The Training Table: A Long-Overdue Apology… from the Church

indexWelcome to the Training Table where you can depend on some spiritually-nourishing chow, carefully prepared, to help you run the Godly and good race! For what good is a good race, unless it’s a Godly race? (2 Timothy 4:7; 1 Corinthians 9:24; Galatians 5:7)

Wait for It: “A Long-Overdue Apology… from the Church”

Please be aware, my fellow marathoners for Christ, in the last course of this feast [below] we will pay-off this promise of a long-overdue apology from the church. But the preface, the context, the necessity of “tilling the soil before sowing the seeds”… is very important here.

The topic we’re feasting on today is a primary, plain, and pure one to God. But it has been so mightily and thoroughly used of the world, the flesh, and the devil that, by now, it’s literally taboo for most of God’s people to expose [by the light we are] and stem the decay [by the salt we are]… even in the church.

This reality should be as shocking to God’s people as it is heartbreaking [out of love] and angering [out of justice] to God.

NOTE: This is also a very important caveat… There are literally millions of heart-broken women AND men who have not AS YET delved into their own “LIFE” [pertaining to this particular subject] story, God’s assurances of forgiveness and redemption, and the vast array of ways the Spirit can then use them as a many-multiplied, sanctified, and redeeming source of His light and salt—in a horribly dark and fast decaying world.

I need to say this upfront: I’m acutely aware of the pain this subject can inflict on many millions of women and men [whether they know it or not] who have lived in bondage to “the secret of the age”: Being complicit in aborting a child.

I’m going to risk the pain in hopes it will be for Father, Son, Holy Spirit God’s and another’s gain! I’m transparently, humbly, [way] imperfectly, lovingly, and truthfully hoping other Christ-followers will do the same. The sort of silence The Evil One relishes in must be apologetically, lovingly, and truthfully broken.

“Today, if you [or anyone] hear God’s voice, [please] do not harden your heart…” (Psalm 95:7-8).

1) Story… My Story: Whatever is Most Personal is Most Universal
As I have offered in many different public and private forums, I grew up in a home that included a pathologically narcissistic mother and an emotionally wounded, largely passive father.

Neither parent made a conscious choice in this matter. Both my mother and father were on the continuation of a journey of family dysfunction mapped out by their families and families before that… The sin was [mostly] unintentionally passed along.

But, purely by God’s grace, a whole new family of God, no more shame, and a new story of redemption is always awaiting us if we choose to co-author it.

My dad was unable to do what God has designed men to do: To lead and be Godly and intentional about coming to the defense of the family—by use of the shield of faith, offensively defending his wife and children from the multitude and varied brokenness of, a) the world’s ways, b) fallen man’s sinful ways, and c) the wiles of the devil. A family with no “Godly defense system” is defenseless against everything most harmful to it.

And the array of lies concerning our sexuality is one of the most harmful…

Shielding, guiding and guarding the family—by means of the inculcation of God’s biblical truth and love—in one key roles of the man of the family. This was absent for me… for us. And, of course, for my dad in his own family of origin and home as well.

So, while my mom’s [unconscious and varied] pathologically narcissistic treatment of me was heart-shattering in many ways, my dad was unable to shield me from the trifecta of heart-hardening and hiding harm in the form of criticism, shame, and anonymity.

I would argue… advocate for… that this most personal description of me as a child might well be one of the most universally experienced young-life stories of our day: The pandemic of narcissism and far fewer intact, God-centered family systems to defend the children… is the ruin of generations, but never before as it is our day.

We have indeed sown the wind and are now reaping the whirlwind of “the main consequence”…

2) That’s the Context. What’s the Main Consequence?
The most robust, fully-orbed explanation of all the consequences of this most personal yet universal narrative would fill a medium-sized library: It’s huge and it’s complicated. The spiritual, emotional, psychological, and physical realms of maladies and potential remedies that grow out of the “triple-threat of narcissism, shame, and anonymity” is staggering—[and largely unknown, suppressed, and ignored by the vast majority of subject-matter experts… most of whom don’t even approach human beings as holistic, spiritual, emotional, psychological, and physical beings anymore.]

The consequence, pertaining to my own story, that is germane for our feast at The Training Table today, is this:

The consequence of desperately looking for love
in all the wrong places.

Any child raised [mistreated] in the above manner [and in many degrees of a better and/or worse fashion] knows nothing, nada, zilch, zippo [except by Common Grace] of God’s True Truth and Love, or the manifestation OF THAT LOVE flowing from a parent’s heart into a child’s heart.

