The Letter below was published in the Daily Advance of Elizabeth City today. The italicized text was deleted from the original letter as I submitted it.

May 11, 2013

Letter to the Editor of Daily Advance:

I think the time has come for people of faith and medicine to affirm once and for all that abortion never meets any standard of acceptable practices. The horror exhibited by the abortion business of Dr. Kermit Gosnell provides the essence of abortion. No matter how palatable abortion at early stages may seem, it always ends the life of a child. Whether the life in the womb is ended by taking an over-the-counter pill, from a chemical solution or by the baby’s neck being snipped at birth, the culpability and result is the same.

We know what has been conceived in the mother’s womb is a human life. Ultrasounds show us the heartbeat, the formation of the body, the head, the hands and feet. Audio recordings have let us hear the screams and cries of babies during abortions. Medical breakthroughs provide for the survival of babies prematurely born earlier than when some abortions occur. Meanwhile, couples are spending thousands of dollars for international adoptions.

Abortion decisions cannot be relegated to politics. As members of a caring community, we cannot trust government officials to arbitrate moral, spiritual and ethical decisions about life for us. Despite our government pushing federally funded abortions, it has no qualification to inform us as to what is right and wrong. Unelected judges have no influence on the reality of what is life and what is murder. The media becomes more unreliable on matters of life and death.

Our wisdom, faith and consciences make it all very clear: abortion is murderous. This becomes more certain with any amount of investigation or reflection.

The pro-abortion arguments avoid the very subject of the child in the womb. They must assert delusions and deflect reality to justify abortions. T.S. Eliot was right when he wrote that “Human kind cannot bear very much reality.” It seems that pro-abortion humans bear the least.

Every honest person of faith in God must reject abortion as contrary to the workings of God. It is simply impossible to reconcile the practice of abortion with the witness of Scripture. A pro-abortion Christian will always be an oxymoron. A person has to reject Biblical authority to justify abortion. Ending what God is creating sets one in opposition not submission to the Lord.

With the advances in medicine, it is equally impossible to call the baby growing in the mother’s womb anything else but a human being. Abortion dehumanizes every child and person. Doctors obedient to the Hippocratic Oath must facilitate and nurture life not destroy it.

 None of the arguments in favor of aborting a baby remain sound in the light of medicine or faith.

Pregnant mothers or women who have had abortions can find help and resources at the Albemarle Pregnancy Resource Center. You do not have to face pregnancy, motherhood or the regrets of an abortion alone.

Submitted by Craig Stephans
106 Pinelake Dr
Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Camden National Day of Prayer

The above picture shows the adults and youth that gathered on the Camden County Courthouse lawn in Camden, NC on the National Day of Prayer.  We spent an hour praying together for the country.  We specifically prayed for our government, schools, military, families, media, economy and churches.   Pastors and members of several Camden area churches were present.   One day, we will live by the light of the glory of God and the Lamb who will be in the midst of our lives, but for now Christians must be the light of the world by which the nations walk.  We can let our light shine no better than we do in prayer for others that prepares the way for the Lord’s salvation.

The main concern with the Morning After Pill (also called Plan B) and the “coming out” of Jason Collins appears to be the idea of “approval” and “support.” Does the Morning After Pill have FDA approval? Is Jason Collins receiving adequate “support” for his “courageous” step to come out of the closet? As Christians, we must approach these types of issues in a better, more meaningful way.

Take the Morning After Pill, for example. This pill is now available in stores on the same rack as condoms, etc. The pill works to supposedly prevent ovulation of the egg, fertilization of the egg or implantation of the egg (if already fertilized) in the wall of the uterus. Many consider the latter event to be an abortion, as the fertilized egg is prevented from further development and is flushed from the woman’s body. Those are the mechanics of how the pill works. The woman has no way to know which of the above will occur in her body.

How can Christians approach this process that is available off-the-rack for girls 15 years old and up? We have to start with the authority for our lives: God and Scripture. The idea behind the Morning After Pill is genius for Teva Women’s Health, the company who makes it. They have created a market that supports the rampant sexually promiscuous culture of ours. Additionally, the pill facilitates our ingrained habits of refusing to consider the meaning and consequences of our actions in the present or eternity.

