Author archives: Adelaide Holmes

In This Season of Loss, God Wants to Hear Our Hearts

by Adelaide Holmes

April 17, 2020

With lockdowns and stay at home orders in place, the coronavirus is affecting everyone’s life, and Christians are not exempt from the sorrows that the world is experiencing. Ever since the fall into sin in Genesis 3, death, loss, and grief have been a common human experience.

Even so, many Christians are hesitant to admit their disappointment or sorrow. This is because we often believe that grief shows a lack of faith in God. But the lamentations throughout Scripture disprove this misguided perception. In fact, the Bible contains many examples of people lamenting. Even Jesus wept openly over the death of his friend Lazarus (Luke 10:35). Experiencing grief reminds us that this world is not as it’s supposed to be. But Scripture also teaches that everything—including our grief—can work together for good (Rom. 8:28). In this coronavirus season, it’s time that Christians learned how to lament and embrace their sorrow as a way to hope in God.

Death, sickness, and suffering afflict everyone: Christians and unbelievers alike. But as Christians encounter afflictions, their grief should be different than an unbeliever’s. In Mark Vroegop’s article “Dare to Hope in God” he says, “To cry is human, but to lament is Christian.” Lamenting is different than natural grief because it turns grief into a prayer. Through the three stages of a lamentation—crying out to God, asking for help, and responding in trust and praise—Christians learn to be real with God about our pain, rely on Him, and acknowledge our trust in Him.

In the first step of lament, God invites us to cry out to Him. This is difficult for some Christians who believe we must approach the throne of God in a put-together fashion. This most certainly excludes deep grief. But we forget that God knows our every thought, and our darkness is not dark to Him (Ps. 139:2, 12). God is not put off by our grief or the possible doubts that accompany it. He wants to hear our heart. In this season, almost everyone is experiencing loss: loss of a loved one, a job, not being able to visit sick or elderly family members, loss of wedding plans, graduation ceremonies, and sport seasons for athletes and spectators. Everyone is affected in some way by this virus, and it is painful. No grievance is too little or big for God. We can tell God we’re frustrated, deeply hurting, or angered by changes or loss.

A biblical example of someone honestly voicing their aching heart to God is found in Psalm 10. In this passage, the psalmist boldly asks God, “Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Ps. 10:1). Clearly, the writer feels abandoned by God and candidly tells Him: I don’t feel You here. This cry—and the affirmation of God’s goodness expressed at the psalm’s conclusion—demonstrate an important truth: God can handle our strongest emotions, even when we struggle to believe His promises.

Second, a lament’s raw cry to God is followed by a request for help. Sometimes we are uncomfortable with being needy towards God. But this is the foundation of the gospel: that we need Jesus to restore us to God. Paul reminds us that if God did “not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). God is a good Father who encourages us to ask (Matt. 7:7-11). Whether we are asking God to provide the means to pay for groceries during this economic recession, asking for healing for a dying family member, or asking for a way to see college friends or a significant other, we do not need to be ashamed of the request, regardless of its perceived importance. He promises that He will supply every need of ours (Phil. 4:19).

This truth is evidenced again by the psalmist when he pleads with God: “Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted” (Ps. 10:12). Evidently, there were times in the writer’s life when he needed help. He knew that God was able to rescue him from any situation, so he persisted and didn’t hold back in asking his Creator for help.

The final stage of a lamentation focuses on expressing praise to God and declaring our trust in Him. Despite our feelings, God has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). When we praise God for how He specifically provided in our personal lives or praise Him for the promises that He gives us in His Word, we shift our minds from our changing and uncertain situations to the unchanging, faithful Savior. While God wants to hear our worries about the coronavirus or hear about what is breaking our heart in this season of loss, His deeper desire is to see us learn to rely on Him, regardless of our situation.

Despite the psalmist’s own feelings that God had abandoned him, he ends by saying, “O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more” (Ps. 10:17-18).

