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Caring In The Church

28 Feb

I have not been a fan of the redesign and focus on Christianity Today’s website. I wrote them a letter some time back asking where were all the articles by older, more mature, wiser Christians who could build the faith of those younger. I am disappointed that the majority of articles I see are written by too young, inexperienced, immature believers who should still be learning from those with greater spiritual experience… I never received a reply. Kind of sad though because the secular drive for youth led organizations should not be affecting the church.

Teachers of others should be older, wiser, more experienced and that includes those who write magazine or other articles about faith, life and how to handle problems in the family or one’s personal life. Case in point is the following article. I do  like some of the things said in it but other things leave deep questions in my mind.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2015/february/secret-shame-of-abortion-in-church.html?start=1

#1. Abortion is difficult for almost any post-abortive woman to discuss

A very long time ago I wrote a book on abortion and I really didn’t find that to be true. Maybe in the church women have a hard time talking about it because abortion is sin and too many church people condemn long before they try to understand.  My main question for this point is why are these women not talking to their husbands about this issue? If they are single, why are they not talking to their trusted family members who can give solid spiritual guidance?

Men, it may take us a while to wrap our heads around the fact that the woman we love has had an abortion but love ‘bears all things’ thus we should be there for our wives and help them through it. The phrase, ‘you are not the woman I married’ or ‘i do not know who you are anymore’ do not work if you actually love your mate (this goes for women as well). it doesn’t matter, love bears her burdens as well as your own.

#2. According to the Guttmacher Institute, one in every five women who gets an abortion identifies as a born-again, evangelical, charismatic, or fundamentalist Christian. Given that more than a million women abort each year in the US, this means a staggering 200,000 Bible-believing Christians annually. And according to Christian ministries working with this population, a vast majority of them will never reveal their secret.

Identifies does not mean actually are a Christian and I wonder how broadly these terms are applied.BUT the main question here is why are these women making a decision that has them disobeying God? What drives them to this act? If we can answer those questions, maybe we can see where the solution lies. If these women are getting pregnant doing pre-marital sex, or adulterous affairs then we know where to target our energies.

Christian women know better so we need to know their honest reasons why they are aborting their children. Statistics mean nothing except to say that biblical teaching is not sinking home in a large number of women. or that a large contingent of women are alone and seeking some companionship through sinful acts and when the pregnancy comes they continue down that road. Their vulnerability and lack of support may play a role as they are overwhelmed by the many men, both Christian and not, who seek sex only and first.

These women know they are sinning so condemnation is not going to help matters or keep these women in the faith. But to act, we need to know the real reasons why, so we can stop this behavior before it gets to this point.

#3. In interviews with about a dozen post-abortive Christian women, I heard each say they deeply regret their abortions and experienced profound emotional and spiritual trauma as a result. Without a place to confess and seek recovery, women who’ve had abortions remain shackled by fear, grief, and guilt.

This is why I said in a previous article that the church should strive to be a sanctuary so that its members can confess their sins, receive forgiveness from God and then grow from their experience. The church should not be the leader in kicking out those who make mistakes or fall in their Christian lives. Remember what Jesus said, ‘he who is without sin, cast the first stone.’

That message wasn’t just to the Pharisees and other religious leaders of his day. It was to all believers who need to remember that they sin and God forgives them so we must be more compassionate to those people who are in pain over committed sin. But my question here is, why limit that confessional for only those who have abortions? This place to confess and seek recovery must be made for all sins committed by people.

That is one reason why the church exists because believers do not automatically become sinless upon conversion.  They will fall or make mistakes throughout their Christian lives thus they all need a place that is safe to go, where they will not be ostracized , and looked down upon but guided by experienced, mature believers who know the answers and do not resort to fads and gimmicks.

#4. Certainly, the church has grown in its ability to minister to these women. In the past 20 years, abortion recovery groups have multiplied in churches nationwide. Surrendering the Secret has trained about 2,500 leaders in churches and crisis pregnancy centers.

Although this is good to hear, my questions concern the content of those recovery groups and training given. Is it biblical? Is it free of secular thinking? Is the content-free from pet scriptures and denominational answers? This last question is important as the quality and maturity of the counselors and their material is vital.  Just having people pass a training session or counseling degree then saying now you are counselors, is not enough.

