CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Do You Know Where Your Money Is Going?

Jun 16, 2012

Jesus made it quite clear that his followers should be wise, discerning, and fully aware. They certainly should not be gullible, lacking in proper judgment, or taken in by various tricksters and frauds. Discernment, sound moral judgment and clear thinking are to be hallmarks of the Christian’s life.

A number of passages come to mind in this regard. Consider just two:
-Matt. 10:16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
-Luke 16:8 For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.

Indeed, the New Testament is full of such commands. We are to test all things, critically judge everything, and be discerning in all areas. A few more passages (of many):
-1 Corinthians 2:15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things.
-1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on your guard.
-Ephesians 5:10 And find out [discern] what pleases the Lord.
-1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 Test everything.
-1 John 4:1,2 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Needless to say, such verses even apply to basic everyday activities, including how and where they spend their money. We are to be discerning about where our money goes. We are to be good stewards of the finances God has given us. We are not to waste our money, nor should we be giving our money away to bad or harmful causes.

Yet sadly this is happening all the time. Undiscerning Christians are giving money to all sorts of questionable groups and dubious causes. And sometimes the group and cause may be good in themselves, but there is still misuse of money. For example, Amnesty International has been quite open about its support of pro-abortion activities around the world.

So organisations or charities which may have basically good purposes – eg., feed the poor, stand up for human rights – may have other activities which they are involved in which should not be getting the money of believers. Believers really do need to be discerning and wise here, and make sure they are not funding unbiblical and/or sinful activities.

Damian Wyld has done a brilliant job of looking at many popular aid and charity groups, and where they stand on one very important issue: the sanctity of life. You may be surprised to learn just how many well-known groups – and sadly even Christian groups – are involved, if even indirectly, with pro-abortion causes and activities.

Wyld begins this way: “Many Australians would be surprised to know how many high-profile international charities and aid agencies divert a proportion of their money to promote or fund abortion. Charities do wonderfully good work, both at home and abroad, demonstrating some of the better aspects of human nature. Perversely, though, this work is being undermined by an increasing number of charitable organisations devoting their energies to promoting radical policies such as ‘reproductive rights’ (that is, abortion) and ‘family planning’.”

He lists a number of these organisations with full documentation. Here are just some of them:

-The YWCA — that’s right, the Young Women’s Christian Association — has adopted an overtly pro-abortion platform, to the extent of demanding taxpayer funding for such services. Its recent Australian policy platform calls for “[t]he protection and promotion of reproductive health, including access by young women to non-directive information and services and birth control; access to a range of options to secure access to safe, affordable, Medicare-funded abortions; access to appropriate sexual and reproductive health services.”

– Oxfam is obviously a far cry from its beginnings in the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, a group of Quakers and Oxford academics. According to the UK-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), “Oxfam has funded workers at a clinic run by the abortion-provider Marie Stopes International” and “has also admitted to providing grants to two organisations in Ethiopia and Yemen which are affiliated to IPPF [International Planned Parenthood Foundation], the world’s largest abortion-promoter”.

– World Vision, for example, has recently published a report, titled Improving Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Papua New Guinea through Family and Community Health Care (October 2011). In it, the report discusses family planning, including distribution of contraceptives and provision of “safe abortion”, and declares such family planning to be “very good” value for money.

Granted, the report begins with a disclaimer that the views therein are those of the authors, not necessarily those of the institutions involved; but it reflects very poorly on World Vision, particularly as its website also “support[s] modern contraceptive methods as part of an integrated approach to effective family planning”. There is no mention of abortion and whether or not an ostensibly Christian organisation supports it. However, with some types of “contraceptives” being abortifacient, donors have every right to ask questions.

– Médicins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) Australia lists on its website “safe abortions” as a key area of women’s health. On the relevant page, the organisation decries “unsafe” abortion, calls for “comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care services” and states that, where relevant, “Médecins Sans Frontières also ensures abortions are performed safely”.

Wyld concludes, “In light of the above, readers should consider very carefully their continued personal or financial support of, not only these, but any other charities. A casual glance at a charity’s policies or ‘frequently asked questions’ may not be sufficient to establish for certain where an organisation stands on abortion. All too often, a pro-abortion policy is cunningly camouflaged as ‘maternal health’ or ‘reproductive rights’.

“It is sad that would-be donors should have to go to such lengths to satisfy themselves that charities are untainted in this way. Unfortunately, it seems there is no other way to ensure that money meant to help preserve and improve lives is guaranteed to be used solely for those purposes.”

So that is one major problem. Another issue involves all the money we donate which may go into administration, bureaucracy, salaries, offices, and so on, instead of directly to who or what it was intended to go. Worse yet, fraud and misappropriation of funds also occurs – even in Christian circles. A new article from the US looks at this issue.

