“Help, Lord, help!”


Today’s visit to the Orlando Women’s Center can be described as a struggle between Light and Darkness, life and death. John Barros greeted us happily from the spot which he has faithfully occupied for the last 16 years, and briefed the first-timers on the rules: where we could or could not stand, what to say and how to reach out to the women, and then he led us in prayer.

Not long after, people started arriving. We looked to John to tell us whether this was a clinic worker, or a client, and then tried to offer help and hope to the women. Most hurried past us, into the brick building where they would pay to have the life of their child extinguished.

One couple that really struck me and still sticks with me was Asian. It wasn’t the woman that I noticed so much as the man. He just kept smirking. I had the opportunity to talk to him briefly, to warn him about the reputation of this place, to urge him to stand up and protect his woman and child, and in response, he just smirked. I can still see it now, and it makes me angry! He didn’t care, there was no part of him that cared, not about the woman, nor about the child. He was there in the coldness of his heart. It was so unlike a man last week, covered in tattoos. The tattooed man was angry, hostile, but at least in his anger I knew there was some feeling. Perhaps it was desperation born from trying to cover up an act of infidelity, or from feeling unable to be a father and provider. Perhaps it was guilt because he knew what they were doing was wrong, and he hated us reminding them of that. But anger meant emotion, and emotion meant there was still feeling. The tattooed man and his woman left without an abortion last week Wednesday, but as they didn’t talk to us, we don’t know if they decided to let their baby live, or if they just decided to go elsewhere.

The battle between life and death, Light and Darkness also became evident when a proudly pro-choice woman drove by, saw us, and decided she was going to spend her day battling against our efforts. She screamed at us for a bit, and then disappeared behind the clinic door to “support” the women there. Shortly afterwards, an elderly gentleman pulled along the curb and asked for our Einstein Bros orders, said he would get us anything we asked for as a token of his support and encouragement. He came back with a box of bagels and some coffees, and said he didn’t want any recognition and wouldn’t even give us his name. He was gone again as quickly as he came.

We reached out to everyone we could in the not-even-10 seconds we had as they hurried to the door, offering them whatever they needed to make choosing life for their child a feasible option. And none accepted. Then John spent some time preaching about death in Adam and life in Christ, about the punishment for sin, and how the Lord has never forsaken any that trust in Him. He shared about the women who changed their minds, walked back out of the clinic, and how not even one has ever regretted that decision. He spoke about how we are there because we love them and want to help them, and he begged that they would come talk to us. He instructed the men to be men and stand up for the ones they have a duty to protect: their women and children. He explained how we are not judging them by being there; that in fact it is them who are judging, judging their children not worthy of life and sentencing them to death. And then John put his bullhorn away and said to us that we can see how it is not our work to soften hearts and change minds, that it is God’s power alone which can turn anyone away from abortion, and that it is God alone Who can save.

So again, you try to pray. With each person we had a few moments to try to reach, with each desperate and loving offer of help, you tried to pray. But it felt as though there was no prayer today. I don’t remember feeling that at the clinic before. Today, all I could pray was “Help, Lord! Help!” It felt as though Satan had all the power there today.

So we turned to hymn singing. With each hymn, we hoped the power of God would prevail, that the words would reach the stony hearts within the building. “I need Thee every hour….Temptations lose their pow’r when Thou art nigh…. Or life is vain…. Teach me Thy will.” Not knowing the situations these women were in, not knowing what made them feel that abortion was the best option, we sang songs that spoke to a hope during times of fear and need. “In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song; This Cornerstone, this solid Ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.” Abide with Me, Rock of Ages, Amazing Grace. During this time, we saw women peeking out from behind the curtains at us, but no matter how we beckoned, none was moved from their evil plot.

Watching that, singing there, I began to feel sick. Was I just providing some pleasant music, a source of entertainment for the women as they waited? Did any of the words or meaning resonate at all? Based on the license plate, I knew one woman for sure identified as Christian, and given the stats, I wouldn’t be surprised if more did. The thought of this precious truth just being used as entertainment for women hellbent on killing their children disgusted me, or even for women to deceive themselves with a comfort not offered to those who intentionally and knowingly choose to disobey God’s commands, and I wanted to leave, to stop.

The abortionist arrived during this time, and then I remembered the babies. And thought about how close to death they were. And all I could do for them anymore was sing and pray. So I sang on, providing a soundtrack for their death, and thus I sang the final verse of Rock of Ages: “While I draw this fleeting breath, When mine eyes shall close in death, When I soar to worlds unknown, See Thee on Thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.”

Pricking the Conscience of Our Culture

When doing pro-life activism on the streets we often hear interesting results from the Christians that cross our path. Some appreciate what we are doing. Some have concerns, and some of those concerns are interesting ones. After only three months of doing this work full-time I have the feeling that I’ve heard it all. I haven’t, of course, there are always interesting new angles to look at. As a CCBR intern, I have been taught how to reply to nearly every pro-choice argument in the book, but when it comes to people who bring up the Bible there are endless questions that are brought to our attention and many that we need to think through on the spot. However, one question that is definitely a recurring theme is, “Why do you think that God needs images? Don’t you think that He has the power to change minds through His Word?”

The first answer to this question is that we don’t because He doesn’t and, absolutely, God’s Word is the most powerful thing that man has been given. The first thing I always feel the need clarify is that these images don’t replace the Bible. We are not on the streets claiming that all we need is images. Changing hearts and minds is much larger than that, much larger than the images, much larger than we are.

However, when a woman came up to me and asked me why I was denying the power of the conscience, and worse, the power of God’s Word, I was confused. I didn’t understand how showing the truth of what abortion looks like was a ploy to usurp the work of man’s conscience. After all, I explained, our images don’t replace the conscience, we merely pray that God will use them to prick the conscience and spur people to repentance and action. Without our God-given consciences we wouldn’t be here showing these images to the public. Without God-given consciences these pictures would have no affect whatsoever on the public. Without the conscience our work would be fruitless and that is a fact that we all admit freely.

Saying that these images could be used to prick consciences of those who have had abortions, are considering an abortion, or have done nothing to stop abortion usually leads to further questioning. After making this point once on the street I was indignantly asked who I thought I was. Did I think I could change the world? Did I think that it was just because of me and my activism that children were saved from abortion? My answer to each question was a firm, no, I do not, but I followed it up with a question of my own. What, in my actions, makes you think that I think that I can change the world, and even more startling, save children on my own? All I am trying to do is to respond to the command given to us in God’s Word to reach out to my neighbor and to deliver those drawn unto death.

However, I had more to say than just a reminder on the commands given us by God. I felt that I had to defend myself from the claim that because I was here with my images, because I dared hope that I could make a difference, that I was arrogantly pushing the work of God to the side in order to prove that I could do it better. The first point that I brought up was the fact that the images do indeed work. Pro-lifers have held in their arms children that have been snatched from the jaws of death as a result of women seeing these images. These images are effective, we have indisputable proof that they are. So what does that mean? Does this proof show that in our visual culture images are more powerful than the Bible?

Again the answer is no, absolutely not. What this proves is that all truth is God’s truth and that God still works in powerful, wonderful ways. When a child is saved, when a mind is changed, we dare not be so arrogant as to say that we saved that life or that we changed that mind. All this proves to us is that God used these pictures to do a marvelous thing. Any good work is a work of God for nothing done by a sinful person can be better than filthy rags.

