It's a little bit of show and tell if you ask him about his strategy to change the minds of pro-choice Christians, but it also involves asking philosophical questions like, "What does it mean to be human?"
Dave Sterrett, Christian evangelist and founder of Disruptive Truth, an organization dedicated to proclaiming "the disruptive truths of Jesus until the whole world hears," thought about the question for just a little while when this reporter asked him: "What would you say to Christians who are pro-choice?"
He had just finished talking about his organization's new campaign launched this month called We Choose Life that he hopes will disrupt the conversation on abortion by providing a small group, one-day, training and discussion guide on the issue.
It will be available as a free download along with short films that feature pro-life training and biblical hope from Sterrett as well as true stories from pro-life leaders such as Lila Rose, founder of Live Action. Sterrett has also written a companion book, We Choose Life released this month by Hendrickson Publishers to help the cause.
His aim is to train and equip 500,000 high school and college students to be able to give "an answer to the abortion issue with clarity, compassion and conviction, offering real answers, real stories and real hope to a new generation."
"How do we answer the questions? We know that Planned Parenthood is focused, targeting minorities and university students. That's where they often have their abortion facilities," he said.
"We want to provide answers because there's many young people and adults who say, well, I'm pro-life. But you ask them the tough questions, 'what about cases of rape? What about incest? What about if the mother's life is in danger? How do you answer those questions?" he asked.
The Church, he said, has been silent on the issue of abortion and has been pouring much more effort into bringing attention other causes such as deaths from AIDS, heart disease, lack of clean drinking water and so on, which collectively do not amount to the 40 million who die annually on a global scale as a result of abortion.
"If the church and other believers are bringing attention to these other causes, my question is why is the church so silent about abortion?" Sterrett asked.
"Worldwide, we talk about justice, there's a lot of things my generation, for example, is passionate about. Sex trafficking, exposing the darkness of that," he continued. "If we really wanted to shut down sex trafficking here in the United States, one of the things that's something closely related to that is abortion, because these young girls get pregnant and where do the sex traffickers take them? They take them to the abortion facilities."
"We know from Lila Rose, who is in our video, her undercover work at Live Action has exposed that Planned Parenthood has not reported sex trafficking, they have not reported statutory rape. In fact, Planned Parenthood knows that they'll make money off abortions, so Planned Parenthood does not oppose it. … We need to be concerned about all these other causes."
The Church has come a long way on the issue of abortion, he said, but there is still a lot more work to do.
"During the time of Roe v. Wade most Protestants were in favor of abortion. We were silent," Sterrett said.
"Though there were a lot of things happening with the Jesus movement, people were being saved but the Protestants, the Evangelicals were quiet about abortion. My particular denomination at the time — Southern Baptist — was in favor of abortion," he noted. "And thankfully in the late '70s the Southern Baptist, the Assembly of God and many of the Evangelical denominations changed … and took a pro-life stance, but we still have a long way to go."
Indeed, although the Resolution on Abortion, adopted at the Southern Baptist Convention in June 1971 — two years before the landmark Roe v. Wade decision — charged that society had a responsibility to affirm the sanctity of human life, it still allowed abortion under a set of circumstances open to broad interpretation.
"Be it further RESOLVED, That we call upon Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother," the document notes, in part.
Sterrett argued that this is not something widely known.
So, with so much left to do in the Church, this CP reporter asked him the question: "What would you say to Christians who are pro-choice?"
He thought for a little.
"I would want to listen to them and ask them why they are pro-choice and then I would try to understand what are the reasons they are and then I would begin to ask them questions like, very simple questions that would allow them to think," he began. "Ask them, you know, 'what is a pregnancy? Are they in favor of all abortions or some? What does it mean to be human?' I would ask them what do they mean by abortion."
And after asking and telling. There might have to be some showing.
"You have some people who are pro-choice, they have no idea what an abortion is … they have no idea," Sterrett said.
"And so, what we do in this video, as difficult as it is, we talk about the abortion procedure. And once individuals begin to see what abortion is and what does it mean to be human, they begin to change their minds," he noted.
"And one of the guys that helped with the video, he considered himself pro-life but he wasn't really sure, and one of the things that actually changed his position was seeing this image that we show of what an abortion is. And that changed his mind."