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Agape Defiled

How the Church Has Failed 55 Million Orphans

Rating: 3.67


300px-GoldCalfThere's an elephant in the living room. Only it isn't an elephant, and it isn't in the living room. It's a golden calf, and it's in our baptismal font and our pulpit and our sanctuary and our Sunday School class and our Bible study group and everywhere else we worship and serve God, because, truth be told, it's in our hearts.

To put it bluntly: We, the church of Jesus Christ, have an idol.

It's called ministry.

Ministry?

Yes, ministry: busying ourselves with the things of God. Granted, ministry seems very un-idol-like. But then, subtlety is the hallmark of seductive sins. It has been the devil's most effective stratagem since the beginning of time: Get the sin to seem no sin. Better, get it to seem like service to God. Better still, get it to be service to God. Sins don't get more subtle than that, nor does idolatry seem like idolatry when we're busy doing things God instructed us to do. It seems like true Christianity, like pure and undefiled religion.

But is it? Even ministry can be idolatry when it supplants what God most wants from us. What is the acid test of true Christianity, of pure and undefiled religion? What does it look like?

Pure and Undefiled Religion

We are not left guessing. In James 1:27, God tells us what “pure and undefiled religion” looks like: “Visit[ing] orphans and widows in their distress.” That's divine shorthand for serving “the least of these” with sacrificial agape love. Acts of compassion, exemplified by coming to the aid of suffering women and children, are the distinguishing marks of true Christianity.

The American church, by stunning contrast, has been characterized the past 40 years—ever since Roe v. Wade—by the deliberate and thoroughgoing neglect of 55 million orphans in exquisite distress. One has to wonder if the cold indifference shown by the church to these orphans could have been any more absolute had salvation itself depended on completely ignoring them.

Orphans?

Yes, orphans, in the truest sense. These little victims, before having their lives snuffed out in abortion, were emphatically orphans, for there are two ways a child becomes an orphan: One is to lose his parents; the other is for his parents to abandon him. It doesn't take a Solomon to see here the applicability of James 1:27.

Yet for four decades the church has fastidiously refused to muster aid on behalf of these little people and against one of the most barbaric and inhumane practices imaginable. Not only has the church opted not to visit these orphans in their distress, but by refusing to voice any significant public moral objection, the church has actually gone to the opposite extreme and given tacit sanction to their cruel mutilation and murder.

And this comports with James 1:27, how?

No one will answer that question because there is no answer. We are wholly without excuse. We have ignored not only the soundless cries of these abandoned orphans, but more ominously, the unequivocal declarations of our God and Father as well.

This raises the additional and perhaps more deeply soul-probing question: If pure and undefiled religion in God's sight is to visit orphans in their distress, then just what kind of religion has the church been practicing since 1973? What kind of religion is it whose defining characteristic is the refusal to visit tens of millions of orphans in their inconceivably great distress?

Defining Characteristic?

Yes, defining characteristic. A defining characteristic is the feature most notable and distinctive about a thing. A hundred years from now history will remember us not for our missions or evangelism or our ministry, much less for our fidelity to the Bible. It will remember us for our breathtakingly thorough disregard of orphans in their distress.

Abortion continues to flourish largely because of us. We could end abortion overnight—if we really wanted to. The present generation of Christians will no more be lauded for its service to Christ than would a perverted pastor who preached spellbinding sermons and won thousands of souls by day, but committed pedophilia against a four-year-old child by night.

We will not be remembered for the religious busyness we called ministry—in the final analysis, this amounts to so much window-dressing in the sight of God—but for refusal to give Christ the one thing He wants in evidence of true love for Him: that we would love our neighbor as ourselves.

The logic is inescapable: If pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God is to give compassionate, sacrificial, agape love to abandoned children, then American Christianity is grotesquely impure and defiled—like a river of life befouled by the corpses of too many children for even the angels to count.

* * *

Solomon: The Mother's Day Ruminations of an Abandoned Son

Call me her son, but not my mother deem
The one who gave me life enough to taste
The barest part of God's ecstatic dream,
Then rid me from her womb with wicked haste.
“Considered innocent till guilty proved”
So said the law she praised, yet gave me death
With no defense, who not so much as moved
A tiny fist or raised his voice in threat.
She thought it wisdom plotting my demise
And naming “Orphan,” by default, her son;
But she by murder made that son more wise;
For cenotaphs shall dub him “Solomon,”
Who, like the Sage, is sure a mother true
Would not consent to cut her child in two.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Rolley Haggard is a feature writer for BreakPoint.


