In fact, many become pro-life by the time he’s done explaining to them “7 Reasons,” as his new film is titled.
It’s available now for download for a charge and is scheduled to be released on the Living Waters YouTube Channel on Mother’s Day weekend.
Comfort asks students whether they are pro-choice, and most say yes.
But within a few minutes, they’re reversing course.
He asks one student: “Did you change your mind?”
“Actually, you know what? Yeah, I have,” the student says.
See a trailer:
Comfort and the others who created “7 Reasons” believe the movie will change viewers’ stance on abortion.
The 42-minute documentary shows that transformation taking place in man-in-the-street interviews.
“The movie really is a pro-choice politician’s nightmare,” Comfort told WND. “Like millions of others, I was horrified to hear liberals abandon their usual arguments about it not being a baby in the womb, etc., and freely admit that they just want to kill human beings out of convenience. I wanted to produce a film that would change people’s minds about this horrific practice, and ‘7 Reasons’ does just that.”
Abortion has been in the news in recent months.
The Trump administration this week expanded the Mexico City Policy that forbids U.S. tax dollars from being used by overseas abortion providers. Meanwhile, New York state in January adopted a law that effectively allows abortion until birth. A similar Virginia bill failed, but Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam drew attention with his de facto approval of infanticide in a radio interview.
Comfort said that as he speaks with young people about abortion, he is “amazed at both the hardness of heart of some, but of the ignorance of others and tenderness of others.”
“They have no idea what happens with an abortion,” he said. “I ask questions like, ‘If it was your job to kill a baby, what do you think would be the most efficient way to do the job?’”
The students, all confidently pro-abortion at the beginning, change their minds by the end.
“When minds and hearts change, laws change,” the production explains.
“So you’ve changed your mind about abortion?” Comfort asks one student.
“Of course,” the student says.
And then comes the warning for abortion-industry funded politicians.
But will you now vote pro-life?
It’s not the first time Comfort has approached the subject.
In his film “180” just a few years ago, he shows how people can change their minds about abortion in seconds when faced with one question.
James Dobson, founder of FamilyTalk, described it as “powerful stuff.”
“I was deeply moved,” he said.
Comfort is the founder of Living Waters and the bestselling author of more than 80 books, including “God Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life,” “How to Know God Exists” and “The Evidence Bible.” He co-hosts the award-winning television program “Way of the Master,” airing in almost 200 countries, and is the executive producer of “180,” “Evolution vs. God,” “Audacity” and other films.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
The question we will tackle today is how do people who have experienced the miracle of the new birth deal with their own sinfulness as they try to live in the full assurance of their salvation? That is, how do we deal with the conflict between the reality of the new birth, on the one hand, and our ongoing sin, on the other hand? How do you balance the danger of losing assurance of salvation and the danger of being presumptuous that you are born again when you may not be? How can we enjoy the assurance of being born again, and yet not take lightly the sinfulness of our lives that is so out of step with being born again?
John’s first letter, more than any other book in the Bible, seems to be designed to help us in this practical, daily battle. Consider 1 John 5:13: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” This book is written, he says, to help believers have the full assurance that they have been born again—that is, that they have new, spiritual life in them that will never die. John wants you—God wants you—to experience something in this letter that makes you profoundly confident that you have passed from death to life.
First John 3:14 says, “We know that we have passed out of death into life.” Jesus says in John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” So John and Jesus are jealous for us believers to know that judgment is behind us, and death is behind us, because our judgment happened when Jesus was judged in our place, and our death happened when Jesus died in our place. And therefore, new life is in us and this life cannot perish and cannot be taken away. It’s eternal. That’s the assurance John and Jesus want for you. “I write these things to you . . . that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
The Folly of the False Teachers
But something is going on in the churches that John is writing to that concerns him deeply. Whatever it is, it threatens to destroy this assurance. There are false teachers who are saying things that may give the impression of good news and strong assurance, but will have the very opposite effect. In dealing with these false teachers, John shows us how to deal with our own sin in relation to fighting for assurance. What were these false teachers saying?
First, they were saying that the pre-existent Son of God, Jesus Christ, had not come in the flesh. They did not believe in the full union of the pre-existent Son of God with a fleshly human nature like ours. Here is what John says about them in 1 John 4:1-3: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.”