It begins: “Churches, unfortunately, still provide fertile ground for scammers and con artists—from the secretary in the U.K. who was reported to have embezzled church funds to pay for a stamp collection, to a bankrupt Southern Baptist-affiliated foundation in Arizona that bilked elderly investors out of millions of dollars. Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges accusing a businessman of targeting church congregations in a giant Ponzi scheme.

“Of the $569 billion that churchgoers and others are expected to donate to Christian causes this year world-wide, about 6%, $35 billion, will end up in the hands of money launderers, embezzlers, tax evaders or unscrupulous ministers living too high on the hog, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass.”

The remainder of the article looks at how believers can ensure that their money is being used in a wise and godly fashion. So don’t say you have not been warned. One day we will all stand before our Lord to give an account of our Christian life. And that will include what sort of stewards we were of the finances he provided us with.

In this area – like so many others – good intentions alone are not enough. Good intentions can often lead to very bad and even quite sinful outcomes. So please be careful, wise and discerning in what you do with your money. You will one day give an account. Make sure you can hold your head up high on that day.

newsweekly.com.au/article.php?id=5051
online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303916904577376162029328648.html

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52 Responses to Do You Know Where Your Money Is Going?

  • Let me be the first to comment here. If you are a regular contributor to some of these organisations, and are concerned about some of their dubious activities, then please contact them and let your concerns be heard. If they then refuse to acknowledge they are wrong (as in subsidizing baby killing) and refuse to change that aspect of their work, then I would strongly suggest it is time for you to stop contributing to them and their policies of death.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • One person of concern not mentioned above is Bono and his organisation. Here is a high profile person who goes across the world with his rock band raising funds for famine relief and other causes, but according to an audit I saw a couple of years ago only 1% of those funds actually gets to the intended recipients. The rest goes to the costs of his rock concerts. Yet here is an erstwhile evangelical, on whose words many hang. He is a hypocrite, a poseur, and a snake-oil salesman, if those audits are correct!
    Murray R Adamthwaite

  • Hello Bill,
    I guess I now have a problem after reading this.
    My wife and I have sponsored a child through World Vision for over 10 years.
    I am very careful how I donate money to charities, but was not aware of World Vision’s stance on abortion.
    World Vision’s admin costs are low compared to many other charities, so I do not have a problem in that area.
    I will contact them and try to get a straight answer from them on this issue. I will pray about it.
    My natural man does not want to deprive a child of the help my sponsorship gives them, but I will do what the Holy Spirit guides me to do.
    Is there no area of our lives that this evil does not invade?
    God bless,
    Paul de la Garde, Sydney

  • Thanks Paul

    Yes most Christians who give to such groups would not know this either. So carefully thinking and praying this through is the way to go, along with asking them to give an account. But there should be Christian groups helping children around the world who are not also supporting abortion – so there are alternatives here hopefully.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Bill. Finding out these issues is very helpful in making decisions. Keep up the good work.

    Alison Stanley

  • Thank you so much for this article. I am extremely concerned however about World Vision. I have been supporting them for over twenty years now, and know several people who work really hard for them as they are a Christian(?) organisation. I will most certainly be in touch with them to raise questions about how money is being used.
    Joan Davidson

  • Bill….
    It is an unfortunate reality, but it is a reality nonetheless, that it costs money to make money…. and this is still true for charities, just as it is for any business…

    I have recently seen this for myself, watching my mother try to establish a new charity. Not to mention the 100s of hours my mother has put into this free of charge, the first two years of her charity has costed her personally about $200k…. rent/legal and financial advice (including dealings with tax-office)/ electricity/advertising/ and other admin costs etc… and this is all before she gets the first grant/donation, or helps her first client….

    While my mother’s obviously happy to right-off the costs as charitable donation for tax purposes… this obviously cannot go on forever, or she will be bankrupt and unable to help any potential recipients of her charity… hence, eventually other sources of donations need to be found in order to keep the charity afloat, …

    In essence, not every penny spent on paying employees of charities is fraud (etc.)… and if charities are to run effectively, some of the income from donations needs to be spent on administrative costs, and employees’ salaries…