When I was seeking one of my advanced degrees, I noticed that a lot of Christian universities were focusing on counseling. It kind of bothered me as I wondered how educated, wise and serious those graduates would be. As I have told many westerners in this country, waving a piece of paper around saying you are a teacher does not make you a teacher. Anyone can meet the requirements and graduate with an education degree and the same applies to counseling. Having a piece of paper saying yo met the requirements for the training or degree doe snot make you a counselor.

The biblical verses for following the truth, not listening to the deceived secular and so on apply to counseling as they do for history teaching, archaeology, science and education. Being a biblical counselor means we follow the HS to the truth and seek the right answers for those in need.

#5. Leaders in post-abortion recovery ministry say the church remains reluctant to fully face the impact of abortion within their own congregations. Rutledge said she once gave her testimony to a group of women at a megachurch in the South and by the end, several women were “practically bawling.” Yet, when Rutledge asked about doing a follow-up, the group’s leader said, “None of my women have had an abortion… and even if they did, they don’t need to be speaking about it.”

As I wonder about how some people were able to become teachers, principals and education officials, I wonder how some people were able to become Pastors and elders or other church leaders. Their words and actions do not always line up with spiritual qualifications. Unspiritually influenced personal opinions hurt everyone in the church, not just women who have had abortions.

The church is not the personal domain of those who lead it or consider themselves the prominent members. The church belongs to Christ and pastors and church leaders need to be reminded of this fact. They are not the boss, but the employee of God thus they need to change their personal views and behavior.l if they are not leaning on God and looking to him for guidance but resort to their own understanding then they need to step down until they make the right changes.

If they don’t then they are not helping the church but hurting it. All people need the church to be biblically correct. Sin is sin and it has to be dealt with correctly, no matter the offense or innocence of the victim. If the person has had one abortion and has no intention of practicing that act then tossing them from the church is not an option. Being excluded from the church is only an option for those who refuse to repent of their sins, not for those who made a wrong decision. Of course, believers make many wrong decisions in their lives but even number of them is not ‘practicing sin’.

We need to be discerning when it comes to dealing with those who need to confess sin and make the right decisions in how to respond to them. The wrong decision means one has sinned and i sin need of a place for confession and healing.

#6. Nancy Kruezer, who serves as Chicago Regional Coordinator for Silent No More, said some pastors express fears that if they address abortion, it will “open the floodgates,” and they will be overwhelmed by wounded people. Others object because they say the topic is too political—or that discussing abortion might actually make it more acceptable.

For ‘the floodgates’ concern that is what church is for. You can’t have a healthy membership if you do not heal ALL the wounded.  being overwhelmed is only for a short-term as each healed person lessons the number needing help and those healed in turn can help those waiting their turn to receive forgiveness, making the work load even less as time goes on.

If there is one area where the church should not be afraid of it is the area of healing those in need. Jesus wasn’t afraid of healing the many who came to him, neither should the church. That is our business and by healing, we can eventually win souls for they will see God in action and that he is interested in them thus they will want to come to know him as their savior. No we should not be afraid of healing those in need.

As for the ‘political’ option, abortion is not a political issue. It has become one because the legal merits are discussed year after year and the right stance can mean the difference between winning and losing an election. BUT the reality of the abortion issue is–it is SIN.  Thus spiritual leaders need to step up and take the bull by the horns and deal with the issue as Christ wants it dealt with.

To some abortion is murder but the last time I looked, murder was not the unforgivable sin thus we need to treat those who have had an abortion with the same care we would if a murderer came to the church looking for forgiveness. The real problem for most believers though is the age and innocence of the victim and that view distorts how they respond to those who have made that sinful mistake. BUT God’s justice does NOT include age or innocence of the victim as criteria for determining how the offender is to be treated in response to their sins.

We cannot let our eyes be blinded by personal feelings or emotions.

#7. (not to mention the men who carry regret over their wives’ or girlfriends’ abortions).

Sorry but I missed this quote so it is out-of-order. One of the biggest misconceptions in this issue is the lie that it is the woman’s body thus it is her decision. That is a secular lie, and it should not even be considered by the church people. It is contrary to biblical teaching because 1). once you have mated with another person ownership of your body transfers to the other person. Paul spoke on this quite clearly.