Disconnecting Christ and the Flesh
There is a lot we could go into about this early Christian heresy, but I only want to focus on one thing. These false teachers disconnected Christ and the flesh. See that in verse 2: “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.” They did not like the idea of the pre-existent Christ being united with human flesh.
Now here is the reason that’s relevant for our question today. This view of the person of Christ not being united to physical, bodily, flesh evidently had a practical, moral effect on the way these false teachers viewed the Christian life. Just as they disconnected the person of Christ from ordinary physical life, so they disconnected being a Christian from ordinary physical life.
Disconnecting Christians and the Flesh
One of the clearest places to see his is here in our text: 1 John 3:7. John says, “Little children, let no one deceive you [so he has the false teachers in view]. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.” What’s he saying? He is saying beware of the false teachers because what they say is that you can be righteous and not practice righteousness. “Let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous.”
In other words, John opposes not only their view of Christ, that they disconnect his person from his ordinary bodily life of doing things, but he also opposes their view of the Christian life when they disconnected our person from our ordinary bodily life of doing things: “The flesh didn’t really matter for Jesus; what mattered was that somehow, in a spiritual way, he was the Christ and there was no real union of the pre-existent Christ and the physical man Jesus. And our flesh doesn’t really matter either; but somehow, in a spiritual way, we are born again, but there is no real union between that new creation and our physical life that does righteousness or does sin.” Which led directly to the error that John points out in 1 John 3:7, that you can berighteous in some spiritual way, and yet not do righteousness in your ordinary physical life.
Now John has three responses to this false teaching.
Christ’s Incarnation Lasts Forever
First, he insists that the flesh of Jesus and the person of the pre-existent Christ are inseparable. First John 4:2: “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.” Notice it does not say “came in the flesh,” as though that union with flesh and bones happened for a while and then stopped. He says “has come in the flesh.”
This incarnation lasts forever. The second person of the Trinity will forever be united with human nature. We will always know him as Jesus, one like us, and infinitely above us—the firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29). God did not, and does not, despise the physical creation that he made. He has comein the flesh. And the Son of God remains in the flesh forever. So John’s first response to the false teaching is to set straight their view of Christ. His physical being is not a mirage. It’s not secondary. It’s not unimportant. That he has a body marks and identifies him forever.
Christian Doing Confirms Being
John’s second response to the false teaching is to deny emphatically its teaching that spiritual being can be separated from physical doing. John, in fact, insists that spiritual being must be validated by physical doing, or else the spiritual being is simply not real. That’s what we saw in 1 John 3:7: “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.” The deceivers were saying: You can be righteous and yet not practice righteousness. John says: The only people who are righteous are the ones who practice righteousness. Doing confirms being.
That is what John says over and over again in this letter. For example, in 1 John 2:29, he says, “If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.” In other words, the doing of righteousness is the evidence and confirmation of being born again.
Not Practicing Sin: Evidence of the New Birth
Or consider 1 John 3:9: “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.” The practice of sin is the evidence and confirmation that one is not born of God. Doing confirms being. Not practicing sin is the evidence and confirmation of being born again.
And the reason the new birth inevitably changes the life of sinning, John says, is that when we are born again, “God’s seed” abides in us, and we “cannot keep on sinning.” That’s how real the connection between the new birth and daily physical life is. The seed may be the Spirit of God or the Word of God or the nature of God—or all three. Whatever it is specifically, God himself is at work in the new birth so powerfully that they cannot keep on practicing sin. God’s seed cannot make peace with a pattern of sinful behavior.
These false teachers who think they can separate who they are spiritually from who they are physically do not understand either the incarnation or regeneration. In the incarnation, the pre-existent Christ is really united with a physical body. And in regeneration, the new creation in Christ has real, inevitable effects on our physical life of obedience.
Rejecting Any Notion of Sinlessness in the Born Again
John’s third response to the false teaching is to reject any notion of sinlessness in born-again people. Evidently, the way this false teaching was working was that, by disconnecting “being righteous” from “doingrighteousness” (3:7), they were then able to say, “Well, even if your body does some things that are sinful, that’s not really you. The real you is the born again you; and that real you is so above daily physical life that it’s never defiled by sin.”
