“Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.'” Matthew 20: 18b-20a
The sidewalk of an abortion clinic often looks like a war zone. Parents walk into the clinic and pay money to have someone kill their unborn child. When Christians show up outside of these abortion clinics to plead for the life of these children, these clinics will often recruit volunteer escorts to shelter the parents so that they remain steadfast in their decision to abort. More often than not, you will see Roman Catholics outside of these clinics praying the Rosary. It can be difficult to ascertain what Bible-believing Christians should do with these Catholics.
One thing we cannot do is unite with them. I know that sounds harsh. I really do appreciate that many Catholics hate abortion, and I love that they recognize the atrocity of what is happening and are horrified. I’ve even witnessed Catholics shedding tears and it touched my heart. One older Catholic woman even told me the story of how she once decided against aborting her child and later in life met the woman she nearly aborted so many years prior.
My heart truly goes out to these people. Though we may politically vote the same, when we are ministering outside of a clinic, we must distinguish our ministry from theirs for the simple reason that our ministry is gospel-based. The Five Solas, that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, and for God’s glory alone are all attributes of the gospel. Take one out and you lose the biblical gospel.
At the Council of Trent the Roman Catholic Church anathematized the gospel:
“If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.” (Session 6 Canon 9)
“If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema.” ( Session 6 Canon 12)
The Bible is clear that salvation is “…by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:8-9) The Roman Catholic church stands diametrically opposed to the biblical gospel and for this reason, we can not pretend that we stand on equal ground in opposition to abortion. Roman Catholics are lost without the gospel. The last thing they need is for us to affirm them in their rebellion. They need the gospel as much as anyone else at the clinic including the parents, workers, and even the doctors performing the procedure.
How much focus should we give evangelizing Catholics while at the clinic? After all, there are babies whose lives are hanging on a thread and we must be diligent in pleading with the parents not to murder their children. When I approach an abortion clinic, I do bear in mind that a child’s life is at stake and time is not on my side.
I believe the wisest thing to do is to prioritize. The wisest thing you can do is continue to beg mothers for the lives of their babies as they are coming in. Every abortion clinic has their rush hours, during this rush hour, focus on proclaiming the gospel and saving babies. While you are at the clinic shouting out to mothers, do not forget to constantly proclaim the gospel of faith and repentance. If a parent decides to come out and speak with you, then take as much time as you need to give them the gospel and, if possible, plead with them to save their baby. When you notice that the clinic slows down, or if its a slow day, or if the Spirit leads you then feel free to lovingly approach the Catholics. If you are preaching it is fine to address the Catholics about their false gospel. Remind them of Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:
“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
I can imagine that on the day of judgment there will be many who once stood outside an abortion clinic pleading and praying for the lives of unborn babies who will hear those words, “Depart from me…” I do not want that for anyone. I do not want it for the pro-choice nor the pro-life. If people are to be condemned, at least let us first give them the gospel. If you love the Catholics that come out to the clinic, you should absolutely take the time when you have a moment away from pleading for children to speak to them about the gospel. Perhaps God will have mercy on them and you both can then truly stand side-by-side, arm-in-arm and fight for the lives of the unborn together.
What a beautiful day that would be indeed.
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