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1988 Issue 12

I have been intimately involved in the pro-life movement at all levels for almost twenty years: counseling women with unwanted pregnancies, saving babies from abortion, keeping pregnant women and their children in my home, picketing, demonstrating, side-walk counseling, lobbying, writing letters, publishing articles on abortion in magazines and books, preaching sermons, holding pro-life seminars, appearing on TV and radio time and again, personally enlisting others in the pro-life movement, running for Congress on a prolife platform, contributing financially, praying, etc. But I have never been arrested, or gone to jail, because of my pro-life activism.

A telephone call yesterday was from a friend who attended a conference of "evangelical" scholars. All of the speakers invoked "Biblical principles" to justify a wide variety of non-Christian things; all rejected a strict adherence to the whole word of God as binding law for all of faith and life.

A like factor is present also in "Project Life," or "Operation Rescue." The Motto verse on Randall A. Terry's "Higher Laws" article is Acts 5:29, "We must obey God rather than men." This statement, however, has to do with the freedom of God's word, not civil disobedience. There is no hope for men apart from God's regeneration; civil disobedience is a form of revolution: it cannot regenerate men. Paul tells us in Romans 10:17, "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

A holocaust is a massive and gruesome destruction of human life. The first great holocaust on record is Pharoah's slaughter of infants recorded in Exodus 1:15. The New Testament holocaust is the slaughter of infants under Herod, Matthew 2:16. Modem holocausts have taken place under Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. It is estimated that 150 million people have died in this century due to Communistic totalitarianism. We are also going through a new holocaust in the United States.

In the past ten years, the U.S. Supreme Court has made two landmark decisions which have increased the massive and gruesome destruction of human life in America. In 1973, in the Roe vs. Wade decision, the Supreme Court created, out of nothing, a woman's right to abortion on demand for her own happiness. According to that decision, unborn babies are not 'persons,' therefore not under the protection of the law. The court sovereignly and irresponsibly declared that "when life begins" is not the issue. Justice Byron White called this decision "an exercise of raw judicial power."

Operation Rescue, the non-violent sit-ins which have temporarily shut down some places where abortions are performed, is revealing a division among some Christians, and is causing some Christians to say things about other Christians which are harsh, ugly and untrue.

For example, in Atlanta, the Rev. Charles Stanley, pastor of the First Baptist Church in that City, is against the tactics being used by Operation Rescue. In a statement, he says God's word "clearly teaches that abortion is murder." He says that his pastoral staff and deacons "strongly oppose" abortion. And he says they also "advocate all lawful means of protesting abortion" (emphasis his).

Having been directly involved in Operation Rescue at one time, and having initially supported its actions and tactics, I have on further thought changed my opinion as to the validity of the methods of Operation Rescue as a Christian method to stop abortions. Many arguments and reasons have been well stated elsewhere. It is not my purpose or intent to repeat those arguments. I would like to add a consideration based on the use of the sword by Peter recorded in John 18:10-11.

Those who are involved in Operation Rescue believe that Proverbs 24:11-12, "Deliver those who are being taken away to death, and those who are staggering to slaughter, O hold them back ...," is a command of God which must supersede obedience to the civil magistrate. Christians must obey the "Higher law" of God.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

After attending a planning meeting for a rescue in my area, I thought it appropriate to write and explain why I cannot in good conscience participate in such a rescue. I have discussed this subject with some pastors and laymen, and at this point everyone just seems to be "tossed to and fro." I did some serious thinking and praying after that meeting and have come to the conclusion that I cannot do a rescue "in faith." I may be wrong, but I believe that such an avenue of action is not Biblical or prudent, Proverbs 24 notwithstanding. In an effort to help you think through the theological and practical questions relating to the current rescue rage, I am offering my thoughts on the subject.

I hate to be undecided on issues. I had already made up my mind on Operation Rescue and was wondering when I would have an opportunity to get involved. The prospect of being a martyr of sorts had a romantic appeal for me. If I had any fears, it was fear of what my Christian friends would think if I turned down an opportunity to participate. I didn't want them to think I lacked courage and conviction. Then just as that opportunity to be involved directly in an Operation Rescue effort materialized, some of my Christian friends brought to my attention some questions they had about the tactics of Operation Rescue. These questions had never occurred to me, and I did not have any answers. I began asking several of my ministerial friends about their position on Operation Rescue. Now I am writing this article on my findings and conclusions to date. I am not writing as one who thinks he has the final word on the subject. I am writing more as one who wishes to use the discipline of writing to clarify further his thoughts. I also want to submit my tentative conclusions to the scrutiny of others.

