Dear friends of Vital Signs Ministries, July 2022
Well, the Supreme Court finally released its most important decisions of the term and they included important defenses of the 2nd Amendment, religious freedom, and, of course, most dramatic and important, the sanctity of human life as the horrendous Roe v Wade was finally reversed. Not surprisingly, those decisions not only started the left howling, the abortion decision especially sparked new waves of lewdness, lunacy, and lawlessness. That lawlessness wasn’t seen only in the violent vandalism of pro-life pregnancy centers (and threats of further violence against pro-life advocates personally) but by the refusal of politicians, bureaucrats, court officials, and even judges to honor the Court’s authority at all!
Therefore, even with the Court’s majority rejecting Roe v Wade, America may well be living, at least for a while, in a lawless limbo because of the immoral intransigence of those in power. For, let’s face it; the left loathes the Constitution and, most specifically, its declarations about life, liberty, due process, and religious freedom. And they will continue to rage against justice and decency until the Lord decides He’s had enough. The situation is frighteningly reminiscent of this passage in Habakkuk 1:4:
“Therefore, the law is ignored and justice is never upheld.
For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice comes out perverted.”
Indeed, our work is cut out for us. But, then again, our goal in the pro-life movement has always been to protect the lives of “the least of these” by law and by social practice. Therefore, we certainly seek to pass pro-life legislation when we can — and then secure its strict enforcement. But, all the while, our prayers, example, and preaching are aimed at the hearts and minds of individuals as we try to build a culture of life that makes abortion unthinkable.
Now this sad condition does not mean that Claire and I haven’t been celebrating the reversal of Roe v Wade. The fact is that we (and our colleagues) are thrilled with this astounding example of God’s mercy and faithfulness to a nation that clearly doesn’t deserve it. For despite the horrific bloodshed perpetrated by abortionists, the support of abortion by the general culture, and the complacent and cowardly attitude of the Church towards abortion in these five tragic decades, the Lord has nevertheless acted in unimaginable grace to give America (and especially His people) yet another opportunity to repent and make things right. Thus, the Court’s action shouldn’t be taken by American Christians as any sort of ending, but rather embraced as a bold, new beginning to be the salt and light in our culture that God wants us to be.
For Claire and I and Vital Signs Ministries, the Court’s decision has stimulated two important responses. The first, quite simply, is grateful and enthusiastic rejoicing. But the second is a careful consideration of how we can now “sharpen our serve” to best meet the pro-life challenges of a post-Roe America. Let’s look first at the rejoicing part.
We are blessing the Lord over and over again for His unsearchable mercy to America in these remarkable Court decisions. And among the specific items in our praise list? Well, we’re thanking Almighty God for the admirable courage, steadfast character, and superlative wisdom of Clarence Thomas and Sam Alito; for the presidency of Donald Trump which resulted in the appointments of Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett to the Supreme Court; for the miracles of ultrasound and DNA science and advances in fetal surgery which have gone so far to dramatically rebuke the irrationality of Roe; for the emergence of a new corps of principled pro-life advocates in legislatures across the land (and in Congress) who kept turning up a shriveling heat on the injustice of abortion; for the leadership of saints like Franklin Graham who took the pro-life torch as it passed from the earlier generation of Francis Schaeffer, D. James Kennedy, Chuck Colson, Mildred Jefferson, Jack Willke, and others; and for God’s kindness in keeping the grassroots pro-life movement active in prayer, sidewalk counseling, the generosity of pregnancy centers, and education outreaches. And yes; this includes the Lord continuing to empower, provide for, and protect the varied work of Vital Signs Ministries over all these years.
And what of the “sharpening” angle? Well, as I write this early morning letter, I am sitting at my usual table in the Panera restaurant down in Branson, Missouri where Claire and I are spending 4 days in order to review both the 2nd quarter of our personal 2022 resolutions and to pray, talk through, and decide upon whatever changes might be needed for the days ahead. Actually, we have been thinking over this matter for quite a while and here are our conclusions.
1) Stay the course. Yes, the hallmark activities of Vital Signs Ministries of these last 40 years will be the hallmarks going forward. We believe the Lord has blessed us because we have earnestly tried to be a Christ-centered, activist-oriented, and relevant ministry throughout. We have striven to be focused, busy, practical, wise, and winsome in all of our activities. Therefore, by God’s abundant grace, we will continue in those ministries He has given to us. For instance, our prayers and public witnesses at abortion businesses will continue even if Nebraska eliminates surgical abortion. And why? Because chemical poisons are as lethal and evil a way to destroy an unborn baby as are curettes and suction machines. We will continue to be a “voice for the voiceless” at places like Planned Parenthood who will be dispensing abortion pills as we appeal to moms to do the right thing for themselves and their babies.
Staying the course also means that we will continue speaking and writing and discipleship. Vital Signs Ministries will still schedule quarterly letter-writing parties. We will still host several book discussions during the year. We will maintain (even expand) our resources of the website, the blog, and the YouTube channel. Furthermore, we will continue with our “mercy ministries” to seniors. That involves three distinct and deeply meaningful activities: personal visits and gifts to the marginalized and lonely; our church service at Aksarben Village Senior Living every Sunday afternoon; and the “When Swing Was King” shows we present at several facilities every month.
2) Adjustments. So does the “sharpening” mean any changes at all? Yes. And here’s a quick summation.
* Because our pro-life ethic is established upon biblical truth, we have always opposed chemical abortion as vehemently as we have surgical abortion. Indeed, Vital Signs is rare among evangelical pro-life groups in that we have spoken strongly, creatively, and consistently on this front. For instance, our brochure “Gambling with Life” was created very early in our existence and it was very influential. So too was our larger pamphlet “The New Abortionists,” which persuasively tackled chemical abortion, including the potential abortifacient action of the tragically misnamed “birth control” pill. These and other related materials are still featured on our website. With all of this said, however, we understand that a primary battleground for the pro-life movement will be chemical abortion and so we will be redoubling our educational efforts there.
* Because of the increasing censorship of social media platforms, we will be reducing the time spent there and instead direct our efforts toward more “old school” communication. That will mean less Facebook and more mail (and email) sent directly to individuals. It will mean more person-to-person meetings. And it will mean more encouragement for YOU to connect with Vital Signs Ministries directly through the blog and the website.
* We have decided to invest some of our time in “mining” the resources we have created in the past — resources that we can use in new ways and with new audiences. This will include publishing those hundreds of quizzes we created for the weekly activity packets that we sent to senior facilities after “When Swing Was King” was locked out by the virus protocols. We are also collecting articles, LifeSharer letters, and sermons from over these last many years and editing them with a view to new uses on the internet and print publication. For instance, a piece I recently edited and posted on God’s “common grace” demonstrated in literature drew an invitation to present a seminar at the annual L’Abri conference in Rochester, Minnesota.
* More video clips
* And finally, I may start writing a bit of fiction again, things like my novel The Christmas Room that present the same ministerial values that we treasure in Vital Signs Ministries.
So, there you have it. We are rejoicing. We are thanking God. But we are certainly not leaving the battle. We are instead calling upon the Lord to help us be more effective than ever as we bear His banner and move forward for the sanctity of life, biblical truth, and the liberating power of His gospel. Blessings, dear friends. And thank you so very much for “staying the course” with us.