The use of abortion imagery does not in any way take away from God’s Word or from God’s work. All the fruit of the pro-life movement shows is that we, in a very small way, can be used as tools in God’s Almighty Hand to fight for the rights of the tiny children fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. All these pictures do is bring people face to face with God’s perfect law. We are merely messengers of the truth of the horror of abortion; God is the One who changes minds, He is the One who saves lives, He the only One who can perfectly heal and redeem broken hearts.

Why We Fight the Way We Fight

One of the questions pro-life activists are asked often is, “Why don’t you use Christian arguments to make the case against abortion? Isn’t the case against abortion inseparably rooted in the fact that human beings are created in God’s image?”

Well, yes. And also, no. Let me explain.

First of all, the example we would usually give is that of a firefighter. A firefighter wouldn’t cease in his task of saving lives, of pulling endangered human beings from a burning building, to talk about God with people inside the burning building. The immediacy of the circumstances demands that he work first to rescue those being “drawn unto death.” However, we would point out that a firefighter honors God by fighting against imminent and dire circumstances to preserve God’s gift of life. The firefighter’s actions illustrate the underlying truth behind them: That life is precious. Parallel examples (resistance workers pulling Jews off death camp trains, humanitarian workers hiding fleeing refugees from genocidal forces) could also be used to illustrate this point. Just as the actions of these human rights defenders honor God by fighting for those created in His image, so too does the actions of those seeking to defend the lives of those in imminent danger of abortion.

I would argue that to a large degree, the whole pro-life position presupposes the existence of God. After all, why is it wrong to kill human beings? It’s wrong because human beings are valuable. And why are they valuable? Because they are made in the image of God. He Who gave them life is the only One with the right to take it. Abortion, like the intentional destruction of any human life, not only violates human rights but also violates the sovereignty of God.

There is another point to be made here, one made by pro-life apologist Scott Klusendorf: I would categorically reject the premise that there is God’s truth, then, man’s truth. Truth is truth, and if reasonable arguments can be made for the pro-life view, those are God’s reasons.” Thus, to try to draw a differentiation between using explicitly Christian arguments versus, say, an appeal to the pre-born child’s humanity and the inhumanity of abortion, is simply a false dichotomy.

Unfortunately, bringing God into the discussion at universities and (especially) secular high schools, especially in the context of street-level outreach, generally causes you to lose the discussion (and by that I mean, lose the attention and the growing interest of the students approaching us.) It would seem logical to assume that those who have been undervalued, devalued or abused would be open to hearing about Who gave them value. Unfortunately, in our culture today, the reverse is often the case.

(I would note, as an aside, that this is not by any means new. In spite of William Wilberforce’s moral appeals in his anti-Slave Trade speeches to Parliament, the abolitionists generally avoided infusing their official case with biblical rationale. In his seminal work on the abolitionists, Bury the Chains, historian Adam Hochschild notes that such rationale is remarkably absent from abolitionist Thomas Clarkson’s enormous expose of the Slave Trade: “What also makes the Abstract feel surprisingly contemporary is what it does not contain. At a time in history when a large portion of all books and pamphlets were theological tracts and sermons, and in a book that quoted several clergymen as witnesses, the Abstract had no references to the Bible. Clarkson and his comrades somehow sensed that they could better evoke sympathy if they stood back and let the evidence speak for itself, supported by the damning quotations from West Indian laws and newspapers.” Human beings can still generally recognize barbarism when they see it, even if they are hostile to the moral truths that define it as such.)

In a hurting culture, starting with the Big Truth while trying to impart one of the small truths is often counter-productive. Talking to someone who has been abused (emotionally, physically, or sexually) and explaining to them that they were created in the image of an all-powerful God will often result in a simple, hard to debate response: “Well, where was He was all of this was happening to me?”

The question of evil and why God permits it is always the most difficult apologetic question to answer–not in the purely logical, rational sense (that’s pretty easy, especially in the university setting) but in the sense that you’re combating people’s feelings and emotions rather than an objective question such as “Can a God Who is Love permit evil things to happen?”

In conversations with our culture, it’s often about taking baby steps. We’re trying to impart the idea that they as humans have value, in order to build a bridge to the realization that all humans have value. In many street-level debates, not all passersby go the desirable, “I was pro-choice, you talked to me, now I’m pro-life” route –often, we have to lay a foundation. Bringing up the Divine is the opposite of baby steps–suddenly, instead of feeding them ideas in little, bite-sized chunks, we’re trying to ram an entire belief system down their throat. In a culture that does not know God, even the mention of His Name brings up a million questions. Who is God? Which religion is right about Him? Does He love me? Why did He allow these things to happen to me? What does His existence imply for my life and how I live it? Keep in mind—we’re trying to protect innocent children from imminent death, and thus often do not have a lot of time to convince someone not to kill their child. No one has ever suggested that those hiding humans fleeing genocide should have first attempted to convert them to Christianity before taking them under protection and into hiding—the imminent danger of the situation demands immediate action. The Good Samaritan did not first take the wounded man to church or the synagogue, but to get healed from his wounds.

Having an internally consistent Christian worldview often makes it extremely difficult when talking to a borderline illiterate, over-sexed, visually driven culture, as you’re constantly wanting to show people the results of their own beliefs, or logical extensions (presuppositions or inevitable conclusions) of those beliefs. Unfortunately, in order to fully engage with our specific mission–which is to turn a culture against abortion and solidify the growing belief that it violates human rights–we have to have a laser-focus. Those who fight for everything often end up fighting nothing. We can’t take on the entire forces of Darkness, even though we can rob Satan of many of his victims. And we do. Every day.

That being said, I firmly believe that turning someone pro-life is often the first step towards introducing them to greater Truth. We see time and time again that in order for today’s culture to recognize that Truth exists at all; they have to be convinced of some part of it. They often begin to ask what else is true, what else they have accepted that may be a lie. We see often that for people to remember they have a conscience, it needs to be pricked, awakened. Our projects, which graphically expose the reality of abortion, unequivocally do that. Much of our opposition is the startled cries of pain of consciences that have not seen the light in far too long (and don’t our eyes always hurt when the light is suddenly switched on?) We are the first point of contact in a heavily secularized culture to introduce these young people to inherently Christian concepts that are totally foreign to them–concepts like self-sacrifice, forgiveness, human dignity, human value, truth, and right and wrong. We are directly undermining the suicidal but prevalent concept of moral relativism every day. In our specific role as anti-abortion activists, we might not be able to take down the whole rotting house. But we can take a jackhammer to the foundation.

The pro-life movement is but one segment of a broader Culture of Life that is at war with a broader, secularized Culture of Death. We have been tasked with defending one small part of a much greater Truth. The first point of contact doesn’t win the war or even the battle, but it does establish a bridgehead. Concepts such as those I mentioned above are, I think, a bridgehead in a culture that is rejecting so much of what is right and beautiful. Often in discussion people go from “abortion is wrong” to “I should not have sex before marriage” without us even bringing it up–the premises we are teaching them lead to other, almost inevitable conclusions. The newest generation of young people has experienced the full brunt of the fallout of the Sexual Revolution, from broken families, the disappearance of true, self-sacrificing love, a quarter of their generation butchered by abortion, rampant STD’s, and a nihilistic lack of truth. We as anti-abortion activists are trying to help them reject a large part of that legacy.

