Ministers urged to restore nation's love of children

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--Ministers are "the key to restoring our nation to obedience to God and love of our children," Barrett Duke said Nov. 13 at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Duke, who addressed a special sanctity of life chapel service at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus, is director of the research institute of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, a ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention that addresses moral, cultural and religious liberty issues on a national level.

The latest statistics indicate that more than 1.3 million abortions are performed in the United States every year, and 50 million abortions are performed worldwide, Duke said. Some experts estimate that perhaps 43 percent of women will have at least one abortion by the time they reach the age of 45, he added.

Women who have abortions later realize the gravity of their actions and they become filled with grief, guilt and pain, Duke said.

Duke noted that a national memorial for the unborn now stands on the site of a former abortion clinic in Chattanooga, Tenn., where thousands of abortions were performed. The memorial, he said, was created in part to help women deal with what they did to their innocent babies.

"I have stood before the 50-foot granite wall of names and read the names on the little plaques that are put on the wall," Duke said. "Many of those represent the first time a mother gave a name to the baby she aborted years ago."

It broke his heart to think about the grief and weeping that mothers felt as they looked at the names and thought of the baby they could have had, he said, adding, "These women are in desperate need of ministry."

In order to save the lives of the unborn and protect the sanctity of life, the church must teach the world that human beings are created in the image of God, Duke said.

"It makes human beings different than all of the rest of the creation, not just in degree but also in kind," he said. People with naturalistic and utilitarian views, however, insist that human beings are different only in degree, teaching that humans, dogs, monkeys and all other animals are of equal value, he said.

Duke noted that a bioethicist at Princeton University argues that only children who are wanted should be brought into the world, and the scholar even advocates giving mothers the right to kill their newborn if they should decide that they do not want the baby at the last minute.

Also, Duke recounted, scientists recently combined the DNA of a pig and a human being, caused it to multiply into a 32-cell embryo and then killed it just to see if it could be done, he said, adding that they believed it was probably about 95 percent human.

"It is disastrous something like that would happen today [and] that human beings would even think to do such a thing," Duke said. "The consequences of such devaluation have far-reaching effects on our ministries."

He gave three reasons why the pro-life position is correct based on Genesis 1:26-28: First, it honors God's character; second, it honors God's creation. Third, it honors God's command.

All of life is sacred because God says that all human beings are valuable, Duke said. "That is the message that we as God's people [and] you as God's ministers of the gospel must bring out into the world."


(BP) photo posted at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: BARRETT DUKE.

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