Thoughts and sentiments on the evil of…

Recently I was on a very long flight to the big island of Hawaii to teach at the Youth with a Mission school there. I had been invited to teach a class on biblical moral reason, reasoning or Christian ethics and crisis intervention, as it applies to women and couples in a pregnancy- related crisis. I was thrilled to do it. On the long flight, I was doing some reading. Right now, I’m reading through the book called Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery. After reading it for a while, I set it down and the lady sitting next to me was intrigued. She said, “I see you’re involved with some light reading”. Obviously, the topic is serious and sobering, and she was using the book as a means to enter into a conversation. The book was written by Ottobah Cugoano many, many years ago, around 1787. Who is Ottobah Cugoano? He was a young boy growing up in Ghana who was captured when he was 13 years old while he was outside playing with his friends. It was typical of that time when people were being captured, taken down to the Gold Coast and sold into slavery. He was then shipped to the island of Grenada in the West Indies. Two years later he was sold to a British businessman who took him back to England, taught him how to read and write, educated him and helped him to purchase his freedom. Later on then he wrote this book, Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery.

What I love about this book is that he spends a great deal of time trying to think biblically. Ottobah became a very devout Christian. He was baptized into the Christian faith when he was about 15 or 16 years old and he wrote this book to help the Christian world understand the evil of slavery and help them respond biblically. In the same way today we’re trying to help people think through the evil of abortion and energize the Christian community of this generation to fight for the abolition of the shedding of innocent blood. Listen to what he says about slavery and how he thinks about it. He says: suppose that some of the African pirates made excursions to the coast of Great Britain and they should carry off your sons and daughters, your wives and friends to a perpetual and barbarous slavery. You would certainly think that those African pirates were justly deserving of any punishment that can be put upon them. In writing this he’s trying to take the foundational principle of biblical moral reasoning to do for others as you would want them to do for you and apply it to the abolition of slavery. This is biblical moral reasoning at its best and this book did have an impact. Ottobah went on to join a team or a group of other African former slaves, who were also working toward the abolition of slavery.

One of them was Olaudah Equiano who wrote the book, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. I’m going to read this book this week. You might be asking, Why are you doing all this reading? Well, here’s the deal. I am headed off to Zambia in less than three weeks and I’m going to be meeting with people from 23 different countries throughout Africa who are working in the field of pregnancy crisis intervention, along with a number of pastors from these countries. I’m going to speak to them three times and one of the things that I want to do there is to show them what we’re doing today in the abolition of abortion. As a moral imperative it is not new. It’s just our turn to do it.

Whether you go back to the midwives in Egypt who had to defend their own little baby boys from being murdered, or whether you’re talking about enslaving and stealing people and selling them and trafficking in human flesh, or whether you’re talking about the trafficking of human flesh in abortion, you’re dealing with a preeminent, ultimate moral crisis. What we’re doing today is not new, it’s just our turn. While in Africa, I want to be able to point to some of the heroes of Africa that lived in previous generations that also answered the same foundational biblical call to rescue the innocent and defend the weak and oppressed.

I’m going to be taking with me seven handheld ultrasound machines and seven iPads that become a screen for the ultrasound. We’re going to be placing these in the hands of medical professionals there so that they can help women and couples see their unborn babies. I’m also going to be taking about 35 boxes of fetal models, the new PassionLife tiny baby. I’ll be taking just under 2000 of these with me to Africa to distribute. We’ll also be taking other resources, particularly for the pastors that I’ll be training, so that they can go back and train the other pastors in their town or areas, continue to summon, rally and multiply the numbers of people in the neediest places in the world to stand up for the gospel of life. Then they can begin to oppose abortion as the shedding of innocent blood, to rescue women and couples under pressure to abort their baby, and to do so in a way that is an outworking of their own commitment to Christ and the gospel. Our desire is that this will be infectious in all of the work that they do so that they’re not only rescuing the innocent, but they’re bringing good news to the guilty.

This is an exciting period and I think that of all the things I’m going to do this year, it may well be that this trip to Africa proves to be the most substantive and potentially life changing. I welcome your prayers and support as I leave on the 22nd of this month. Thank you.