Evangelicals for Life Conference Opens With David Platt & Steven Curtis Chapman

Obedience to the Great Commission leads Christians “inevitably to treasure the sanctity of human life,” David Platt told the audience at Evangelicals for Life Wednesday night (Jan. 16). Photo by Karen McCutcheon

Obedience to the Great Commission leads Christians “inevitably to treasure the sanctity of human life,” David Platt told the audience at Evangelicals for Life Wednesday night (Jan. 16).

The opening session of the fourth annual conference — sponsored by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission — featured a concert by Steven Curtis Chapman to benefit the Psalm 139 Project, the ERLC’s ministry to help place ultrasound machines in pregnancy resource centers across the country.

The two-day conference at McLean Bible Church in Vienna, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C., continued with a full day of addresses, panel discussions and breakout sessions Thursday (Jan. 17). Evangelicals for Life (EFL) participants will be able to attend the annual March for Life Jan. 18 on the National Mall.

Platt — former president of the International Mission Board and now pastor-teacher of the host church — said the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 and the sanctity of human life have everything to do with each other.

“For into a world that devalues children,” Jesus gave the commission for Christians to make disciples, baptizing and teaching them, Platt told attendees. “The Great Commission was clearly and definitively not a call to sit back and stay silent in a world of evil.”

Jesus commanded His followers “to run to need, not away from it; to engage a world in need, not to turn a deaf ear to it,” Platt said. If it is not careful, the church — “instead of discipling Christians in the world” — can be “disinfecting Christians from the world,” he said.

The Gospel that baptism portrays in the Great Commission empowers people to treasure human life, Platt said.

“The first and most fundamental way we can work for the unborn is through proclamation of the Gospel to see hearts changed to want what God wants,” he told the audience. “The power of the Gospel message in and of itself possesses a dynamic charge that detonates the heart’s desire for abortion.”

Baptism not only is a new Christian’s initial public declaration of faith in Christ, but it also is a Christian’s public identification with a community, the church, Platt said. “God has uniquely designed and equipped the church to care for children and their mothers.”

As Christians begin to obey the Great Commission, they begin to see slaves, immigrants and refugees as God sees them, he said. The Great Commission compels Christians to “decry all forms of oppression, exploitation” and to work to overcome the racial divide in this country, he said.

Chapman — who has won 58 Dove Awards, the most of any artist in Christian music — shared the stories behind some of his songs before performing them, including “I Will Be Here,” “Fingerprints of God” and “When Love Takes You In.”

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Source: Baptist Press