In the last two posts, which you can find here and here, I talked about how we are not free to choose everything just because it is a choice and that we cannot allow exceptions to taking innocent human life. But all of this discussion assumes we can sit down and discuss this issue. However, too many times the abortion supporter silences the pro-life position by challenging their right to speak on this issue. When a person voices their opposition to murdering unborn humans, they are asked whether they have ever had an unwanted pregnancy, or if they have ever lived in poverty with children to care for, or if they are even capable of having children at all. Somehow they have managed to silence pro-life people by telling them they don’t get to weigh in on this issue unless they can answer “yes” to one of those questions. They are insisting that a person is not allowed to offer an opinion on abortion because of a demographic – either economic status, age, race, or even gender. This tactic is most often applied to men. The abortion supporter reasons that men can’t birth babies so they are not allowed to take a stance on an issue involving babies (well in all honesty, men are only forbidden from offering their opinion if it is the pro-life position...).
Should our demographic preclude us from speaking out against atrocities?
But do we apply that logic to any other issue we discuss? Are only those who have been enslaved qualified to comment on the evils of slavery? Are only people who have served in combat able to decry wartime atrocities? Is it only black people who are able to speak out against racism? Of course not! It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been a slave yourself, you can still state that slavery if wrong. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never served in combat, you can still identify, be appalled by, and protest war crimes. It doesn’t matter what your race is, you can still speak out against racism. Your demographic does not disqualify you from speaking out on something that is wicked, immoral, and depraved. Likewise, just because you are not an impoverished, unwed, teen facing an unwanted pregnancy does not mean that you do not get to speak out against murdering babies.
Another way abortion supporters use this logic is to vilify Congress and any lawmaker for making laws to end abortion (although lawmakers are not vilified when they pass laws to legalize abortion…). The rally cry is “why should old, white men” be able to legislate abortion. In fact there was an article in 2019 with that very headline: 25 White Republican Men Just Voted to Ban Abortion in Alabama, as if their age, race, or gender has anything to do with wanting to make murdering unborn humans illegal. It also willfully ignores all of the women fighting to ban abortion. The article claims that these old, white men are not faced with the difficult situation of an unwanted pregnancy, so they should not be able to make abortion illegal. In reality, it is precisely because they are not currently in that position that they should weigh in on this. When a person is in a difficult situation, their judgment is often blurred. They can only see the immediate need to “fix” their situation. And because their judgment is blurred, they are not always going to make the moral decision. It takes someone outside of that situation to see more clearly, and make rules and laws that we are supposed to abide by – even when we are in those difficult situations.
Who gets to determine the law - those in the situation or those outside of it?
For example, as a teacher, I would not want the student who did not study for the test to make the rules about cheating. He is in the difficult situation of taking a test for which he is not prepared. He is going to be tempted to cheat because that seems like the easiest way to “fix” his situation. So if the rules of the classroom were up to him, he would say that it is acceptable to use your books, your notes, and your classmate’s answers for the test. But is that the moral decision? Is that the rule we want established for all students? Or do we want to have someone removed from that temptation make the rule that says you must take the test without the assistance of other people? That does make it more difficult for the student, but it is the moral action that must be taken.
Do we want the parent desperate to get her child into an elite college to make the rules about fraud (Ahem, Lori Laughlin)? Do we want the CEO embezzling in his company to make the laws about corporate finances? Those examples may seem petty and insignificant compared to the woman facing an unwanted pregnancy. But the logic is still the same for even bigger moral dilemmas. Do we want the person who has just murdered someone to determine what the punishment for murder should be? Of course not. We have people who stand outside of our personal situations to determine the laws and punishments for our actions. We even make sure the judge and jury have no connection to the defendant or the victim so their judgments are not biased to the situation. The laws in this nation are there in the hopes of preventing us from making tragic decisions that harm ourselves and other people simply because we are in a tough situation, responding emotionally instead of morally. This means that it doesn’t matter what gender, age, race, background, or whatever we have for lawmakers. They are supposed to rule so that we do not harm other people – including those who are inside the womb.
