Awake! Arise!

Say with me the opening words of the Apostle’s Creed, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.”  What does that mean?  It must mean that Sovereign God makes and owns everything.  

Reflect on the charge given by our own denomination regarding the Sacrament of Baptism from the Book of Order of the PC(USA) which says in part,  “Those desiring the Sacrament of Baptism for their children or for themselves shall make vows that (a) profess their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, (b) renounce evil and affirm their reliance on God’s grace,. . . . (d) declare their intention to provide for the Christian nurture of their child.  In the ceremony of baptism, the congregation is charged to “. . . voice its support of those baptized (and) express its willingness to take responsibility for
the nurture of those baptized.”

Again, what does this mean?  Why do we baptize infants?  Because in part, we recognize that these human children are made by God (“...Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”) in the image of God, and are therefore of infinite value and worth.  These children are not valuable because their parents want them or because they are convenient, but because Sovereign God made them in His image, and they are infinitely precious to Him.  We also baptize infants because we recognize that these children belong, not to us, but to the God who made them, and that He has granted us an unspeakably precious charge:  to care for, nurture, and love these babies He has made.  As we make the baptismal vows, we cannot forget that our Lord, Adonai, and Savior will   hold us accountable for these vows.  But, are we responsible only to the children we baptize?  No, and forever, No!  Throughout the Bible, we are exhorted to care for the defenseless--the widows and orphans.  God would not stand for children to be given over to sacrifice in worship of Moloch and Baal.  Jesus instructed us to care for “the least of these”--even the least of these separated from church baptism by only a few inches of birth canal and the luxury of having been wanted.

This is the only basis for social justice--the recognition that life belongs to God.  The PC(USA) is good at proclaiming social justice, but turns a blind eye to the only group that is completely dependent, completely unable to provide anything for themselves.  They are truly innocent.  They are truly stamped with God’s image, yet the PC(USA) participates in advocating the killing of 3,000 innocents per day here in the United States.  Worse, rather than evangelizing the Gospel, the PC(USA) helps spread this terrible sin all over the globe, where 125,000 babies worldwide die from abortion before they are born and feeding poison to the very people to whom the Church owes spiritual food.  Friends, our willful ignorance of this is a sin we must turn away from!  Instead, people turn away from knowing about it.

At the recent Mission Presbytery meeting, I watched more than 400 dedicated PC(USA) members pour out love, caring and support for missions all ver the world.  I sat at my Presbyterians Pro-Life exhibit for nine hours and watched worthy mission projects overwhelmed with supportive people standing three-deep to learn more about how they could serve God’s creation.  Nine lonely hours I sat, broken only by eight visitors to my pro-life exhibit.  Fewer than zero point two-percent of PC(USA) teaching and ruling elders came to a pro-life exhibit.  Two visitors were there “by mistake,” and quickly turned away when they realized I wasn’t selling Guatemalan handicrafts.  They turned away when they realized what I had to offer wasn’t easily bought for a few dollars. What I sell isn’t admired and can’t be given as a gift or worn around your neck while you are preaching.  My ware is worn like an albatross, full of pain and grief and the raw realization of human sin.  It starts to stink when worn too long. 

Four sainted visitors were faithful friends and encouragers.  Two of these offered to help me refine my message and improve my exhibit.  The two that made such an offer are active pastors who do not have the luxury of excess time or money, but they gave so joyfully of the gifts God has given them.  These four encouragers were cool water to my parched soul in that desert.  

Of the more than 800 eyes that slid over me and my offensive message, four pairs belonged to members of my own church.  The eyes of these four ruling and teaching elders were the only representatives to Presbytery from our congregation.  In grace, as our Lord has so graciously treated us, the members of my church might not have even seen me.  Lest you believe this story is about me, let me be clear.  This incident illustrates the kind of willful disobedience Romans 1 warns against. The pro-life message is scrubbed from the sanctuary, banished from the church bulletin, abolished from the announcement board and censored from the newsletter.  Neither the name of the church nor the presbytery is to be used in any association with Presbyterians Pro-Life.   “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Romans 1:18 ESV)  How could our members know I was there?  No, this is not about me, this is about the ways that the institutional PC(USA) “by their unrighteousness” suppresses the truth of abortion. The PC(USA) is just one example.  It is not alone, it is simply conforming to the world around it.  

Pray, fast, repent, awake, and arise. “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand.  So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.”  (Ezekiel 33:6-9 ESV)