Yes, Mr. Blogger, LifeWay most certainly is pro-life

If you know me, you know that people joke I can make the Pope look pro-choice. I am pro-life to the nth degree, so much I irritate other pro-life Christians sometimes. There are places I won’t shop and things I won’t be involved with because of abortion ties. I research, read, write, and breathe LIFE. I say all this to say that the last thing you will ever find me doing is covering up for anyone in this arena.

That said, I am disturbed by a blog that is going around social media, in which the writer, Mike S. Adams, asserts that LifeWay’s book division is not pro-life. In his critical blog, Rightly Offended, Mr. Adams details his shopping trip to buy the new book on late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell, entitled, Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer. After his attempt to order the book on Amazon was met with a lengthy shipping delay, he goes to Barnes and Noble to purchase it. Critically commenting on the store itself, he remarks his journey to a far corner of the store that held only one copy of the book, which was not discounted like other new releases (since it is on the main B&N site, he doesn’t say if he asked for the discount in case it was a store mistake). Upset, he headed to his local LifeWay store, which is the real subject of his blog—using the missing book to make a parallel with the church’s silence on abortion. He says:

After looking through the small section and not finding Gosnell, I approached the woman working at the register and asked her to direct me to the pro-life section. I was disappointed when she told me Lifeway doesn’t have a pro-life book section. All they have is a section called “current issues.” She assured me that I could find the pro-life books there.

I took a look through the entire “current issues” section. There were a few books on homosexuality and a few dozen by authors telling us they were sure the world was about to end. But there was no Gosnell and only one book on the issue of abortion. It was on how to share the gospel with a woman after she had an abortion. It was only about 100 pages long. Just to the right of the book, I found a “finance” shelf with close to fifty different selections.

That pretty well sums up the state of the American church. For every Christian committed to defending the unborn, there are fifty “Christians” who are only committed to defending their 401k.

I wish Lifeway would make a statement by putting a pro-life apologetics section in all of their stores. But they are a just a business that serves and reflects the interests of churchgoers rather than proactively shaping the Christian culture.

Regardless, the book selection at Lifeway is a crude reminder of the indisputable fact that abortion only exists with the consent of the church.

Some of you may be surprised to hear me counter this blog because I absolutely agree that the church, overall, is silent on the issue of abortion. But LifeWay isn’t. Let me take you back to the day I made history without even trying. LifeWay had published a Here’s Hope Breast Cancer Awareness Bible, but it donated some of the proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, who funds the nations number one abortion provider, a fact LifeWay, like many at that time, did not know. I wrote an article about this—and suddenly it was on the front page of every major media outlet in the nation (and some outside the nation). So horrified was LifeWay to realize they were funding a direct abortion connection that the pulled the Bible off every retailer and ceased the sales taking a heavy financial loss. LifeWay head, Thomas S. Rainer issued an apology:

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That action became a catalyst for Komen making a decision to defund Planned Parenthood. The head of Komen at the time Karen Handel wrote about it in her book Planned Bullyhood, saying that article was one of the last straws. (Eventually Komen caved to the bullying and reinstated the abortion giant’s funding, and Handel left and wrote her book).

I have to admit, I was stunned that LifeWay did what they did because Adams is right that usually even Christian businesses can tend to focus on the bottom line of the almighty dollar in cases like this, but not LifeWay. I realized then that this was a corporation that was truly Christian. The moment they realized the connection with abortion they apologized and reversed the action—true corporate repentance.

But the story didn’t end there. Many months later, it turned out that some employee in a Walmart warehouse found a box of the Bibles that were to be sent back and somehow got overlooked—and he put them on for sale. I can’t even recall how I came across it, but I did. I was shocked. I ordered one (with the intention of returning it for a full refund) to be sure it was a legitimate order and not leftover. It shipped, and I contacted LifeWay, ready for a fight if they went back on their word. But there was nothing to fight about. They got to the bottom of it, the employee error, having those Bibles sent back, as they were supposed to be. I had managed to come across it the very time the rogue employee found them, so the Bibles were never sold. Except the one that got through to me.