As the coronavirus continues to rage around the globe, Christians must remember that we can grieve the losses in our lives. Whatever the loss, God wants to hear our hearts. In this stretching and trying time, it is important to be honest with God about our pain and learn to rely on Him for help. As we do this, we can say with David, “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me” (Ps. 13:5-6).

In a Fallen World, Easter Reminds Us of the True Victory in the Battle to End Abortion

by Adelaide Holmes

April 9, 2020

While shelter in place and stay at home orders caused by the coronavirus have limited some forms of pro-life work, Christians should use this time to reflect on a needed change in their mindset to end abortion. We should continue to aim to eradicate abortion by making it illegal and unthinkable. But as Easter approaches, we should be especially reminded that we live in a sinful world and our work to end injustice may never be completed until Jesus comes again. If we believe that we can purge our world of sin, we buy into the lie that our world can be made perfect, and we will get burned out in our efforts to love our littlest neighbors and seek justice on their behalf.

We live in a fallen, Genesis 3 world which means there can be no return to a sinless Eden. Unfortunately, this means that abortion may continue to exist in some form until Jesus returns. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament affirm that everyone is sinful. In Romans 3, Paul references Psalm 14 by saying, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” He more explicitly says in Romans 3:23 that, “all have sinned.” With this perspective, Christians engaged in the pro-life movement should recognize that our work to end the sin of legalized abortion may continue for the rest of our lives.

Biblically, Christians understand that abortion is condemned in God’s command explicitly prohibiting murder. Therefore, violation of this command is sin. That is why from the very beginning of the church Christians have opposed abortion and infanticide. In fact, it was the pro-life ethic of the early church that motivated them to oppose infanticide in the Roman Empire. Because of their efforts, infanticide was eventually made illegal. Early Christians were also responsible for making adoption a mainstream practice.

Although the early church did much to reinstate a culture of life in Rome, tragically, it seems that the culture in America has returned to the old pagan practice of child-sacrifice on the altar of choice. In 2018 alone, Planned Parenthood murdered 345,672 babies through abortion. To a Christian, this shouldn’t surprise us. A sinful world will continue to sin until Christ returns.

This raises an important question: how should the reality of sin influence our perspective on ending abortion in America?

First, we should not believe the lie that our efforts are futile and thus quit fighting for justice (or for some, refuse to start). If pro-life advocacy failed to save even one unborn baby, it would still be imperative that we follow God’s command to do justice and advocate for the lives of the unborn. But having a proper understanding of sin requires that we refuse another subconscious lie that tells us our world can be made perfect. Romans 8:22 reminds us that “the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth.” Only after the judgement day when God has gathered all believers into His kingdom will He “wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore” (Rev. 21:4).

Our job as Christians isn’t to make the world perfect. Our job is to honor God. By obeying His commands to share the gospel, love our neighbors, and act justly towards every person, we are honoring God, showing our love for Him, and preserving His image in our world as reflected by His people. Because of these commands, Christians have a duty to advocate for the life of our littlest and most vulnerable neighbors. The best way we can seek to love our unborn neighbor as ourselves is to advocate for their life as if it were our own.

Second, Christians need to be committed to fighting the injustice of abortion. This means we aim to eradicate abortion, take whatever victories we can get, all while being aware that this fight may last us our lifetime or beyond. But we should not lose heart. We cannot quit. There is life-saving work being done across the country by local pregnancy resource centers and state legislatures. Earlier this year, President Trump became the first sitting president to address the March for Life. The pro-life movement is seeing progress! But while we are seeing progress, we know the abortion lobby and the culture of death will not bow out without a fight. Thus, having a biblically informed perspective on fighting this injustice will help prevent us from getting burned out. While we should pray and fight for a day when abortion is illegal and rare, we must realize that God has already ordained that day when He judges the world, and sin as we know it is no more.

In this Easter season, Christians remember and celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. For those of us engaged in the pro-life movement, Easter reminds us that our ultimate hope is the victory that Christ won on the cross. But we also remember that as we live in “the time between the times,” between Jesus’ first and second comings, there is gospel work for us to do. So, as we share the message of His death and resurrection, of His forgiveness and His desire to see the world reconciled to Him, we also commit ourselves to obeying His commandments, which include loving our unborn neighbor and seeking their justice, knowing that at the end of time, He will make it so that “death shall be no more.”

Adelaide Holmes is an intern for Life, Culture, and Women’s Advocacy at Family Research Council.

Why Christians Should Not Be Afraid of Being “Pro-Woman”

by Adelaide Holmes

March 6, 2020

Many Christians hesitate to call themselves “pro-woman,” and women are suffering because of it.

In a culture dominated by identity politics, many Christians are reluctant to claim any identity outside of the gospel of Christ, especially one that has been deeply politicized. But regardless of these concerns, it’s time the church understands that the principles of being “pro-woman” are not in conflict with the gospel call. The broader principles of being “pro-woman” are found throughout scripture, and our culture desperately needs to hear them. The longer we stay silent, the more women will suffer on our watch.

The church needs to understand that being “pro-woman” is not just a secular concept. If we look at how the “war on women” attacks woman’s humanity, we can see that Scripture supports being “pro-woman” in its larger context.

Being “pro-woman” is largely understood to be in favor of equality for women. Scripture supports a view of mankind that is incredibly value-giving to men and women equally because we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). This means that men and women have inherent value because they are more like God and represent Him to the world more than anything else in God’s creation. Because of this, some think that the church should simply be “pro-life” or “pro-humanity.” They’re right. The church should champion these values. But the problem is that women are especially under attack in our culture and around the world. Thus, being “pro-woman” should mean that we advocate for their protection and respect because they are being specifically targeted.

There is indeed a “war on women,” as the Left likes to say, but the nature of this war is gravely misunderstood, and its effects are dangerous and deeply dehumanizing. It comes from how cultures value women, and how they treat them.

In much of the world (and in America as well), women are often objectified as the means to gratify the sexual pleasures of men. Pornography, prostitution, and sex trafficking are just a few examples of practices that continuously shape the culture’s view of women and sexuality. Pornography teaches viewers that the sexual abuse and torture of women is normal and desired by them. Prostitution teaches culture to view women as commodities that can be bought “made to order.” If she won’t comply, she can be forced (as women in pornography often are). A study of prostituted women in Washington, D.C. showed that 44 percent were raped, and over half of them were physically assaulted and threatened with a weapon. Another study in 2018 found that 61 percent of prostituted women experienced “traumatic brain injuries” while in prostitution. Sex trafficking goes even further and teaches that twisted sexual fantasies can be pursued regardless of age or consent. In the United States, teens that are sexually exploited usually begin between the ages of 12 and 14. These women are coerced into sex trafficking to meet the sexual appetites of men and their traffickers, who have turned sex trafficking into a $99 billion per year worldwide horror show.

Pornography, prostitution, and sex trafficking tell a narrative that a woman’s value is in what she does sexually. As these institutions and practices spread and become normalized, their influence engulfs those who they hold captive, and it infiltrates the culture that our daughters grow up in.

Little girls grow into teenagers believing that their worth is something they must fight for. Teens grow into women believing that beauty is an action, not a state of being. To prove their worth, they jump in bed with men who have been conditioned by pornography to view women as products to be used, disrespected, and forced to perform or endure grotesque, porn-shaped sexual fantasies. This is the nightmare that our children grow up in.

This is the real “war on women” that the church needs to fight.

The church needs to fight to end pornography, prostitution, and sex trafficking, which are all linked. While these are political battles, they are also cultural, and there are tangible things that can be done. The church needs to help rehabilitate women who were once victims of this exploitation and help men who were once captive to this darkness. Pastors needs to teach on a biblical approach to sexuality in marriage. Christians need to fight for this God-given truth: all people are made in the image of God and worthy of respect.