Men can no longer be silent on abortion
So I want to take this moment to encourage any man who may be reading this. NEVER let someone tell you that you are not qualified to speak out against the evils of abortion simply because you cannot get pregnant. It is true that you will never know the overwhelming feeling of being responsible for growing another human being inside of you. You don’t have to experience your body change in ways you never could imagine, the unrelenting nausea, or the swollen feet, or back pain, or sleepless nights, or uncomfortable clothes, or unwelcomed comments on the size of your belly due to pregnancy. But you also don’t get the joy of having a human being grow inside of you, feeling them move, even feeling them hiccup. You don’t get that instant bond with a newborn for whom you provided safe housing and food for nine months. But none of that matters when it comes to your ability to identify the wickedness of destroying that human life by plucking him limb from limb, or by poisoning him so he dissolves inside the womb, or by crushing his head with forceps until his brains ooze out. No matter your gender, age, social status, ethnicity, or religion, you should be appalled at such things.
In reality, the exact opinion we need on this issue is the man’s opinion. Men, we need you to step up and defend all precious innocent life. God made you with strength and courage to defend the defenseless and protect the innocent. Yet too often men are standing idly by while the most defenseless and most innocent lives are being destroyed. We need men to stand up for those precious little lives in the womb, to protect those children who are being slaughtered for daring to exist. We need men to stand up for motherhood by encouraging frightened women facing unwanted pregnancies that they will have your support, and by reminding them that motherhood is a beautiful thing. We need men to stand up for fatherhood by encouraging men to take responsibility for their children – born and unborn. Just think of all the millions of men who have been denied the chance to raise a son or a daughter because of abortion. We need men – especially pastors – to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves. This is what you were made to do, and we need you now more than ever.
What should our conversation on abortion look like?
The right to speak out against abortion is the same for all people, no matter one’s demographic. But not every conversation about abortion should be the same. In this series of blogs, I have been addressing abortion from an intellectual perspective, looking at the reality and the facts of abortion. These posts have discussed abortion as it should be discussed in the political arena. But this issue so much more than a topic for political debate or for down-selecting candidates at the ballot box. This is a very personal issue, therefore the conversation must be personalized. The topic of abortion deals with people from all different life experiences. That doesn’t change the stance on abortion but it changes how abortion is discussed. The discussion in a political debate about abortion is very different from discussing it with a post-abortive woman. And even that conversation can vary depending on how the woman feels about her abortion. Is she proudly shouting her abortion, as many feminists have done? Then she first needs to come to terms with the gravity and the terrible reality of what she has done. She has not made a “choice” for women’s freedom but she has destroyed an innocent life for her own selfish reasons. Is the post-abortive woman grieving her abortion as a terrible decision made in a moment of crisis or maybe even as a result of pressure from someone else? Then she needs to be reminded that God has forgiven even that through the work of Jesus on the cross, if she will seek after Him for His mercy and forgiveness.
The conversation would be different still if it is with a woman is currently pregnant. And even that conversation would vary based on where the woman is in facing her pregnancy. Is she walking into a crisis pregnancy center seeking help? Is she your friend standing in front of you asking what she should do? Is she walking into an abortion clinic already determined to end her baby’s life? Each of those situations will require a different conversation, a different tone, and a different approach. But one common thing for each of those situations is to begin the conversation with a celebration of life. So often we approach a woman who is facing an unwanted pregnancy with sadness and disappointment, or maybe even judgment and shame. But that response only adds more pressure for a woman to make a terrible decision to simply avoid that judgment and shame. That negative attitude towards pregnancy is what causes many women to think abortion is the better option, rather than have a baby in this way. We know this pregnancy was not part of her plan, but at this point the circumstances leading up to her pregnancy are in the past. They cannot be changed or undone. What can be changed is how we respond to an unplanned pregnancy. And I think the response should be more like the following, much like I had with a dear friend of mine recently:
In my last post I discussed the evil in calling abortion a "woman's right to choose." Our right to choose something depends on the choice that is being considered. For this particular issue, pro-choice advocates are arguing for the right to choose whether someone else's life is worth living. That is not a choice that we get to make. And it is a travesty that we have allowed the issue of abortion to be relabeled as "women's rights" and "choice." To me it highlights just how depraved our society has become that we have people fighting for the ability to kill another person for whatever reason they want. This is why it has been so phenomenal to see many states start to take a stand against this human genocide. Many are saying no to the murder of innocent lives.
