Tim Keller and Lauren McAfee Discuss Life
Lauren McAfee: Tim, thank you so much for joining today for us to talk about the issue of life. I’d love if we could just talk about the theological understanding that we have. So, at a basic level, what would you say it means to theologically believe that someone is made in the image of God and how does that shape how we interact with others?
Dr. Tim Keller: There’s a, the image of God is a really rich concept. I do think one of the best ways to, and this isn’t everything I could say about it, but one of the best ways to think about it is to remember that the Bible says we’re made in the image of God, and the Bible says we’re made in the image of God.
So let me take this first part. We are made in the image of God. And what that means is that an image is like a mirror reflection. So, we’re like mirrors that have the ability to reflect God. Now, my wall right here can’t reflect me, but my, the glass over here in front of me can partly. And then there’s a mirror.
I don’t have a mirror in here. And we’ve been made in such a way that we can reflect the goodness of God, the kindness of God, the personality of God, the rationality of God. The Bible says even the stars and the mountains reflect the glory of God. So, every part of His creation reflects Him in some ways, but we, in a very special way, have this unique dignity.
We can have a relationship with Him because we have personality, rationality. We have volition, we can make choices. We are capable of love, joy, peace, all the good things that God is capable of. So, on the one hand, we have this enormous dignity. And there’s a place at the end of C. S. Lewis’s famous sermon, “Weight of Glory,” I think, where he says the, your neighbor, your plain old neighbor made in the image of God is the holiest thing, practically, that is presented to you, and it’s a huge burden to treat every human being as in the image of God. And it takes humility to do, but then we also have to remember, we’re only the image of God, we’re the image of God, but we’re only the image of God. We’re not God. We’re, we can reflect God, but we’re not God. And that is humbling. That is a way of saying you are not in a position to decide what is right or wrong. God tells you what is right or wrong. You’re not in a position to live for your own glory. You live for God’s glory.
And as you can tell, and I’ll stop there so you can go on here with the other questions. Both of those aspects have a lot of implications for pro-life people because on the one hand, it’s the basic reason why we say, sorry, all human beings, whether they’re old or and actually senile, or whether they’re in the womb, or whether they’re mentally handicapped, or whether they’re very weak, they’re all human beings. They’re made in the image of God, and they therefore have this enormous dignity, this infinite dignity and value.
But on the other hand, we have to listen to what God says about right and wrong. We can’t just put ourselves in a position of saying, “I want to do whatever is the most beneficial to me. And whatever is the most convenient to me, and I get, I have the right to make up my own morality.” No. And both of those aspects of the image of God, of course, are one of the, are frankly what form us into pro-life people. Okay.
Lauren McAfee: Yeah, I love that. And I’ve often, whenever I’ve been talking with friends about this concept of the imago Dei and being made in God’s image, said, I believe it’s one of the most beautiful gifts, other than salvation, one of the most beautiful gifts that the Bible has given to the world in common grace because if we as believers are living out our understanding of what it means to be made in God’s image and also treating others with that, that’s a beautiful way to live and again, care for others.
And you’ve written about how your ministry is and many people know that your ministry is in New York City. And so, thinking about your context and how there are many there that are skeptical of the claims of Christianity and it might seem strange to talk about something like being made in the image of God.
How would you say Christians can talk about this with their neighbors and in a way that we can share our faith belief about being made in God’s image and how that applies human dignity for a context that may have no real context or understanding because of the secular audience that some of us find ourselves in.
Dr. Tim Keller: We live in a post-Christian culture. We don’t live in, say, India, which is a Hindu culture, or a Muslim culture, or a China. We live in a post-Christian culture. And the idea that every human being has an infinite dignity, regardless of their condition or race, is basically an idea that comes from the Bible.
Tom Holland recently wrote a book. No, not the Spider Man, Tom Holland. Sorry, I’m just gonna… I’m gonna co-opt your jokes before you do them. Tom Holland is a British writer who wrote a book called Dominion,basically how the Christian revolution, how Christianity revolutionized the world.