The concept of the Morning After Pill flies in the face of the teachings of Scripture on sex. Scripture teaches that sex is a sacred activity reserved for husband and wife that signifies their lifelong commitment to each other and ONLY to each other. The Biblical view of sex highlights the intimacy and fruitfulness of the activity. The Bible presents sex as having a deeper meaning that reveals something of the unity between God and his church.

Does the Morning After Pill provide a great escape for teens and others who “happen” to have sex and fear a pregnancy? Yes, it does. I’m sure this has been embraced as something of a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for teens and those who “simply cannot get pregnant right now.” Ahhh…essentially, the pill gives users more power to live as their own gods.

What about Jason Collins who before this week I had never heard anything about? He is an NBA player without a contract who has announced that he practices homosexual sex—that is all I know about him. For me, like many men, sports are a leisurely refuge and pastime. I like (really like) to watch sports—soccer, football, hockey, golf, cycling, etc. It’s bothersome when controversial politically correct non-sports issues become the headline on the sports page and the lead on Sports Center, as is the case today. I wish the best for Collins; however, the issue has again become sex and a message about it.

The main topic: Is Jason Collins receiving the support and acceptance he deserves for his bold statement. Oh, the other topic is that ESPN is letting Chris Broussard apparently keep his job despite having to apologize for his speaking about homosexuality from a Christian perspective during Sports Center. It is only acceptable to speak of Jason Collins’ sexual activity from an approving standpoint. Even the President of the United States called to congratulate and support him for his “brave” step. Families of fallen soldiers only receive a form letter from the White House.

The only question for the media seems to be, “Who is the next courageous professional athlete to come out?” Collins has become a celebrity and has reignited a career.

We can see how the culture celebrates homosexual sex (and really any sex for that matter). Christians MUST have a different authority than Sports Center, other athletes, Good Morning America and the President. Scripture makes clear that sex is sacred and reserved for a married man and woman. Outside of that union, sex is sinful and immoral, and the consequences of it lead to death and requires repentance and receiving God’s gracious forgiveness through Jesus. Homosexual relationships simply cannot be reconciled with Scripture and Christianity. Like other sinful tendencies and temptations, it must be placed on the cross, denied and yielded to the Lord.

The Morning After Pill and the Jason Collins’ “coming out” party reveal at least one truth about our culture: sex is an idol to us that, in our culture’s view, must be obeyed and is irresistible. The media, the majority, and too many in the church approve, and their congruent actions proclaim, “Sex has the final say!” But does it? Do sex and the culture’s loud applause have the last say?

According to Scripture, Jesus Christ has the final word on what is approved and “okay.” Many who approve of all the above will point to Jesus as the one who has justified whatever we want to do…after all, he loves everyone and died for everyone—we’re all good with Jesus! Right?

Maybe not. Let’s look at what Jesus has to say to one church of the first century that also compromised sexually: “I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. (Revelation 2:20-23) In other words, “Repent of your sexual immorality and devotion to a god other than Jesus.”

And to another church of the first century that also indulged in sexual immorality, “Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.” (Revelation 2:16) In other words, “Repent of your sexual immorality and devotion to another god or my word will judge you guilty.”

The final word of approval from Jesus excludes the unrepentant sexually immoral people and idolaters from the new heaven and new earth. (Rev 21:8) These citations from the Book of Revelation are consistent with the witness of Scripture and the historic Christian church. These warnings occur in the larger context of a tremendous message full of grace, love, mercy and welcome from God; however, the same context also points over and over again to judgment for sin in the form of God’s wrath and the exclusion from his presence for eternity. To those who repent and follow him, the Lord gives eternal life.

The church cannot trust the culture, the FDA, the media messages, or sadly many who claim to be speaking as Christians inspired by Jesus and the Bible. We must live from Biblical teaching that has been accepted throughout the history of the Jewish people and since the formation of the Christian church. As we do this, Yes! we live out the command of Jesus to love others as he has loved us. (John 13:34) But don’t take it for granted that you know how Jesus has loved us. Seek him. Study him. Listen to him. Follow him.

Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. (Joshua 24:14) And let the church always remember that any of us who are saved are SAVED BY GRACE.