Others, we hope, will help us with the rest.”

My Encounter with an Abortionist

Every day, at the crack of dawn, our sons Jonah and Elliot climb into our bed to snuggle together and sleep for a little longer. Today was different. While the house was quiet and the sun still hid behind the horizon, I laid awake thinking about last night’s debate. It became clear that my opponent, Dr. Fraser Fellows, had no coherent argument for abortion, nor did he rebut the pro-life case against abortion—more about this in a post on CCBR’s blog later. But an event like this also warrants personal reflection.

It is one thing to fight abortion on a daily basis; it is something entirely different to meet a man—a husband, father, and grandfather, pleasant to speak to in person—who has literally crushed the skulls of thousands of little children over the years. And so this morning, struggling to comprehend the depth and close proximity of this evil, I picked up “Real Christianity” by William Wilberforce, the British politician who tirelessly fought and ended the slave trade. Very fittingly, he writes the following:

“We need to see our true state as God sees it. Because of His perfect purity and His ability to know us better than we know ourselves, it is likely that He sees problems and failures we are barely conscious of—if we recognize them at all. God always operates in the now. Over time, our defense systems have the ability to dull the conviction of the acts and attitudes that violate God’s holiness. Remorse can turn to faint recognition. But God still knows those actions in the now.

Think of the implications of this observation for the person who has not had an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ or embraced His finished work on the cross as payment for all sin. What if this person had to appear before Christ at this very moment with the full impact and offensive nature of every sin he or she has ever committed revealed in His presence? When I imagine such a scene, it helps me come to grips with the true state of my spiritual life. It is always sobering.”

I shudder as I imagine Dr. Fellows appearing before the Judgment Seat, with the blood of thousands of God’s creatures dripping from his fingers. As much as I hate the “work” he does, I fervently hope that our encounter may serve to break his resolve to provide abortion, currently causing a bloody trail of destruction in our culture and his own soul. With this hope, I gifted Dr. Fellows the autobiography of John Newton—the slave trader who helped to bring over 20,000 African men, women, and children into slavery with his ship before being rescued by amazing grace.

However, with all the interest in a debate like yesterday’s, let us not forget ourselves. How will I stand before God? What will that day be like for each of us? As William Wilberforce aptly points out, that’s a sobering thought. If not covered by the blood of the Lamb, God’s eternal wrath will rest on me as it will on an unrepentant abortionist—though the Bible is clear that those who knew better will be punished all the more. Yet, the remedy for all sinners, from abortionists to outwardly moral people who miss the heart of the matter, can still be found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God who laid down His life for enemies.

In that, He provided the perfect example of what it means to love. True love means wanting the other’s good. It requires sacrifice. And it is manifested through our actions for those around us. Aside from His own life, the Lord Jesus illustrates that in many different stories and examples, perhaps most powerfully in the parable of the sheep and the goats.

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left” (Matthew 25:31-33).

The following verses make it very clear that, when weighing the lives and actions of those on the right and the left, Jesus counts service to the least as service to Himself. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (vs. 40). Whatever you did for the least of these, you have done it for me. The Saviour personally identifies with the hungry, thirsty, naked, marginalized, and oppressed. Would it be far-fetched to say pre-born children fit that description?

In his book “Love the Least (a Lot)”, Michael Spielman writes, “The God of the universe humbled himself not just to become a man, but to become a child, an infant, a fetus, and an embryo! To those on his left, to those cursed with eternal fire, Jesus says, ‘I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not (vs. 42, 43).’ Is it really such of a stretch to imagine him also saying, I was in the womb and you gave me no care, I was threatened by abortion and you did not intervene, I was an embryo and you said I didn’t matter, a fetus and you said there were more important things to do? The measuring stick of Christian love is not what we do for our friends. It’s not what we do for the healthy and put together. It’s what we do for the ‘least of these.'”

While the Bible is clear that good works will not merit us salvation but are rather to be done in obedience and thankfulness to God, this parable powerfully illustrates that our actions will be weighed in the balance. As Spielman notes, “We would do well to feel the weight of Christ’s warning to the goats.”

This is also true in light of my debate with Dr. Fellows. When confronted with those who willingly advocate and carry out a worldview that literally leaves little children in the trash, it is fitting to take inventory of our own lives. What matters at the end of the day is whether we are reconciled with God, but let’s not think that’s a spiritual question without practical implications. The Great Commission is to love the Lord above all and our neighbour as ourselves. And love, the Lord Jesus shows us, is a verb.

When God’s creatures are destroyed in our culture, loving Him and our neighbour—both born and pre-born—can mean nothing else than taking action. So march on we must, being a voice for the voiceless in the place we’ve been given in this life, but with the disposition of my 3-year old who remarked this morning,

“Let’s pray for that Doctor and for all the babies. Because the Lord can do everything.”

Killing the Blessings

Every once in a while, I read something that surprises me with its impact. On Tuesday, I stumbled across an article posted on the “Gender Focus” website just a few minutes before—the opening sentence was: “This afternoon I had an abortion.”

The word “abortion” doesn’t lose its power when you see what it looks like every day, and when the focus of your week is exposing the public to literature depicting what the Toronto Star called “bloodied, tiny bodies” a few days ago. It’s a word that hides, not reveals. It represents the passing of a human being, forced from this life by our barbarism, our selfishness, and our apathy.

Reading the “Gender Focus” article, featuring the defiantly relativistic title “My Reality: My Abortion Experience,” it was hard not to feel that this woman’s reality was, indeed, a sad one. When she saw the pregnancy test was positive, she relates, she swore so loudly she was positive her daughter heard her downstairs. But immediately—immediately—she “knew what I wanted to do, knew what I needed to do.”

What she thought she needed, of course, was an abortion. She needed a doctor to search out the tiny human growing within her, and vacuum it into crimson shreds. This, in our culture, passes as a “need.” Pregnancy is not beautiful—it is a disease. And we have a state-funded, convenient, lethal solution. And effective–the fetus—at least that one—won’t come back. That’s because he or she was an unrepeatable human being, never seen before in human history and never to be seen again.

As pro-lifers reaching out to our culture, we make the argument that abortion is a human rights violation because it violently ends the life of a human being. We don’t use religion to make our point—and we don’t need to. But when reading a story like this one, I can’t help but think how tragic it is that our society has so completely perverted and destroyed the concept of love. It is one of God’s great blessings that when two people love one another, that love can bring about a completely new human being. Now, that human being is considered by many to be a threat, an inconvenience—even, some say, a parasite. God uses human interactions to bring about brand new, unique, unrepeatable human beings—and we violently carve “Return to Sender” into their tiny corpses and fling them back into Eternity. I shudder to think of it—God’s Blessings, millions upon millions of tiny souls, appearing before Him after the briefest of tenures on Earth, hacked short by the blood-stained hands of those still below.

Children used to be considered a blessing. Children used to be considered the future, not an inconvenience to our future. Our love now has no room for others—it must be sterile to be fulfilling. It is morbidly interesting to note that the root word of carnality and carnage are the same—carne, or Latin for “flesh.” Today, it seems many times that love has been replaced by carnality—and that carnage has proceeded from it.

