First Baptist Church, Blanchard
Abolitionists exhort Darren Yarbrough, owner of Yarbrough & Sons Heat and Air, as well as First Baptist Church of Blanchard, OK, to repent. Here is the explanation of the events leading up to this call to repentance. Here is the explanation of the aftermath. Here is commentary related to events following the immediate aftermath, including…
Loving the Church – An Initial Reply to Opponents of Church Repent
Over the course of the re-ignition of abolition in America, some defections were expected, some betrayals anticipated. When abolitionists first came on the scene with a Gospel-centered worldview and an uncompromising approach, not to mention eye-catching graphics and pithy expressions, many were quick to embrace us. As events unfolded, as we ourselves learned more about…
First Presbyterian Church of Sandpoint (Pro-Choice “Church”)
On Sunday, April 6, 2014, the Abolitionist Society of North Idaho again went to the street in front of a “church” that supports abortion to call it to repent. The church is the First Presbyterian Church of Sandpoint, led by pastor Andy Kennaly. It is part of First Presbyterian Church (USA), which is a member…
Table of contents
- 1 The evangelical churches in America have not failed to be pro-life, they have failed to be Christian
- 2 We must Repent
- 3 Rise Up! Oh Church of God and do the works you did at first
- 4 Why we are exhorting good pro-life churches
- 5 Pro-life churches have preferred to write checks and cast votes
- 6 They have loved in word but not in deed
- 7 We must begin to think rightly about abortion: Abortion is sin
- 8 Our theological foundation
- 9 We Love the Church
- 10 What does it mean to repent?
- 11 Repent of what?
- 12 What does repentance look like?
The evangelical churches in America have not failed to be pro-life, they have failed to be Christian
We know this because we are part of the Bride of Christ and members of the evangelical church in America. However, we are the part of the church which has not only come to grips with the horrendous reality of abortion (most evangelical churches would say they have) but we have also awakened to the monstrous evil that is our own apathy regarding the shedding of innocent blood taking place all around us. The churches in America have minimized the wickedness of abortion and minimized their own role and responsibility to be salt and light in this culture of death.
We have all become too comfortable in this culture of death. Oh Lord, please stir up your people. Change our hearts Oh God and help us to see this abomination rightly. Give us strength to act accordingly. We confess that we have not been cold towards the shedding of innocent blood… but we understand how we have not been hot about it.
We confess our sin oh Lord and ask for your forgiveness and help.
God will not bless a nation or church that tolerates child sacrifice. Look around at this country: we are not going to be judged for abortion. Abortion is part of the judgment that has already come.
We must Repent
We have launched this project as a result of our own repentance. We have launched this project out of love. Love for our unborn neighbors, brothers and sisters, but also out of love for the Church.
We are sounding the alarm and attempting to wake up the rest of our body to a grave sin which they have come to practice – apathy! We are also determined to put on display before the watching world which churches are and are not going to stand up against the greatest injustice against God ever carried out by fallen man. Future historians will look back on this period of history and note which churches did and did not cry aloud for the aborted unborn; which “churches” supported child sacrifice; which churches did and did not do more than just vote; which churches embraced the call for abolition and led the way in bringing abortion to its speedy end.
Rise Up! Oh Church of God and do the works you did at first
We are just seeking to be obedient to God and follow the leading of his Spirit as we leave the results of our work to His sovereign control. We are relying on the power of His Gospel, trusting in the Providence of His Spirit, and looking to the revelation of his divine will as our guide.
Why we are exhorting good pro-life churches
For 40 years now, evangelical churches have farmed out their practice of pure and undefiled religion to the state and various non-profit organizations who pridefully care for orphans, widows, and the oppressed in the absence of the Church (James 1:27). They have turned over their responsibility to “expose evils” and “be salt and light” to various pro-life para-church ministries who want to be the heroes out fighting on the front lines in their place, but with their support (Ephesians 5:11). They have placed the sole responsibility for removing evils and correcting oppression in the hands of politicians who have failed to be a minister of good on behalf of the innocent (Romans 13:4).
Pro-life churches have preferred to write checks and cast votes
Often times pro-life churches are choosing to write checks to Crisis Pregnancy Centers and pro-life lobbyists alone who put all of their time and energy into trying to encourage women to make the good choice in a pro-choice-abortion rights world… through counseling and or legislative acts which require them to make up their minds before a baby can feel pain (at twenty weeks!) or looking at an ultrasound before they choose to have their baby killed. Churches put their money towards pro-choice initiatives designed to encourage a good choice or “choosing life” but they do not support out and out abolition (not that there have yet been a lot of abolitionists to support) and have not chosen to support people who are against the choice being permissible or thinkable in the first place.