During this time, I had a conversation with one of the heads of LifeWay. I had left the company a voicemail the night I found the Bibles, and he called me back at 10 a.m. the next day—apologizing for taking “so long” to get back to me. Of course, it wasn’t long at all, but that’s how urgent he saw it. When he received my message—which had to be sent from whomever checked the voicemail on to him, he headed to meeting of the leadership team at LifeWay who would be the ones to contact about the issue. He explained he finally found the leadership team and they were in a prayer meeting so then he had to wait longer while they finished. He was offering this by way of apology for his “delay” in returning my call. Then he explained how they had tracked down the Walmart mystery and there would be no sales of that Bible. Either way, they had pulled out of Komen, so the pink organization wouldn’t be getting anymore blood money, Bible or not.

I forget some of the details of our talk, but for some reason he had to email me something related to it later in the day. I will never forget that afternoon. It was a Wednesday. I was in the prayer room at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, laptop open, getting some work done, but enjoying the atmosphere. I can recall where I was sitting and the “feel” of the room based on the Wednesday regulars I would always see at the 4 p.m. intercession set. I have such sensory memories of that day because of the email exchange between the LifeWay leader and me. We had a brief email conversation the afternoon of our phone call, and then at the end of it, he added something I will never forget. He thanked me. He thanked me for writing the first article and exposing the connection because they would not have known otherwise. Because of that, he said, they were able to get that book off the shelves and not be a party to funding any place connected with abortion.

The man who is a leader in a business thanked me for costing him money and horrible publicity. I wrote an article that got them criticized and had the media descending on them. My article was quite critical, though it was also quite true. It cost them publicity, popular opinion—and cold hard cash. And that afternoon one of the heads of that organization thanked me for doing it because they had more interest in the truth and being no part of abortion than they did money.

And I cried.

Right there in the prayer room, with happy music coming from the stage, and intercessors pacing as they prayed, tears flowed from my eyes. They thanked me. They loved truth.

I’d just come out of a season of losing friends and even ministry because I had been so determined to stand pure in the area of abortion that I eschewed eating or drinking foods connected with its funding. I had refused to be associated with compromise, and it cost me (by the way I don’t regret that either). And people were upset with me because they felt “judged” or that I was too “self-righteous.” In truth, I could do nothing else because the Lord had drawn me into the pro-life movement with a powerful and unmistakable call. And then He gave me both a voice and a pen to speak. But it costs you to do that. And on that day, here was a man whom I had cost thousands of dollars, and he and his organization loved truth more than cash. He helped heal some of that pain with that thank you.

Let me be clear: He got nothing out of it. The stories had been written; the tale was complete. It was all after-the-fact conversation. He wasn’t thanking me to get good spin on a new story, for there wasn’t one left. In fact, this is the first time I have publicly written about that event.

Since then I have gone out of my way to buy from LifeWay when I am in areas that have their stores. Every time I see a LifeWay store my spirit soars a bit as I remember the bold witness they took for LIFE.

So tonight when I saw that blog from Mr. Adams, I felt righteous indignation. I don’t know all the facts. LifeWay may not be carrying this book, but I assure you the reason is not that they are afraid to take a stand for LIFE. The publisher of the Gosnell book is Regenry, a conservative book publisher, but not an overtly Christian one. Maybe Lifeway doesn’t have regular connections with them or a distribution contract. Maybe they only sell Christian or inspirational books since they are a niche store and not a general bookstore. The Gosnell book is an important work and a best seller already. But a Christian bookstore doesn’t always carry secular best sellers. I actually would not expect to find it at a Christian store. That doesn’t even make sense to me.

I am also troubled by the fact that Adams’ n=1. He went to one store and then wrote a blog. Did Mr. Adams call LifeWay? I can assure him that LifeWay is responsive to bloggers’ inquiries.

