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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- The second sermon I ever preached was on the incredible value of life and the inconceivable atrocity of abortion. A local pastor pulled me aside after the message and gave me these words of admonition: "Thom, those are the type sermons that will get you in trouble. You need to stay away from them if you want to have a long ministry."
I was stunned. In my naïveté, I had assumed that most all Christians, especially Christian leaders, would rally around the cause of life for the defenseless unborn. My sermon, I didn't think, was either abrasive or graphic. I simply shared God's Word from my heart about the sanctity of life.
My first church out of seminary was in St. Petersburg, Fla. I was honored to serve on the board of a local crisis pregnancy center. I heard countless stories of babies that were saved from abortion. But my eyes were open even wider when a couple showed me their newly adopted baby. Then they told me that their baby was adopted through the same crisis pregnancy center. They also told me the story that their daughter's biological mother was precariously close to having an abortion before she visited the crisis pregnancy center.
That precious baby mesmerized me. She was in perfect health. She was totally and completely loved by her parents. She was beautiful. But if the intervention had not taken place, she would have been dead.
I have remained active in the cause to save unborn children through different ways over the years. But I confess, since I came to lead LifeWay over six years ago, I have not done much toward this critical cause. I have even wondered how God might lead me to provide leadership where I have been recently silent.
Then I previewed the movie October Baby.
I admit that I shed tears during and after the movie. I was moved. The movie and its message were powerful.
The story focuses on Hannah, a college freshman who learns from her adoptive parents that she is the survivor of a failed abortion. The movie is powerful and compelling without being preachy and judgmental. Indeed, I would rank it among the most powerful movies I've ever seen.
After I saw the movie, I knew God had given me new marching orders. Tell the world. Tell anyone who will listen. Get as many people as possible to this movie for its debut weekend this Friday.
So I've been writing letters, sending emails and making calls. And now I'm pleading with you to tell others about this movie. Get crowds to go see it. They will be moved. More babies will be saved.
I am grateful to God beyond measure for the opportunity to speak about the incredible value of life once again. I am so thankful that He has allowed me another chance to be a defender of the defenseless. I really should be doing more.
Andy Andrews, in his little book, "How Do You Kill 11 Million People?," tells the compelling story of how more than 11 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. One of the more tragic stories was the eyewitness account of how one German church responded:
"We heard stories of what was happening to the Jews, but we tried to distance ourselves from it, because we felt, what could anyone do to stop it.
"Each Sunday morning, we would hear the train whistle blowing in the distance, then the wheels coming over the tracks. We became disturbed when we heard cries coming from the train as it passed by. We realized it was carrying Jews like cattle in the cars!
"Week after week the whistle would blow. We dreaded to hear the sounds of those wheels because we knew we would hear the cries of the Jews en route to a death camp. Their screams tormented us.
"We knew the time the train was coming and when we heard the whistle blow we began singing hymns. By the time the train came past our church, we were singing at the top of our voices. If we heard the screams, we sang more loudly and soon we heard them no more.
"Years have passed and no one talks about it now, but I still hear that train whistle in my sleep."
Millions of unborn babies are being led to their deaths. But most churches are just singing louder.
What can we do?
I urge you to make October Baby a priority for you and your church.
Go see it this weekend.
This movie is so powerful that it will move many to act.
Lives will be saved.
Lives will be changed.
"For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well" (Psalm 139:13-14).
Thom S. Rainer is president of LifeWay Christian Resources. This column first appeared at his website, ThomRainer.com. Read the Baptist Press preview story on October Baby at www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=37326
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