They have loved in word but not in deed
Evangelicals have largely adopted the pro-life movement’s embrace of pragmatic tactics and a pluralistic mindset. Evangelicals have followed the church of Rome and let them lead the way in fighting abortion and gaining the cultural reputation for standing against abortion. Evangelicals have chosen to fund organizations and esteem individuals who purposefully leave the Gospel of Jesus Christ out of their “Social Justice” programs and would even forsake the Gospel in their attempt to “save the babies” at all costs.
Even the best pro-life churches in America have done some of the following things:
- They have failed to love their unborn neighbors as part of their everyday way of life.
- They have played the part of the Priest and the Levite, and driven right by abortion clinics on their way to church, passing by their neighbors in need on the other side of the road.
- They have treated the abortion holocaust as an apologetics “issue” and read books in preparation of defending the pro-life position, yet never sought to bring the Gospel into conflict with the evil of their age.
- They have turned loving their pre-born neighbor into an occasional big event (bringing in large pro-life organization like CBR or “Justice for All” every couple of years, or attending a pro-life rally or march to go on a long walk with a bunch of other pro-lifers, or pay big-name celebrity pro-life speakers to visit their church, sell books, and fleece for more funding).
- They have turned child sacrifice into a single-sermon issue and made a molehill out of a mountainous sacrilegious injustice.
- Aside from “Sanctity of Life” sermons, pastors have failed to faithfully preach against the murder of preborn image bearers on a regular basis (does abortion take place only once a year, or on a regular basis, week in and week out?).
- Many pastors refuse to preach on abortion at all, claiming it is “too political” or “too charged of an issue” (when really they are really just worried about how it will affect the filling up of their pews and offering plates).
- Church bodies who do engage in pro-life activism have been guilty of constantly supporting compromises with evil such as the popular annual heartbeat bills, ultra-sound bills, fetal pain bills, etc. which keep the pro-life movement in business and abortion around to be gradually abolished.
- They have supported political groups and candidates who push for legislation that ends with “and then you can murder your baby”. Legislation such as heartbeat bills, ultra-sound bills, fetal pain bills, etc. purposely abandons those who are difficult to save in order to purportedly save those who are easier and more desired to be saved by the world.
- Conservative Christians in general have a long record of testifying on behalf of a little or lesser evil in order that good may come.
- They have compromised on the rape/incest exception, abandoning children made in the image of God to destruction for the crime of their father when they’ve claimed to believe that God Himself was responsible for knitting every child together in the womb. Thus they greatly contributed to keeping abortion legal by supporting the one thing that pro-choicers really need (the rape exception) to keep abortion-on-demand culturally approved and necessary.
- They have failed to treat abortion as the heinous, sinful crime that it is. They have done this by saying things like, “I haven’t been called to that,” or “We must give the knitting ministry the same amount of time and emphasis as abortion ministry”. Or, yet worse, “I don’t focus on abortion because I keep the main thing the main thing”, which pits Christ’s Commission to make disciples who keep His commandments against His second Great Commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself”.
- They have minimized the sinfulness of abortion by failing to exercise church discipline on pro-choice members, abortion workers, or unrepentant post-abortive mothers, fathers, and grand-parents.They have adopted the worldly wisdom of the pro-life movement by supporting pro-life groups who argue from a merely secular and philosophical approach, keeping their theological presuppositions to themselves, and sharing the Gospel only if a spiritual question is brought up (if even then). They have been ashamed of the Gospel of God and embraced other things as though they were more powerful to save those who are perishing.
- They have failed to be, in many cases, even an occasional, let alone constant, presence at the abortion clinics where abandoned women and fatherless children are facing great affliction (James 1:27).
- They have supported Crisis Pregnancy Centers which purposefully remove the Bible from their work and set aside the Gospel. Instead of dealing with abortion-minded women in the Biblical categories of sin, repentance, and forgiveness (pointing to the abortion-minded mother’s only hope: the cross of Jesus Christ), many of these Centers remove the offense of the Cross. In the name of pragmatism and being as non-offensive to these women as possible, they point women to the better personal “choice” of keeping their child rather than bringing the women to face the sinfulness of abortion. By failing to point women to the sin already in their hearts against their unborn children (Matthew 5:21-22), they necessarily fail to point these women to the deep, sacrificial love of a crucified Savior who is reconciling sinful people to Himself.
It is time for the churches in America to embrace an ideology of Abolition and refuse to go with the multitude to do evil. It is time we wake up and lead the charge to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). It is time that we abandon all friendship with the world and cast off all arrangements which require us to be at peace with child sacrifice. It is time we choose to shine out as lights in the midst of this perverse generation.
We must begin to think rightly about abortion: Abortion is sin
We must bring our theology to bear in how we understand and attack the ideas which undergird the continued cultural approval and commendation of child sacrifice.
Our theological foundation
The things that we do are based upon the following principles:
- Incarnation and the imago dei as a starting point for human dignity, value, and worth.
- Reliance on the Providential working of God, seeking only to please Him, and therefore rejecting all forms of pragmatism contrary to God’s revealed will such as: linking arms with pagans, atheists, Roman Catholics, and anyone else who denies the Gospel or proclaims a different one altogether, doing a little (or a lot) of evil that good may come, and putting more stock in political expediency than faithfulness to Christ.
- The Gospel as the primary weapon against abortion; seeking to bring the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ into conflict with every fortified front of the abortion stronghold.
- A belief that loving one’s neighbor and loving the Lord God with all one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength are acts that the Church is obligated to obey in regard to their preborn, image-bearing neighbors, and the mothers guilty of slaughtering them.
- An uncompromising call for immediate repentance from the national sin of abortion, a call similar to the one Jonah proclaimed to Nineveh or Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount.
We Love the Church
Our Love for the Church compels us to go to her and entreat her to fully embrace a biblically consistent ideology of Abolition and then immediately put it into practice. Our heart is set on exhorting local churches to incorporate abolitionism into their practice of pure and undefiled religion. We worship in a culture that kills its children. We can do no less.
It is our belief that the church is biblically-mandated and uniquely equipped to engage in this battle, but they must be “all in” taking up the charge. It is our belief that if God is willing, and He grants repentance to the lukewarm church of America, revival in the church will be closely followed by revival in our nation. God is able if His Bride is willing.
We love the church so much that we hasten to call her and her shepherds to heed well the words of the prophet Ezekiel:
Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? “You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. “Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. “They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered. “My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them.” Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: “As I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock; therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them”’” (Ezekiel 34:1-10).
Please understand that we are not demanding that churches stop being churches and become abolitionist societies, but rather that they rightly understand what it means to love their neighbor in a culture that practices child-sacrifice and integrate the work of abolition into their active practice of pure and undefiled religion. We are not saying that every Christian has to become a full-time abolitionist or become as active in the work of abolition as those running this website. We are simply encouraging Christians to see that they have not been loving their neighbors as they would love themselves or visiting abandoned women and fatherless children in their affliction as they are commanded or keeping themselves unstained by the world to the point that they do more than simply abstain from evils or take an opposing position regarding them. We long to see churches rise up, expose the evil of abortion everywhere, and help all those caught up in the temptations of this culture of death. We are calling on the Church of Jesus Christ and Christians everywhere to assail the darkness of abortion with the light of Christ and carry out actions against abortion to the extent that they are commanded in Scripture and to the extent that abolitionist societies lose their raison d’être.
What does it mean to repent?
Repentance means to turn from one course of action to the opposite; to change thinking or plans. It doesn’t necessarily include the idea of turning from evil to good, although that is usually the case. If you repented of going to the store, you would stop going to the store and go somewhere else. The Bible includes numerous examples of individuals and groups repenting and shows us what that meant.
Repentance is not sorrow. One can feel sorry for their actions, but not repent (worldly sorrow); or one can have Godly sorrow that leads to repentance, but repentance and sorrow are not the same thing. Sorrow is a feeling. Repentance is an action.
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. –II Corinthians 7:10
Repent of what?
The Church broadly and Christians individually are guilty of apathy and complacency toward the child sacrifice in their midst. It is not that the church has failed to believe that abortion is wrong (although some Christians are guilty of this) … it is that the Church has failed to prioritize and take action against the common, accepted, daily murder of the weak, defenseless, and innocent neighbors around them.
