While faithful Christians in a Biblically-constituted and qualified church met together for Lord’s Day worship , two religious anarchists decided to meet outside a church worship service with posters of dead babies. The two abolitionists who protested outside Heritage Grace Community Church have promised to do it again this Sunday, and are soliciting more help.
What did the members of Heritage Grace Community Church do to solicit such treatment? After looking at every single piece of evidence provided by AHA members, I have no earthly idea. I don’t think they know, either. They claim the church is guilty of apathy toward child sacrifice. Apathy seems to be defined by the abolitionists as not wearing their label and running in their gang. Their protest will harm the church, and give the impression that Heritage Grace is somehow pro-abortion, and that would be a Satan-breathed deception. What these abolitionists are doing, and what AHA leadership is condoning and in some cases affirming, is a demonic treatment of the Christian church and they present themselves as enemies of the Bride of Christ.
As a polemicist, I spend a few hours every week contending for the faith with enemies of the church, whether charismaniacs or cultists or other schismatics. Those people who claim to be Christians, but are not, and who serve as doctrinal Trojan Horses to infiltrate and attack the church from the inside receive from me an especially tough treatment. If one makes themselves an enemy of the Bride of Christ, they are due a righteous hostility. What is being done to Heritage Grace Community Church – in the name of Christ, no less – is as wicked and wrong as any sub-christian sect that I regularly engage.
So then, here are some thoughts in an open letter to Abolish Human Abortion (AHA) and I pray they receive it well.
You know me. I’ve defended you. I’ve supported you. I’ve worn your logo. I know you’ve never lacked in zeal, and have kept your religious fervor, and you’ve sought to serve the Lord (Romans 12:11). You have helped to stir me up to every good word and work (Romans 10:24-25) and you have encouraged my heart and helped to strengthen me in those good words and works (2 Thessalonians 2:17) outside the abortion mill and for the cause of abolition. You have stirred up, in fact, thousands if not tens of thousands to see the evil of our age and to act accordingly. As for my credentials, I’m an abolitionist. I believe the Pro-Life movement is a spiritual succubus that sucks the life out of our moral conscience and exists to sustain its profitable existence. I’ve sat down with my state senator and representative and others from surrounding districts and explained to them the importance of abolition and why it’s an ideological necessity. My church has financially supported the cause of AHA and I had an abolitionist in my home who spoke during my Sunday School just a few weeks ago, so the church would understand the difference between being pro-life and being an abolitionist. I’ve strategized with AHA leaders on the phone – who called me – and in person on how to best accomplish their goals. I have supported with certain reservations the Church Repent project, as sometimes necessary for churches who are supportive of child murder or even non-opinionated in their official stances. So then, any attempt to paint me as just another apathetic first-world Christian who acts in word but not in deed, I assume will be met by at least a few AHA abolitionists who know better. And for the record, most AHA participants are wonderful Christian brothers who are not playing the fool, as are the two scalawags outside Grace Community Church. I will do my best, therefore, not to paint with a broad brush.
That being said, I exhort you in the following ways.
1. About this word, exhort. This word means “to strongly encourage or entice someone, by words or advice, to do something.” Exhorting by giving advice or words requires a conversation. It does not require holding up dead baby pictures outside someone’s church. That’s a protest, and calling it “exhort” doesn’t make shinola smell like sugar.
In the video you posted, a church deacon – Robert Reece – came out spoke with you very cordially. He conversed with you politely and reasonably, and he listened to what you were saying. You had in your head that the church was apathetic, based upon nothing more than your subjective, poorly-informed opinion. Nothing he said about the church’s or church members’ activities seemed to matter to you. That the church calls abortion a damnable sin didn’t matter. That they preach Law and Gospel in the open air didn’t matter to you. That they were listening to you and treating you respectfully didn’t matter. You were hell-bent on proving your self-righteous superiority and their supposed spiritual apathy by playing the martyr outside the church with attention-getting signs.
You hold up signs when people don’t listen. If they think they can or should just ignore you, then you get out a megaphone or look for another creative way to get your point across. I know. I’ve specialized in getting people who think they can just ignore you to stop ignoring you (remember back when I was on social media – I was called a terrorist more times than I can count). However, you don’t go full protest when you can just walk up and have them talk to you. Didn’t you feel kind of stupid when Robert Reece walked up to talk to you like a normal human being? It was awkward for me, and I was just watching it on video. Emilio Ramos would have invited you over to his house to visit, but you had to hold up signs? That’s not only obtuse, it’s asinine. A megachurch like LifeTV, with whom abolitionists have tangled, wouldn’t give you the time of day. They act like you don’t exist and it’s beneath them to talk to you. That’s who you might want to get their attention through more…creative means. But you could sit down and talk with a church’s pastor or leadership because they’re reasonable human beings and aren’t megachurch growth-drones and you think the best thing to do is protest them?
Could you imagine the president inviting someone into the White House to talk, and some dirty hippy decided to instead protest outside the gates? Good strategy, Pedro. No, really. Genius. I bet that’s effective.