Mr. Adams is correct about the lack of books on abortion. But that’s not LifeWay’s fault, nor should the Christian company be the scapegoat for Adams’ frusrating shopping experience. A few years ago, I was in a private meeting with the publisher of a major Christian imprint and a Christian speaker who is a household name in the church world, who wanted to write a book about abortion. I was going to help write it. The major publisher (whose name you would also know) told us that people don’t want to read books about abortion. And while I found that a sad fact, it was not surprising to hear.

Indeed, our pulpits are all-too-silent. I was in Christian ministry before I ever heard a sermon about abortion. It surely did not happen in my local church, though my churches would acknowledge abortion was bad, but that was the extent of it, usually. Last year I was privileged to be part of a pro-life apologetics class at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. I read multiple books on abortion for that course—and none was easily available in the mainstream. This crisis of knowledge does not exist because of isolated incident like one LifeWay store not selling a secularly published book.

I agree with the indictment of the church’s silence and have said as much many times, but I vehemently disagree with singling out a business of great integrity in the pro-life arena over one incident that probably has more to the story than he sought to discover.

My friends, LifeWay is not the problem, and Mr. Adams is not “rightly offended,” as the title of his blog says. LifeWay most certainly is pro-life. Its leaders have great integrity and love Jesus more than money. Someday I hope to meet them in person because the last email with that man was an invitation to contact him if I were ever in the Nashville area so he could give me a tour of LifeWay and meet me in person. Know why? Because LifeWay loves LIFE.


The LifeWay leader pointed out to me that I could keep the Bible from because Komen wouldn’t be getting “one more cent” from them. So I ended up with a memorial stone from the Lord Himself. The book reminds me every time I see it that one blog can make a difference and alter many things, and the Bible reminds me that there are bold witnesses of truth and LIFE who care more about Jesus than money.



UMC decision doesn’t remove abortion culpability

This is an update to a blog many of you read on the support of the United Methodist Church for abortion rights. In my blog, I detailed the longstanding connection with the despicable Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), an abortion group who uses the name of Jesus to justify its sin. At the UMC General Convention 2016, the UMC voted to leave the RCRC, and this is, indeed, worthy of cautiously optimistic celebration. But it’s not a reason to go sign a roll at a UMC church. Since this decision, many have asked me what my thoughts are. This short update is to express that and make it clear that we should not be celebrating a pro-life UMC denomination.

Leaving the RCRC is good. I will be curious to see what happens officially to the many UMC leaders who have been enmeshed with RCRC leadership, and I will be watching the RCRC closely. But make no mistake: The UMC has NOT stopped supporting the right to abortion.

The church voted to leave the RCRC; however, there was another opportunity they had that was rejected.  At the 2016 General Conference, one of the bills that was on the table was 60698, a bill to make the language in the UMC Book of Discipline more pro-life.

First, a refresher on what the church’s guiding document says:

While individuals have always had some degree of control over when they would die, they now have the awesome power to determine when and even whether new individuals will be born.

This, my friends, is what the UMC believe about abortion–that we have the power of life and death.

The bill that was proposed would have strengthened the pro-life language of the Book of Discipline, though it did not fully make its case as 100% pro-life. The entire text of the proposed bill can be found here.  The purpose of this bill is stated at the bottom of its proposed text:

The current wording of ¶ 161.J has been treated by some United Methodists as a means for one-sidedly advocating for public policies advancing elective abortion. These amendments to ¶ 161.J would more clearly align our church with biblical, historic Christian teaching that defends unborn children and their mothers from abortion.

As you can see here, the bill was not even considered, let alone heard and voted upon.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 11.02.20 PM.pngThe delegates of the UMC would not even consider discussing changing their Book of Discipline as it relates to abortion.

I conclude this update with a statement I made in my original blog, which is a statement that I don’t need to change at all, even in light of the RCRC decision. The bottom line is that the UMC supports the rights of human beings to choose when we live or die, and that is at odds with the Word of God. There is no grey area. Here’s my original statement and citation from the Book of Discipline. It would behoove any sincere pro-life Christian reevaluate his or her involvement in a church that elevates man over God.