And he says… he was actually a big lover of the Greeks and the Romans. And he really did a lot of books and studied the classics, the classical, the Greek and the Roman cultures. And he came to see how brutal they were. They had no concept of the equality of all races, none at all, or the equality of all human beings.
The Spartans, if you weren’t strong, ” Get rid of them, clear out the herd, kill them. They’re just going to keep, they’re going to hold us back.” And he came to realize that his idea that all human beings had dignity, he wasn’t a Christian, but he said, “Where did that come from?”
And he came to realize it didn’t come out of Asia, or it didn’t come out of other religion. It came out of Christianity and the Bible, Judaism and Christianity. It did. But then… And therefore our secular society today still has a sense of that, and that’s the reason, by the way, why ultrasounds are one of the great weapons for dealing with public opinion. We know that. Because there is a kind of intuition that Westerners have, that when they see the see the unborn baby sucking his thumb and all that, they go, “Oh my gosh.” But there’s another side… we’re post-Christian, so we’re post-Christian, meaning we have some Christian stuff.
But the other problem is, we have bought into a very individualistic culture that says, “You come first. Your needs come first. You have the right to define your own truth and your own reality and your own morality. And you’ve got to do what benefits you. You do not sacrifice for your family. You do not sacrifice for the community. You don’t sacrifice the nation. You don’t sacrifice anything. You have to do what’s best for you.”
And that, of course, means that they… is that most people are conflicted. It’s one of the reasons, Lauren, why when you actually take polls of the American population, they don’t really fall in line with the pro-life or the pro-choice. The real liberal protests, they’re not there. They’ve got qualms about it. We know that.
On the other hand, there’s a pragmatism about most people. If they’re not pretty devout Christians, I’m afraid, and that’s not totally true, I’ve known atheists that were very strongly pro-life, like Nat Hentoff, who’s gone now, but he was at the Village Voice for years.
He was a Marxist. He was an atheist, but he was a big pro-life guy. So, I’m not saying it’s possible, it’s not possible to be pro-life. Unless you’re religious, but by and large, most secular people in this country or unreligious, near-religious people, have some Christian convictions about the image of God, and yet they also are incredibly pragmatic about saying, “I need it. It ought to be there if I need it,” and therefore they don’t really fit into a radical pro-choice or a thorough pro-life.
And I think what we have to do, therefore, is to play up the part that they do feel. We have to really press them on that because there really is something there. They are not, they are Westerners and therefore they have been, to some degree, that idea that every human life is valuable, that resonates with people. It really does.
They don’t like to hear it because they’ve been told, “But you gotta come first. And if you need an abortion, or your girlfriend needs an abortion, you should go get it. If that’s the beneficial thing for you.” But on the other hand, they’re really deeply conflicted.
I think, therefore, we ought to be firm but compassionate when we talk to people. But also, not so hopeless. It’s really not like you’re either totally pro-life or you’re just an awful, you’re just a horrible person, but most people are really conflicted. So, I do think that we, I do think we have, the law is one way to change things, and we’re making progress there, but to get on popular opinion, we have to change popular opinion. And by that, I think it means we play up the part that they do feel still. And then maybe we’re going to get to this, we have to, because they’re pragmatists, I think churches can create a more woman-centered culture.
Pro-life churches can provide a more woman-centered culture, and we’ll get to that. So, those are some ideas why a secular audience, it’s not easy. I’m not, I just, I didn’t give you a little formula for here’s how you do it. But I try to say, you shouldn’t say, “You’re either religious or you’re secular,” and the secular people just need to be hit over the head.
They actually do feel, and I still think the ultrasound is just, you gotta use it. You gotta. I’m old enough, I’m old, as you might notice, I’m old. And there, I can see that there is no doubt that my generation, I’m in my 70s, we didn’t have that. And the public, the research shows that my generation is really more pro-choice than yours. And it’s largely because I feel like science has actually gotten a hold of that, that residue of Christianity that’s still in so many people.
