“Wow, I had no idea how much I needed this teaching.” That is something we hear quite often as we go out and do our teaching on the mission field. I heard it just this last week. It was the testimony of a pastor. I had been teaching on our theological biblical basis for a pro-life ethic and a pastor came to me on a break. He said, “I have to admit to you, I didn’t think I needed this. I didn’t think that this was applicable for me. I was only going to come for the first 45 minutes or an hour just to show my face and support the people who invited me to this banquet.”
Not only did he stay for the entire four hours, he came back to another location to hear us teach a second time. He even invited us to come on Sunday morning that week and preach both services at his church. Now, this is not because I am a great teacher. This is not because I am all that compelling. It is because the message that we bring is simple, scriptural, and is prayed over. It has the divine ordination of the Holy Spirit. I will come back to this idea shortly.
This is common testimony from pastors who really don’t think that they need to come hear a speaker on pro-life. They consider themselves to be pro-life already. God loves life. Killing is not good. So personally, I am against abortion. Well, let’s break down where that might be insufficient. When you hear the word “personally,” it usually means they have not made up their mind whether or not there is a universal or godly divine truth on this issue. It means they think that it is a matter of personal preference. For them, they prefer not to have an abortion if they can avoid it. It also means they are probably not going to tell other people what they should think or how they should act.
If we have pastors or if we have ministry leaders listening to this particular recording, let me remind you that our job as pastors is to lead people well by applying the scriptures. We must apply the biblical truths to how we act, think, and respond to the culture in our everyday lives. In other words, it is our job to help people understand what they are supposed to do. To some extent, it is our job to tell people what to do within the confines of what God has already told us about what pleases him.
Many times the culture speaks loudly about abortion. Pastors and ministry leaders do not speak loudly about abortion. They leave it out as something compassionate not to talk about or it is a women’s issue. It is a political issue. It is a social justice issue. It does not have to do with what I want to teach in church, and I want to avoid that topic. This is the prevailing mindset of pastors on the topic of abortion. Because the culture is speaking loudly, we have so many pro-choice Christians in our churches who say there are compassionate arguments about why women should be able to have an abortion if they need one. They say, “I am personally pro-life, but I think that people should have the choice to choose if they need one.”
This is something that we have to, as pastors and leaders, take very seriously in our job of leading people well on the issues that the culture is speaking loudly about to the masses. What people are doing is they are making up their minds or forming their opinions before they go looking through the Bible to see if they can make the Bible agree with them. This often leads to the Bible being applied in twisted ways to make it sound like the Bible agrees with their opinion.
We do not get to bring our opinions to the Bible. We have to form our opinions based on what the Bible says. We have to go to the word of God. We must understand what he has told us as being for our good when we believe and trust Him. We must draw the ways in which we should act from the Bible. Our opinions are to be based on those things. In other words, we bring the Bible to our opinions. We do not bring our opinions to the Bible and try to justify them that way.
Another thing that you will also hear is, Well, I’m pro-life so I don’t really need to think much more about that.” The problem with that particular argument is that we do not know where on the pro-life continuum that person may or may not be. In other words, some people say, “I am pro-life,” but when it comes to certain extenuating circumstances they are used as exceptions for abortion. “There are times when a woman needs to be able to choose to have an abortion,” they say. This is where we ask ourselves if there are limitations and exceptions to your pro-life ethic, why exactly should we believe that your position is different from the classic pro-choice position?
Coming back to the idea that I mentioned earlier, our teaching is simple, meaning it is not exhaustive. We teach basic biblical ethics. It is scriptural. Everything we do is based on what God has already told us. The book of 2 Peter is one of my favorite books. In chapter one, verse three, he says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness to the power of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” Everything we need has been included in God’s divine power. Part of this concept is His scriptural revelation. To us, scripture is sufficient. We have, in scripture, everything we need to know about how to obey God on all these issues. We are taught how to know Him, to know salvation, to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him as Micah 6 says.
Finally, our teaching is prayed over. What I mean by that is this: the Holy Spirit is infused in our work. We pray and want it to be holy. I can say that there are times when I am not filled with the Holy Spirit. But we are well prayed for and well prayed over. John and I have prayed over these teachings. We always pray before we teach. Our hosts are praying for us. Our attendees are praying for us. Our families are praying for us. The Passion Life staff is praying as we are out and about. The Passion Life board of directors is praying for us as well as hundreds of Passion Life followers and supporters.
If you are wondering how you can come on the Passion Life support team the first step is to please pray for us. Pray for us when we are out on a trip. We will be in Cuba next week, John will be in Columbia next week. We will be in Argentina three weeks from now. We have trips planned to China, Vietnam, Brazil and many different places around the world. We need prayer. Will you join us by praying that our teaching will go beyond just entertaining and dazzling people? Will you pray, with us, that it will pierce the spirit and make life change the result of our teaching?
John is a better teacher than I am. He is very entertaining to listen to, but John can not change hearts. John can only teach. I can only teach. It is up to God to change hearts and to stir up transformation within the spirit. We need you to pray for us so that our teaching is filled with the Holy Spirit. Thank you for being a part of the Passion Life team, whether it be through encouraging us, financing us, or, in today’s case, by praying for us. Thank you very much.
“I had no idea how badly I needed this teaching” is a common refrain we hear as we teach about what God has revealed in His scripture on abortion and how we should treat human life. The reason people are so encouraged by our teaching is because it surprises them how simple, how scriptural, and how prayed over it has been. Join us in the prayer movement to cover Passion Life’s pro-life teaching around the world.