This ideology isn’t limited to one faction of the UMC. It is in their Book of Discipline, which is the guiding document for the denomination. In fact, their statement on abortion is fraught with a troubling lead (emphasis mine):

“The beginning of life and the ending of life are the God-given boundaries of human existence. While individuals have always had some degree of control over when they would die, they now have the awesome power to determine when and even whether new individuals will be born. Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion.

“But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child”

In short, the UMC believes that we have the right to be god and decide who lives and dies. It’s a stunning statement that should elicit the fear of God in any believer. God, the very Creator of human life, has taken a back seat to the ideology that makes us creators and destroyers; we are little gods in this term of thinking. But our God will have no god before Him. He is not mocked.

Incidentally, the RCRC’s statement indicates that it expects many UMC leaders to remain with them because

The United Methodist Church General Conference does not make binding policy for Methodist congregations and individuals. We welcome Methodists who share our views to stand with us and to use our resources and programs to benefit their churches and communities. In doing so, they will join a broad range of other denominations speaking out for women’s reproductive freedom on religious grounds.

Meanwhile, the Methodist Federation for Social Action, remains a key part of RCRC and is mobilizing UMC members all over. The ties are officially cut, but not really gone. It is still not sufficient to say you want your money out of the RCRC related areas, however. Your money matters, but so does your heart. Do you want to be connected to a church that promotes, in its key guiding document, that it’s okay to take a baby’s life sometimes?

United Methodist Church—and its members— swimming in the blood of aborted babies

“The Devil feeds the poor.”

This is the kind of post that costs me friends, but it’s also a reminder of where the phrase “don’t shoot the messenger” emanates. So if you are a United Methodist Church (UMC) member, keep in mind, the issue isn’t with me, the writer.

I’ll begin by saying that I have several friends who are part of the UMC. They are real Christians. Some simply have been deceived by their own leadership; still others have not understood the magnitude of the blood money in their own congregations. This isn’t my first public comment on UMC and abortion. But despite writing about it for several years, I learned something new this week that causes the fear of the Lord to come over me. I would rather lose friends than stay silent on this issue of Kingdom importance. The UMC is directly tied to the burgeoning abortion rights movement post Roe v. Wade. It is, in fact, part of the reason the church is divided on abortion and cannot find a unified message.

It is impossible to reconcile abortion to Christianity. Abortion advocates would have, unquestionably, told Mary that she should consider terminating her unplanned pregnancy and go on and marry Joseph—to start a family when she was ready—as if we are our own gods and get to decide God made a mistake when He let a baby be conceived. I don’t think I need to explain how the Bible makes it clear a life is a life in the womb. Actually, before he or she is in the womb, the Lord says He formed each of us. (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139). Therefore, this post is not to argue whether a baby is a life until a certain stage. And even if the Bible weren’t enough evidence, which it ought to be for anyone who claims to be a believer, science has reconciled with the Bible. We know that a baby’s heart beats by about three-weeks after conception—which is before virtually any woman even knows she’s pregnant. If your heart stopped now, you’d die. Life in the womb is unquestionable. It is wholly impossible to reconcile abortion to a Christian life. Period.

That said, I have been writing about several mainline denominations that are part of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) for years. These include the Presbyterian Church (PC-USA), the Evangelical Lutherans (ELCA), The Episcopal Church, United Church of Christ (not to be confused with Church of Christ), Disciples of Christ (usually the local “First Christian Church,” but not always), and, of course, the UMC. Because UMC is generally the largest and most well-known and often seems the most conservative of these groups, it’s been more of a focus for me as a pro-life journalist.

What I didn’t realize, probably from simply reading too fast when I first read the history page of the RCRC, is that the UMC was instrumental in creating this pro-abortion organization that uses the name of Jesus to justify shedding innocent blood for the sake of a woman being her own god. According to the RCRC: “1973 | Mainline Protestant and Jewish leaders meet at the United Methodist Building in Washington, DC, to discuss the Roman Catholic Church’s pledge to overturn the new U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. This meeting, called by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, leads to the formation of the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights (RCAR).” (emphasis mine). In 1993, the organization, “broaden[ed] its mission and change[d] its name to the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC).” You can read the timeline of the history of the RCRC here.

