In the past 24 years of observing pro-life street ministries, I’ve learned something interesting. More children are saved from abortion and more abortion clinics have been closed due to “direct action” – that is, when the church confronts the gates of hell at the actual grounds where the killing takes place – than by any other strategy.
From 1993 to 2000, I lived in and owned a house directly across the street from an abortion clinic. I came there first to merely observe and write about the events taking place there. Then I became involved in a resistance to a “buffer-zone injunction” that later became an important Supreme Court case, Madsen vs. Women’s Health Center.
In the summer of 1993, I moved into the house for a proposed interim period, while some local pastors and pro-life leaders tried to obtain a zoning variance to open the property as a crisis pregnancy center. To make a long story short, I ended up buying the house. I lived there while I produced several Christian publications and travelled to Russia and Ukraine once or twice a year as a short-term missionary. Part of my pro-life outreach was to simply keep the house open to the sidewalk counselors, to help organize prayer events and produce pro-life media.
In 1999, I began working with Eric Holmberg, whom I had known since 1989, on a few video projects. Eric was one of those responsible for activating my focus on pro-life efforts. Recently, we finished production of the remake of Massacre of Innocence now called The Abortion Matrix. The original version is a video seminar that was one of the key factors that led me and many others to get involved in direct action back in 1988.
In 24 years, I have come to know some of the pro-life street ministries throughout the nation and especially central Florida. I have never actively led a pro-life ministry, and I don’t even consider this to be my primary focus, but I have some insights into the movement due to my consistent part-time involvement.
One of the things I have learned over the years is that the complicity of the church is the main reason why abortion on demand is legal in all 50 states, through all nine months of pregnancy for virtually any reason. In 1973, Roe v. Wade was decided without a public outcry from evangelicals because many Protestant churches actually wrote briefs in support of Roe. This even included the Southern Baptist Convention, an otherwise conservative denomination. Many others were complicit in their silence. Fortunately, as evangelicals have become more aware of this modern holocaust, we have become more active.
Since I have a long term relationship with some of the key leaders in Florida’s pro-life movement, my number one goal for the last four years has been to bring these leaders together a few times a year so they can know each other. The idea is that they will learn to respect each other and understand the principle of co-belligerency even if they do not agree on every point.
My goal now will be to activate more pastors and churches. Many of those who are doing the ministry of evangelism and counseling would be greatly encouraged by any pastor, elder or church leader who came out to observe, pray or participate with them as they stand against the gates of hell. Most pro-life street evangelists are so used to being not supported and even feel opposed at times by their churches, that the presence of even one pastor at each abortion clinic on a regular basis would be a tremendous boost. To use my region as an example, there are 1000 churches in the Orlando area and five abortion clinics. What is wrong with that picture? It has always seemed odd and sad to me that in many smaller communities throughout the country where there is even less of an evangelical culture, the presence of pastors at the gates of hell is greater.
“Why street ministry at an abortion clinic?” you might ask. There are many reasons for this. But simply, if you spend time in front of one of the gates of hell in your city or state, you will see lives saved. You will also see the reality of child killing that few people are willing to stare in the face. In Melbourne, Florida, we were able to prevail with only a handful of 30 to 40 people who were consistently active on the street. My observation was that the tide turned in a big way when pastors from four churches (Presbyterian, Baptist, Independent and Roman Catholic) began leading prayer vigils at the abortuary one Saturday a month. Not only did it encourage the sidewalk counselors, but it got the attention of the community. We saw a different attitude from the neighbors, the police, the city council once pastors got involved. In fact, three pro-life evangelists were elected to the Melbourne city council.
There is a practical and yet deeper spiritual reason why this street presence is so important. Every positive social reform movement of consequence in American history has been led by churches and pastors, not simply individual reformers. In each case, pastors led strategies of direct action against the social evils of the day. Likewise, the abortion holocaust will not end without the active participation of pastors. It is the Church Jesus spoke of when He preached that “the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
Will you prayerfully consider what God would have you do in defeating child murder in your city or state?