Proposal 3 Passed; Now What?
What is the Church’s response to the passing of Proposal 3 for reproductive freedom? Consider some points from men who lived during the passing of another law that led to the execution of millions in Nazi Germany. Simply put, the Church’s response is to fight back and refuse to compromise in the truth.
On Wednesday, I woke up with knots in my stomach. I made the mistake of checking Twitter and the first thing that I saw was, “Michigan Passes Proposal Three.” I was sick to the point of throwing up. It wasn’t because Prop 3 had passed; I had a hunch that it would. We live in a culture that worships murder and the destruction of the family, so I wasn’t surprised at all by Michigan’s election results as this nation continues to turn its back on God the Almighty, worship self and convenience, and place their trust in men (and women) and false promises. This has certainly been the case for generations and something that I preach against often. But it’s one thing to know that. It’s another to see it in text, solidifying what you already know to be true. And numbers speak volumes.
The AP estimated after 87% of the votes counted, 2.4 million people (definitely more) voted to be able to kill a baby in the womb up until birth. 2.4 million people voted to allow young children to circumvent parental approval to begin mutilating their bodies and changing their gender. 2.4 million people voted to allow young women to have an abortion without talking to their parents. 2.4 million people voted to protect the one performing the abortion if something goes wrong. 2.4 million people voted to give up parental and religious freedom rights and surrendered their children by giving the State a blank check to do with whatever they see fit.
This past week 2.4 million people embraced evil. What’s worse is that many of these people claim to be Christians, even leaders within the church. They claim to worship a Jesus who loves children, but they hate them. They allege to serve a Jesus who protects the vulnerable, but they throw them to the wolves. They wish to follow Jesus even unto death, until persecution is looming at the door and they flee to the gods of narcissism, sex, and violence.
What breaks my heart the most, however, is that of these 2.4 million plus people, many of them were duped. They went to the car dealership thinking they bought their dream car that everyone will love, only to pull off the lot and have the engine explode. They bought a lemon. How many people that voted “yes” genuinely thought they were doing what was best for their kids, their families, and their state? How many people voted “yes” because “I can’t see these claims in the language of the proposal?” And how many people knew exactly what this Proposal would do but packaged it in shiny paper and a big red bow and gave it to the public with a sinister shit-eating grin? How many pastors neglected to talk through this proposal with their congregations because “church and politics don’t mix.” Evil comes in many forms. Satan, the deceiver and the father of lies, will do whatever it takes to get you to bend your knees and bow to him. And that’s exactly what took place this week.
There is nothing new under the sun.
Which means that despite all of this, Jesus is still Lord. Jesus still holds all things together. He is still the Son of the Father, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace. He is still your hope and your salvation. He is still God.
So, what do we do next, Church? Do we roll over? Do we give in? Do we just accept defeat and say, “God is in control, so lets just let the world go to Satan?” We are still Christians. We still take our marching orders from Jesus, the Lion of Judah. We still have fifth commandment responsibilities; “We should fear and love God that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor’s body; but we should help and be a friend to him in every bodily need (Luther’s explanation of the fifth commandment).” We cannot sit idly by and let our neighbors be trampled by evil. What’s our next move?
I appeal to my good friend Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrote a short essay entitled “The Church and the Jewish Question.” In short, Bonhoeffer was radically engaged in the church struggle, which was the tension between the Church and the State in Germany when Adolf Hitler rose (was elected) to power in 1933 and in the years following. In April of 1933, Germany passed the Aryan paragraph which banned Jews from various organizations and professions. It took away rights and dehumanized the Jews. Of course all of this would lead to the Holocaust (don’t worry, I’m not comparing abortion to the Holocaust; exponentially more people die from abortion than from the Holocaust). Bonhoeffer saw this was not of God and there needed to be a response from the true Church against the State. He wrote this:
There are thus three possibilities for action that the church can take vis-à-vis the state: first (as we have said), questioning the state as to the legitimate state character of its actions, that is, making the state responsible for what it does. Second is service to the victims of the state’s actions. The church has an unconditional obligation toward the victims of any societal order, even if they do not belong to the Christian community. “Let us work for the good of all”. These are both ways in which the church, in its freedom, conducts itself in the interest of a free state. In times when the laws are changing, the church may under no circumstances neglect either of these duties. The third possibility is not just to bind up the wounds of the victims beneath the wheel but to seize the wheel itself.
The first thing we can do is continue to be vocal. Question every single move the State makes. Push back on every “mandate.” If a law is passed that is in direct violation of the Word of God, hold the State accountable. Shout from the rooftops, use your social media platforms, be bold and engage in conversations. Sign petitions. Write letters. Be vocal! We are at war, and we cannot hide in the foxholes like cowards and let others do the fighting. We need to resist. Do whatever it takes. Pull your kids from public schools that embrace trans ideology and participate in the State’s grooming processes and indoctrination. Consider home schooling. Take it upon yourself as parents and grandparents to be bold and teach the truths of God to our kids. Out of love for your children, fight back.
