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Uniting for Life

Winter, 1998


From the Executive Director

By Rev. Ben Sheldon

Those who have been regular readers of this newsletter probably noticed that a few issues back we gave it a formal name. After all, "Newsletter" is pretty generic and doesn't convey any special message. But "Uniting for Life" has meaning and does convey a very important message, one that is basic to the reason why the NPRC is in existence.

For we are, according to the words of our Purpose Statement: "a coalition which acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior," and we are seeking "to affirm and witness to the Biblical standard of the value, dignity and sanctity of human life." And behind those affirmations are dedicated Christians from many denominations and pro-life groups: Baptists, Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, Orthodox, Presbyterians, and United Church of Christ, men and women, clergy and laity. We are all United (and Uniting) for Life. The National Pro-Life Religious Council is here to stay, and we have pledged ourselves to work for the day when "every Christian denomination or fellowship proclaims and obeys the Biblical teaching and Christian tradition that affirm the value of all human life."

It is an uphill struggle for many of us; for others, the official stance of their particular denomination or organization is pro-life. But all the polls tell us that there is a large number of members in virtually every church, Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant, that is either indifferent or actually antagonistic to a pro-life viewpoint. So we know what the NPRC's task is. And we are committed to this task. We are truly United for Life.

It is my earnest hope and prayer, as Executive Director, that every reader of this newsletter will actively encourage his or her pastor to investigate the work of the NPRC, include support for the NPRC in the benevolence giving of the congregation, and consider becoming an Associate member by sending in the form on the back of this newsletter with a $10 Associate Members' fee to our office. As more and more of us Unite for Life, we will see a change in our churches and even see the tide of public opinion shift in favor of protecting the babies and standing for all the life issues that NPRC supports.

From the President

By Will Dodson

Will Dodson is Director of Government Relations for the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He is currently studying for the ministry at Southeastern Theological Seminary. He was elected president of NPRC at the fall board meeting.

In 1831, French social philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville toured the United States of America to observe our way of life. He recorded his findings in a two-part volume entitled Democracy in America. De Tocqueville believed that one profound truth was the "key" to America's great success. He related this critical element in the following passage:

"I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors...; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.

"Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.

"America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." (italics added)

While there are exceptions to this rule, it can no longer be said that the pulpits of America "flame with righteousness." The consequence of this lack of conviction and passion has been that America has largely become a nation without a moral compass. Nowhere is this more obvious than with regard to the loss of respect for the sanctity of human life. The loss of at least 32 million pre-born babies since Roe v. Wade attests to this reality.

De Tocqueville was right! America's once and future greatness depends on pulpits which "flame with righteousness." If the rising tide of immorality in America is to be reversed, it will happen only when pulpits "flame with righteousness." If respect for human life is to be restored, it will happen only when pulpits "flame with righteousness." If there is reason to hope that the force of laws will protect our innocent pre-born babies from slaughter, it is only when pulpits "flame with righteousness."

Success in the political arena will not come until there is greater public sentiment for our innocent preborn babies. This sentiment will only come when our pulpits "flame with righteousness."

Indeed, the whole success of the pro-life movement depends upon pulpits which "flame with righteousness."

In order to encourage this process, the National Pro-Life Religious Council (NPRC) is organizing a national symposium and seminar to appeal to church leaders to ignite the pulpits of America with flames of righteousness, with particular regard to abortion, the greatest manifestation of unrighteousness in America today.

Not nearly enough energy has been spent on the one solution which is indispensable to abolishing the horrible act of abortion. The NPRC is an organization of little financial means. But it is our hope and prayer that somehow, our public life would be infused with a passion ignited by holy flames. Please contact the NPRC if you are interested in this project. More details will be forthcoming.

Partial-Birth Abortion: Communicate the Facts

The veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban for the second time by President Clinton, despite its passage by large majorities in both House and Senate, means greater efforts in education are needed, for many are not aware of the brutality and extent of this abortion procedure.

"President Clinton's veto means that each year thousands of living babies will be pulled feet-first from the womb and their heads punctured--unless Congress overrides the veto," stated Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).

The Senate approval of the vote last May fell three votes short of a two-thirds majority, but is the largest margin yet. The House and the Senate are expected to vote later this year on whether to override the veto.

In the meantime, all pro-lifers are urged to continue the effort to communicate the facts about partial-birth abortions to legislators, the media, and fellow voters. Support of state partial-birth abortion bans is also important in reducing the scope of this heinous procedure.

Further documentation on any facet of the partial-birth abortion issue can be obtained by calling National Right to Life Committee at (202) 626-8820 or on NRLC Homepage at www.nrlc.org.

Great Will Be Its Fall

By Rev. Paul Stallsworth

In one of His parables, Jesus described a poorly built house. This house was built "upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it." (Matthew 7: 26-27)

Consider a house built on the sand of an American beach. The first heavy rainstorm that drenched the house would buckle its floors, crack its walls, destroy its roof and ceilings, and perhaps even wash it, as a unit, out to sea.

Contemporary American abortion law, which legalizes abortion on demand, is like a house built on sand. Why? Because the abortion liberty is built upon a false foundation. The abortion liberty is built upon the sand of the autonomous individual, and the account of the autonomous individual does not represent the truth about man. After all, autonomous individualism allows the powerful to violate and eliminate the weak. But man was created by God to pray, not prey.

Unfortunately, there is a coalition of denominations that presently hides the fact that American abortion law has no real foundation. The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) is its name. It has enlisted agencies from the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church, and others in its cause. RCRC, in effect, baptizes abortion on demand in American law and society. That is, RCRC provides religious cover for the legal liberty to choose abortion.

