WASHINGTON (BP) — Evangelical Christians primarily have the Gospel to offer within a pro-life movement that should transcend politics in what will be a battle far into the future, Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore said Jan. 23 on the eve of the March for Life.
Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), told those gathered for the fifth annual Evangelicals for Life (EFL) event the great resource they have as pro-lifers “is not a stack of polling data. What you have is not the crowd. What you have is the cross. And we’re the people who can say, ‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.'”
The principal message people of the Gospel have “is not just that these are our fellow human beings who are imperiled, and we will stand with them,” he said. “But also to say to the woman who has the abortion, also to say to the man who has paid for the abortion, also to say to the doctor who has performed the abortions who comes in repentance and faith to Jesus Christ, ‘You are not somehow held at the peripheries and the margins of the kingdom of God; you are not some second-order sort of Christian; you’re the only kind of Christian there is — which is someone who has sinned greatly, who has been forgiven greatly and who stands with nothing to offer but blood.”
The March for Life should include all kinds of people “who can agree that human life is sacred and human life ought to be protected,” Moore said. “But we as the people of the Gospel of Jesus ought to be the people who are speaking even in our solidarity with others who agree with us on this a message of what it means to follow Jesus as people who are claimed by the Gospel. ”
Moore and other ERLC staff participated in the annual March for Life the next day with tens of thousands of other pro-life advocates. President Donald Trump spoke in person at a rally preceding the march, marking the first time the country’s chief executive has attended the event since it began in 1974, a year after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in its Roe v. Wade opinion. The ERLC, which has co-hosted EFL each year, and Lifeline Children’s Services were the event’s sponsors this year. It was held at the Museum of the Bible.
“If Roe versus Wade is overturned — and please God may it be — and if state legislature after state legislature decides that the atrocity of abortion should be ended in their states — and please God let them do that, let us all live long enough to see that — that will not be the end of this,” Moore said. “That will be the beginning of it. It means that we have to have an infrastructure in place to be able to love and to care for people that we don’t even know about right now….”
No matter the pro-life movement’s victories a year or 50 years from now, “this advocacy will never be done, because as long as human beings bear the image of God, then that means that vulnerable human beings signal to the principalities and powers an ongoing reminder of Jesus of Nazareth,” he said. “And they will always be vulnerable then to attack and to assault.”
The pro-life movement needs “elected officials to be in conversation with the pro-life movement consistently, and we need a pro-life movement that transcends those politicians as well,” Moore told the audience during a question-and-answer session.
The world needs for Christians to be able to say, “We need some elected leaders. We need to support them when we can. We need to pray for them always. We need to show them the appropriate amount of honor. We don’t belong to any of them,” he said.
“[W]e need a mayor. We need a police chief. We need a state senator. We need a president. We need Supreme Court justices. We have a Messiah already.”
Lifeline President Herbie Newell told the audience the pro-life issue “is about defending life outside of the womb, as well as life inside of the womb. Why? Because every life inside and outside of the womb bears the mark of her Creator.
“We are made and crafted in the image of God, and we are called and responsible to show His character to a lost and dying world. And this is why it is so important that we understand that being pro-life can’t ever be just pro-birth, but it must extend to life outside of the womb.”
This means not only working to end abortion, Newell said, but ministering to those with special needs; seeking racial reconciliation; honoring women; encouraging fathers; fighting slavery, human trafficking and pornography; and participating in adoption and foster care.
One of the pro-life movement’s great strengths — and one that may not be communicated well — is it is “both pro-baby and pro-woman, and the other side is only for one of those. But we are for both,” Lauren Green McAfee said during a panel discussion.
McAfee is corporate ambassador for Hobby Lobby.
Trillia Newbell, the ERLC’s director of community outreach, suggested during the panel discussion some practical steps for doing pro-life work.
In addition to connecting with organizations and starting ministries in their churches, Christians can “see the vulnerable” and “move towards them,” she said. “Volunteer. Give your life away.”