Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. – Isaiah 1:16-17
Thanks for coming to read what may be a disappointing article for some and an encouraging one for others. It may be disappointing for those who detest or strongly oppose what they perceive to be a group called “Abolish Human Abortion,” yet on the other hand, it may be encouraging to those who just want to work with others to end legalized child murder in America. My hope is that sharing my perspective will serve to unify rather than divide.
For the sake of brevity, I will spare you the complex history of my relationship with “AHA.” Suffice it to say, I’ve been familiar with the movement since 2012, have applied the principles of abolition in various ways, have been discouraged by men I love and respect to not “be involved” with “AHA,” have written several articles on my opposition to “AHA,” have engaged in all kinds of rhetorical fights with others who identity with “AHA,” have reconciled with some of the abolitionists I once opposed, and here I am full circle with what I believe to be a developed understanding of abolitionism and its adherents.
My articles on AHA were viewed tens of thousands of times and have been used in various ways, despite my best attempts to cleanse them from the internet. Apparently, the remnants of these articles have been used to oppose legislation that could have abolished abortion immediately in one state. So in addition to expressing my changed views here, I hope this article might serve to prevent future obstacles to abolishing legalized abortion.
Let me begin by saying up front that “AHA” is not a group. It is not an organization. It is not a cult. It is not a parachurch ministry. It is not a substitute for the church. It is not a business. I understand how AHA is perceived as an organization because it has a website, a Facebook page, a symbol, and a store, but really, it is just a platform to spread the abolitionist ideology. Yes, there is a core group of individuals who manage the AHA pages, but the abolitionist movement is completely decentralized with no hierarchical structure, and “AHA” is just a tool to propagate the ideology, the kind of ideology I trust all Christians would agree with: abolishing–human–abortion.
Ideologies are not inherently bad, though there are bad ideologies. Google provides the following definition:
a system of ideas and ideals, especially one that forms the basis of economic or political theory or policy.
If you are a Republican, you subscribe to Republican ideology. If you are libertarian, you subscribe to libertarian ideology. If you are a fundamentalist Muslim, then you subscribe to Sharia ideology. If a liberal, then socialist ideology. If a capitalist, then free market ideology. If an incrementalist, then incremental ideology. And if you’re an abolitionist, then you subscribe to the kind of ideology that ended the legalized man stealing of American slavery – abolitionist ideology. The latter is also the ideology that will end America’s Holocaust of legalized abortion.
The purpose here is not to defend abolitionism, but rather explain how I intend to work with those who desire to abolish abortion immediately. If you want to learn more about abolitionist ideology, you can go here. If you want to see it in practice, you can go here to see what an Indiana congressman is doing to outlaw abortion in his state. Or you can go here to learn about the effort to #endabortionnow. Or you can go here to see a first attempt to introduce a bill to abolish abortion in Oklahoma by defying the federal tyranny of Roe v. Wade. These are just a few examples, and as you can see, there are abolitionists who spread “AHA” propaganda and those who don’t. Both are abolitionists, even if they don’t agree on every point, strategy, or practice.
It’s all quite simple, really. I want legalized child killing to be outlawed. I want you to want it outlawed. I want us all to realize it will take more to outlaw abortion than checking the Prolife box, writing checks to crisis pregnancy centers, casting a vote, or tending to abortion mill sidewalks. I want us all to realize it won’t be outlawed while so many Christians are fighting against each other. I want us to realize that until we – who know mercy best, who know justice best, who know righteousness best, who know love best, namely Christians – unite to seek abortion’s immediate abolition, it won’t be abolished. I want us to realize that seeking the abolition of abortion is not putting justice before the Gospel, but it is an expression of love from a heart changed by the Gospel.
Opposing injustices of any kind is merely a fruit of regeneration, and the level to which a Christian opposes injustice is proportionate to their maturity in applying the biblical principles of justice to the injustices around them (and no, I’m not questioning anyone’s salvation in case someone is tempted to twist my words in their blog or podcast). Opposing injustice isn’t the main thing, it’s just a significant thing that characterizes the Christian in one degree or another. In sum, then, Christians love justice and hate injustice of all kinds.
Abolitionism, therefore, is the application of opposing injustices out of mercy for the love of God and neighbor. Abolitionists, therefore, are those who desire to consistently apply that principle.
So what about “AHA”? For one, I praise God for the work of abolitionists who have organized together to spread the ideology with their talents and their passions. I’ve noted before, that I would not know abolitionism if it wasn’t for their faithfulness.
