Has AHA Jumped the Shark?
Are you kidding me?
Of all the churches in the Dallas metro area, Abolish Human Abortion (AHA) decides to protest (er, exhort?) the church most renown in their area (and the country) for stalwart Biblicism and open air preaching? For crying out loud.
The gist is this, AHA protested the Heritage Grace Community Church, pastored by my friend, Emilio Ramos. Ramos is an open air preacher, as well as a pastor. Ramos, like myself, is a Reformed believer and a theological conservative. Members of Heritage Grace Community Church do make their way to preach at the abortion mill. Members of Heritage Grace regularly proclaim the Gospel. Members of Heritage Grace regularly proclaim the Gospel in the context of abortion.
Just a recap for your memory: I’ve met with the founding members of AHA. I’ve tried to get them to work it out with the Babies Are Murdered Here folks, who I’m convinced preach the Gospel out of envy. I’ve befriended AHA and stuck up for them. I’ve seen the ecclesiological problems in some, and have repeatedly pointed out that significant error. But, my words have overall been kind and generous.
I fully support calling churches like First Baptist Church in Blanchard, Oklahoma, to repentance. That wicked church’s wicked deacon was helping to build a wicked abortion clinic, and the wicked pastor was supporting him. When AHA went to Bellevue Baptist in matching t-shirts and “protested” by praying silently and singing a hymn after the service, I thought it was apropos. Sometimes they’ve gone to far, like when the worship service of a United Methodist Church was disrupted to the point it resembled terror – and they apologized for it.
A movement that at its heart is good, a Christianized anti-abortion Rage Against the Machine movement, is bound to have its problems. Zeal has to be tempered by wisdom. Recklessness is desirable only for a short time, and has to conform to strategy once the target is softened. Like all good guerrilla warfare (even though ours is a peaceful war), units need to be small and operate independently from one another and without clearly defined leadership. In fact, it seems that T.Russell Hunter (the brain-trust behind AHA) has thoroughly read Che Guevara from what I see of the structure of AHA. Although AHA is harder to “take out” by a larger and more conventional enemy – in this case, the Pro-Life Industrial Complex – because of its lack of structure, it means that when two yokel ne’er-do-wells protest a perfectly God-honoring church on the Lord’s Day there’s no one who will step up and smite them like two rabid dogs who need to be taken out back and dispatched.
There’s a scene from Happy Days in which Fonzie jumps a shark on skis and it denoted the moment when the show had just gone too far and ran out of meaningful or quality story-line and the phrase “jump the shark” was born. This was AHA’s jump the shark moment.
I was with you getting assaulted outside the abortion mill, like Toby Harmon was. I was with you talking about megachurches with armies of people and war-chests of money who said they didn’t have the time or resources to combat abortion. I was with you holding up signs to depict what FBC Blanchard’s deacon was helping make happen down the street. But Emilio Ramos and Robert Reece and Heritage Grace Community Church? Really.
I’ve compiled a list of things that would make more sense than protesting a church who preaches in the open air and exhorts people to repent of sin (including abortion). You could:
- Protest The Gideons for being slack in handing out Bibles (that old guy took a breather while handing them out at the Middle School).
- Protest Wycliffe Bible Translators for not translating the Bible fast enough or good enough (you’re in your first year of Greek, so you know they could do it faster if they really wanted to)
- Protest the John MacArthur for not doing enough expository preaching (What? Only two sermons a week? Pffft).
- Protest Ray Comfort for not sharing the Gospel more (he took a vacation four years ago, that slothful sluggard)
- Protest water for not being wet enough (you could so do better if you only had the right hydrogen to oxygen ratio).
Let me speak for rationally-thinking people everywhere when I say that protesting a church involved in law-gospel evangelism because you “don’t see them down at the abortion mill with [you]” is exceedingly stupid. Maybe they aren’t wearing their matching church t-shirts so you don’t recognize them. Maybe the membership is doing that on their own. Maybe they don’t want to hang out with you (because you’re not pleasant) and they’ve chosen a different venue. Maybe you are not the standard of righteousness, Mr. Protest Man with a megaphone and dead baby pictures (although I’m all for a megaphone and dead baby pictures).
Now, what will be said by AHA is that it wasn’t “AHA,” but it was only two religious hoodlums with AHA signs and that those two religious hoodlums don’t represent AHA. But just maybe, AHA needs to grow up beyond guerrilla warfare and choose a leadership structure that can condemn the character-suicide bombing of decent churches. If not, AHA will have few supporters left who aren’t ecclesiological anarchists.
Russell, Toby, all you guys need to speak up and say “We do not condone this behavior.” Emilio Ramos and Heritage Grace Community Church may be – in my mind – the premier example of a church leading and exhorting their membership to confront sin in the open air. To protest them is beyond jumping the shark. It’s downright shameful. It’s embarrassing for AHA. It’s also just plain wrong.
Rogue abortion protesters might consider themselves the friends of God, but when they become enemies of the church, the wrath dispensed on them will be as severe as the people putting down babies over at Planned Parenthood.
And yes, I meant that.