First, I want to share a bit of what the RCRC does, and then I will explain some information on why you cannot be UMC and separate yourself from complicit bloodshed.

The RCRC can be colloquially described as Planned Parenthood’s voice with some Jesus mixed in. In fact, sometimes correspondence from Planned Parenthood seems tame to the RCRC’s communication and its vehement stand that women of faith deserve abortion rights.

The RCRC suggests churches do various things to further the cause of abortion rights and social justice. The list includes some good stuff—an HIV ministry at a church, protecting people from abuse. That’s the thing with social justice Christianity; there is always enough true justice that people feel like jerks by opposing the false justice. However, it’s a fallacy of logic to imply that one cannot minister to HIV victims and protect abused girls without promoting abortion rights. These are different issues.

But the main issue of the RCRC is abortion, aka “reproductive justice”:

At RCRC, we believe the decision to become a parent or become a parent again, when and under what circumstances are deeply personal decisions best left to a woman to discern for herself… abortion is irrevocably intertwined with one’s ability and desire to parent.

In 1973, Roe V. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case, ruled that a woman’s reproductive decisions are a matter of personal privacy…. if sex serves purposes beyond reproduction, then a woman has the legal right to both prevent and interrupt a pregnancy. In addition to supporting a woman’s right to control her own body, this decision affirmed the separation of religion and state. There is no religious consensus on when life begins and, as such, codifying one ideological viewpoint into public law undermines the validity and religious freedom of others.

With reverence for each woman’s autonomy and agency …. We call on the government to partner with us in ensuring all women have equal access to safe, legal and moral abortion care.

Rev. Harry F. Knox, RCRC President and CEO, wrote a column as he took helm of the RCRC. In his piece, he details the importance of the UMC in forming the abortion rights organization, as well as sustaining it today. In fact, this article appears on the UMC General Board of Church & Society page, not RCRC,s who simply link to their president’s column.

Knox writes:

It is no surprise that RCRC’s United Methodists have had a big influence on our new direction. Reproductive justice is a very Wesleyan framework for studying, thinking, praying and talking about God’s gift of healthy and responsible sexuality.

United Methodists also understood that justice recognizes the good of the community relies, not on draconian rules by which few can abide, but on personal empowerment and sustained local support for people doing the best they can under heavy pressure.

As I have begun reviewing the history of RCRC, it has become increasingly clear to me that leaders of our organization, from the very beginning, have taken seriously Wesley’s admonition that controversial issues like access to health care, women’s self-determination and moral agency, and comprehensive sexuality education require all the benefits of attention to scripture, tradition, reason and experience.

RCRC, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2013, is proud that the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society and United Methodist Women were among its founders and continue to be some of its most engaged members.

In the best tradition of Wesley in 18th century England, RCRC has worked to develop a variety of congregationally based education and support programs to help men, women and families in the process of making life choices relating to sexuality and pregnancy. These programs promote sustained good health, and improve chances to create full and meaningful lives.

Few will buy that Wesley was parading around England in the 1700s advocating abortion, but the RCRC and UMC members have to make that framework fit so they have taken righteous social justice and twisted the truth to make it into their own image, which is the oldest trick in the book.

Time and space limitations are prohibitive to presenting all the evidence of the troubling abortion ideology in the UMC, as viewed through their lens in the RCRC, but take some time and read over the information on

So the UMC endorses, supports and promotes abortion, but how does this affect that sweet couple you know at First UMC who give money to the pregnancy crisis center, had an unwed girl in their home until she had her baby and was able to place him for adoption? Well, a Methodist couple that sincerely pro-life would probably weep to discover the bloody ties in knowing their faithful tithe, which supports their church, also supports abortion. That sweet couple is complicit in the shedding of innocent blood.

