Vol 11 Edition 3, 2001: The Blood of the Innocent On Our Hands?

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Criminals murder 20 000 to 30 000 South Africans every year.1 South Africans are more than 15 times more likely to be victims of murder or attempted murder than US residents (and 45 times more than UK residents)!2 Despite this, the most dangerous places in South Africa are not Hillbrow, Langa and Berea _ but with your mother at the government hospitals and private clinics that provide abortions.

Who Has Died?

51 132 babies lost their lives through abortion last year.3 Twice as many innocent people were killed by doctors and nurses through abortions as by criminals last year.

"The LORD said, `What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground.'" Genesis 4:10

These abortions were not primarily the desperate actions of teenage mothers. 63% of these mothers were over 18 years old (and the ages of a further 29% were not recorded).

"They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters …" Psalm 106:38

Over a third of the abortions (13 027) took place after 12 weeks of gestation. From conception, the baby has his (or her) unique DNA. At 3 weeks, the baby has a heartbeat. From 6 weeks, brainwaves can be detected. At 8 weeks, the child is a well proportioned baby, with every organ present _ the stomach makes digestive juices, the liver makes blood cells, and the kidneys begin to function. At 10 weeks the child's body is sensitive to touch, and at 11 weeks the child will even smile.4

"For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:13-16

Abortion on demand has shown steady annual growth since it was introduced in 1997. Prior to 1997, a lot of resistance to passing the law was mobilised, and after the law was passed, a lot of pressure was applied to prevent abortions. Since then the momentum has been lost.Abortion is murder, and we cannot accept a steady annual increase in abortion.

“Show him no pity. You must purge from Israel the guilt of shedding innocent blood, so that it may go well with you.” Deuteronomy 19:13 

The Free State led the abortion tables in 2000 with 2.1 abortions per 1000 people. Gauteng (1.9) and the Western Cape (1.6) were not far behind. The Eastern Cape (0.5) and Northern Province (0.4) are the “least worst” – but still saw thousands of babies lose their lives to abortion last year.

“If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength! Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who guards your life know it? Will He not repay each person according to what He has done?” Proverbs 24:10-12

What Has Been Done?

Excellent work has been done by Christians in establishing crisis pregnancy centres and homes for unmarried mothers. Christian adoption agencies ensure that every child has a home.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

Christian doctors and nurses have resisted intense pressure to aid abortions, resulting in only 32% of “designated facilities” carrying out abortions.5 Doctors for Life have supported these brave men and women.

“… my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; for their feet rush into sin, they are swift to shed blood.” Proverbs 1:15-16 

Christians For Truth have done excellent work in their Kwazulu-Natal heartland, putting intense and sustained pressure on private clinics, resulting in the closure of the Marie Stopes clinic in Pietermaritzburg recently.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

.What Must Still Be Done?

The ‘silent majority’ needs to make their voices heard. The Life Chain – the first Sunday in October every year (7 October 2001) is an excellent opportunity for a huge public outcry, to educate and to pray. If your town doesn’t have one, YOU can organize a Life Chain. YOU cannot be silent at this time.

Those who hate God and love death (Proverbs 8:36) are using abandoned and HIV+ children as an excuse for abortion. Early Christians in the Roman Empire rescued babies that had been abandoned on the ‘exposure walls’ outside the city – often illegally and at great risk to themselves.6 When compared with the possibility of being thrown to the lions for rescuing a child, the bureaucracy and expenses involved these days in taking a child into a Christian home seem a small price to pay.

“A Father to the fatherless, a Defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families …” Psalm 68:5-6

Churches need to preach the sanctity of human life and support women in crisis pregnancies, as well as parents who chose to adopt. 

“… In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will …” Ephesians 1:4-5

More education is needed in the homes and in schools. The message needs to go out that sex causes babies to be conceived, and a pre-born baby is not a blob of tissue.

Pro-lifers need to be organised to ensure that no-one can walk into an abortion clinic or hospital without being confronted with the facts about abortion. Retired people, who are available during the day, can stand in the gap here.

More research is needed. Accurate numbers and demographics are needed. Testimonies of women who have chosen life (and even death) are needed. South African photos of aborted babies must be obtained.

Finally, we need to mourn for the lost lives and pray that God will give the victory. We need to aim, not merely for a reduction in abortions, but change hearts and minds and ultimately to end abortion. Human life, whether that of 20 000 already born victims of criminals, or of 50 000 pre-born victims of abortion, is made in God's image and must be protected.

Jeanine McGill


Notes:
1. It's impossible to be precise because of the current moratorium on crime statistics. According to the South Africa Yearbook 2000/01, there were 23 823 murders in 1999.
2. From the Interpol figures for 1996, 1997, as quoted in the South Africa Survey 2000/2001, p 75.

3. Fax from the Department of Health to Africa Christian Action, 22/6/2001. These numbers may include significant under-reporting since some chemically induced abortions are recorded as miscarriages, and (from telephone conversations with the Department) it appears that the figures exclude private abortions.
4. Milestones of Early Life tract. Moore and Persaud, The Developing Human, Clinically Oriented Embryology, 1998, supports these figures.
5. Public Hearings on the Implementation of the 1996 Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, A Short Report November 2000, p10.
6. George Grant, Third Time Around, p26.

