Uniting for Life
Preparing for a Pro-Life
By Rev. David L. Adams, NPRC President
In this year 2000, the second millennium since the birth
of Jesus Christ is completed. We know that a fifth-century
monk named Dionysius Exiguus missed the mark in establishing
the calendar we use so that the third millennium and the 21st
century should actually have begun a couple of years ago.
Nevertheless, the change on the calendar provides a convenient
milestone at which we can pause to evaluate how far the pro-life
movement has come and where it needs to go in the future.
The first thing we need to recognize is that the pro-life
movement is a very young thing. This may come as a surprise
to some. I was recently at a pro-life gathering where one
of the workshop speakers expressed some frustration at the
pace of progress and how long it was taking to establish legal
protections for the unborn. Like so many in the pro-life movement,
the speaker was reflecting the "burnout" that most activists
experience after fighting the good fight for such a long time.
And that's the problem.
You see, we have not really been at this all that long. Consider
that ours is the first generation of the Christian era that
has seen the technical ability to divorce sexual activity
from procreation proliferated so widely, the open promotion
of legalized abortion-on-demand and of physician-assisted
suicide, and the manipulation of the human genetic code to
produce a better human being become more than a mad scientist's
pipe dream. Now, as we face the new century and new millennium,
it its time for us to recognize that we are only at the start
of the pro-life movement.
However many battles we win or lose in Congress and in the
courts, the war for a pro-life society will continue until
Christ returns. It is literally a life-and-death war between
God, the creator and sustainer of life, and the devil,
the hater of God and the bringer of death.
For the Church, the pro-life movement is not a single fight
over abortion, euthanasia or eugenics. Indeed, it is not a
fight at all; it is a confession of faith. By grace we stand
with the Creator of life rather than the bringer of death.
By grace we shall continue to stand and confess the message
of the Creator of life no matter how many battles we win or
lose, for God has not called us to win battles, but to be
witnesses of the truth and confessors of the Gospel.
Christians did not begin to be pro-life on the day that the
Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade. God's message has always
been the message of life, and God's people have always proclaimed
it. Likewise, none of today's challenges to life are going
to go away. Some will rise and fall while others transform
over the years as advances in technology expand the horizons
of the possible, but the fundamental issue of how society
values human life is here to stay, from now until Christ's
Recognizing that the pro-life movement is one facet of the
spiritual war should help us to understand that our race is
a relay and not a sprint, or even a marathon. While continuing
to run our race, we must mature in the way we think about
our task. This means integrating the message of life into
all that the church does and says, so that we can not only
be a witness in our generation but just as importantly prepare
the next generation of the faithful to face the challenges
to life in the next millennium and beyond.
Memorial for the Pre-born
By Rev. Rob Schenck, National Clergy Council
Members of the NPRC Board, including Rev. Benjamin Sheldon,
Fr. Frank Pavone, and Georgette Forney will be participating
in the sixth annual National Memorial for the Pre-born and
their Mothers and Fathers. This will be held on Capitol Hill
on Monday, January 24, 2000, 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM, in the prestigious
U.S. Senate Hart Building, Room 216.
This moving two-hour liturgy of remembrance draws clergy
and laity from all Christian traditions including, Evangelical,
Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant. The service is open to
The former Jane Roe, Norma McCorvey and several members of
the House and Senate will also participate. Music will be
provided by the Music Department of the Christian Assembly,
a large Charismatic Evangelical church from Columbus, Ohio.
The National Memorial for the Pre-born and their Mothers
and Fathers was founded in 1995 by Evangelical ministers and
twin brothers, the Reverends Paul and Rob Schenck. It is sponsored
by the National Clergy Council, an association of ordained
individuals whose common mission is to bring historic Christian
moral instruction to bear on the hearts and minds of those
in elected and appointed offices.
For information, directions or group reservations please
Jesus Loves Children
Lutherans for Life Witness to the Sanctity of Human Life
By Rev. Dr. James Lamb, Executive Director of Lutherans
Under God's grace, National Lutherans for Life (LFL), a pan-Lutheran
organization, continues to carry out its mission to "witness
to the sanctity of human life through education based on the
Word of God." They strive to produce Bible-based and Christ-centered
educational materials on all the life issues for all ages.
The theme LFL will be highlighting in 2000 is "Jesus Loves
Children" based on Mark 10:13-16, where Jesus takes the children
in His arms, puts His hands on them, and blesses them. A bulletin
insert carrying this theme is a painting of Jesus, with nail
scarred hands, holding a little baby close to His face. This
insert is available for Life Sunday observances. Also available
are worship services, sermons, a children's bulletin insert,
music, and more. You can receive a free sample pack by calling
Of particular note this past year is the positive reception
of LFL's Campus Life Project. LFL brings various speakers
onto a college campus over a period of two or three days in
an effort to interact with the students in a variety of settings.
This has proved to be a very enlightening couple of days,
not just for the students, but for the LFL speakers as well.
One of the goals is for LFL to leave in its wake a core group
of students to continue to promote pro-life activities on
campus. This has happened on several campuses and there was
a very good showing of college students at LFL's National
Convention in November. Everyone should take heart in the
fact that there are some very fine and dedicated pro-life
young people on college campuses throughout this country.
The Lutherans for Life website (www.lutheransforlife.org)
is now the largest religious pro-life site on the Net. Most
of LFL's educational materials and publications are there
to read and use. The site also provides an abundance of links
to other helpful sites.
Lutherans for Life pledges to continue to strive to do their
part in promoting the sanctity of human life and is thankful
for all the other pro-life groups that God is using to bring
about His victory FOR LIFE.
Miracles in United
By Rev. Paul T. Stallsworth
It is a miracle, an actual miracle, that the witness for
life is alive and well in the United Methodist Church. After
all, many forces and voices are presently arrayed against
the faithful witness for life.
First of all, bureaucratic United Methodists are, for the
most part, abortion advocates. Two agencies of the denomination,
the General Board of Church and Society, and the Women's Division
of the General Board of Global Ministries, are actually affiliated
with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC)
and anchor the denomination on the side of abortion advocacy.
RCRC, based in Washington, DC, is a political lobby for legalized
abortion. Since the United Methodist General Conference, which
convenes every four years, has refused to withdraw these agencies
from RCRC, the official structures of the United Methodist
Church are linked to a pro-abortion ideology.
Not surprisingly, these structures and their leaders set
throughout the entire denomination an ethos favoring legalized
abortion. Among United Methodism's leadership types and in
its bureaucratic quarters, it is considered cool to defend
legalized abortion. Pro-life is not.
Then there is fence-sitting United Methodism. This is the
group that cries "Peace! when there is no peace. It wants
issues related to abortion set aside because they are too
"divisive." Most bishops, many pastors, and many lay leaders
just say "No thanks" to any discussion of abortion. Again,
they believe the issue to be church dividing, and therefore
they do their best to avoid it. So they silence, or turn away
from a witness for life.
Finally, there are a few pro-life advocates who do not know
the best way to approach others about the life and abortion
issues. As a result, they sometimes turn off the very people
they are trying to convince.
All these approaches are failing to provide a consistent
witness to the Gospel of Life. However, they have not silenced
it. In the conferences and congregations of United Methodism,
a pro-life witness continues to be offered here and there.
This is a miracle, a gift of the Holy Spirit.
In May of 2000, the General Conference of the United Methodist
Church will convene in Cleveland, Ohio. The signal issue of
the conference promises to be homosexuality. Therefore, in
preparation for the conference, many delegates were elected
because they stand with traditional Christian teaching on
homosexual conduct. It is safe to say that many of these delegates,
who were elected on the basis of their opposition to United
Methodism legitimizing homosexual activity, will also be pro-life.
Therefore, it might well be that General Conference 2000 will
take a stride or two in the pro-life direction. For example,
the conference may declare the United Methodist Church opposed
to the legality of partial-birth abortion. That, too would
be a miracle.
[Rev. Stallsworth is pastor of Rose Hill United Methodist
Church in Rose Hill, North Carolina. He is also the editor
of Lifewatch, a quarterly newsletter which concerns United
Methodism, life, and abortion.]
Emphasis to be "The Year of the Child"
By Rev. Ben Sheldon, NPRC Executive Director
The Presbyterian Church (USA) is planning to make "The Year
of the Child" the major emphasis in the new year 2000, using
the theme: Children: God's Gift to the World: Christ's Call
to the Church. Several evangelical and pro-life groups within
that denomination have called on the entire church "to resist
all teaching and practices that place children in jeopardy."
In a news release dated December 1, they have affirmed again
their unanimous protest of "both the practice and the approval
of the killing of vulnerable and defenseless children as a
clear violation of Jesus' teaching."
The statement, issued by Presbyterians Pro-Life, the Presbyterian
Renewal Network, the Presbyterian Coalition, and Voices of
Orthodox (Presbyterian) Women, called special attention to
the views of Dr. Peter Singer, recently appointed to an ethics
chair at Princeton University. [Dr. Singer is a bioethicist
who advocates killing certain disabled babies within the first
months of their lives.] Singer's views lend credence to the
legal practice of abortion, which now extends to include infanticide
of babies in the process of being born [partial-birth abortions].
The Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1997 expressed its "grave
moral concern" regarding the practice of partial-birth abortion
which continues largely unabated in our country.
The statement further says, "We affirm that the protection
of the lives of children is a primary concern that we raise
up as we approach the Year of the Child. We affirm that Christian
faith calls all of us in the Church of Jesus Christ to respond
to the crisis of infanticide, including partial-birth abortions,
in our country by providing support and care as well as tangible
Sadly, several other entities within the Presbyterian Church
(USA) have declined to sign on to this affirmation.
For further information, call Mrs. Terry Schlossberg of Presbyterians
Pro-Life at 703-569-9474.
The Perfect Balance
By Rev. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life
One of the common concerns clergy have in regard to speaking
about abortion is that they don't want to hurt the women in
the congregation who have had abortions. They feel that the
presence of such women is a reason to be silent about it.
