Theological Social Distancing?

okforlife Abolition, Advocacy, Pro-Life

When I arrived at the gate of the abortion facility Monday morning, it looked like a street festival was in full swing.  A woman was strumming a guitar and singing.  The nurses from the mobile ultrasound unit were putting out signs.  Two gray-haired retired ladies held hands to pray.  A local pastor was proclaiming the Gospel on a boom-box.  Tina and Delilah were offering gifts as they called clients to stop and listen.  There were young and less young, experienced and more newly arrived; I recognized almost everyone present.  I recognized Christians who identify with Free Will Baptists, Southern Baptists, Charismatics, Reformed Baptists, house-churches, Churches of Christ, and various other non-denominational groups.  My heart was warmed by the unity of faith and purpose.

Above, those who identify as non-denominational, charismatic, Baptist, and Catholic all fellowship, worship, and work together at the gate of one of Oklahoma City’s abortion deathcamps.

I was meditating on this beautiful unity when a satirical headline crossed my screen from The Babylon Bee:  Oh No! The First Question At The Gates Of Heaven Is ‘Are You A Calvinist Or An Arminian?’  After laughing really hard, my analytical mind began thinking about the false dichotomy this meme presented.  These two views are not the only possible ways to reconcile the concepts of sovereignty, election, omniscience, and free will.  In fact, most controversies are the result of various attempts to reconcile difficult concepts in scripture.  One day we may learn that the authoritative answer, more often than not, is “d.) None of the above.”

When faced with tough theological questions, individual Christians and groups of Christians will handle the resulting differences in various ways.  Some ignore the questions, change the subject, and move on to sports and the weather.  Others view theological differences as an opportunity to do spiritual battle and eagerly jump into the fray with practiced rhetoric, ready to debate and conquer.  Still others welcome the conversations, but seek to protect reputations and egos by pursuing discussions discreetly and privately.

On occasion, we have witnessed yet another kind of response to disagreement, a response that we might call “Theological Social Distancing,” which manifests itself to varying degrees. Some feel that they cannot worship together.  Others feel they cannot fellowship at all with those with whom they disagree.  Still others choose not to participate in various Kingdom endeavors based on who else is involved.  For example, we know some Christians who say they are against abortion, but refuse to interpose at the gate of a deathcamp or attend anti-abortion events because they disagree with the ideologies or strategies of other Christians involved. 

Granted, some distancing may be warranted.  We are not saying that every level of distancing is bad.  But we find that those who refuse to co-labor in the work to abolish abortion tend to be ignoring the issue altogether.  This level of distancing is particularly saddening because it is a negative witness to new Christians, and it removes Christian soldiers from the field.  When Christians fail to oppose murder by abortion because of theological disagreements, are they perhaps “neglecting the weightier matters” (Matt. 23:23)?

Although there will always be naysayers, be encouraged by the picture of unity we described at the beginning.  Many Christians in Oklahoma ARE choosing to co-labor in the work to abolish abortion.  We are grateful for each and every one who can get beyond interpersonal and interdenominational debates to stand together with other Christians to defend their preborn neighbors.

We want to encourage you to stand with us.  We are sensitive to your particular theological views and are able to work within the framework of your faith traditions as we train, encourage, and equip the saints in your congregation to join in the labor of saving preborn lives and evangelizing lost souls.