November 18, 2013

Over 280 Lutherans gathered November 8-9 in Urbandale (Des Moines), Iowa, from across the United States, for the 2013 Lutherans For Life National Conference. The theme: L.I.F.E.Living In Faith Everyday.

In his Friday night keynote address, L.I.F.E. in the Church, Rev. Matt Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod challenged the conference attendees to “be who we are: “Little Christ’s—Christians” as we share and apply the Gospel. “Hurting people are being produced by the boatload—right in your family.” He commented on how “the culture has affected us enormously” with people marrying later in life and  having fewer children. He asked, “How welcoming of life are we?” He encouraged all to share “the blessing of Christ” in this “drunken culture” and to keep in mind that no matter what, “the Lord is in His heavens.”

Earlier in the day, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad spoke at the pastors’ luncheon. “Thank you for what you do on behalf of the pro-life cause, on behalf of life at all stages of development—from unborn to the frail elderly.” He said, “We are making progress. I see many more young people today that understand and appreciate and respect life … as pro-life citizens it is important we remain engaged in the public square.”

Focusing on the conference theme in his opening worship sermon, Rev. Dr. James I. Lamb, executive director of Lutherans For Life said, “When we live in faith every day, when we live in His righteousness, then we have a righteousness and a truth from which to judge and to boldly, courageously, and unashamedly call wrong things wrong but doing so in love as a fellow sinner … We all know that sin is sin, but so many of you also know that sins against life can be more difficult to deal with than most sins. Some of you may know that on a very personal level because of an abortion decision in your past. If indeed you are here, allow me to pause and have a word with you, and it is a single word, ‘welcome.’ Welcome here with all the rest of us unrighteous ones … And the same can be said for those here who may be dealing with guilt or uncertainty about an end-of-life decision … Welcome here in the righteousness of Christ in which we all live, in which you live. Lean back in it and be lifted up by its constantly renewing grace.”

Nationally syndicated talk show host, Steve Deace, focused on the right to life as being the “cornerstone of civilization” and that the unborn are “souls—human beings made in God’s image.” He highlighted the confusion in our culture over the right to life by showing a video of people on a college campus signing a petition to allow “fourth trimester abortion.” Steve said, “If you don’t know when pregnancy ends, you don’t know when life begins.”

In her final conference address as president of Lutherans For Life, Diane Schroeder asked, “Does the reality of abortion fill you with a profound sadness that in our country and churches women have so little support that they believe they have to make that choice. Or do you come across as being harsh and judgmental … Are you considered to be a safe person others can trust. Do you honestly believe deep down that you are a better person than a woman who makes that decision? The truth is that … we are all guilty and deserving of God’s judgment! Your sin may not be as visible as that woman caught in an unplanned pregnancy, but it is still there. And like everyone else, only Jesus gets rid of it … Are you ready to stand in the gap offering emotional support and real help? Live these principles in your everyday life … Let your love for fellow sinners shine and you too will see lives changed! This message of compassion must be part of the fabric of our churches. The stakes are very high.”

Commenting on the conference theme, incoming LFL president, Lynette Auch, said, “How can a follower of Jesus Christ live any differently? God puts people and incidences in our lives daily that painstakingly mold and shape us into the people God wants us to be and to be able to ‘speak life’ effectively and with passion. As an obstetric nurse of a women’s center, I have participated in countless miracles of birth, whether they were deliveries of healthy, happy babies or of young ones that God called home before they saw the light of day. I have seen the tears and concerns of families of children born with anomalies or syndromes. I have been blessed to see these same families take hold, love, and ‘speak life’ to these children …”

Lynette also said that LFL’s mission is “to equip Lutherans so they understand that the life issues are grave spiritual issues. Our message is the heart-changing truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our manner is to ‘speak the truth in love.’ Love confronts people with their sin, but love does not condemn people because of their sins … We have been given and forgiven much, how can we not speak hope, speak love, speak life … by God’s word and wisdom … Lutherans For Life will work as diligently as ever to equip … pastors … congregations and communities across the nation and around the world.”


Go to the conference page for more on the 2013 conference.


Also see: 

2013 Lutherans For Life National Conference Photo Gallery

2013 Lutherans For Life National Conference Booklet

LFL National Conference: Speak out, share God’s love on life issues by Paula Schlueter Ross


2013 LFL National Conference Plenary Sessions, Workshops, Pastors’ Luncheon, and Worship Service: