The abortion epidemic plaguing Armenia should be deeply disturbing, especially to Armenians. As spotlighted in the media, the prevalence of gender selection abortion alarmed organizations such as the United Nations and, subsequently, the Armenian government as a demographic crisis would soon be unavoidable.
“The median number of abortions for women over 40 is eight, and some women have as many as 20 abortions in a lifetime.” (12/20/2011, lifesitenews.com) Even worse, with the availability of abortion pills, costing less than $1, women might remember medical abortions but many cannot remember how many times they have had drug induced abortions. Gender selection is the compelling, deciding factor in many of these abortions. So compelling and highly pressured, these women are opting for late term illegal abortions.
Yes, a demographic crisis is bad. But what I have realized stepping further into the issue is worse. Just weeks following my article in the Armenian Mirror Spectator, 2/18/17 Armenia’s Hidden Genocide, I was encouraged to learn of a presentation at the United Nations focusing on this specific problem, Prenatal Sex Selection in Armenia. World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, led this meeting. I spoke briefly with the World Vision representative from Armenia to express my concerns and ask about their interventions.
“We work closely with the Armenian Apostolic Church”, she stated.
“Do you work at all with other Christian churches, Armenian evangelical churches or ministries? Do you ever have prayer meetings or present the gospel to any of these women?”
“No, we don’t do things like that. We partner with the Armenian Apostolic Church, they have the power.”
Yes, I silently agreed, they have power – political, financial, and social clout. The Armenian Apostolic Church could have eradicated this culture of abortion long ago.
“But don’t you see how priests go into these very hospitals and clinics, bestowing ceremonies and blessings while knowing that abortions are performed there?”
The representative smiled as though this were a funny irony instead of a tragic reality.
“We’ve been working together for 28 years” she added with enthusiasm.
I was aghast, 28 years and women are more desperate than ever!
Although I wanted to run out at this juncture, my husband and I stayed, front row, hoping to learn of some unexpected Christian intervention. However, the singular issue for World Vision and others there was gender selective abortions which, they noted, became widely prevalent with availability of sonograms. The presentation outlined the challenges and strategic interventions to resolve the demographic crisis: changing social norms and restructuring gender roles.
Sonograms did not start this problem, they were the flashpoint in an ongoing tragic lifestyle.
The ‘social gospel’, deeply rooted in organizations such as World Vision, is gaining popularity in megachurches and ministries. At face value no one objects to the mission of providing clean water, food for the hungry, or defending the oppressed. However, while compassion and good works are fruits of living faith, they were not Christ’s mission and can neither be ours if we are following Him.
Jesus, whose name means “the Lord saves” came to “save His people from their sins” (Matt 1:21). The heart of Christian ministry is deliverance – that is why Jesus is called our Messiah, Savior, and Deliverer.
“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work”(I John 3:8).
What is the devil’s work? Since the beginning, Satan strives to sow rebellion against God into the heart of man, keeping man in the bondage of sin and despair. Scriptures resound throughout with the truth, “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ” (Romans 6:23) From Genesis to Revelation only one course of action reconciles us to Him and opens the gate of life: the turning point of repentance. Only through repentance can we begin any journey in life with the Lord and, only from that humbling place can we hope to obey Christ’s essential call, “Pick up your cross and follow me.”
Our total inadequacy keeps us totally dependent on the Holy Spirit of God. “Without me you can do nothing” declared Jesus.
While initial efforts years ago may have begun with prayer and compassion, the social gospel is now well fueled with generous funding of supporters, the collaboration of agencies and religions and the strategic planning of educated participants. Exciting events and team efforts, walks, races, fundraisers, outreaches, and community engagements unleash the ‘human can-do spirit’. Sadly, there is no need for the Holy Spirit, the One to whom we are called to surrender.
“Who Gets to Say What’s Possible? You!” (from social gospel volunteer page)
The social gospel is fueled by the popular spirit, not the Holy Spirit. The popular spirit drives us to that which the world will affirm, reward, and esteem. The embrace and accolades of others also elevates our self-worth and confidence. But Christianity did not elevate the lives of the apostles nor most of Christ’s followers then or now. There is no self-worth or worldly esteem in the cross we are called to carry. If the Holy Spirit indwells us He will compel us to deliver that which the world rejects: the call of God to repent and walk in holiness, the only call with eternal value.
The social gospel cares about the oppressed people and communities of the world, as does the Red Cross and Crescent Cross. The danger is, however, that social gospel ministries present a ‘false Christ’ – one that is not grieved at sin and so came to die for sin. They present a god who is satisfied with alleviating the suffering of others, even if they die without salvation. The social gospel, like the spirit of this world, never wants us to consider hell or proclaim the soon return of Christ as Judge upon mankind.
Having lost sight of Christ’s mission, the social gospel is growing into an inclusive movement for those pursuing justice for immigrants, LGBT, and even tacit support for abortion rights – as long as it is not gender selective. When the “Truth that sets men free” – free from sin and free to approach God, loses the place of supremacy, good works turn into spiritual ashes before God.
“If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” John 15:6