Champions of Life: Movement Motivated to Love Like Jesus Loved

 In All Church of God, CHOG

By Carl Stagner

Among other important observances, January has become known in recent decades as Sanctity of Human Life Month. On January 22, 1984, President Ronald Reagan issued a presidential proclamation designating the third Sunday of January (or close to that) as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. In the years since, Church of God leaders and congregations have continued to be among those giving special attention to the issues of life; once again, in January 2024, many in the Church of God movement have set aside January 21 to teach, inspire, and equip on the subject. Ultimately, these leaders deem advocacy and awareness alone insufficient. But when motivated to love like Jesus loved, these champions of life are committed to faith expressed in action—from womb to tomb.

Across the Church of God, congregations of various sizes from various places choose to mark the occasion in various ways. In the past couple of years, like many congregations, Neighborhood Church of God in Nineveh, Indiana, and Northside Chapel First Church of God in Camden, Ohio, have opted to preach and teach on the subject of the sanctity of human life. Crossway Church, a Church of God congregation based in Auburn, Washington, called attention to the issue through special visual representation and social media promotion. A couple years ago, Teays Valley Church of God in Scott Depot, West Virginia, addressed the topic from a broader perspective, including the issue of domestic violence; a special guest that day—a former “Mrs. West Virginia”—offered insights on effective ministry to domestic violence victims from firsthand involvement. Other churches, like First Church of God in Danville, Kentucky, turned faith into action and raised funds by filling empty baby bottles with spare change, all to donate to a local pregnancy care center. This year, leadership of congregations like New Beginnings Church of God in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have already called attention to “the sacred event” of Sanctity of Human Life observance and its related civil and legislative opportunities to make a difference.

Sometimes Christians find it difficult to articulate their pro-life message in a redeeming fashion; sometimes the ardent support for life in the womb can be unintentionally understood as unconcern for life beyond the womb. Of course, the biblical witness inspires believers everywhere to extend care to those facing unplanned pregnancy, to feed the hungry, to free the oppressed, to stand up against racism, and to “do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with [our] God” (NKJV). Thankfully, the pastor of Towne Church in Middletown, Ohio, crafted a statement a few years ago that captures this concern. Mark Jackson’s glad to share it perennially with other persons in the pulpit, and the pew.

“We at Towne Church believe in the sanctity of human life. In the Book of Genesis, we learn that God created all things. In particular, he created humanity uniquely in his image. We are different from the animals. Though animals are important and to be cared for, they are not made in God’s image like we are. They cannot have a personal relationship with God, nor are they held accountable to God. Thus, today we celebrate the sanctity of human life, for human life is more important than any other form of life on earth.

“The sanctity of human life means that we are pro-life. We believe that life is sacred. This life begins in the womb. From the moment of conception, there is a child made by God that is to be protected and allowed to develop until he or she is born. Abortion is not the will of God. It terminates life—God-given life.

“The sanctity of human life means that we also care for life after birth. We are to raise our children to serve the Lord, and we are to be willing to adopt or foster children that need a loving, Christian home. We are to follow the repeated command of Scripture: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

“The sanctity of human life means that we stand against all forms of oppression, slavery, abuse, and human trafficking. Life is sacred and people are not to be used as tools or treated as animals. Every life is to be respected and protected from evil.

“The sanctity of human life means that people should be allowed to die with dignity, in God’s time, not our own. Suicide, whether self-chosen or assisted, is not the will of God. Euthanasia is not an act of mercy, but an act of independence that asserts itself against God’s right to decide when we are born and when we die. As Scripture says, ‘There is a time to be born and a time to die.’ That time is in God’s hands.

“We celebrate the sanctity of human life! God is our Creator, God made us in his image, God sent his Son to die for our sins, and God loves each and every one of us. Life is sacred because life comes from God. We were made for a purpose—to live for Christ and to share his life with others. The greatest gift of all is eternal life! It’s free and offered to all. So, we celebrate the sanctity of human life and the free gift of eternal life. Both are given to us by God.”

To view the original proclamation from former President Ronald Reagan, click here. Learn more about Sanctity of Human Life efforts, and find available resources, by simply searching “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday” on your browser of choice.

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