However, the pro-choice crowd is hitting back by shouting about rape and incest. In those circumstances, the woman had no choice about getting pregnant, so they argue that now the woman should have the choice about whether to "stay pregnant" or not. Before we get into the heart of this topic though we do need to discuss the data associated with this. Less than 1.5% of all abortions are performed because the woman has been a victim of rape or incest. I certainly do not want to trivialize those 1.5% of women because they have had a very traumatic and horrible experience. We can't just reduce it down to a statistic and say that those 1.5% don't matter. But we do have to point out that that means 98.5% of abortions are performed simply because the woman doesn't want to have a baby. That means that 98.5% of abortions are performed because the woman (and man) willfully engaged in activity that causes pregnancy. That means that 98.5% of over 60 million abortions (59,100,000 babies) have been killed because the pregnancy was inconvenient. In fact, for nearly 87% of abortions the reasons given are either a child would interfere with their school/work, they can’t afford a child, or they don’t want to be a single mom/they are having problems with their spouse. So let's be honest here; the industry of abortion is not being supported by abortions due to rape and incest. Those are not the driving factors in women having abortions.
Let's take a closer look at that 1.5% because we don't want to just reduce that down to a statistic. Those numbers tell us that 1,900,000 abortions are performed because a woman has been raped or has been a victim of incest. In all honesty, those numbers might be higher due to women not reporting their pregnancy as rape. Are those legitimate times where abortion should be allowed? My heart breaks for women who have not only endured the trauma of rape but now are faced with carrying the baby of their rapist. That would be a horrible situation as a victim of a crime like that. However, that baby is just as much a victim of the crime. Yes, it is in a different way, but the baby is an innocent victim of a crime of his or her father. Do we punish the victims of crimes? No. Do we punish a child for the sins of the father? No. So killing a baby because her father did something horrible is not justifiable.
I understand that means now we are asking a woman to carry a baby inside of her for 9 months, a baby that is there only because she was violated by a rapist. While that will be incredibly difficult to do, we have to still remember the reality of what abortion is. It is dismembering a human being, limb from limb, while in the mother's womb. We are not asking the woman to love the baby, to keep the baby, to raise the baby, or even to pay for the baby's college. We are simply asking the woman to allow this baby to live until birth. We are asking her to not dismember her child, even though this was not a child she asked for or wanted.
I came across a great analogy from the folks at the Equal Rights Institute that shed a lot of light on this. Let's say you own a boat and have set sail for your destination. You are in the middle of the ocean, several days journey from the nearest port, and you have discovered a stowaway. A homeless man had snuck onto your boat before you set sail. Now here you are in the middle of the ocean with this person on board that you had not planned for. What should you do? Now no one would expect you to love this person, or house this person for the rest of his life, or even make sure this person could get a job one day. What we would expect you to do is to care for this person until you could reach the nearest port. What you would NOT be allowed to do is to chop this person up and dump their body in the ocean. But this is what the pro-choice people are advising a woman to do if she is pregnant due to rape. Would it be difficult to remain pregnant when it is the result of rape or incest? Absolutely! But does that mean we have the right to chop up the baby and dump her in the trash? Absolutely not.
