Dear Christians of 40 Days for Life

Posted on April 16, 2012

Last Tuesday I published an article addressing the dangers of Christians unequally yoking themselves to nonbelievers in spiritual enterprise, particularly in the ecumenical pro-life organization 40 Days for Life. I followed up 40 Days for Life, Catholics, and Christians with an open letter to Catholics in Dear Catholics in 40 Days for Life, which expressed my appreciation for the Catholics in 40 Days for Life while also calling to examination the eternal differences between biblical Christianity and Roman Catholicism that they might come to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As hoped, this article will be one last open letter to the Christians of 40 Days for Life.

It has been a long and sometimes overwhelming last seven days since this discussion began. While my position has not changed and I am firmly established in my understanding of 2 Corinthians 6:14 that Christians should not be unequally yoked with worshipers of false religion, I would like to publicly apologize for the way I went about addressing the issues.

Because 40 Days for Life is a national organization with ecumenical representation on its leadership team and wide Roman Catholic associations across the country, I addressed the ecumenical issue publicly. I did this, however, without regard to local saints who I knew to be involved with the local Charlotte chapter of 40 Days for Life. Furthermore, I did not contact Southern Evangelical Seminary, Dr. Mark Harris or Dr. Frank Turek to gain their perspective and understanding of 40 Days for Life prior to the Sanctity of Life conference in January, or to ask their viewpoint after the idolatry that took place on March 31st at the Latrobe Abortion Mill, or to seek their position regarding ecumenical partnerships on social issues in general. My failure to make these contacts showed a lack of charity toward my brothers and sisters in Christ and a lack of respect for those in official leadership positions in ministry. Due to this error in judgment, I have since sought the forgiveness from Drs. Harris and Turek in addition to the saints I know personally in Charlotte who work with 40 Days for Life.

It is with this I make a public apology for the way I breached the necessary subject of the ecumenical nature of 40 Days for Life and the events that took place on March 31st. In the least, I would have had opportunity to share my thoughts on the matter in love with the saints I personally know and regardless of the outcome of that conversation, it may have lessened the tension experienced last week. Investigating the positions of Drs. Harris and Turek, as well as SES, would have given me greater insight of their viewpoint, which may or may not have changed over the last few months, but I at least would have been charitable and respectful of their ministries and more accurately have represented their positions if they differ from the original article (I have yet to hear back from Drs. Harris and Turek).

I also want to express my appreciation for my brothers and sisters who work with 40 Days for Life in the defense of the unborn. Though my position remains the same on what I believe to be an unbiblical, spiritual relationship between you and the nonbelievers at 40 Days for Life, I do value your passion and zeal for the precious babies whose lives are on the line every day at murder mills around the nation. With a rough average of 3,500 children being legally murdered under U.S law daily, you are on the front lines battling for the voiceless with compassion and zeal.

We may differ greatly in our approaches to battling abortion in the sense you may not agree abortion is a Gospel issue that must be fought in the context of the depravity of man and his need for Divine Grace to change the heart. Or, you might indeed believe abortion is a Gospel issue but seek to save babies first then possibly share the Gospel with lost parents who choose life for their babies. Whatever the case, I trust your motive is pure and this is a matter of grace the Lord may yet reveal to you. Wherever and with whomever you labor with, I hope you continue in the fight to end abortion in a manner that would most glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.

If I may offer one more consideration for you as you navigate (hopefully) whether you should be engaged in a spiritual endeavor with believers of false religion (yet under the banner of Christian unity), in examining 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 again we read:

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,and I will be their God,and they shall be my people.17 Therefore go out from their midst,and be separate from them, says the Lord,and touch no unclean thing;then I will welcome you,18 and I will be a father to you,and you shall be sons and daughters to me,says the Lord Almighty.”

On verse 14, the New Geneva Study Bible comments,

yoked together. Paul sees a deeper spiritual reality  in the prohibition against unequal yoking found in Deuteronomy 22:10.

with unbelievers. Note that the false apostles in Corinth claimed to be Christians but were in reality servants of Satan (11:14, 15). To join with them would distort all life and ministry in the church. The prohibition against being yoked together with unbelievers must be considered in situations where significant control over one’s actions would be willingly yielded to an unbeliever through a voluntary partnership or association. Neither Paul nor the rest of the New Testament tells us to have no association at all with unbelievers (Mark 2:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:9, 10). But we are told not to be “yoked together” with them in such a way that they significantly influence the direction and outcome of our moral decisions and spiritual activities.

Catholics worshiping during a Sacramento 40 Days for Life event (source)

Beyond the fact that you have entered into a spiritual partnership with an organization that on a national level promotes unity between Catholics and Christians under a unified banner of Christian faith, including providing ecumenical devotionals and suggested Roman Catholic prayers and practices, here are some additional questions to consider in light of the above quote:

1. Has your first responsibility as a Christian to evangelize Roman Catholics within the 40 Days for Life organization been impacted as you come together in “Christian unity”?

2. Has your first responsibility as a Christian to evangelize the lost been impacted if you have been instructed to not share the Gospel and call sinners to repentance and faith openly and publicly on the sidewalks in front of abortion mills?

If you can answer either of these questions affirmatively, please prayerfully consider whether you can continue working in a religious organization that controls or influences how and when you share the Gospel.

Three final questions:

3. Do you believe God hears the prayers and honors the fasting of nonbelievers who, despite their well intentions, pray to and fast for a God they do not know?

4. If even half of the participants in 40 Days for Life are nonbelievers (by virtue of being Roman Catholic, Mormon, or of other false religious traditions), is the work for the primary objective of 40 Days for Life (praying and fasting) not largely done in vain?

5. And if so, are you turning a blind eye to these nonbelievers, refraining from sharing the Gospel with them that they might be saved from God’s holy wrath and the bondage of their sin to receive eternal life in Christ, so to not be divisive and be united in the pro-life cause?

I welcome you to consider these questions rhetorically as you continue to study the issue, or feel free to continue the discussion in the comment section below.

I appreciate the time you have given me to publicly apologize for the handling of last week’s article and to give additional questions for your consideration. I also acknowledge the questions put forth last week with regards to any Catholic relationships Cities4Life might have. When I have been able to gather all the information necessary to make a decision as to my continued partnership with this ministry, I will do so publicly. In the meantime, I will honor  my previous commitment with joy to present the evangelism portion at the next Cities4Life Frontlines Training Session on May 11, and I hope to see you out on the sidewalks soon to proclaim the glorious Gospel of Christ.

If you have not done so, please do listen to my dear friend Dustin Segers‘ presentation titled A Biblical Defense of Life.