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2004 Conversations


Alicia Chole: The truth about joy (12/28/03)

Cookies and Christmas: A roundtable discussion (12/21/03)

John Tesh: In pursuit of passion (12/14/03)

AGWM's L. John Bueno: Bread of life (11/23/03)

Teen Challenge's John Castellani: Christ breaks addictions (11/16/03)

Christian humorist Justin Fennell: Justifiably funny (10/19/03)

Representative Marilyn Musgrave: The role of Christians in government (10/12/03)

Dennis Gaylor: Fifty more campuses (9/28/03)

Kathy Troccoli: A message of hope (9/21/03)

Kristy Starling: Dreams come true (9/14/03)

CeCe Winans Love: Of Gospel and Grammies (8/31/03)

Gary Heavin: Faith and fitness (8/24/03)

Gracia Burnham: Grace in the jungle (8/17/03)

Seattle Mariner John Olerud: Hope when your health fails (8/10/03)

Chris Maxwell: Pastor recovering from memory loss (7/27/03)

Wayne Warner: Today’s Pentecostal Evangel: a historical view (7/20/03)

Paul Drost: Every church a parent or a partner (7/13/03)

Dr. J. Calvin Holsinger: What can be learned from history? (6/29/03)

Ron Drye: Ministering to the whole person (6/22/03)

Matt McPherson: Doing business by the Golden Rule (6/15/03)

The difference (6/8/03)

Fory VandenEinde: Fulfilling the Great Commission (5/25/03)

Tom Greene: The church's new generation (5/18/03)

Lisa Whelchel: Former sitcom star now an advocate for moms (5/11/03)

Tony Lamarque: Warden speaks about unconditional love (4/27/03)

Ann Graham Lotz: Just give her more of Jesus (4/20/03)

Lee Strobel: The case for Christ (4/13/03)

Randall K. Barton: Extravagant stewardship (3/30/03)

Bishop Gilbert Patterson: Bringing people together under Christ (3/23/03)

Pat Boone: A unique celebrity speaks out (3/16/03)

St. Clair Mitchell: God in Washington, D.C. (3/9/03)

Kay Gross: Ministry by women, ministry to women (2/23/03)

Thomas E. Trask: A historic General Council (2/16/03)

Denise Jones: Girls of Grace (2/9/03)

Doug Greengard: Beyond the NFL (1/26/03)

Three pro-life advocates call the church to action (1/19/03)

Chaplain Charles Marvin: The gospel in uniform (1/12/03)


2002 Conversations


2001 Conversations

 

Three pro-life advocates call the church to action

(January 19, 2003)

For Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, Today’s Pentecostal Evangel News Editor John W. Kennedy and Staff Writer Isaac Olivarez interviewed three Assemblies of God ministry leaders who are involved in the pro-life movement.

Cindi Boston, 40, has been the director of the Pregnancy Care Center since it opened in 1999 in Springfield, Mo. The center sees about 400 clients per month. Boston and her husband, Darwin, who is director of student ministries at Central Bible College, attend Central Assembly of God in Springfield.

Edward T. Robinson, 66, has been senior pastor of Trinity Chapel Assembly of God in Compton, Calif., for 29 years. In 1968, Robinson became the first African American to hold credentials in the Southern California District. In 1993, Robinson opened Grace Elliot Center, a pro-life crisis pregnancy center, the first such facility to open in the district.

Ed Crawford, 56, received his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He serves as administrator of Highlands Placement Services and Maternity Home in Kansas City, Mo. In 1996, Crawford, who holds Assemblies of God ministerial credentials, authored the book The Search for Common Ground in Sex Education.

PE: Is Roe v. Wade so entrenched that abortion will always be a part of America?

CRAWFORD: No. We know that with God all things are possible. The possibility of overturning the Roe v. Wade decision rendered 30 years ago is better now than ever, especially if President Bush is successful in making pro-life appointments to the Supreme Court.

ROBINSON: Roe v. Wade could very well become history. Even the original Jane Roe (Norma McCorvey) is now speaking the good news of Jesus and speaking out against the issue of abortion.

