Passing the Holy Mantle from 1 Broken and Fractured Generation to a Younger Broken and Fractured Gen
Updated: Nov 25, 2018
Understanding the Churches in America's position on abortion is about as easy as looking through this raindrop covered window. Until I did some research that is.
Having served in FT ministry assisting homeless mothers and children for almost 6 years, I've been in hundreds of churches, attended thousands of church services and have only ever heard of the abortion topic come up maybe a dozen times. Why is this?
Why did someone like me, who had been exposed to every mainline denomination and otherwise, not hear about this more? Why didn't I hear about post-abortive healing groups, or where to go to support such efforts for women choosing life? Why wasn't it preached from the pulpit more or even regularly? Isn't this topic as hot a topic as traditional marriage, freedom of speech and religious freedom? What's all the hush-hush about? Is this really the time to shrink back or let the Catholic's handle it? Sorry folks, but I've been told that over and over again! How can only the Catholics care about 56 million babies slaughtered. They can't be the only ones! They aren't!
Sure I heard, like many of you about the baby bottle drive for the local pregnancy center, but that was last billing announcement in the Sunday Bulletin and never really a "theme' or focus of the churches I was exposed to. It was at most a minute for missions type of plug. Even then it was minimized. My own church supported the local Pregnancy Center and affirmed life at conception, and healing available by God for those who had abortions, but even then I'd never heard of post-abortive healing services. I would squirm too and fro whenever the topic of "life" came up. I had good reason, I had 8 abortions and hadn't healed from any of them.
Recently, when I started to do some research the answer became clear, very quickly, to my sadness and dismay. While many individuals support life at conception and that number is on the rise, many church governance bodies do not take a hard or even formal position on the topic, leaving it to the member to decide for him or herself.
Here are some excerpts from church governance documents on their positions, from the PEW RESEARCH on Religious Groups
Presbyterian Church USA
In 2006, the Presbyterian Church’s USA, national governing body, the General Assembly, reaffirmed its belief that the termination of a pregnancy is a personal decision. While the church disapproves of abortion as a means of birth control or as a method of convenience, it seeks “to maintain within its fellowship those who, on the basis of a study of Scripture and prayerful decision, come to diverse conclusions and actions” on the issue.
National Council of Churches
Because of the diverse theological teachings of its member churches, the National Council of Churches does not have an official position on abortion. The NCC instead seeks to provide a space where members can come together and exchange views.
Southern Baptist Convention
In a 1996 resolution on partial-birth abortion, the Southern Baptist Convention reaffirmed its opposition to abortion, stating that “all human life is a sacred gift from our sovereign God and therefore … all abortions, except in those very rare cases where the life of the mother is clearly in danger, are wrong.”
United Methodist Church
While the United Methodist Church opposes abortion, it affirms that it is “equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child.” The church sanctions “the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures” but rejects abortion as a method of gender selection or birth control and stresses that those considering abortions should prayerfully seek guidance from their doctors, families and ministers.
Quotes Taken directly from : http://www.pewforum.org/2013/01/16/religious-groups-official-positions-on-abortion/
Now please hear me when I say I have no desire to single out any faith organizations specifically, rather to give a few examples of national positions from Christ confessing churches and organizations. I have friends in almost all faith-traditions in the protestant and Catholic faith groups. This makes me very sad! This now illuminates why I have not heard much on the issues in my travels as a ministry leader. Again, my desire is not to single out any particular church body, but I cannot help but be shocked at the lack of stance many major churches in America have taken on the very value of life. Or the stance that it's a personal choice and in some cases murder of the unborn is acceptable. Where does this line up with Holy Scripture? The bible clearly states who is responsible for creating and ending life, to do so by human hands is no less than murder, regardless at what stage of life one is in! So how do Christ-confessing bodies take these positions?
