Charlotte’s Response to 'God is Going Back to Church'
To Whom It May Concern:
First, let me make a few statements upfront. My family and I are pro-life and we attend Forest Hill Church in Charlotte, NC. In the past I have volunteered at Charlotte Pregnancy Care Center and we as a family have donated items to CPC along with monetary gifts. This letter is in response to the fact that your group stood in front of Forest Hill Sunday, July 13, 2003. Why you chose to stand in front of a pro-life Church like Forest Hill still baffles me.
Three points I would like to make:
First, there is no reason to display such graphic pictures in front of a church where families, especially ones with small children, are coming to worship. My 6 year old was with us on Sunday and I immediately had her close her eyes. Fortunately my 9-year-old daughter was out of town visiting my sister. She has such a compassionate heart and at her young age seeing those pictures would have devastated her.
My second point I would like to make by using this illustration:
Picture yourself in heaven facing God. He says to you, “See that woman over there. She had an abortion when she was only 19. For years she lived with the guilt of that abortion. She had tried going to church but always felt uncomfortable because of the abortion. She heard about this body called Forest Hill on a radio ad. Finally she got the nerve to try church one more time. As she drove up to the church entrance she was immediately confronted with signs of aborted babies. At that moment the guilt of her own abortion overwhelmed her. She drove by the church tears filling her eyes and returned home. If she had gone to Forest Hill that day, she would have heard the speaker, Derwin Gray explain that God loves her and that he can forgive those women who have had abortions. In fact I told him to say that because I knew she would be there. Because of those horrible pictures she continued to live not knowing how much I loved her for another 5 years until finally one of my children told her.”
I hope you people can live with knowing that what you did on Sunday could very well result in the above scenario.
Finally, what happens to a woman who walking up to an abortion clinic sees your pictures and actually does decide to not get an abortion. Do you wrap your arms around her and let her know that God loves her and that there is help available whether she decides to either keep her baby or give the baby up for adoption? And for those women who go in and have the abortion anyway, do you wrap your arms around her when she comes out and tell her that God still loves her and can forgive her for the abortion? Do you tell her that there are post-abortion bible studies that will embrace her with the love of Jesus? Or do you put those horrific pictures in her face and say, “Look what you have done”. From your actions on Sunday I am very afraid that you do the latter.
Here is Brenda’s response:
Dear Ms. Scheppegrell,
We used the ugly pictures because babies are dying down the street from you and the death is not a pretty one. Words do not suffice. It is the best way we have of replacing the "blob of tissue" imaginary picture fostered by the abortion industry with the "tiny human being ripped apart by an abortionist" real picture. As much as you hated the pictures, I feel certain that you understand abortion much better having seen them. The agony the child suffered is so evident.
I respect you for volunteering at a crises pregnancy center. The truth is, moms intent on abortion do not go to CPCs.
Your exercise in imagination was creative and interesting. Yes, it could happen the way you suggested. There is another scenario that is also a possibility:
Please picture yourself in heaven facing God. He says to you, "See that woman over there. Because some Christians came to your church to hold you accountable, you were in front of the abortion clinic when she came to kill her baby. You spoke to her and reminded her that I loved her and her unborn child and that I would be with her helping her through the rough spots. You took her to a doctor who gave her free medical care. You found her a place to live away from an abusive boyfriend. You got other prolife Christians to help outfit a nursery for the baby. Because you were there, she gave birth to a little boy. She never had to suffer the horrible guilt of an abortion or deal with the awful memories that can haunt one for a lifetime. She didn't jeopardize her soul by murdering her child. Because she recognized Christ in you, she accepted Christ as her Savior. For the last quarter-century of her life, she attended church where that little boy you helped save from the abortionist was the minister. -Well done, my good and faithful servant."
girl of your imagination received salvation and forgiveness in Jesus five
years later. It appears that you and I agree that the Lord's arm is not
so short that it cannot save. Perhaps you might also find it possible
to believe that our Heavenly Father can speak as clearly to the Rev. Benham
on the street as he speaks to Derwin Gray in the pulpit.
Questions for Forest Hill Church members:
You have written to complain to us because we came to your church with ugly signs that show the truth about abortion. Have you ever written to the abortion mill to complain about the actual killing of these little boys and girls?
If they were slaughtering four-year-olds, would you go and stand in front of the killing center to seek mercy for these children? If you answer, "yes," then your hypocrisy is exposed and your insincerity is revealed. You obviously do not believe that the lives of unborn babies are sacred or as valuable as other human beings created in the image of God.