So this disconnection that the false teachers made between who you are and what you do had led them, evidently, to say that Christians never really sin. How could they? They’re born of God. They’re new creatures. They have the seed of God in them. So John levels his guns at this error three times. It’s important that you see them.
1) There Are No Sinless Christians.
First John 1:8: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” We! We born-again Christians. In other words, don’t let the deception of these false teachers work its way into your own self-deception. There are no sinless Christians.
2) The Born Again Have an Advocate.
First John 2:1: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” In other words, John does not assume that if you sin, you are not born again. He assumes that if you sin, you have an Advocate, Jesus Christ. And only those who are born again have this Advocate.
3) There Is Sin That Does Not Lead to Death.
First John 5:16-17: “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.”
Notice that last clause: “There is sin that does not lead to death.” This is why you can see your brother committing sin. He is your brother. He is born again. And he is sinning. How can this be? Because there is sin that does not lead to death. I don’t think he has particular kinds of sins in view, but rather degrees of rootedness and habitual persistence. There is a point of confirmed sinning which may take you over the line of no return and you will be like Esau who sought repentance and could not find it (Hebrews 12:16-17).
How Do the Born Again Deal with Their Sin?
Now we come to the question we raised at the beginning: How do people who have experienced the miracle of the new birth deal with their own sinfulness as they try to live in the full assurance of their salvation? My answer is: You deal with it by the way you use John’s teaching. John warns against hypocrisy (claiming to be born again when your life contradicts it), and John celebrates the Advocacy and Propitiation of Christ for sinners.
The question is: How do you use these two truths? How do you use the warning that you might deceive yourself? How do you use the promise, “If we do sin, we have an Advocate”? The evidence of your new birth lies in how these to truths function in your life.
Here’s the way they function if you are born again:
1) Fleeing Presumption, Flying to the Advocate
You are slipping into a lukewarm, careless, presumptuous frame of mind about your own sinfulness. You are starting to coast or be indifferent to whether you are holy or worldly. You are losing your vigilance against bad attitudes and behaviors—and starting to settle in with sinful patterns of behavior.
When the born-again person experiences this, the truth of 1 John 3:9 (“No one born of God makes a practice of sinning”) has the effect, by the Holy Spirit, of awakening him to the danger of his condition so that he flies to his Advocate and his Propitiation for mercy and forgiveness and righteousness. He confesses his sin and receives cleansing (1:9), and his love for Christ is renewed and the sweetness of his relationship is recovered and the hatred of sin is restored and the joy of the Lord again becomes his strength.
2) Fleeing Despair, Flying to the Advocate
You are sinking down in fear and discouragement and even despair that your righteousness, your love for people, and your fight against sin are just not good enough. Your conscience is condemning you, and your own deeds seem so imperfect to you that they could never prove that you are born again.
When the born-again person experiences this, the truth of 1 John 2:1 has the effect, by the Spirit, of rescuing him from despair: “My little children [he wants to be tender with their consciences], I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
John’s warning of hypocrisy calls you back from the precipice of presumption. John’s promise of an Advocate calls you back from the precipice of despair.
The Redemptive Power of God’s Word
New birth enables you to hear Scripture and use Scripture helpfully, redemptively. New birth doesn’t use the promise “We have an Advocate” to justify an attitude of cavalier indifference to sin.
New birth doesn’t’ use the warning “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning” to pour gasoline on the fires of despair. New birth has a spiritual discernment that senses how to use John’s teaching: The new birth is chastened and sobered by the warnings, and the new birth is thrilled and empowered by the promise of an Advocate and a Propitiation.
May the Lord confirm your new birth by both of these responses to the word of God. May he grant you to embrace both the warning and the comfort and put them to proper spiritual use in preserving the full assurance of your salvation.
A Christian representative in the Pennsylvania legislature has been denounced over the prayer she offered on March 25 during a swearing-in ceremony for a Muslim lawmaker.
During her prayer before the swearing-in of newly elected Democrat Representative Movita Johnson-Harrell, who is a Muslim, Republican State Representative Stephanie Borowicz (shown) invoked the name of Jesus over a dozen times, and also offered thanks for President Donald Trump’s support of the nation of Israel.