I want to pose another scenario. Let's say you went out to dinner and came home to find that your house had been broken into. The windows were smashed, the TV was missing, and the jewelry box had been emptied. But to your amazement, you find a 6-month old baby girl sitting in the middle of your living room floor. What would you do? You didn't ask for this baby. And she arrived under horrible circumstances. Yet she is completely dependent on you. Would you care for her until suitable parents could be found? Would you look after her until someone else could take care of her? Or would you throw her out with the trash?
Granted, those are just analogies and like all analogies they fail to fully capture the real situation. Finding a stowaway on your boat or a having your home broken into could never compare to the trauma of rape. So the analogies fail in that respect. They also fail though in that in each scenario the person has intruded into some place they didn't belong. But that is not what happens with a baby in the mother's womb. That is exactly where a baby in that time of growth belongs. The baby is not somewhere where he is not supposed to be. The analogies also fail by giving only two options - to help the other person or to kill the other person. For those scenarios, there would be a third: to do nothing. But with pregnancy, there really are only two options. As a pregnant woman you don't have the choice to do nothing. Your choices are truly either to remain pregnant (help) or "terminate the pregnancy" (kill). The pro-choice movement wants you to think that this is simply removing your help, but it's not. It is taking action against the other person. So in that respect, the analogy is very accurate. The "choice" being proposed is either to stay pregnant or mutilate and kill the baby. In addition, both analogies capture the idea of caring for a human life that appears unexpectedly and unwanted. Both analogies show that no one is asking you to permanently care for that other human life, but simply to care for that life, show that life that it is valued and worth something, until permanent care can be provided by someone else. And both analogies highlight that just because the circumstances are tragic we do not have the right to discard innocent life. You never have the right to dismember an innocent person because they show up unexpectedly.
This is why pro-life people feel so strongly against providing exceptions for abortion. When you do, you are giving situations where it is acceptable to destroy an innocent human life. What circumstances do we allow for that outside the womb? Do we say that if your child is really annoying at 3 then it is acceptable to kill him? Do we say that if you find your child is now preventing you from advancing in your career that you can dismember her and throw her in the trash? Do we say that now that your growing teenage son is getting more expensive to feed that you can get rid of him? No, we don't, because we see that is destroying innocent life. Then why do people want to allow for those exceptions for a baby in the womb?
This all goes back to the value of life issue. That baby is still a living, innocent human being. And his or her life still has value - no matter how that life was conceived. This is what our society needs to understand. The circumstances of the conception do not determine the value of the life. So whether the baby was conceived in marriage, at prom, in poverty, in wealth, in a happy home, in an extramarital affair, in rape, in incest, in drunkenness, in whatever - the BABY still has value. A morally healthy society would recognize the value of life - all life. It would not demand the biological parents to care for, love, and raise their baby, but it would demand the biological parents to NOT kill their baby.
"My body, my choice" has become the rally cry for pro-choice people ever since the passing of the abortion ban in the state of Alabama. It has led to conversations mostly centered around that very question - the question of choice. What exactly do we have the freedom to choose? Especially being in the United States, we love to focus on our personal freedoms. We can do what we want, say what we want, go where we want, act how we want, and we declare that we have the "freedom" to do so -- freedom of speech, freedom to express ourselves, freedom to pursue whatever prosperity and lifestyle one may desire. But even in a society so free, we still have limitations and boundaries on those freedoms. You are not free to go steal your neighbor's car. You are not free to physically assault someone else. You are not free to take someone else's life. You may be free to drink as much alcohol as you want, but you are not free to then go operate a vehicle. Understandably, our freedoms are limited based on their impact to other people. So we are free to do whatever we want with our own bodies - as long as it doesn't harm someone else.
This becomes the main point of contention between pro-choice and pro-life groups. Pro-choice groups rally behind that cry of "my body, my choice" as if abortion were only the woman choosing to damage her own body by her choice. However, abortion does not only harm the woman. Abortion harms the woman while taking the life of someone else. From the moment of conception, a set of human DNA is formed that is separate and distinct from the woman. By five weeks gestation this separate human being has his or her very own heartbeat, separate from the woman. By eight weeks gestation, this separate human has his or her very own set of fingerprints, major organs, nervous system (so yes, the baby can feel pain!), and reproductive organs, separate from the woman. From the science that we know today, there is no denying that the baby in the womb is in fact a human baby, a separate person from the woman. Therefore this idea of choice is not just for one person to do what they want with their own body -- because this choice affects two bodies: the woman's and the baby's inside of her.
The issue for abortion then is determining under what circumstances should a woman be allowed the "freedom to choose" what happens to another human being. Many pro-choice woman say they are not for abortion only for a woman's right to choose. But respecting someone's right to choose depends on the choice being made. Would we make the same argument if someone decided to choose slavery? Would you say that you wouldn't choose to own a slave for yourself but if someone else chooses that, then that is their choice? Would we respect someone's "choice" to shoot up a kindergarten classroom (meanwhile abortion in this nation has wiped out 357 kindergarten classrooms PER DAY)? Would we respect as a "choice" someone who chooses to physically assault homosexuals? Yet abortion literally rips a baby apart limb from limb while in his mother's womb, what is supposed to be the safest place for him. Would we respect the "choice" of a woman who chooses to do drugs while she is pregnant? Yet people are fighting for a woman to take drugs that will destroy life as long as it is administered by an abortionist.
This is where we need to stop and take a moment to determine what kind of society we want to be...or really what kind of society we already are. In several discussions with pro-choice women, I've made the comparison of abortion to the Holocaust. I don't know if they are willfully refusing to see the analogy or if they truly are that ignorant to what they are "fighting" for, but abortion is our nation's Holocaust. When Hitler proposed the "final solution," it was a means of disposing of those that he deemed less than human. They weren't people to him anymore. They were unwanted. They were unloved. (Sound familiar? alabama-democrat-on-abortion-kill-them-now-or-kill-them-later/). They were unnecessary and actually a hindrance on the progress of the nation. Hitler devalued those people - Jews, gypsies, disabled, mentally handicapped - and his "choice" was to remove them from the population.
You can see the same ideology of abortion with the origin of Planned Parenthood. When Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood it was as a means for controlling the black population. She said, "All of our problems are the result of overbreeding among the working class... Knowledge of birth control is essentially moral. Its general, though prudent, practice must lead to a higher individuality and ultimately to a cleaner race.”  In 1920 in an article titled "Woman and the New Race," Sanger states, "“Birth control itself, often denounced as a violation of natural law, is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives… If we are to make racial progress, this development of womanhood must precede motherhood in every individual woman.” And in a letter she wrote in 1939 to Dr. Clarence J. Gamble, Sanger writes, “We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” Yet Sanger is the role model for the pro-choice movement and champion of the "woman's right to choose."
Abortion is our Holocaust. It is doing exactly what Hitler dreamed of doing - only we've made it more efficient. Hitler's persecution took the lives of 17 million innocent people simply because he chose to treat those as less than human. To Hitler, they were unwanted and undesirable. We have killed over 60 million babies because our society has deemed certain pregnancies as unwanted and undesirable. For Margaret Sanger it was about controlling and limiting the black population. Now, our society is trying to rationalize and sort out who we think is worthy of existing. That's not our place to decide whether this person or that person is deserving of life. That is exactly what Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, and many others did. They decided your ethnicity made you unfit to live. In some places around the world, they are making that decision based on gender. Our society is deciding whether someone's economic level, someone's desire to be a parent, or someone's potential "quality of life" of life makes an unborn baby a human being deserving of life or not.