    Helena Canaris

  • Thanks Helen

    But I of course never said all admin costs are fraudulent, and I am not denying that some overhead costs are obviously necessary. What I am saying is that we need to keep an eye on the money we do contribute – that is simply being a good and faithful steward. Many groups do well in keeping their overheads and admin costs down to a bare minimum. But many do not of course. And the main point of this article was to alert people to how the money is spent on other various activities – such as pushing pro-abortion actions.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • This is a very needed article, Bill, especially in the wake of the homosexual lobby’s boycott of a perceived Christian organization because they were behind the ACL’s criticism of SS marriage. I’m positive that there are nefarious groups in the world supporting their own, for example, EMILY’s list and the way they push people like Julia Gillard to the top. It’s time we became far more aware. We need our antennas up. I used to support Amnesty International because I feel strongly about prisoners of conscience. But I remember having a gut feeling that all was not OK when I saw their stalls, their brochures, the kinds of things they were supporting and the kinds of people who manned their stalls. Then I realized that it was very rare that they would support Christian prisoners of conscience and often took up far left causes-de-jour. There are plenty of Christian advocacy organizations for Christians being persecuted (VOM for example) and plenty of churches and pastors in the third world who are taking in orphans and reaching their community for the gospel. There are also people from the West who have visited them and can vouch for their honesty. And you could be sure that your dollar would go pretty close to 100 percent to building people’s lives and advancing the Kingdom rather than fattening some big CEOs wallet, particularly a CEO who does nothing to care for the eternal welfare of their people as well as the physical welfare. Support CHRISTIAN!

    Dee Graf

  • One that I think is well worth mentioning here is breast cancer research. How many churches and good hearted people give to this and hold fund raising events etc when breast cancer research organisations, absolutely refuse to mention the well documented breast cancer abortion link? All this money raised for breast cancer and yet they will never publish the fact that abortion increases a woman’s likelihood for breast cancer by 30%.

    Not only do they deny the evidence of many studies on this, they refuse to study the link for themselves with all their ‘research’ money. An inconvenient truth. They have the truth, but they refuse to publish it and warn women. Until they do, I will never give to them or attend their big morning teas or everything else they carry on with. Christian churches need to stop raising money and holding events for such a fraudulent organisation.

    Annette Williams

  • It is because of issues like this that I rarely give to charities at all. The two I am willing to give to are the Barnabas Fund and Legacy.

    When Tim Costello came out a few years back and pronounced that World Vision would henceforth be spending a chunk of its budget on lobbying the government then I wrote that one off completely also. The problem with the government giving money to charities is that it comes with strings attached, and I don’t appreciate the government having any more say than it already does.

    Debra Franklin

  • Plan is another organisation that promotes sexual and reproductive rights.
    This very weekend in Rio, Brazil representatives of world governments will vote on language to be inserted in the Rio+20 document that promotes abortion and population control.
    Not only will this have a huge impact on developing nations as aid will be tied with population control but it will also impact on western nations.
    We are at war.
    Thank you Bill for all you do in His name.
    Madge Fahy

  • These observations seem very timely Bill. It is becoming more difficult to make good choices on where and how to give support. There are many wolves in sheep skin out there.
    One night last week we had five cold calls from organizations seeking donations.(What ever happed to the don’t call listing) Then we all receive an avalanche in the mailbox as well. How does one decide on giving. Personally I prefer the most direct way, preferable by direct debit into the account of the person or group doing the work. We must avoid responding to emotional nerve triggers.
    Bill Heggers, Perth

  • The hidden agenda, be ware!

    Judith Bond

  • Just wondering — I have looked through the above mentioned World Vision’s “Improving Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Papua New Guinea through Family and Community Health Care (October 2011).” But I could not find a statement about the provision of ‘safe abortion’? Does anyone know what page ‘safe abortion’ is spoken of? Thanks!
    Trevor Grace

  • Have found it! ‘[Family Planning] and safe abortion can avert 20% of maternal deaths’ Written in the table on page 10

    http://www.worldvision.com.au/Libraries/Reports_policy_Island_nation_2011/Family_and_Community_Care_PNG.pdf

    Trevor Grace

  • Hello Bill,
    After reading your article, I’m glad that I stopped supporting Oxfam quite a few years ago. I have been supporting children through Christian Children’s Fund for a long time but as they recently changed their name to ChildFund I will be interested to see if any of the donations they receive are going to support abortion or other social evils.

    Yours faithfully,
    Michael Palma

  • I think third world countries need help but what about your own town? At last count there is 12000 children under the age of 12 living on the street. I guess it’s more fun to go on holiday overseas and help some starving people, more exciting. Australians are harder nuts to crack, don’t welcome help with open arms. How about building some refuge centres for them? I think the great commission has been corrupted along with all of Jesus teaching.

    Daniel Kempton

  • Wise words Bill. I guess for many years I have had reservations about a number of these charities and how they operate, including and especially World Vision.
    But from our experience we are happy to recommend how “Compassion” operates and have supported a child through them for many years with the confidence all goes in support of that child.
    Rob Withall

  • Hi All

    I have found that by looking at their statement of faith and how they are sharing the Gospel is the real test for a mission.

    Another clue is in the tax deductibility of their mission services.
    There are two types of help. The first is Humanitarian, the second is spreading the Gospel.
    Humanitarian help is tax deductable (eg. food, clothing, tents, medicine, etc.).
    Spreading the Gospel is NOT TAX DEDUCTIBLE (eg. supplying bibles, tracts, mission work, missionary resources – film/DVD projection, audio, etc.).

