- What Is Exhortation?
- The Difference Between Exhortation and Protest
- Different Facets of Exhortation
- Objections to Exhortation
- Exhortation In Practice
- Goals of the Church Repent Project
God demands that those who are called by His Name trust in Him with a living and active faith. It benefits a person nothing to hold accurate beliefs about God and morality if those beliefs do not motivate that person to action. Faith without works is dead. Moral opinion is worthless without moral action. In the world today, a large segment of professing Bible-believing Christianity professes a correct belief regarding the morality of abortion: that abortion is wrong, that it kills human beings created in the image of God, and that it ought to be outlawed in society. Yet, many professing Christians who hold to such beliefs do not appear to be opposing the daily occurrence of abortion in this country with any meaningful degree of opposition. Out of our love for Christ and those who bear His Name, we desire to see professing Christians rise up and take a meaningful stand on behalf of the most innocent and helpless members of our society today who are being legally torn apart limb from limb by the thousands every day.
Abortion is the greatest and most dehumanizing evil of our present age. And as such, we do not want to see the modern-day Church continue to sleep through this modern-day holocaust. In love, we seek to exhort our professing brothers and sisters in Christ to do the good deeds of standing up for the abandoned and fatherless in our society who are being killed 3,500 times a day. Wake Up Church!
What Is Exhortation?
By “exhortation,” we simply mean the practice of urging our professing brothers and sisters in Christ to live consistently as Christians in a culture that kills its children. We encourage and plead with other Christians to pay attention to the plight of the unborn, and take meaningful action to prevent them from being legally slaughtered.
By “exhortation,” we do not mean “condemnation.” We do not seek to condemn anyone for not “doing enough,” but rather to encourage our fellow believers in love to put their faith into practice. We admit that we are all guilty of not being as faithful to Christ as we could be. We are not superior to anyone else. We are simply wicked, wretched sinners saved, redeemed, and transformed by the incomparable grace of a holy and merciful God. Christ has awakened our hearts to the gravity of the evil of abortion, and has blessed us tremendously as we have sought to faithfully follow Him in seeking to abolish this great evil. We likewise desire that our brothers and sisters in Christ also come to see abortion for what it truly is, and take action accordingly to work for its abolition. We desire to see the Church not be overcome by evil. And as such, we work to overcome evil with good. We believe that the work of abolition is a task in which all Christians should participate in one way or another. And so we encourage our brothers and sisters to love their unborn neighbors as they love themselves, and take action accordingly.
The Difference Between Exhortation and Protest
An “exhortation” is not a “protest.” A protest is a demonstration of opposition to a certain situation or course of action. A protest of a church is directed towards the outside world, to tell them that the church being protested is in the wrong in some way or another. Exhortation, by contrast, is directed to the church, not the outside world. It is not an expression of opposition, but encouragement and an invitation to be a part of the work that Christ is doing through His Church.
Different Facets of Exhortation
We believe that pastors should decry abortion as a practice from the pulpit and preach on it as a murderous sin which God hates yet forgives in Christ Jesus. Our churches are filled with men and women suffering from the guilt and shame of past abortions, and men and women who are right now facing the temptation of abortion. They need to hear that this is a serious sin. That abortion is murder. That abortion is child sacrifice and an abomination to the Living God whom they are seeking to praise in spirit and truth. They need to hear the good news that Christ forgives sinners who repent. Even sinners who have committed the capital crime of abortion.
A pastor who will not preach against the sin of abortion is a pastor who is not faithfully feeding or shepherding the flock under his care. For in refusing to speak upon this issue, he is both making it much easier for members of his congregation to succumb to the temptation of abortion, as well as withholding new life in Christ from those who are in spiritual and emotional bondage from their past participation in the sin of abortion. Every pastor will be required to give an account to Christ of his faithfulness in shepherding Christ’s flock. We do not desire the flock of Christ to go on malnourished. Nor do we desire that pastors be required to give an account of their unfaithfulness to Christ regarding this most important issue. As such, we engage in exhortation, so that life and blessing may abound.
