By Editorial Staff
Published September 1, 1988
by Jamie Buckingham
Reprinted in Ministries Today on Tuesday, 27 March 2012, Ministry News
Martin Luther King Jr. (center) led his famous march from Montgomery, Ala., to Selma, Ala.
I was fresh out of seminary and the new pastor of a Baptist church in a little South Carolina town when Martin Luther King Jr. led his famous march from Montgomery to Selma, Ala.
We did a lot of talking about racial segregation in our deacons’ meetings those days. Everyone was defensive. “We’re integrated,” one man said. “When Miss Jessie died we allowed her maid to come to the funeral and sit in the balcony along with her pickaninny.”
Not too far away, in Greensboro, N.C., four black college students refused to move from a Woolworth lunch counter when denied service. It was 1961. By September more than 70,000 students, whites and blacks, had participated in sit-ins.
Our deacons appointed a special committee to patrol the street in front of the church in case “the darkies” tried to get in. “They got their own churches,” Harry Lemwood, a grocer, used to say. “Let ‘em go there.”
I groaned over the injustice, but when King marched on Selma, I did not join him—even though I knew he was right. I didn’t even stand up in my pulpit and applaud him. I kept silent. I wasn’t afraid of Bull Conner. Or the snarling police dogs. Or of being put in jail.
What I feared most was losing my “job” as pastor. I preached against segregation—which was acceptable because of King’s sacrifice. But I knew better than to do anything rash—like marching.
I just stayed home and preached the gospel. I quoted Romans 13—that Christians should not break the law—to justify my stance. No matter that the law said blacks were inferior to whites. No matter that it was cruel, dehumanizing and anti-Christ.
It was the law.
By isolating Romans 13 from the rest of the Bible, I justified legalized sin. Today, I still feel guilty for not marching. All this came to mind recently when I talked with my friend Guy Strayhorn, an attorney from Fort Myers, Fla., Guy had just returned from Atlanta where he took part in one of the Operation Rescue demonstrations at an abortion clinic.
As a member of the bar, Guy is sworn to uphold the law. But which law? In this case he believed there was a direct conflict between God’s law and man’s law. He went to Atlanta in the spirit of Shiphrah and Puah, the Hebrew midwives who deliberately disobeyed the Egyptian Pharaoh when ordered to kill baby Hebrew boys.
Yet by breaking the law they saved the lives of innocent babies—including one named Moses. Civil disobedience. Or as James Dobson calls it—spiritual obedience.
Guy went to Atlanta because he believes unborn babies are human beings. He went for the same reason I should have gone to Selma—to protest national evil.
In choosing to obey God rather than man, he paid the same price Daniel paid—who was thrown into a den of lions; the same price Peter and John paid—who were arrested and badly beaten.
Changes for good come because men like Martin King and Guy Strayhorn take a stand. How easy it is for us modern-day priests and Levites to quote Scripture that justifies inaction.
Charles Stanley did this when he and his deacons at Atlanta’s First Baptist Church publicly condemned Operation Rescue. In his statement he did what I did 30 years ago. He quoted Romans 13:2—to break the law is to rebel against God.
Then he called Roe vs. Wade “the law of the land.” But did Paul mean we should not object when unborn babies are murdered? Yet Stanley argued that if we protest, “anarchy and chaos will ultimately result, and then it will be very difficult to preach the gospel.”
But a “gospel” that sanctions the wholesale murder of children is not the gospel of Christ—it is the gospel of Pharaoh and Herod. Stanley said, “Jesus advocated submission to authority and not civil dis-obedience as a means of effecting change.”
He’s wrong. Jesus not only advocated civil disobedience. He practiced it by disobeying the Jewish law, which was “the law of the land.” Yet this was not His primary means of effecting change. Real change came when Jesus took spiritual authority over the demonic forces that put men in bondage.
In July, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision involving Roe vs, Wade. Justice Harry Blackmun, who authored the 1973 decision legalizing abortion, has predicted the new court will overturn that decision.
Oral arguments are now being heard. Although I applaud Operation Rescue for drawing attention to the horror of mass abortion, the battle will not be won on the curbs of America.
Protests and demonstrations will not sway the US. Supreme Court. Their decision will be based on each justice’s interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.
A godly interpretation is now possible; but bank on this—Satan will throw all the powers of hell at the justices to confuse their minds. The real struggle is against what Paul calls “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
American Christians—through fasting and prayer—can push those forces back, allowing the justices to hear from God, for some of them are praying people.
So what should I do? Sit on a curb in front of an abortion clinic? Yes, but only if God tells me. However, I don’t have to ask about spiritual warfare. That I must do. That I will do.
From 1979 until his death, Jamie Buckingham (1932-1992) wrote the “Last Word” column for Charisma magazine, which originally published this article. He was the editor of Ministry Today magazine at his untimely death in February 1992 — now more than 20 years ago.
Forerunner - Home » Florida's Murder Industry »
Your comments are welcome!
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
$12.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the free Study Guide!
Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?
This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.
Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.
The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?
As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).
Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.
Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!
Running Time: 195 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“… a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)