The most common argument I hear from UMC members is that “my congregation doesn’t send money to that fund.” Sometimes I hear, “I told the pastors I didn’t want a penny of my tithe going to any national UMC programs.” I appreciate the heart behind these statements, but they are impossible actions to remove complicity.

In response to the protest that we don’t support that fund, the first question I ask is, “which one?” Because more than one UMC fund supports the RCRC, and it’s all the same overall organization; united under one governance. But let’s say they don’t support one fund. So what? If you’re a UMC member organization you have financial ties to the main UMC governing board. If you give them money, you support what they do. Period.

Practically speaking, if you financially support a church in the UMC denomination, you are helping to financially support the propagation of abortion. The most primary reason for this is fungibility of funds. The word fungible means: “(especially of goods) being of such nature or kind as to be freely exchangeable or replaceable, in whole or in part, for another of like nature or kind” (

Its history is a good explanation of why you can’t limit your money.

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People try this one with Planned Parenthood all the time. It sounds like this: “Planned Parenthood does a lot of good things, and it’s okay for that, just not abortion.” Nice try. If you donate $400 to Planned Parenthood and specify it for cancer screenings, it will put your $400 toward the cancer screenings fund—and then turn around and take $400 from its cancer screening budget and put it in its abortion fund. See how they legitimately and legally honored your request and you helped pay for the abortion of a first trimester baby? Because that’s exactly what happens when you try to keep your money given to the UMC, and other RCRC churches, within the church itself so you don’t support that “abortion stuff.” You still do, but now you’ve been conned. Legally. Worst of all, you’re living in deception.

John Wesley, founder of Methodism, was the fifteenth of nineteen children, and a godly man who taught repentance from sins. The current UMC structure not only avoids teaching repentance, but would advocate telling Susanna Wesley that 19 children were probably too many and it would be okay to choose not to birth some of them. Like John. Or Charles.

Lest you think that the abortion thread of United Methodism isn’t really that thick, you need only to look at the history. The UMC jumped into promoting abortion rights just after the Supreme Court ruled abortion was legal. For 43 years now, the money running through one of the largest denominations in the world has been red with the blood of innocent children. This ideology isn’t limited to one faction of the UMC. It is in their Book of Discipline, which is the guiding document for the denomination. In fact, their statement on abortion is fraught with a troubling lead (emphasis mine):

The beginning of life and the ending of life are the God-given boundaries of human existence. While individuals have always had some degree of control over when they would die, they now have the awesome power to determine when and even whether new individuals will be born. Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion.

But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child

In short, the UMC believes that we have the right to be god and decide who lives and dies. It’s a stunning statement that should elicit the fear of God in any believer. God, the very Creator of human life, has taken a back seat to the ideology that makes us creators and destroyers; we are little gods in this term of thinking. But our God will have no god before Him. He is not mocked.

In fact, so married to abortion rights is the UMC that the denomination even made a resolution in 2004 and 2008 that issued support for the RCRC. Here are some excerpts of its reaffirmation in 2008:

WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church was a founding member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice in 1973;

WHEREAS, these Coalition member organizations hold a wide variety of views regarding policies relating to specific issues of reproductive choice such as when life and personhood begins but, nevertheless, share common religious values, have official pro-choice policies, and are committed to working together to ensure reproductive choice for all persons through the moral power of religious communities; and

WHEREAS, the Religious Coalition supports the right of all persons to have access to a wide range of reproductive health services including… abortion services…

WHEREAS, factions within the United Methodist Church whose stated goal is to have the General Conference go on record in opposition to all abortions regardless of the reason are working towards the goal of severing all United Methodist ties with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice;

Therefore, be it resolved, that the United Methodist 2008 General Conference go on record in support of the work of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and

Be it further resolved, that the 2008 General Conference affirm the continued membership of the General Board of Church and Society and the Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

Last November, the UMC commented further on its abortion stance. That article sought to present that abortions should be rare and never used as birth control, but goes on to remind readers of the resolution on “Responsible Parenthood.” This resolution says, “We believe that continuance of a pregnancy that endangers the life or health of the mother, or poses other serious problems concerning the life, health, or mental capability of the child to be, is not a moral necessity” (Resolution 2025 “Responsible Parenthood”).