    It is particularly important that we share our resources from Christian, through Christians, to Christians in the mission-field to help Christians spread the Gospel.

    If you search the pdf above (Trevor Grace) for Christ, Gospel, or Bible, you will see what I am talking about.

    God Bless
    Stephen Hatton

  • I recently started donating to Oxfam specifically to provide people in the developing world with access to clean drinking water. Now that I know that Oxfam is also involved family planning, which I don’t agree with, my dilemma is that I want to help the poor, but I don’t want to condone abortion either. Should I cancel my donations?
    Ross McPhee

  • Thanks Ross

    I don’t see any dilemma here at all to be honest. Why not give to a Christian group that helps the poor, that helps kids, etc., but does not kill babies?

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Any suggestions?
    Ross McPhee

  • Thanks Ross. Some have already been mentioned in the comments above, and there are sure to be others. Just as we don’t buy the first car we see, but we shop around first, so too here. There are lots of groups out there. We just need to do a bit of homework first as to which ones are the best to support.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I’m slowly becoming the last comment guy.
    Daniel Kempton

  • God forbid that women should have any say over the health and spacing of their children.

    I am a very committed Christian. I do not agree with abortion as a method of birth control. However. I absolutely support a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy in circumstances where her life is threatened,where the child’s quality of life will be significantly impaired by ways such as severe physical deformity, and associated cases. Where a woman has been raped, I believe it is her choice to decide on the pregnancy being continued or not.

    Would you deny a woman a safe abortion where her child has not developed a brain? a skull? Would you expect her to tragedy to continue by simply waiting for her body to abort, or, worse still, wait until full term for the baby to survive only seconds, if at all?

    There is not one Christian view about this. Not all Christians consider abortion to be murder in circumstances such as above. It is possible to be Christian and support a woman’s right to choose based on her personal circumstances.

    I absolutely support the efforts of organisations like Oxfam and World Vision in supporting family planning services, including the provision of condoms and contraceptives. Where a woman requires access to abortion services for reasons listed, I believe the humanitarian imperative requires such agencies to support where they can by eferral to the relevant, safe services available.

    There is nothing dignified or Christ-like about victimising women and organisations who seek to protect and promote the wellbeing of women and children. I have no hesitation in supporting causes or organisations who allow human beings of all walks of life to be treated with dignity.

    There is nothing dignified about denying a woman the ability to decide how many children her body will produce. There is nothing Christ-like about blocking her access to services that will help her to raise fewer, healthier children, particularly where she is faced with incredible economic and other hardships as we see in situations of extreme poverty. I do not believe this is what God calls us to do.

    Karli Smith

  • Thanks Karli

    Let me attempt to wade through your obfuscations and red herrings and get down to brass tacks here: There is nothing Christlike about killing innocent baby boys and girls. Absolutely nothing.

    So let me call your bluff here (and there are so many bluffs to call). What about the health of the baby? People need to take some personal responsibility here, and not kill babies because they are not able to control themselves and their fertility.

    And the cases where the mother’s life is threatened are minuscule, way less than one per cent. In the case of an ectopic or tubal pregnancy, both would die if nothing were done. So to save the life of the mother a procedure is used – it is not even an abortion. The aim is not to kill the baby (which is exactly what abortion is and does) but to save lives. See here for example: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2008/08/19/abortion-and-hard-cases/

    And why should the baby be penalised in a case a rape? All that happens is another tragedy (a dead baby) is added on to the first tragedy. And these are also extremely rare occurrences. But see here for example: http://www.rebeccakiessling.com/Othersconceivedinrape.html

    As to cases of anencephalic babies, I know of mothers who did not kill those babies, but cradled, loved, named and looked after such newborns for as long as they were alive. See here for example: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2006/05/17/a-review-of-defiant-birth-women-who-resist-medical-eugenics-by-melinda-tankard-reist/

    There is only one view that a Christian should take, and that is to respect life as God has given it. Killing babies is never a Christian option. We are specifically told not to murder – ever hear of the Sixth Commandment? And we are commanded to defend the cause of the weak and fatherless (Psalm 82:2-4); to rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter (Proverbs 24:11); and to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8-9).

    And I already explained in my article that many contraceptives are not at all contraceptives, but abortifacients, which kill new unborn babies. But given your cavalier about life, I can see why this does not seem to faze you.

    Let me use your own words, slightly paraphrased: ‘There is nothing dignified or Christ-like about victimising babies and organisations who seek to protect and promote the wellbeing of babies. I have no hesitation in supporting causes or organisations who allow human beings of all walks of life – including the unborn – to be treated with dignity.’

    Sorry, but your poor excuses for the abortion industry do not pass muster – not on biblical grounds, not on Christian grounds, not on medical grounds, and not on intellectual grounds.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Karli, if you are a committed Christian then you must believe that God is sovereign over all life. It is God who knits people in their mother’s wombs for HIS purposes. It is not our place to say what purpose God has for every individual person and it is nor up to us to judge whether a person is worthy to live because of our own opinions. There is a purpose for every soul God breathes his breath of life into. There is nobody born that is not born because God allows it. We may not understand why there are brain dead babies or children born into poverty, but honestly… how is killing someone better than letting them have the chance to live for themselves. And besides there have been many successful people who were born into poverty.

    It is not us who creates life but God. God told us to be fruitful and multiply. He did not tell us to kill off children because they are inconvenient or don’t live up to our standards that we are already forcing onto them inside the womb. It is God’s will that every pregnancy continues without human interference. Just because we do not understand why there are birth defects etc etc doesn’t mean we have a right to meddle with what God has allowed. As a committed Christian, you need to be protecting the children. Not supporting the genocide of the innocents.

    Also having an abortion because you have been raped doesn’t erase the rape. Baby or not, you will live with the rape for the rest of your life. Murdering the innocent child who came to be by the result of the rape does not take the rape away. That’s a silly argument. And as I said before, there have been numerous millions of people born into poverty who have fulfilled their purposes that God has had for them. We do not have insight into the future therefore we cannot possibly know what future a child in the womb has. If you’re a committed Christian, then you really need to think about your position because Lord Jesus Christ himself regards little children highly. There are many warnings in the bible to not mess with kids. He does not like it.

    Jenna Priest

  • Karli
    I know of women who have been in the situations you mentioned. One woman who terminated when she was told her baby had no brain and another who carried to term and had the baby naturally and was able to hold the child and take photos. I know which woman coped best, and it was not the one who terminated – she still feels unresolved grief (10 years ago now).
    In the case of rape, one had a termination and one kept her baby. In the case of the termination the woman said she felt like the abortion was ‘a second rape’. And while she got over the rape, she is still in trauma over the abortion.
    So before we make judgments about what women should be allowed to do, let’s see what the after effects are.
    And remember that God put these commandments here for our good, not to spoil our fun.
    God did not give man the ability to cope with deciding who lives or dies – that’s why it is always best to leave it to Him.
    Lyn Schoof

  • Re Rape abortions – I just think that a woman should have a choice, based on her personal circumstance. I honestly don’t know what I would do in that situation.

    There is nothing wrong with babies being born into what we perceive as poverty. I’m not saying abortion is a way to prevent that at all. To reiterate, I am not advocating for abortion as a method of birth control.

    Where both mother and babies lives are in danger – I’m not concerned how low the percentage is. In those cases, I believe it is acceptable to terminate a pregnancy if the mother and medical staff agree it is the single cause of action.

    Everyone, not all Christians have the same views on everything. This is not a fault. We are all born with minds that interpret things differently – there is nothing wrong with this. If we all had exactly the same opinions on everything, what a strange world we’d live in. You can tell me my beliefs aren’t Christian all you like, but I know I follow the teachings of Jesus in my life, and your opinions don’t change that.

    My ‘poor excuses’ may be that to you. Again, we all have different views on these things. I don’t think God would hate me or condemn me to ‘hell’ (not that I believe in such a place) if I were in such a position where I chose to terminate a pregnancy. Such women need our love, not condemnation.

    And a note. I don’t appreciate the inclusion of my full name below my original comment – please remove this. Thank you.

    Karli Smith

  • Thanks again Karli

    But you don’t seem to be listening or reading very clearly. The untreated cases of a cancerous uterus or an ectopic pregnancy will usually result in both parties dying, so action is taken to save at least one life. If a baby loses his or her life in the process, that was not at all the intention. So this is not abortion in any sense of the term. As I said, the aim of abortion is always just one thing: a dead baby. Abortion is the deliberate killing of an innocent unborn baby boy or baby girl. Thus the main case you try to hang on to here is not even abortion.

    And you let the cat out of the bag here: there is no such thing as a committed Christian who calls Jesus a liar. Jesus of course spoke more about the reality of hell than anyone else in Scripture. No one with such a weak view of Scripture and such a rejection of biblical authority can claim to be a committed Christian; a cafeteria Christian maybe – just pick and choose those bits one is happy with. (But what exactly hell has to do with this debate eludes me anyway.)

    And your less than ideal reading skills again become obvious here. I clearly state in my commenting rules that no anonymous comments are allowed. Only those with the guts and honesty to identify themselves are allowed on to this website.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Karli, I recommend you read Giving Sorrow Words by Melinda Tankard Reist. You may get a glimpse, a small fraction of the pain women go through after having an abortion – an abortion for whatever reason. See this review on it: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2001/08/26/a-review-of-giving-sorrow-words-by-melinda-tankard-reist/

    I would be confident to say that if any one of those women could today go back and choose between having an abortion, or giving birth to their baby, I know what they would choose. They would absolutely choose life for their child, even for a day, rather than be the one to choose death for the baby they now so dearly love and cherish.

