We proclaim the biblical mandate; are we brave enough to walk it?
Last Sunday, August 9th, Pastor Vic Pentz of Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Metro Atlanta was preaching a sermon on politics, abortion, and the sanctity of human life. Near the end of his sermon, he said the following: “I make a promise to you now and I don’t want you to keep this a secret. The Peachtree Presbyterian Church will care for any newborn baby you bring to this church. We will be the family to find a home for that child, and there’s no limit on this. You can tell your friends, you can tell your family, you can tell the whole world …”
As you might imagine, this was a very provocative statement for his church that reverberated loudly within the wider Atlanta community. The local NBC affiliate in Atlanta picked up on the story and did a follow-up interview with the pastor. They subsequently found out that the church would be partnering with Bethany Christian Services to facilitate the adoption of any unwanted infants, both by church members and by those in the wider community.
I’m sharing this story with you this week for two reasons. First, this is an excellent example of how the church is supposed to function in the world. Conservative evangelical churches are quick to condemn abortion, and in the process, we unintentionally vilify single mothers and hurting women, effectively shutting down critical avenues of ministry to those who need to know the forgiveness and love of Christ. We cannot just be bold in preaching the biblical standard, we also must be the first ones to step out in faith and obey the biblical standard.
Saving the lives of unborn children is more about opening our homes and hearts to them than forcing a political agenda. We still need to utilize our freedom to vote in a godly manner, but I dare say that Peachtree Presbyterian Church will save more lives this way than they would with any voting campaign at election time. This same lesson applies to helping the poor, protecting a biblical ethic of marriage, and fighting racism. It is not just about how loudly we speak, it is about how actively we glorify God by sacrificing our time and resources, by getting out among the hurting and getting our hands dirty, and by serving those in need in the name of Christ.
The second reason I am sharing this story with you is because I want our church family to experience the blessings that come with helping children in need. Right now, our leadership is prayerfully examining opportunities that will help us develop this kind of ministry. In the upcoming MIT quarter, we will be teaching a class on Adoption. Early next year, we hope to offer classes that will assist couples who would like to adopt as well as training those who would like to serve as foster parents.
I know there are many challenges that come with this type of ministry, but it is time for us to go beyond mere rhetoric about the sanctity of life and really invest ourselves in being “family” to the motherless and fatherless in our world. Can you imagine how quickly Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry would shrink if all biblical churches stepped forward in this way? It would be a mighty move of God! The lesson is this: We must preach the Word, but we must also be brave enough to walk the talk. I love you all dearly!