Elders are charged with the responsibility to stand guard over the flock of Christ and protect it. As such, all elders will be called to give an account of their faithfulness in this regard. We believe that elders should practice Biblical church discipline on abortion workers, abortion proponents, and those using abortion as birth control. As such, Biblical church discipline is not simply about “kicking people out” of the church. Rather, it is a process originating in love and a heavy heart, whose ultimate goal is the restoration of the sinner to God and the body of Christ. It is a grave sin to allow people to openly partake in Church fellowship while simultaneously openly engaging in unrepentant sin. It is all the more grave a situation when the sin in question involves the cold-blooded murder of the most helpless image-bearers of God. Elders are charged by God with the responsibility to deal with such open sin. And for their sake, as well as the sake of the churches in which they are involved, we urge them to be faithful to Christ in carrying out our their responsibilities as overseers of the Church of God.
Christ taught His followers that they were the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and a city on a hill (Matt. 5:13-14). The use of the second person plural pronoun in these verses indicates that these are corporate functions and influences of the Church. The Church, as the Body of Christ, is a vehicle through which Christ is manifested to the world, as well as a vehicle through which Christ’s will is accomplished in the world. The second greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. If the Church is faithful to be salt and light in the world – that is, if the Church is faithful to manifest Christ’s character and accomplish His will on earth – then the Church will be actively working to obey this commandment. Inasmuch as the preborn children murdered by abortion are our neighbors, we, as the collective people of God, will be working, according to our gifts and roles in His Body, to bring an end to this evil. Local abolitionist societies are springing up around the country to focus on bringing an end to this evil. These societies are, by and large, comprised of active, devout, Bible-believing Christians. If the churches in America were, on the whole, being faithful to care for the fatherless and love their unborn neighbors, then the formation of abolitionist societies would be unnecessary. The fact that separate organizations must be formed to do the work that churches ought to be doing illustrates the need for church exhortation in this present day and age.
As associations of local churches that collaborate and share resources in various ways, denominations have the potential to effect significant change in our culture with respect to the modern-day practice of child sacrifice. A denomination committed to the abolition of human abortion could do a number of helpful things such as:
- Hold their member churches accountable for regularly preaching against abortion as a grave and evil sin.
- Hold their member churches accountable for faithfully practicing church discipline against those who continue in open and unrepentant abortion-related sin.
- Hold their member churches accountable for faithfully working to oppose abortion and tangibly love the preborn (especially those in danger of abortion) in their local areas.
- Collect and allocate resources for both assisting those who have chosen life and working to agitate and undermine the worldview that makes abortion acceptable.
A number of denominations do many of these kinds of things when it comes to issues such as disaster relief, feeding the poor, and preaching orthodoxy from the pulpit. One wonders why ending a modern-day holocaust is not also so highly prioritized. We believe that such disregard for the disregarded behooves us to exhort denominations to take a bold and effectual stand for the unborn who are being murdered 3,500 times a day.
Individual Church Members
While churches as a whole have an obligation to be salt and light in the world, this obligation extends, by logical consequence, to the members of those churches as well. Each believer has a specific function in the Body of Christ, and as such, each believer has a specific role to play in the Church’s task of tangibly showing the love of Christ to those around them. We encourage individual believers to re-examine their priorities, and see if there aren’t some ways that they can integrate a visible, tangible love for their unborn neighbors into their daily lives. We believe that the Christian life is a spiritual war (Eph. 6:10-18), not a spiritual “holiday at the beach.” Our mindset ought not to be one of “how can I be blessed by God today?” but rather “what am I doing today in obedience to Christ?” Christ came to destroy the works of the devil (1 Jn. 3:8). If we are intent upon following Him, then we will also be intent upon putting sin to death within, and alleviating suffering and abolishing dehumanizing evils without.
Lest we be misunderstood, we are not proclaiming a “social gospel” or trying to replace the ministry of the Word with “social justice.” Rather, we believe that a living and faithful orthodoxy will be accompanied by a vibrant and effectual orthopraxy. And this orthopraxy will be geared towards accomplishing what Christ came to earth to accomplish. Christ is reigning in heaven until all of His enemies are subdued under His feet (1 Cor. 15:25). As individual Christians, we must ask ourselves: will we follow our Lord and do His will, working to bring all things in subjection to Him through both proclaiming and living the Gospel? Or will we focus on building our own kingdoms, funding our own programs, and working to bring ourselves earthly blessings to the exclusion of the Kingdom purposes of God? We do not want any Christian to waste his life, nor do we wish to see anyone “barely escaping, as through the flames” on the day of Judgment (1 Cor. 3:15). As such we exhort individual Christians to live for Christ and His Kingdom purposes, and to love their unborn neighbors as they love themselves.
