The slippery slope

Back when this ministry began, pro-life thinkers predicted the legalization of abortion would lead to other social ills, such as infanticide, “test tube” babies, cloning, and euthanasia. They were right.

This month, with the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage, author and blogger Mike Wittmer noted another significant connection:

In 1992’s “Planned Parenthood vs. Casey,” which upheld the right to abortion, [Justice] Kennedy famously wrote, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

Last week, Kennedy began his Opinion by stating, “The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity. The petitioners in these cases seek to find that liberty by marrying someone of the same sex and having their marriages deemed lawful on the same terms and conditions as marriages between persons of the opposite sex.”  

The same reasoning that gave us legalized abortion has given us homosexual “marriage.” Truly, we are on a downward slide. Can we expect God to bless America? 

Rather than despairing, Wittmer takes heart:

This is an exciting, important time to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Our lost culture needs us now more than ever. We don’t have to be spectacular to stand out. Just love our spouses, raise godly children, and generally have our act together, and we should have plenty of opportunities to help those who are living against the grain.

There are echoes of the Apostle Paul in that statement: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18) Be sure to read that verse in context; there's something for everyone in it. 

A similar passage bears highlighting in this context as well -- Amos 5, especially verses 10-15:

There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court and detest the one who tells the truth....

There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.

Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times, for the times are evil. 

Seek good, not evilthat you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.

Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.

This 4th of July, may God have mercy on America.

We like to say we're "pro-life" because of all that we're for -- babies, life, helping people at the end of life. Abortion advocates, on the other hand, like to call us "anti-abortion" so everyone will think of us as the wet-blankets and killjoys of society, that we want to intrude into everyone's private lives. 

We can be glad that the Bible teaches the pro-life ethic both positively and negatively, as in Titus 3:1-2:

Remind the people . . . to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

Paul wanted Christians to know how to live in the world. Verse 1 says we’re to submit to secular rulers and, therefore, the “everyone” of verse 2 encompasses them too. It doesn’t say we’re only expected to submit to morally upright government leaders, or refrain from slandering the ones with whom we agree. Recall that the authorities of Paul’s day were anything but godly.

“Slander no one” is an echo of James 3:8-10, which urges us to tame our tongues and not be guilty of praising God out of one side of our mouths while cursing men out of the other. James uses the strongest language: “This should not be!” Such behavior is unseemly because human beings have been made in God’s likeness. If you curse a man, you curse his Maker, as it says in Proverbs 17:5.

“Be gentle toward everyone” is the positive restatement of “slander no one.” The ESV renders it, “show perfect courtesy toward all people.” If we’re to treat people decently because they bear God’s image, “everyone” includes all our neighbors, all our brothers and sisters, the political opposition, the lovely and the unlovely, the sinner as well as the saint.

In Galatians 6:10, Paul specifies that the aim of Christian ministries of mercy is to first help the family of God, but he prefaced that with the instruction: “let us do good to all people.” And the kind of help people can be given, it says in Titus 3:1, is widely varied: “Whatever is good.”

Paul goes on in Titus 3:3-8 to remind us we were once the objects of God’s mercy – as foolish and disobedient and deceived and enslaved as could be. We were spending all our time thinking about ourselves and hating other people, but then “the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared.” Hallelujah! 

As peaceable and considerate and gentle as Jesus has been toward us, let us so be to all men. And, as much time as we formerly spent serving “all kinds of passions and pleasures” we can now expend on the good of others.

This devotional appears in our Mid-Year Report. Download it and please consider supporting Life Matters Worldwide during the often lean summer months. Thank you very much!

I'm always fascinated by the glimpses of missionary life in Bill and Lori Smith's weekly newsletters. They serve in Papua New Guinea -- he with national pastors through a Bible college and she through a medical clinic. Life Matters helped the clinic obtain ultrasound equipment that has saved several babies' lives.

In a recent newsletter, Lori related how they'll be taking an evangelistic mobile clinic to Sagifa this Friday. Safiga is the home village of one of Lori's patients who died recently of cancer. Lillian accepted Christ before she died, but her village remains in deep bondage to the forces of evil. 

"Sorcery is the iron band that chains her people in fear," Lori writes. When Lillian died in Bill and Lori's home, the village sent a witch "to try to decipher the person responsible for her death so they could be killed." 

While this practice is shocking to Western sensibilities, when I consider it in light of the biblical pro-life ethic, I find surprising similarities. 

Genesis 9:5-6 says -- 

For your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.
 
“Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed;

for in the image of God has God made mankind.

Note that the fact man bears God's image is the reason for the death penalty and not a reason for prohibiting it. 