Women don’t deserve respect simply for what they do. They deserve respect for who they are. As Christians, we can share this value-giving truth with a sexually broken culture. This “war on women” thrives on the lie that a woman’s worth is based on her actions. As we recognize International Women’s Day this Sunday, March 8th, let us be truly “pro-woman” and remember that until our culture understands the intrinsic value and worth of all women, there will always be a “war on women.”

Susan B. Anthony Advocated for “Natural Rights.” We Must Carry On Her Work.

by Adelaide Holmes

February 15, 2020

Today is Susan B. Anthony Day, so it’s a perfect time for Christians to learn from the life and activism of Susan B. Anthony. Although she had a diverse and at times unorthodox Christian background, she believed that all of humankind was equal under God. This inspired her activism. Anthony’s life reflects a belief that our culture desperately needs to hear from Christians that the value and natural rights of every human being comes from God and deserves to be protected.

It’s imperative that Christians understand that the idea of God-given rights and equal value are not merely human inventions. While both Anthony and the Founding Fathers claimed that all of mankind was created equal by God, this idea was not unique to them. Instead, it derives from biblical principles of justice.

Anthony claimed that mankind received their rights from God rather than the government. In her speech “Is it a Crime for a Citizen of the United States to Vote?” she says, “Before governments were organized, no one denies that each individual possessed the right to protect his own life, liberty and property.” Anthony believed that mankind had these rights long before there was a government.

But if the government didn’t give us our most basic rights, where did they come from? Anthony believed that these rights are natural, meaning they are given by God. Thus, a just government should protect them, not create them. She asserts, “The Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the constitutions of the several states and the organic laws of the territories, all alike propose to protect the people in the exercise of their God-given rights.” Anthony further quoted from the Declaration of Independence to prove her point in her speech: “All men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”

If Anthony is right that mankind was endowed with rights by God, we should see something in Scripture about it. While the language of “natural rights” is not explicitly stated in scripture, we can see that the principles of rights are supported in the commands given by Jesus and Moses.

In Mark 12:31, Jesus instructs his followers to “love your neighbor as yourself.” This confirms what is expressly stated in Matthew 7:12, that we should treat others as we would want to be treated. This means that if you love your life, liberty, or property and desire for those things to be respected, you should love and respect your neighbor’s life, liberty, and property as well.

While Mark 12 does not contain the language of rights, the Ten Commandments show that God expects His creation to respect the life, liberty, and property of others. In Exodus 20, the second table of the Ten Commandments directly command us not to end another person’s life or to steal their property. While the specific language of “rights” is not present here, violating someone’s life or property was considered a serious moral failing under the law and subject to governmental punishment. By putting these commands in the moral and legal law for the Israelites, God set an example for just government that the Founders reaffirmed through the protection of these natural rights in the Constitution.

Not only is there biblical support for the idea of natural rights, but there is also a case for equality in how we respect other’s rights. In Leviticus 24, the Mosaic law requires that the laws of restitution and penalties for murder and stealing are to be the “same rule for the sojourner and for the native.” God is perfectly just, and justice requires that the protection of natural rights be unbiased towards external factors like one’s nationality.

While there is strong biblical support for the principles behind natural rights and equal respect of other’s rights, there are times when our natural rights are not adequately protected in the U.S. When this happens, Christians need to go a step further. It happened in Anthony’s day with the unequal protection of women and African Americans. But she refused to sit by apathetically and watch injustice occur around her. Instead, she took action to advocate for their rights. Whether or not she realized it, Anthony acted out the command in Micah 6:8 to “do justice.” Every Christian should do the same today.

In America, Christians can advocate for the rights to life, liberty, and property of their neighbors. Every day in America, preborn children are killed because of “choice,” women and children are enslaved in sex-trafficking because of other’s “pleasure,” and Christians lose their jobs or are forced to close their businesses because their consciences aren’t “tolerant.” We have the opportunity and duty to love these neighbors around us and advocate for the protection of their rights, just as Susan B. Anthony did.

For Every Christian, Being Pro-Life Must Become a Way of Life

by Adelaide Holmes

January 27, 2020

Many Christians today are missing from the fight to end abortion, and the pro-life movement needs their help.