An ecosystem of God’s True Truth and Love is the upbringing a child wants and needs more than anything—simply because that’s how God made man, then woman and their offspring to be (Genesis 1,2; 2:24; Colossians 3:20).

A child… a human being… will go to any length—even to the point of death—to have the hunger of the heart’s meaning [God’s Truth and Love] full-filled. And when the heart is not filled with THAT Love and True Truth, ANY counterfeit love [E.g., indifference] and falsehood [E.g., lies from hell, our own sin, and the world] masquerading as True Truth and Love… will do.

The opposite of God’s Love is an indifference to others and obsession with self (Galatians 5:19-1).

The opposite of God’s True Truth is idolatry let loose in all its various degrees and forms (Romans 1:18-32).

Before my conversion at age 31 I looked [E.g., ravaged…] for “love” in all the wrong places by living a sexually promiscuous and desperately needy life. Of course, this wasn’t really love at all… It was blind, deaf, and dumb self-gratification, and abuse done to fill the void of a heart with no bottom—let alone the ability to bless anyone by the overflow of love. Today, the flow of lust masquerading as love into so many “bottomless hearts” is akin to the volume of Niagara Falls… And, overtime, as destructive as a tsunami on any human beings spirituality, emotions, psychology, and physicality.

Having been raised in a narcissistic home, I became a narcissist myself. That’s how it works… and wrecks all relationships. People who grow up around narcissists become narcissists—and only Jesus Christ can break and redeem this cycle.

And even though I was born-again at just the right time by the Spirit of God in October of 1983, I wasn’t discipled, I wasn’t “grown-up biblically”, and I lived as a changed yet ignorant, carnal Christian for some time. [Which explains my present-day passion for the principles and practice of bible-based, Church-stewarded, Elder-taught, appropriately-designed, systematically-offered, congregation-consumed discipleship… absent in most churches today.]

3) God’s Loving yet Heart-Shattering Truth…
My wife Peggy and I had a quick engagement and our first child Polly was conceived very early in our marriage. Upon hearing that Peggy was pregnant, I responded like the vast majority of men [E.g., emotionally childish] who are immature, unprepared, petrified, egotistic, ignorant, irresponsible, and massively selfish:

“We can’t have a baby yet,” I said.

To this very second, that admission, those words, my blind fear, and our God-given and unfathomably sweet daughter Polly… brings me to tears.

Within a minute, Peggy objected and I had reversed the unthinkable idea of aborting our child, Polly.

But here’s the rub, my friends at the table: The principle and [near] practice of my fear and potential abortion of my own child was revealed in me. I cannot and will not hide it because God knows it well, in Christ loves me just the same, and we are surrounded by it in our day!

But God redeemed this and much more… big time!

In September of 1996, we had lived in St. Louis for around 9 years. I was driving east on Hwy 40 listening to KSIV Christian radio. John McCastle, President of The Pregnancy Resource Center [PRC], came on the radio to promote the agency designed to care for crisis pregnancy, post-abortion counseling, education, adoption, parenting, and various other Pro-Life services.

I heard John’s voice; I felt my own sin and culpability at the deepest level there is; I took the very next exit onto Hanley Road—where The Pregnancy Resource Center offices were at the time; and within the month I was signed-up, mightily forgiven, and radically redeemed by serving on The Board of PRC for 6+ years!

To say that “I had a heart for LIFE” would be a gross [stinky and way, way short] understatement. [God did this apart from the local church… But the church is on the hook… More below.]

I had been mightily redeemed, to redeem…

Please stay with me here…

The two first things The Spirit placed on my heart at that time was this:
a) Self-, God-Awareness: I had to spend some time going deeply into my own story… my heart, emotions, psychology, and physicality… about where the bastardization of God’s Love and True Truth began and how it had been worked out in my own adult life [given my past]. This was very hard and yet massively necessary, cleansing, and freeing.

b) Other-Awareness: I had to intentionally and personally go back to my “indifference and lying used as counterfeit love and truth in all the wrongs ways and places”—to ask those I hurt for forgiveness…

Beginning with… repenting and asking our precious daughter Polly for her forgiveness. This was unbelievably hard yet unspeakably healing and redeeming for me and Polly—whose heart was inclined and captured FOR LIFE that day as well!

Redeemed, to redeem…

The apparent indelibility of my own shame, self-criticism, and anonymity was lovingly washed away by the shed blood of Jesus… for me… infinitely and intimately for me. The depth of my sin was now never-more-apparent than the height of God’s love in Christ for me.

I was complicit in at least one abortion while in college [that I was informed about after the fact]. I sought to go back and seek forgiveness there… As well as others who may have suffered as a result of my insatiable, egotistic, and self-centered sin of “love-as-lust” as well.

