Speakers and participants at this year’s Lutherans For Life (LFL) national conference, with the theme of “Cherish the Children,” stressed the importance of biblical truths, not only in pro-life issues, but in all aspects of life.
More than 200 Lutherans from the United States and Canada gathered for the conference July 14-16 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
“Why do we regard these children unborn as so in need of protection?” Dr. Jeffrey Gibbs asked in his keynote address titled “Why Are They Greatest in the Kingdom? Jesus’ View of Children,” based on Matt. 18:1-10.
“In Matthew’s gospel, as in the rest of the Bible, to be ‘like a child’ is to be weak .… In God’s plan, the most important people are the least important people.”
Other plenary speakers included:
- National LFL President Diane Schroeder, who shared how, through the pain of infertility, God taught her and her husband, Carl, “that children are not ours by right, but truly a gift given by Him … that children are not clones of parents, but unique individuals created by God for His purposes.”
- Chuck Asay, editorial cartoonist for the Colorado Springs Gazette, who said “We need to leave behind this idea that we are in charge and make the rules,” as he encouraged participants to “be a blessing along the way …. It’s about God’s children – He wants lots of them.”
- Roberta Bandy, author of The Dance Goes On, who spoke of raising a handicapped son, Rob, who died at age 29. “We know his life had value,” she said. “[Rob] reflected Christ’s humility more than any other person I have even known.”
Saturday’s workshops focused on an array of life issues.
“I was pleased to hear the [plenary] speakers and others in workshops all talk about the Christian worldview based on biblical truths, versus the secular or humanist worldview that we are constantly fed in contemporary culture,” Darrin Urbytes of Frankenmuth, Mich., told Reporter.
This was the second national LFL conference that Urbytes and his wife, Cristina, had attended.
Urbytes said he was especially encouraged because a committee at his congregation — St. Lorenz Lutheran Church, Frankemuth — is recommending a Bible study to members that “addresses all aspects of life from the standpoint of biblical truth, putting things through the filter of the Bible. This is the type of thing we need to be involved in as Christ’s people.”
Dr. James I. Lamb, LFL’s executive director, delivered the message for the conference worship service.
Concerning its theme, Lamb said that “cherish” means to care for in a close and intimate way, that children are to be cherished because they are vulnerable and in need, and that we cherish children because God does.
“The primary message is that we are precious to God,” Lamb said. “Everything else will flow from that.”
Maggie Karner, director of Life Ministries for LCMS World Relief/Human Care, presented two workshops at this national conference — the fifth one that she has attended.
“These yearly conferences always provide attendees with an opportunity for solid education in life issues and time for interaction with fellow pro-life Lutherans,” Karner said. “They also provide a real shot in the arm of encouragement for the work to come in the year ahead.”
Accompanying Karner at this year’s conference were three teenagers from her home congregation in Muncie, Ind. — all of whom received LFL scholarships to cover registration and expenses.
One of those teens, Alexandra McMillan, said the conference was “very educational,” and that she “will use the information throughout life.”
Next year’s LFL national conference is scheduled for July 6-8 in Omaha, Neb.
For more information about LFL — the only pan-Lutheran pro-life organization in the nation — contact Lutherans For Life at 1120 S. G. Ave., Nevada, IA 50201-2774; phone (888) 364-5433 (LIFE); or visit www.lutheransforlife.org.
Posted July 27, 2006