Lauren McAfee: Yeah, absolutely. I love that you do hint at that, that understanding that even if people aren’t religious, they still have a sense for the dignity of people and the value of human life. And I think that similarly, there’s also a kind of connection point around shared desire for justice and human rights.
And we may have disagreements about what that looks like, but we have this innate sense of justice and human dignity. So, what does that innate sense that we share with people, maybe even if they don’t agree with us on this issue? If we share this innate sense of justice and human dignity, I wonder if you have thoughts about what that reveals about us, and then also how we can, as pro-life advocates, use that whenever we’re talking about the human dignity of the unborn.
Dr. Tim Keller: I think that there’s three, I think we would have more, we’d be more persuasive to people if we showed that we are not only concerned about the dignity of the unborn, but two other groups. And the one we can talk more about, because my guess is you can ask me some better questions than, about this.
One is, of course, the charge has been, and I think fairly unfair, and nevertheless, if it’s our, it’s the public… It does seem like the perception is that we care about the baby, and we don’t care about the mother. We don’t care about the needs of the mother.
Now, that’s very typical, but I don’t think it’s particularly fair. But it does seem, the first thing I’ll say is, I do think the pro-life movement’s got to be famous for saying, “Look, women, the mothers are human beings in the image of God, too.” And many of them are in really bad condition. And I do think the, as the sometimes in the pro-life movement, the caricature is, the person, the woman who’s getting an abortion is just doing it for convenience and for her career, and there is that. But, as we all know, there’s plenty of other people that are just, it just creates an enormous problem for the lives. And so the, if we look like we were just as concerned about the women, the mothers, as the children.
And then here’s the third thing. Even though a lot of my politically conservative friends are pro-life, they get really nervous when we start talking about justice for the poor. And for the marginalized and for the orphan and the widow and the alien and the immigrant, all the people that the Bible says, these are people without power and that you need to be completely committed to them.
And when people see the pro-life movement only caring about the unborn child, and actually that the same pro-life people really don’t care that much about other kinds of injustice, it doesn’t seem that, that doesn’t seem right either. And actually, as far as I can see, as the idea about being completely pro-life, meaning that we really are very concerned about born people who are being marginalized and who are poor and all that, we, there ought to be, and some groups are saying this. Most of my African American friends who are pro-life would say, we should be concerned about racism and injustice and about the unborn, right? Why do we have this reputation for only being concerned about the unborn?
So, there’s my three. If we were famous for caring about the unborn, caring about the mothers, really giving… putting our money where our mouth is and really saying we’re going to do everything we possibly can to meet the needs, your needs, so that this is not, this abortion is not something you actually economically, socially and culturally need.
And then thirdly, really caring about all kinds of other groups of people that are being marginalized and being hurt. And then we would be completely pro-life. That’s not easy, and partly because so many Democrats are anti -life, because they’re so pro-choice, and they’re also, they tie it together.
They say, they tie it all together, and they say, “We’re for justice,” and they say, “We’re also for justice for the women,” and then they just leave out the unborn. And the Republicans sometimes seem like they’re saying we’re for the unborn. Maybe a little bit for the women, but no. Who’s going to put those three things together?
The marginalized in general and the poor, and then the women who are having the abortions, and the unborn. And I think our movement needs to look like that. I’m not saying what party we have to be attached to. I’m just saying we need to, that should be how we are seen if we’re ever going to change public opinion.
Lauren McAfee: Yeah. I love that. And I agree so much. And I think that there’s often been a fear in the life space that if you start to expand your focus onto the women or any other marginalized group, that it takes away from one. But that’s not how belief systems work. If you’re holistically applying your understanding of dignity and you do apply it to every person, that only strengthens the example that you have and caring for the unborn.
Dr. Tim Keller: Yeah. Lauren, that’s an awfully good point. And there is a thing called mission creep where you start off… this is also true in the business world. They talk about this. You start off making a widget, an A widget, and then it say, “Hey, why don’t we do B widgets, C widgets?” And at some point in the future, if you suddenly realize we lost our first love.