I had been a wrecking ball of looking for love in all the wrong places; I felt the Sin [from Adam] and sinning [from my own array of selfish behaviors] big time. And yet… and yet [a bazillion-fold], for the first time, I felt the Love and True Truth of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit more than ever before:

In many respects, my course in discipleship had begun with listening to the awesome preaching and teaching on KSIV radio before this time, but in this moment of self- and God-awareness God’s course on discipleship for me had been ramped up… The “LEAP in internalizing God’s grace and truth” during this time of my walk with God and His people was mind-boggling.

Along this very difficult yet beautiful journey of asking for forgiveness and experiencing redemption, I was greatly blessed in many instances by a mutual repentance and acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as my own AND other’s faith who I contacted.

This experience was as sweet as any mercy from God as I was deeply cut yet comforted by how He had redeemed others well in advance of my efforts to ask for forgiveness from them—so that His long-suffering had not only covered it all but allowed my repentance to “hurt less” as well. Amazing, amazing Truth and Grace!

God heaped on mercy upon mercy…

During this time, the deepest realm of my heart was revolutionized by the universal insight and most personal involvement about God’s own heart for the most innocent and precious of His Image Bearers in his or her mother’s womb: I saw the potential and real destruction and beauty at a level I had never imagined… Beginning in the face of my own dearly beloved child.

Redeemed, to redeem…

During my time “sanctified to serve” on the board of The Pregnancy Resource Center [RE: “Thrive” today…] I was blessed in ways beyond my wildest imagination: In ways that would take me far too long to detail, I was immersed in the myriad products and services of a Christ-centered, Pro-Life agency “in the business of compassion, forgiveness, and redemption”:

Helping defend the unborn, preparing many to care for the born, AND helping in the forgiving and redeeming process that any woman or man whom had been complicit in abortion desires and needs so desperately… is a radically blessed place to serve.

In the mist of all the relationships with various Pregnancy Resource Center stakeholders the scales fell off my eyes and helped me see that the source of the problem “farther upstream” in the choice to end a pregnancy was the increasingly massive problem of sexual promiscuity… And farther upstream then this was looking for love in all the wrong places… And the source feeding all the streams of pain was God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit absent within the heart: The heart of the problem is always a problem of the heart.

“Above all else, guard you heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). And of death if the heart has not been reborn by the Spirit, atoned for by the cross, and accounted for in God’s Book of Life.

It all rolled back into my own story and forward into God’s Story… Who was, of course, the Author of my story since before time. But now I was provided the unspeakable blessing to know it far better and be God’s co-author from hence forth!

“All sides of the narcissism, shame, and anonymity issue” were revealed again and again in the Pro-Life, Pro-Forgiveness, and Pro-Redemptionof God and those who He placed in my midst—and the many in the world that had been wounded yet transformed in the very same way.

The Kicker:
“A Long-Overdue Apology… from the Church”

Even though there is SO much more that I could go into just with my own story, and the innumerable other stories of LIFE, FORGIVENESS, and REDEMPTION, I want to turn the corner and walk into the chaos AND possibility of a place where I feel the greatest respect for… and yet the greatest hurt in regards to this vitally important arena—a hurt to God and our own personal and universal, cultural, “political-legal”, emotional, etc. etc. state of affairs.

In God’s design The Church [and the group of supernaturally changed hearts, sinners saved by grace who exist around the world], and the church [the institutional entity where God’s people, The Church, regularly gather in order to serve, sup, know, and grow so that Christians can increase—be brighter and saltier—as the Light and Salt of the world]…

This is the redemptive entity, hearts, minds, ears, eyes, arms and legs God has created in Christ and by the Spirit to promote LIFE, FORGIVENESS, and REDEMPTION. Christ and His Church is the centerpiece of His Plan of Redemption. LIFE, FORGIVENESS, and REDEMPTION is the church’s role and goal in ALL realms—and the most vital realm of defending LIFE and loving and forgiving those who have transgressed God’s plan for procreating life should not be neglected!

Really and truly… leaving this realm orphaned along with other things in the church that hurt AND heal is a heartbreaking crime and shame—and has not gone unnoticed by God.

In fact, I personally would go so far as to say that when those who are in Christ stand face-to-face with Jesus Christ to give an account of the stewardship of their faith, a question at the very top of the list will be, “How did you, or did you not, come to the defense of My most precious little ones in his or her mother’s womb?”

I’m not God, but the very real potential of this line of questioning by Him should give us all pause… The care of God’s consummate creative act [His Image Bearers], in the time and space where he or she most vulnerable, is of paramount importance to God.

