Summit 2017: Mobilizing the Church for Life
Pre-born children are a people group hidden, unrecognized, unreached, and persecuted, but Christians are called by God to have concern for them, according to a speaker at a gathering of Anglican Christians, addressing sanctity of life issues.
“Abortion is a deep offense against the pre-born child and a direct attack against God,” declared Life International Founder Kurt Dillinger, who warned that abortion is a far-reaching problem and that “there is no church that is immune to this around the globe.”
“He [God] has an answer to this: it’s you,” Dillinger charged before the gathering of bishops, clergy, and lay people from U.S. Anglican and Episcopal churches. “We have the power to be life-givers and life-takers.”
Dillinger spoke at “Summit 2017: Mobilizing the Church for Life,” a gathering sponsored by Anglicans for Life and the Anglican Church in North America’s Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic on January 26-27. Hosted by The Falls Church Anglican in Falls Church, Virginia, the summit featured talks and workshops led by ministry leaders, medical doctors, and activists, along with personal testimonies from those who have faced decisions at the beginning and end of life in their families and parishes.
A Christian Concern
Speakers emphasized that abortion was not a distant problem but was inflicting deep harm on people in many churches.
“The problem with Roe is in our own pews,” warned Care-Net CEO Roland Warren. Cautioning Christians to “take the log out of your own eye” Warren shared statistics that 54 percent of American women who have had an abortion identified as Christian. Thirty-seven percent were in church at least once a month at the time they had their first abortion.
“We [Christians] are subsidizing the abortion industry $200 million a year,” Warren reported. Warren characterized local pregnancy centers as speed boats which can move quickly to rescue people who are adrift. The Church, however, is necessary to provide long-term support, characterized as a larger “ship” that can sustain many passengers.
“While we remind [mothers] of the support they have from conception to birth, they [Planned Parenthood] remind her of the support she doesn’t have from one second after birth on,” Warren told the gathered church leaders.
Warren explained that Christians should object to abortion for two reasons: an assault on the Sanctity of Marriage and Family, and an assault on the Sanctity of Life. Noting that 85 percent of women seeking an abortion are unmarried, Warren closely linked the two issues.
“I’m pro-abundant life — and you can’t be pro-abundant life without talking about sex and marriage,” Warren insisted. “Planned Parenthood’s model is retail – ours is relationship.”
Dignity and Grounding
American culture uses concepts such as dignity, but does so without any grounding, according to Colson Center for Christian Worldview President John Stonestreet, who opened the Summit with a keynote titled “What Makes Life Sacred?”
“Dignity is an assumed concept in our culture, but it doesn’t actually have a home,” Stonestreet assessed. “Any time dignity is used without a solid grounding, some people get left out.”
Tracing the roots of dignity in Christianity, Stonestreet asserted that an accident – like atheism views human existence – cannot ground human dignity.
“Every single person from conception to natural death is an image bearer of God,” Stonestreet explained. “God has bestowed upon them His image. God created a lot of things, but He only created one thing to bear His image.”
Stonestreet shared that Christianity often gifts concepts to the world that the world wants to hold onto without grounding. In recent years, the world has sought to ground human dignity in sexual autonomy.
“Ideas have consequences, bad ideas have victims,” Stonestreet determined, highlighting the targeting of unborn children with disabilities. “The right to die becomes the duty to die when something else becomes a factor, especially money.”
“If we’re going to sustain this [Pro-Life] movement … it’s not going to be that we have really clever arguments, it’s not going to be because we can make a scientific case for it, as much as we need to do that,” Stonestreet predicted. “At the end of the day this movement will only be sustained if we are careful to ground our understanding of human dignity into our deepest convictions about the sacredness of all life.”
Timed to coincide with the annual March for Life, the Summit concluded on Friday morning with an Anglican worship service followed by a large group departing to participate in the March. Two buses of clergy, seminarians, and lay people were joined by eight bishops for the rally and March, which drew tens of thousands to the National Mall in Washington D.C.
Mark your calendars for the Summit, Worship, & March for Life in 2018 in Washington D.C. on Thursday and Friday January 18-19, 2018!
Written by Jeff Walton. He is a member of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic and a member of Restoration Anglican Church in Arlington, VA. This article was originally published in Juicy Ecumenism, the official blog of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. Reprinted with permission.
Originally appeared in AFL’s March 2017 Carpe Diem
Categories: Abortion, End of Life,
Tags: Sacredness of Life, Sanctity of Life, Stonestreet, Summit,