And we’re doing too many things and we can’t be all of them. So, I do think that in some ways, there is no one group that can do all the things I just talked about, but there should be interlocking… there should be interlocking groups that don’t do mission creep at the same time are showing, they’re showing their support, really good support for these other things.
So, they should be interlocking. But I don’t really mean to say the pro-life movement now has to suddenly, itself within its own institutions and its own organization, suddenly expand the mission too much. But on the other hand, I guess you just say our vision, our rhetoric, what we talk about and then who we ally with that could help.
Lauren McAfee: Yeah, that’s so helpful. That’s really helpful. I love that. Thank you for that. And thinking about the context that you’re in, again in New York City, as certainly the state of New York, whenever legal things changed this past 2022 with the landscape around the Dobbs decision, places like New York City still remain very open for abortion and is likely going to become more and more an abortion destination.
So, for you being in that context, what would you say it looks like to be pro-life there? And how does that change the way pastors and ministry leaders might think about going about ministry?
Dr. Tim Keller: At the city level, okay, I should know more about this than I do. At the city level, there’s essentially no, there’s virtually no pro-life movement. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t pro-life people. There are, including me. But at the state level, though, there is a little bit, it’s interesting.
I do think at the state level, you’ve got more less-ideological people. I think people who are really ideologically left-wing and secular. They sublimate that thing I mentioned before, which is that basically internal, visceral feeling like, yeah, the unborn child is a human being. I really do think people know that down deep, and they see the ultrasounds and all that.
Here, because people are so radically ideological in a city like New York, and they feel put upon. They feel like the conservatives are taking over, and so, I don’t have a lot of hope politically here in New York City for much change right away. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look for it, but when you ask, let me, I know a lot of pastors are listening here.
Basically, what I found I had to do, and I still think you have to do, is that you, on the one hand you have to make it very clear that your church, theologically, ethically, biblically believes that the unborn child is a human being and that abortion is a violation of the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” and that that is a standard for our church and the members of our church. You have to at least make that clear, and you have to say it, but not necessarily… how do I say it?
If you’re a Bible teacher, how often does that come up? It comes up. It comes up in a number of places, but it’s not something that you should be going after constantly, I think. I’ll just give you one example that changed my life a little bit, is in the, when Redeemer was really fairly new, there were a lot of non-Christians coming.
A woman came to me who was a lawyer, and she’d only been coming for about six months. And she’d become a Christian, she became a Christian. This is the early, this is, Lauren, this is like 1991. How old were you? Nevermind.
Lauren McAfee: I was very young as a baby.
Dr. Tim Keller: Yeah. Very young.
Anyway, she became a Christian and then she said, “Now, this is a pro-life church, right?” And I said, “Yeah, yes.” I explained that. And I said because she said, “Everybody I talked to says, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s pro-life,'” and she said, “I haven’t joined. I’m not sure I will because I’m about to move.” But here’s what she said.
She said, “Now that I’m a Christian, I see the pro-life point. I see it. I’m not sure I’m totally there. I’ve had abortions. I’m a lawyer. I’m a feminist.” She says, “But I actually now see that it makes sense, but here’s the thing.” She said, “If I, when I first started coming the first couple of weeks of you preached a pro-life sermon, I would never stay to hear the gospel.”
And I said, ‘What do you mean by a pro-life sermon?” She said, “If you’d mentioned it, it wouldn’t have been bad. But if you just spent the entire sermon on it, I would never have come back.”
So, after that, I remember thinking, and she said, I said, “So, are you on your way to being pro-life?” She says, “Probably.”
So, what I decided was, what it means is I, it needs to be pretty obvious to everybody. Nobody should wonder where the church is at and you should mention it in your sermons and make it important, but not be constantly going after it and clobbering people with it. And that is the best way forward in a place like this.