2). The body being killed does not belong to the woman and she has no right to dispose of it. There is nothing written anywhere that says the unborn child’s body belongs to the woman. Woman do not have the right to decide to terminate the unborn child. Also, since the pregnancy now makes you a family, the father is the head of the family and the woman need to submit to his decision as long as that decision doesn’t have her sinning against God and disobeying his word.

In other words, men, you are to be a part of the decision-making and following the world’s thinking makes you guilty of sin because you disobeyed God by listening to the unchurched world and walked away from your duty as a man.

The child is as much the fathers baby as it is the woman’s and the fact that it is her body that gets pregnant does not change the father’s standing in the issue. Whose body does the work during pregnancy doe snot determine who gets to make the decision. Christian men are to follow God’s word correctly even in this issue. But of course, those words only will have an effect on those who care about listening to God and his word and given the nature of the predicament, most people do not care what God says or how many sins they rack up in this issue.

The thing is, men if you do not want regret, then do not let your wife, girlfriend or lover abort your child. Man up and take responsibility for your actions. The last part are words commonly heard when I was a child going on back into history. Only since about the 80’s, possibly the 70s, has the idea of taking the easy way out been popular. Oh, people took the easy way prior to that but it was not common and it was not supported by the public in general.

#8. Walker told the congregation that she had had three abortions before becoming a believer and one after coming to Christ. Her fourth abortion happened when she was a brand-new believer, unmarried and uncertain if she was ready to have a baby.

If one has had an abortion before they were a Christian, the stigma is not as great as if one had been a good believer for most of their lives. A woman was under the influence of evil, deceived and the support for an abortion far greater than it would have been if the person was a believer. Yet, with that said, it is still a sin and it need to be repented of and forgiveness needs to be sought for those acts. Then, if one has had an abortion or three before salvation, those sins are confessed and forgiveness given at redemption.

The act of becoming a believer usually covers all prior sins so it would be the one abortion after her conversion that would be the troublesome one. The reasons she gave are not good enough to abort a life. Adoption is far better of an option than abortion, even though the struggles to give birth then give up the child seem too great one must find a way to be strong, carry the child to term then answer some childless couple’s prayers by making that sacrifice.

Enduring through that is far better than taking the easy way of abortion out of a bad situation. Pregnant women should be seeking God’s guidance long before they decide for an abortion for their sinful act can be turned into something good. Part of the problem in this issue is that God is ignored throughout the whole decision-making process. People have a distorted view about sexual sins and feel that God will hate them for their actions but guess what, Jesus said,

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Women do not need to be afraid to go to Jesus and confess their sins BEFORE they decide for an abortion, then they can have his support so that they do not make the mistake of aborting their child. They will also have his strength to help them make that sacrifice and let someone else adopt their child. There is no need for Christian women to consider abortion because if they repent if their sexual sins, they will find God there with open arms waiting to help them through the mess. There is also no reason for anyone to wait till after the abortion to find out how loving and forgiving God can be.
#9. Our churches need to regularly communicate that they are safe places for women like Jackie. While we cannot whitewash the sin of abortion, we also can’t ignore those who at one time have had abortions and are suffering. We must let them know that Jesus’ blood covers all sin, including theirs.
Being a safe place can only be experienced. Communicating that you are a safe place usually means it isn’t a place one can go and confess without condemnation.  I could never trust a person who said, ‘you can trust me.’ Usually those are the people you can trust the least. The Church needs TO BE a safe place but not just for women, for men as well. For men commit sexual sins just as much as the women do, if not more. Their sexual activities are just harder to spot.
This is why I said the church needs to strive to be a sanctuary for its people. ALL people need to be able to trust the church and know that they have a safe haven when needed. This is one of the reasons I had trouble with this article, it ignores the sins of men and their need for a sanctuary as well. Men need a safe place to confess as well for we have different ideas about sharing than women do. A safe place for men may not constitute the same format as one for women.
If the church wants to help women, keep it biblical and make sure truly spiritual older, more mature women are leading the healing instead of a male pastor or elder. The pastor and elders can train those women but let women work with the women to keep problems to a minimum.
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Posted by on February 28, 2015 in Bible, church, controversial issues, faith, family, leadership

 

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