Auschwitz. Cambodia. New York.

The extent of our lives, while filled with countless moments of ease, is also filled with moments of discomfort. We’ve all experienced such moments.

Some occur because of something we’ve said or left unsaid, done or left undone. Other such moments have been thrust upon us by the arrangements of others. But no matter the wellspring, when the whitewater has settled, we often come to the same realization of regret.

We wish we’d have done something differently to change the situation.

There is a moment in William Hazlitt’s “Sketches and Essays” when he writes so penetratingly, “We never do anything well till we cease to think about the manner of doing it.” His words need little interpretation, especially when coupled to another gathering of words he offers only a few short paragraphs later: “Reason may play the critic, and correct certain errors afterward; but if we were to wait for its formal and absolute decisions in the shifting and multifarious combinations of human affairs, the world would stand still… They stay for facts till it is too late to pronounce on the characters.”

On January 22, 2019—the anniversary of Roe V. Wade—the State of New York passed a law allowing abortion until the moment of birth. In response to this, New York City celebrated the new law by illuminating the World Trade Center’s tower in pink. Thousands of photos of Governor Cuomo’s delight while signing the bill have already been captured, perhaps matched only by the images of Hillary Clinton’s equal exuberance and the videos of the legislature offering a standing ovation at the bill’s passage. Lawmakers throughout the land have been emboldened. They’ve stepped up in support, which means other states will soon follow New York’s lead.

We’ve known this day was coming. NARAL has been openly lobbying for this for decades. The National Abortion Federation has, too. Planned Parenthood, the best known of the bunch, has been an advocate for such devilry, although it would seem they have betrayed a knowledge of the more sinister nature of such things because, for the most part, this arm of their efforts has been off the public grid.

Still, we’ve known this day was coming. At least the church has. How could we not? Knowing the truth regarding the unchecked human condition, as soon as the Roe v. Wade verdict was cast in 1973, we should have anticipated this day. The fellowship of humanity has more than proven that the pit from which it mines its wickedness has no bottom. One needs only to look at the last century. Auschwitz. The population transfers in the Soviet Union. Cambodia. Choose your genocidal atrocity.

Now we can add the State of New York to the list. It is now legal to kill a baby before the moment of its full-term birth. Very soon we’ll be adding other states.

But again, we’ve known this day was coming, and so Hazlitt’s words are piercing. They are piercing because so many continue to cogitate. We think on these things, but do not act. The world of our efforts to stop the atrocities stands still. We behold the resultant facts unfolding and only then do we pronounce on the characters. “New York is terrible!” “Governor Cuomo is a horrible person.” “The New York Legislature should be ashamed of itself!”

All of this, and yet we do nothing to actually stay the hand that slays. They continue to kill. We complain.

Perhaps worse, many of the Christian preachers are often the faultiest cogs in the machine. “The church needs only to pray,” they say, “God will handle this.” “Pastors, stay in your lane,” they warn. “Brothers, preach sin and grace, but do not discuss the government’s affairs.”

Nonsense. Utter nonsense. The pulpits are crowded with Christian preachers announcing that there is forgiveness available even to the abortionist (which of course is true), but there is an ever-dwindling number occupying the pulpits who are willing to urge their listeners to actually be who God has made them—to be those who exist in this ferocious world as ones armed with other-worldly courage for taking up a position between evil and its victims. This contingent of preachers, not the other, knows that the church—the body of Christ—is more than a theological think tank producing eloquent sermons, intriguing Facebook and Twitter posts, and cerebral committee meetings between the popular theologians sitting around drinking coffee while every now and then broaching the topic of how Nancy Pelosi and Governor Cuomo should be excommunicated.

The church is more than an ethereal collection of beliefs congealing into what can only be described as disembodied mush—an arguing for good theology without ever actually engaging in it. By the power of the Holy Spirit through the Gospel for faith in Jesus Christ, the church has the muscle for action.

Behold the words of Jesus in Luke 10:25-37, the story of the Good Samaritan. Behold the man lying in his own blood beside the road—beaten, robbed, dying helplessly. And yet, as Priests and Levites with churchly things to do, we pass him by.

Do something. Act. “We never do anything well till we cease to think about the manner of doing it…”

Many of the religious among us are quick to pronounce judgment on New York’s governor and legislature, and of course this is certainly appropriate. They are monsters. They’re eating children. That’s what monsters do. But do not forget the ones among our own who continue to ring the dinner bell for the monsters by their fluent excuse-making and pious complacency, the ones who sit idly by as the body parts pile. Do not forget the Lord’s words to those church leaders:

“For with you is my contention, O priest… My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me” (Hosea 4:4,6).

January 22, 2019 was a moment of incredible discomfort. It was a moment of monumental regret. Could we have done something to change it? Yes. Unfortunately, in order to close this ever-widening gateway of legalized slaughter, it may take action requiring the same verve of the men and women throughout the generations who’ve heard the call to combat evil—slavery, genocide, and the like—and have responded with a willingness to put their lives on the line. I hope it hasn’t arrived at this.

Either way, I’m not going to sit around “hoping” that abortion will end. I’m going to pray and act. I’m going to pray that you will pray and act. I’m going to continue to engage in this way. I’m going to do this because I know that whatever is to be next, it’ll never happen until we come to the realization that we actually need to stop talking about it and act.

