Street Preaching at Abortion Clinics
by Tony Miano
edited by Matt Slick
Few locations present as many challenges to the street preacher as do abortion clinics. Few situations are more urgent and volital than preaching to people who are entering a building to kill their unborn children. This article presents practical suggestions for street preaching outside abortion clinics.
Become familiar with the abortion clinic and the surrounding area. Gather information such as:
- Which of the clinic’s entrances/exits are used by clients?
- How close you can get to the clinic’s entrances/exits while remaining on public property, such as a sidewalk.
- What, if any, restrictions exist for using amplification in the area of the abortion clinic.
- The days of the week and the times of day surgical and chemical abortions are performed at the clinic. This will have to be done by calling the clinic.
The abortion clinic will likely try every means possible to make the street preacher leave the location. Having information regarding the operations of the clinic, knowing where private property ends and public property begins, and understanding any local ordinances that might regulate activity will not only prepare the street preacher for opposition he might face from the clinic but will also give him more confidence while preaching.
There are two schools of thought regarding the use of signs outside abortion clinics. Some believe using graphic images of aborted babies focusing on the death of the child is a good visual deterrent for those who are entering abortion clinics. Others believe high quality images of living, preborn children are a more effective and less offensive visual deterrent.
Both schools of thought have merit. The decision whether or not to use signs and what kinds of signs to use is a matter of conscience and, therefore, up to the individual.
A third option for those who wish to carry signs outside abortion clinics is to produce signs that have text with no images. Appropriate pithy sayings or Bible verses can make for very effective signage.
Signs can be very effective tools in both pleading with people not to kill their unborn children and communicating truth in a limited amount of time.
In most cases, the evangelist outside the abortion clinic will have only a matter of seconds (the time it takes people to walk from their car to the clinic door) to communicate with the men and women entering the clinics. More often than not, there is not enough time to make a full presentation of the law and the gospel. Quoting Scripture (Hebrews 4:12) to those entering the abortion clinic is the evangelist’s best option.
Here is a sampling of verses to use when pleading with those walking into abortion clinics:
- Genesis 1:27, "And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."
- Psalm 22:9-10, "Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb. You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts. 10 Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb."
- Psalm 127:3, "Behold, children are a gift of the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward."
- Psalm 139:13-16, "For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; 16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them."
- Proverbs 3:7, "Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the LORD and turn away from evil."
- Proverbs 3:27, "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it."
- Proverbs 6:16-19, "There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers."
- Proverbs 14:12, "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death."
- Proverbs 15:3, "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good."
- Proverbs 21:7, "The violence of the wicked will drag them away, because they refuse to act with justice."
- Proverbs 28:14, "How blessed is the man who fears always, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity."
- Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, "The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil."
- Isaiah 1:15, "So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you. Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood."
- Isaiah 5:20, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil. Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness. Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!"
- Luke 2:6-7, "While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
- Revelation 21:8, "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
In addition to citing Scripture, here are some short phrases one can quickly communicate to those walking into abortion clinics:
- “There are alternatives to killing your baby.”
- “Give me your baby. Allow your baby to live and I will help you find a family to adopt your child.”
- “You know this is wrong, for God has given you a conscience.”
- “God hates murder. Please don’t kill your baby.”
- “God knows your child. He knit your child together in your womb.”
- “Please do not kill your baby. He or she has been created in the image of God.”
- “Please don’t sin against God this way. You will stand before Him to give an account for what you are about to do.”
- “You are making a choice. You are ending a life. You are killing your baby.”
- “You do not stop being a mother after you kill your baby. You will always be a mother."
Each of the above statements is true. In print, some of these statements might seem harsh. Tone of voice (which will be addressed later in this article) is an important key to effectively communicating these truths with people entering the abortion clinic. A sincere and pleading (not whining) tone of voice helps to convey the truth with love without softening the impact of the truth on the heart and in the mind of the hearer.
The tension in the air outside of an abortion clinic is palpable. No one working at an abortion clinic or going to an abortion clinic wants to see a street minister outside. That is why police are often called. Also, each day there exists the very real possibility of physical assault. People going in and coming out of abortion clinics are often filled with grief, mourning, loss, hate, anger, fear, confusion, depraved indifference, haughtiness, and a host of other emotions. While some may show no emotional affect, no one is happy when they arrive at an abortion clinic.
When preaching outside, the preacher is often preaching to people he cannot see--those who are inside the clinic. This is why sometimes it is necessary to preach louder than in most settings simply to be heard inside the clinic.
Due to the circumstances, when articulating the law of God, the preacher should focus on the Sixth Commandment, “Do not murder.” Murder is defined as the premeditated killing of another human being with malice aforethought.1 This is what is taking place inside of abortion clinics every day--the murder of unborn children. (But the good news is that there is forgiveness and release from the guilt through Jesus. Please read, Are you a Christian woman who has had an abortion?)
Most abortions are selfish acts of convenience. Abortion is an act of self-love in which mothers and fathers put the love of self before their love for God and other people--especially their unborn children. The street preacher should, therefore, emphasize the two greatest commandments as articulated by Jesus.
"And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?' And he said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.'" (Matthew 22:35-40).
Preaching should not only be directed to those entering the abortion clinic but also toward those who will participate performing abortions: doctors, nurses, technicians, receptionists, and security guards. Everyone working at the abortion clinic is responsible for the death of children. They are all facilitators--accessories before and after the fact.
Forgiveness can be found in Jesus
Grace, mercy, and forgiveness through the cross of Christ and His glorious gospel must be emphasized while preaching outside abortion clinics. While the Law of God can and will stop the self-justifying mouths of sinners (Romans 3:19-20), it is the gospel that is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). Yes, the Law of God is good when it is used lawfully (1 Timothy 1:8), but it is Jesus Christ and Him crucified the street preacher must proclaim above all else (1 Corinthians 2:1-2; Colossians 1:28). Therefore, emphasize trusting in Jesus and his death--not on the death about to occur in the abortion clinic--in order to be forgiven of all of your sins. The gospel must be preached after the Law is presented.
Remember, the goal of the street preacher outside an abortion clinic is to see God save lives and save souls. He should never preach as a self-appointed judge and jury. “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12)? Therefore, the preacher must balance the preaching of sin, righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment (John 16:8; Acts 24:25) with salvation by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Romans 1:17), in Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12).
Tone of VoiceThere is a fine line between righteous indignation and sinful anger. It is very easy to cross from righteousness into sinfulness when pleading and preaching outside abortion clinics. Lives are at stake. Passions run high. The indignation toward the murder of unborn children and those who commit such acts is difficult to manage.
Nonetheless, Christians are commanded by God and His Word to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). No unwholesome word or corrupting talk should come out of the Christian's mouth (Ephesians 4:29). The words should always be acceptable to God (Psalm 19:14). The street preacher must not be rash with his speech (Ecclesiastes 5:2), and he must be diligent to never respond in kind--to never revile when reviled (1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Peter 2:23; 1 Peter 3:15-16).
As tense and urgent as the situation is, those entering and exiting the abortion clinic should hear love in the voice of the preacher--both in his pleading and in his preaching.
ConclusionStreet preaching outside abortion clinics is a vitally important ministry. It is emotionally and spiritually challenging. It can be physically dangerous. It is not for the faint-of-heart or the spiritually immature. Done biblically, soberly, and lovingly, street preaching outside abortion clinics can and is used by God to save the lives of unborn children and the souls of those who participate in the killing of the unborn.
Note about the author: Tony Miano ministers every Tuesday morning outside the Family Planning Associates abortion clinic in Mission Hills, CA.
- 1. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/murder
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