Calling herself Jesus’s “ambassador,” Borowicz declared that Jesus is the “King of kings and Lord of lords, the Great I Am,” and the “One who is coming back again.” In her prayer Borowicz asked God to forgive America for losing its spiritual bearings. “Jesus, we’ve lost sight of you,” Borowicz prayed, as Johnson-Harrell and the rest of her Democrat colleagues squirmed uneasily in their seats. “We’re asking you to forgive us…. Jesus, You are our only hope.”
Borowicz went on to pray for the state’s and nation’s leaders, and concluded her prayer “in the powerful, mighty Name of Jesus.”
Response from Democrat lawmakers and the governor was predictable in its condemnation of Borowicz and her Christian sentiment. Democrat House Whip Jordan Harris called Borowicz’s prayer “inappropriate,” offering himself as a model of correct comportment. “I am a Christian,” Harris solemnly intoned. “I spend my Sunday mornings in church worshipping and being thankful for all that I have. But in no way does that mean I would flaunt my religion at those who worship differently than I do. There is no room in our Capitol building for actions such as this, and it’s incredibly disappointing that today’s opening prayer was so divisive.”
Similarly, Democrat Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf claimed to be “horrified” by Borowicz’s prayer. “I grew up in Pennsylvania,” Wolf pointed out, and “Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn on the basis of freedom of conscience. I have a strong spiritual sense. This is not a reflection of the religion I grew up in.”
For her part, Johnson-Harrell called Borowicz’s invocation “offensive,” saying that “to use Jesus as a weapon is not OK,” and “we cannot weaponize what’s going on with Israel and Palestine.”
She added that the prayer “blatantly represented the Islamophobia that exists among some leaders — leaders that are supposed to represent the people. I came to the Capitol to help build bipartisanship and collaborations regardless of race or religion to enhance the quality of life for everyone in the Commonwealth.”
The Muslim lawmaker complained that Borowicz’s prayer amounted to “a political statement, and I think we need to be very, very clear that everybody in this House matters, whether they’re Christian, Muslim, or Jew, and that we cannot use these issues to tear each other down. And not only that, it was made during my swearing in.” She also called for Borowicz to be censured, “because we need to be promoting inclusion, not division.”
Somewhat ironically, reported CBN News, “another Muslim lawmaker, Rep. Jason Dawkins … opened the session on Tuesday by reading from the Quran. His invocation was followed by applause.”
Among those stepping up to defend Borowicz was Republican State Representative Daryl Metcalf, who pointed out that his colleague was merely “walking in the footsteps of our forefathers who would have prayed a prayer very similar.” Added Metcalf: “That the newest member, who is a Muslim, would attack her and say that [Borowicz’s prayer] was an example of Islamophobia, should be offensive to every Pennsylvanian.”
Evangelist Franklin Graham also weighed in to defend Borowicz, insisting that “she doesn’t need to apologize,” for her Christian prayer. “We don’t change who we are or what we believe because someone who is present may believe differently than we believe…. I always appreciate anyone who has the guts to stand up for Jesus.”
The networks that broadcast nonstop advertising for Viagra, films that advocate promiscuity, and mega-violent movies filled with soft porn have rejected advertisements for Unplanned, the film about a Planned Parenthood clinic director who quit the job and took up the pro-life cause.
The reason we can’t see the ads? Abortion is too sensitive a subject even to broadcast an ad for a film about it.
The film opened Friday on 1,000 screens, but thanks to the hard-left, pro-abortion networks, some Americans didn’t know.
Johnson rose from a mere pro-abortion volunteer to become the youngest clinic director ever for Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country. PP performed 332,757 abortions in the fiscal year that ended in June, or 991 every day of the year as the Family Research Council noted.
Johnson abandoned the taxpayer-subsidized killing factory after the abortionist at her clinic called upon her to assist an abortion. Watching the abortion on ultrasound, Johnson wrote that “the baby looked as if it were being wrung like a dishcloth, twirled and squeezed. And then it crumpled and began disappearing into the cannula before my eyes. The last thing I saw was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone sucked into the tube, and then it was gone.”
The experience traumatized Johnson, caused her to terminate her employment at Planned Parenthood and pushed her into the pro-life cause. She eventually became a Catholic.