Letter to Pastors: “My People Are Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge…”

I was asked by Right To Life of Livingston County to write a “brief” article, and these were the simple parameters given in the email: “We would like your article to address how to reach other pastors to attend our church outreach meetings which are held only three times a year… The article would help our church representatives know how to better approach their pastors about this.” These are pretty clear instructions, but they assume three things. First, they assume that as a preacher, I can be brief. Second, they assume that I will leave the task of reaching out to pastors solely in the representatives’ hands. When it comes to doing the work of saving babies, born or unborn, I want in on it, too. Third, what I have to say is probably best coming straight from me, pastor to pastor, and not necessarily from the Right To Life representatives.

So, this is how I’d like to do it…

RTL reps, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service. Your work is not easy, and yet you are fighting the good fight. Rest assured that your labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). Having said this, here’s what I am humbly asking you to do. Take this article, make as many copies as are necessary, and mail it out “as-is” to all of the pastors on your list. Let this be a communication from one pastor to another.

Fellow pastors, as you probably already know, the fourth chapter in the book of Hosea is by no means soft. Rather, it is a singular chapter from within the entire trove of God’s Word that introduces a series of chapters, nine in a row, of brutal accusations by God against His people. But as the reader ventures into this particular section of the Holy Scriptures and reads the grisly details of the rampant faithlessness amongst God’s people, within the first few verses it is easily discernible that God wants the reader to know who is to be marked as the culprit.

“For with you is my contention, O priest… My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me” (4:4,6).

I learned a very interesting statistic recently. A large group of Christian pastors was asked if they believed that the Bible deals directly with the major issues of today, issues like abortion. Of the pastors surveyed, 90% of the pastors agreed. Those same pastors were asked if they actually teach their people what God has revealed by His Word, the Bible, with regard to these same issues. The survey exposed that only 10% of the 90% agreed. Did you get that? Only 10% of those pastors are communicating to their people that abortion is ungodly and then showing them where the Bible so clearly iterates this.

“My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge…”

The job of a pastor isn’t easy. I know this. In fact, I’d say that this is true simply because we know that while we live and breathe and move within a gathering of people called “Christian”, we are cognizant that there exists in that same group a constant challenge, a great dissonance – that is, a frustrating lack of consistency between belief and action. There are those who claim faith in Christ and yet they have some pretty screwed up views regarding what Christ has given by His Word to His church. We see this translate in so many ways, but one of the most frustrating ways in particular so heinously leads toward mass slaughter. There are Christians in our pews who confess Christ and yet on Election Day, they wake up, read the Bible and pray their morning devotion, shower, get dressed, drive down to the voting precinct and stand in a line, sometimes waiting for over an hour until they are finally ushered into a booth where they choose to elect men and women who support the extermination of infants in the womb.

“My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge…”

When it comes to the Christian church, we pastors are to blame. If we will not actively teach, then quite literally, in the case of abortion, people – infants – will be destroyed for a lack of knowledge.

If you are a member of the 10%, then consider this a commendation and keep it up! You can count on me to serve and support you. If you are counted amongst the remaining 90%, then consider this a call to get in the game. Oh, and by the way, technically you are already in it. You are already dealing in the slimy dregs and mire of sin and death in this world. The issue of abortion exists there. And no matter how pristine the appearance of the people in your church may be, you and I both know that they can’t fool us. We know what lies beneath the glossy surface of mankind because we know and have met the sinful nature in ourselves. There are people who may not necessarily tell you that they believe abortion is acceptable, but they are in your church. And there are people sitting right beside them who have had abortions and are suffering terribly from the decision.

The Word of God that we bring meets both right where they are. This is why we preach and teach Christ crucified and risen for our forgiveness! It is by the power of the Holy Spirit through this message that the heart of man is changed and we are made new. This is the fuller exposition of a wonderfully rich Word of God that not only shines the light of the holy Law upon abortion as a horrible offense that absolutely does not align with the Christian faith no matter how hard people may try, but this same Word of God carries the Gospel of forgiveness. It provides the necessary rescue and relief from the guilt and shame for those who have fallen into the pit of sorrow, proclaiming to them the Good News that Jesus Christ, by His death and resurrection, has reached to us in the darkness of our sin and has saved us. Through faith in Him, our sins are as far from us as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) and God remembers those sins no more (Jeremiah 31:34).

Right now you are being offered a splendid opportunity through the “Church Outreach” meetings taking place three times a year and hosted by the Livingston County chapter of Right To Life of Michigan. These meetings present the opportunity to interface with Right To Life in the efforts and to join with other Christian pastors to learn. This is a chance for you, as the Lord urges through the prophet Hosea, to pursue knowledge. We won’t necessarily be assembling to discuss theology (although the Christian Gospel sits at the heart of the gathering), but we will be working to do what’s called “cooperating in the externals.” We will be sitting together to become better versed and equipped in and for the challenges so that we can go home to our own parishes and teach the people entrusted to our care.

Consider this your invitation to attend and to do so each time the meetings are offered.

If you have any questions that you’d like to ask me personally, feel free to call or send me an email. I am your servant and welcome any and all feedback. I will help as I am able.

God bless and keep you as you seek to pursue knowledge that you may serve your Lord and His people faithfully