BOSTON: We have put ourselves in the place where we feel we can individually determine the value of each unborn life. We have lost a great deal of ground in public policy and opinion with regard to the life of an unborn child. President Bush and members of Congress fought for the personhood label for unborn fetuses. Giving personhood to a fetus is a step in the right direction — the protection of all unborn babies.

PE: Do you think more or fewer Christian churches are involved in the pro-life movement today? Why?

CRAWFORD: The level of involvement in recent years is on the rise, but there are still 4,000 babies denied life every day in America through legal abortions. This national disgrace is felt in all walks of life, including our churches. There was a period in our churches when addressing issues of a political nature was largely viewed as inappropriate, even unscriptural. Although that view is still present, the pendulum is swinging now toward the view that addressing these issues is needed, and underscores the relevance of the never-changing gospel to our day.

ROBINSON: I would say probably fewer churches than in years past. Many pastors have held back on the abortion issue because it is “too controversial.” Their obligation, they feel, is to preach the Word, and not link the cause of Christ to political and legislative issues or social movements of the day.

Also, 30 years ago abortion was so private, so secretive, nobody dared to mention even the word in public. Not only was it illegal, it was considered the most intimate of subjects.

BOSTON: In the past, we wanted to help young women in crisis, but didn’t feel comfortable picketing or protesting. There has been a recent shift across the nation that recognizes the biblical perspective of an unborn child. Through life-affirming organizations like Highlands Maternity Home, pregnancy care centers and proactive churches, we now have the opportunity to partner with positive, practical, life-saving organizations that meet a tremendous need. If Christians don’t do it, who will?

Ten years ago, the general feeling in our community was that we didn’t need a pregnancy care center. At that time, more than 1,000 abortions were taking place every year in the heart of the Bible belt. Today, we serve 100 women each week with dozens of local churches supporting our center.

PE: What needs to be done to further reduce the number of abortions?

BOSTON: We must vote for candidates who have a firm stance regarding the sanctity of human life. Many pro-life candidates are lost at the primary level due to low voter numbers. Donate time to a life-affirming organization. Do something for an organization that is helping educate young women and men about positive choices for their pregnancies. Use your gifts and talents to make a difference in the lives of people in your community. Invest financially in an agency whose purpose it is to help women and men deal with unplanned pregnancies.

ROBINSON: There is a need for education on biblical abstinence, the sanctity of life and sexual purity. We cannot be passive any longer as spiritual leaders. Getting involved will make the difference in reducing the number of abortions.

CRAWFORD: Intercessory prayer must top our list. It’s a spiritual battle that can only be won on our knees. Abortion is but one of many symptoms resulting from rejecting God’s laws.

PE: What can be done to change attitudes about abortion?

BOSTON: We cannot rely on the secular media for a clear picture. Do we understand that a 1-day-old fetus has the complete plans for every detail of the baby’s development? It is not a “blob of tissue”; it is a tiny human being with a future ordained by God. Do we know that 63 percent of post-abortive women state that they may have made a different decision if they had had one person to stand beside them during pregnancy? We have many wounded among us. Are we ministering to their needs?

CRAWFORD: Each of us has a sphere of influence. Using that influence to unashamedly proclaim the truth about abortion will make a difference. This holds especially true within our own families.

ROBINSON: The main factor that will change one’s attitude about abortion is to present the hearer with the truth. For years I was deceived into thinking that a tiny embryo was not a human being (until it started physically moving within the mother’s womb), but just tissue.

PE: What solutions can be achieved legislatively?

CRAWFORD: The power of the voting booth cannot be overestimated. Many pro-life bills have failed to pass because the candidates who could have made the difference were not voted into office. We have a responsibility to know what candidates support godly principles and to gather as much support as possible for their election.

BOSTON: Election of pro-life candidates must be high priority. They help turn the legislative and judicial wheels of our nation. We must make every effort to move the political agenda toward the preciousness of unborn life.

ROBINSON: We need pro-life legislators in office. This comes through a church body becoming proactive in all of human life issues, and rallying to vote. A new level of courage is needed in order to be effective in this most important issue. But legislation can’t take the place of prayer. No major change ever occurred unless and until God’s people prayed.

PE: In what practical ways can an Assemblies of God member express pro-life beliefs?

ROBINSON: Find scriptural statements that will give you good support understanding how God views the issue of life. Psalm 139 is one of my favorite passages. Second, volunteer your time, energy, financial resources and encouragement at a crisis pregnancy center in your area.

BOSTON: Educate yourself. Life-affirming organizations offer resources that you can utilize. Additionally, we should defend the unborn with solid information, dignity and compassion. Ask your pastor to reaffirm the value of life throughout the year.

CRAWFORD: Highlands Child Placement Services and Maternity Home in Kansas City, Mo., is [a] national pro-life [response for] the Assemblies of God. Nearly every community has local efforts dedicated to the preservation of the unborn. Supporting these ministries through prayer, financial support and volunteer service is an excellent way to express pro-life beliefs.

PE: What can be done in Christian families to keep girls from having abortions?

CRAWFORD: Life-changing decisions are typically made according to our worldview. God has equipped parents to have the greatest influence upon their children’s perception of the world. I encourage parents, especially fathers, to daily intercede for their children and talk openly with them about matters of morality. Part of that input should be God’s value on life from the moment of conception.

BOSTON: Churches must focus on abstinence education with their young people. Our churches should be the first place women go when they have an unplanned pregnancy. In the past, isolation often drove Christian women with an unplanned pregnancy from our churches. We must be a haven of safety and help. If we offer the forgiveness of Christ and practical help, they won’t have to run to a family planning clinic for a voluntary termination.

ROBINSON: Have open dialogue and education on what the Bible says about human life. God’s people must be ready for the challenge of teaching families how to deal with moral issues and how to keep God’s commandments in an ever-changing world. The teacher must also share God’s love and forgiveness with those who have aborted and/or who are pregnant or engaging in sexual activity.

PE: Has anything surprised you regarding the abortion issue since Roe v. Wade became law?

ROBINSON: Since Roe v. Wade became law there has been the death by abortion of more than 40 million innocent unborn babies. I am surprised that the church as a whole has not become more motivated to be involved. In matters as intense as this one, passivity is our enemy.

BOSTON: I find it sad that abortion was legalized and very few people realized the impact it would have on our nation. After the initial impact on 9/11, we cried as a nation for more than 2,500 innocent victims of that terrible tragedy. It was horrifying to think that people would do such a thing. Yet, the tragedy each day in America is that 4,000 innocent victims are voluntarily terminated, and their mother made the choice.

CRAWFORD: Three things come to mind. First, the magnitude of innocent lives destroyed through this atrocity boggles the mind. Second, abortion-on-demand is still legal in spite of the known physical, emotional and psychological harm associated with the procedure. Third, the ongoing inexcusable slaughter of the unborn to advance a political cause.

PE: Where do you see the issue of abortion 10 years from now?

BOSTON: I pray that the efforts of millions of proactive Christians worldwide will pierce the veil of deceit regarding the intrinsic value of life. Abortion consequences such as breast cancer, poverty, emotional and relational difficulties, infertility, and substance abuse run deep across our nation. We cannot afford to grow weary. Our prayers and effort will eventually turn the tide of legalized abortion.

ROBINSON: Ten years from now the numbers could drop, but it depends on the church. If the church gets involved through prayer, education and taking a proactive stance, then abortion will decrease.

CRAWFORD: I choose to be optimistic. I see a growing number of radical young people who are willing to take a stand for what is right, even in the face of persecution. They’ve opted for purity. Seeking God is their priority. That really excites me. It seems there is a window of opportunity for the church like we haven’t seen for years. I believe if we seize the moment and faithfully pray for our kids, exercise our right to vote, and be the salt and light that our world desperately needs, we’ll soon experience a refreshing change.

E-mail your comments to pe@ag.org.

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