This article was first published on The Bridgehead and has been republished with permission from the authour.

One Reformed Youth to Another

In today’s world, it is proving to be more and more difficult for people, especially teenagers, to dare to explore their full potential and use this to influence others and make a difference in the world around them. It is so tempting to take the safe road through life, to sit back comfortably and go about the same repetitive tasks of eating, sleeping, and socializing. It has become normal, when you hear of an issue, to absorb and accept the information the media and people in our lives feed to us without giving it a second thought. Putting thought into something is seen by most teenagers as an unnecessary and difficult task to be avoided by all costs. Asking questions and inquiring about the “facts” to see if they are completely accurate is almost unheard of, and acting contrary to this results in being labelled as “nerd.” It is uncool to have a stance of your own in political or ethical issues because of the degrading ideology that sweeps like wildfire through countless minds every day.

This ideology is one that is seen as cool and empowering, the idea that one must follow the other and if you don’t agree, you are shunned to the bottom of the “social hierarchy.” It is the fear of being despised that leads people to believing what the “cool” people say without even putting thought into doing so. It is the mindless desire to fit in to the mould, to be accepted by the popular ones. When something is said that goes against their “rules” of how life should proceed, you are rebuked and mocked. Your knees may start to shake and your palms may start to sweat as you hopelessly probe for the right words to justify what you said, to portray yourself once again as socially acceptable.

It sometimes seems as if all teenagers are this way, senseless idiots following even more senseless idiots. Disney’s widespread propaganda of “being yourself” is mindlessly accepted, putting us at rest as we are comforted that we are perfect and beautiful just the way we are. Our friends and family comfort us by saying that somebody loves us, so the “haters” don’t matter. We are told that we are unique; that we do not have to fit into anyone’s expectations because this is who we are and what others think will never matter. Society at large has conformed to the idea of individuality. Yet, we mostly conform to everyone else’s standards and rarely use our brilliant minds. I can’t help but wonder—who placed the idea into high schools that all that matters is the clothes you wear and the truck you drive?

We may think that we are perfect and beautiful the way we are, but we must realize that if we are not striving to do our best and fulfill our purpose in this world, we are next to nothing. What value does our life have when we only try to fit the criteria of humans? Shouldn’t we be fitting into someone else’s criteria? Shouldn’t we be following God’s example and scrutinizing our own heart and mind before we judge others? When we are questioned on judgement day, it won’t matter how popular we were, or how many friends we had. It is so clearly stated by the apostle John in Revelation 20:12, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works”. What will matter at the end of our life how we used the time given to us.

Once self-confidence and trust in God is established, it is never lost. Once we discover who we are and what we stand for, it won’t matter what the alpha dogs think. Other people’s narrow-minded judgements about who we are won’t affect us nearly as much. As long as we know we are standing up for something morally just and using the power of our own magnificent brains to influence and change the world around us, there is little that can shake the spirit that defines us.

As soon as you realize this, the devaluing of human life (abortion, bullying, slave trade–to name a few) will make you want to revolt. Watching the “stronger” people mercilessly destroy the “weaker” ones will make you want to “stuff all their heads down toilets,” as one of my very insightful friends would say. It bewilders me that this is so backwards; that the unwritten rule that we must all try to fit in dominates our choices. If we fail to see the value in being like everyone else, we are seen as a meaningless outcast when actually, the ones who conform to the same ideas simply for the sake of “fitting in” should rethink what they are trying to fit into. Even if you claim to be individual, you never will be if you merrily sit back and accept things the way they are. As Martin Luther King Jr. would say, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

If you are going to proclaim yourself as an individual and “be yourself,” be the best self you can be. Try to live by the guidelines of Colossians 3:23: “whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” Do more than simply conform to the cool idea of individuality, because if it does not go deeper than merely wanting to be an individual, it is shallow enough not to count. Recognize and value living to your full potential as a necessity. Try to see yourself for who you are and what you were given, and realize that with it you can change the world. That isn’t always easy. As Jodi Picoult wrote, “When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t.”

Keep in mind that while this is true, the words of Martin Luther King Jr. are also true: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Being courageous and confident enough to rise above all this is truly one of the greatest things that will ever happen to you. In case you have wondered, this isn’t just a theory of mine. I say this because it’s exactly what has happened to me.

Knowing that you have changed a mind, or that you have influenced another person’s thoughts in something they otherwise wouldn’t have thought about will make you realize that there is more to life than simply living. Standing on a sidewalk while exposing the gruesome truth of abortion to the public and seeing the reaction of various people will give you an idea of the wounded culture and why this has to be fought against. The fact that people don’t know leads to the fact that people don’t care. And they deserve to know, because the smaller, weaker, more dependent people of this nation deserve to be cared for. God commands us in Romans 12:2, “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

By now you may be asking: if the ones who label themselves as cool aren’t cool, then who are the cool people? The cool people are the ones fighting for justice. The cool people are the ones living not only for themselves, but for those around them who are much more vulnerable. The cool people are the ones who don’t accept the age, size and gender discrimination happening in our country today. The cool people are the ones who realize that all humans, no matter how big or small, contribute something valuable to our society. They are the ones who at least try to live by the commandment written in Mark 12:30-31: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandments greater than these.”

The cool people, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., have a dream that “children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” I think we should all have a dream. We should all have a dream that one day, helpless, tiny humans will not have their limbs torn apart before having a chance to see daylight.

I have a dream that one day everyone will see it as morally unjust and realize that something is terribly fallacious with the fact that human lives are being cruelly tortured and destroyed simply because they cannot speak and are not wanted. I have a dream that one day we will all have the self-confidence to shrug off the judgments and criticism of others and realize how guilty we are to simply sit back when we know of this inhumane genocide that is happening right now. I can see a future in which everybody lives by the standards of Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

I dream that one day, these defenseless human beings will have a voice because of you.

Confrontation versus Antagonism

The great Reformer Martin Luther once argued for, “Peace if possible, truth at all costs.” The merit—and of course the context—of that statement can be debated. His attitude, it seems, is one that people are often uncomfortable with. In our interactions with “the world” and secular society at large, how are Christians to conduct themselves in the face of sweeping and devastating societal evils, evils which strike at the heart of what it means to be a human being created in God’s image?

There is an argument circulating in some circles that what I would refer to as “confrontational pro-life outreach” is antagonistic—and furthermore, that being antagonistic is something profoundly (if not inherently) unchristian. This argument bears examination—if only to assure those who feel uncomfortable with such outreach that their concerns are not dismissed without careful thought.

First—how is “antagonism” defined? Generally, it is interpreted as “active hostility or opposition.” In this sense, all pro-life work is antagonistic, in that it presents itself as a worldview inherently hostile and opposed to the idea that image-bearers of God can engage in an activity that butchers and destroys in the most gruesome fashion other image-bearers of God. Rather, it can be argued that those of us who believe in God and that all human beings were created in His image have an unrelenting duty to be hostile and opposed to this grotesque 21st century version of child sacrifice, which God condemns in the most explicit terms in the Old Testament. We are called to be obedient to the governments set up in authority over us, undoubtedly—however, the government is not permitted to take that which is God’s. Luke 20:5 records the Lord Jesus telling us to, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.” The pre-born child in the womb bears not the superscription of Caesar, but of God Himself, Who created man in His image.

However, I realize that people are probably not considering the technical definition of “antagonistic” when they refer to tactics such as anti-abortion postcards, literature, or signs. Rather, they are referring to how these tactics feel—it feels like we are somehow provoking people in an ungodly, unchristian way and that this type of “hostility” perhaps crosses the line into something they are distinctly uncomfortable with. And indeed, that is hard to argue with—the reactions of pro-abortion forces to the exposure of truth are often shocking in both their lewdness and their crudeness. That being said, I would argue that these pro-life tactics are not so much “antagonistic” in the way that people often perceive that word as they are “confrontational.”

We do not seek to “antagonize” those who hold that abortion is a right rather than a brutal human rights violation—we seek to confront them with the truth and change their point of view. Time and time again, we see those who are confronted with the horrible truth of what abortion is, change their point of view. As pro-lifers, our duty is to be the conscience of our nation, and to ceaselessly confront the public with the crimes being committed out of sight. The fact that we cannot see abortion often impacts even how Christians view it—as John Calvin once noted, “In forming an estimate of sins, we are often imposed upon by imagining that the more hidden, the less heinous they are.”

Confronting our country and our countrymen with truth does not just involve noting that truth exists, but necessarily includes drawing their attention to what that is. (A pastor dealing with a church member who is guilty of repeatedly cheating on his wife, for example, would not simply content himself with a sermon on the seventh commandment, but would actually meet with the man and confront him with his actions.) If the battle for human lives resides only on the field of philosophy, with no victim and no perpetrator, then the victims remain forgotten (as they so often are) and the perpetrators carry on their way undisturbed (as they so often do). I would draw your attention to one of the many brilliant speeches given by the abolitionist William Wilberforce in the British House of Commons, who sought to confront the government of his day with the evils of slavery in the most explicit way:

“Policy, Sir, is not my principle, and I am not ashamed to say it. There is a principle above everything that is political. And when I reflect on the command that says, ‘Thou shalt do no murder,’ believing the authority to be divine, how can I dare to set up any reasonings of my own against it? And, Sir, when we think of eternity, and of the future consequences of all human conduct, what is here in this life which should make any man contradict the principles of his own conscience, the principles of justice, the laws of religion, and of God?

Sir, the nature and all the circumstances of this trade are now laid open to us. We can no longer plead ignorance, we cannot evade it, it is now an object placed before us, we cannot pass it. We may spurn it, we may kick it out of our way, but we cannot turn aside so as to avoid seeing it. For it is brought now so directly before our eyes that this house must decide, and must justify to all the world, and to their own consciences, the rectitudes of their grounds and of the principles of their decision…Let not Parliament be the only body that is insensible to national justice.”

Here, Wilberforce confronts the politicians with the evil and appeals not to his own point of view, but to that of a Higher Power. The truth that we seek to confront our culture with must not be our own, but one based on principles that are eternal. We as pro-lifers have to confront our politicians, yes. But we can’t forget that the human beings that are being destroyed are not created in our image. They are created in His. And their destruction constitutes a violation of His law, not of ours.

It is tempting in the face of antagonism and confrontation to simply hide away in our own communities, to work our jobs and raise our children and leave the fight. It is not pleasant to be opposed and confronted, just as it is often unpleasant to be the one opposing and confronting. But consider the words of J.C. Ryle on Christian duty: “True believers are always represented as mixing in the world, doing their duty in it, and glorifying God by patience, meekness, purity, and courage in their several positions — and not by cowardly desertion of them. Moreover, it is foolish to suppose that we can keep the world and the devil out of our hearts by going into holes and corners! True religion and unworldliness are best seen, not in timidly forsaking the post which God has allotted to us — but in manfully standing our ground, and showing the power of grace to overcome evil.”

Indeed, if we read the major and minor prophets of the Old Testament, we see that they did not place themselves in opposition to the government God had placed over them, but instead loudly and persistently pointed out where the actions of these leaders blatantly contradicted God’s laws and God’s sovereignty. They confronted their leaders with the sins of their nation, and demanded a change. They were, by all accounts, considered to be very antagonistic. I think few Christians would argue that we, as those who claim a belief in Christianity, are not called to confront our leaders with the sins of our day and our nation.

The question we should perhaps ask ourselves, then, is the reverse of what pro-lifers are so often asked: Is there something we should be confronting, which we are not? Or, if you prefer: Is there something we should be antagonizing, but we are not? Should our response to the systematic butchery of human beings be one of philosophical discussion, or a concrete conflict of worldviews that results in action on behalf of those who are “drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain” (Proverbs 24:11)? Should we be seen to mutter our opposition to those who embrace a culture of killing, or should we instead follow the command in Proverbs 31:8 to “Open they mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction”?

These are, at least, questions worth considering.

The Tyranny of Nice

Let me paint you a picture.

You leave your house in the morning for work, or church, or school. As you step outside your house, you notice that’s something’s different. There are tiny splashes of crimson on the sidewalk in front of your house. As you walk closer, you realize with a sickening feeling that those tiny scarlet splashes merely outline the final resting places of tiny corpses, so tiny you have to lean over and squint at them—and when you do, you see tiny, perfectly formed arms, legs, and worst of all—faces. Faces that you do not want to see. Perfectly formed human beings, grotesquely mangled, savagely violated, and finally, callously abandoned.

And there are hundreds of them, stretching up the street. In order to go about your day’s activities, you must first step over 266 tiny bodies.

That might sound dramatic to some. In fact, I’m sure it does. And that is precisely why the gatekeepers of Christian schools and churches often do everything in their power to ensure you will never have to look a victim of abortion in the face. Many seem hell-bent on making sure that no student, no congregant, should ever have to grapple with the world-changing and gut-wrenching realization that we have failed millions of tiny human beings. Another day, another small sacrifice on the Altar of Nice. But don’t worry. You won’t have to step over the corpses as you go about your day. They’ve either been incinerated or packed into bio-hazardous bins, safely away from our fragile consciences. And there are plenty of pro-life people who want to make sure you don’t even see the only evidence of their fate that exists to tell their story: Abortion imagery.

Beyond the detailed and comprehensive explanations that has already been laid out regarding the need for showing abortion when we talk about well, abortion. A pro-life educator being told they can educate a class about abortion as long as they do not provide any documentary evidence of their claims (besides being just plain absurd) is the equivalent of telling a history teacher to educate his or her class about the Holocaust without showing any concentration camp pictures. Or a humanitarian worker to lecture about starvation in Africa without showing pictures of the starvation victims. Or an anti-smoker campaigner who can say that smoking makes your lungs black, but is forbidden to show any pictures of said claim.

There is no intellectually sustainable reason for this position. There is only the constant, infuriating, knee-jerk desire to keep everybody “happy,” whatever that means. Keep feeding them the morphine of cute stories and completely ignore the victims of abortion, so that when kids actually do go out and have abortions (and trust me, we have met many post-abortive teens in Christian schools) we can at least tell these shattered girls that we tried to protect them from any sort of emotional reaction to a picture. That’s right. You saved kids from a normal, human reaction to a picture of a human our society betrayed—but in the process, you may have removed the last barrier between them and a lifetime of pain and regret. It’s a good thing that no teens watch slasher flicks or gory movies. That would really traumatize them.