No matter how much we question and hold the State responsible or how much we fight, the State will push back and will do whatever it takes to get its way. And there will certainly be casualties. According to God’s Fifth Commandment, we must help our neighbors in every bodily need. We must service the victims of the State’s actions. Women who have had abortions and feel the incredible guilt, shame, and pain, we embrace them, minister to them, love them. Kids who naïvely pursue to be sterilized and have regret, we take them under our wings and proclaim the redemptive love of Christ. Kids struggling with a gender identity crisis, we come along side of them, listen to their struggles, and pour out the promise that God made them beautifully, purposefully, and loves them perfectly.
But there will certainly come a point when these aren’t enough. Perhaps it’s even now. We must act. We must do whatever we can to seize the wheel of the State’s train that is steaming towards our kids and our families. Are you willing to do this? Are you willing to love your families so much that it means seizing the wheel of a moving freight train? Let me be clear, this does not mean throwing rocks at your senators or frozen bottles of water through your governor’s window in peaceful protest. What it does mean is becoming active in your communities to stop this evil. Become more than just a social justice computer warrior. Wrestle the wheel out of the hands of the ones trying to take your children’s lives. Protect your loved ones. Be willing to lay down in the road and give up all you’ve ever known to stop it.
Pastor Hill, with whom I co-host a podcast about Bonhoeffer, introduced me to another contemporary of Pastor Bonhoeffer. Consider Pastor Paul Schneider for a moment. Another pastor under Hitler’s rule who openly opposed the Nazi ideology. He sought not to antagonize the State but to have harmony between the Church and the State. But as the Nazi party continued to push their ideals, specifically that some human races were “higher” than others and they would eliminate the “lower” by force, Schneider became more and more bold in his preaching, stating that “National Socialism becomes more obviously opposed to biblical Christianity.” He urged his hearers to take up their cross and follow Jesus, saying, “Do not deceive yourselves, you cannot participate in Jesus’ glory and victory unless you, for his sake, take up the holy cross and go with him along the path of suffering and death.” In other words, to be resurrected with Jesus, you must die with Jesus – maybe even a martyr’s death.
Pastor Schneider became Prisoner Schneider for his refusal to come alongside the Nazi party. In November of 1937, he was taken to Buchenwald Concentration Camp where he was constantly taunted and had no privileges. On April 20, 1938, to honor Hitlers forty-ninth birthday, the prisoners honored him by revering the Nazi flag. Of all the men, there was one who would not bow to the swastika. Schneider received a vicious punishment of whippings, lashings, and placement into solitary confinement with no furniture, no light, no Bible. Nothing. He became a skeleton in tattered rags left to rot in his cell with nothing but bread and water to eat and drink.
In 1938 he preached the Gospel to the fellow prisoners through the bars of his prison cell. He was tied to a rack and whipped 25 times. He continued to suffer until July 18, 1939 when he was injected with a massive overdose of strophanthin to stop his heart and he died. Why would he endure all of this? Pastor Schneider has the answer:
“Someone has to preach God’s Word in this hell.”
In John’s Gospel, Peter tells Jesus that he will certainly lay his life down for him (13:37). Of course Jesus then tells Peter that he will not hesitate to deny Jesus when he has an opportunity to lay his life down for him. The irony is not lost. The issue is that Peter has not seen Jesus lay his life down. But he will. He will see just how much love his Lord has for him and only in his weakness will Peter be made strong. Peter would be strengthened by the Spirit and indeed will lay down his life for Jesus as he is crucified upside down. All of the apostles, with the exception of John, will die a brutal death for the sake of Christ and for the sake of the Truth.
Brothers and sisters, you have an opportunity to do the same. You have an opportunity, dare I say privilege, to speak the truth in the midst of lies and evil. And it may just cost you your life. But hold fast to this truth: you have a God who has led by example and gave his life for you first. He has promised the Holy Spirit to come and fill you when you are being persecuted. In your persecution, not only will you suffer for Christ, but you will suffer WITH Christ. But as Paul puts it, you know him and the power of the resurrection, and may share in the sufferings of Christ, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible you may attain the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:10-11). Christ is with you. He is leading the charge. He is fighting with you and for you, so that you, and all who believe in him, have the promise of eternal life in the Resurrection.
So, dear Christian, let’s fight for truth. Let’s mend our brothers and sisters. Let’s lay our lives down for our friends. Because after all, the war is over. Jesus has won. And through him, you have victory too.
Your move. Because someone has to preach God’s Word in this hell.
Read more about Paul Schneider here