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Facing the Fork in the Road

Have you ever wondered how you would hold up under real persecution?

Not the “Man! That professor with the goofy goatee made fun of me in class today!” kind of persecution.

Or the “Dude! Someone drew Darwin legs under the Christian fish on the back of my car!” kind of persecution.

Or the “Gosh, no one invites me to hang out at the bar after work since they found out I got saved!” kind of persecution.

I mean, the real deal.

Where following Jesus would cost you and cost you dearly.

According to the Christian Medical Association, the first believers to find out how they will stand in the face of spiritual suffering may very well be doctors and nurses.

It is looking increasingly like the first formal wave of persecution launched by our increasingly post- Christian culture  may be targeted at believers who serve in health fields.

Christians in medical field face ‘conscience’ challenge

The CEO of the Christian Medical Association says the Obama administration is threatening the civil rights of medical practitioners.

The Obama administration is moving to rescind a regulation that protects the civil rights and the exercise of conscience of medical practitioners. Under the regulation, medical workers were allowed to reject procedures if they violated their conscience. The Bush administration instituted the regulation in its last days, but it was challenged in court almost immediately.

Dr. David Stevens says the move by the White House “exposes the myth of moderation” in the president’s abortion policy by possibly forcing practitioners to perform abortions or euthanasia. And Stevens argues it is likely the most important bio-ethical issue that Christians face in the medical field.

“Because if we lose our right of conscience — then if we oppose embryonic stem-cell research, physician-assisted suicide, human cloning, or whatever — it’s not going to make any difference because we’re not going to be at the table any longer,” says the Christian physician.

David Stevens (CMDA)“And as one Planned Parenthood lawyer said to me when I was debating her on National Public Radio…’If you’re not willing to provide a legal procedure, you have no business being in healthcare.”

According to Stevens, an informal survey of Christian Medical Association members indicates that more than 40 percent are being pressured to violate ethical standards — and the fallout is significant, he adds.

“Physicians report losing positions and promotions because of their life-affirming views,” he explains in a press release. “Residents report losing training privileges because they refused to do abortions. [And] medical students report changing career tracks away from obstetrics for fear of pressure to do abortions.”

According to the release, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has even stated officially that every obstetrician is expected to participate in abortions — either through procedure or referral.

The bottom line?

We are heading for a situation where Christian physicians are going to be given a choice:

Perform or facilitate abortion on demand –

or find another profession.

After all the personal sacrifice

After all the intense studying

After all the competition to find a spot in med school

After all the sleepless nights of residency

After amassing a Mount Everest size pile of debt in student loans

Just when you are ready to begin to reap the rewards of serving the hurting

The rug is pulled out from under you.

Give up your Christian commitment or find another career.

What would you do?

If the so called Freedom of Choice Act is signed into law this is the reality Christian doctors and nurses will face.

It is eerily reminiscent of another fork in the road decision that took place after two men involved in healing were called on the carpet by the political heavy weights of their day.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16 saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”

18 So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:14-20)

There comes a time when Christians of conscience must obey God rather than man.

No matter how painful the consequences.

Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom told the story of a group of believers who were meeting secretly in an underground church in the former Soviet Union.

At one of their meetings the door was kicked open and a group of armed to the teeth soldiers burst in.

Their commander told the frightened group, “This is an illegal meeting. Those who want to renounce Christ may go. But if you stay you will suffer the consequences. You have five minutes to decide.”

During that agonizing five minutes, a few in the small group got up and left without a word.

But the majority stayed and prayed for strength and courage as they met their fate.

At the end of five minutes, the commander ordered the door locked.

He then turned and said,


We are believers too.

We are sorry we frightened you, but we didn’t want to fellowship with anyone who wasn’t willing to die for Jesus.”

In varying degrees and varying ways that same fork in the road seems to be fast approaching in our day.

May the Lord give us the grace to obey God rather than man.


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