There we shall discover an enemy in the camp; there we shall witness as hideous a view of moral deformity as the evil spirit could present. There we shall find a class of men in every respect the opposite of the former; men who cling to a noble profession only to dishonor it; men who seek not to save, but to destroy; men known not only to the profession, but to the public, as abortionists....... Yes, it is false brethren we have most to fear; men who are false to their profession, false to principle, false to honor, false to humanity, false to God.

Founded in 1918, United Way of America is the world's largest cooperative coalition of charity organizations in the world. Its multi-million dollar annual effort not only distributes much needed cash to local private sector service providers, but it provides program support and consultation in the areas of "fundraising, budgeting, management, fund distribution, planning, and communications." It conducts major national media campaigns, produces fllms and audio-visual presentations, administers staff and volunteer development training, and publishes dozens of booklets, pamphlets, and directories every year. It assists local service groups by conducting company-wide and community-wide campaigns and cultivating increased corporate giving through donor development programs. United Way funds help organizations, like the Salvation Army, Goodwill, the Red Cross, and Big Brothers, do what they do best: care for the needy. Millions of dollars every year are used to strengthen the work of drug rehabilitation, medical research, emergency food relief, sheltering the homeless, crisis counseling referrals, legal services to the poor, and job training for the unemployed.

The first duty of subjects toward their magistrates is to think most honorably of their office, which they recognize as a jurisdiction bestowed by God, and on that account to esteem and reverence them as ministers and representatives of God. For you may find some who very respectfully yield themselves to their magistrates and desire somebody whom they can obey, because they know that such is expedient for public welfare; nevertheless, they regard magistrates only as a kind of necessary evil. But Peter requires something more of us when he commands that the king be honored [I Peter 2: 17]; as does Solomon when he teaches that God and king are to be feared [Prov. 24:2J]. For Peter, in the word "to honor" includes a sincere and candid opinion of the king. Solomon, yoking the king with God, shows that the king is full of a holy reverence and dignity. There is also that famous saying in Paul: that we should obey "not only because of wrath, but because of conscience" [Rom. 13:5, cf. Vg.]. By this he means that subjects should be led not by fear alone of princes and rulers to remain in subjection under them (as they commonly yield to an armed enemy who sees that vengeance is promptly taken if they resist), but because they are showing obedience to God himself when they give it to them; since the rulers' power is from God.

"When will all this extermination cease?" Dr. Nyiszli asked Dr. Mengele in Auschwitz. And Dr. Mengele answered: "My friend! It will go on, and on, and on."

"Murderous Science: Elimination by Scientific Selection of Jews, Gypsies and Others, Germany 1933-45" (Oxford University Press, 1988) by Benno Muller-Hill, professor of genetics at the Institute of Genetics at the University of Cologne, is the kind of book -- and the above quote is from it -- that will keep you up late reading it (for me, 4:05 a.m.). Then, when you've read it, you can't sleep.

And this book will certainly not be a favorite of the fetal-tissue experimenters and their supporters, who foam at the mouth when Nazi analogies are mentioned.

But the Nazi analogies are right on target. They are frighteningly accurate.

In Matt. 22:15-22, we read of a challenge to our Lord to give grounds to justify a tax revolt. In view of the fact that this episode is sometimes cited by contemporary tax revolt advocates, it is important to examine it closely to see what its meaning is.

We are told that its purpose was to "entangle" Jesus, i.e., to place Him in an intolerable predicament. Paying taxes to Caesar, a foreign ruler, was highly unpopular with many; to deny the validity of a tax revolt would cost Jesus, the Pharisees reasoned, popular support. The populace in disgust would regard Him as an appeaser, an ally of an unpopular and hated regime. However, to favor the tax revolt would invite reprisals against Jesus by Roman authorities. The question, then, was carefully designed to be deadly in its consequences to Jesus, and it was asked with flattering guile, asking Him to tell the truth without fear of consequences:

"Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man; for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us, therefore, what thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?" (Matt. 22:16-17)