Objections to Exhortation
Not surprisingly, we have encountered a number of objections to our work of exhortation. Some objections are the result of ignorance, having misunderstood what we are doing or what we are trying to accomplish. Much of the material on this site, and on this page, is written partly with this purpose in mind. We want to eliminate as much confusion as possible, so that what we are doing and why we are doing it is evident to everyone. If you have any questions in this regard, please check our FAQ page, and if you still have questions, feel free to contact us, and we will do our best to explain ourselves further.
A number of other objections, however, come not from ignorance, but from willful misrepresentations of our position and our actions. Upon reading through the content of this site, it should be clear what we are doing and why. And because of this, the reader should heed the warning that the Lord hates “a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” (Prov. 6:19). Our goal in exhortation is not to divide, but rather to unite the people of God in real, vital, and tangible expressions of obedience to God, especially as regards those thousands of His image-bearers who are legally dismembered every day. Despite this, there are many who will falsely accuse of us of being sectarian and divisive (notwithstanding that most abolitionist societies are comprised of believers from different churches), as well as accusing us of being prideful, judgmental, and a number of other things. In doing so, our opponents actually work to divide us from the very people we are trying to unite and work together with. If you find yourself harboring anger in your heart towards us, please examine yourself, and determine whether or not your anger is sinful. If you have valid criticisms of our theology and/or practice, please share them with us. We value Biblical reproof and correction. However, if you find yourself in anger spreading falsehoods about us, remember that we must each stand before the judgment seat of Christ, to give an account of all that we have done.
Other objections to exhortation come from differing theological beliefs. As mentioned above, a number of these are addressed in our FAQ.
Do We Think that We are Better than Everyone Else?
Lastly, however, there is the ever-common misconception that exhortation stems from an attitude of prideful judgmentalism. Indeed, there may be some who call themselves abolitionists who, in “exhortation,” do not approach fellow professing believers out of love. There may be some who engage in “exhortation” out of pride. There may be some who engage in “exhortation” in a way that does not exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Such actions are not what we have in mind when we say “exhortation,” and have nothing to do with the ideology and practice that is explained on this site. However, abolitionists are imperfect, like everyone else. There may be some individuals who, at times, sin in carrying out the practice of church exhortation. But this is not what we are intending to do. We are seeking to honor Christ, and edify His Church. And if we do fall into sin while seeking to be faithful to Him, we welcome Biblical correction, so that we may repent.
We believe that Abolitionism is simply faithful and consistent Christianity in a culture that murders its children. As such, we see ourselves as simply doing what we are commanded to do by Christ, and as such, we believe that “we are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty” (Luke 17:10). There is no room in church exhortation for prideful attitudes of moral superiority. We are all sinners who have been saved solely by the unmerited grace of our Lord. There is nothing good in us that we have not received from God. And as such, we do not seek to boast as if we had not received it (1 Cor. 4:7). We are only doing what we see as our duty to Christ and our neighbor. As such, we are very much unworthy servants – we are only doing that which is our duty to do. But that is precisely what we are burdened to exhort our fellow professing brothers and sisters in Christ, because we do not see them being faithful in that which we believe to be their duty. Exhortation does not spring from an attitude of superiority, judging those as inferior who aren’t involved in the work of abolition. Rather, exhortation springs from an attitude of unworthiness (or better put, an attitude of Christ-worthiness), with an attendant concern for those who seem to be unfaithful to their God-given duties. Any actions that spring from a different heart and mindset are not what we have in mind when we speak about exhortation. For a further discussion on this point, read this article.
Lastly, keep in mind that exhortation is rooted in love. Love is patient. So also exhortation is not a “hair trigger” condemnation of those who are not actively involved in working towards the abolition of human abortion.
Love is kind. So also the one doing the exhorting should be kind to those being exhorted.
Love is not arrogant, or rude. As such, we seek to explain our position and labor with our brothers and sisters, to make sure that they understand where we are coming from. We seek to persuade with valid arguments, and treat everyone with respect.
Love does not insist on its own way. So also, exhortation is not a condemnation for not joining the specific group or organization that is doing the exhortation. We seek to see professing Christians being faithful to Christ, but this does not necessarily mean joining our specific organization to do so.
Love is not irritable. So also, we seek to engage our fellow believers in a manner that is powerful and wholesome. We do not intentionally communicate our message in a way that distracts from the content of the message itself.