But major media outlets don’t want Johnson’s story publicized, and so rejected the ad for the film, The Hollywood Reporter disclosed Friday. “Pure Flix, the distributor behind the box office hit God’s Not Dead and other movies aimed a Christians, opens the movie in 1,000 theaters today, but outside of the Fox News Channel, every other mainstream television outlet has declined to air the ad,” the newspaper reported:
Lifetime, for example, told the film’s marketers that they declined to air the commercial due to the “sensitive nature of the film,” the ad buyers tell The Hollywood Reporter. The marketers though, note that the network — which is owned by A&E Networks, a joint venture of Walt Disney and Hearst Communications — previously promoted an interview with Scarlett Johansson where she pitches Planned Parenthood.
The Travel Channel, Cooking Channel, HGTV and Food Network, each of which are owned by Discovery, also refused to sell ad time for Unplanned due to the “sensitive nature” of the movie, say those who tried buying air time.
Other networks that refused to advertise the movie include the Hallmark Channel and USA Network, the latter of which is owned by NBCUniversal.
The major networks broadcast megaviolent movies in the middle of the afternoon, and during prime time, sitcoms and dramas that promote homosexual sodomy or advocate promiscuity. Suggestive and even erotic advertisements appear on the screen during major athletic events. And the television giants frequently produce fare that openly attacks and defames Christians.
Catherine Glenn Foster, president of Americans United for Life, noted that some programs openly promote abortion. “Shrill,” a new series on Hulu, she toldLifeNews, “drew outrage earlier this month when the main character bragged about feeling ‘really, really good’ and ‘powerful”’ after having an abortion.
“The entertainment industry no longer hides the fact that it lacks basic moral decency,” Foster told LifeNews. “It’s now overtly dedicated to indoctrinating its viewers with a pro-abortion agenda, hiding from them the pain and emotional toll involved with the destruction of human life.”
Can’t See An “R” Movie, Can Get an Abortion
When THR contacted the nets to find out why they rejected the ads, “Lifetime declined to comment while the rest did not respond.”
Not that anyone didn’t know. “We were looking to spend money, but they didn’t want to get involved,” Unplanned producer John Sullivan told THR. The nets told another producer that “they didn’t want to get into politics.”
That’s code for “we’re not going to upset Planned Parenthood.”
On the bright side, Fox News and the Christian Broadcast Network accepted ads, as did conservative talk radio, THR reported.
Amusingly, the film pulled an “R” rating, an irony that Judie Brown, president of the American Life League explained to Newsweek:
“Even the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) recognizes abortion as truly horrific. The irony is that a teenager as young as 13 can get an abortion without her parents’ consent, but cannot see a movie about abortion unless she is over 17.”
Two criminals were crucified with Jesus on Good Friday. They hung in naked shame and agony on cruel crosses for approximately six hours. Both blasphemed Jesus at first, spewing vicious insults His way. Their names were not recorded. Ultimately, one was saved; the other was lost. One was forgiven; the other was condemned. One was transported to paradise; the other was taken to perdition. One’s heart was hardened with hate; the other’s was melted by love. One cursed God with his dying breath; the other whispered a soul-saving prayer.
What made the difference? What caused the believing thief to change his mind about Christ? One plausible explanation is that when he saw Jesus forgive His own murderers, it made a profound impression on him. His eyes were opened and he realized that this was no ordinary man. He’d never witnessed such an extreme expression of love. In one of His seven recorded statements from the cross, Jesus prayed:
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do” (Lk. 23:34).
Included in that prayer were not only the religious leaders who conspired to His death, the Jews who consented to it, and the Romans who executed it, but every fallen man whose sin made the cross necessary. Since our sins helped put Jesus on the cross, we too were the enemies He forgave and for whom He died. The great preacher Charles Spurgeon said:T
“Let us go to Calvary to learn how we may be forgiven. And then let us linger there to learn how to forgive.”
The cursing crook was so moved by Jesus’ benevolence, it ignited faith in his heart that he too could be saved. He offered a simple, sincere, nine-word prayer that changed his eternal destiny:
“Lord, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom.” (Lk. 23:42).
Author Max Lucado observes:
“The only thing more absurd than his request was that it was granted . . . He who deserved hell got heaven.”
The only thing that thief and Jesus had in common was their method of execution. One was a common criminal; the other was the just Judge of all the earth. One was as guilty as sin; the other was the only innocent man to ever live. To the thief’s request to be remembered, Jesus replied:
“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Lk. 23:43).
