Obeying the call to rescue

One of the common accusations that is leveled against pro-life Christians is that we only care about the baby up until the moment that it is born. Once the baby is born, we don’t really care about that life anymore. And so in essence, we are hypocrites because we’re not really pro-life. We are, after all, pro-birth. Don’t believe it. Don’t listen to it. In fact, do just the opposite and arm yourself with the information about how Christians are leading all efforts to improve the quality of life for all types of people across the spectrum from conception to natural death.

Now, the question that we are specifically addressing in this episode is: How are pro-life Christians and people around the world responding to the biblical call to rescue the innocent?
How have people done it in history? How have people done it in the Bible? How are people doing it around the world today? I’m going to answer this question as a multi-part installment because the question of “how are people answering the biblical call to rescue the innocent” can’t be done in one episode. So today I’m going to focus primarily on the biblical examples of ways that Christians rescued the innocent in their sphere of influence. But before I do that, let me go back and remind you of all the things that Christians have been involved in in the past as far as rescuing or serving the innocents. The idea of hospitals was invented by Christians, as was the idea of orphanages and orphan care was invented by Christians. In fact, the very idea of universities for higher education and furthering learning was invented by Christians. The Red Cross was established by Christians. The Salvation Army was established by Christians. Braille was a sightless language devised by a Christian to help the blind to be able to read the Bible. The Underground Railroad was established and run largely by Christians. The abolition of the slave trade came at the hands of convicted Christians who knew that what was going on was wrong and were convicted by their faith that they should be involved in eradicating the slave trade. Go back in history and look at all the things that people have done from getting involved in a crisis response, getting involved in the care of the elderly, getting involved in the care of the addicted, getting involved in the care of the poor. Wherever you find the weak and needy of any sort, you will always find Christians leading those efforts. It doesn’t mean that we’re the only ones. Sometimes we’re locking arms in solidarity with other good non-believing people from societies, but you will always find Christians at the tip of the spear, at the very dangerous places risking themselves and their own finances, giving of themselves in order to serve the weak and the needy.

How has God asked you to get involved in the rescue of the weak and needy, specifically around the question of pro-life? Well, we’re going to look at a couple of biblical examples and relate those to examples today. The first one that I will give you is the example of Reuben,
who saved his brother Joseph’s life through moral reasoning and by standing up and making his voice heard. Joseph was going to be killed by his brothers, but Reuben intervened to rescue Joseph’s life by using moral reasoning. Let’s not kill Joseph. You can do the same thing. You may use moral reasoning in order to save the lives of the unborn. You may become an expert in pro-life apologetics, making the case for life for people who have questions or qualms about the pro-life position because they really don’t understand it. They’ve just heard talking points to help them get through.

Another example from the Bible that we look at very often is the example of Rahab. Now Rahab used deception in order to save the lives of the Hebrew spies. Sometimes the Bible leaves us with uncomfortable things that we have to be able to deal with. But for some reason Rahab used deception to save the lives of the spies and she was commended for doing so. There are times when we have to obey God rather than men. There have been times in my missionary life when I have had to go into countries that do not allow missionaries, where being a missionary is illegal and punishable, by some of the things that my family’s had to endure. Sometimes we have to obey God anyway. We have to use deception sometimes to be able to get into these countries and to share the gospel and do the work that we’re doing. How will God have you get involved in pro-life work?

Another example that we give sometimes from the Scriptures is the example of Esther. Esther worked within the legal system to change the laws that were unjust regarding the Jewish people. Maybe God will use you to change laws regarding human life and the protection of the unborn. Moses’ mother used two different ways of saving Moses’ life. First, she hid him. Will God ask you to create a safe home, a place to live for mothers, young families, young couples, young women whose lives are being threatened by a boyfriend or a father or a husband because they won’t have an abortion and they need a safe place to live for a while? The other way that Moses’ mother got involved was by using adoption. Moses’ mother saw to it that Pharaoh’s daughter would adopt Moses. The pro-life world needs adoption. In fact, you cannot solve the abortion problem in this world without adoption because some women and girls simply aren’t ready to be mothers, but other people are.

Another example that we often give from Scripture is the example of Jonathan. His life was saved because a bunch of soldiers in Saul’s army came together to defend Jonathan because of an unjust decree that went out from Saul. They said: you will not lay a finger on this man, Jonathan. Maybe one way that you’ll get involved in pro-life work is coming together with other Christians and demonstrating and gathering in large groups like they do on the Mall of Washington every year in January for the March for Life. That’s a way of demonstrating against the unjustness of the law. The midwives in Egypt decided that they would not obey the unjust law. The Scriptures say they trusted God, they feared God rather, and they let the Hebrew babies live. The law in China for so long was that there was a one-child policy for all families.
Now that has been eradicated, but for many Christians in China, the way around that was to simply disobey the law and do what God had asked them to do, which was to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.

But probably the most famous and best example that we can point to biblical ways that people rescued the innocent is with the story of the good Samaritan found in Luke chapter 10. People forget that the context of that story is life and death. Pastors preach on it and they say: do good things for other people. Go out of your way to be a good man or woman, to be a good person. But the context here is that if this Samaritan passes by the Hebrew man who has been beaten badly, he will die if no one rescues and intervenes. Now this Samaritan was the sworn and avowed enemy of the Hebrew man, and yet what did he do? Different from the Levite and the priest, this Samaritan was moved to compassion and let love tell him what to do. Step by step, bit by bit. He did not go to medical school to learn to be a doctor so he could serve this man in his hour of need. He did not go to seminary to learn to be a pastor so that he could serve this man in his hour of need. He looked at the man, assessed the situation and he said: what must I do to be a good neighbor to this person? What would I want someone to do for me? Do I want them to clean these wounds? That’s an easy thing to do. Clean a wound, put a little oil on it to make sure that it keeps from being infected and bandage those wounds. These are not difficult things that he had to do. But he realized that this man needed rest and safety. So he put him on his own donkey, took him to an inn and gave him a place to rest and recover. And he even paid the bill for that. We say: well that’s a little bit difficult to do, to pay the bill. But if you could spend a few dollars, a hundred dollars, a few hundred dollars on saving the life of an unknown person, I think you would probably consider doing just that. The good Samaritan was somebody who recognized the imminent need and allowed love to instruct his heart. He did not need a manual or to be an expert. He just let love teach him what to do in order to rescue and save the life of this man.

In our next installment in this series we’re going to be looking at other examples from missionary history and other examples of Christians throughout history since the Bible was written. Then we’ll take another installment and look at what Christians are doing around the world today. How are they rescuing the innocents in their very different cultural context around the world? Christians have always been bold and gone to the hardest places in order to rescue the innocent, just as the Bible has commanded us to do.