But the baby in the womb is a human life, then it has value no matter how it was conceived, no matter how bad we think the circumstances around the birth and the life for the baby may be. We don't get to decide that this life doesn't matter. We don't get to choose that this life is disposable. When we do that, we are no different from the Nazi's "Final Solution." When there is a difficult, unplanned pregnancy, there are lots of things we can blame. We can blame some men for being crappy dads. We can blame some men for taking advantage of women. We can blame much of society for failing to emphasize the importance of the family. We can blame some women for making poor relationship decisions. We can blame the government and some corporations for not supporting motherhood enough. But what we can't blame is that baby. That baby is a human being, innocent and defenseless. It deserves life regardless of the circumstances of its conception. The value of innocent human life doesn't change whether the woman is poor, whether the man is a jerk, whether the woman already has other children, whether the woman is young, whether the woman has a career or school to consider, or whether the woman wants the baby. How we feel about the conception does not change whether the baby is a human or not. And we don't get that choice to destroy another human for our own selfish reasons.
Abortion is not an issue about choice. It is an issue about the value of life. We don't get to "choose" whose life is worth living or not. When we allow society to pick and choose the value of an innocent life, we are in a dangerous position. So I applaud Alabama, as a life-long resident of this beautiful state, for being in the national headlines on the correct side of valuing human life. Here we have said that it doesn't matter how you were conceived, what kind of parents you have, or where you are going to live. Your life has value and it will be treated as such. Alabama has been bold enough to say that there are all kinds of choices you get to make, but you do not get the choice to destroy an innocent human life.
(More posts to come on this issue...)
Quote from inside an abortion clinic in Alabama: When asked why does she work at this clinic, this woman replied, "Who else is going to do this? It's very hard to get somebody to do this job. I've worked here 14 years. Even though I've never personally had a termination, I've assisted in about 20,000. And I feel like this should be as common as going to the doctor and having a bunion removed. Nobody ridicules you, nobody asks you. 'Why did you have that knot taken off the side of your foot?' So nobody should be ridiculing you or asking you why did you have that fetus removed from your uterus."
1. Margaret Sanger, "Morality and Birth Control," Feb-Mar 1918.
When God first created, He declared everything to be good except one thing. He saw it was not good for man to be alone. As there was no suitable helper for Adam from among the other creatures, God created Eve from Adam’s side to be his helper. This was the first institution of marriage (which is yet another interesting thing that sets us apart from animals – why would we ever come up with “marriage” if it weren’t set up by God?). God placed Adam as the head and Eve as the helper – equal in dignity and value, but different in role. Adam was to be the leader of his household. It was Adam for whom God was looking after they both sinned in the garden (Genesis 3:9).
That’s why it’s by “one man” all fell. Even though it was Eve who initially ate of the fruit, the guilt fell to Adam because he was the head of the household. As the head over Eve, and at this point over all creation, Adam’s sin plunged his household, and thus all creation, into sin. Eve wrongfully stepped out from his headship when she chose to eat of the fruit, but where was Adam when she did this? Some people say Adam was standing right there with her when this happened. Some say Adam wasn’t with her since the New Testament says that Adam was not deceived. Either way, Adam was not fulfilling his role the way he should have been. And therefore Eve stepped outside of her role and made a tragic decision. Adam, regardless of where he was when Satan confronted Eve, then committed the sin as well – with eyes wide open. He was NOT deceived but followed into sin willingly. He chose to disobey, and part of that disobedience was neglecting his role as the leader to guide Eve. Instead, there was a vacuum; Eve filled it with a poor decision, and Adam followed suit.
What does that have to do with us today? There is that same vacuum of leadership in the homes today. Now, don’t quit reading here, please. This is not going to be a male bashing article, but one that encourages men to step into their God-given role as the spiritual leader in the home. Men, you have been given the greatest honor God bestowed upon His creation. You were given dominion over all things here on earth. Adam was charged with tending the garden (Genesis 2:15). He was tasked with naming all of the animals, and those who provide the name for something are those with dominion over it (Genesis 2:19). He was to be the leader of his household. However, far too often that important role is being either abandoned by men or usurped by women, just as God said in Genesis 3:16.