BANKROLLING THE REFORMATION

Although God has sometimes miraculously provided for His people, often He has given ordinary people the privilege of sharing in His work through their provision for His servants. At other times, since others were not willing, God's servants have given self-sacrificially to do His work. Keep reading for a look at some examples from history ….

All Christians are exhorted to excel in the grace of giving (2 Corinthians 8:7). In addition to this, those who have the gift of contributing to the needs of others are urged to give generously (Romans 12:8).

Biblical Examples

Abraham used his own provisions and private army to rescue his nephew Lot from war-torn Sodom (Genesis 14).

"When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan." Genesis 14:14

Gideon sacrificed his father's second bull in obedience to God, to break the power of idolatry (Judges 6).

"That same night the LORD said to him, `Take the second bull from your father's herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father's altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the LORD your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.'" Judges 6:25-26

In 1 Samuel 11, Saul cut into pieces his own oxen and sent these all over Israel to call the tribes to war against cruel and oppressive Ammonites (now that's an unusual mailing!).

"He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming, `This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.' Then the terror of the LORD fell on the people, and they turned out as one man." 1 Samuel 11:7

The wicked Israeli king Ahab promoted idolatry and provoked God to anger. After the prophetElijah bravely spoke God's judgement in the form of a drought, his bread is provided by avery poor widow in Zarephath (1 Kings 16,17).

"Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." 1 Kings 17:9

The prophet Elisha was blessed with meals and luxury accomodation by a well-to-do woman in Shumen (2 Kings 4).

"One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. She said to her husband, `I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let's make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.'" 2 Kings 4:8-10

Our King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus' itinerant ministry was supported by grateful women who had been delivered from demon possesion (Luke 8:1-3). These provisions also enabled the disciples to follow Him full-time.

"These women were helping to support them out of their own means." Luke 8:3

Besides his tent making, churches like the Philippians supported Paul and Christians offered hospitality to him on his travels.

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles." Philippians 4:13-14

Examples From the Reformation

Printers reproduced and distributed Martin Luther's writings across the whole of Germany. At a particularly dangerous time, he was "kidnapped" (taken into protective custody) and secretly housed for ten months by Frederick the Elector of Saxony, since the Catholics wanted to kill him. He took this opportunity to complete the translation of the New Testament into the German language.1

After his allegiance to the Roman church was broken, on principle, John Calvin resigned from two income-producing benefices, despite having no other support. Later, inGeneva, like the other pastors, he was called and paid a salary by the Little Council.2

More Recent History

Charles Spurgeon's Stockwell orphanage was kick started by a 20 000 pound gift from aclergyman's widow. Generous support from a variety of people through the years provided the running costs for the orphans, as well as for a variety of other causes, including a temperance society, a ladies' maternal society, a poor ministers' clothing society and ragged schools.3

Besides his work in the British Parliament to abolish slavery, William Wilberforce felt a strong call for the "reformation of manners (morals) in this country". His Clapham Christian action group fought against child labour and for prison reform andimprovement in factory conditions. This group used pamphlets, drawings, petitions and boycotts to inform and exert pressure. Wilberforce gave very generously of his own time and money to a wide variety of causes, and died bankrupt. 4

David Livingstone had to send his wife and children back to England because he was in debt and his salary from the London Missionary Society did not arrive for over a year. He had very little, and local people (including the Boers) stole most of that.6 God certainly used him in spite of his poor support!

What Can You Do to Promote Reformation?

Support your local church _ and make sure that your church spends the money Biblically. If the Lord has blessed you with more to give than your tithe, read on ….

Support the organisations that prophetically proclaim God's truth and work for righteousness in South Africa (Matthew 10:40-42). Besides giving generously, you can support these organisations by buying, reading and acting on their books _ and you too will be blessed!

Support Godly leaders _ getting elected into public office is not cheap. Find, pray for, encourage and financially help Christian men and women who are capable, trustworthy and who hate corruption (Exodus 18:21) to take positions of influence.

Show true religion (James 1:27) and support widows and orphans, and those who help them. Modern needs include Crisis Pregnancy Centres, AIDS hospices and adopting "unwanted" children.

Change the next generation - we need Christian lawyers, doctors, teachers, journalists … Support the education of promising young people _ but make sure that provision for "mind renewing" (Romans 12:2) books, camps and courses are included in the budget.

Be sure to offer hospitality to visiting Christians. Offering hospitality to girls in crisis pregnancies and Christians in financial difficulty can be a challenge, but reflects what the early Christians practiced.

"… Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:18

Jeanine McGill


Notes:
1. JA Morrison, Martin Luther, The Great Reformer, Christian Liberty Press, Illinois, 1994.
2. Dr. William Lindner, John Calvin, Bethany House Publishers, Minnesota, 1998.

3. Ernest W. Bacon, Spurgeon, Heir of the Puritans, Christian Liberty Press, 1996.
4. Wilberforce video by Gateway films and "Setting the Captives Free" by Peter Hammond.
5. C. Silverster Horne, David Livingstone, Man of Prayer and Action, Christian Liberty Press, Illinois, 1999.

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