The pro-life organizations in the aforementioned denominations--all of which belong to the National Pro-Life Religious Council--are striving hard to disconnect their denominational agencies from RCRC. In time and by the grace of God, these pro-life organizations will succeed and move their churches away from RCRC. Because of that, in time, RCRC will fall. And when RCRC falls, the religious legitimization of abortion on demand will fall.

These collapses will not happen overnight, any more than does the fall of a rain-drenched house built on sand. Rather, these collapses will probably extend over many years. But still, they will occur. And when they do occur, great will be the fall of the abortion liberty in American society. Its crash will thunder forth in a way that honors God and God's justice.

Rev. Paul Stallsworth is a United Methodist minister with Rose Hill United Methodist Church, North Carolina. He is President of the Task Force of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality, and the editor of Lifewatch.

Women of Hope

By Dr. Jean Garton

It is women who are most affected by abortion and sexually transmitted diseases. It is women who are most involved in caring for elderly parents and in making end of life decisions. It is women who are the primary educators of children and providers of nursing care. It is women who are most directly involved in crisis pregnancy work and in post-abortion counseling.

In my vision to help equip women for those vital roles, I and a group of Christian women with extensive experience in pro-life work and witness have designed a conference -- a forum for women by women -- to inform Christian women on life issues.

Women of Hope: Engaging the 21st Century is planned for March 13-14 in Kansas City, Missouri. It involves speakers from a variety of Christian church bodies. Conference planners include Candace Mueller, co-founder of NPRC; speakers include Terry Schlossberg, former NPRC president. Conference goals include providing practical resources for making beginning and end of life decisions, motivating women to be positive role models, and utilizing the experience, knowledge, and wisdom of "older" Christian women in mentoring women who are "younger" in age, experience or knowledge. (Titus 2: 3-5)

In addition to general sessions there will be two panels: one on religious heritage called, "Traditions of Hope" and another called "Stories of Hope" featuring women who made difficult choices that have brought great blessings. Workshops will address topics such as ethical decision-making, conflict management, educating children, healing the hurting, citizenship, etc.

Hear new voices and new information from women who are experts in their fields!

For further information, contact:

Fax: (913) 390-5353
Phone: (815) 282-8274
Address: 1156 W. 103rd St., Suite 105
Kansas City, MO 64114
Website: www.women-of-hope.org

National Right to Life Convention

This year NPRC had a booth at the National Right to Life Convention in Chicago in June. Each member organization provided pro-life materials for convention participants to pick up. The booth was a great opportunity to promote the sale of the book of pro-life sermons sponsored by NPRC, The Right Choice; all copies available were sold, and there has been great demand ever since for this excellent resource for churches and pastors.

How to Work with Your Pastor

Practical strategies for lay people to help their pastor provide pro-life leadership to the church have been developed by members of the National Pro-Life Religious Council. This guide comprises a comprehensive list of suggestions based on experiences of pastors, pastors' wives, and active church leaders.

If you would like to obtain a copy, please contact:

Rev. Ben Sheldon, The National Pro-Life Religious Council, Box 535, Elverson, PA 19520.

The Right Choice Materials

Edited by Paul T. Stallsworth

Published by Abingdon Press

"This collection of sermons is an effort, sponsored by NPRC, to express the Christian understanding of the dignity of human life. It makes clear that the Christian churches here represented are seeking to inform and form their people in the context of worship, according to the revelation offered to the world though the Word of God. Where God has spoken, we must speak, as best we can."

(from Forward by Rev. John B. Brown)

A collection of pro-life sermons from:

  • Elizabeth Achtemeier
  • John Cardinal O'Connor
  • Connie Roland Alt
  • Frank A. Pavone
  • John B. Brown
  • Terry Schlossberg
  • Paul M. Clark
  • Benjamin E. Sheldon
  • Edward Fehskens
  • Paul T. Stallsworth
  • Michael J. Gorman
  • Mother Teresa of Calcutta
  • Richard John Neuhaus
  • Charles E. Whited, Jr.

Order Form

No. of Books________@ $8.95 each + $2.50 postage. Total Due_________ Name____________________________ Address_______________________

City__________________________ State_____________ Zip_____________

Please make check payable to NPRC and send order to: National Right to Life Committee, Outreach Dept., 419 7th NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20004

Sanctity of Life Materials

Those who would like materials to distribute on Sanctity of Life Sunday, January 18, may obtain some from either the Southern Baptist Convention or Lutherans for Life. Brochures, bulletin inserts, posters, Sunday school lesson, and suggested sermons are among the resources available. To order, write or call:

Christian Life Commission

901 Commerce St., Suite 550,
Nashville TN 37203-3696; (615) 244-2495

Lutherans for Life

P.O. Box 189
Benton, AZ 72018
(501) 794-2212, Fax (501) 794-1437

NPRC Seeks New Members

This is your opportunity to join with other Christian pro-life leaders to help restore legal protection to the unborn child.

The National Pro-Life Religious Council, Inc. (NPRC) is a Christian pro-life coalition which acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and is called to witness to and affirm the biblical standard of the value, dignity and sanctity of human life.

Associate membership is open to any individual, church or group who subscribes to NPRC's principles.

NPRC currently has members working within pro-life groups associated with the following denominations/churches: American Baptist, Catholic, Episcopalian, Evangelical, Lutheran, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Orthodox, Presbyterian, Southern Baptist, United Church of Christ, and United Methodist.

Please join NPRC today and help us end the tragedy of abortion!

Click here for a membership form.

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