Does that mean I belong to “AHA”? No, because “AHA” is not a group. Does this mean I adopt the principles of abolition? Yes, because I believe the call to repentance is always for the immediate turning from sin, just as Scripture demonstrates. Does this mean I approve of every method, belief, manner of speech, or dealings of every abolitionist? Of course not, just as I’m not responsible for the same for every Christian. Does passing out literature or holding a sign mean I represent “AHA,” no, because again, it’s not a group, and secondly, “AHA” is only a tool to spread the ideology. Does the behavior of some abolitionists reflect what “AHA” is? Not necessarily, just as the behavior of Christians don’t necessarily represent Christ or His church.
We’re all sinners, and if we are in Christ, we are saved sinners a part of His Body. We do stupid things. We say foolish things. We don’t always think clearly, and we don’t always treat one another fairly or charitably. We can be harsh and heavy handed with weaker, misguided, or wayward brethren. We can be defensive and reactionary when we are criticized. Our rhetoric can be too sharp and self-defeating. We can be impatient, lack longsuffering, be presumptuous, think the worst about our brother, be slow to listen, quick to speak, quick to anger, not be willing to give benefit of doubt, and disassociate as a first order response. I’ve done these things, I’ve seen those wearing “AHA” do these things, and I’ve seen those opposing “AHA” do these things. Frankly, I think there’s a whole lot of growing up to do among all of us. We need to learn how to disagree amicably. We need to learn to not pull out the heretic card so quickly. We need to demonstrate love for another if we’ll be spending an eternity together. We’ve all failed here, and I think the dispensation of discernment blogging has been a breeding ground for our failures.
We need to be better exegetes on the intentions of others. We need to ask sincere questions instead of looking for ammunition to blast our opponents on our next blog, video, or podcast. We need to be careful about seeking clarity and not assuming the worst of motives or worst of what we perceive is communicated. We need to be more willing to receive criticism and consider the concerns even if they’re not delivered in the most gracious way. We would all live much more peaceably together if we extend much more grace to one another.
Tell me I’m lacking discernment if you want, but know I’m simply seeking to apply what the New Testament says about treating my brother and my neighbor.
I want to be on the right side of history when the dust settles, should the Lord grant this nation mercy and permit us to push back the tsunami of innocent blood that fills our streets. I want to be counted among those who fought for our weakest, most oppressed neighbors, and I anticipate that fight will succeed in the next 2-8 years. I want the legacy I leave for my children and grandchildren to be one that clearly shows I loved my God, loved my family, loved my church, loved my enemies, and loved my neighbors whether preborn or born.
If you know me, you know I staunchly uphold the truth and defend it at all costs. I am not one to compromise it. But, over the years I have failed to protect relationships and have been too willing to compromise them. I’ve been guilty of the things described above, and I’ve been too willing to succumb to fundamentalism to disfellowship from those with whom I disagree. Of course, there is a time for that, but I think most of the time we exercise the practice way too liberally and way too much in error. Instead of being so quick to condemn and shame our opponents, perhaps we should strive to come alongside them and show them how to love, how to live, how to speak, how to teach, and how to respond to various circumstances. This is for every reader to understand.
This article is likely to cause disappointment for some folks. All I can say is my theology and political philosophy have matured, and I’m not beholden to any other person’s conscience, standards, or rules for association and fellowship. Additionally, I’ve been in conflict over my relationships, close and afar off, for some time. If there’s a way to reconcile, I seek to do so. This is where I’ve landed, and although you may not agree, I hope you at least hear my heart. And if after reading this you sense conviction for similar behavior in any situation, I hope you repent with me.
I hope many in the church will rise up together and stop all of the fighting over every minute point of doctrine. I hope we can unite not only in seeking the furtherance of God’s Kingdom through the Great Commission, but to persevere and support one another as the persecution comes. And, I hope, we might also unite to move together as one, despite our differences in doctrine and practice, to be an army of God that breaks loose the chains of oppression and seeks justice for all, whether they look differently than we look or whether they have no voice to speak for themselves. Let us be about striving together, doing good, showing compassion, and proclaiming Christ to the praise of God’s glorious grace.
One final thought: even if you retain a position determined not to associate in any way with those in the “AHA circle,” I encourage you to keep an open mind as you start seeing abolitionist work in 2017 and beyond. While you may have concerns regarding certain dogmatism and practices, there is much to be learned regarding behind-the-scenes work with state legislatures and representatives. Consider what you might learn from the practical or political side of the spectrum, and don’t fight against it so to quell your own ambitions. Working together toward the same goal does not require agreement in all things.