Just the opposite is true, however. Experts in post-abortion
syndrome tell us that the first step toward healing is to
break out of denial, and silence does not help to do that.
Silence motivated by the best of intentions, moreover, does
not interpret itself. The woman suffering from abortion may
think we are silent because we do not know her pain, do not
care, or have no hope to offer. In truth, however, we speak
because we do know, do care, and do offer hope.
There are two things that the post-abortive woman does not
need to hear. One is: "It's no big deal." In reality, she
knows abortion is a big deal and experiences a natural grief
for her child who has been killed. Yet many in society make
her feel silly for feeling sad. Her grief, therefore, cannot
be adequately expressed and processed. The process is short-circuited.
Moreover, she may well be quite angry with those whose message
about "no big deal" got her into the mess of abortion in the
first place. To hear that message again, and to be given more
excuses, is the last thing she needs. This is one reason why
church bodies that take a "pro-choice" position become ill-equipped
to deal with those who suffer from an abortion.
The second thing the post-abortive woman does not need is
someone who will condemn her and drive her deeper into the
despair which the act of abortion is all too capable of generating
on its own.
Our message, the message of the Christian Church and of the
pro-life movement, holds exactly the right balance. Our clear
identification of abortion as an evil which is never morally
licit corresponds with the deepest truth she is hearing in
her mind and heart. It cuts through the rhetoric, empty excuses
and terrible pressures others have heaped upon her. It breaks
through denial and assures her she has a reason for her grief.
Then at the same time and in the same breath, we give the
message of hope. The doors of the Church are open. We are
not here to reject or condemn, but to welcome back to the
peace and mercy of Christ whoever has been involved in abortion.
I even know of someone who had 24 abortions. Even she can
be forgiven. We long to welcome her back. So does God.
The process of healing is delicate and long. Sometimes it
begins with pain. The availability of compassionate post-abortion
counselors in the parish goes a long way. Clergy, moreover,
should see that truth and compassion are not at odds with
one another. To withhold the truth is to lack compassion because
compassion seeks to meet the needs of the other, and we have
a need for truth. At the same time, to lack compassion is
to withhold an aspect of the truth of the Gospel and the Church.
In God, truth and compassion are ultimately one, for He Himself
I always recall the words of the post-abortive woman who,
after a pro-life homily I gave, said to me, "Father, I have
pain when I hear about abortion...but please, please keep
preaching about it, because it consoles me greatly to know
that through that homily, someone could be spared the whole
journey of grief I have had to go through."
Indeed, let us speak.
Harvesting Baby Body Parts
in Abortion Clinics: Can We Accept this Barbaric Activity?
By Georgette Forney, Executive Director
The National Organization of Episcopalians for Life
In mid May I sat in my family room watching the Life Dynamics
video that featured "Kelly" discussing her work as a technician
in an abortion clinic harvesting baby body parts. I was appalled.
In my mind, I imagined my own aborted child experiencing Kelly's
working hands. As I turned off the tape I thought this information
would surely persuade people that abortion is wrong.
However, another part of my mind felt the idea of harvesting
body parts was so gruesome it couldn't be true. I made a few
calls to pro-life associates asking them if they knew anything
about baby body part harvesting. A few acknowledged hearing
about it a few years earlier but they made comments like,
"We tried to make people aware of it, but they don't want
to hear about it."
I could understand people's desire to ignore this issue.
After hearing their comments, I also chose to put the whole
issue out of my mind, but I couldn't, I had to deal with my
own sense of despair over the truth and implications of what
is happening to us as a country morally and ethically.
When we as a nation can accept this barbaric activity in
the name of medical advancement, where are we heading? The
slippery slope feels more like a well-greased slide.
As NOEL's executive director, I questioned what issues NOEL
should address and what issues NOEL should ignore. What role
should the church play in addressing some of these issues?
How does God feel about biotechnology playing creator? Deuteronomy,
2 Kings, Leviticus, Jeremiah and Lamentations warn of women
eating the flesh of their children. Has abortion opened the
door to encouraging women to turn their unwanted pregnancy
into food for the research giant in the name of medical advancement?
I believe despair or putting our heads in the sand over these
issues is a natural response but not the right response. Scripture
tells us God created life, and it is sacred to Him. Is my
view of life the same as God's? If my world view is that life
is sacred, then I must address all issues that attack life.
When I became NOEL's executive director, I thought my pro-life
job was to be against abortion; but I now realize being pro-life
includes addressing from many angles the assaults upon life
that our culture is making. The pro-life battle is a long-term
battle; it's about more than stopping abortions. It now must
address the value our culture places on life from conception
How to Work with Your
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
If you would like to obtain a copy, please contact the NPRC.
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
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 dnominations/churches: Conservative
Congregational, Episcopalian, Evangelical, Lutheran, Lutheran
Church-Missouri Synod, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Southern
Baptist, United Church of Christ, and United Methodist.
Please join NPRC today and help us end the tragedy of abortion!
Click here for membership application.