AHA and the Defamation of the Bride of Christ
I must say that it saddens me deeply to have to write this. I have been a strong supporter of Abolish Human Abortion (AHA) for quite some time. I even attempted to organize a society in my city, because I so strongly agree with much of the ideology of AHA. However, I now believe that AHA has become a distraction from the true work of Christ due to the recent interactions between AHA, and a solid, gospel-preaching, bible-believing church, Heritage Grace Baptist Church in Frisco, TX pastored by Emilio Ramos.
AHA has been a profoundly strong voice in the fight against the endless, senseless slaughtering of innocent children. Thousands of our creator’s image-bearers are sacrificed on the altar of Molech daily in the name of convenience, pride, and self-idolatry. AHA has been on the forefronts preaching the Gospel, and calling the lost to repent of their sin, and turn to Christ. For this work that has been done, I praise God. But I believe AHA has taken a sharp turn from their claimed focus of “gospel-centeredness,” to a pragmatic dominionist vision of “reclaiming” the “apathetic church.”
One of the prevailing taglines I’ve seen within the AHA movement is that “we are at war with something far worse than abortion, we are at war with the worldview that makes it acceptable to begin with.” I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. But I believe AHA is departing from this. I believe that abortion is sin, and the only answer to sin is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to which repentance and faith is the only response acceptable to God. The complete and total abolition of abortion is repentance.
I’m not opposed to calling the Church, or churches to repent of apathy–I believe the church is largely apathetic to this greatest sin. I also disagree with the argument by AHA opponents that other sins or social justice issues are equally as grave and important. Not to write off other issues as unimportant, but I do strongly believe that abortion is a top priority over other issues. It is the only sin in the world that is a.) legal, b.) celebrated in our culture, and c.) directly and immediately takes the lives of innocent children.
But here’s the problem.
AHA is wrought with people who hold to questionable theology. AHA, as a movement, has no way to hold its adherents accountable for their theological errors and their actions, nor does it appear that there is any desire to do so. We must approach the sin in a biblical, evangelical-minded way. Some points that need to be recognized are:
Hypocrisy. I’ve watched this play out over the past week. I’ve listened to both sides of the argument, and I’ve seen all the videos. Though AHA has staunchly denied this accusation, the evidence is absolutely clear that AHA has set an arbitrary line on what is acceptable, and what isn’t. They are hiding behind the motto of “repent with us,” but in reality, this means “we’ve already repented, now it’s your turn.” They complain about others putting things ahead of the mortal urgency of seeing abortion abolished, yet, when a deacon from Heritage Grace offers to go out with them, the offer was turned down by the abolitionist because he had “other things to do.”
Pragmatism. It is true that taking care of the orphan and widow, and meeting the needs of the poor, are biblical commands. But there is a theologically appropriate way to approach this. The great commission of the church is first and foremost to make disciples. This means preaching the gospel to the lost, and discipling the saved, teaching them to obey all that Christ has commanded us. (Matthew 28:16-20). That includes fighting abortion. But the lack of sound theological clarity has removed AHA from the realm of evangelical disciple-making to a pragmatic approach of abortion abolition at any cost, including the compromising of the gospel.
Heritage Grace has been uncompromisingly clear on its stance against abortion, and its commitment to spreading the Gospel. AHA believes that the only method for ending abortion is to drop every other aspect of ministry, and go full force in front of the murder mills, and join them in Church Repent projects. But if AHA were true to its statement that “we are at war with the worldview that makes abortion acceptable to begin with,” then they would see that Heritage Grace, Emilio Ramos, and many other solid, Gospel-preaching bible-believing churches and evangelists they regularly mock, protest, make memes about, are actually just as faithfully, if not more faithfully, doing the work of Christ than they are. Taking the Gospel to the lost is by far the best method to fight the worldview that makes abortion acceptable.
Unfruitful Tactics. The Scriptures are clear that the fruits of our works are evidence of our biblical practice (Matthew 7:16). It is true that the Word of God is a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), and it does create divisions (Matthew 10:34-37). As a writer of polemics, I’m no stranger to division. But the continual tirade against a church that bears much fruit, rejects false teachings and false gospels, and never partners with those who hold to them, is an affront to the bride of Christ and does damage to the Gospel.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words. Emilio Ramos is the shepherd of Heritage Grace’s congregation. The members of the congregation depend on him to sort through and discern truth and error. AHA will deny that they are intruding into, or protesting Ramos’ church, as they have repeatedly claimed that they believe they are “going to the good man for help.” Yet, by standing out in front of Ramos’ church, holding signs uninvited, they are essentially telling Ramos’ congregation that Ramos isn’t doing enough. If they truly believed that Ramos was “the good man,” as they have repeatedly claimed, then they should heed Paul’s words in Romans 15:20,
and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation…
By not doing so is an insinuation that Christ is not being named at Heritage Grace.
Slander. I HATE the word, “slander.” I’ve had the “slander card” pulled on me more times than I can count. I had to really give it some thought before I used this word, but I believe that AHA is slandering Heritage Grace Church. I don’t know the intentions of everyone who is involved’s heart, but it is unquestionable that AHA is giving those who don’t know any better the impression that Heritage Grace supports or is apathetic to abortion. Some of the memes I’ve seen going around on Facebook regarding Heritage Grace further make this case. They have undoubtedly doubled down on their belief that Heritage Grace is unrepentantly apathetic to abortion. This is simply false and holds no biblical weight.
It is clear that Church Repent has become a distraction to the work of the Great Commission. It shall be the official position of Pulpit & Pen that this type of behavior against the bride of Christ should be repudiated, and not supported. While we can still stand with much of the ideology that AHA holds to, and still have fellowship with true believers that may associate with AHA, we can never be seen to support an attack against bible-believing and gospel-preaching churches.
[Contributed by Jeff Maples]
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