Thank you for writing Ms. Scheppegrell.
you in Jesus,
Another email from Forest Hill:
I was confused and
distressed by the demonstration outside my church, Forest Hill, in Charlotte,
NC, last Sunday. I believe the methods you are using to try to stir up
the church are divisive and ineffective. First of all--why did you target
Forest Hill? Do you know anything about the church and what it represents
and does? There are many pro-life activists who have demonstrated, prayed,
counseled, spoken out, etc.
Yet you judge us.
I heard you on WRCM 91.9 radio saying we have to repent and confess our
sin. The Bible says that we should not judge the speck in your brother's
eye unless we have taken the log out of our own eye.
It is sad that you take a stand for a good cause, protecting unborn babies from murder, but your methods are not godly, in my view. Shock and sensationalism, controversy and accusation are not fruits of the spirit.
And I see a fruit
of confusion, anger, division, disrespect, and judgment. James says godly
wisdom is first peaceable.
A concerned sister
Here is Brenda’s response:
Dear Ms. Kaufmann,
We have received
a number of emails from members of your church and yours is the only one
to say that there are many pro-life activists there. Ms. Scheppegrell
said she has volunteered at Charlotte Pregnancy Care Center and donated
to it. But moms who are having abortions do not go to crises pregnancy
centers. Mrs. Halsema says your church has counseling sessions, classes,
and emergency phone numbers for those planning on having an abortion.
But moms who are serious about abortion don't normally call a minister
If even 20% of church
members in Dallas and Charlotte took the gospel, prayer, and truth-signs
and stood in front of local abortion mills each killing day, how long
do you think it would take to shut them down? Not long, I assure you!
Yes, godly wisdom is peace-loving and full of mercy. The innocent and helpless are dying violently just down the road from Forest Hill Church. We are asking you to please show these babies mercy by going and pleading for their lives.
Questions for Forest Hill Church members:
You have written
to complain to us because we came to your church with ugly signs that
show the truth about abortion. Have you ever written to the abortion mill
to complain about the actual killing of these little boys and girls?
Love in Christ,
This is Flip’s response:
One must remember
that we went to two churches on this particular Sunday, July 13, 2003.
One was Forest Hills Presbyterian Church and the other was Silver Mount
Baptist Church. Silver Mount is a predominantly black Church located one
mile north of the abortion mill on 700 E. Hebron Road. Forest Hills is
a predominantly white, wealthy, “seeker friendly” church that
is located four miles south of the abortion mill.
Pastor Lee announced to his congregation that we were “in the house” and asked Pastor Ronnie Wallace to come and pray. Pastor Wallace is the local leader of the Operation Save America group, and he lit it up in Jesus’ Name. Every piece of literature we had we passed out. It was a wonderful time in Jesus’ house.
Contrast this to our reception at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church. It was the difference between night and day. Those at Forest Hills were greatly concerned about their own sensitivities being upset by seeing the graphic pictures. They did not want to know about the murder taking place just a few miles down the road – “they just came to praise the Lord!” They did, however, busy themselves writing e-mails and calling into a local Christian radio talk show expressing their utter disdain with our “methodology.”
It appears that content has been replaced by form at Forest Hills Presbyterian. “Don’t tell me about the child killing happening down the street, just use good form when you speak to my delicate psyche.”
Would Jesus ever use gruesome and very graphic pictures to get His message across? He already has! He hung naked on a cross so battered and bleeding that He did not even look like a man. That is how God chose to demonstrate His love toward us. When words fail God speaks in “living parables.” This is His way when His people refuse to listen to His voice.
Beware Forest Hills
that you do not strain at a gnat while swallowing a camel!
Words have failed
and we need to see the horrible reality of what we are doing to the weakest
among us in our nation. The pictures we carry provide a pictorial essay
and a real warning of what horrors befall a culture that turns its back
on a Holy God. Our children need to know that the choices they make and
the actions they take have lasting consequences.
“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live…” (Deuteronomy 30:19)
Do These Pictures Traumatize Children?
No! They traumatize adults attempting to deny the truth and the horror of abortion!
That’s right! These pictures do not traumatize our kids, no matter how young they are. Children are not traumatized if they have parents who teach that abortion is a terrible thing to do to a child.
Our children who have grown up in this ministry know that this is a picture of a baby who is hurt. They also know that their mom and dad are doing everything they can to help these voiceless children.