Most of the TV shows and movies we watch portray a dim-witted dad who is either clueless, apathetic, or absent. Whether that is life imitating art or art imitating life, I’m not sure, but the damage caused by the absent father is far-reaching. Just turn on the nightly news and you can see the destruction caused by fatherless homes – either where the father is not physically present or where the father is not mentally or spiritually present. When that happens, it leaves a vacuum either to be filled by the culture through TV, social media, or peers. Our children then get their values from those places instead of the spiritual leader of the father. Or it places that role into the woman’s hands, which is not the God-ordained order.
The absence of that leadership in the home then becomes an absence of real men leading in the church. Unless you were actually raised by a strong Christian man, most men would have no idea what it means to be the spiritual leader of their homes. So are there men in the church coming alongside other men to model what it means to be the spiritual leader of the household? Are there men in the church showing their growth in God’s Word to model spiritual growth to other men?
I saw an excellent sermon about this exact thing by Voddie Baucham (you can watch it here). He talks about the rampant mediocrity within the church. There are people who have been in church all their lives yet still know nothing about what it means to walk in the faith and even worse, still know nothing about God’s word. There is an overwhelming lack of being “sound in faith” or just knowing what it means to follow God in obedience. Voddie illustrates how this would never be acceptable in the secular world. You couldn’t be in a career for 40 years and still know nothing about your industry, yet somehow we accept that level of ignorance and apathy within the church. It is rare to find men who will step up and be a teacher or a mentor because they themselves know so little about their own faith. If someone does show a desire to learn and study God’s Word, it is viewed as a path to being a pastor instead of just doing what every Christian should be doing.
Why is this now the prevailing culture of the church? All through the Bible we can see where there is a lack of raising up children to be sound in faith; there is a lack of adult leadership for the next generation. For example, in Judges 2:10 it says, "When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel." For context, this older generation is the one who followed Joshua to inherit the Promised Land. But they failed to teach rightly about God to the next generation. So the next generation did not know the Lord. As a result, they led the nation into idolatry and wickedness. The next two verses say, "Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger." And this makes perfect sense. How can the younger generation rise up to serve the Lord when they are not taught to know the Lord?
So maybe we should look at how we are raising up young believers. Are we raising our youth so that they can become strong men in faith? Or are we trying to make church look like a good, clean version of the world's fun? If all we show our high school boys is a game night with a little prayer thrown in, no wonder they have no idea how to be spiritual leaders. They aren’t even being taught how to be good spiritual followers. In one particular church, the youth program consists of one night of “discipleship” for the youth. They are divided up by gender. The girls have a couple of hours of Bible study at a young woman’s house. The boys….go play dodgeball for a few hours with a five minute devotion. What are we raising up? What are we training? Are we challenging those boys to become men of God? Or are we telling them you get to play while the women grow in spirituality?
No wonder the gender distribution in churches is so lopsided. According to 2014 Pew Research Center Survey, women are more likely than men to say that religion is very important to them (60% vs 47%), to pray daily (64% to 47%), and attend a religious service (40% vs 32%). One article stated that “women so outnumber men in the pews of many U.S. churches that some clergy have changed décor, music, and worship styles to try to bring more men into their congregations.” The demographics are largely women and children, either single moms bringing their children or married moms bringing their children while the fathers stay at home. What is that teaching our children? It teaches them that faith is something women cling to or that church is only for women and children, but not men. Once boys grow up past having to do what “mama says” they no longer have to do such things.
Unless we start teaching young men how to grow spiritually and how to become spiritual leaders, this gender gap will only continue to increase. And the gender gap within the church is what is leaving that spiritual headship vacuum within the home. Instead of having Godly, male spiritual leaders in our homes, we have fathers who are absent - either physically, spiritually, or emotionally. We have fathers who have left their children to learn their values from the TV and internet. We have fathers who have never shown their children how to study the Bible or how to pray. They have spent more time making sure their kids know football statistics and the history of Star Wars characters instead of teaching them Scripture and the history of the Bible. With that lack of leadership in the homes, we will only continue to have spiritual babies who know nothing about their faith and nothing about God’s Word. As one friend phrased it, “We will be like atheists with one less hour of free time on Sundays.”
