If you are unaware, Roe v Wade happened on 22nd Jan 1973. Singapore’s own Abortion Act came into effect on 20th March 1970. Right now as I am writing, Americans are in the 48th anniversary of Roe v Wade and Singaporeans are in our 50th (Jubilee) year of the Abortion Act. I wrote about the significance of entering into the 50th year of the Abortion Act – I had thought we would miss our boat. Now, it seems a window of opportunity remains for the Singapore Church to act before this 50th year ends.
If you cannot afford 14min (double speed on YouTube) to finish the video, you may wish to opt for reading my script prepared before the interview. The content would be pretty much the same.
Qn 1: What is one main thing on your heart with regards to the issue of abortion that you really would like to share?
Leo: I think I am privileged to have undergone a journey with God where He showed me a social gap on this issue of abortion. Because of this social gap, church is not mindfully activated to act on the issue of abortion. Why I say mindfully is because 90% of church do not know what they should do because they don’t know what they can do. Often we think to counter abortion is to offer adoption or fostering as options to save this unwanted baby. It is indeed. But what if I am not in the position to foster or adopt? What if I am not married yet? What if I am a teenager or young adult? Can I do something about abortion? Traditionally, the answer many thought, is “not quite.” This is why the church is not mindfully activated to act on the issue of abortion. Only a handful of married couples who can adopt or foster are in the position to get involved. If abortion is relevant to less than 10% of church, why would church pastors be motivated to talk about it?
The reason why we are not mindfully activated is because we didn’t realise there is a social gap. You see in the spectrum of social support God expects the Church to provide, other than adoption and fostering, it includes needy single mothers and unsupported pregnant girls. That was a journey the Lord embarked us on to discover.
Qn 2: Could you share how the Lord showed that to you in your journey?
The back story before this is we were homeless, having sold our HDB in 2014. So we went through a “wilderness” period, renting from place to place. God disallowed us to buy another HDB. Then, in 2017, God impressed upon our hearts to rent a landed property for ministry. We got this place in 2018 and the first item to be donated to this home was a baby cot. This was the first sign that our home would be use for needy mothers with babies. Also, when we prayed about the purpose of this place, God showed us Isaiah 4 – “seven” women will take hold of “one” man. We eventually realised the significance of Isaiah 4 was talking about how in the last days, God’s bride will shine so gloriously, that it will attract women who were once proudly using their body and beauty as a seduction, but humbled, and who will seek out refuge to “take away our reproach.” Put two and two together.Â Shortly, God indeed began to bring us single mothers with their newborn or child into our home.
Then during the National Day period in 2018, we had a bout of dengue hitting us. Both my wife and I, plus a single mother, fell to dengue. That leaves that single mother’s infant without a caregiver. The other residents staying with us stepped up to help, but we were still severely short-handed. It was then external friends who knew about our situation began to help. They delivered us meals, came over to babysit. Each volunteer came on average once, but we got covered for that 1 to 2 weeks of sickness. That was when we realised that an ecosystem of support for the single mothers and caregivers are a part of the social support spectrum as well – and this is where singles and youths could be called into the work of supporting pro-life ministries, even if they are not in the position to adopt or foster a kid.
Qn 3: Are there other gaps that prevents the church from getting involved in abortion?
Leo: There is also a Church Gap. There are 2 “W”s affecting the church – “worldview” and “wine skin” issue.
A worldview is a view of the world. All of us have a worldview. God has one too. God’s worldview is absolute. To be Christian is to align with God’s view, God’s perspectives. God communicates His perspectives through His Word.
For example, if He judges Israel He communicates why He judges them. Like in Isaiah 1:13, an exasperated God tells Israel, “Bring no more futile sacrifices; your incense is an abomination; I cannot endure your sacred meetings; though you make many prayers I will not hear..” And He listed down the significant sins that caused this exasperation – about 6 of them:
- 1. Stop doing evil. 2. Start doing good. These two are kind of obvious and general in meaning. But from here it gets specific.
- 3. Seek justice. Justice is a value God expects His people to possess. 4. Rebuke the oppressors. God expects the church to call out oppression / injustices. 5. Defend the fatherless. 6. Plead for the widows. God expects His people to stand up, speak up for, and protect those in need, especially widows and their children. Justice, or acting against injustice, is a very important and common theme throughout the Bible.
One of my favorite passages about justice would be Isaiah 59, verse 4 says, “No one calls for justice, no one pleads for truth.” And the whole chapter is full of sentences like this which describes the complete falling apart of truth and justice in society resulting in the Lord’s fury and judgement. Upholding justice and truth is our role.
What about God’s worldview on abortion? The answer is in Exodus 21:22-25. If a man injures an unborn child he will pay for it, life for life, wound for wound, burn for burn, eye for eye, limb or limb. So God’s perspective is clear. A fetus’ life is as any other human life. Abortion will hence be murder in God’s eyes. It’s a very serious crime. The sanctity of life is a most highly prioritized value in God’s kingdom. God doesn’t take a fetus’ life as lightly as how the world sees it.
Abortion therefore hits home on both levels of justice and the sanctity of life. I don’t want to dilute this, so allow me to share another verse. Do you know God specifically warned in Exodus 22:22, “You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child.. I will surely hear their cry; and my wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows, and your children fatherless.” Consider the strong language God reserved for those who afflict the widow and fatherless. God is ultra protective of the weak and vulnerable! Think about this. Are not single mothers who have been abandoned by their boyfriends or husbands, psychologically widowed? And if the child’s father had left the mother and the family, is not the child fatherless? Single mothers and their children fit into this category where God will be ultra protective of.
Now consider an abortion where the mother has been abandoned by the father of her child – isn’t that the killing of a fatherless while he is yet in the womb? Such are the weakest of the weakest. The unborn child is completely voiceless and defenseless. What do you think God expects of the church on this justice issue of abortion?
Yet church leaders neglect this blatant injustice. We almost do not lift up a finger to address this, when it should have been our role. It cannot be the role of people who don’t know God to teach moral truths that lead to society’s flourishing. The church is called to be the light of the world. His truths are meant for the world not just hidden within the church.
But many Christians don’t understand this because we don’t have God’s worldview. Or perhaps we have been taught the right worldview, but we are not of the right wine skin. We know it in our head but we lack that being that Jesus, the apostles, the prophets or biblical characters such as Daniel and Esther have.
You know the Bible says, “the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” (Dan 11:32) Perhaps we don’t know our God enough. We don’t have the spirit within us or the fruit in our character to live a life of faith.
I give you a practical example. What would you give up to save an unborn child’s life? If today, an unsupported pregnant girl is in need. She just got kicked out of home. Would you open up your home to her? Would you give up convenience to save a life? Ask yourself now. What would you do? This is the wine skin issue.
Qn 4: What in your opinion then, could or should be done to resolve this?
Leo: That legally, it is permissible to kill the unborn is unjust in God’s sight. This is in fact, a political gap that the church should seek to close. Now, we are not talking about a political takeover. God has a distinct role for the church; and for the state. The state will always be in 100% power. But does God have a role for the church in relation to the state. Yes. The church is to be the conscience of the state. Our role is to witness to them by sharing the truth. If not us, who?
But because of the social gap, churches do not feel we have the moral authority to address the political gap. Hence we continue to remain voiceless. This also means we could continue the convenient route of avoiding the issue altogether, and remain unchallenged in our worldview and “wine skin”. Can you see how each gap perpetuates this negative, repetitive cycle?
You see God’s question for the Singapore church is never whether we will be able to outlaw abortion. But whether we would even try out of obedience. The church has a part to play, but we are running away from it. We must at least do our part. God expects it from us.
So what could we do to resolve this? Let me break it down according to the 3 gaps.
For the social gap, I believe there are categories of people we should recruit. First are the people who would sacrifice their convenience to save a child’s life. We could form a community zoom meeting every month centered around them that these caregivers feel supported. Second category of volunteers to recruit are the singles, young adults, teenagers, retirees, etc – the rest of the church. In times of emergency, this 2nd group could support the first to buy meals, drive a sick single mother and child to the hospital etc.
I also believe single mothers can benefit from counseling. Such counseling might be better provided for professionally than to expect it from the caregivers who house them, as living together brings about a different set of dynamics that makes professional counseling difficult. It will be great if the church can come together to finance this.
For the political gap, I think we need to gather those who are interested in witnessing truths to the public square or the authorities. Perhaps we could come up with a symbolic statement of sorts. If we have our social gaps covered, we could feel more empowered to make such a statement. I think there are other organisations who may like to do this too. If we can work together, combine resources, we can do this better.
For the church gap, I believe it will be wonderful if pastors can reach out to pastors. When some do our part, others may be inspired to do their part. But I also think we need a new wine skin movement – now. We cannot afford to wait for everyone to wake up from their slumber before we do what is right.
***End of Interview***
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