I’ve just got back from India. It was a great trip and there are many amazing things to share. However, for now there is one story that keeps repeating again and again in my mind. One story that underscores, more than anything I’ve ever heard before, why it’s so important to teach the whole gospel.
The story is of a church planter in one of the rural areas where we work. He and his wife have been ministering for the last twenty years, diligently sharing the gospel and doing all that they could do to serve their community. The wife is a midwife. Unfortunately, she saw part of her role as carrying out abortions. To her it was just another way to serve the community, another way to help people with a specific need – in this case an unwanted pregnancy. So for the last twenty years, while her husband led the church, she performed abortions without a clue that it wasn’t glorifying God.
If you are anything like me then your initial reaction is disbelief. I had to clarify the details a number of times to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood.
The pastor’s wife was doing abortions.
Coming from a culture where abortion is such a hot topic, it seems almost impossible to imagine that there are people in the world performing abortions as a way to show God’s love and service to their community. Our team met this woman and explained to her that life, even in the womb, is special to God – created by Him. However, there are many, many more women who we have never met. Women having abortions, women giving abortions, women who have no idea that the Bible teaches that human life is sacred.
How does it happen? How can someone be planting churches, loving God, wanting to serve… but have no idea that what they are doing is missing God’s truth? The reality is that for most church leaders the only trainings they receive are focused only on “spiritual” topics – prayer, Bible reading, church planting, evangelism etc. However, there are relatively few (if any) teachings on the rest of the gospel message and how it affects our life. While our team debated what percentage of those in urban churches would recognise that abortion wasn’t a biblical option, there was little debate about the rural church. Few if any would have heard that message. How would they know? In society it’s normal, and no one has ever told them any differently.
While our Ending Gendercide program is focused primarily on girls and the terrible loss of life due to “son-preference”, we want to bring God’s truth to families. While our focus will remain on daughters, this is a great reminder of the importance of starting with the basics – human life is precious, created by God and of immense value. You can read more about that program here.
As I ponder the story, I am struck with another thought. What am I doing, or not doing, that misses the mark of the gospel? What is so normal in my culture that I no longer recognise that it’s wrong? In what ways am I just like this woman – so caught up in the lies of my culture that I cannot see the Truth?Image courtesy of Ryk Neethling / Flickr