If you are pro-life, you know, as I do, that abortion has killed millions of pre-born children in Canada already. You are aware that the number of lives lost here already exceeds the number of lives lost in many of the other titanic injustices of our age. What would your response be to someone in the 1930’s and 1940’s who opposed the killing of Jews, but also opposed showing any pictures of the concentration camps to average citizens? Would you not say that they, too, were aiding in the cover-up?

If you know, as I do, that the pre-born are human beings whose right to life is being violated on a day-today basis, can you in honesty object to my comparison? Who does this suppression of evidence help, and who does it hurt?

It’s something to think about.

A Father’s Duty

“Why would you give up so much for pro-life work?”

Over the past few months this question has been asked repeatedly by friends and family alike. Most ask out of curiosity, some in admiration and wonderment, and a few in tones of ridicule and spite when they learn of my new employment with the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform. For myself, I have always kept a motto of keeping all my options open. Throughout high school, for example, I took all academic courses since I wasn’t sure of my career path, and even during the first two years of university I tried introduction courses from every faculty available. Once my profession was chosen, the most enticing aspect of becoming a Chartered Accountant (CA) was the endless possibilities it would bring. However, never had I imagined that of all the options available, that this would be God’s way for me.

This past summer, as I studied for my final test to complete and obtain my CA designation, it was impossible not to think about my future career and how to use my capacities to God’s honour and glory. In the parable of the talents, as told in Matthew 25, it clearly shows us that the Lord has given talents to everyone and asks of us that we use and multiply these talents to the good of the Kingdom of Heaven. Further in this parable it can be seen that unto those who the Lord has given much, much is also required of them. Since the servant in the parable that received five talents, an additional five talents were required of him.

But this return of talents is not simply turning five dollars into ten dollars and perhaps even reserving a portion for tithes and the poor—no, this return is much greater. Matthew 25:14 speaks of the man who “delivered unto [his servants] his goods.” Symbolizing God’s gifts to us, this speaks of capacities of His image that are endowed unto all people: capacities of knowledge, love, and ability. Too often, we think of using our time and talents as our duty, which it undoubtedly is, but the higher goal must be to expand God’s Kingdom and return what we received with thankfulness and interest. That can be very practical. If you help someone with car troubles on the side of the road the greatest reward is not that this person gives you a million dollars for your act of kindness, nor that it may cause he or she to return the favour to someone else down the road, but rather that you did it to serve the Master, and that the person may even ponder upon something so foreign to our fallen world.

Now, as a CA, I could look forward to and climb the corporate ladder in front of me, dreaming of a nice house, a fancy car, a boat perhaps and many sunny vacations, or I could consider an offer to help manage a non-profit organization that advocates for the most vulnerable of our neighbours. For over eight years already, the Lord has made the plight of the pre-born an important part of my life and now I have the opportunity to use my talents as an accountant to the good of those very children.

This is not to say it was an easy step for me to take, especially as the head of our little family and having the responsibility of looking after and providing for them. It took time, counsel, prayer and much encouragement from Above to show me that I place too much faith in a regular paycheque that is received from your employer. Since October my wife and I have been fundraising for our salary and in this time I have realized it must all come from the Lord, no matter that your occupation is. The fact that your employer doesn’t go bankrupt, that business continues to thrive, that you have the health and ability to work, that your labour is blessed—all these factors and many more come from the Lord alone.

In Matthew 6 we read, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” In his book, The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer explains, “[Man] imagines that there is a relation of cause and effect between work and sustenance, but Jesus explodes that illusion. According to Him, bread is not to be valued as the reward for our work; He speaks instead of the carefree simplicity of the man who walks with Him and accepts everything as it comes from God.”

This, of course, could be applied in different ways. It doesn’t mean we may never earn money, but it has taught me that living in dependence on the Lord is of the greatest importance. And in my case, that has come in the way of giving up a secure income for a fundraised income. We now fundraise our salary, for the simple reason that there is no alternative funding for a non-profit organization that is not supported by government funds or the general public.

On the other side of the coin, I strongly believe that being a man not only means I provide for my family, but also gives me more responsibility to stand up for the pre-born as it is largely due to the demise of masculinity and the shirking of our responsibilities as men in society that abortion is so prevalent today. In general, we men have failed to be a role model to “our sons grown up in their youth” and we have failed to esteem “our daughters as cornerstones, polished after the similitude of a palace” (Psalm 144). From pornography to advertising in business windows we are bombarded with hyper-sexualized versions of women, now degraded to sex objects. Though I was conceived after the beginning of the sexual revolution, isn’t the question how we, as a Christian church, could have let this happen? Isn’t the question what our response is today—are we determined to make a difference, unwavering in guarding our homes and hearts? I know it is nearly impossible to protect our kids, let alone ourselves, and therefore it is more important than ever before to lead by example, to show boys how to be men and treat women and children with respect.

It is much too convenient for us to point to feminism as the sole cause of the sexual liberation of our day and age, when in part male chauvinism may have instigated the movement, the lukewarm state of the church allowed it, our materialism promoted it. And thus, abortion would not be the leading cause of death in Canada today, if men would take responsibility. No, not just the men who cowardly leave a woman to deal with the results of their physical desires and lusts, but you and me too—Christian men who ought to reflect Christ in all we think, say, and do.

While we may have failed in the past, and without God’s grace will continue to do so, this should not be a reason to give up on the future. Francis A. Schaeffer once wrote, “Future generations will look back, and many will either scoff or believe in Christ on the basis of whether we Christians of today took a sacrificial stand in our various walks of life on these overwhelmingly important issues.”

Isn’t that how we often look back at the lack of action from European Christians during the Second World War? Just the other day, someone said to me, “How could they have just let it happen?” I couldn’t help but think of the historical account of a Lutheran church, situated only a short distance from railroad tracks. Every Sunday, cattle cars full of Jews would ride past the church on their way to concentration or death camps. The wailing and weeping from the train could be heard in the church. What was the response? Comfortably inside, the congregation just sang louder to drown out the anguish. As we consider this, we shake our heads. “How could they?” But today, many of us, who call ourselves Christians, go about with our lives, “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (Matthew 24:38), building our homes, and attending church, all the while fellow human beings are visiting hospitals and abortions clinics to have their tiny pre-born children torn to pieces. Should we not stop and rethink and change our lives accordingly, lest future generations will look at the blood on our hands and say, “How could they?”

Finally, regardless of talent or opportunities, the Scriptures command us in Matthew 22 to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind, and our neighbour as ourselves. What does that means in our day-to-day lives? In obedience to God, that means asking what He would have us do about the injustice of our day, one that we pay for with our tax dollars. Proverbs 31: 8 says to “Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.” If you have watched “The Silent Scream” or take a few minutes to watch this video, you will be able to make the connection quite easily. Pre-born children are appointed to destruction, almost 300 times a day in our country alone. Each time an abortion is scheduled, we are to open our mouth to defend those that cannot defend themselves. That is not a question or a suggestion: it is a command.