It's amazing to me that a seemingly primitive or "backward" culture sees human life as distinct from that of animals and important enough to avenge.

The difference, however, between the PNG tribal understanding of "the sanctity of human life" and the biblical pro-life ethic is that God's word presses societies to determine the cause of a death -- whether it is natural, accidental, or homicidal. The penalty, if any, depends upon the cause. Accidental deaths are treated differently than intentional and, of course, natural deaths caused by old age or disease are not avenged at all.

Instructive passages:

Exodus 21:28-32 - what to do if an animal kills a person

Leviticus 20:1-5 - what to do if someone offers a child in sacrifice to an idol

Numbers 35:6-34 and Deuteronomy 19 - distinctions between murder and manslaughter

Dt. 21:1-9 - what to do in the case of an unsolved murder

It's also very important to note, furthermore, that the biblical way of determining a cause of death relies on evidence -- not intuition, hearsay, or sorcery. The witch's method serves the agenda of the Enemy, leading to more deaths of innocent people in an endless cycle of revenge and superstition.

God's law requires careful investigation, public inquiry, and the testimony of more than one witness. So we see how societies can pervert God's intent and how biblical justice prevents witchhunts.

Find out what happened when Lori's mobile clinic team went to Safiga

The answer to that question is so relevant to this weekend's celebration of Resurrection Sunday, and to our proclamation of the Gospel every day, I hope you don't miss it. 

What does the sanctity of human life matter have to do with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Our Savior perfectly reflected God’s image (Hebrews 1:3). Sinless himself, He bore our penalty of death and rose again so we could have eternal life. We who believe are created anew to bear His likeness! (Romans 8:29, Colossians 3:10)

As we saw in an earlier blog post, bearing the image of God is the key reason all human beings are special, and why we're given dominion over the rest of creation. Christians bear the added responsibility of showing the world what God is like in our character and behavior.

When we respect the sanctity of another person’s life -- especially someone who is small, weak, despised, or under attack -- we mirror His holiness and His compassion for people. We bring glory to Him (Proverbs 17:5, James 3:8-10). 

This is a message running through Scripture, and the reason Life Matters Worldwide exists. As we are confronted with old and new threats to the sanctity of human life, we hold them up to the mirror of God’s Word. And as we take pro-life ministries with us across the country and around the globe, we teach the biblical values that inform right attitudes and behavior.

  • We help churches teach the biblical pro-life ethic and train leaders to implement services like LIFT.
  • We help missionaries develop pro-life ministries to enhance church-planting efforts. 
  • We help establish and sustain pregnancy care centers as effective Gospel outreaches.


The Christian . . . must suffer and endure the brother. It is only when he is a burden that another person is really a brother and not merely an object to be manipulated. The burden of men was so heavy for God Himself that He had to endure the cross. God verily bore the burden of men in the body of Jesus Christ. . . . God took men upon Himself and they weighted Him to the ground, but God remained with them and they with God. In bearing with men God maintained fellowship with them. It is the law of Christ that was fulfilled in the Cross. [Gal.6:2]

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

Related: Click the image above to download the latest edition of our copy-ready bulletin insert, Why Does Life Matter?

Science can tell us many things about life, but only speculate on its origin. Similarly, science can say a lot about human beings, but only guess at our significance.

Without God's word, we have little to go on, other than all the amazing things we can do that other creatures cannot. 

How does the Bible help? In Genesis 1, God uses one pattern to describe the creation of plant, bird, and animal life: 

The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.

. . . God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

. . .  God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:12-27)

He used a different pattern to describe the creation of man:

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. . . . God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. (Gen. 1:31)

He gave man dominion over the other forms of life and later continued the “image of God” pattern when describing procreation:

In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created. When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. (Gen. 1:28-29, 5:1-3)

Human beings beget other human beings –- not "after their kind," but "in the image." Specialness is passed from one generation to the next.

Nothing nonhuman has ever come from human parents, yet scientists and philosophers would like us to believe that if a person’s incapable of doing certain things, he or she is subhuman. This category could include babies not yet born, the profoundly disabled, and those who’ve become unconscious. 

We, on the other hand, trust that all human offspring bear the image of God regardless of ability. This is true at every stage of life and in every condition of life -– whether a person is born-again or unregenerate, young or old, able-bodied or incapacitated. 

Download this message in bi-fold brochure format to share

Related: Blurring the Lines, Shortening the Playing Field

Science can tell us amazing facts about life – what it’s made of, how biological systems work together, and what people are like before birth. For instance . . .

  • Your heart will beat more than 3.2 billion times over your lifetime.
  • It began beating when you were 3 weeks and 1 day old.
  • Before you were born, your heart beat approximately 54 million times!