The resolution then says:

In such cases, we believe the path of mature Christian judgment may indicate the advisability of abortion. We support the legal right to abortion as established by the 1973 Supreme Court decision. We encourage women in counsel with husbands, doctors, and pastors to make their own responsible decisions concerning the personal and moral questions surrounding the issue of abortion

Advocating abortion when the “health” of the mother is at stake is the catch-all loophole that means a woman can get an abortion for any reason. It includes mental health and justifies abortion if the woman is scared or feels her life would be too altered by being pregnant and she can’t handle it. It’s the oldest loophole in the book for late-term abortion consent, used by doctors who commit partial-birth abortions saying the need was the “health of the mother.”  To say abortion is sad and we discourage it, but, “hey, since some women need them we will just keep running this organization that promotes abortion in the name of Jesus.”

(Have a look at more of the UMC take on abortion with this search from their website.)

Finally, I’ll point out what is probably the greatest irony I’ve seen in an RCRC email. It came a couple Christmases ago in a letter from its leader, Knox. I’ll let his words speak for themselves:

The Christian tradition says that Jesus advised his disciples to, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you dressed like sheep, but inside they are vicious wolves. You will know them by their fruit.”

These laws, and the anti-abortion legislators that promote them, are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They say one thing that sounds very nice, but we know them by their fruit. They want nothing more than to deny women the right to decide to have a child on her own terms.

They’re telling a lie. In biblical terms, they’re bearing false witness. Where I come from, that’s a sin.

These false prophets – these vicious wolves – are tearing women’s rights to shreds. And they need to be stopped.

This is who the RCRC is—people who think those who oppose abortion are tearing women to shreds, forgetting the person who is literally torn to shreds. False prophets, they call us, for speaking life in the womb is sacred. That they would call those who uphold the right to life as bearing false witness is an irony too tragic to stomach.

Currently over 800 UMC delegates are in Portland, OR for the United Methodist Church’s General Conference. Much ado has been made over whether the church will formally permit same-sex marriage and ordination of homosexual ministers, practices not allowed in the current Book of Discipline (though many UMC ministers have married homosexual couples and the churches are generally “open and affirming,” meaning homosexuals may worship without fear of being judged for their lifestyle, but instead welcomed regardless of what sex their partner is). This debate will produce national headlines later this week and has been the topic of many news articles, such as this one from the Washington Post last week; however, it almost doesn’t matter what that outcome is because a bigger issue is hovering that would still leave the denomination in a practice of unrepentant sin of innocent bloodshed. You see, the UMC has been swimming in blood money from a practice that goes against the heart of the gospel since the time that abortion became legalized. Whatever the delegates decide this week in Portland, unless they disavow abortion and pull all ties to the RCRC and all affirmation of abortion, they will drown in their own blood money.

My hope, which is a yucky word for it, is that the current debate over other issues that seems to elicit more response from the average believer, will actually split the church so that the true believers will rise and create a church where the Bible is upheld rather than used as a justification to kill babies and put the name of Jesus on the blood. There are millions living in either deception or willful disobedience to the Word of God by being complicit in the shedding of innocent blood.

Jesus has shed His blood once and for all. No other innocent blood ever needs to be shed for a person to live an abundant life.

I began this article with a quotation from a leader; it has impacted me for years. “The devil feeds the poor,” he said. His point was that the antichrist spirit that is in the world today (I John 2:18, 4:3) will entice and engage people with a mantle of social justice. The devil does “good” things to get people in his court of compromise. “Oh, you’re starving and need a home? Here’s a feast and a condo. You’re still going to hell, but you don’t know it because you’re comfortable.” The church needs to do good works; faith without works is dead (James 2:17), but that good must be truly in the name of Jesus. It’s not helpful to feed the poor and heal the sick and lead them to hell. Social justice is good—in the name of the real Jesus. A true Christian will love the mother in a crisis pregnancy. It certainly is our responsibility to care for her, counsel her, financially support her, help her forge a plan for adoption or raising her child. It’s our job to love her through it all. It’s our job to feed and clothe her if she needs these things. But it is not our job to justify the shedding of the innocent blood of her baby to bring some temporary relief. This is what the United Methodist Church has been doing since the decision in Roe v. Wade was rendered.

