Jan. 22 will be the 41st anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. Our Saturday Series this month will have sermons and articles related to abortion. To start the month off, here is an excerpt from a sermon preached by Matt Chandler last year on the day before Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Chandler is the lead pastor of teaching at The Village Church in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and president of the Acts 29 Network of churches. —Marvin Olasky
If you’re a young woman in here, or maybe an older woman—I didn’t say old; I said older woman—and you were pregnant in your first or second trimester, and you were driving toward the abortion clinic to have an abortion, and on the way to the abortion clinic you were hit by a drunk driver, that person is charged with involuntary manslaughter of your baby. But if you make it to the clinic, the doctor in the clinic is legally allowed to take a vacuum pump and rip that baby to shreds in your womb.
This is a seared conscience. This is madness, and this is the air we breathe as a society and a culture. So what are we to do? I think looking back on history there are these moments in time that I’m so baffled by why more people weren’t in the fight. Several years ago I was preaching out of the book of Colossians. We got to that part near the end of Colossians—Chapter 3, I believe—where he begins to say, “Slaves, be obedient to your masters.”
That’s a problem text for me, so I just began to research slavery as much as I could in the first century, and then throughout the centuries, and then began to look at what really occurred in the African slave trade and what drove that. It was honestly sugar for tea and biscuits in England that drove it. Then what the English learned in the Caribbean, the guys in the 13 colonies took advantage of to do tobacco and cotton in our industry on the East Coast during those days.
As I began to look around at how Africans were dehumanized. … They were not brought here as slaves. … We went and stole people and dragged them here, dehumanized them, which led to hundreds of years of oppression that in some places is still going on.
So studying that and then that leading me up to the civil rights movement, one of the things I wonder as I read about the dehumanization that was occurring all over the South and then even into the North just 30 and 40 years ago is where in the world was the church? … Where were my grandparents? What were they thinking? What were they doing?
When I begin to have conversations with some of my aunts and uncles and how they wish they would have marched with King but they were just indifferent, they just thought it would work itself out. How they wish they could get back into time and fight the noble fight. Instead, they were quiet. …
I think [abortion] is going to be one of those issues for us. Science is already pushing the ball forward rapidly. In 1973, when Roe v. Wade occurred, there was no sonogram. We can see our babies in the womb now. There are studies now showing the baby is dreaming in the womb. Science will eventually, I believe, turn over Roe v. Wade. It will only be a matter of time.
I think really the opportunity you and I have is to “march with King,” if you’re tracking with me, rather than sit on the sideline and hope this works out. “Oh, Chandler says science will eventually turn it over. Whew! Good.” Instead of being those on the sideline, we might actually actively engage really what is the most horrific oppression, horrific injustice, horrific genocide the world has ever seen. So how do we do that? That becomes the question I want to answer in just the next few minutes.
Ephesians 5:11 says, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” What I want to try to do is just lay before you true things today. I’m trying to expose darkness. Then you find in Matthew 25, verse 40, this story of God speaking to his people at Judgment Day. Matthew 25:40 says, “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
Who is more vulnerable, who is more the least of these than the unborn? Who is more fragile, who is in need of more protection, who is in need of more help than the unborn? So what are we to do as the people of God? The first thing we need to do is repent. Some of us need to repent for actively being involved in this. There’s grace and mercy for you. I started the way I started on purpose. There’s forgiveness and mercy for all.
In fact, God has been drawn biblically and historically through those who have been involved in some of the most heinous things ever. … [John Newton] was a slave trader who Christ radically transformed who spent the rest of his life opposing the slave trade … in the UK. So it’s oftentimes God draws out of heinous sin those who will be used powerfully by God to overcome that heinous sin.
So please do not walk in shame, but rather seek the forgiveness of God who readily makes it available to you. Not all of us have been involved actively. Most of us have been involved by simply being laissez-faire about this issue of just thinking it will work itself out, of thinking it doesn’t have much to do with us, of—God help us—wanting to be seen as cool and hip Christians.