While science can only speculate on life’s origin, the Bible is definitive:

  • God the Father “has life in Himself.” (John 5:26)
  • “The Spirit gives life.” (Jn. 6:63)
  • Jesus is “the life.” (Jn. 14:6)

He is, after all, “the living God.” (1 Timothy 4:10) All life – eternal and physical – is from Him and of Him. We celebrate life in all its forms because it is His gift.

But what’s special about human life? Why do we talk about it as being “sacred”?

Here are some of the reasons that people give -- 

Science: “Human development is a continuous process beginning with fertilization and continuing throughout pregnancy, birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and into old age.” (The Endowment for Human Development)

Natural law: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (The Declaration of Independence)

Revelation: “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’” (Genesis 1:26)

Does one carry more weight with you than another? Why? And, is that important?

In 2007, Carolyn Cavanaugh shared the story of how she and her husband adopted their son from Korea. It was a tale of joy and of learning forgiveness. As we'll see in the following update, the legacy that began in 1924 when her father was adopted has not yet ended.

About four years ago, the phone rang. It was our son, asking if we still had any of his old toys. He and his wife had become foster parents for four young children. 

We said yes, and planned a quick trip from Michigan to Tennessee to deliver the them and meet our foster grandchildren. 

This was not their first time as foster parents. Some experiences were very brief, some ended in the children being adopted by other families. We didn't always get updates on the children, but we prayed they were thriving in good homes.

The path to becoming a foster parent is very rigorous, about the same as for adoption. It's not easy to handle children who've been in less-than-ideal situations. I admire foster parents so much because they try to help troubled kids. 

We arrived at their home at suppertime. Our son introduced us to the children between bites of pizza. The youngest was a six-month old baby. Her brother and sisters were two, four, and six years old -- all eager for us to play with them.

After eating, my son asked me to wash the four-year-old's hands. We went into the bathroom, I turned on the water, and she looked up at me with big, innocent eyes and asked, “Are you Grandma?” 

Oh my! I gulped and tried to think of an answer, since we weren’t yet officially Grandpa and Grandma, only FOSTER Grandpa and Grandma. I evaded the issue until I could talk to our son. 

He said they'd been telling the kids, "Grandpa and Grandma are coming," so yes, I was a Grandma. Wow! The thought overwhelmed me. I’m suddenly a Grandma four times over!

The next morning they were all up early, ready to play. Soon all four were bouncing and crawling around on our bed. What a hoot! This Grandpa and Grandma gig could be fun!

Too soon, it was time to head home. A bigger piece of our hearts was left in Tennessee, and we began to seriously consider moving there. 

The old saying, “Man plans, God laughs,” became very apparent to us. Not long after our trip, my husband learned he was being laid off. But then, a couple days later, he was offered a position with the same company . . . in Nashville!

From our new vantage point we were able to follow first-hand the court proceedings for our son and daughter-in-law to adopt the children. There were many ups and downs, with progress being made by fits and starts. 

In November of 2012, my husband and I watched the kids for a week while Mommy and Daddy took a trip. Being over the Thanksgiving holiday, this kept Grandpa and Grandma busy!

While still "recovering" from this adventure, a text message arrived on the following Tuesday saying, “Congratulations, Grandma! The adoptions are finalized!” 

Was the wait really over? Were they finally and forever part of the family? It was so hard to believe, but our praises ascended to God. 

Christmas that year was certainly extra special. Since then, the grandkids have really settled in. Three out of four are now in school. They've all come a long way, and we're so proud of them.

It's been amazing to see the hand of God at work, even when it has required patience and looking back with a clearer eye than when you're in the midst of the situation. 

Thus continues the story of building a family through love, acceptance, and adoption. A number of cousins, great-nieces and nephews, and others have joined my family through adoption. It all began with the adoption of my father as a very young infant by a young couple, Alex and Edwina Wingeier, ninety years ago.

Who knows what the Lord has in store for our family as the years go on? Stay tuned! God is not finished with us yet.

Christians are good givers. Amid the shopping frenzies of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we give as we always have to our churches, to Christian ministries, and to the less fortunate. 

Giving Tuesday is about inviting friends to join you in support of favorite charities. Share this link so they can support biblical pro-life ministries that change lives.

Something else to keep in mind: Opponents of life use Giving Tuesday as a major fundraising tool. Let your giving and/or social-media sharing on December 2 make a difference for life!

Samples and order forms are on their way to churches. Pastors, watch your mail!

Or get a head start and order now.

Featured resources include:


The focus this year is on men and abortion, and the actual "war on women." Life Matters Worldwide welcomes men in the battle for life. They make a big difference by working, praying, and giving alongside women all over the world. READ MORE

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