Instead of joining the political or cultural efforts to fight abortion, many pro-life Christians leave the work for the pro-life leaders in these arenas. There are two primary fronts in the battle, and Christians are needed in both. Abortion will continue to be legal and culturally acceptable as long as Christians fail to do their part and leave the bulk of the work to larger, interest-based organizations. 

There are many pro-life organizations in D.C. and around the country that are dedicated to making abortion illegal and socially unacceptable. Family Research Council, as well as other pro-life political action groups such as Susan B. Anthony List, National Right to Life Committee, and Americans United for Life are effective and passionate about changing the political landscape.  

But this won’t be enough to end legal abortion in America.

While the political fight is crucially important to ensuring justice for the preborn, there’s work to be done in the culture as well. Countless groups exist with this focus. Life Training Institute and Equal Rights Institute have top-notch speakers and apologists who train pro-lifers all over the country in conversational apologetics. National groups like Students for Life of America or state groups like Protect Life Michigan exist to equip high school and college pro-life clubs to host effective outreach and start dialogues with young minds who might be open to the pro-life argument. And groups like Live Action and The Radiance Foundation educate the public through digital media on the reality of what abortion does to its victims. 

But this still isn’t enough to make abortion culturally appalling.   

Sixty-two percent of Americans between the ages of 18-29 still identify as pro-choice. About one million abortions are committed every year. It’s not for a lack of groups dedicated to bringing a legal end to abortion. It’s not for a lack of organizations devoted to informing the culture about the inhumane injustice of abortion. The problem is that too many Christians are leaving them all the work. If more Christians don’t join in the fight, we won’t see an end to this injustice. 

Pursuing justice for the unborn is not simply a job for special interest groups. Pursuing justice is a duty that God has placed on all of us as Christians. The prophet Micah reminds us that acting justly is a requirement of God for mankind. Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Not only that, but we are commanded to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).

The unborn are our youngest and most vulnerable neighbors. Christians have a God-given duty to love their neighbor and to act justly by them. We cannot ignore this duty by leaving the work of advocating for the unborn to pro-life organizations. We must join them in the fight, and we can do this by simply living out our faith.  

Christians need to start acting like being pro-life is more than a check you write in the mail to your favorite organization or more than a vote for the pro-life candidate. Being truly pro-life must be a way of life. Not everyone’s contribution will look the same, but abortion won’t become illegal, much less unthinkable, until every Christian starts loving their preborn neighbor in practical ways.

Here are several possibilities:

  • Offering sidewalk counseling at abortion facilities
  • Praying in front of abortion facilities
  • Contacting your representatives and senators
  • Signing and circulating pro-life petitions
  • Volunteering your time and resources to help pregnancy care centers
  • Consider opening your home up to pregnant women who need support
  • Consider adopting a baby in need
  • Marching for life in D.C.
  • Reading a pro-life apologetics book and learning to articulate why you’re pro-life
  • Sharing that training with your fellow church members, friends at school, or your own family
  • Sharing why you believe the preborn are valuable human persons with someone who disagrees with you

These are some of the ways we can love our preborn neighbor and seek justice on their behalf. Until every Christian starts to live out his call to love his preborn neighbor, the political and cultural pro-life organizations won’t be enough to turn the tide on abortion. They can’t do it on their own. They need our help.

Pastors and churches play a central role in this mission. We need pastors to teach on how every human being, regardless of size, is made in the image of God. We need youth groups to host apologetics trainings and do outreach in the community. We need churches to equip their congregation to dialogue with their pro-choice friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers.

It’s time for every pro-lifer to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s time for all of us to love the preborn as we love ourselves. It’s time for us to defend and protect the rights of these tiny humans the way that we would want our rights defended. It’s time that we become willing to love them as we would our own children. Until we do, there won’t be lasting change toward a culture of life in America. 

Adelaide Holmes is an intern for Life, Culture, and Women’s Advocacy at Family Research Council.

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