Even as I was writing my articles discussing our recent pro-life march, I knew that within hours, if not days, all the usual Christian critics would start coming out of the woodwork. These armchair critics will blast things such as what was done at the rally, even though many of them have never even lifted a finger to help the unborn.
They chastise us, claiming that this is something that Jesus would never do. They claim it is a provocative and controversial thing to do, it did not help anyone, and Christians should just avoid it. They think it just is negative and judgmental, and does not give our cause a good look, and we should simply steer away from all such activities.
They effectively claim that Jesus would never resort to such things; he would never speak out on controversial issues; he would never march in a public rally; he would never make a public commotion; he would never rattle cages or cause controversy. Indeed, we all know that Jesus was a little mouse who hated any public commotion, and did his best to always keep the peace and just lay low.
Jesus, these critics say, would want us to stop these rallies and have us be more “positive”. And who are we to judge anyway? Some people have abortions – some people do other sins. We are all sinners so it is not our right to judge. And they claim we can only stop abortion by changing human hearts, not human laws, etc, etc, etc.
Well I for one am not buying any of this. In fact I am really fed up with such whingers and critics. Indeed, I find it rather offensive actually. Not only do they not seem to know what is in their own Bible, but so many of these folks are mere armchair critics.
Most have never done a thing in their life for the unborn, or to protect marriage, or to advance the Gospel. Yet they are quite happy to attack others who are seeking to do something about these matters. They are really just being hypocritical – you know, the thing Jesus repeatedly condemned and judged.
But let me respond a bit more specifically here. Let’s start with the ‘change hearts only’ foolishness. To argue that we can only stop abortion by changing human hearts is ridiculous of course. One might as well say we should abolish all stop lights, because only a changed heart will stop people running red lights. Duh.
God of course created government and laws to be used in a fallen world. It is unbiblical and unhelpful to claim that only by getting people saved can we stop abortion or other evils. Evil is to be opposed all the time, whether a person is saved or not.
Wilberforce did not wait for all of England to become Christian before he fought against slavery. He stood against it because it was wrong. He knew the majority of his countrymen were not believers, but he pressed ahead anyway. Sure he evangelised as well, and prayed, and worked to change hearts, but he also was salt and light, doing what was right regardless.
And even if we do wait till everyone – or most people – are saved first before we work for social change and resist evil, that does not solve all our problems. Christians can often be as guilty in running red lights or doing other evil acts as anyone else. So in this fallen world we must work for just laws and legislation to restrict and oppose harmful and bad activities. But I speak to all this more fully here:
As to the more generic complaints about pro-life rallies and the like, let me offer a few more replies. Those who don’t like public rallies and think they are harmful or counterproductive may prefer their own means of being pro-life. If they are actually doing something, then I am thankful. But they should not be attacking others for doing what they feel called to do.
We of course should do anything and everything we can to help save the babies. There is so much that can be done: we must spread the word and alert others, we can join lobby groups, do letter writing, sign petitions, open and staff crisis pregnancy centres, attend public rallies, create blog sites, visit MPs – the list is endless as to what can be done.
And of course we must all pray. This is a spiritual battle as well. But the main thing is to actually do something. Yet there are some who do nothing while happily complaining about those who are doing something. But those 3000 saints who risked so much, even their own personal safety on Saturday, were heroes. They brought tremendous attention and coverage to the issue, and never should be minimised or criticised for what they did.
It is never a question of just doing one thing and rejecting all the other things. Pretending that just one course of action or tactic is superior to all the others is not very helpful here. We all must do all we can as God leads us. In this light, I love what D. L. Moody once said to a critic about his evangelistic style: “Well, I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it!”
And some of these critics will raise the ol’ WWJD canard here, as if he would never make a public commotion over anything. Do they even recall the very public cleansing of the temple by Jesus? Do they recall all the very public and confrontational things done by the disciples in the book of Acts?
The truth is, the Father’s heart is broken over 100,000 unborn babies slaughtered every year. Our hearts should break over what breaks his heart. And that should spur us to act for those being slaughtered. Those who are actually working to save lives get my vote any day over those who do nothing except complain about the work of others.
Those critics who think we were amiss to march and should have done something better are in good company here. Critics of Wilberforce said exactly the same thing. They criticised him for making such a public and graphic stink about the issue of slavery. They wanted him to tone it down and stop being so provocative and offensive.
Wilberforce of course rejected these critics who were doing nothing for the poor slaves, just as we should reject the critics who are doing nothing for the unborn. Indeed, I suspect that many who disapprove of such public rallies are actually little more than cowards who would never make a public stink about anything. But I have written about the sin of cowardice elsewhere: billmuehlenberg.com/2013/01/28/in-search-of-christian-vertebrates/
And the critics of Wilberforce said much the same thing as the critics today are saying about the pro-life cause: “You can’t judge them. You can’t be so critical. You don’t know their stories. Maybe they need money to feed their families so they have to have slaves.”
Sorry, but murdering babies is never right. Of course many women are coerced into it. Of course many are forced by boyfriends or loved ones. Of course they need our prayer, help and support. And all that and more is already being done by pro-life groups.
The various critics seem not to be aware of what the pro-life movement is in fact doing all the time. The pro-lifers of course are pro-women as they are pro-baby – just as many signs and posters said quite clearly in the march on Saturday.
These critics must be asked just what it is they are doing for the unborn. If it is nothing, then they need to either put up or shut up. The armchair critics are a dime a dozen – but those who are actually doing something for the unborn whom God loves so deeply – even at great personal risk – are in very short supply sadly.
And these critics will say we should be doing positive and helpful things, not negative things. Well, if they bothered to actually read some of the reports about this weekend, they will see that all sorts of practical acts of love and mercy were shown to these activists and anarchists.
We were there copping all the abuse and hate, and we were there literally offering them cold glasses of water – even free meals and drink. The love of Christ was clearly and demonstrably on display yesterday. Yet the critics apparently know nothing about this – or don’t want to know about it.
And they will come out with the same tired ‘biblical’ criticisms. A chief one is always the “let him without sin” excuse. That is really very reckless and unnecessary in this context. Telling people that there is hope and healing for abortion, and that God loves them and can help them, and that there are real life-affirming answers to their problems, has absolutely nothing to do with Pharisees wanting to stone a woman caught in adultery.
Not only was she told clearly to go and sin no more, meaning that Jesus in no way affirmed or made excuses for her sin, but the real Pharisees here of course are those who will criticise pro-lifers for seeking to rescue babies and help women while they stand by and do nothing.
I again ask these critics: just what are you doing to help the unborn? These criticisms are a slur on thousands of brave Christian men, women and children who risked everything and took bucket loads of hate and abuse to point a better way to women about their own babies.
Those who suffered so much on Saturday and showed such overwhelming love and grace, straight out of the heart of Jesus, really deserve better treatment from those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ and just sit back on the easy chair and offer their unhelpful criticisms.
So here is the scoop: I will continue to march for the unborn, as will many thousands of others. And we will do so until abortion is no longer killing 100,000 poor babies every year in this country. If the armchair critics don’t like that, well, tough. I for one am getting real tired of all their whining while they do nothing about this great moral evil of our day.