Scott Klusendorf, president of the Life Training Institute (www.prolifetraining.com) and featured speaker for two events co-sponsored by Elizabeth’s New Life Center and Urbancrest Baptist Church of Lebanon on Saturday, Feb. 23, recently shared his thoughts on the health of the pro-life movement. The Life Training Institute coaches pro-life advocates to persuasively defend their position in the marketplace of ideas.
Q. This month marks 40 years of Roe v. Wade. How should pro-lifers respond to that?
A. We need to respond with trembling because God makes it clear in His word that he abhors the the shedding of innocent blood—and spreading the case for it.
There’s good news and bad news here. The good news is that more and more younger pro-lifers are getting into the cause. Student groups that are pro-life are growing. We have more students who are willing to stand for life and make a difference. If you were to have attended the Students for Life in D.C. in 2004, you would have found 60 people, including adults. This month, 2,100 students representing more than 700 campuses will be there. The growth of the student effort has been very encouraging.
The bad news is it is clear that this is a center-left country. This is a country that is willing to vote for people who believe that an entire class of people can be killed for any reason.
Q. TIME magazine recently came out with an intriguing cover suggesting that pro-lifers have been winning the pro-life case ever since Roe v. Wade. What do you think?
A. I don’t buy it for a moment, for a lot of reasons. Look at the response of the evangelical church. How many of them have a strategy for dealing with the abortion issue? It should include, number one, to preach, teach, and counsel that abortion is evil. Number two: Equip believers to engage the culture. Number three: Minister to the vast numbers of men and women who have experienced a
bortion. If you look at it that way, I think we’re in deep trouble. Our churches are not engaged.
Among Catholics we have a problem with people confusing abortion with a whole bunch of other issues: war, poverty, care for the environment…This reduces abortion to one of many issues, making them equivalent. That is confusing rank-and-file Christians.
Q. Why should we argue that abortion is more significant than other important issues, such as war or poverty?
A. War, for example, is a contingent evil. It could be wrong or it could be right, given the circumstances. Elective abortion, however, is an intrinsic evil, the intentional killing of a human being. A general preparing for war cannot foresee and does not intend the killing of innocent people. The taking of life through abortion is both foreseen and intended.
Q. In general, do you find that people are good defenders of the pro-life position?
A. We’re getting better. If you had thrown out the term pro-life apologetics a decade ago no one would know what you’re talking about. Now univer
sities are teaching courses on bio-ethics within a lens of a biblical worldview. That’s trickling down to rank-and-file pro-lifers. One of the great needs we’re now starting to bridge is the gap between the expert and the lay person. Books like my book The Case for Life are taking the very profound thinking of the greatest pro-life thinkers and—not dumbing it down—but bridging the gap to the average lay person.
Q. What do you think of the pregnancy resource center’s place in this movement?
A. Pregnancy resource centers do two things that are absolutely vital to the pro-life movement. One, they reach the woman who is at the place of considering immediately killing her unborn child. Two, it gives credibility to pro-life movement with skeptics who unreasonably say that because we defend life before birth we must take responsibility for all of society’s ills after birth. This is unfair but widely understood to be true. Through pregnancy resource centers we are not just saying “don’t do this because it’s morally wrong,” but it’s putting our money where our mouth is. We are backing up our rhetoric.
Scott Klusendorf’s book The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture is available through Amazon. You can follow the Life Training Institute on Twitter @LTIUpdate or Facebook LTI-Life Training Institute.