Blogger Jon Speed, who is affiliated with pro-life film Babies Are Murdered Here, has written an article denigrating 40 Days for Life as non-Christian. His article is entitled 40 Days for Life Stinks. Right away I can tell that this isn't going to be a critique of 40 Days for Life so much as complaining about them, and right I was.
Jon is adamant that 40 Days for Life is not a Christian organization. Right away, I should note that as far as I know, 40 Days for Life is not an organization at all, but a 40-day event that people of different churches and pro-life organizations participate in, meeting in front of abortion clinics to peacefully protest abortion and pray for its ending. On what grounds does Speed assert that an event where churches get together and pray for the ending of abortion is not a Christian event?
In Speed's own words, "40 Days for Life leaders oppose preaching the gospel at the clinics." Does he offer any proof for this? Not a shred. I have participated in 40 Days for Life now for a few years, and I am quite confident in saying that no one at 40 Days for Life opposes preaching the gospel, and they don't oppose conversations about the gospel with anyone who wants to stop and chat. But everything in its time. As Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything under the sun. Forty Days for Life is a peaceful protest, one in which pro-life advocates don't want to be obnoxious while getting their point across about abortion.
So in light of the fact that I have participated in the event and I am quite confident that no one at 40 Days for Life would oppose raising the gospel in conversations, I am quite confident what Speed means is that those affiliated don't want anyone to be yelling at the people going into the clinics and street preaching in front since it is supposed to be a peaceful protest.
Speed claims that 40 Days for Life is a humanist organization because it's man-centered and not Christ-centered, but this is a gross oversimplification. Speed must have overlooked Acts 17, in which Paul doesn't reason from the Scriptures with the Romans or preach the gospel at them, but reasons from philosophy, quoting their own poets, in order to convince them. There is a time to preach the gospel and there is a time to meet people where they're at, saying things that they need to hear, not just what you want them to hear. Become "all things to all men," as Paul wrote, "that [we] may by all means win some." Christianity is a religion that appeals to the intellect, not just to spirituality. Presuppositionalism is an untenable and indefensible view of Christian apologetics, as is evidenced by an interaction I had with two people from Abolish Human Abortion.
Speed made the following puzzling statement in his article: "BTW, ironically, statistics are not the friend of 40 Days if you compare them with the statistics of gospel-centered abortion clinic ministries." Two things to say to this: First, I asked Speed in the comments two or three times to back up this statement, and he was unable to. So the only thing to conclude is that he's blowing smoke with this statement. But second, even if it was true, it would be easily accountable by the fact that these gospel-centered groups operate all year round and 40 Days operates for...forty days a year. Speed quoted their figure at 8,000 lives saved since 40 Days for Life started in 2004. Definitely nothing to sneeze at operating for forty days a year for 10 years. If anything, I would think that should motivate us to hold 40 Days for Life events more often.
To make matters worse, he compares these Christians at this event to cockroaches, who scurry away "when the light is shed." This is just ridiculous nonsense, and I would think that people like Speed should take the words of the Scriptures more seriously, such as the commandment against bearing false witness against your neighbor, and showing love, not condemnation, to post-abortive women as well as to fellow believers in Christ.
Needless to say, Speed's arguments in this article are less than stellar. People in these presuppositionalist groups can't separate evangelizing from other discussions, so to them talking about abortion just is evangelizing. But this is nonsense. God exists outside the Bible, too, and has been revealed through nature (which is also Biblical -- Romans 1). People in these extremist organizations cherry-pick what they like from the Bible, and don't take a reasoned approach to any of their conversations, thinking, falsely, that if you are obnoxious about preaching the gospel, people will turn to God in droves. They take one example, Pentacost from Acts 2, and extrapolate from that that all of their conversations need to be like that, meanwhile ignoring the other passages that talk about people being met where they are, such as the aforementioned Paul in Acts 17, or Jesus talking to the adulteress at the well, and numerous other examples, and weren't condemned by a street preacher.
The pro-life movement will never succeed as long as there are people who are trying to drive a wedge into the pro-life movement, dividing us, and playing into the hands of the pro-choice movement by embodying all of their stereotypes (that pro-life people are only interested in condemning women for having abortions, that they are just belligerent loudmouths, and that abortion is a religious issue). We need a better way to operate, and we need to be united. As Christ, himself, said, "any city or house divided against itself will fall."