There are many ways to advocate for the pre-born, the most vulnerable in our society in Canada today and for the past 25 years. Efforts are made through pro-life organizations such as ours to give a voice to the voiceless, to show their plight so that the general public may not plead ignorance and abortion will become unthinkable. Support comes in many forms, through actively volunteering, financially funding, prayerfully encouraging, and lovingly educating those that are still ignorant. But the most important question is this: are we willing? Are we willing to do whatever it takes to save these children?

For our little family, it has meant a life-style change and it won’t always be easy, but our decision has definitely come with tremendous blessings too. While working from home, we spend more time together than before, and we are able to raise our boys engaged in the fight for the very heart and life of our culture. We’ve also had the privilege of meeting many pro-lifers, each of them serving the Lord in the place that was given to them. A businessman wrote a big cheque after going through his finances and concluding that this cause was getting much too little. Young families with already tight budgets have committed to monthly donations to answer the call in this way. And one God-fearing, elderly couple we met wasn’t able to contribute much financially, but their prayers are a mighty weapon against the forces of darkness.

So, why give up so much to do pro-life work? The way I see it, we’re gaining more than we’re giving up. As the Talmud saying goes, “Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.”

Women Taking to the Streets!


If we were living in the 1970s, such a headline might well be heeded. But the throngs of youthful sign-wielding, slogan-chanting demonstrators on Parliament Hill every spring have a radically different purpose: rather than demanding reproductive rights for themselves, they are advocates for the sanctity of life and protection of the pre-born. And across the country, every week, more volunteers brave spiteful epithets, occasional projectiles, and inclement weather while holding signs depicting graphic images of aborted babies. Unfortunately, these “Choice” Chain volunteers sometimes face opposition from unexpected fronts. Young women in particular are targeted, not only by angry passers-by, but by members of their own Reformed churches. “Choice” Chain has drawn criticism because the majority of volunteers are female. At other times young mothers have been chastised for neglecting their children and housewifely duties while engaging in this pro-life work, and admonished to set a better example of biblical womanhood for their daughters. And so I approach this age-old question with some reluctance and trepidation: what is a woman to do? What is her biblical role and, more specifically, does it include pro-life activism such as “Choice” Chain?

Most often negative responses to this question accompany objections, whether tacit or spoken, of this nature:

1. A woman’s place is in the home, not on the streets.
2. Women who take public leadership roles upset the divine ordinance of creation.
3. Women who spend so much time pursuing these efforts are not being good mothers.
4. Public activism is simply not womanly and violates Biblical standards of femininity.

I will attempt to address these claims in the above order.

The first of these objections evokes the image of the woman in Proverbs 31. Matthew Henry, in his commentary on this chapter writes, “This is the description of a virtuous woman of those days, but the general outlines equally suit every age and nation.” So we read of the indefatigable industry of a woman who looks after the needs of her household. Her work, however, goes far beyond what is typically considered in the 21st century as “domestic labour”, as she “considereth a field, and buys it, […] maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant” (Prov.31:16,24; KJV). Spurgeon comments that “[s]he is not a religious recluse, shut out from the world; the virtuous woman is a sensible common-sense being, not at all ashamed to earn her living”.1 This chapter not only emphasizes her contributions to the prosperity of the household, but also her works of charity: “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy […] She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness” (verses 20,26). In fact, her diligence in “expending as well as gathering wealth” is precisely what gives her the “means to purchase property” and “enables her to be charitable.”2 It is not difficult to picture this woman of “strength and honour” (v. 25) doing works of love outside the home as well as in. To confine the fruits of her hands to the four walls of her house would be a loss indeed.

The second objection to the role of women in pro-life activism is a response to the positions of leadership that many of these women find themselves in. The argument is that this contradicts the headship principle outlined by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11: 2-16 (“the head of every man is Christ; and the head of every woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”) and 1 Timothy 2: 9-15 (“I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”). There is no doubt that Paul teaches in these and other passages a divine order of creation to be upheld in home and church to avoid confusion and disorder, and provide spiritual instruction. And my purpose in this article is not to explicate the relationship of love and respect between a husband and wife, nor reject all differences in gender roles. However, too often these passages are interpreted, even by respected commentators and leaders in the church, as appointments in rank as though they reflect inherent superiority and inferiority between men and women. This is wrong.3

First of all, Galatians 3:28 tells us that “[t]here is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Before God, all people are equal: it is only within our relationships to each other that God has ascribed roles and responsibilities of submission and authority. Children must obey their parents, and servants, their masters (Ephesians 6:1-5). Women, like men, are not to usurp authority. The above-mentioned chapter in Timothy begins with the exhortation to pray “for kings, and for all that are in authority” (v.2). In Ephesians 5:21-24 all Christians are called to a spirit of humble submission for the good of the family and greater benefit of the church. Likewise, in contexts where a man has been placed in authority over her, such as marriage (1 Peter 3:1), or church leadership, a woman should obey as far as is in accordance with God’s Word. But a woman who leads a group of men and women in a common goal such as a pro-life demonstration is not usurping authority because none of those men have been placed above her. Men by their very nature are not superior or carry authoritative status in all contexts over their female counterparts.

But, one might counter, women still should not be leading educational initiatives to the public. After all, in 1 Timothy 2:12 Paul instructs women “not […] to teach,” and in 1 Corinthians 14:34 cautions them to “keep silence in the churches.” The important distinction to keep in mind here is that these admonitions concern men’s official capacities within the public worship meetings of the church. Women were and are expected to teach one another (Titus 2:3) and “profess godliness as well as men; for they are baptized, and thereby stand engaged to exercise themselves to godliness; and, to their honour be it spoken, many of them were eminent professors of Christianity in the days of the apostles, as the book of Acts will inform us.”4 The “silence” women are exhorted to in 1 Corinthians “we must understand as referring to ordinary service, or where there is a Church in a regularly constituted state; for a necessity may occur of such a nature as to require that a woman should speak in public; but Paul has merely in view what is becoming in a duly regulated assembly.”5

Apart from these prescribed church roles, women may find themselves working alongside their male colleagues in church life as well as in society. In Philippians 4:3 Paul refers to the “women which laboured with me in the gospel,” and Priscilla was his “companion in labour”.6 We also read about Lydia, seller of purple, Anna, a prophetess who served God in the Temple (Luke 2:36-38) and Phoebe, “servant of the church […] at Cenchrea” (Romans 16: 1).7 Miriam the prophetess led all the Israelite women “with timbrels and with dances” (Exodus 15:20) and Philip the evangelist “had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy” (Acts 21:9). These women were busy in their churches and communities, and by no means assumed a perpetual code of silence.