4) The Supernatural AND Institutional Church… Owes Many Wounded by Abortion an Apology

In the abstract, the church is meant by God to be in the business of “Pro-Life, Pro-Forgiveness, and Pro-Redemption”. But, in practice, it appears very few individual Believers and local, parish church Pastors, leaders, ministries, congregants… actually are.

I so wish there were more in the body of christ involved the biblical, loving, truthful, compassionate, intentional, courageous, and urgent leadership and ministry of being, “Pro-Life, Pro-Forgiveness, and Pro-Redemption”.

And, as much as I fear being overly-critical and disrespectful of The Church and the church, I know in my heart-of-hearts that THE CHURCH [and far too many church leaders] owe many millions of God’s people an apology for not simply being silent on the issues surrounding “Pro-Life, Pro-Forgiveness, and Pro-Redemption”, but not being the place of fostering the “LIFE, FORGIVENESS and REDEMPTION” of this particular realm where “freedom of choice reigns above all!”…

To the detriment and death of God’s most sacred creative entity, and the most innocent in any society on the planet. Let’s be fair, in what ways has any unborn child been given a choice in the matter of life or death?

Individual Christians should have a God-honoring, people-loving, personal and universal apologetic ready at any time—for those who you and I encounter and have somehow left the door open to discuss Pro-Life. Pro-Forgiveness. And Pro-Redemption.

Church leaders and ministries should have a short-, medium-, and long-term strategy for doing exactly the same for the congregants in any given church—who purports to love God and neighbor as self. “Life, forgiveness and redemption” pertains to all of life—and not simply the realms of life we sinners saved by grace choose to discuss and transform. Avoiding unseen, messy. and painful issues is exactly what the church is NOT supposed to do!

The Church is called to “make the invisible visible” so it can be transformed. To somehow feign or turn a blind eye that the deep and destructive wounds of an abortion do not exist is not loving at all… Far from it.

All Christians are Pro-Life. Pro-Forgiveness. And Pro-Redemption. OR in dire need of recouping their story, repenting of the silence, apologizing to any whom have been harmed by the silence so that he or she can get onto the battlefield that this war is being fought on: The millions of female and male wounded hearts who need more than ever, “LIFE, FORGIVENESS and REDEMPTION”—who have been completely and unnecessarily abandoned to their sinful yet forgiven and redeemable decision.

This claim should be polarizing enough to get someone… anyone… thinking.

For any and all women and men who have been complicit in an

Individual Christ-followers and leadership within any Christ-following church should begin and/or renew the journey of being “Pro-Life, Pro-Forgiveness, and Pro-Redemption”.

This can begin by…

First looking inwardly and repenting [to God, those close to us, and self]; then asking those who are deeply grieving inside for their forgiveness in being silent on this subject; next re-committing to God and the cause by publicly and/or privately reminding both the people who have been directly wounded by being complicit in aborting a child [the woman carrying the child and the man who didn’t come to the woman and the child’s defense—it’s the men who influence over 85% of women to terminate their pregnancy] that in Christ they are “Pro-Life, Pro-Forgiveness, and Pro-Redemption”… and now set free to a vitally-involved, redemptive force in this most vital of Kingdom causes!

My heart breaks for millions of women whose whole life… the spiritual, emotional, psychological, and physical realms… is overshadowed by suppressing the truth, the guilt, a sense of unworthiness to God, and so many visible and invisible consequences of having aborted a child. There exists a wound in the deepest realm of the heart where The Church—and only The Church—is called to compassionately recognize, reach by means of God Love and Truth, and redeem for the purposes of magnifying God and blessing His people.

The God of the Bible has Made a Way, Truth, and Life! And Christians are the Stewards of It.

God sent His one and only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for this transgression—and ALL [RE: ALL] OTHERS that we will allow Him, by the Spirit and in a community of faith, to forgive, to heal, and to then send us back into the chaos more ready, willing, and able… redeemed, to redeem!

Christian, it is our duty, born of Jesus’ beauty, to break the silence that Satan, this passing world, and our own “Precious sin” (Gollum) has enslaved us all to. There are far, far too many grieving hearts first in the church and elsewhere left criticized by the silence, shamed by inadvertently or purposely shunning, and anonymous by suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.

Standing firm on the rock-solid and indefatigable promise of God’s forgiveness of me in Christ, I deeply apologize for my own part in this realm of hidden hurt crying out to be healed.


God’s “LIFE Psalm”

Churches for Life

Thrive, St. Louis

Man in the Mirror Ministries

A Father’s Great Love

Students for Life

The Subject of Abortion Resources

Tim Keller Discusses Abortion

John Piper on Abortion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *