook or in comments posted elsewhere online. Teaching is something other than the clever jab or sound byte. It requires time and patience. More on this below.
  • The Lord's bond-servant must be patient when wronged . . . on Facebook or in comments posted elsewhere online. Oh, it's so tempting to retaliate when the other side calls us a name or is harsh and abusive about an idea or person we admire -- abundant evidence of that online -- but their behavior doesn't excuse our responding in kind. "Love keeps no record of wrongs." We also don't have to rebut every charge made against our side.
  • The Lord's bond-servant must with gentleness correct those who are in opposition . . . on Facebook or in comments posted elsewhere online. If repentance is the goal-- and it always is -- then gentleness is the key for dealing with opponents.

It's tempting to say nothing when we can't think of something nice to say, but the unborn can't afford our silence. I'd like to take this opportunity to challenge all of us to become an army of patient persuaders as described by Paul. If we can't learn to articulate our beliefs in ways that appeal to others, then can we at least point them to resources that can be counted on to not bash them over the head? Here are a couple good ones:

Stand to Reason - basic Christian apologetics 
Life Training Institute - pro-life apologetics (see The Case for Life companion site)

One last thought: Our opponents are not exempt from kind treatment because they advocate the killing of innocent unborn human babies. At the time of writing 2 Timothy, Paul was in prison awaiting execution by Nero. He didn't allow fear or hatred to deter him from attempting to persuade guards and soldiers -- who had participated in the deaths of other Christians -- to accept Christ as Savior. He took great delight in the Gospel going forth, even though others might do so out of spite (Phil. 1:12-17). And, while he acknowledged the harm some Christians had done to him, he prayed God wouldn't hold it against them (2 Tim. 4:16). That's something to remember the next time we're attacked.

Should pro-lifers verbally "bash" anyone? (on Facebook)
Monday musing for October 5: Love the enemy
Monday musing for September 17: Christians in an age of aggression

Postscript: The reason we often lack graceful speech is we fail to rely on the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, in Luke 12:11-12, "When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Thus it might be advantageous to learn to cite Scripture and not certain radio talk show hosts who may or may not always speak from a biblical point of view.

I still remember the moment I excitedly realized I could obey a difficult passage of Scripture. The sun was in my eyes as I headed east after leaving the bagel place where I'd studied Luke 6:27-36. It may have been this same time of year, with a 40 Days for Life campaign going on. Whatever it was that made me put two thoughts together -- loving my enemies and praying at the abortion clinic -- I felt joyful as I anticipated loving the local abortionist by praying for him!

Before this, the concept of having an enemy had been rather vague. None of mine seemed to have a name or a face. They existed in the abstract -- Fear, Anxiety, Forces of Darkness in High Places ... entities like that. Whenever I came across references to foes in the Psalms, I spiritualized them. In general, I didn't really want to identify someone as my enemy because that would mean -- in the world's scheme of things -- having to battle or confront him or her in some way.

Thankfully, what I am actually called by Christ to do is love, do good to, bless, and pray for those who "despitefully use" me. Or despitefully use the unborn.

As previously noted, righteous indignation is too thin a motivation for being pro-life anyway. It simply doesn't get at the core problem or bring about lasting change. The reason is, it doesn't reflect the totality of Christ's character the way loving ones enemies does.

Over at Churches for Life, Rev. Douglas W. Merkey writes that there are many possible motives for being pro-life. "Some ... are driven by an imbalanced affection for God’s law and an overblown sense of their own piety. Some ... are driven by unresolved guilt, perhaps fueled by their own abortion experience. Some ... are driven by a hope for human approval, or insecurity. Still others ... are driven by a craving for political, social, or moral enlightenment." He urges champions of life to be "gospel-driven." (See a longer treatment of this idea here.)

When I read the article my mind went to 1 Corinthians 5:9-13a where Paul corrects a misperception: 

I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges.

We're to hold "insiders" to God's high standard but, rather than being constantly alarmed or surprised by what "enemies" do, we're to treat them with godly pity. "Such were some of you."

So, while I might identify someone as an enemy of life, my treatment of him or her is modified by what God requires of me in terms of reflecting His mercy. I have to recognize this person is incapable of living a new life, never having forsaken the old (Col. 3:1-14). He lacks the advantage of an indwelling Holy Spirit.

Thanks to the Gospel, enemies become friends. Carol Everett is one such trophy, among many. Hatred and vilification could not do what the Holy Spirit, prayer, and persistent pro-life witness did by God's grace.

A new pro-life organization is devoted to bringing abortion doctors and workers out. Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood executive, has started And Then There Were None, whose goal it is "to provide financial, emotional, spiritual and legal support to anyone wishing to leave the abortion industry."

Do you know the name of an abortionist? Would you pray for one today? Here's a list of over 700 in the U.S. Find the one nearest you.

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