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Believers in the United States one year after the overturn of Roe v. Wade are seeing their states either pass additional regulations on abortion or rapidly expand access to the procedure. Josh Kappes, the vice president of Love Life, discusses the organization’s new House of Refuge initiative and other efforts to serve women who choose life in this special edition of G3 Weekly.
Love Life, a ministry that mobilizes evangelical congregations to support abortion-minded families, encourages churches to read a House of Refuge statement at least twice each year from the pulpit and post the document publicly on their websites, thereby affirming the sanctity of life and their desire to assist mothers tempted toward abortion. Kappes said that pastors have “an incredible opportunity” to shape the hearts of their people by expressing “God’s heart for his creation and our duty to seek justice, love, and mercy, especially to the least of these.”
“The culture is using their ‘pulpits’ to dehumanize those made in the image of God,” he told G3 Weekly. “It is no wonder the Church has largely been complacent and inactive, because the majority of what they hear about abortion comes from politicians and media.”
The statement affirms that preborn babies, even those which are unexpected or conceived through sinful means, are unequivocally blessings from God made in his image. The statement adds that the participating church will work heartily to “remove whatever obstacles stand in the way” of the mother having the child and reminds members of the congregation that anyone who has had an abortion in the past can find forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
One survey published eight years ago indeed found that 70% of women in the United States who have had an abortion identify as Christians, matching their overall share of the population, while 36% were attending church once a month or more at the time of their first abortion.
Kappes noted that “abortion is not a popular subject to speak on” among ministers because of the temptation toward “fear of man and man-pleasing” from the pulpit. Some may even believe that they will “hurt people by speaking about abortion,” even though the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way for church members and their neighbors to experience hope and redemption.
“The reality is, when a pastor speaks biblically and redemptively about abortion, it unlocks healing and freedom for those suffering in silence from a past abortion. That includes men who were involved as well,” Kappes said. “They also equip their people to have the confidence to engage wherever they live, work, and play with those who may be considering abortion to have the courage to say: ‘You don’t have to have that abortion. Our church will help you.’”
He recounted that one House of Refuge church in North Carolina had a teenager find out on a Saturday night that she was pregnant. On the next Sunday morning, one of their pastors read the House of Refuge statement from the pulpit, allowing her to be “strengthened in her faith to tell her parents and church family” about the pregnancy. She was later baptized and decided to marry her boyfriend; they are now “raising their child in biblical community.” Kappes noted that the church “completely stood by their family in the whole process.”
Kappes added that there are nearly 250 churches across the nation that participate in the House of Refuge initiative, which also trains church representatives on how the congregation can biblically support their members and communities with respect to abortion.