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     Statements by Church Bodies

    A Call For A Day Of Prayer & Fasting To The PCA Presbyteries & Churches
    Approved by the PCA Presbytery of Philadelphia
    November 13, 1999

    Whereas the Word of God affirms the sanctity of human life from conception and prohibits the unjust taking of any human life in the Sixth Commandment,

    Whereas Deuteronomy 30:15, 19-20 says, “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. . . .Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.”

    Whereas the Westminster Larger Catechism Q & A #135 declares, Q. What are the duties required in the sixth commandment? A. The duties required in the sixth commandment are: all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others, by resisting all thought and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; by just defense thereof against violence; . . .comforting and succoring the distressed, and protecting and defending the innocent.”

    Whereas the PCA at its Sixth General Assembly affirmed the statement, “We condemn the intentional killing of unborn children.” And, the Eighth General Assembly adopted the following: “Whereas, the General Assembly, as a Court of Jesus Christ, should speak with a united voice in affirming the sanctity of human life under the protection of the Sixth Commandment. Therefore be it resolved, that the Eighth General Assembly clarifies the action of the Seventh General Assembly and reaffirms the statement of the Sixth General Assembly on abortion: ‘that because Scripture clearly affirms the sanctity of human life and condemns its arbitrary destruction, we affirm that the intentional killing of an unborn child between conception and birth, for any reason at any time, is clearly a violation of the Sixth Commandment.’”

    Whereas the Sixth General Assembly gave several recommendations to the Church including:

    1. That presbyteries, sessions, and congregations be encouraged to utilize available resources so that the cruelty and sinfulness of abortion may be fully understood;

    1. That e remind all Christians of their duty to show compassionate love and understanding to families in distress as a result of pregnancies, and to offer these families sympathetic counsel and help for physical needs where required. This duty is especially incumbent upon us as we minister to persons contemplating abortion;

    2. That all members of the Presbyterian Church in America be encouraged to seek to bring about substantial changes in existing legislation so that the human life of an unborn child be recognized and protected, and that special attention be given to informing our elected representatives at all levels of government of God’s Word pertaining to abortion and to lift up in prayer these ministers of God in civil affairs;

    Whereas there have been over 30 million abortions since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, and abortion is still legal in all forms in every state in our nation,

    Whereas the concerns for the sanctity of life expressed by the Sixth and Eighth General Assemblies are even more vital today than when first delivered in view of the sheer number of abortions, and the pressure by our culture to normalize abortion and infanticide, as well as the length of the struggle to correct these sins in our culture,

    Whereas the pro-life movement in America has lost substantial momentum;

    Whereas the rising specter of infanticide as a logical outcome of abortion is being seriously discussed by our cultural leaders;

    Whereas the last PCA General Assembly called for a day of fasting and prayer in the year 2000;

    Whereas Sunday Jan. 23, 2000 has been called as a day of prayer, but not as a day of fasting and prayer

    And moreover, Sunday is considered an inappropriate day for a Christian fast from the perspective of Christian history and practice and in the theological perspective of many;

    Therefore Be it Resolved,

    1. That the Philadelphia Presbytery along with our General Assembly reaffirm with a united voice, the sanctity of human life under the protection of the Sixth Commandment and that the Philadelphia Presbytery encourage all of the PCA Presbyteries & Particular Churches to do likewise.

    2. That the Philadelphia Presbytery encourage each Presbytery and Particular Church to hold a Day of Prayer and Fasting as they may deem appropriate on either Saturday, January 22nd, Wednesday January 26th or Thursday January 27th, 2000, in addition to observing January 23rd, 2000, the Sunday set aside as a Day Of Prayer for the Sanctity of Life in the PCA.

    3. That every Presbytery and every local congregation in the PCA be urged by the Philadelphia Presbytery to establish a Sanctity of Life Committee to help implement all of the recommendations of the Sixth General Assembly’s adopted Report On The Sanctity Of Life.

    4. And that the Philadelphia Presbytery encourage the distribution of the Philadelphia Presbytery’s Pro-Life Committee’s materials to all of the PCA’s Presbyteries and Particular Churches.

