pro-life advocates call the church to action
(January 19, 2003)
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Do you think more or fewer Christian churches are involved
in the pro-life movement today? Why?
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
PE: What can
be done to change attitudes about abortion?
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
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
In what practical ways can an Assemblies of God member express
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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