by Phil Martin
Last week our journeys took us to a vibrant outpost of God’s kingdom in Piqua, Ohio. Since it was sanctity of life Sunday, the pastor focused his teaching on that topic. A few minutes into the sermon he stated:
“The passion for the unborn, the unwanted, and the unreached doesn’t begin with a love of the unborn or unwanted or unreached. It begins with a passion for the preciousness of the image of God. It begins with a passion for the Uncreated, for God himself.” – Jamie Wellman
One of those three categories is the subject of not only my passion, but also my vocation. Lord willing, the balance of my life will decrease the number of people who have not heard the good news. I’ve studied missiology for countless hours. I’ve been on trained on the mission field and studied the language. I have attended conferences, befriended missionaries, and listened to many sermons about missions. I consider myself an advocate for the unreached. Foundational to that passion is a growing passion for the glory of God.
As for the other two categories, I know that they matter. Christians should love their neighbor. Christians should protect the unborn. Yet, there is a part of me that treats these as assumed. Passionate? That is not how I’d describe myself in these areas.
So I stand rebuked. If I’m led to preach to the unreached but not to defend the unborn, is it a love for the Uncreated one that drives me? How can I bring spiritual orphans to their true Father without being a father for the orphans of this world?
Our sovereign God does work uniquely in each of our lives to call us to particular ministries. There is some level of specialization in the church. Still, on one level “a passion for the preciousness of the image of God” will cause an inevitable zeal for each category.
Yet, we need not choose one of the three. Since Roe v. Wade there have been an appalling number of abortions in the states. Upwards of 57 million. But compared with China? Over 400 million in the same period. Greater than the current population of the US. Not only is it numerically larger, the rate is also nearly double? (27 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 in China, 14 in the US)
And the unwanted? China is not known for its kind treatment of orphans, disabled, widows, migrants, and minorities. Human life simply doesn’t carry much value.
So what can be done? Should we pick one category? For the answer we turn to William Carey who crossed oceans into an an even more evil culture 225 years ago. The people to whom he ministered mistreated other people in unthinkable ways.
He felt the injustice of the image of God tattered in 1000 ways among the unreached. His heart burned for the unwanted. So what was his solution? The spread of the gospel. Preaching the good news of a righteousness that comes by faith. Since it is a passion for God that underpins intervention for the unborn and unreached, should we not fight to increase passion for God in a culture?
So may our affections for the plight of the unwanted, the unborn, and the unreached conscript us into His service. Let us lose our lives in opposition to evil. But most of all, may we join the war where the fighting rages the fiercest, the battle for lost souls.