By Sam Caldwell, Donna Hebert, and Kiara Hebert
Dear friends of Pro-Life Missionaries of Maine,
We greet you in the grace and truth of Jesus Christ.
The weekly participants in our ministry have decided that PLMM will submit to the governing authorities and not go out to Planned Parenthood on Fridays during the current mandate in the state of Maine. We make this decision knowing that not all Christians will be in complete agreement with it, and we ask you to bear with us in love.
We respect and admire our brethren throughout the country who are still continuing to go to abortion clinics regardless of government mandates, and we ask that you continue to respect us and pray for us as we navigate unprecedented waters right beside you in 2020.
We are desperately praying that disagreements among those who preach the gospel at abortion clinics throughout this country will in no way harm our unity and our brotherly love as we all persevere in what the Lord Jesus Christ has called us to do.
We believe that our government is currently “bearing the sword” (Rom. 13:4) in the way God intends it to, in order to protect human life. Therefore, we believe that we are to obey the governing authorities.
We do not, however, believe that the government “bears the sword” in the way God intends it to with regards to abortion. In this connection, we have found it helpful to consider that when Paul addresses Romans 13:1–7 to the church in Rome, he is fully aware that the saints there would be submitting to an imperfect government, a government that would be against Christian principles and practices on many points. In fact, that very same government would kill Paul. In our case, while we detest how our government condones the slaughter of children, in this specific season of COVID-19, we see the government as functioning in the way God intended it to function, and we believe we have a biblical mandate to honor it even despite its inconsistent approach to justice.
We are basing our decision on the following Scriptures:
Proverbs 8:15–16 “By me [Wisdom] kings reign, And rulers decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, and nobles, All the judges of the earth.”
Romans 13:1–7 “1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”
Titus 3:1–2 “1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.”
1 Peter 2:13–17 “13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”
2 Peter 2:10–11 “10 …and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.”
Jude 8 “Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.”
Deuteronomy 17:12–13 “Now the man who acts presumptuously and will not heed the priest who stands to minister there before the Lord your God, or the judge, that man shall die. So, you shall put away the evil from Israel. 13 And all the people shall hear and fear, and no longer act presumptuously.” (This example from Israel’s government shows the great importance God places on obeying earthly authority.)
John 19:11 ‘Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore, the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”’ (This passage shows that even the government set against our Lord was appointed by God Himself.)
Revelation 1:5 “…and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood…”
It has also been helpful to consider the provisions for quarantining and preventing the spread of infectious diseases such as leprosy in Leviticus 13 and 14. There we see God commanding the Israelite theocracy to navigate territory that is at least parallel to what our world is now encountering.
We also believe that it is best for us to come to an agreement on what to do in this time within the context of our local ministry, and under the authority of our local churches. While we wish agreement with all other Christians were possible right now, we are making it our first priority to obey Scripture as far as we understand it, and to respect the authority of our local elders. We believe that submission and unity among brethren shines forth Christian virtue and Christian power to onlookers. Moreover, it is in unity among brethren that God commands the blessing (see Psalm 133). That unity starts with the local church. From our local churches and yours, we pray that the blessing of Christian unity may continue to ripple out to all Christians who are committed to the abolition of human abortion.
As PLMM members we desire to maintain the same peaceful, obedient conduct we have had since the inception of this ministry almost 8 years ago. We believe our “good work” right now is to show our obedience to the current mandate, and not to give outsiders any room for discrediting our witness on the streets. See the following Scriptures:
1 Peter 2:12 “…having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
1 Thessalonians 4:10–12 “…But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; 11 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.”
We will be spending Friday mornings in much prayer. We ask you to pray for us and with us.
There is a deep sense in which God doesn’t need us out on the streets to stop abortion. He can save a baby or a mother by His sovereign hand alone. And when we go silent, even the stones cry out. That said, we preach that our sovereign God works through means, and we do not take our responsibility lightly. We are honored to be ambassadors for Christ, and just as soon as this mandate is lifted and we collectively deem it wise, we will be on the streets again standing for the inalienable rights of the unborn.
This is truly a unique time we are living in. We do believe we have much guidance in Scripture to give us the direction and peace we need while we humbly wait upon our God.
In all things let it be said, prayed, and proclaimed: all glory be to Christ, our King. All glory be to Christ.
– Pro-Life Missionaries of Maine