"A Moment to Decide" and the work of PPL PDF Print E-mail

Dear Friend of PPL,

Your prayers for renewal have not been ineffectual. Changes in recent years have in fact provoked acts of frustration from those who have been seeking to take the church in what they call a more "progressive" direction. As with most spiritual enterprise there are those who see the struggle in the Church in purely political terms and want to encourage you to see it that way too.

A good example is the publication of a book titled A Moment to Decide, intended to be an exposé of renewal in the Presbyterian Church (USA) (published in May 2000 by a new Institute for Democracy Studies), based on research by Lewis C. Daly, and supported by a project of the Scarborough Presbyterian Church in Scarborough, New York. The book was a big item at the recent General Assembly.

A statement near the end of the book capsulizes its message:

It may be only a small historical step from a religious movement that sets itself against liberal democracy in the name of confessional orthodoxy...to a decimation of democracy undertaken in the name of a purified church.

Restoration of biblical faith is viewed as a threat to the democratic process. The author may be a good political operative, but he understands little about the reform efforts that have marked the Church throughout her history.

The author shows no understanding of the concerns you and I have

        that in recent decades our church has been swallowed up by the culture,
        that the message of the Gospel has been infected by many gospels and
        that the historic standards of the church have been under constant assault.

Apparently, he cannot entertain the possibility that God himself seeks the purification of his people and is doing today in his Church what he has done in the past to bring his people back to himself.

PPL pleads "guilty" to helping women find alternatives to abortion

PPL is the subject of Chapter Two. There are attempts to malign the organization by tying us to the Christian Action Council and the network of pregnancy care centers that emerged from that organization. We in PPL are happy to confess our enthusiastic praise for those thousands of ministries around the country that sacrificially meet the needs of pregnant women, without charge. We know that many of you have helped to start those ministries in your communities, serve as volunteers in them, and support them with your contributions to the kingdom of God.

We are often the recipients of calls from women seeking help. We have never failed to find a pregnancy care center and a church willing to offer ministry in a location near the needy woman. We are delighted to have several members of our board of directors who are active in local pregnancy care centers. Our relationship to those centers has undoubtedly saved lives.

PPL pleads "guilty" to offering ministry not otherwise provided by the denomination

What is most interesting is that in its attempt to give PPL the appearance of an extreme right-wing, politically-motivated organization, the author's research led him to this description of our ministry:

PPL functions as a resource and referral center for local churches and individuals. Speakers on life and family issues are offered through PPL's speakers bureau. PPL also maintains a hotline that refers women to crisis pregnancy centers, encourages adoption as an alternative to abortion, distributes materials to pastors concerning post-abortion counseling, and offers pastors sample sermons. Additionally, PPL publishes and distributes educational materials, including audiotapes, videos, pamphlets, books, and a resource packet for creating a biblically based abstinence curriculum for youth in local churches titled "Pure Hearts! Pure Minds! New Human Sexuality Program.[sic]"

PPL also holds leadership training workshops and assists in the formation of new chapters. Once established, local chapters organize study groups and workshops and distribute PPL's publications and informational materials.

We couldn't have said it better ourselves. There, in the intent to show how radical an organization we are, is a concise explanation of what we do that no other organization in the denomination does. And of ministry that denominational offices fail to provide. (As you undoubtedly already know, denominational offices support only groups advocating for abortion rights.)

In the book's explanation of our work is at least a goodly part of the reason why the Presbyterian Church (USA) needs the ministry of PPL. And why Presbyterians can contribute to PPL in good conscience and with assurance that their contributions are being used to advance the Gospel in ways that are otherwise neglected by the denomination.

The critical need for PPL's ministry to the church

The book mentions a few members of our board of reference, a group of men and women whose approval of PPL's ministry honors us. One it does not mention is Eileen Moffett, who is a former longtime missionary to Korea now living with her scholar-husband Sam at Princeton Seminary. Eileen wrote us after this General Assembly, recollecting a different response to human needs from the church in the past:

When I think of how the news of infanticide and of many forms of violence against women and children in ever so many parts of the world helped to fuel the women's missionary movement in our church in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it seems little short of implausible that members of our churches today can be so tolerant of infanticide in the form of abortion in our own society. It seems as though Jesus is speaking to our own church the words from Matthew 23:27: 'Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem. How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings and you would not!'

Contrary to the thesis of this book that so misunderstands the work of renewal in our denomination, we are not a so-called extreme or radical right organization. Rather, we are in the very mainstream of historical biblical Christianity and do our work out of the convictions expressed by the church's confessions of faith. The book maligns us because our commitment to the truth and to the renewal of biblical faith particularly as it relates to the human person has won the hearts and minds of an increasing number of Presbyterians.

Our critical need for Presbyterians to stand with us and support our ministry

We appeal to you as our brothers and sisters in this work of renewal. We appeal to you on the basis of our common commitment to the restoration of biblical faith in our denomination. More than ever the Church needs believers who will stand together and affirm the "faith once delivered." More than ever the Church needs a strong voice of defense for the innocent and vulnerable at every stage of life, beginning with the conception of each new human being. PPL receives no support from the denomination. All of our support comes from churches and individuals just like you.

There is still much work that God has called us to do.

  • We will be releasing an adult education video series by the end of this year.
  • We will be holding a meeting in October to help local churches develop strategies for pastoral care ministries at the end of life.
  • At a time when the whole society's attention is once again focused on partial birth abortion, we will follow the work of the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP), the committee that has been asked to make recommendations regarding the denomination's policy on late term abortion.
  • We will be your resource on issues of life within the biblical and confessional framework.
  • And we will continue to be a bold witness for life in this denomination.

You can make a difference in the life of the church and in the lives of women facing crisis pregnancies by supporting the ministry of PPL. We invite you to stand with us in echoing the words of Jesus when he said,

Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.

Yours for Life,
Don Elliott
President

P.S. I encourage you to regard your gift to this life-giving ministry as an integral part of your personal witness and mission of your church. Please use the provided response form.

"...contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." (Jude 1:3)



PPL is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization of members of the Presbyterian Church (USA). A financial statement is available upon written request from the Virginia State Division of Consumer Affairs or from PPL.

 

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