Lauren McAfee: Yes. And I love your point there that if you’re teaching through the Bible, it will come up at time to time. But if we’re teaching the Bible, we’re making the main things, which is as you said, the gospel, teaching the gospel and pointing people to who Jesus is and on those other things will follow.
So yeah, I love that. That’s wonderful. Very helpful too, for pastors to think about what does that look like in our churches. So, thinking about we just talked about, how it is still legal in many places, it’s also illegal in some places. And so, regardless of whether it’s illegal or legal, wherever a person finds themselves, there are certainly many reasons that women are encountering that are making abortion feel like it is a necessary option and many circumstances that they’re facing that it feels like there, there is no other viable option for an unplanned pregnancy.
And we know people can travel. And so, if abortion is legal in our country still, which it is, and it likely always will be somewhere, then how can we think about addressing the issues that lead people to think that abortion is their only option?
And do you have any examples that you’ve heard of or encountered that churches have been able to meet the needs of the women in their communities?
Dr. Tim Keller: Now, actually, why should I be the expert? Lauren, the stuff you’ve written on this is great. So maybe I should interview you and no, you probably know more than I do, but I know this is my, you’re interviewing me. Okay. Sorry. It’s, in New York city, there is a, there’s a, I guess I, I don’t know how to say this.
Okay. I just come out and say it. There is a grouping, I guess I would say of people, of women who are usually, unfortunately, like 14, 15 years old in poor communities where you can call it, I’m sure a lot of people would call it rape, but basically they’re young women in poor communities that are basically having sex forced on them often by family members. Not very often, not the immediate family, but the uncles and cousins, older cousins, and things like that. And it’s just happening constantly. And it’s not forcible. What, years ago, and I think I’m, I think we’re right to have changed the, it used to be, if the woman wasn’t screaming, it wasn’t rape. And I think that was absolutely wrong. Absolutely wrong.
So you could call this rape, incest, whatever. But there’s a whole group of those women that need abortions or they think they need abortions. And I want you to know that I don’t see… My guess is I’m… This is why you probably know of people that I don’t know about. But I would think in order to support them, they need an enormous amount of support, if not a removal from where they are. Because you know it’s going to happen again.
See, that’s the problem. And when you’re in that situation, and very often, she, the girl, I’m going to just call her a girl because that’s what they are. The girl can’t tell very often that she might be living with just one parent, and she doesn’t wanna tell the mother or the father or whoever.
And if you just pick her up and take her out, which is probably what she needs, how do you justify that? You can’t, and you have to work with social services and they’re gonna say, just give her an abortion. So, I actually haven’t, it feels to me like there is a lot of people like that.
New York is this massive place, as I always remind people in Texas that there’s as many people in the New York City area as the entire state of Texas. And they can’t believe that is crazy. But as a result, there’s a lot of these kids. And for the church to say, “What are we going to do about that?”
Get our heads together. You’ve obviously got to work with African American and Hispanic churches, but they often just don’t have the resources. They don’t have the resources. So maybe there is a way of working with churches in the community and resourcing them in ways. They just don’t have the resources.
And trying to create a particular way of making abortion unnecessary to kids like that. And I think that would be an amazing thing to do. I, maybe you know of individual, I know of individual instances where that’s happened. Where people just got around her, and she had the baby and she got, she was able to come back into her life. She usually got converted.
She usually got off of drugs, you know, that kind of thing, but they’re just episodic that you know here and there. They make great copy, but there’s no, from what I can tell, movement of how you do that. And there are just, there are thousands of these girls. And for all I know, I don’t know what percentage of the abortions in a place like New York are girls like that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s pretty high.
So rather than make it illegal, what if you, this, Lauren Greene’s, Lauren Greene McAfee’s idea of making it unnecessary for them or way less necessary. Way less. How do you create a movement for these kind of, I guess you’d say, inner-city kids that are constantly needing abortions and really, they’re hardly, it doesn’t mean that they have no responsibility, but they really have very little agency.