    I speak also on behalf of the unborn baby. Hey, I wouldn’t be here if my mum agreed with the medical staff to abort me! Thank God she chose right. Choosing life is always right. God honours it.

    Annette Nestor

  • Hi Lyn,
    Thanks for sharing those experiences. I think what we are called to do regardless of a woman’s choice is to love them through their experiences and support however we can. Two sets of friends of mine have been told in their first trimesters that their babies had not developed either a brain or a skull.. they were advised that the babies would most likely die in the womb, and that their bodies would eventually go into labour to birth the babies but that it would not neccessarily happen once the deaths occurred (ie they could carry a dead child for quite some time). Both chose to terminate after agonising decisions with their husbands. All we could do was love them through that. Any judgement would not have helped them. Thanks for sharing those experiences with me.

    Bill, There’s a difference between a first and last name listing and a full name listing. Please kindly remove my middle name. Thanks.

    I believe Jesus was talking about hell as a present place on Earth, an experience in our Earthly lives, not our ‘post-Earth’ existence. I don’t consider hell to therefore be some far off place we go to after death – I believe it is in the here and now life. But as you said that is another topic.

    Please Bill, there is no need to chastise me as an individual by picking on what you consider a lack of skill in different areas. I haven’t commented in a way that directly puts anyone as a person down; please extend me the same courtesy.

    Instead of trying to clarify my thoughts here, I respectfully bow out of this blog site and this conversation. I apologise if I have offended anyone.

    Karli Smith

  • Thanks again Karli

    You are welcome to come back if you want – I am always willing to spend time with those who are open, who are asking honest questions, and who are really seeking some truth on some of these matters. Hopefully you are still searching, and don’t have your mind fully made up yet.

    As to hell, you simply need to read the gospels. There is no way anyone reading the clear words of Jesus could ever imagine that he meant mere unpleasantness in this life. Not at all. If that were the case, then there is no heaven and no afterlife for the saved either. The two are exactly parallel, as Jesus makes so clear in places such as John 3: 16-18. There are so many of these completely unambiguous passages.

    Just as he spoke of eternal life for those who believe (heaven), so too he spoke of eternal suffering for those who reject him (hell), eg. Matthew 25:46: “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” This is plain as day, so please shake off some of the theological liberalism you seem to have picked up along the way, and re-read the gospels with an open mind.

    (And for what it is worth, I have deleted your middle name.)

    Thanks again.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hi everyone,
    Two great charities to give to are HOVC – Hope for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children in the Kisoro District in Uganda. They have a face book page, so check it out. Many may not know that World Vision only pick up aid children within 3km of a town centre. HOVC was started by a “grown up” Compassion sponsored child and is a committed Christian. HOVC has an Australian link and 100% of your giving goes to your sponsored child in Uganda. The second is MUKTI Mission in India – an amazing mission run for women, girls and babies. They also have an Australian link and are 100% Christian.

    Now…

    Layne Beachley (world championship surfer) is a baby (woman) born as a result of rape and look at the life she has made for herself.
    Imogen was a beautiful baby who was born to friends of mine and they knew long before she was born that she wouldn’t survive due to severe deformity. However, she influenced her parents lives greatly and brought them into a closer and more loving relationship with Jesus. They are an extraordinary family with 4 more children and they look back on their time with their first born with great love and no regret. The impact of her life in the womb on anyone who knew of or knows their story is still evident years later.

    Karli, it is very important to look at the Bible and it’s contents within context. One verse “Thou shalt not kill” is not alone. The whole of the Bible speaks of the sanctity of life, therefore supporting that one verse. There isn’t any qualification within the verse – it is what it is. My heart just wells up when I hear the words of Jesus “Let the little children come to me” and His great love for the innocent little ones in life. These days who is or isn’t acceptable to live is now a matter of convenience rather than conscience, truth or faith. Using abortion as a “dignified” (your word) response to a supposed unplanned or disabled child is not dignified at all! Lets give a little anaesthetic to Mum, straddle the legs in stirrups, enter the womb and cut pieces – that’s arms and legs off the unborn, very much alive, feeling baby until we can scrape and vaccuum out whats left and lets leave the woman unsupported and uncounselled about how she is now feeling that she feels bereft of the life that was within her. Tell me how that comes even close to dignified?

    I’m not angry at you Karli or your opinions. I just think you are very naive to the truth of abortion and the damage it does to women’s health and the obvious death of a child.Through much research and study (often not reported) it has been shown that a woman who has abortion suffers greatly in the years that follow with mental health as well as physical health issues.

