Or an alternate title could be Morality, the Media, and Molech, because it seems that our brave new world is nothing more than old world Canaan.
In the last twenty-four hours I have felt both the gravity of silence and the weight of knowing details no one enjoys knowing. I’ve asked several friends and family members over the last twenty-four hours, and almost to a person they haven’t heard the news out of Philadelphia involving the murder trial of Kermit Gosnell, the abortion doctor accused of infanticide, of running a baby-butcher shop. And I’ve sat with my wife sobbing at the nightmare testimonies, knowing the weight of so deeply wanting children, being childless after several years of marriage, and having to read of newborn babies crying with their first and last breaths of life as they are executed.
The mainstream media (with few exceptions) has been largely silent on the ghastly details of what this story reveals about ethics, abortion, life, death, and ourselves. Yet even in the imposed shadows of those who would rather not speak, the echoes of those tiny infants will not be silent. And neither will God: “The LORD roars from Zion.. (Amos 1:2).” In the deafening height of that roar, there are several short remarks that I would like to bring to you my church family – notes of confession and a call:
1.) The story of Kermit Gosnell has revealed my own weakened heart for the cause of life and the unborn, and of that I repent. Yes, I have consistently preached and written against abortion. Yes I have supported pro-life causes, but consistent pro-life stances can coexist in tepid pro-life living. I have reacted differently to this story. Its horrors have gutted me, and yet I am forced to the realization that the horrors of this story are nothing more than the pulled-back curtains of the entire culture of death that our society is propagating. Every abortion is of equal horror, and is just as abhorrent to a holy God as the terror in Philadelphia. But I had grown (or had always been?) calloused and dare I say, complacent. This story forces me to the truth that to not scream with the loudest voices and to not oppose with the fullness of effort is complicity in darkness just as blackened as the Holocaust. I have been silent and apathetic for far too long.
2.) The story of Kermit Gosnell reveals the plain truth of human depravity, and our desperate need for a worldview shaped and directed by biblical truth. Mere philosophical dialogue or political interaction is not enough. There are no categories of secular theories large enough to hold the truth of what has happened. If we are to understand and speak to a society in which these atrocities occur we are forced to use biblical language and the standard of the biblical text itself as they reveal to us the biblical God. Let us never grow tired or frightened of words that the Bible uses to convey the clearest picture of where we find ourselves.
3.) The story of Kermit Gosnell must remind us that abortion is about God, and he has been clear from the beginning: The murder of children is an abomination. It is the sacrificial murder of children on the altar of a secularized and sexualized and scandalized false deity. It is nothing more than the modern worship of Molech. Hear the words of Leviticus 20:1-5,
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Say to the people of Israel, Any one of the people of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones. 3 I myself will set my face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given one of his children to Molech, to make my sanctuary unclean and to profane my holy name. 4 And if the people of the land do at all close their eyes to that man when he gives one of his children to Molech, and do not put him to death, 5 then I will set my face against that man and against his clan and will cut them off from among their people, him and all who follow him in whoring after Molech.
God takes the murder of children seriously. Or see Deuteronomy 12:29-31:
When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 30 take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’31 You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.
Make no mistake about it, we dare not be sheepish about that which God has declared to be abhorrent.
4.) The story of Kermit Gosnell should remind us as a church that standing and speaking and working to stop the murder of children (along with a host of other sins) is a necessary consequence of the gospel itself. A passion for the gospel cannot coexist without a passion for the holiness of God, and a passion for the holiness of God cannot exist apart from a deep passion for what God is impassioned for and against. In other words, for First Baptist Church Henryville to be a gospel-centered people we must certainly be a gospel-proclaiming and a gospel-discipled people. But we must also be a gospel-living people, and our views on society, sexuality, health, ethics, politics, society, and everything else must conform to and flow out of the message of who God is and what he has done in Christ. And that does not allow for either fence or sideline sitting in the arenas that we find ourselves in today. Abortion, and our response to it, is about the gospel. And because we care deeply for it, we must care deeply for anything opposed to it.
And in so doing, we must hold out the hope of the gospel as a light in the midst of the darkness just as we seek to shatter that darkness by its truth. The inexplicable brilliance of the gospel is that even those who would murder infants are not beyond the radical and transformative power of Jesus Christ. Even now if Mr. Gosnell will repent and believe this good news, all his sins will be forgiven. The grace that has saved me is the same grace that reaches those who would do even those things which we find (and should find) absolutely beyond imagining. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation, to disabled pastors’ sons like me and longtime baby murderers like him, if only we will flee to Christ. And herein lies the great heart of the gospel. In the face of a world gone wrong, and in the face of newborn sons and daughters being butchered, God has given his own Son to be butchered in the place of sinners as the end of all the pain and horror around us. The world pierced by the whimpering cries of Gosnell’s lair is met head-on by the dying cries of triumph from Calvary’s cross.
5.) In closing, the story of Kermit Gosnell calls each of us to an active response. The society around us will not do it. The culture of death will not do it. We, the people of the living Christ, must. First Baptist Church Henryville, and all others who might read this, you are called to action. Pray for women daily who are facing the option of abortion procedures. Pray for doctors and nurses who are administering abortions that their hearts and lives will be gripped by the gospel. Pray for fellow believers and your pastors and church leaders that we will be brave to speak and to proclaim truth in our day. Hold your children tightly. Love them dearly. Celebrate and work for adoption and couples seeking to adopt. Write and tweet and post on Facebook the truth of what is happening and what must happen as a result. In love speak truth to friends and family. In love care enough to care for the most vulnerable. Get involved with Pro-Life causes and with ministries seeking to serve the needs of children and parents. Write, speak, work, love, go. There is blood crying out to and against us if we hear, see, and know, and yet do nothing.
For more information on the Gosnell trial, I would recommend these helpful and informative articles passed on to me from others:
Standing beside you and with you and for you,