The church cannot claim that the murder of innocent children is merely “a political issue”. It is your defenseless neighbor being torn to pieces. Individual churches cannot claim that the murder of innocent children is “not their ministry” – you are walking by the bloodied, beaten traveler in the ditch on your way to “more important things”. The church cannot hide behind the defeatist, pragmatic retort that “there is nothing we can really do to stop it”, and rather be obedient to God. Cry out for the weak, preach repentance to the lost, and stand boldly for the truth without regard for the outcome. Obedience is ours; the results are God’s.
What does repentance look like?
Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes. He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. “But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. –Jonah 3:5-8
This repentance is the opposite of apathy and complacency. See here for more ideas.
by Elmer Towns and Ben Gutierrez
Before Revelation pronounces a message of judgment on the unbelieving world, it first calls the churches to repentance. In these letters the Lord of the church speaks lovingly but firmly to the churches in words of both commendation and condemnation.
The message to each church follows the same sevenfold pattern:
1. Commission: “To the angel of the church ”
2. Character: “The One who . . . says this”
3. Commendation: “I know your works ”
4. Condemnation: “But I have this against you ”
5. Correction: “Repent . . . turn . . . change”
6. Call: “He who has an ear, let him hear”
7. Challenge: “To him who overcomes”
A. Ephesus: Preoccupied Church (Revelation 2:1–7)
Ephesus, to whom Paul’s letter to the Ephesians was written, was one of the out- standing churches of the first century. Paul, Timothy, John, Apollos, and Aquila and Priscilla were all there in the apostolic era. This was a privileged church indeed! Yet, as time wore on, they had begun to lose their first priority and became preoccupied with other things. Commended for their good works, they were challenged to regain their “first love” and serve the Lord with renewed passion.
B. Smyrna: Persecuted Church (Revelation 2:8–11)
There were no words of condemnation or correction for the persecuted believers at Smyrna, a city that prided itself on its emperor worship. The name of the city came from the aroma of a perfume made there by crushing the resin of a small thorn bush. It was an apt description of the fragrance of the many martyrs who gave their lives there for the cause of Christ, including John’s own disciple Polycarp who was burned at the stake in the year 156.
C. Pergamum: Political Church (Revelation 2:12–17)
The massive Roman fortress sat on the acropolis at Pergamum on the Mediterranean coast. It also became the site of the first temple in the area dedicated to the Caesar cult, erected in honor of Augustus in 29 BC. The citizens of Pergamum worshipped power. The Roman army was headquartered there, and the temple of Zeus, the god of power, dominated the city “where Satan’s throne is” (2:13). There was no distinction in Pergamum between religion and politics, and the believers were often caught in the temptation of political correctness that often led to spiritual compromise.
D. Tyatira: Prosperous Church (Revelation 2:18–29)
The longest letter was written to the church in the smallest town. Thyatira was known for its clothing industry: weaving, dyeing, and sewing were major sources of income, especially for women. The town was dominated by trade guilds, which required religious participation and were dominated by powerful and prosperous women. It is no surprise then that a prosperous woman, symbolically called “Jezebel,” functioned as a false teacher in the church and tolerated false doctrine.
E. Sardis: Powerless Church (Revelation 3:1–6)
Sardis was an old city. It had formerly been the capital of the region under the Persians, was destroyed by the Greeks, and rebuilt by the Romans. The church, like the city, was dying, and only a few believers were left (3:14). The Lord challenged them with five staccato imperatives: Wake up! Strengthen! Remember! Obey! Repent!
F. Philadelphia: Persevering Church (Revelation 3:7–13)
Known as the “gateway to the East,” Philadelphia sat in a lush valley in the heart of Asia Minor, near the pass into the Timolous Mountains. It was literally the “open door” between East and West. The church persevered with “limited strength” (3:8) and was commended for their endurance and promised to be kept “from” (Gk. ek) the “hour of testing” (tribulation) that would eventually come on the whole world (3:10).
G. Laodicea: Putrid Church (Revelation 3:14–22)
In contrast to the open door at Philadelphia, Laodicea was the church of the closed door at which the Lord of the church is pictured knocking (3:20). It is also described as putrid and lukewarm, despite its material prosperity.
In these letters to the seven churches, we have our Lord’s personal encouragement to keep the faith, endure persecution, remain zealous, and seize the opportunity to spread the gospel.
Since each letter urges the reader to heed what the Spirit says to all the “churches,” we today must also take these admonitions to heart.
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Editor’s note: This is an adapted excerpt from The Essence of the New Testament. Order a copy at LifeWay, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Christianbook.com. Request a faculty review copy here.