The pro-life movement, no thanks to me, scored a victory last month when Gov. Mike Rounds of South Dakota signed House bill 1215, which outlaws abortion except to save the mother's life. This is just the beginning, of course, but once the rudder of a ship is turned, the important thing is the direction, not the number of knots to go.
I was involved in the pro-life movement briefly, but a few people cussed me out in the parking lot of an abortion clinic, and I decided to take up gardening instead. I felt we were on the losing side, and made like Hagar, who left starving Ishmael under the bushes and walked a bowshot's distance because she couldn't watch the boy die.
Take a moment here for self-examination, and observe what you honestly feel about the impact of Christianity in America. Is it a sun rising or a sun setting? The answer to that question in your heart of hearts will determine your chosen pastime: keeping at it with the truth-or gardening.
I sneaked out of the café when theologian Os Guinness came to town a year ago. He said this in our seminary auditorium:
"Do we give up and say it's all over? . . . There are many who are saying that, in the name of being a faithful subculture or a faithful remnant, or worse, in the name of heading for the hills. . . . In many parts of the country I hear . . . 'It's all over. The door is closed. It's too late.' What would have happened if they had said in the 5th century, 'It's all over'? You can see many people today who have truly given up. But things have been far worse in the past; at times in the past there have been far fewer left to do something. And yet by God's grace, they won it back."
Now come the little patches of green in the melting snows of the White Witch's interminable winter-South Dakota, Mississippi (Gov. Haley Barbour seems poised to do what Gov. Rounds did), and gardeners and folks "out fishing" like me will repent that we did not join with the fishers of men.
Seventy-two fishers of men are sent out into the highways and byways by Jesus to see what they can do with the truth. The expedition is a success and when Jesus has debriefed them he looks up to heaven with a distant gaze, as if seeing the glorious end in the small beginnings: "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:18).
It's like the time a little band of Greeks quietly sidles up to Philip and asks if they can see Jesus. When Jesus is told, he sees the incident as fraught with momentous import and, deeply moved, announces: "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified." This first trickle of the Greeks is nothing less than the start of a flood. The era of Gentile salvation is here. Ezekiel's little flow picks up girth and becomes a mighty tide that no man can cross. "And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live" (Ezekiel 47:9).
Speaking in like apocalyptic tones, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins exulted over the South Dakota development: "The passage of this law is a reflection of growing pro-life sentiment across the country, and points toward a post-Roe era."
Os Guinness continued: "Or, do we engage again, and by God's grace, seek to win back our civilization? . . . Can we commit ourselves to thinking that over the next one hundred years . . . in the light of the Great Commission, we who are followers of Jesus [can] seek once more to fan out as they did from Judea . . . and once again win back our Jerusalem, . . . for Christ's sake?"
In 1973 they said it was a done deal. With Roe v. Wade it was "all over." And if it weren't for some pesky, tireless pro-life foot soldiers, constant thorns in the conscience of America, it would have been all over, too. Praise to those bearers of the torch of truth, who keep a smoldering ember from being doused by the darkness, who fight in God's army by God's power for God's victory-which is sure. Put down the trowel, lady, and pick up the picket sign.