Articles on the BreakPoint website are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BreakPoint. Outside links are for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply endorsement of their content.

Comments:

Religious people killed Jesus. The elephant I see in the room is religious people who want others to think that they really care about others because they are pro-life, but in reality they really don't care about others. The orphans that I know are real children whose mothers choose not to abort them, but they themselves are not equipped with the skills or knowledge to properly parent them. Now these humans created in the image of God are a product of their environment and the pro-life crowd and every other conservative Christian is no where to be found!
The Big Picture
It seems to me that the church has lost her strategic vision. Yes abortion and diviorce are social evils but they are merely a symptom of a far more deadly battle. As a retired military member I often lament the lack of a cohesive analysis of all of the trends that are components of our battle (for it is nothing less) for the souls of the lost.
The Screwtape Letters, written by C.S. Lewis, while just fiction, should be required reading for all Christians for it reminds us that we are at war with the forces of darkness. Abortion is just one skirmish in a much wider conflict. Abortion is a symptom of a society that accepted the lies of The Adversary, to wit; personal happiness and fullfillment is all that matters in this life. It is a simplification, I admit, but a place to start the analysis. Look at nearly all of the trends in society and eventually we see this false idea at the root.
As a people we have discarded some vital words; duty, honor, commitment, self-sacrifice, and allowed other words to be redefined. For example the word "love" has become nearly meaningless. Hollywood and a society that is obcessed with sexuality has lost any conception of the meaning that Paul described in I Cor., 13. Jesus may, or may not, have had warm fuzzy feelings towards us but there is no doubt that he had a love that was willing to die a gruesome death for us. That kind of love, agape, is virtually unknown today.
The church is, and forever has been, at war yet seems clueless in how to fight it. Until we look strategically at the battle and focus on the causes, rather than the effects, we will never gain the edge on an enemy who never sleeps and hates us with indescribable ferocity.
Thank you Gina, I see it now.
Complicity
Amen, amen, amen.

Truth like this is painful, and it should be.

Thank you, in the deepest sense, for refusing to be silent.
We did post it, Sharon. Unless you sent in another one that I didn't see?
P.S. In my previous comment, I purposefully reciprocated in the tone that I detected in this article. And I do understand why you did not post it.
and since we are talking about the elephant in the room, how about the many who are sacrificing their own children on the altar of ministry or entertainment? When it comes to the issue of divorce within the church, the silence is deafening. What of those 'orphaned' children? Please don't misunderstand me, I'm in no way disagreeing with what you have said, I'm simply adding to it. The breakdown of the family "continues to flourish largely because of us." We laud speaker so and so who has had multiple wives because he happens to espouse our cause. Not that I think we should shun anyone but should we really praise him? Really? I think that children brought up in homes where the father is engaged are far less likely to participate in fornication, become pregnant, and (don't kid yourself) in many, many, cases have an abortion.
"Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."
Agape
I loved your commentary. Many heartfelt thanks!
I have worked for Right to Life for many years. Most protestant churches in our area will not participate in pro-life activities. Some will pray for us, and I am grateful for that...but we need boots on the ground and support, but none is forthcoming. Some say it is too Catholic...well that is because nearly everyone participating in witnessing to life are catholic. So I say, if you don't like the way we pray lets talk and you can have a whole hour, day, or week to witness out there all by yourselves.
Outside the walls of the Church
I had been a over 30 years. I was a Sunday school teacher, Youth leader, Singles ministry leader, Adult group leader and a helper at church events. One day it occured to me that all of my Christian service had been done within the four walls of my church. Didn't Jesus say something about going into all the world?

I considered letting Breakpoint readers know what I am now doing, but I have decided not to. Instead if you have had the same experience of serving God only in the four walls of your church look around you for ways to get out side and make a difference for the Gospel in your community.
Christians-in-name-only
I am a Lutheran but I left the institution. I think their God's name is Money as proved by following the law under a 501(C)3. John the Baptist made Rev 2:10 the better goal, but they are worried about a measly tax break. LOL
Selective Disregard
It's exactly like the Priest and Levite who walked by the "half-dead" man in the ditch. They were going to church; they had a license from God--they thought--to make going to church a higher priority than stopping to help a dying man. The Lord made it clear those people were the enemies of God because they neither loved Him nor their neighbor. http://www.aogusa.org is what comes next in the resistance.
Christians in name only
Jesus further illustrated your point in Matthew 25:45, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me." The modern American church has "lost its salt," just as the German church did during Nazism.