Thought Abortion Was Still Legal
By Craig von Buseck
CBN.com Contributing Writer
Editor's note: Randy Alcorn was involved in the peaceful,
non-violent, civil disobedience rescues that many pastors participated
in during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The state of Oregon,
where Randy lives, is an extremely liberal climate ("we're
the physician-assisted suicide state," Randy explains). So
the legal system in Oregon decided to crack down on Randy and
his fellow Pro-Life activist. Instead of doing what they've always
done with civil rights protests or environmental protests, which
is a slap on the hand, and at most jail for a night, Randy and
his colleagues went to jail and then had civil suits brought against
The goal of the suits was to try to collect their assets
and money to pay a judgement to an abortion clinic, though they
had done no physical damage to the clinic. One of the lawsuits
was successful to the tune of $8.4 million (Randy talks about
his response to this lawsuit in a related article entitled Discovering
the Treasure Principle).
Randy Alcorn sat down with CBN.com's Craig von Buseck
to talk about this time in his life, and about the current
state of the Pro-Life Movement.
Craig von Buseck: Talk to me about the Pro-Life Movement.
Are you still involved, or has the judgement kept you from being
active? Where is the Movement at, and where is it going?
Randy Alcorn: Our ministry is involved in pro-life work.
We don't do as much hands on as we used to. We used to organize
the greater Portland area Life Chain every year. I had a guy who
was on staff with me who worked full-time in pro-life activities.
He's teaching school now, and he's no longer on staff. And so
I'm really the only full-time person. So I periodically speak
on the subject. But as one person, there are only so many things
I can address and do.
We do some things, and we give significantly to pro-life causes.
But I am very much in touch with the Pro-Life Movement.
One of my books is called Pro-Life
Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments. It has sold about one
hundred thousand copies, which for a pro-life book is unheard
of. It's been amazing. It first came out in 1992, but I updated
it last year. Basically I took the thirty-nine pro-choice arguments
and have systematically documented them with bold headings so
that you can use the index and flip through to see here's what
they say and here's the truth. But in the process of doing that
research and interacting with people, I really have been able
to stay on top of what is happening in the Pro-Life Movement.
I see the Pro-Life Movement in a very interesting position right
now. I think that there has been a lot of progress made in terms
of pregnancy resource centers and all of the other types of centers
not affiliated with CareNet centers. They have done a great work
providing alternatives. A lot of right-to-life groups have done
a great work in terms of education, some political involvement,
and that kind of thing.
The bottom line is that women have more alternatives than they
have ever had when it comes to having options explained to them,
and pursuing the option of keeping a child, getting help, or giving
up a child for adoption. That's the positive side.
The negative side is that year after year after year the babies
keep dying. Now, people point to the fact that the number of surgical
abortions is decreasing, and it is. It's gone down from a high
of 1.6 million to about 1.2 million approximately. That is good.
But that is still 1.2 million children.
What we are sometimes missing is that number represents the reduction
of surgical abortions, but chemical abortions are not computed,
because nobody knows. How many morning-after pill abortions are
This is a controversial issue, but I have a booklet called Does
The Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions? I, along with
several friends who are medical doctors who have researched this
issue put this thing together because even though this is not
the intention of people, one of the specific three ways the birth
control pill operates is through preventing implantation of an
already-conceived child. It doesn't always prevent ovulation --
everybody thinks that it does. And that's the primary way it does,
and it's successful at doing that approximately ninety two percent
of the time. But it has these backup measures, including preventing
implantation. So that's not calculated -- and the other forms
of chemical abortions that are taking place are not calculated.
So you could get to the point in America where there were no
surgical abortions, but still many abortions -- with RU486, and
all the chemical abortions. It's like a whole new ballgame.
So some people keep their eye statistically on surgical abortions
thinking we are making great victories, when we are making measured
victories on the level of providing alternatives for women --
and that's good, and that's wonderful, and I'm all for it, and
I support it. So I have mixed feelings about the Pro-life Movement
and where it's going.
I think there is a tendency sometimes that is unhealthy, and
that is when fund-raising letters are sent out by different organizations
and different arenas in the Pro-life Movement, the tendency is
to proclaim great progress and great victories, when all along
we say, 'Wait a minute, I thought abortion was still legal, and
kids were still being killed.' So sometimes I think we overstate
how much we've accomplished. But at the same time God calls us
to be faithful, and that's not always being successful, it's being
faithful. It's like evangelism. You don't measure success by the
fact that still most of the world doesn't know Christ. You determine
that we have to get the message to them. That's measuring success,
I think, in a proper way. That's our duty. Our duty is not to
force someone to come to Christ. You can't do that anyway. Our
duty is not to force someone to not have an abortion. You can't
do that either. But our calling is to get to those people and
offer alternatives, and explanations, and insights.
