God bless Stan Guthrie for speaking more clearly in one sentence than I have been able to do in many posts on this subject. In a piece on Christianity Today‘s website, Guthrie confronts the likes of Jim Wallis and Ron Sider who say that defending the unborn is one among many issues that evangelicals should be concerned about. Guthrie’s response gets right to the heart of the matter:
‘If everything is a priority, then nothing is.’
Amen to that. If defending the unborn is treated as one among many Evangelical “priorites,” then it ceases to be a priority. The concern that Guthrie raises here is the very one that I raised in my critique of “An Evangelical Manifesto” (which was endorsed by both Wallis and Sider).
Here’s a larger excerpt followed by a link to the rest of the article (which is a must-read):
‘Ever since C. Everett Koop and Francis Schaeffer pricked our consciences, abortion has been on the front burner for socially minded evangelicals. Thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade, it’s time to ask whether it should remain the sine qua non of Christian social engagement.
‘Claiming to represent the new center, an increasingly self-confident wing of sincere evangelicals thinks not. “The evangelical social agenda is now much broader and deeper,” asserts Jim Wallis in his new book, The Great Awakening, “engaging issues such as poverty and economic justice, global warming, hiv/aids, sex trafficking, genocide in Darfur, and the ethics of the war in Iraq.”
‘In The Scandal of Evangelical Politics, Ron Sider, echoing a common complaint that pro-lifers believe that “life begins at conception and ends at birth,” says starvation and second-hand smoke are also “sanctity of life” issues.
‘In other words, these and other voices seem to be saying that fighting legalized abortionâ€”the deliberate, state- sanctioned taking of 50 million unborn human lives from their mothers’ wombs since 1973 (and the accompanying national guilt)â€”should simply be one item among many on an ever-expanding evangelical to-do list. I agree that we have multiple responsibilities as Christians, and different callings. But if everything is a priority, then nothing is. While no one is saying that defending unborn human life is optional, the way we sometimes talk about our broader agenda appears to minimize the importance of abortion.’