Embracing the Battle

"Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them,'If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.'"
Luke 14:25-27



“This car.  Goeth would have bought this car.  Why did I keep the car? Ten people right there. Ten people…ten more people.  This pin…two people.  This is gold…two more people.  He would have given me two for it, at least one.  One more person.  A person, Stern. For this. I could have gotten one more person... and I didn't!  And I... I didn't!

- Character of Oskar Schindler in Schindler’s List (1993)


How hard are we going to have to fight to end abortion?  Simply put, it will probably be a massive undertaking.  While we are not suggesting that every Christian should immediately quit their job, liquidate their savings, drop all their other responsibilities and throw themselves, body mind and soul into fighting abortion, we are calling for every Christian to become the sort of person who would do these things when it becomes necessary.   

Because it just might come to that.  As noted in The Battle, ending abortion may require extreme sacrifices from many, many people.  The culture of death and free-love is not going to give up their precious treasure so easily.  Some of them would rather die. Furthermore, Satan loves abortion and the guilt it heaps upon mankind.  He will use every weapon at his disposal to discourage, silence and defeat us.  The intensity of the fight will only increase as we get closer to our goal.  

For this reason, it is necessary that each and every Christian accept the fact that ending abortion may cost us literally everything we have.  God willing, not everyone will have to sacrifice quite that much.  But if we don’t accept this possibility from the start, faithfully placing our fates and fortunes in the hands of God, we will fall away in the day of testing.  

Most Christians are not ready to make this sort of commitment.  There are many objections we might raise, most of which will be dealt with elsewhere.  In this section we will only address the fact that most of us simply cannot fathom the idea that God would ever expect so much from us.  Our brains reject it off hand as sensational and quixotic.  It’s too much to even consider!

Our goal, then, is to demonstrate that such devotion, far from being sensational, is simply the proper way Believers should behave in the midst of a holocaust.  


WHAT IS NORMAL?

The craving for “normal life” is one of our strongest instincts.  Regrettably, it usually has a negative effect on our actions and character.  This is because what is “normal” is so often at odds with what is holy.  God has His own standard for what is normal, and it is very often the exact opposite of the world’s standard.  How easily we confuse the two!  As Chinese evangelist Watchman Nee observed, “What is the normal Christian life? . . . it is something very different from the life of the average Christian.”1

We have come to expect, and even demand, that our lives follow the worldly pattern of what is normal.  For example, modern American Christians usually assume that:
  • It is normal to complete 12 years of public education without interruption
  • It is normal to have a stable job and earn the maximum amount of money achievable given your skills
  • It is normal to own a house, a car, cable television, etc.
  • It is normal to vacation at least once a year, at a remote vacation spot, to which we travel by airplane 
  • It is normal to retire at 65 and live independently until dying of natural causes
  • It is not normal to take part in “protesting” something
  • It is not normal to be arrested or go to jail
Now our concept of what is normal fails for two reasons. First, it isn’t really normal!  Historically, the vast majority of mankind have lived their entire lives without ever receiving anything like a formal education, earning enough to afford their own home, car and television, or going on annual vacations (in the modern sense of the word).  Generations have had to oppose their own government (risking arrest and imprisonment) just to gain the basic rights we take for granted.  In fact, even the expectation that we should live a certain number of years is absurd on its face.  As Christian author C.S. Lewis once wrote, “The majority of the human race dies in infancy; of the survivors, a good many die in youth. . . what humans call a "normal life" is the exception”2

Secondly, this concept of what is normal is particularly out-of-synch with the way we should expect Christians to live during a holocaust like abortion.  If ever there was a unique period in history, this is it.  We are living in very non-normal times.


WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT?

So what should we expect Christians to do during a holocaust?  We have a few examples.

  • When Pharaoh of Egypt ordered Hebrew midwives to drown every newborn male Hebrew, they not only disobeyed his order, but contrived a cover story to prevent further attempts to exterminate the Hebrew population.  Had their ruse been discovered, they probably would have been exterminated themselves.  
  • When Haman, a wicked adviser to the emperor of Persia, contrived a genocide of Jews, Queen Esther risked her life to approach the emperor and plead for her people’s deliverance.  
  • The film Schindler’s List was based on the real life story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman during World War II who moved to Krakow, Poland, originally hoping to get rich off the war industry.  Instead, he succeeded in protecting hundreds of Jewish men and women from the death camps, smuggling them out of ghettos and hiding them in his munitions factory.  The effort left him penniless and nearly cost him his life several times.
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor in Germany during the rise of the Nazi government in the 1930s.  He traveled to England in 1939, as WWII was heating up, but returned to Germany out of pastoral obligation of Christians there.  While most of his fellow clergymen did their best to avoid confrontation with the regime, Bonhoeffer openly spoke against them, organized a dissenting church and conspired with the political resistance.  He was imprisoned and later executed.
  • Chen Guangcheng was a respected attorney in China.  In 2005 filed a class action lawsuit against Family Planning officials in his home province, exposing the injustice of China’s One Child Policy (including forced abortions) to the international community.  The government retaliated by imprisoning him, torturing him and placing him under house arrest until May of 2012, when he miraculously escaped to the American Embassy, and then on to the US.  
During a holocaust, Christians should expect normal life to be disrupted.  The possibility of being called upon to make costly, dramatic changes to the way we live is very real.

However, while few would deny that the individuals listed above deserve praise for their bravery and sacrifice, many nevertheless insist that their examples have no bearing on our own life-choices.  This objection usually takes one of two forms.  Either 1) Saving innocent lives is optional or 2) Only a few are called to be heroes.  


BUT, DO I HAVE TO?

