“We Have a Mission Field in Our Own Back Yard.” A Pro-Life Panel featuring Bruce Ashford, Trillia Newbell, Amber Lehman and Steven Wade

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Bruce Ashford, Trillia Newbell, Amber Lehman, and Steven Wade sat down to discuss abortion and the pro-life cause during Southeastern Seminary’s Pro-Life Week.

Watch their engaging conversation above. Here are a few highlights:

Trillia Newbell on how she became pro-life.

“I was pretty adamantly pro-choice. I wasn’t just pro-choice. I didn’t think men had any rights to speak into… the pregnancy in any way, shape or form. I was pretty extreme in that. A young girl shared the gospel with me, and when she shared the gospel with me, it wasn’t just, ‘Oh, I’m forgiven of sin.’ But the Lord transformed all of my thoughts about life and my worldview.

“It took time, opening up his word, reading in his Scriptures (Genesis 1, Psalm 139)… that God created me, and he knit me together in my mother’s womb. It brought life to it. I am a created person, so then so are all these babies… that I thought were just Petri dishes. I just thought they were dispensable. God transformed my thinking through his word and then by his Spirit.

“Now, I have a different view and understanding — which I believe is a biblical view and understanding — which is that life begins [at conception] and that we are God’s and his creation. By the mercy and grace of God, he saved me and changed my thinking.”

Come out of the crevices, and find freedom.

How Amber Lehman became a pro-life.

“I took a pregnancy test when I was fifteen. It was positive. I was the daughter of a single mom who barely kept the lights on for us and was working two or three jobs, and I just didn’t see a way that I could bring a baby into that. After my sixteenth birthday, I walked to the abortion clinic doors and took the life of a child… I was basically dropped off by my mom. She had to go to work; she couldn’t go with me. Nobody else was there to go with me. My boyfriend’s mom picked me up and dropped my off at home with my prescriptions. I distinctly remember laying on my couch thinking, ‘This feels really bad.’ I chose not to feel it anymore. And that was the first conscious hardening of my heart.

“I got up the next day and went on with life… as a party girl. I didn’t think about it. Didn’t feel it. I chose not to feel. Eight years later, the Lord got a hold of me in a very dramatic way in December of 1998. And in January at Sanctity of Life Sunday time, my eyes were opened to see that I had not terminated a pregnancy, I had not removed the products of conception, but I had taken the life of a human being.

“I was undone by that. My pastor sweetly, sweetly — well, when I showed up at his door weeping, he didn’t have much choice but to take care of me — sat with me a couple of hours and just walked me through the beginning of what would be my healing process. Like God does, a year and a half later, I was at Southeastern in a bit of a culture shock, and studying the Bible very intently.”

We have a mission field in our back yard.

What Amber Lehman would you say to people who once had an abortion.

“There is such healing and freedom. One in four women in the local church (and we assume there’s a man for every one of those) have chosen abortion at some time. It’s estimated that 43% of American women will have an abortion… during their fertile years.

“We have a mission field in our back yard and people who are hurting. Hurting in the decision. Hurting after the decision. And there’s hope. There’s hope, there’s healing, there’s freedom. Come out of the dark crevices, find someone who’s safe and just start talking about it.

“Nobody talks about abortion. Nobody comes up forward and says, ‘I took the life of my child.’ People just don’t talk about it. Everyone thinks they’re sitting alone in that pew, and one in four are sitting there next to you. You’re not alone. Come out of the crevices, and find freedom.”

Steven Wade on how well churches are teaching on and ministering through abortion.

“There are some churches that are doing well with this. Let me speak to the general evangelical church, and specifically Southern Baptist churches. If we were to give our churches a grade on how we deal with this issue, it would have to be poor to failing — for a couple of reasons, and Amber brought one of them up. No one talks about it. Praise the Lord for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. But unfortunately, that’s about the only time you hear about this issue in the church.

“I don’t want to diminish that we say something about it once a year, but I do want to say that it’s such a broader issue. You’ve even heard in two testimonies here that the church needs to be thinking about this not just from a political standpoint. If I were to say that the church has done anything, and I hesitate to say well here, but the one thing we are willing to speak about is the political nature of this issue. When it gets to the real life stories, we are very weak on this.

“I can’t help but to think, and this is not original with me. But there are a lot of folks writing, encouraging pastors and churches to address this issue, and they bring up the fact that in the early- to mid-twentieth century, the German church knew what was happening with the Jews was wrong, but they were silent. The American church knew what was happening with African-Americans in the mid- to late-part of the twentieth century was wrong, but we were by and large silent. It doesn’t mean that there are not pockets of health, but by and large we were silent. We know this is wrong. John Piper wrote an article titled, ‘We know what we’re doing.’ We’re killing unborn human babies. We know what we’re doing, and there’s culpability there. So the church, we must respond to that…. This is not something we can’t not address.

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The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture seeks to engage culture as salt and light, presenting the Christian faith and demonstrating its implications for all areas of human existence.

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