We are either pro-life or we’re not.

We are either Christians or we’re not.

“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!  But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!- Jesus (Revelation 3:15-16, NLT)


“Billy Graham Rule” on being alone with females more prophetic than personal

I’ve been watching some Facebook posts tonight on a discussion on the “Billy Graham Rule,” where the Lord led Billy Graham to never meet, eat, or travel alone with a woman. One article, reporting on Graham’s grandson, Tullian Tchividjian, admitting had an affair and resigning from his pastorate as a result, posed a posed a question on whether this hurts women from “climbing” in Evangelical leadership. Many comments are saying this rule is ridiculous, and still others that that was “personal revelation” to Billy Graham.

First, maybe the reason Billy Graham is pushing 100 and is one of the most respected Evangelical leaders ever is because he actually bothered to live circumspectly (Ephesians 5:15) and err on the side of caution. For Pete’s sake, he didn’t do it to prevent a woman from “climbing” in Evangelical leadership–and what the heck is ANYONE doing trying to climb some ladder in ministry.  If God doesn’t open the doors, get out! You’re in the wrong job!

Second, it’s not a stupid rule in a litigious society where a number of the leaders we used to know and respect have had affairs, and half of the rest have had false accusations railed against them by opportunistic people. It’s not stupid to be cautious. I myself have never been tempted to sin in situations where I have found myself alone with a man. I can say that with a pure heart. If a man would have made an advance, I would have run from the room–in fact, once a man began behaving inappropriately (not in a ministry situation) and I was out of there faster than you could blink–and I told people right away what happened and never went near him again. There is absolutely merit that we are responsible for our behavior and will do what we have resolved in our hearts to do. That said, what if I were in a ministry meeting with a man and he got mad at me and decided to say I came on to him. It works both ways? Remember Joseph? This isn’t a newsflash, people. It’s not narrow-minded to be careful, especially in high profile leadership. The world is ugly and people like fame–at anyone’s expense, sometimes. Being careful is wise.

Finally, the idea that Graham’s rule was only for him, the way God may give someone a personal conviction about eating meat, is what’s actually stupid. The Bible clearly says to avoid even the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Imagine what you might think it appeared like if Billy Graham had come out of a hotel alone with a woman–even if they were innocently eating dinner while having a ministry planning meeting. Recently I was in a meeting with a leader of a major ministry–in a room with windows all around it and masses of people outside those windows so we could be seen at all times but still talk. I like to take pictures of everything because that’s part of my personality. We went and found another person to be in the selfie so that it would not be one man alone with one woman. Stupid? I call that wisdom. I respected it completely.

In the name of avoiding anything “religious” we have lost our reason. The Billy Graham rule was more prophetic than it was personal. It’s not religious, controlling, or petty to care more about our integrity than some rule. I am a woman, and I suppose to some degree I am still in ministry. I have spent a good five years of my adult life in ministry. Not once, not ever, have I felt I could not “advance” in ministry because of a rule like this. What a ludicrous statement that gives no credit to God to do the advancement Himself.

As a final note, I have to add that I work in a secular environment, and while our rules are certainly more lax than a ministry, here are a couple we have in our office. My boss always meets with people with his door open and a secretary outside the office. He is extra careful when the meeting subject is a female, for the very same reasons most men who are careful would be, but this goes for any meeting that could be misconstrued by anyone, true or not. We have an annual award’s ceremony in another city and if the recipient is male, a female cannot take him alone, and if the recipient is female a male cannot take him alone. These are not rules. They are how we conduct things based on wisdom and plain old common sense.

Graham’s rule was wise, circumspect, and from the Lord–but it wasn’t a personal word for him. It is a model for us.