On Sunday, Jan. 9, the Christian Life Commission (CLC) partnered with Meadowridge Community Baptist Church in Fort Worth to host a Sanctity of Life Celebration during the 10 a.m. worship service. The celebration was a time of prayer, worship and discussion leading up to Sanctity of Human Life Sunday on Jan. 23, a day when churches celebrate God’s gift of life and commit to protecting human life at every stage.
“Today, we want to provide resources to help our churches present a pro-life message in a way that we think is God honoring,” said David Sanchez, director of Ethics & Justice for the CLC. “Today is not about judging people. Today is not about condemning people. Today is about affirming those who choose life when the choice isn’t easy. It’s about accepting those who regret past choices they’ve made and showing them that God’s love and mercy are still for them, and it’s about applauding those who are involved in pro-life ministry.”
Michael Evans Jr., director of Public Policy for the CLC, opened the celebration with a word of prayer.
“God, thank you for calling us to be pro-life. We thank you for reminding us that pro-life means the whole life, and that we should be just as zealous to save unborn babies who deserve a chance at life as we are to care for the mothers and children. Lord, help us to protect and advocate for all human lives equally. Help us to be the kind of people who do your will and strive to make it on earth as it is in Heaven,” he prayed.
John Litzler, legal consultant for Texas Baptists, sat down with Sanchez to discuss current abortion legislation and help Christians gain a better understanding of what is happening in the Supreme Court. He opened with a brief history of abortion laws in America.
“Since 1973, Roe v. Wade has been the law. Because it found a Constitutional right [to abortion], it overturned state laws restricting abortion,” Litzler explained.
Litzler then discussed how the Texas Heartbeat Act and the Mississippi Gestation Age Act are challenging the Supreme Court’s current rulings on abortion rights. He explained that although the Supreme Court might overturn Roe v. Wade, this would not mean an outright ban on abortions. Instead, an overruling would mean a decision that there is no more federally guaranteed right to abortion and that states should be left to decide where the line is drawn.
“Banning abortion is not the same as ending abortion,” Litzler emphasized. “To be completely frank, we don’t have the laws in place that we would need to end abortion. We have laws that would outlaw abortion ready to go on the books, but we don’t have the laws that we would need to support women, to end poverty, and address a lot of the other issues that lead to abortion. That is why I’m so thankful for the holistic approach taken by the Christian Life Commission and Texas Baptists.”
Supporting pregnancy centers
Katie Frugé, associate director of the CLC, spoke on the impact of the Texas Heartbeat Act on pregnancy centers.
“Abortion never occurs in a vacuum. Pregnancy centers are on the front line because they’re really trying to address the root behind the issue and why people are turning to it,” she said. “There is also a lot of anger out there right now, and pregnancy centers are bearing the brunt of that. We’ve visited one where the front door has to be locked right now for their own safety.”
Frugé strongly encouraged churches to reach out to local pregnancy centers in their area to offer encouragement and provide resources and support.
“If you are not already, please reach out to your local pregnancy centers and let them know that you are praying for them. It really does have an impact to let them know that they are seen and the struggles they are going through are felt and prayed for,” she said.
She made some practical recommendations for churches interested in partnering with pregnancy centers to make a bigger impact, like making them aware of GED classes, ESL programs and Mother’s Day Out opportunities that mothers can attend or providing office support and supplies.
“Let’s come alongside our pregnancy centers right now. This is our moment to rise to the challenge. If we really do want to profess to be pro-life, let’s come alongside those people who are already doing the work,” Frugé said. “We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, because they’re already doing great stuff. What if we connected the things our church is doing to meet the needs in our communities?”
Three members of Meadowridge who are actively involved in pro-life ministry gave testimonies about their experiences and the impacts they have seen. One member, Christina Alexander, is a registered nurse and has been volunteering at Pregnancy Lifeline in Fort Worth for over 10 years. She currently performs sonograms for the women who come to the clinic.
“God puts me in that spot and gives me the opportunity to be His voice and hands and feet in these women’s lives,” Alexander said. “No matter what they choose or what their path looks like moving forward, I want them to feel God’s love when they are there with me. That’s the goal of the whole ministry — that they would feel His love no matter what choice they make. We want them to know that abortion is not what He would have for them, but the biggest goal is to love them well and point them to Christ.”
At the close of the service, Pastor Randal Lyle of Meadowridge shared 1 John 3:18, “Let us not love in word and in talk, but in deed and in truth.” He left believers with a challenge to do more than speak to the issue but take actions that make a difference.
“The absolute best way that you can be a part of change if you are passionate about this is not through your post that you put online. What changes things is getting involved in ministering to people, walking in the door and asking, ‘How can I help?’” he said. “Christian, I want to encourage you to love not just in talk, but in the way that you live. We need to have discussions with people. I think those are good. But there comes a point where our discussion has to end and our actions have to begin. My challenge to you is don’t just talk and don’t just think, but act upon what God has put in your heart.”
The Christian Life Commission is a part of the Center for Cultural Engagement. For videos to share with your church on Sanctity of Life Sunday, click here. To watch a recording of the Sanctity of Life Celebration, click here.