So, without having esoteric knowledge into the state of your heart or mind, let me tell you what it sure looks like. It looks to us (by “us” I mean sentient human beings) like you just get your jollies by protesting churches. It appears to us that it’s an outlet for the overflow of your self-righteousness, relieving the pressure in your exceedingly narrow mind from the build-up of ego inside your psyche. It could be, I admit, well-deserved rage at a Christian culture that by-and-large marginalizes and minimizes the murder of babies and so you’re just out blindly swinging at any target that presents itself. However, that tomfoolery leads me to number two.
2. Zeal has to be tempered by wisdom. Storm the gates! Ra ra ra. We get it. You really, really, really care about abortion. Well, that’s good. It is the evil of our age. We will all (maybe an over-statement, maybe not) be judged – to whatever lengths redeemed people are judged and subsequently pardoned on that Great Day – for our apathy toward child murder. Unless you go the lengths of Paul Jennings Hill, Scott Roeder or Eric Robert Rudolph, there will probably always be the thought you could have done more to stop abortion (by the way, do not go to the lengths of Hill, Roeder or Rudolph). I applaud the zealousness of most abolitionists, and I rejoice in their fervency. However, zeal without wisdom is counter-productive lunacy, and counter-productive lunacy is the playground of certain abolitionists. Wisdom-tempered zeal would understand that not everyone is an enemy.
Man, I get it! I do! Certain abolitionists have been kicked out of their churches. Pastors, like Ronnie Rogers of Oklahoma, have repeatedly mistreated abolitonists while maintaining the mantle of “pro-life,” all the time supporting close family members playing Russian Roulette with their unborn children via in vitro fertilization. Once burned, twice shy. I get it. Heck, a close friend of mine had their family and children shunned from the Christianesque home school co-op because they were abolitionists. But friend, that does not mean that the established church at large is fair game to be at the receiving end of your petulant, self-absorbed temper tantrums. This leads me to number three.
3. Your home abolitionist Bible study group is not a church. It’s here I want to be careful about broad-brushing. Many – and I would hope most – abolitionists are practicing members of Biblical, New Testament churches. There is a very unhealthy stream of abolitionism, however, that has replaced the Bible with Barna’s Pagan Christianity and who have replaced the church with a cult. By “cult,” I mean a group that gets together for religious purposes but doesn’t have Biblically-defined leadership (the offices of elders and deacons), clear expectations or delineations of membership, and organizational structure that Christ built. Furthermore, by “cult,” I mean an organization for whom its attendees or participants have chosen it instead of (not on top of) an actual church. A deconstructing of the organized church is Emergent-church type demonism, not some kind of reclamation of First Century ecclesiology. If abolitionists (and there are some, but not all and probably not most) who have forsaken the church for an abolitionist-centered churchy-type opportunity in their homes, they’ve abandoned the bride of Christ and have made themselves one with a whore. I use that word because any religious group that takes people away from the Bride, is a harlot or mistress.
Calling a church to repent, when you belong to a cult, is a level of cognitive dissonance that should make your head hurt.
4. It’s time for organization. For some time, AHA has been able to distance itself from the crazier types that hurt the movement by their unqualified preaching or anarchial religious spirit by pointing out the organization has no organization. Anyone can call themselves an abolitionist and anyone can call themselves a part of AHA. This was an intentional decision to foster a grass-roots and grass-fire type spread of abolitionist ideology. By nature, this particular group of abolitionists were already prone to deconstruction of organization, and so the last thing they wanted to do was create some non-organic, highly bureaucratic organizational structure. Here’s the problem, though. The movement has grown (it has been wildly successful), but the paradigm has shifted and what was once the boon of abolitionism will soon destroy it if the brain-trust (Russell Hunter and the gang in Norman) doesn’t realize that safeguards must be put into place to protect the organization from the type of idiocy that was displayed last Sunday outside the Heritage Grace Community Church. Instead of being able to say, “we’re not responsible for what any AHA member does,” the reality is quickly becoming that because of the lack of organization, that negligence makes AHA leadership directly responsible for what every AHA member does.
“AHA” doesn’t have leadership, we’re told. Yes, you do. It’s T.Russell Hunter, Toby Harmon, and the boys in Norman. Everyone knows this, and everyone recognizes it. The wagon is out of control, and it’s time for somebody to take the reigns. There needs to be a controlled burn, but the fire is out of control. I would argue that Hunter, Harmon and the others have a responsibility to take the reigns. You can’t just start a fire and walk away. Your fire. You control it.
5. It’s time to repudiate the ne’er-do-wells in Texas. AHA leadership needs to clearly, articulately and passionately call the protest against the godly and Biblical, sin-rebuking, Gospel-preaching church what it is – unwise (if not wicked) and wrong.
6. If the de facto leaders of AHA don’t repudiate the ne’er-do-wells in Texas, it’s time to leave AHA. If you have to leave AHA, it’s not a tragedy. Hey guys in Oklahoma, thanks for using Russell Hunter’s freakishly smart brain to breath life into this awesome ideological movement. Thanks for the good times. But, it’s time to move on. You can still be an abolitionist, take abolitionism and make it your ethos, but it might be time to drop the AHA from your signs.