    Bill doesn’t need my protection, but the very principle he is trying to uphold is what I speak of above – the protection and support of women and children, so don’t attack him. His job is to make people aware of what is happening in a world where media is rife with anti-Christian, anti-life propaganda.

    Might I recommend you seek some information through Lprolife groups on the Net and on Facebook and they will be able to support you in this area if you choose to seek more understanding of this issue.

    Jill Hatton

  • This has been an interesting blog to follow.

    I am a person who believes that love is at the centre of the Gospel. I am also a person who has studied both Community Development and Theology and have practiced both in my career. I come from the perspective that while faith comes into ones lens when looking at development, it should not fog them up.

    Your analysis of charities is extremely bias, and simply promotes your own views of what Christianity looks like to you. When you simply quote people like Damien Wyld, and not an alternative opinion, you are denigrating your own work by not providing a statement on both sides.

    Another interesting observation is that as soon as someone has a differing opinion to yourself, you and your posse of followers gang tackle them. So much for wanting an open and honest conversation…perhaps you could also consider whether you have yet made up your mind on some of these issues?

    Ben Jolley

  • Thanks Ben

    Do I have my mind made up on baby killing? I sure as heck do. How could I not? It is never acceptable to kill babies. It is never acceptable to murder the unborn because it interferes with my career, or my freedom, or my autonomy. You might as well ask me if I have my mind made up on the Nazis and the Holocaust. It is never acceptable to kill 6 million Jews. It is never acceptable to murder millions of Jews in the name of a racist eugenics ideology.

    So what do you want me to do Ben? Tell everyone how wonderful it is for mothers to slaughter their own unborn children? To celebrate this genocide? To justify mass murder? Sorry bub, if you want to do that, go ahead. But it certainly will not happen on this website.

    And of course my plea to Karli had nothing to do with being open minded about massacring babies. It was a call for her to think much more carefully and biblically and medically about her “hard cases” objections, which are tossed up all the time, but have little merit at all.

    As to Wyld, of course all he did was present evidence and facts. He simply quoted from the groups in question. Yet for some bizarre reason, that is just not good enough for you. Sorry, but I can sniff an ideologue pushing agendas a mile away.

    As to love being at the centre of the gospel, please explain to all of us just how it is loving to kill babies in the name of one’s faith? If you are trying to enlist Jesus for a pro-death ideology, you are barking up the wrong tree.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • No. We conform to Christ, Karli. That’s what we strive for as Christian’s. His opinion is our opinion and I can tell you now that he does not support abortion.
    Jenna Priest

  • Karli,

    I feel in no way offended by your own personal beliefs, and I hope the same goes for the other way.

    I find it interesting that you are a Christian that believes in Jesus, but you don’t believe in hell. I’m curious as to why you believe this, as, as far as I understand Matt 8:12, 25:41, Jude 1:7, it’s a very real Biblically proven place.

    Children are a gift from God, no matter the circumstances they are given, nor the ‘condition’ that they are in. God has a plan for every single person, whether they destined to pass away naturally before birth, within minutes of taking their first breath, 5 yrs old, 20 yrs old, 97 yrs old. Who are we to decide that a life isn’t as worthy of others because it comes from awful circumstances rather than royalty?

    I am currently spending a week with 37 students on a school camp, and I can’t believe that I gave up the chance for my own son to experience life, at any length.

    I also know of plenty of other women AND men who regret their decision (no matter the reasons for it being made) every day.

    Not only now do we as the human race need to fight against the more common first trimester abortions, we now have to contend with full term ones, just look at Victoria! You can’t possibly find a reasonable reason to terminate a full term baby simply because it will be disabled in some manner, surely that can be seen as the murder it is. It’s practically like killing an adult in their sleep and claiming it wasn’t murder because they didn’t consciously know what was going on (a stretch yes, but I hope people understand what I’m getting at).

    I would suggest that everyone does some research (both in the Bible AND in science and secular texts) to fully understand what abortion involves and the toll it takes on ALL those involved, not just the mother in question (and yes, even though I have never carried a child full term and given birth, I still identify as a mother).

    Look up Bernard Nathanson…

    Annie O’Callaghan

  • Ben, so what does an ‘open and honest conversation’ look like to you? Is it one where in the name of love and tolerance or whatever no one expresses their real feelings or convictions on as issue? I don’t see anyone being ganged up on here. The fear of robust and rational debate is not a positive trait of current Christianity.
    Conor Ryan

  • There is no such thing as a ‘safe’ abortion. It is an oxymoron – it always kills someone – except in a few very rare cases like abortion survivor Gianna Jessen. She happens to be strongly pro-life. Is it any wonder why?