It’s extraordinarily little agency, and we have, we ought to care about them and then figure out a way to do it. So, that’s just one example. Maybe somebody listening to this suddenly says, “That’s what I want to start doing. I want to figure out how to do.”
Lauren McAfee: Yeah, I think that’s a really good way that you described it in that you’ve maybe heard, you know of an episode or a situation where someone was in these circumstances and someone stepped in and helped. And I think the church needs to be more involved in doing that in every church across our country, and that in, in being the hands and feet of Christ, stepping into our community, stepping into these hard situations and providing solutions, we will begin to see a difference on this issue.
But that obviously takes, it takes sacrifice for the church to be stepping into these challenging circumstances. What, why would you say that is something that the church needs to do? And that, even if it’s hard and it’s dark and it’s complicated, that’s something the church should be stepping into serving women that are in these challenging circumstances.
Dr. Tim Keller: Yeah, you know what? I don’t even know that I have. I think most people know that this is what it means to be Christ-like. To, it would take sacrifice. You’re looking at the poor and the oppressed. It just, it actually draws together. Remember before we were talking about how do you care not just for the baby, the unborn child, but also for the mother and also for the poor and marginalized.
Guess what? You’re doing all three at once here. And also, I do, I believe it’s probably a disproportionate number of abortions in this country come from that group, and it just feels so Christ… and I think most people would say, “Man, I’d give to,” if you had, if you could do proof of concept, if you could come up with a systematic way of helping, I believe there’s a lot of people who say, “I’d give to that.”
I would say one more thing really carefully, since a lot of pastors are going to be listening to this. Since so many of these girls are non-white or immigrant people. Okay. Non-white or immigrant, various immigrant people. White, majority White churches cannot set themselves up as, the White savior.
What they actually have to do is, there are always churches in those communities that know about this, but have not, like I said, they don’t have, they don’t have the wherewithal. There’s storefront churches. They’re all kind of churches in there. They really are. I’m speaking as an urban pastor.
You always, there’s a tendency for White suburban people to look at this, at the city and say, “What a jungle. Where’s the gospel?” It’s all over the place, but these churches very often just don’t have the resources. And so, in a non-paternalistic, in non-superior way, how can churches with a lot more resources approach the churches in those communities and say, “How can we serve you to help you?” Help these folks that gives you, they’re in your churches in some cases, or they’re in your neighborhoods.
Lauren McAfee: Yeah, that’s so good.
Yeah, and I, in thinking about urban centers and urban pastors and churches who do have some of the most need, I’ve certainly heard from pastors that are in those communities talk about the very real challenges that they’re facing and the challenges that their women are facing. When, and then whenever they have an unplanned pregnancy, how difficult that is.
And for churches that may have a very limited amount of resources to be able to try and wrap around her can be a challenge, but to see, I think, yeah, like you said, other churches being willing to, stand together and stand for life can be really powerful. And that’s what we hope we see more of through the work that we’re trying to do at Stand For Life.
So, I love that point. That’s really beautiful. Just thinking a little bit more about pastors. So, we’re talking about churches and how they’re engaging and what that can look like to try and be very proactive and wrapping around women. And also, some of the challenges that they face.
And we’ve also talked about teaching on this issue. It is obviously a polarized topic. And so, if there are pastors that are afraid to talk about this issue, either because they’re afraid of what that might communicate for their congregation or maybe their church is largely Democrat.
There are certainly churches like that, or maybe largely Republican. And if maybe they’re not talking about enough, do you have any advice for pastors thinking about, thinking through just the fears that they might face. One, talking about this issue and being afraid of how it’s seen as polarized. And then two, also, what that means in terms of living out what they’re teaching and how their churches can be engaged in serving women.
Dr. Tim Keller: The, let me tease, I think the best answer to that question, I’ve already, I’ve dropped breadcrumbs earlier in our interview, but let me tease some of them out. One is, I do think that preachers need to stay theological, stay biblical, first of all. Don’t start talking about, what do you think of the Dobbs decision?