It is the parents who tell their children that abortion is a good thing, or a “mother’s choice,” that have difficulty explaining the graphic pictures to their children. They are terrorized and traumatized because they have no words to justify what their children have seen. The kids are left wondering if mom and dad would “choose” to do the same thing to them.
“Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.” (Leviticus 19:17)
Is This Terrorism?
No! The truth brings terror only to the one who is doing wrong. He fears being exposed. In order to avoid the horrible truth that these pictures uncover, the enemy attempts to point his finger at someone else – us! When one loses an argument, he resorts to argument “ad hominem” (name calling).
Planned Parenthood and its ilk seek to paint all Christians who are telling the truth and living out their faith in the public forum as “wild eyed, fundamentalist, lunatic, terrorists.”
“Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Galatians 4:23)
Is This Extreme?
No, graphic pictures are not extreme! This is what parents do when they feel their children are in danger. The horrible pictures of traffic accidents used prolifically in driver’s education courses are not viewed as extreme. They teach what words cannot.
The pictures of Jews stacked like cords of wood outside Nazi concentration camps are not considered extreme when depicting the murderous truth of Nazism. It should never be considered extreme when one tries to rescue children from a treacherous lie by pictorially telling the truth. We will make no attempt to appear fair and open-minded to the lies and “cover-ups” of the abortion industry. We desire only to be true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In so doing we believe that God Himself will give our kids eyes to see the real horror of abortion.
“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)
What Would Jesus Do?
Would Jesus carry graphic pictures? He already has. That’s right! When words fail, God speaks to us in living parables (pictures). Jesus was and is God’s most graphic picture of His magnificent love toward us.
Jesus became a living parable of the high cost and degrading horror of our sin. It cost Him His life. He was publicly humiliated and hung naked on a cross. He was wounded and bruised. He bled and He died. He was marred beyond even looking like a man. Jesus was and is God’s graphic picture of His love toward us.
Jesus’ sacrificial and graphic death on a cross helps us to understand the magnitude of God’s love. It was an ugly death. It was and still is repugnant to our senses. It was and still is disturbing. It creates within our hearts a conflict that we would just as soon ignore. But, because He loves us, He drew a picture of His love with His Son’s death on an old rugged cross.
He is afflicting us and conflicting us with this graphic truth, not because He hates us, but because He loves us! “But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
The Entire Sacrificial System Points to God’s Graphic Ways!
Sacrifice in the Old Testament was an ugly business.
It was acceptable only on the basis of very graphic procedures. God used the sacrificial system as a graphic pedagogical device to teach His people the severity of sin. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.”
Can you imagine laying your hand on the head of a precious lamb and slitting its throat with the other? Can you imagine watching the crimson blood flow as the animal dies in your hands? The flowing red blood was a graphic teacher of the severity of sin. It prepared those in Old Testament times for the coming of the final sacrifice, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
Now, just imagine
bringing your eight year old son with you and explaining to him why a
lamb must die for the forgiveness of that boy’s sins. Imagine that
this was a family lamb that had been raised for this very purpose. The
son was witness to a very graphic truth which prepared him to be a man.
A young man who is raised to understand the severity of his own sin and
the high price paid that he might be forgiven, is one who is ready to
be a man.
Yes, we must. God is calling us to expose the lies that are covering up the slaughter of innocent human beings. Place the picture of a live baby next to the picture of a baby ripped apart by abortion and ask, “Which one do you choose?”
You will find that kids, almost 100% of the time, will choose the picture of the live baby. Do the same thing with adults and you will find that those who are “pro-choice” simply shut their mouths. They have nothing to say. All of their logic breaks down when they are faced with the graphic truth.
In the prophet Jeremiah’s
time, the people of Israel were also sacrificing their children in the
valley of Ben Hinnom. God said that this was “...something
I did not command, nor did it ever enter my mind.” Jeremiah
The problem was that the people of God in Jeremiah’s time did not, “...plead the case of the fatherless to win it…” Jeremiah 5:28.
Today, we in the Church of Jesus Christ are not pleading the case of the fatherless to win it. Oh, we build our crisis pregnancy centers, vote Republican, participate in Life Chain, and preach our annual Roe v. Wade sermon on January 22. We are not, however, pleading the case of the over 45 million children murdered and those soon to be killed, so as to win it.
As for me and my house, we have determined to plead the case of the fatherless to win it. Graphic pictures expose the devil’s schemes and make the defense of the “pro-choice” lie, indefensible.