There are all sorts of contest shows on television now, where a whole bunch of people compete for the prize of top spot. These include cooking shows, building shows, dancing shows, singing shows, talent shows, and so on. All of them involve competitors aggressively and tirelessly vying for the prize.
And what we hear so often – especially from the winners – is that anything can happen if you work hard enough, long enough and persistently enough. Anyone can reach their dreams if they really want something enough and seek to make it happen.
Now there is a bit of truth in all this. I am not talking about mind over matter, where if you think enough positive thoughts you will always get what you want. But those who have a dream and work their tails off to make it happen can quite often see very real success indeed.
This is true not just of various talent shows and reality TV competitions, but in social and political movements as well. Often earth shaking changes – revolutions in fact – occur because of a handful of dedicated and committed dreamers who did not just have great visions, but worked like mad to make them reality.
Think of how the Bolsheviks for example could take over all of Russia and impose their will on the nation. Think of how the radical counter-culturalists of the 60s managed to turn America and the West upside-down in just a matter of years. The Russian Revolution and the Cultural Revolution are just two clear examples of this.
Of course forces for good can also be mentioned here. Recall how Wilberforce and a small group managed to turn the tide on slavery – a massive task back in their day. And recall that the group aligned with Wilberforce – the Clapham Sect – often never numbered more than twenty or thirty in number.
Thus a small group of dedicated and fully sold-out individuals can change the world. Indeed, this should be obvious to all Christians. Jesus had a small motley crew of a dozen and he managed to turn the world upside-down, which is just what the KJV rendering of Acts 17:6 says.
With all these examples – both good and ill – of how a really dedicated band of conscientious citizens can change their world, why not think about this in relation to abortion? Here is the major social and moral issue of our day crying out for some action; can a small but dedicated group turn this one around as well?
Why not? The fact that we are not seeing abortion come to an end may tell us more about our concern and dedication – or lack of it – than about the nature of the beast we are dealing with. At least that is the view of one activist. He recently wrote a stirring piece on this issue, and he is worth quoting at length.
Rolley Haggard says this: “I believe we could end abortion virtually overnight—if we really wanted to. But much as I hate to say it, it appears we don’t really want to. At least, not badly enough. Permit me to explain.” He continues:
“Are we serious about saving unborn lives, or not?
‘Yeah,’ you say, ‘I think I see where you’re headed with this. Problem is, there isn’t “universal appeal” for this issue yet.’
Exactly. But we can fix that.
‘Who’s ‘we’?’ you ask.
The evangelical church, that’s who.
‘Yeah? And just how?’
I was afraid you’d never ask. It’s so simple it makes a body ache to think it hasn’t been done yet. Stay with me while I set this up just a little bit more.”
While Haggard is of course an evangelical writing to fellow evangelicals, his concerns certainly can be taken to heart by all believers. He continues: “In great measure, we march to the loudest drumbeat. We fall in step with the worldview that commands the most deference and respectability amongst our 70-80 million American evangelical friends and leaders. We give ourselves to what we perceive as God’s highest priorities. So the question becomes, ‘Do we perceive the battle for the unborn among God’s highest priorities?’ In my opinion, we do not. Because if we did we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
He looks at other key concerns such as missions and evangelism, then says this: “The aforementioned ministries, important as they are, are not supreme. They conform to the Great Commission, but there is, if you will, a Greater Commission. It is what Christ called ‘the great and foremost commandment’ (Matthew 22:38). It’s called love.
“Echoing the words of Christ, the apostle Paul said, ‘Love is the fulfillment of the law’ (Romans 13:10), and ‘he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law’ (v. 8), and ‘the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself”.’ (Galatians 5:14)
“Important as the Great Commission is, it is not to be performed to the dilution, neglect, or negation of the Greater Commission. If a neighbor’s house is burning down around him, God’s will, God’s priority, is clear: You risk all to save the precious life.
“Who among us can’t see the holocaust engulfing the unborn? The house is burning down around our little neighbor and we consider it merely ‘important.’ But the pro-life cause is not ‘important’ It is crucial. You’ve heard of ‘damning with faint praise.’ Well, what we’ve been doing is ‘damning with half-hearted action.’
“You don’t tell a patient, ‘It is “important” for you to keep breathing.’ If you don’t breathe, you die. It is crucial that we do every lawful (and I stress the word lawful) thing possible to end abortion. If we don’t, they die. And you know what? For all practical purposes, so do we (see Revelation 3:1). Over 50 million children have been aborted in America under sanction of federal law since Roe v. Wade. Fifty million.
“If we honored each of those 50 million human beings with a single minute of silence, we would remain speechless for over 95 years. How about instead of remaining speechless as, to our everlasting shame we have done now for 39 years, we open our mouths and blow the trumpet?”
He concludes this way: “If every Sunday, in every pulpit, in every evangelical church across America, ministers would devote one minute—one minute—to decrying the evil of abortion on demand, such universal solidarity within the ranks of Christian leadership would accomplish two things, maybe three.
“First, it would dispel ambiguity and send a clear signal to every pew-sitting believer that this is a top-line priority with God, not a fine-print codicil, not ‘one more good thing that Christians ought to do when they have time.’
“Second, it would foster unanimity amongst all believers—at least on this one all-important issue—and enable us together to render unto God what is God’s (i.e., sufficient advocacy at the ballot box to get Roe overturned) while at the same time rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s—which, don’t forget, includes the advice and consent of ‘the governed.’
“And third, maybe, just maybe the voice of conscience would become less easily ignored by those outside the church and we would see abortion on demand outlawed, not only in America, but around the world—‘overnight.’ But it’s a big ‘if.’ After all, how many ministers can spare a whole minute?”
Exactly right. I guess it is a question of priorities and commitment. Either we take seriously the fact that 45-50 million unborn babies are slaughtered every year or we don’t. Either we take Proverbs 24:11 seriously or we don’t: “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter”.
John Piper put it this way: “I believe pastors should put their lives and ministries on the line in the issue of abortion. The cowardice of some pastors when it comes to preaching against abortion appalls me. . . . The law of our land is immoral and unjust. That should be declared from tens of thousands of pulpits in America.”
And R. C. Sproul rightly said this: “I believe that the greatest ethical issue today is that of abortion. In recent years many have come to see terrorism as more concerning than abortion. I am baffled by that, because more people were killed on September 10 in the womb of U.S. women than were killed on 9/11 in New York City. More babies were slaughtered on September 12 than adults were killed on 9/11. If we had a camera on the womb so that CNN could show us graphic videos of what actually happens in the slaughter of unborn children, abortion would be quickly abolished, but the reality of it is covered up. If there is one thing I know about God, it is that he hates abortion.”
These men care deeply and passionately about abortion, and want to make it history. Do you?