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Pro-Life Arguments: Spiritual vs. Social Justice

Faith not hidden

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If you watched the big Cunningham-Hunter debate on Incrementalism vs. Immediatism, you may have seen CBR Executive Director Gregg Cunningham announce that CBR would no longer include the following statement in it’s Volunteer Agreement for the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) and other projects:

If asked a secular question, I will give only a secular answer, not a spiritual answer.  I will give spiritual answers only in response to a spiritual question or comment.  (Note:  Many people reject spiritual answers and use them to change the conversation or to discredit the pro-life position.)

Yes, this is going away, but I wanted to clarify the confusion about what it meant and why it was included in our Volunteer Agreement in the first place.

First of all, this was in no way a prohibition to sharing the Gospel.  In our GAP training, which we call the Pro Life Training Academy (PLTA), we routinely remind people that God commands us to share the Gospel.  I have shared my Faith at GAP on many occasions.  Other staff and volunteers have done the same.

But if a student asks why abortion is wrong, it is pointless to reply, “The Bible says, ‘Thou shalt not kill’”  Three reasons:

  1. If the student does not accept the authority of Scripture, then such a pronouncement won’t be very compelling to him.  We have to reach him where he is and go from there, just like Paul did in Athens (Acts 17:16-34).  He preached the Jewish Scripture to the Jews, who accepted the authority of Scripture.  But with the Athenians, he stared with a frame of reference they would understand.
  2. In most cases, the student likely already accepts the premise that killing a human being is immoral.  (Even atheists agree that killing 6 million Jews is immoral.)  He just disagrees that the preborn child is morally equivalent to a born person.  Most often, his mistake is not a belief that killing is OK, but is rather a belief that preborn children are somehow subhuman.
  3. People mistakenly believe our opposition to abortion is just a religious tenant that should remain a matter of personal discretion, much like our belief in keeping the Sabbath.  But we don’t oppose legalized abortion because it violates our religious beliefs; we oppose legalized abortion because it unjustly kills another human being.  That is a much different argument, and we need to make that point crystal clear.

Of course we can also share the Gospel, but we can make a compelling arguments against abortion that don’t depend on a belief in Scripture to be credible.

Some people want CBR to be focus primarily on evangelism.  But if we were to do that, what version of evangelical message would we adopt?  Would it be a Catholic version?  A Baptist version?  A Lutheran version?

We don’t have a theological statement, nor do we proscribe an evangelical approach that all must embrace.  We, like others in the pro-life movement, work with Catholics, Protestants, non-denominational, and even anti-denominational Christians to witness against the evil of child sacrifice.  When it comes to sharing the Gospel; we have to believe that every Christian is being trained (or should be trained) how to do this within their own particular Church.  (Full disclosure: On occasion, atheists have volunteered to help with our outreaches to secular audiences, and we have accepted their help.)

There need to be places in the pro-life movement — and we believe CBR should be one of those places — where Christians of good will can come together to fight a common foe, which is child sacrifice.  Otherwise, we end up fighting each other… about Catholic vs. Protestant, Calvinist vs. Arminian, Latin liturgy vs. Southern drawl, King-James-only (KJO) vs. Nearly Inspired Version (NIV), etc., etc. etc.  The list of issues that could divide us, if we let them, is endless.

If you don’t agree, if you believe your pro-life-ism cannot be separated from your particular brand of Christianity, and if you can’t work with other Christians outside your own particular brand, then there is still a place for you in the movement.  But CBR won’t be that place, because our mission transcends denominational boundaries.

That is not a statement of judgement against denominational pro-life work.  To the contrary; we wish every “pro-life” church would join this fight, as a part of the mission of that church.  And true to our calling, we will make our abortion images available to you and support your denominational pro-life mission in every way possible.

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