Many years ago, Francis Schaeffer made a statement concerning the relationship between the Church and the issue of abortion that has stayed with me since the first time I heard it. The statement reads as follows; “In front of every abortion clinic there needs to be a sign that reads, “Here by permission of the Church.”
I was recently reminded of this statement while visiting Dr. R.C. Sproul’s church, St. Andrews, in Sanford Florida. Dr. Sproul started his talk by encouraging his congregation to consider what he felt was the key issue in our culture today, the upholding of the sanctity of human life. He invited everyone to generously support the local Crisis Pregnancy Center in Sanford.
At the conclusion of the service I was able to spend a few minutes with Dr. Sproul, I gave him some information on LIFE International, and expressed my deep appreciation for his strong stand on abortion, as a leader and pastor. He was gracious and thanked me for the encouragement, then proceeded to tell me that of the seventy books that he has authored, the book he wrote on abortion held the shortest shelf life of them all.
This is just another indication of the heart and condition of the Church today. How do we reconcile the glaring difference between the heart of a very influential leader of leaders, a seasoned pastor, and his view of this issue as the primary issue of our day to the response of the church overall? I have no doubt that if the church made the sanctity of human life a primary issue the laws of our land would change! And yet, the church, at large, is asleep on this issue.
This past month a young man talked with me about a Christian magazine that listed the top five issues of our day. The issues were, 1. Poverty 2. AIDS/HIV 3. Sex Slave Trade 4. War 5. Deforestation. This young man was frustrated because the magazine was targeting his generation and the issue of abortion was no where on the radar of this magazine.
I do not think it is good to minimize the issues listed by the magazine, but to totally ignore the issue of abortion is a huge mistake and it completely ignores the heart of our Father, creator God. I agree with both Francis Schaeffer and Dr. Sproul in that abortion is the tip of the spear for key issues of our day and indeed it is legal and free to operate by the permission of the Church. This may seem like a harsh judgment on the Church but the evidence definitely leans that way.
Let us be a voice that states boldly, “Not here, not now, not ever, not by my permission!”
Our challenge is, to move the sign from the abortion clinic to the life-giving ministry in each community. When we do, in front of every life-giving ministry would be a sign that reads, “Here by permission of the Church.” And all together we will say in one voice, “Move that Sign!” As God’s people, we can begin by moving the sign in our own hearts. Where have you placed the sign?