There are many examples in the Bible of women whose roles brought them into the public eye and even positions of leadership. Consider Shiphrah and Puah, the midwives who obeyed God’s law rather than Pharaoh’s command to kill the newborn sons of Hebrew women. “And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses,” which in Hebrew idiom means they were blessed with many children (Exodus 1:21). These women understood that their calling to affirm life extended beyond their own homes and into their public practice. Public duty may also include leadership roles. In Judges 4 and 5 we read about Deborah dispensing judgement to the people of Israel and directing Barak and the Israelite army in battle. Women today may find themselves in similar circumstances if that is the calling to which God has led them. And what louder call comes, than from the innocent blood of countless children, sacrificed in the name of women’s liberation? Who better to answer that call than the “liberated” women of our time? The Lord used Esther in her position as queen to deliver the Jews from annihilation. When Esther hesitated to confront king Ahasuerus, Mordecai urged her with words that we could take to heart, for each of us has also been set in our particular time and place, and are obliged to “deliver them that are drawn unto death”8 as we have opportunity to do so. “[W]ho knoweth,” he asks, “whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

However, to concede that a woman’s calling may take her outside the home and into positions of leadership is more difficult, according to some, when that woman is a mother. The Bible is clear that she should prioritize caring for and nurturing her children: how can she do this if she is so preoccupied with her pro-life work?9 Of course, there are many “Choice-Chaining” women for whom this objection does not apply: those who are unmarried or single, childless, or women whose children are all in school or no longer at home. This also overlooks the women who bring their children with them to Choice Chain: often the most powerful witnesses are the youngest present, cuddled up to their mommies in a sling! But this notion that mothers are abandoning their young children while they gallivant on the sidewalks ignores God’s call to all women to “adorn themselves […] with good works” (1 Timothy 2:9,10). Would we consider it appropriate for a mother to drop off her children at Oma’s house, or leave them with Dad for an hour or two so she could donate blood or serve food to the hungry in a soup kitchen? Children have been watched by a babysitter for far more trivial things than that! Are mothers neglecting their children when they bring them to the church nursery or playschool during Women’s Group so they can learn about Biblical childrearing practises or run a senior’s tea? Of course not. It is likewise ridiculous to assert that she is neglecting duty in any way by advocating for the pre-born and working to bring about an end to abortion. And when her children are old enough to understand what mom is doing during that time she is away, they will learn from her example how we are all commanded to “[redeem] the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

But isn’t it the husband’s and father’s role to protect the family and fight for justice? Certainly! Men are specially called to “fight […] for your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses” (Neh. 4:14). And this article does not seek to deter men from getting involved! The pro-life movement would be crippled without them. However, the pro-life movement and this strand in particular would be impossible without women. What may at first appear to be a defensive, protective, even combative role actually plays out in a delicate dialogue in which empathizing with the voices of hurt and outrage are as important as a gentle, articulate response. Who better to respond than women, whose general aptitude for conversation and less intimidating stature would be assets in such an exchange? Imagine that “Choice” Chain participants, or “40 Days for Life” volunteers standing outside of abortion clinics, were exclusively male. This would be insensitive and in poor judgement. Abortion is a human rights issue in which both men and women have an important role to play.

And yet, some would argue that it is enough for women to do our part in this cultural struggle by being good mothers to the children God has given us. I would welcome you to be wary of a subtle innuendo here, that abortion is less heinous as long as it is happening to other people’s babies. As citizens of this country (thank you, first-wave feminism10) we are as accountable as men are for collective and moral decisions, such as whether or not it is permitted or encouraged to kill the most vulnerable members of society.

Perhaps the underlying fear behind these objections is that any sign-wielding, mostly female gathering on public sidewalks evokes the impiety of a feminist-movement protest.11 Anyone who would associate these two groups of people is clearly missing the message. Quite contrary to modern mainstream feminism, these pro-life women are visibly rejecting the notion that the only way they can be equal with men is by denying the life-giving, nurturing function of their bodies by turning their womb from a sanctuary to a tomb. Pro-life activists seek to reclaim motherhood for the beautiful and blessed role that it is!

As far as the last objection goes, not much is left to be said. What is womanly and feminine is a purposeful life, roles performed in obedience to one’s calling, the joys and challenges of a wife or mother, activist or teacher, merchant or queen! God has placed women in these positions and equipped them with the proficiency to carry them out. In Jesus’ parable of the talents, the Master was sovereign and wise. He gave differently to each, and to each according to his capacity. Each was fitted for the service in which he was employed, and the gifts needed for its fulfilment were bestowed on him.” And each servant was expected to return their gift with a profit. But of what profit is a woman’s mental dexterity, her confidence in speaking, articulate persuasion, or inspirational leadership, if she return it to her Maker void? What is a woman to make of it when she observes that in every capacity she is as competent, intelligent, and motivated as the men around her? “Had [God] failed in wisdom when he bestowed these gifts?”12   Every one of us is duty bound to use our talents in the service of God to whom we must give an account, and for the benefit of our community. That community, our community, includes male and female, able and handicapped, the elderly and the unborn child. To isolate ourselves, to fail to speak the truth boldly without church walls as well as in, is to share in the reproach of our nation.13  God’s mandate comes to women, also: let us not be found lukewarm, wanting, unsavoury!14  Was Isaiah 1:17 written only for men? “Learn to do well; seek judgement, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” Speak for the voiceless.

Dear women of the faith, now is not the time to be silent. Now is the time to be “valiant for the truth upon the earth”.15

Because God gave me a voice,

Sarah Maljaars

1Spurgeon, C.H. Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible. Page 778.
2Jamieson, Robert., A. R. Fausset and David Brown. Commentary on the Whole Bible. Proverbs 31.
3As these relatively few verses of the Bible seem to garner disproportionate emphasis, it would be prudent to consider whether they are reiterated so often out of a zeal for God’s Word or for the sake of power, position, and pride. It is easier for women to follow these commands when they are encouraged by the love and servant-leadership of men (as following Christ’s example). But often it seems these verses are repeated reproachfully in the spirit of keeping women “in their place.”
4Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete). 1 Timothy 2.
5Calvin, John. Commentary on Corinthians. 1 Corinthians 14.
6Romans 16:3, the original Greek word “sunergos” more accurately translated as co-labourer or workfellow than “helper” as used in the KJV. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. http://biblehub.com/greek/4904.htm
7Actually, in the Greek, the word used to describe her is “diakonon, a servant by office, a stated servant, not to preach the word (that was forbidden to women), but in acts of charity and hospitality.” Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete). Romans 16.
8Proverbs 24:11.
9It may be noted that this question is rarely asked of men: it is acceptable and even applauded at times for a husband/father to spend all his time and energy pursuing success in business and financial affluence, while neglecting his duties in the home, such as the spiritual and emotional upbringing of his children. Has materialism blinded us to this inconsistency?
10First-wave feminism refers to a period of feminist activity during the 19th and early 20th century. It focused on officially mandated inequalities such as granting married women control of their own income, allowing women to own property, attend university, and become guardians of their own children. First wave feminists are also known as suffragettes because of their work to gain women’s suffrage (the right to vote).
11“Impiety” describes much of the second wave of feminism. This refers to a period of feminist activity which began in the early 1960s and lasted through the late 1990s. It was a reaction to widespread gender discrimination but went so far as to advocate for reproductive rights such as abortion, and generally contributed to the immoral agenda of the concurrent sexual revolution.
12Darby, John. Synopsis of the New Testament. Matthew 25.
13Proverbs 14:34.
14Revelation 3:16, Daniel 5:27, Matthew 5:13. This is not to say women avoid becoming “lukewarm, wanting, and unsavoury” spiritually by following this cultural mandate. No Christian is able to earn their salvation by outwardly following God’s commands, although they certainly have a responsibility to do so.
15Jeremiah 1:3.