Lutherans For Life - Latvia

By Don Richman

Date: May 4, 2010

Category: Sharing the Message of Lutherans For Life, Abortion and the Church, After the Abortion

Lutherans For Life - Latvia

With support and encouragement of Lutherans For Life (USA), the first Ecumenical conference on the sanctity of human life was held at St. Matthew Baptist Church in Riga, Latvia, on October 31, 2003. Pastor Martins and his wife, Gunta Irbes, were the main architects and organizers of this conference. Archbishop Janis Vanags was the opening speaker. He gave a clear biblical message reminding us of the importance of the sanctity of human life and calling us to stand against abortion—which has brought so much devastation and pain. And he urged us to uphold life—from the time of its conception every baby should be safe and protected.

Since that time, thanks to the tireless work of Pastor Martins and Gunta Irbes, and a team of faithful co-workers, conferences have been organized every year. The message has always been to uphold the biblical teaching with regard to the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. They have resoundingly defended and promoted the ideals of Christian marriage and the biblical teaching on sexuality within marriage.

Great News!
We are thankful to be able to report that the Latvian Lutheran Church, in September 2009, officially incorporated the ministry of Lutherans For Life into the structure of the department of Diakonia (which handles charity, food, clothing, and human care activities).

The message of Lutherans for Life has been consistent over the years. The first priority has been to uphold the biblical message. We are created in the image and likeness of God. As so aptly stated in Psalm 139:13-14: "For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well" (NASB). From the moment of conception we are precious human persons in the eyes of God and should therefore be honored, loved, and protected.

Lutherans For Life has also presented the medical and genetic principles that uphold life. Even most secular medical books teach that life begins at conception with all the genetic information being present from that time. Beginning with the early Church, leaders of the Church, including Martin Luther, have always held that life in the womb is to be honored, loved, and protected.

I am sure most of you agree with the historic teaching of the Church on the Sanctity of human Life. Yet, there seems to be, on the part of many, a "conspiracy of silence." It would appear that many—pastors and lay people—hide behind a veil of silence. Why?

Could it be that even though some people agree intellectually with the biblical teaching on the sanctity of human life they, at the same time, secretly harbor the idea that if an "unwanted" pregnancy should occur, we can’t imagine having to rearrange our lives to accommodate a baby? Therefore, we would want the possibility of abortion to be available.

Or, could it be that people reason, "I have no right or authority to speak out about abortion because I had an abortion"?

Please don’t think that way.

If you have influenced someone to have an abortion or have had one yourself, if you repent, confess this as sin, and bring it to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, that sin is forgiven. Believe that "the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7 ESV). God says, "I will remember their sins no more" (Hebrews 8:12 ESV). Forgiven and cleansed from sin, you have both the authority and responsibility to speak against the sin of abortion just as the Apostle Paul, a forgiven murderer, spoke against murder (as well as other sins).

Other people hide behind silence because, they might reason, "abortion is wrong for me but I can’t dictate how other people should handle their circumstances." This is wrong. The commandment "you shall not murder" is not some private morality. It is God’s universal law. We have no right to limit that to ourselves, but must apply it to others as God applies it to us.

The consequences of tolerating abortion or euthanasia are serious. The same reasoning used to justify killing babies in the womb will be used—and is used—to justify killing those with special needs, the elderly, and sick. The same reasoning used to kill the elderly or sick will be used—and is used—to justify deporting or killing political or ideological opponents until finally the Satanic lust for blood will drive to unrestrained, mass murder.

Under the teaching of the Sanctity of Life we know that human life from conception to natural death is precious before God and us. This teaching, however, comes with a price. We must be willing to make the sacrifice and rearrange our lives to welcome that unanticipated beautiful new baby. We must pay the price in time, energy, and often money, to care for that sick, elderly person. We must pay the price in time and energy to care for that Down syndrome child. We must pay the price of work, money, and effort, to teach, proclaim, and enact laws that defend life. But, dearly beloved, with the price paid there come great rewards.

Jesus, the Son of the Living God, paid the price on the cross for our eternal salvation. We can trust what He did and know that because He paid the ultimate price, our sin is forgiven. Because of what He did we can have assurance of eternal life. "In him we have redemption through his blood" (Ephesians 1:7a ESV). Notice it does not say "maybe have." It says "we have" (present tense). Because we can trust Him, we can surrender our lives and uncertainties to Him. Because we can trust Him who died for us, we can trust Him to care for us and to uphold us if and when we have to face the decisions that sometimes come with living out the sanctity of life. It is also incumbent upon the Church to stand beside and help those who are going through these difficulties.

Stand beside and help that single mother.

Stand beside and help those with special needs.

Stand beside and help those caring for an Alzheimer’s patient.

And, beloved Church, for which our Savior died, please faithfully teach the full council of God, so much of which is anchored in the doctrine of the sanctity of human Life.

May God anoint and bless with new vision, energy, and sacrificial commitment, the growing team of Latvian Lutherans For Life.

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