That thief, though crucified on earth for his crimes, now walks a free man in heaven due to the power of forgiveness. What Jesus said to that thief is a message of hope to us all. If Jesus forgave his own murderers, He will forgive us. If Jesus saved a desperate, dying thief, He will save us too. Friend, there is no sin too big for the blood of Jesus and no failure too great for the grace of God to overcome.
The Gospel account of the thief’s redemption answers the question, is there such a thing as death-bed repentance? Absolutely! Do I recommend it? Absolutely not! Why give God the crumbs of your life instead of the cream? Why burn the candle of your life for yourself and blow the smoke in God’s face? Yes, God will save any person who prays with sincere repentance and faith, even up to their last breath. But who is to say if a person takes that risk that they will have such an opportunity? Such a procrastinator might die suddenly in an eternally lost condition. That’s why the Bible emphatically states:
“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).
Friend, don’t gamble with your soul. Why roll the dice on eternity? Call on God now, while He is dealing with you. He will save your soul and radically change your life.
On October 8, 1871, D. L. Moody preached a sermon entitled “What Shall I Do with Jesus?” As he concluded, he asked his congregation, the largest church in Chicago at the time, to take a week to consider this question and return the next Sunday to make their decision. By his own admission, Moody called it the biggest blunder he ever made in his ministry. That same day the Great Chicago Fire roared through the city, killing over 300 people, destroying over 1,000 buildings, including Moody’s church, and leaving thousands homeless. Some of the people who attended his service that day were among the dead. Afterward he reflected, “What a mistake! Since then I never have dared give an audience a week to think about their salvation . . . now is the accepted time.” He went on to say that he would have given his right arm to be able to do it over again.
If the redeemed thief could talk to us today, he’d probably say, “Don’t wait until the last day of your life to receive salvation.” It’s far better to serve God all along and give Him your best years, not your leftover last days. And, as one author noted, while “God guarantees forgiveness for repentance, he doesn’t guarantee tomorrow for our procrastination.” Two thieves were crucified with Jesus. One is now glorified with Him. We can share that same glorious fate. We don’t have to die lost in our sins. Our decisions determine our destiny. Destiny is not a matter of chance; it’s a matter of choice! The dying thief changed his eternal destiny by making the right choice. We can too. Isn’t it amazing how much we learn from a thief?
Ben Godwin is the author of four books and pastors the Goodsprings Full Gospel Church. To read more articles, visit his website at bengodwin.org and take advantage of his 4-book bundle for $25.00.
An upcoming movie tells a true story of love, hope, and redemption in the wake of abortion.
‘Apparently you have a super-human marriage,” actress Margaret Colin (of Independence Day fame) said to Abby Johnson after an early screening of the movie Unplanned, which tells her conversion story. Abby had been a director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. Through a series of events, the pivotal one being her participation in an ultrasound-guided abortion, she decided to leave her job. Unplanned, which will be in theaters at the end of March, will naturally attract self-consciously pro-life people familiar with Abby’s story. Colin, who has been active with Feminists for Life and is not shy to share her opposition to abortion, had what I am told is a frequent response to the movie — and was mine as well: It’s a love story full of hope. For individuals, for marriage, for our politics, and for our culture.
Unplanned can be the occasion for a healthy examination of conscience for everyone. Early in the movie, Abby’s first visit to the clinic where she would later become director is depicted, complete with a man screaming rude things at the women walking in for abortions (on Saturday, the day they did them) and at the staff ushering them in. That kind of verbal abuse wasn’t the approach of the Coalition for Life folks whom Abby developed a relationship with through a fence over the years. Loving kindness makes a difference. It helped pave the way for Abby, who knocked on their door one day to say she wanted out.
Abby only ever wanted to help women. She had two abortions herself. She knew they weren’t pretty. She knew they weren’t ideal. She didn’t want women to have to have abortions, but she wasn’t going to take the choice away from anyone. The more she learned, however, about the corporate bottom line at Planned Parenthood, and the more she saw the cycle of despair it perpetuated, she wanted more for women. She couldn’t be a part of the taking of lives once she saw what she saw on the ultrasound screen — a baby pulling away.