So what is the church to do now? TEACH. Teach boys how to be men – and I don’t just mean “boys” by their age, but by their spiritual maturity. Teach them how to be Godly husbands. Teach men how to be Godly fathers. Teach men how to be strong spiritual leaders in their house, on the ball fields, at the gym. Teach men how to be strong spiritual figures in the work place. Teach them the Bible and the intellectual defense of their faith. Teach them so there’s no way they can say faith is for weak-minded, emotional people but for the scientific, logical thinker and the philosopher. Teach them the real men of the Bible who were sound in faith – men like Peter and John and Paul who were fishermen and Pharisees. They were strong men who didn't back down in their commitment to Christ even under intense persecution. Teach about them as the Godly, manly leaders that they were.
To the Christian men out there, don't be discouraged. This message is not about disparaging men, it is about calling men to rise up to the challenge. You have been gifted with such an important role - and we need you to step up to that call of leadership. Rise to the opportunity to pour something of lasting value into the next generation. We need you. We need men of sound faith. We need men who are mature believers to lead our churches, our marriages, and our children. We need you to be strong spiritual leaders in the church. We need you to be the spiritual leaders of our marriages so that it is a headship we want to submit to. We need you to be the spiritual teachers of our children so that our children are raised up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We need you to be an example to others in the church of what Godly manhood looks like. We need you to show the unbelieving world what God truly intended man to be.
In this post I wanted to pass along a couple of recommendations.
First, I came across some videos done by Wayne Ferguson. Wayne was raised in an unbelieving home and came to Christ at the age of 20. After that transformation of his life, all he wanted to do was tell people about Christ in some way, and that eventually transformed into wanting to be a pastor. After attending a Christian college he followed that call to be an academic minister and disciple-maker. Wayne has a heart to build up Christians and save the lost by breaking down scripture to those who are trying to learn it. He is living out this call at a church in New York called Graffiti. It was originally established 30 years ago in the lower east side when drugs, gangs, and other issues were rampant on the lower east side. So their goal was to help the children living in those conditions to grow up in a way that might be helpful. They of course used this avenue to preach the Gospel to those who appreciated our help, which the church has been doing for the past 30 years.
Wayne has been with them the past couple of years and noticed that the church is not a reader culture and is trying to spread its reach to the millienials and younger Christians. Here Wayne has been able to use his passion for Biblical understanding (and literacy!) and teach at what they call Night Church, where they are reaching people with the doctrine of the Bible. As part of that, Wayne started taking his lessons to video and providing them on YouTube. He does a fabulous job of making Biblical concepts understandable for everyone. Here is a link to one of his longer ones that he did on Islam https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjkZrOtlEMk&t=52s as well as one he did on the preeminence of Christ as the firstborn of God https://youtu.be/Llb9-C5kFKs. I hope you subscribe to his YouTube channel (I have!) and give him some good feedback. He is doing wonderful work there in New York!
Second, I wanted to recommend a book called A Child of Grace written by Chris Brown. As full disclosure, Chris Brown and I attended high school together in Birmingham and remained close friends through college at UAH. He is a brilliant young man with a Ph.D. in Engineering Management, a Master’s degree in Management of Tetchnology, and Bachelor’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Astrophysics. However, Chris had a very difficult upbringing. But it’s not your typical story – see, his dad was on death row and his mom was wanted by the state. Being raised by his grandparents and having weekly visitations to his dad on death row, Chris had some difficult choices of his own to make. Chris tells his amazing story in this book and reveals the grace of God made available to all of us – no matter where we are in this world. I was able to see how God worked through his life to bring salvation to both him and his dad, and now you can see the amazing transformative power of God in their lives through this book. You can purchase the book in paperback and Kindle formats at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N6H7FHT and paperback and Nook formats at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/child-of-grace-dr-chris-brown/1129951886. Also if you are in the North Alabama area, Chris will be having a launch party for his book on Tuesday March 5th at 6:30 pm at Sugar Belle on Jordan Lane in Huntsville.