Protestor or Protestant

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[Image courtesy of FoxNews.com]

Last week there was a Pro-Life march held in Washington, DC, where over 400,000 protestors gathered on the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling which legalized abortion.

And there’s good reason to be upset, as an estimated 55-million babies have been aborted in that passage of time.

Pause, and dwell on that number for a moment.

That’s 1 life plus 1 life plus 1 life, until you reach 55-million. If you could add once per second, without stopping to sleep, it would take you almost a year and a half to reach that total. So for those of us who believe life starts at conception, there’s obvious reason to be angered (amongst many other emotions).

I’m grateful that Americans, whose political institution allows such peaceful protests, feel lead to stand up for the rights of children on a national level. And for the simple sake of making it illegal to kill children, I hope such behavior sways the Supreme Court to change its ruling.

And yet, I propose that protesting may not be the best use of our time—neither might petitions, which I’ll still sign, nor campaigns, which I’ll still endorse—at least not when you consider there are far superior means of engagement to undertake.

Protestors look to enforce with laws what people, as humans, will only ever enforce with their hearts. Even if laws change to reflect the will of a populace, they by no means guarantee the submission the innermost will; for the human heart transcends the boundaries of law, surely abiding by outward action in their most noble of souls so as to remain just, but inwardly unmoved.

If it’s any consolation to individuals or groups who disagree, consider that not even God’s laws, given through Moses, were able to change the heart. It can be argued that the entire Old Testament is in fact a testament of man’s inability to abide by law, and thereby law’s inability to change the heart. So why provide law in the first place? For God, I believe, it was merely a demonstration that law (at man’s request) was never and nor will be sufficient in changing the heart.

As such, true heart change renders law, or its absence, inconsequential, other than law playing a subservient role to preserving humanity until such point as heart change might occur.

Man will always conform most wholly to what’s won his heart, not what demands his behavior.

This is why Jesus was sent, to win hearts, not reset regulations. His sacrifice did infinitely more than any laws could. And yet with his love came (and still comes) with a living set of regulations, administered by the Holy Spirit: the laws of the Kingdom. The Law of the Spirit of Life (Romans 8:2), whose mandates gain traction in a Christian’s life, holds unprecedented respect only because the heart was first won by Jesus.

So which method of pursuit is superior?

No one (least of all me) is suggesting we not speak our minds for the preservation of Biblical core values, abortion being just one example. But I can not violate other Biblical doctrines, such as the guidelines of what true love and wisdom are (pure, peaceful, long-suffering, kind, etc), simply to justify or satisfy my righteous indignation. Aside from the women we’ve counseled not to go through with abortions, or my public proclamations of its error, I’ve had amazing encounters of bypassing the raging line of Christian protestors outside abortion clinics only to have fruitful, Jesus-centered discussions inside with women who needed Jesus but did not need the Christian without.

My good friend and secretary, Rebekah Berthet, once went with a group of Christians whose church she was visiting, to protest outside an abortion clinic. Disgusted by the unbiblical tone set forth by her contemporaries, she broke ranks to join the women on the other side of the picket line.

As Rebekah engaged in dialog with one pregnant woman, the lady tellingly said, “If that’s really Jesus over there, I want nothing to do with him.”

“That’s nothing like the Jesus I know,” replied Bekah, and was able to minister Christ’s love to the woman with profound depth.

My challenge to you, my reader, is don’t take the easy way out. Anyone can hold a sign. Anyone can shout. But it takes a person of superior caliber to creatively minister to a life. By example, over time, with consistency, patience and hard work. Yes, most times it takes longer, but in kind await the benefits.

If 400,000 protesting Christians were to put equal, if not more energy into each winning one soul to Christ as they do organizing their marches (which those 400,000 very well may have), I estimate the affects to be far more beneficial in the scope of ending abortion. For the soul you win may not be struggling with having an abortion, but a person they know just might be. The effects of the Kingdom at work in the open heart are wide-reaching and countless.

Win their hearts and you win the world.

ch:

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  • Scarlet Raptor

    If Obama really wants America to be safe, he should stop making the population go down.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Do you mind elaborating?

  • Jason Clement

    Absolutely love this…

    “Anyone can hold a sign. Anyone can shout. But it takes a person of superior caliber to creatively minister to a life. By example, over time, with consistency, patience and hard work.”

    It’s funny… I made a note this morning after my meeting to write something about the connections between consistency in branding and consistency in our christian walk…

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Woah – love the parallels. It’s amazing how Kingdom principles even apply to business…who woulda’ thunk it?

  • http://emmaesquared.blogspot.ca emma e squared

    This is definitely something I have puzzled over in my mind on more than one occasion. I remember once when I was visiting Toronto, I walked past a group of people holding up signs which proclaimed “Jesus loves you.” I didn’t realize why it troubled me then until I thought back on it a few days later. Had anyone turned down the adjacent street, they would have faced many homeless people in search of hope. Loud voices are mere whispers when compared to the message given with the muted gesture of an outstretched hand.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Emma: you not only got the whole point, but added a valuable life experience that emphasizes the message. Thank you, truly.

    • http://drummer4christ.weebly.com Gabe

      Wow. That’s good. Thank you for sharing that!

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      You bet. And thank you for reading it!

  • Kirk

    Love this!!

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Oddly enough I wrote this on Saturday; when I heard your message on Sunday I couldn’t believe the similarities. We make quite the tag team.