So, is going out of your way to save an innocent life just an optional part of our faith?  The Bible disagrees:

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”  - James 4:17

Consider the previous scenarios in a different light:
  • If the Hebrew midwives had decided to obey Pharaoh and drown the male Hebrew babies, would God have held them sinless?
  • If Queen Esther had decided to keep quiet about Haman’s plan (she wanted to) would God have accepted her decision?
  • If Oskar Schindler had simply run a regular munitions factory and not taken so many risks to hide Jews, would God have approved?
  • If Deitrich Bonhoeffer had stayed in England where it was safe, or not been so vocal in his opposition of the Nazis, would God have understood?
  • If Chen Guangcheng had just waited for someone else to expose the government, would God have overlooked it?
The answer is obviously NO.  You cannot just mind your own business when God places you in a position to save innocent lives from destruction.  Furthermore, it would be wrong to assume that such “sins of omission” are categorically less serious than the more obvious “sins of commission”.  Jesus once gave a parable known as The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, in which he described a scene at the end of time in which mankind is separated into two groups, based upon their behavior on earth, and either punished or rewarded.  

“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’”  - Matthew 25: 41-43 (NASB)

While Christians disagree on the exact interpretation of this passage, one thing is painfully obvious:  the goats are being condemned not for what they did wrong, but for what they didn’t do right.

In this same light, if we are in a position to save someone’s life, it is incumbent upon us that we take action.  It’s a moral imperative.  It’s mandatory.  We can’t just blow it off.    


NO OVER-ACHIEVERS

Many would argue that the examples we have been using are not typical Christian behavior.  Some people are heroes, but God doesn’t expect everyone to be.  

There is some truth to this statement, but it’s misleading.  In this life, not everyone is called to sacrifice the same things because not everyone is in a position to make a difference by doing so.  But every Christian, without exception, is called to turn over his or her entire life, body and soul, to the will of God.  No Christian is called to anything less.

The Rangers are a special branch of the US military often assigned the most dangerous and difficult operations.  Each Ranger adheres to the Ranger Creed,3 part of which states, “as a Ranger my country expects me to move further, faster, and fight harder than any other soldier.”  The reverse implication of the Ranger Creed is that most service members will satisfy the requirements of duty without making quite the same incredible sacrifices.  

Christianity isn’t like that.  There are no Christian Rangers, or rather, every Christian is a Ranger.  This is because God is just, and He will not overlook deviation from His perfect moral law, including the sins of omission.4  While it is typical for us to view people like Queen Esther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer as if they were some special breed of “super Christian”, called to a level of sanctification that is above and beyond anything expected of the rest of us, the Bible teaches otherwise.  It teaches that even perfectly following God’s will is no special feat:

Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? “But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’? “He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’”  - Luke 17; 7-10 (NASB)

Christians cannot “over-achieve”.  We may please God with our righteous behavior, but we never impress Him.   Perfection is His goal for our lives; He will accept nothing less.  


MAXIMUM EFFORT

Sometimes massive injustices end without massive pain and suffering.  A timely intervention by a single individual, Queen Esther, rescued the Jewish people in the days of their exile in Persia.  The British slave trade was abolished peacefully; the average British Christian did not need to fight and die to accomplish it.  

American slavery, on the other hand, did not end so easily.  Millions of American Christians had to fight and die to correct that injustice.  The same could be said of the Nazi holocaust and similar events.  In those cases, victory required maximum effort on the part of many, many people.

Maximum effort means total commitment.  It means not holding anything back.  It means moral consistency applied.  If, in the midst of a holocaust, God presents us with an opportunity to stop the killing (all other things being equal) we should take it.   Even if doing so isn’t normal.  Even if we’d rather just look the other way.  Even if we don’t particularly want to be heroes.  

No one knows exactly how this current injustice of abortion will end.  God may be merciful to us yet.  It may be that God will permit us to end abortion without too many of us giving up our homes, our freedom or our lives.  But it is just as likely that victory will cost us all that and more.  

Please make up your mind right now, this instant, to respond to abortion the way Oskar Schindler responded to the Nazi holocaust; the way Chen Guangcheng responded to the forced abortion cover-up.  Now is the time to firmly fix this commitment in your mind, so that you are ready to embrace whatever challenges lie ahead.  Be ready!  The devil is going to try to tear you down or entice you away.  If you are prepared, he cannot shake you.
 
Richard Wurmbrand, founder of the Christian relief organization Voice of the Martyrs, was a pastor in Rumania during the early days of the Communist regime.  Between 1948 and 1964, he spent eleven years in prison for opposing the government.  Multiple times he was tortured and ordered to deny Christ and/or reveal the names of other Christians who practiced clandestinely.  He never did.  The following quote is from his book In God’s Underground, and describes an event that took place after his final release from prison and prior to his escape to America:

“I led the children to the lion’s cage and gathered them around me so that I might speak quietly.  I said, ‘Your forefathers in the Christian faith were thrown to wild beasts such as these.  They died gladly, because they believed in Jesus.  The time may come when you also will be imprisoned, and suffer for being a Christian.  Now you must decide whether you are ready to face that day.’  With tears in their eyes, each in turn said, ‘Yes’.  I asked no other questions in this, the last . . . class I held before leaving my country.” 5

Richard Wurmbrand, like others before him, understood that we can’t wait for the moment of crisis to arrive to choose whom we will serve.  What was true in his case is true in ours.  Now is the time to commit to ending abortion, whatever it costs.


  1. Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Life (Chapter 1)
  2. C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (Chapter 28)
  3. The Ranger Handbook, SH 21-76 page i
  4. The topic of justification is not addressed here because it is out of the scope of our discussion.  The important point here is that God will not simply excuse moral imperfection (sin). 
  5. Richard Wurmbrand, In God’s Underground (Part 9, Section 2)
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