Okay, no, let’s get, let’s talk about the fact that John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary showed up with Jesus in her womb, and he leapt. Because, and what does that mean? And we also know that John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit from his mother’s womb.
And there’s just, you’d be surprised at how often Psalm 139 is also a great place where it talks about God knitting me together in my mother’s womb. And then stay biblical and talk about how Christians, for a moment, let’s not talk about what we’re trying to get the whole country to be.
Let’s not even talk about that. Okay. Let’s just say what is, what do Christians believe? What have they believed about abortion? And you can go way back to the very, very beginning. You can do that, too. You can do the early church history. There was no problem. The church was not, obviously abortion wasn’t as, it wasn’t because of medical reasons. It wasn’t as available.
On the other hand, it was. People did do abortions. And Christians were against that. And they were against infanticide. And it would also be very interesting to go back to the early church. And there are some really interesting articles out there on the internet about the fact that Christians went around to the garbage heaps where the girl babies were thrown out.
Because that was considered okay in Roman culture. And they took, they brought them in and they… The other thing is slave traders would also go around to the garbage dumps and pick up the girl babies and then raise them as slaves. In fact, somebody said over half of the slaves in Rome were found that way.
And so the, and what the Christians were going to do is go out there and know and see stories like that where they resonate. Go back and show the Christians have been like that. Here’s the reasons. Here’s the biblical text. Keep it biblical. Keep it theological. Keep it Christian. And let’s not talk at the, to start with, about, the political issues.
Because frankly, people, as the Anabaptist types, there are Richard Hayes, who wrote a wonderful book called, The Moral Teaching of the New Testament, shows that abortion is against the New Testament. But he, being a kind of Anabaptist type person, doesn’t think that we should make it out… He doesn’t think it should make it illegal. He’s absolutely pro-life but didn’t think it was a good idea for various reasons.
You know what? Okay, I don’t know Richard Hayes very much, but I would want to say, okay I can see why some people, I think he’s wrong, very wrong, but I can see why some people would believe that.
But let’s just say, where do Christians really where can we all agree? And the evidence from both the Bible and from history that Christians should be pro-life in a sense of this is wrong and Christians don’t do this. And this is this, the unborn child is a child. It’s very strong. That’s the first thing to do.
The second thing I’d say is what I mentioned a minute ago about what I discovered early on when I said if I hit people over the head with the pro-life preaching constantly, I would actually send off more, more liberal-type non-Christians. They wouldn’t even come back to hear the gospel. If I was just hitting them all the time. So, what you do is, you bring it out and you preach it in a way that’s careful, compassionate, very theological, not just not coarse and harsh, and you do it every so often, but you don’t do it constantly.
But on the other hand, you’ve got to do it. It’s in the Bible, and I think if you don’t bring it up, it is cowardly. I would say that as a person who I tends to be a peacemaker, oldest child, likes to make peace, I want everybody to be happy. So, I’m actually, if anything, I have a tendency to not confront as much as I’d like to. But I’m sorry, in this case you’ve got to let people know where the Bible stands, where Christians stand.
Lauren McAfee: Yeah, that’s so helpful. And I think, I love your point there in terms of being biblical and historical, because I think that’s at the church, historically, the church being involved on this issue, even in first-century engagement on caring for children that were unwanted is, yeah, is very powerful to consider.
How can we continue to living out that ethic? And I’m so grateful for pastors that are willing to preach through the Bible, stay focused on the Bible, biblical literacy being so low in our country is a huge thing that I am always advocating for biblical literacy and people, believers engaging in their Bible, pastors teaching from the Bible and I believe absolutely, like you said, like when you’re doing that, you will come up to these issues and teach them theologically. Help people build a framework to how to think theologically, ethically, biblically about this.
And that happens from the scripture. Yeah. That’s wonderful. Tim, thank you so much for doing this. We are so grateful for your ministry, your life, your voice, and the way that you have cared well for others. And so thank you for being willing to hop on this and do this interview.