You understand that’s never going to happen, right? You do understand there’s a growing hostility toward the things of God, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. In fact, I think you’re already beginning to see a rapid progression of how we’re viewed in the public sphere. It’s not overly positive. Some of us need to just repent about being unconcerned about this issue.
The second thing we can do is we can pray, guys. This is a spiritual issue. You don’t have the science in front of us that we have in front of us and not be moved to do anything about it unless your eyes are blinded, your conscience is seared. So we can pray. We can pray for judges. We can pray for those working with women. We can pray for advocacy and pregnancy centers. We can pray. In fact, we’re going to gather on Wednesday night across our campuses, and this is what we’re going to pray around.
Third thing. You can vote for those who are pro-life and not vote for those who are pro-choice. Now let’s chat, because some of you are like, “Oh, you’re a one-issue voter?” A couple of things. I think you can be pro-life and be a miserable political leader. I think you can be a pro-life moron. I just absolutely believe it, but here’s the thing. We’re all one-issue voters. There are hundreds of “one issues” that could disqualify a guy from political office. Would this not be one of them?
So if a man were to stand up and say, “I do not believe black men and black women should be able to hold political office,” would that not be a singular issue that in almost everybody’s mind—outside of some buffoons in the sticks—would disqualify him from public office? Would it not? Are you telling me in general our culture would tolerate that ridiculousness? Oh man, that dude would get torched.
Why would this issue not be an issue that really matters if what we’re saying is the people of God, that both the Word of God and even secular science, support that what’s growing in a woman is a human being, and they’re advocating the murder of that human being?
The next thing we could do is we can support with money, time, and energy those who are in this fight, whether that’s giving time, energy, effort, money to advocacy and pregnancy centers, or, if you’re able—this is a huge one—looking into and considering adoption. So here’s the thing I know about The Village Church. There are hundreds and hundreds of couples struggling with infertility who get all bogged down in the bureaucracy of adopting children.
The church can do some things here that are beautiful for women. My favorite story coming out of The Village is there was a 17-year-old girl who became pregnant here. One of our couples actually had that young woman move in with them, and they helped her through all that. She had a bit of a train wreck in regard to home life, so she moved in with them. Then when her little daughter was born, another covenant member of the church actually adopted that little girl. This is how we engage the brokenness around us, not with judgment, not with drive-by “guiltings,” not with hostility, but with love and mercy and solutions.
Let us help. Let us walk with you. How can we serve you? How can we encourage you? Oh that we wouldn’t be unmoved around this issue. Oh that we’d feel the weight of the fight we’ve been called to. If not us, who? Even in the amount of time I’ve spent with you today, there have been dozens and dozens and dozens, if not hundreds, of baby girls and baby boys murdered for the sake of convenience. We walk with enough people here at The Village Church to know if a pregnancy even becomes endangered, they’re encouraged that way.
In fact, I was just talking to a young man in our church. They gave birth prematurely to twins. The water broke at 24 weeks. It looked like the first baby was in a lot of distress. The doctor said, “Hey, the best thing for you guys, the best thing for your wife, the best thing for this baby is to abort the first one so the second one might live.” They scoffed at that.
Little Titus was born. He didn’t make it long before he died, but we held in our hands in that hospital room a fully shaped, fully formed little boy with a little nose and a little mouth and little ears. He only lived about 25-30 minutes, but he lived. His little brother made it full on and is alive and well and growing. This is the fight we’re caught up in. To be indifferent is to make us complicit with this travesty. So across all of our campuses, we have set up tables in the foyer with either advocacy and pregnancy centers or adoption agencies or ways you can connect, ways you can get involved, ways you can begin to engage.
I pray you’d be moved to write your governors, to write your senators and your congressmen and congresswomen, that we might put up a good fight in our day so 20 years from now, we can go, “I marched with King. I marched with King. I didn’t just sit at home and hope. I marched with King.” That would be my hope for us as the people of God. Roe v. Wade started here in Dallas. It would be awesome to see it crushed here in Dallas. Let’s pray.