Chris Jones, the producer of Unplanned, told me, at the pre-screening at the Sheen Center in Manhattan, that he and his partners wanted to make the movie in 2011, when Abby’s book was first published. But they prayed about it and had the sense it wasn’t the right time. That the movie is released now, when there is such open discussion about the details of late-term abortion is breathtaking. A bill in the Senate is getting people on the record about survivors of late-term abortions. At the same time, the discussion over late-term abortions gives us the opportunity to think about abortion in all three trimesters: Do we see this? Do we need to do this? Is there another way to help women? Couldn’t we, shouldn’t we be doing more to support community health centers that don’t have so much to do with abortion?
There are so many other questions Unplanned raises: Do we love one another? Truly, in beautifully painful ways? Across a fence? I may believe there’s evil happening inside, but do I love the people anyway? I may pray for their conversions, but do I also pray for their families, and pray that they know love? You may think I’m a hack writing about abortion again, but can we respect one another and see the good in one another? Can we work together on something?
The other day I was at a press conference where Catholics in New York reaffirmed a pledge to help any woman who finds herself pregnant and in difficult circumstances and without support. And testimony from a mother from Ethiopia whose young daughter was running around the press made clear that the love that the Sisters of Life have given her and her daughter did not stop when she gave birth. The sisters remain a part of the lives of both the girl and her mother.4
A few hours before I saw the movie with Abby and actress Ashley Bratcher and producer Jones, I went to confession. As I walked out of the confessional, I saw a man who seemed to have all his belongings in a busted suitcase blow a kiss inside the church. The movie does something similar. It’s a love letter across the fence of our miserable politics, a fence that in recent years has strained family relationships and broken up friendships. Obviously, if you work for Planned Parenthood or, like the governor of New York, apparently, among others, you wake up in the morning motivated by abortion rights and their expansion, you’re probably not going to be delighted by it, or even bother to see it. But people do change their minds. We watched Unplanned on the anniversary of the 2011 death of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who changed his mind after performing 75,000 abortions and having helped found the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws. Unplanned could help viewers consider a fresh start, so I hope many consider seeing it. I don’t expect a thousand Nathanson-like conversions—perhaps nudges, though, toward something better. Watch it with humility, whoever you are. We all have something to learn from it, about the power of love.
This column is based on one available through Andrews McMeel Universal’s Newspaper Enterprise Association.
Here’s a test. Now, be honest. Say the flight you were on was about to take off and you noticed that the lady sitting next to you was reading the New Testament – or a gentleman across the aisle was quietly saying what sounded like a prayer in Hebrew. Would you be concerned? Unlikely. But what if another passenger was muttering “Allahu Akbar” – “God is great” in Arabic, a popular prayer in the land of suicide bombers. Would you be equally nonchalant?
The left is constantly on the alert for criticism of Islam, and ready to punish dissent with an iron fist. It equates criticism with bigotry which, it claims, leads to violence.
The largest chain of bookstores in New Zealand is refusing to carry Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for Life,” after someone spotted a photo of the critic of political correctness standing next to a man wearing a T-shirt that proclaimed he was “Proud to be an Islamophobe.” New Zealand was the scene of the recent mosque shootings in which 50 died.
Peterson wasn’t wearing the T-shirt himself. The message did not advocate violence. It said the wearer was afraid of Islam. Given the daily carnage committed in the name of the religion of peace, is that fear so irrational?T
It’s exactly 7 years since a jihadist murdered a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse. The killer, Mohammed Merah, shot one of his victims, 7-year-old Miriam Monsonego, in the head as he stared into her eyes. The killer’s sister praised Mohammed and told an interviewer that “Jews deserved to be killed,” a sentiment not uncommon in the Muslim world.
A Muslim Congresswoman from Minnesota used anti-Semitic canards and, after much debate, her colleagues passed a resolution condemning every form of bigotry under the sun, but refusing to refer to hajib-lady by name.
In 2015 when Libyan jihadists marched a group of 25 Coptic Christians to a deserted beach and beheaded them, no one in the West pulled copies of the Koran from bookstore shelves – though Islam’s bible calls for such acts.
Speaking at Cairo’s al-Azhar University the same year, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi lamented that some Muslims were becoming “a source of worry, fear, danger and destruction to all the world.” Rank Islamophobia this. I wonder if President Sisi has a book we could ban in the West.