    A Motion Adopted By The Philadelphia Presbytery
    September 11, 1999

    President Theodore Roosevelt said in 1909,

    “After a week on perplexing problems. . .it does so rest my soul to come into the house of the Lord and to sing and mean it, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty’. . . .(my) great joy and glory that, in occupying an exalted position in the nation, I am enabled, to preach the practical moralities of the Bible to my fellow-countrymen and to hold up Christ as the hope and Savior of the world.”
    Roosevelt saw the looming potential for a radical cultural sea change when in 1909 he also declared,

    “Progress has brought us both unbounded opportunities and unbridled difficulties. Thus, the measure of our civilization will not be that we have done much, but what we have done with that much. I believe that the next half century will determine if we will advance the cause of Christian civilization or revert to the horrors of brutal paganism. The thought of modern industry in the hands of Christian charity is a dream worth dreaming. The thought of industry in the hands of paganism is a night mare beyond imagining. The choice between the two is upon us.”
    Roosevelt’s half century brought America to 1959. In 1962-63, Supreme Court decisions sought to remove the Bible from America’s schools. In 1973, abortion on demand was legalized as the indispensable corollary of the sexual revolution. If America ever had a “Christian civilization,” after 1970, the High Court declared that it would have one no longer, declaring that American government must be secular, and that religion must be exclusively a private matter. In the 1980’s the Ten Commandments along with other evidences of America’s historical interest in Christianity were stripped by court order from the walls of public buildings. In the early 1990’s, our culture was inundated by the issues of gay-rights and euthanasia. Roosevelt’s prescience is astonishing.

    Whether one agrees with Roosevelt about the “cause of Christian civilization,” surely one must consider infanticide one of “the horrors of brutal paganism.” And lest we think that infanticide is not an issue facing our nation, consider the story carried in Philadelphia Magazine, July, 1999, p. 25, entitled, “ Princeton’s Professor of Infanticide.” Ivan Solotaroff wrote,

    “Peter Singer has a halo of frizzy white hair, Coke-bottle glasses, a quirky smile, and logically sound arguments for killing everyone from newborns afflicted with hemophilia to the terminally impaired and diseased. This past April, 100 people associated with disability rights and anti-abortion and religious movements protested Princeton’s appointment of Singer to a bioethics chair at the school’s Center for Human Values. Singer, who could not be reached for comment, was once assaulted at a conference on animal rights and has effectively been barred from Germany, so he’s used to controversy. Conflict comes with the job when you author books like Should the Baby Live?, with chapter titles such as ‘What’s Wrong With Killing?’ and digressions that include ‘Justifying infanticide and non-voluntary euthanasia.’ His greatest strength, it seems is writing clearly on subjects one would rather not think about: ‘If one accepts abortion,’ he writes in his earlier book, Practical Ethics, ‘. . .killing other human beings, in certain circumstances. . .is not something to be regarded with horror. . . .On the contrary. . .it is the refusal to accept killing that, in some cases, is horrific.’ Come September, Singer will be teaching a course entitled ‘Questions of Life and Death.’ We hear the final is a killer.”

    Approved Motion:

    Whereas the pro-life movement in America has lost substantial momentum;

    Whereas the rising specter of infanticide as a logical outcome of abortion is being seriously discussed by our cultural leaders;

    Whereas the last PCA General Assembly called for a day of fasting and prayer in the year 2000,

    And whereas Sunday Jan. 23, 2000 has been called as a day of prayer, but not as a day of fasting and prayer (and moreover, Sunday being an inappropriate day for a Christian fast),

    Be it now therefore resolved that the PCA Presbytery of Philadelphia take the following actions:

    1. To establish a pro-life committee of at least three elders (two teaching and one ruling).

    2. To encourage the other PCA Presbyteries to also establish pro-life committees.

    3. That the purposes of the Pro-Life Committee shall include:
      1. Urging and enabling each local church in the Presbytery and ultimately the entire PCA to establish a pro-life committee.
      2. Contacting each local church in the Philadelphia Presbytery so that each church will be able and hopefully willing:
        1. To Know:
          1. its closest crisis pregnancy center
          2. a source of reliable information on legislative issues pertaining to the sanctity of life,
          3. a local adoption agency.
        2. To Preach at least once per year on pro-life issues.
        3. To aid in a practical and/or financial way a pro-life agency.
        4. To participate as a congregation in at least one lawful public expression of the sanctity of life within their community, e. g.:
          1. a fund raiser for a local agency.
          2. A life chain
          3. Participation in the Washington March for Life held in January every year.
          4. A local peaceful protest.
          5. A Community prayer meeting focusing on the sanctity of life.
          6. Holding a conference on the issue.

    4. That the Presbytery draft a call to a day of prayer and fasting (to be set by each Presbytery) which then can be shared with all the Presbyteries in the PCA, since the call from the Stated clerk is only for a day of prayer, and that on a Sunday. [This idea has been discussed with and approved by the Stated Clerk of the PCA.]

    5. That the Presbytery Pro-Life Committee be authorized to cooperate with the Pro-Life Initiative of the Urban Family Council and Proclamation Presbyterian Church in fulfilling these goals.
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