Make no mistake, any nation that embraces a culture of death will find in its end, the death of culture. And recent controversies surrounding Planned Parenthood remind us of what we already know: our nation has embraced a culture of death. So, what can we do to end our lover’s hug with death and return to a pursuit of life?
Many pro-life voices believe that the “tide will turn” with Republicans in control of the White House, Senate and House of Representatives. If those who profess to be pro-life actually hold to their convictions, the abortion industry could soon experience a massive downturn. This would be great news.
However, cultural shifts are rarely sustained by a forced leap of “punctuated equilibrium.” Instead, sustainable cultural change must begin at the micro-level. Which means it must begin in our homes and in our churches.
Here are three ways that Christians must lead the charge in the micro-change of our cultural affinity with death.
1. Move beyond being pro-birth and become truly pro-life.
While the vast majority of self-professed believers are pro-birth, few are pro-life in the fullest sense. Pro-birth means that we rightfully oppose the murder of unborn children. However, if we want to be fully pro-life, we must advocate for the lives of children after they are born.
When we plead with a young mother to allow her child to be born, we must present her with options and hope for that child’s life. We need Christians who are lining up to adopt unwanted children. We need Christians sacrificing to financially meet the most basic of needs for children whose lives are spared from abortion. We need Christian men willing to fill the void of a father in the lives of fatherless children. We need Christian women ready to come alongside young mothers, willing to show them how to be mothers.
Being pro-life is much more than being pro-birth. Christianity has ALWAYS been both!
Unfortunately, those who support the continued legality of abortion have been able to point to the fact that the majority of pro-life evangelicals decry abortion as murder while at the same-time pontificating about the needed end of the “welfare state” that provides food, clothing and healthcare for many of the children spared from abortion. This is a blind spot in our public theology, and those advocating abortion have used it to undermine our pro-life arguments.
Christians and political conservatives have rightly noted that the endless growth of the federal government (even in the name of meeting needs) is a threat to all forms of liberty. However, many of the unborn children for whom we are demanding the right to life will not have their basic needs met without the existence of ongoing governmental support.
I’m not proposing a solution, nor am I debating the cause and effect of this predicament. My aim is to note that regardless of how we got where we are that our current situation demands a specific response from pro-life Christians. We must call for the end of infanticide while at the same time presenting ourselves (time, energy, resources) as being available to meet the on-going needs of a child rescued from death.
Political parties and platforms can be useful in providing justice and delivering mercy. However, politics will always fail to meet needs that only a gospel people, with a gospel culture, under a gospel mandate, can adequately address.
2. Sacrifice for others rather than consuming others.
It’s no secret that we are a consumeristic society. Everything we do is about satiating our appetites. Abortion is about sex without natural consequences. Sex has largely become about personal pleasure rather than building intimacy (this is why pornography is so pervasive). Sacrificial giving is in decline because exorbitant living is on the rise.
We have to stop. We consume life, each other and resources at a seemingly dizzying rate because we are attempting to delude ourselves into thinking that we are not, in fact, in the throes of death.
The people of the cross must be people of life. To be people of life we must follow Christ. Christ was consumed, by God’s wrath, for our good so we must be willing to be consumed for the good of others. The reason sacrificing ourselves to meet the needs of others (in particular, children saved from abortion) seems so strange is because the American church has lost an eternal perspective on life. Living in light of eternity makes sacrificing now, for the good of others, easier.
It seems so simple, but when was the last time you asked God to move our people from lovers of death to children of life? Jesus is in the business of taking people from death to life.
Macro-cultural change can be good in ending evil on a mass scale. However, micro-change is what will bring lasting change. How do we get there? We oppose evil while meeting the need that evil is supposedly meeting. We model the gospel with every aspect of our lives and we pray for God to move.