I walked around the churches of America (South Central PA) for almost 10 years seriously wounded from my own abortion experiences. Little did I know that depending on what church I'd go to I might be told it was OK to have had the abortions I had. Now maybe you're saying that's not a fair statement, but by what I am reading it is. So then it doesn't surprise me that the Lord put a Catholic woman in my path that lead me to the post-abortive healing I so desperately needed that would ultimately set me free. Now don't get your hackles up, I'm not saying that only Catholics operate in this work. But, I believe the Catholics GET IT when it comes to the sanctity of life and the needs of men and women who've suffered the trauma's of abortion more than most. The bottom line is I didn't hear there was help from the pulpit, pew, bulletin, pamphlet rack, website or small group in my protestant church. This has to stop!
Now there are hosts of other churches out there that affirm life and are pro-life from conception to death. But finding them as publicizing those pursuits seem less obvious. For instance try doing a google search on Churches that host post-abortive healing groups. Then try googling churches that host Celebrate Recovery groups and the list goes on forever.
Here is a statement of position and action from the Church of the Nazarene that I think well describes what we must do, if we affirm life from conception. I'm sure there are many statements like this, but again finding them is the ole' needle in a haystack" thing.
Church of the Nazarene
The outrage of the Church of the Nazarene is being channeled into missional behaviors that go beyond mere protestation. From our Manual statement we read:
"Responsible opposition to abortion requires our commitment to the initiation and support of programs designed to provide care for mothers and children. The crisis of an unwanted pregnancy calls for the community of believers (represented only by those for whom knowledge of the crisis is appropriate) to provide a context of love, prayer, and counsel. In such instances, support can take the form of counseling centers, homes for expectant mothers, and the creation or utilization of Christian adoption services. (from The Manual of the Church of the Nazarene, The Covenant of Christian Conduct, C. Sanctity of Human Life, Para. 36)"
So really we have three issues here. First is the need to start a dialogue with our brothers and sisters who support abortion and share the truth about what abortion does to women and men. To seek their support in helping those who suffer from post-abortive trauma even if we cannot change their minds. Gods in the business of heart transplants, right?
Second, we need to mobilize our churches by obtaining healing and training for those within our churches who've suffered post-abortive trauma. There are several amazing post-abortive healing models/programs already in existence. No need to start anew, but rather to partner and commit.
Third, we need to engage our churches to meet these needs. Why such a fuss Tammi? 1 in every 3 women has had an abortion or will have an abortion, many of them during the ages of 22-29. Our 40-50 somethings are the generation who needs to train them up and the next generation is who will take over. How will we pass a Holy Mantle from a broken & fractured generation to another younger broken and fractured generation?
We haven't even talked about the hurting folks not yet in our churches who have had abortions, many multiple. They will need us too! We can't be silent, not anymore! We can't sit by and throw some money at the local pregnancy centers have a yearly bottle or diaper drive and expect that to be enough. We need to do more.
Are you supporting your local shelters, single mother programs, food drives, rental assistance efforts, maternity homes? Are you aware of what's available in your area? If you are AWESOME! Recruit your friends to join in! If not, get to GOOGLE, FB and TWITTER and chat away to find out whats available. Does your Women's Ministry Team have a plan to address the deep healing needs of women? What's stopping you?
Am I suggesting that you advance on a READY-FIRE-AIM mission and you announce this Sunday, that a former post-abortive mother will be sitting at the information desk after service for those who are interested in seeking help? Umm Noooo! Although, I'd do it! However, many women do not want this very painful and very personal part of their stories aired for all to see. But we do need to begin a conversation around the governing table of the local churches. This wound is no different in its need for healing and deliverance than addiction, abuse and other bondage that keep us from experiencing fullness in Christ. We need to openly discuss these things and show those in the pews that healing is possible, freedom is attainable, and joy unspeakable is available! It's time to provide total healing and support to our members. They can't GO OUT AND MAKE DISCIPLES while they are still bleeding out themselves!
56 million babies slaughtered & their mothers lives ruined in many cases
1 in 3 women will abort today. 3500 babies have died today!
Reason Enough to Stand Up!
If I could be brief I would be! Sorry! What's Your Heart telling you? Tell me about what your church is doing, I'd love to hear from you! What are your ideas? I'd love to hear them too! Send your comments or thoughts to email@example.com
In Honor of my children in Heaven.
Love and Prayers,
The Mother of 11
Psalm 139:13-16English Standard Version (ESV)
"13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them."