Love is not resentful. So also, exhortation should not be done out of resentment, or “getting back” at a group of people for a perceived or actual wrong.
Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. So also, we do not take gleeful pleasure in the process of exhortation. It is something done with a heavy heart. But likewise, we rejoice when our brothers and sisters listen to us and turn to be faithful to the work of loving their preborn neighbors.
Love bears all things and endures all things. So also, exhortation is done in the midst of much criticism and opposition, much of which comes from those who profess to be our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Love believes all things and hopes all things. So also, exhortation should hope for the best in those being exhorted, and give our brothers and sisters the benefit of the doubt.
Exhortation is rooted in love. Any activities that do not display the characteristics here enumerated are not what we have in mind when we speak of exhortation.
Are You Saying These Churches Aren’t Christian?
Not at all. We distinguish between true Christians and the practice of true Christianity, and believe that when the former fail to practice the latter, exhortation is the appropriate loving response. Please read more that we have written on this subject here.
Why Do You Exhort Certain Churches?
We have specific things in mind when we decide to exhort a local church. Here are the general criteria we use to decide which churches in our culture to exhort to love and good deeds regarding the sin of abortion apathy. In general, we would think it to be a good thing to exhort a church that:
1. Adopts a pro-life position but does not state this boldly or publicly.
2. Would check a “pro-life” box on a survey or ballot, support a pro-life option, but takes no action against abortion.
3. Discourages members in good standing from taking action against abortion under the covering and approval of Church leadership.
4. Encourages members to minimize the seriousness of the sin of abortion. (Example: Abortion is just another old sin like gossip or lying).
5. Does not practice any formal church discipline on unrepentant abortion rights advocate, abortion practitioners, and those who have chosen to murder their children by an abortion.
6. Possesses the financial ability and number of people able to seriously challenge the culture of death and is not otherwise engaged in works of pure and undefiled religion (James 1:27) which prohibit their taking up the cause of abolition themselves.
7. Brushes aside, rejects, or even opposes multiple attempts to bring the church to a greater awareness of the sin of abortion and their apathy in dealing with it to the extent that the word of God demands.
Exhortation in Practice
Visit this page to read about our launch of the Church Repent Project in Warr Acres, OK.
Visit Abolitionism.TV to check out videos documenting various aspects of an exhortation.
The ChurchProject is being implemented by Abolitionist Societies in other states. Read a good example of an Open Letter to the Churches in Nebraska. Before public exhortations are carried out, attempts must be made to contact and speak with the churches we seek to exhort to either repentance or greater action on behalf of our littlest neighbors.
Goals of the ChurchRepent Project
1. By protesting pro-choice “churches,” and pleading with pro-life churches, we aim to clearly distinguish and separate the pro-life churches from the pro-choice “churches” in the mind of our culture.
2. By protesting pro-choice “churches,” and pleading with pro-life churches, we aim to expose the evil not just of abortion but the evil of abortion apathy.
3. By protesting pro-choice “churches,” we aim to stir up division within them in order that those who may be attending a pro-choice “church” may come out of it and find a church which does not sanction or approve child sacrifice.
4. By pleading with pro-life churches we aim to encourage them to love and good deeds and increase their awareness of the evil of abortion, the evil of their apathy towards it. We aim to increase their opposition to abortion. Even if they hate us and well up with pride and claim that they are doing enough, we image that they will seek to further justify themselves by giving more to Crisis Pregnancy Centers, bringing up abortion the following Sunday to condemn it even if it is in the midst of a denunciation of our tactics.
5. To create a “babies are murdered there” mentality in the American church. We have Christians going to clinics and standing outside of them with signs that say Babies Are Murdered Here (this is a very good thing), but we need Christians speaking and praying in their own buildings about what their congregations can do about the babies being murdered in the building down the street. We must dismantle the idea that fighting abortion is a particular “gifting” or “calling” that some Christians do but others don’t. Christians need to understand that a refusal to stand against abortion is to commit a sin of omission and fail to be truly Christian in a culture that kills its children.
6. We aim to persuade all Bible believing local churches, denominations, and other religious institutions to repent, condemn abortion, endorse immediate abolition, and begin carrying out the work and bearing fruit in keeping with their repentance.
7. To create a vast and powerful culture of dissent led by local church bodies that rises up against the evil of abortion and brings about its speedy abolition.