    As for love being at the centre of the Gospel, most people seem to forget that it is love for God that comes first, not love for man. Jesus made the order of things quite clear:

    Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
    (Matt 22:37-40)

    Killing the unborn is not loving God, no matter how you spin it.

    One principle that friends of mine adhere to when it comes to donating money is that they make a point to support work that primarily propagates the Gospel, since ultimately that gives the gift of eternal life, more precious than anything else. They reason that the world looks after its own anyway, but the world will not give to Christian work.

    Mark Rabich

  • Strange, you condemn calls to boycott the Salvation Army from some members of the gay community, yet state:

    “If they then refuse to acknowledge they are wrong (as in subsidizing baby killing) and refuse to change that aspect of their work, then I would strongly suggest it is time for you to stop contributing to them and their policies of death.”

    Apparently it’s unacceptable for gays to boycott a single charity that actively supports legal discrimination and excludes gay people from employment (or as you put it, ‘stands up to the gay agenda’. Yet, it is acceptable to boycott any essential organisation such as Médecins Sans Frontières or even the evangelical World Vision for their mild support of contraception or safe abortion as an alternative to life threatening practices. How many more people would die if every Christian boycotted those organisations?

    According to your logic Bill, the only group that is allowed to be ‘careful, wise and discerning’ in deciding who they donate to are Christians. Boycotts against homophobic charities are branded by you as ‘intolerant’. You’re a hypocrite.

    Patrick Wright

  • Thanks Patrick

    Let me call your bluff here. As I have said before, in a democracy everyone is free to buy or not buy products and services according to their conscience. So that is not at all the issue. The issue is militant homosexual activist groups forcing their agenda on the rest of society. They do not just want a boycott of the Salvos (and plenty of other groups), but they want to shut them down for daring to resist their agenda.

    And of course the only hypocrisy going on here is when organisations – and their undiscerning supporters – think that it is just fine to kill human beings before they are born, but help human beings after they are born. But fortunately there exist many good groups which support all human beings – both unborn and born.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Another charity to consider giving to is Caritas, either Caritas Australia if you’re in Australia or whichever arm operates in your country, as part of the global organisation Caritas International. They most certainly do NOT support abortion or provision of contraceptives and have one of the highest percentages of money actually reaching those who need it most, rather than it being swallowed up in wages and administration costs.
    For Life,
    John Forster

  • Thanks for that John

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Good point Bill, and I`d like to know if Australia`s aid money going o.s has any accountability involved. I`m all for o.s financial aid o.s, but shudder when I hear stories, 2nd hand stories though, that the billion dollars we gave Indonesia after the horrific tsunami, was handed out only to non-Christians by anti-Christians. Coming back to churches and charities, I too believe it is a responsible choice to see where our donations are being used, and target charities that best reflect my concerns, though if there was no choice here, I`d still like to think I would donate anyway. Thanks again Bill, you get me thinking, and hopefully, doing.
    Johannes Archer

  • Just following on from the discussion on anencephaly, here is a story about a baby born without a brain who lived to turn two. Doctors gave him only hours to live after he was born. Listen to what mum has to say about her son at the end of the video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMlVNFpzKNI&feature=endscreen&NR=1

    Annette Nestor

  • Thanks guys

    Here is another article which is quite appropriate to what we have been talking about here:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/aid-programs-require-more-rigorous-assessment/story-fn8v83qk-1226418289921

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • A really interesting read everyone. Thank you. And thanks for the info. about the charities that claim to carry out ‘safe abortions’. AS Mark pointed out NO abortion is ‘safe’ for the baby being killed.

    A charity I support is “Irene Gleeson Foundation” in Northern Uganda. A wonderful work feeding and educating over 8000 boys and girls and teenagers .

    Julie Worsley

  • Rob Withall,
    Don’t be so sure that Compassion is not also providing funding for abortions. I do not know for certain but the Micah Challenge report looks very dodgy to me:

    “The number of women dying during pregnancy and child-birth has declined significantly in recent years, but every day approximately 1000 women still die due to complications during pregnancy. These complications include severe bleeding after childbirth, infections, hypertensive disorders and unsafe abortions” pg 8

    “….Targeting the underlying socio-economic causes of child mortality, such as mothers’ access to reproductive health, education and employment” pg 11

    http://www.micahchallenge.org.au/assets/pdf/it_shouldnt_end_at_the_beginning_-_Policy_Report_-_Child_and_Maternal_Health_spending_in_Australias_foreign_aid_program.pdf

  • Hi Bill what is your opinion about Barnabas Fund in Australia? I normally do my charities through them or other direct mission workers. But I heard Barnabas fund is not clear with their fund is there any truth in it? I do not care about what unbelievers think about all I care are they using fund in christian manner and not wasting too much on admin cost. Thank you
    Joe Muk

  • Thanks Joe. I have found BF to be a reliable and worthy group to fund.

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