Craig von Buseck: When you look back, you've had tremendous
success with your books over the last decade, and yet you have
had times where there were probably tremendous financial pressures
on you -- at the end of the day you were frustrated, there were
needs that caused you to say, 'God I need this to be met,' and
it didn't seem like it was being met. Did you ever have moments
where you regretted making the decision to do what you did in
the Pro-life Movement?
Randy Alcorn: In all honesty, no, not once. Not once did
I have doubts about what we had done. I think I probably would
have had I not approached it with a lot of prayer and counsel
before I made those decisions. You know how when you make a decision,
this happens even sometimes with missionaries, they kind of get
on the bandwagon and they go off to the mission field, but they
maybe haven't prepared enough, and prayed enough and got enough
counsel, and realistically prepared for what they would be facing.
Then there's a lot of doubts and questions of should we be here.
In my case, because my wife and I have talked about it, we realized
the implications. We didn't know that I would lose my job as a
pastor as a result of it, but we knew that there could be very
serious repercussions from it legally, loss of possessions, and
those kinds of things.
So I never had second thoughts, but I certainly did have pressures.
Doubts and pressures aren't the same thing, but they're both significant.
I think the part of the pressure came in just from the fact that
we made a choice that was controversial, and because of that there
were certain fellow-Christians who understood and were extremely
supportive, and there were other fellow-Christians who did not
understand and were not supportive.
I remember one time speaking to a group of pastors, and it was
a question and answer time, and one of the guys -- a pastor, a
brother in Christ -- raises his hand and asks, "Where do you people
get off going down to the abortion clinics and screaming and yelling
at women and pulling their hair out?" I was so shocked at the
question. I replied, "Never once have I done anything remotely
like that, nor would I consider doing anything like that." It
hurt, it really hurt. I continued, "It strikes me as strange that
you who have preached against the liberal media, am I right, would
believe what you read in the newspaper when in fact I have never
done any of those things." What he read in the newspaper said
that these were just a bunch of people yelling and screaming at
women, which was not true. Now I'm sure it's true somewhere. I
don't mean it never happened, but it didn't happen where I was,
In fact, the one time that somebody started to lose it, I grabbed
the person, took him aside and said, "Leave, don't stay. And if
you're going to stay, don't raise your voice." That's how rare
it was, that I remembered the one time that it happened and I
stopped it. So that was probably the biggest cause of stress.
Financially, the Lord just provided, sometimes miraculously --
that get's back to The
Treasure Principle. Sometimes we would add things up and
say, 'Remember how much we used to make, and look at what we're
making now, and yet we're fine.' We're doing just as well as we
used to, but we're making just a fraction of what we used to make.
Haggai chapter one talks about when God's temple needed to be
rebuilt, and it says, you live in your paneled houses while God's
temple needs to be rebuilt. It says, you make all this money and
then you put it into a purse with holes in it. That's a powerful
I counseled with a guy one time who made a half a million dollars
a year. He owned three different businesses. He and his wife came
in to talk to me because they were financially destitute. They
just simply didn't have enough money. In other words, you can
make half a million dollars and have just as many struggles as
somebody who makes twenty-five thousand dollars. It all comes
down to your perspective, your disciplines, your habits, and all
of those things. Those people were Christians, and I challenged
them to give. Of course get out of debt. Of course make wise decisions.
But start by getting God on your side.
Malachi three says, test me in this and see whether I will provide
for you. How often does God do that? How often does God say, "O.K.,
sexual purity test me in this and see" No, no, just do it because
I said to. But with finances it's a pretty unique thing. He does
tell us to give, and He tells us to give generously. But what
says is, you're missing the joy of giving.
Second Corinthians eight talks about the Macedonians who were
in severe trial. And it says, in the midst of that severe trial
their overflowing joy and extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
And you think, wait a minute, how can you have joy in severe trial
and poverty? And how can it well up in rich generosity? But it's
like the poor widow. She gave everything she had, and God looks
not only in how much we give, but in how much we keep in terms
of measuring the degree to which it is true sacrifice.
Randy talks about his response to this lawsuit in a related article
the Treasure Principle.
your copy of The Treasure Principle at Shop CBN
Learn more about
Randy Alcorn at Eternal Perspective Ministries
More from Craig von
Buseck on CBN.com
More from Spiritual Life
Randy Alcorn is a best-selling author and the founder and director
of Eternal Perspective Ministries. His novels include Deadline
and Dominion (more than 300,000 combined in print), Lord
Foulgrin's Letters, and The Ishbane Conspiracy, as
well as the stewardship classic Money, Possessions, and Eternity.
In all, Randy has authored fifteen books. A former pastor, Randy
is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries
(EPM). He is a popular teacher and conference speaker who has
ministered in more than a dozen countries and appeared on more
than 350 radio and television programs. You can learn more about
Randy Alcorn at Eternal
von Buseck is Ministries Director for CBN.com. His ChurchWatch blog is updated weekdays. Check out other articles and interviews from Craig.
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