  • Elyssa b k

    Well said. I wonder if we as Christians should take the same approach towards the lgbt community. Unfortunately, the loudest voices get the mouthpiece of our news agencies. Ultimately, jesus ate with sinners and those who society deemed as unworthy. We as Christians are called to love them even while they are in their sin and pray that Jesus would become their savior. I strongly believe that we should befriend those who are gay, who are addicted to pornography, who have had abortions and love them as Jesus would have.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Elyssa,

      According to Jesus’ lifestyle as seen in the Gospels, I couldn’t agree more with you! Last I knew, breaking one sin was tantamount to breaking them all (James 2:10), and God doesn’t differentiate between your sin and my sin: it all deserves death to him. So the same way we’d treat a chronic liar is the same way we’d treat a thief is the same way we’d treat a homosexual is the same way we’d treat a murderer.

      Thanks for this valuable addition.

  • http://www.highheelsandhallelujahs.blogspot.com Victoria Peryer

    I think a lot of people seeChristianity as a faith that requires rules and regulations for a certain ideal lifestyle. And subsequently, Jesus is tragically misunderstood. Being a Christian has little to do with “rules” and everything do with a relentless pursuit, a divine love affair with our creator. As a child that was raised in a legalistic environment, I had a hard time actually understanding how this love affair has anything to do with the “rules” and guidelines that we see in the Bible. Lucky for me though, the Father has been teaching me a bit about it lately. Here’s what I’ve learned:
    When we learn to become relentless in our pursuit of the Father’s love and communion with Him, we understand how certain actions or lifestyles (sins) affect HIS heart and so doing them no longer even seems tempting. Following the guidelines becomes more of a list of ways to make the lover of your soul feel even more loved instead of a list of “do’s and don’ts.” So, just as you said, we become creatures that follow the one who has won our hearts without even realizing how many rules we are no longer breaking.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      “We become creatures that follow the one who has won our hearts without even realizing how many rules we are no longer breaking.”

      That’s beautifully brilliantly put. Thanks for the addition!

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  • http://www.jenniferhopperphoto.com Jenny

    Wonderful and compelling post. I love you.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Thank you, Love.

  • Liz

    Mr. Hopper,
    While I do agree we need to do more then protest I can tell you as one who was there in Washington I think you miss the point. We are there together to remind each other that there are others working for the same goal as you. It can be lonely in our secular world and the devil likes to make you think you are the only person working for the cause of life. To see 500,000 people all in one place that feel as strongly as you about life recharges you and makes it possible to keep fighting. Also, and I can’t speak for other groups, by the group I went with was continually in prayer throughout our trip. I have never felt God touch my heart so profoundly as he did during this 2 day trip for the March for Life.
    While I have not been to the passion conference I would almost like to compare it to that because people come back from it recharged to fight human trafficking….same idea here.
    As for the “Christians” that were standing outside the abortion clinic. I would beg to ask when this happened…. This is a turning tide and people are realize that is not how we should be doing things outside abortion clinics. I urge you to look up the 40 days for life campaine which uses peaceful prayer outside abortion clinics and has had many wonderful saves. Working in a crisis pregnancy center I have met the women saved by those praying outside the clinics. Also there is an organization called Save the storks which using ultrasound machines outside abortion clinics to help change the mind of women :)

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Liz,

      Thanks for writing. And thanks for your participation last week; I commend you.

      My point wasn’t that we simply “do more than just protest,” my point was that we do the most superior thing possible: we go about winning hearts to Jesus through the message if the Gospel.

      If I might correct you: I don’t think I’ve missed the point of protesting at all. And I fully agree with you in those benefits of both camaraderie and the power of prayer. It’s one reason I love big gatherings. Though I might argue prayer does far more in my mind to change the mind of the opposition than camaraderie does, as my POV was aimed at what changes hearts and therefore law.

      I am very familiar with the wonderful organizations you’ve listed, and have been involved with most all of them, including local and national crisis pregnancy centers, which, of any organizations, those are my favorite to get behind as I feel they’re the most beneficial in not only saving children, but the hearts of the Mommys too.

      And as for your comment about when was the last time I saw such a public tone, it was last Friday in Scranton, PA on Penn Ave. If its changing, as you say, I welcome it! And even more if someone like you is helping change the tone of the discourse.

      My whole point, as think I clearly wrote in the original post, is not that we stop gathering, but that we go after superior methods, namely winning the heart. (In which case, I agree emphatically on the role of crisis pregnancy centers in doing this, as most tend to be Christ-centered and therefore extremely relational).

      Thanks for writing, Liz.

  • Leah Polvinale

    Wow, this is so incredible. It’s such an amazing call to be so much more for Christ and to spread His love. It’s so scary how sometimes we can get so caught up in so many laws and commands that we tend to forget the most important one. Love is so much more important than anything else and Jesus is the perfect love we need to show to the world that so desperately needs it :)

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Leah,

      Thanks for this beautiful addition. Well said, well said. With you 100%.

      ch:

  • http://drummer4christ.weebly.com Gabe

    “Win their hearts and you win the world.”

    So true.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      May we all endeavor to be so focused.

  • Rebekah Berthet

    Just catching up on all of your blogs…didn’t even know I was in this!

    “This is why Jesus was sent, to win hearts, not reset regulations.”

    Yes.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      You’re more popular than you suppose.