By Linda C. Hoops
More than 200 Lutherans from across the country gathered Aug. 3-4 in Itasca, Ill., for the 2012 Lutherans For Life (LFL) national conference — under the theme “Equipping the Saints For Life” (based on Eph. 4:11-12).
In her welcoming address, LFL President Diane Schroeder said, “Whether we save a million lives or only one, we know that what we do serves the Giver of Life and what we do makes a difference!” She said that what “Lutherans For Life is equipped with that matters the most, is being equipped with the Word of God. For we know God’s Word is the most powerful weapon we have to meet the challenge of our time and save lives. Let’s go forward with joy and anticipation, eagerly embracing the opportunities God will give us to make a difference.”
“God stands solid and steadfast against anyone who would deprive the innocent of their rights — including the right to life,” the Rev. Ken Klaus, speaker emeritus of “The Lutheran Hour,” said in his Friday-night keynote address.
“You have come here this weekend to say, ‘Lord, count me in as one of your faithful servants,’ ” Klaus continued. ” ‘Use me to take a stand for life. Use me to speak for those who are silent. Use me to educate those who are misinformed. Use me to bring comfort and direction to those who are confused and frightened. Lend my strength to those who are weak.’ Today we come together in convention to be recommitted to speaking on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. That is the purpose to which the Redeemer has called us.”
In her Saturday plenary address, Carol Tobias, an LCMS Lutheran and president of the National Right to Life Committee, thanked conference attendees for learning ways to help “people we will never see — you have heard the call of the helpless.” She reminded participants that “abortion is the least regulated invasive procedure in the country, an irreversible procedure with 55 million babies having lost their lives in this holocaust.”
Tobias referred to Gal. 6:9 (“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up”) by asking for prayer for both those in the pro-life movement and for those who promote and provide abortion.
In his sermon for the conference’s opening worship service, LFL Executive Director Rev. Dr. James I. Lamb focused on Eph. 6:10-20. “When you read through this text, it is easy to think that it’s all about us. We need to be strong, we need to put on God’s armor, we need to take a stand against the devil, we need to pray, we need to boldly proclaim the Gospel. If we do all this, then we will win the victory,” he said.
“We can quickly fall into that kind of thinking when it comes to this ‘For Life’ battle we are in,” Lamb said. “If we just elect the right people, if we just pass the right laws, if we just get the right judge, if we just get the right constitutional amendments, then we will win the victory For Life.”
But, he added, “It’s not about us. It’s all about God. It’s all about God equipping us with His strength. You know what that means? We have no excuses to offer for not being engaged in this spiritual wrestling match for truth and for life.”
Lamb also said that Christians are in a spiritual battle with Satan who is attacking through various means. “You don’t have to travel to some foreign battlefield. Satan attacks you, your congregation, your fellow Christians right where you are, right there by your section of the wall. Daily, as we wrestle and struggle and battle against these attacks, we each need to be equipped with God’s strength and with God’s armor.”
Pre-conference events included a prayer vigil at a Planned Parenthood site, a visit to a local CareNet pregnancy center and leadership training for Renewal For Life congregations, life advocates and life teams.
Workshop topics focused on the conference theme and included the topics of “Equipping a Post-Abortion Society,” “Equipping to Take a Stand,” “Equip Yourself for Effective Sidewalk Counseling,” “Equipping for the End of Life,” “Equipping with Renewal For Life” and “Equipping the Church.”
A special Saturday-only youth track for junior-high through college students helped attendees use scientific evidence when speaking out against abortion. The young participants filled four large boxes with layette items for clients of DuPage County CareNet.
“The LCMS has been blessed by the long history of exceptional pro-life educational materials provided by Lutherans For Life. This organization has been, and continues to be, a motivating force for life for many Lutherans,” said Maggie Karner, director of LCMS Life and Health Ministries. “As we look forward to the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade this coming January, we should all be reflecting upon how the tragedy of abortion has affected our culture and our Christian witness to the world. Conferences such as those provided by LFL –and the upcoming LCMS Life Conference in January — are a wonderful way to educate ourselves on these issues,” she added.
For Lutherans interested in learning more about practical pro-life outreach to friends and neighbors in the secular world, LCMS Life Ministries will be sponsoring the LCMS Life Conference January 25-26, 2013, in the Washington, D.C., area — in conjunction with the national March for Life. For more information, go to www.lcmslifeconference.org.
Lutherans For Life (www.lutheransforlife.org) is an independent, nonprofit organization that serves all Lutheran bodies, including the LCMS. It seeks to equip Lutherans to be Gospel-motivated voices “For Life.”
Linda C. Hoops is a freelance writer and a member of Lakeside Lutheran Church, Venice, Fla.
Posted Aug. 14, 2012