Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC)/Christian Action Council (CAC)[Care Net]*

Religious Humanism in Disguise?

-  We believe that the crux of the "problem" today with the pro-life/anti-abortion movement, as promoted by professing Christians, is its capitulation to a moralistic/humanistic/psychological/ecumenical/social action gospel that puts the body before the soul. It's a gospel of religious humanism -- humanism because, in the end, it exalts man's "worth" over Christ's, and religious because it is clothed in "Christian"/moralistic terminology. Dr. Jay E. Adams hits the nail on the head when he writes:

"... [In their attempt] to thwart the abortion movement many well-meaning Christians unintentionally exalt man by declaring him to be of infinite worth. Abortion should not be fought on the basis that killing a human being is wrong because he or she is so valuable, but on the basis that, when a child bearing God's image is slaughtered, it is God who is attacked because that child bears His image. If you tear up a picture of my wife, you'll have me to answer to -- not because of the intrinsic worth or value of the paper and print that you destroyed, but because you have insulted my wife. An attack on the image of God is serious, not because of man's supposed great worth, but because of the One whose image he reflects" (A Call to Discernment, pp. 18-19).

The focus of the pro-life movement today seems to be one of attempting to "Christianize" societal institutions by pressuring the ungodly to live like saints. Instead, its focus should be one of presenting the pure Gospel of Christ, which is to call out of the world (i.e., repentance of sin) those who will respond to this Gospel, so that they might then (and only then) be enabled by the Spirit to live wholly for God.

In addition, in many instances the pro-life movement seems to be denying the sovereignty of God; its proponents behave as if God is not in control over who shall live and who shall die. For example, most pro-life organizations promote pre-marital sexual abstinence to a culture without Christ, and therefore, a culture that has neither the resources nor the power to abstain (witness Focus on the Family's/James Dobson's 4/14/92 full-page newspaper ad in USA Today titled "In Defense of a Little Virginity"). Then, if abstinence fails and immorality leads to conception, pro-life organizations focus on saving the baby's body, with an almost total disregard for the mother's soul (as witnessed by the law-breaking tactics of Operation Rescue). It all gets back to our first point; the pro-life movement is focused on cleaning up the world's behavior without attempting to get at the root cause -- SIN!

-  Another problem with the pro-life movement is its rampant ecumenism -- the pro-life movement, from top to bottom, is heavily influenced by Catholics. Visit a protest or picket line at an abortion clinic and there is a good chance that you will see someone (often priests or nuns) praying directly to Mary, saying the Rosary, or carrying some kind of graven image. Or go into a Crisis Pregnancy Center and ask how many of its counselors are Catholics. Since the Bible speaks against being unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14), any alliances with Romanists do not and cannot honor the Lord. Moreover, ecumenical gatherings serve to weaken resistance to false teachings; the Bible-believer's attitudes towards the Vatican may soften after being in the trenches with Catholics (1 Cor. 15:33). (Adapted from the 4/93, Christian Defender.)

-  An integral part of the pro-life movement is the vast system of Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) is a generic name for any church or parachurch organization that counsels women against abortion. Most operate out of small, storefront offices in 1,500-3,000 locations nationally, seeing an estimated 700,000 to 1,000,000 women annually. Most CPC' counselors are not "professionals," though most go through an approximately 32-hour training course and about 20 hours of in-service preparation. Most CPCs also have no official ties with Operation Rescue, although some of its volunteer counselors do take part in "rescues."

All CPCs offer a similar menu -- a free, self-administered pregnancy test, a crisis hot line, information about abortion procedures, and alternatives to abortion. None of them offers referrals to abortion clinics nor contraceptive information, preferring to stress abstinence for those not married. For women whose tests are negative (about 50% are), counselors try to talk about the relationships with men that have made pregnancy a "crisis." And increasingly, CPCs offer post-abortion counseling, often in the form of small-group Bible studies (see information on PACE later in this report), many of which utilize the "five stages of grief" (developed by transpersonal New Age psychologist and occultist, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross). (CPC leaders point to this as proof that they are not harsh and judgmental; if they were, how many women would come to them for help after an abortion?)

Most CPCs also attempt to help women carry their babies to term, by offering free second-hand baby and maternity clothes. Other practical helps may include a place to stay with a family, parenting classes, nutrition classes, prenatal medical care, even job training, and helping to arrange adoptions ("Inside Crisis Pregnancy Centers," by Tim Stafford, Christianity Today, 8/17/92).

-  The two largest "umbrella" organizations for CPCs are the Christian Action Council (CAC) (now Care Net -- see footnote at end of report) and Birthright, comprising services for more than 1,000 CPCs in the U.S. and Canada. CAC began in 1975 (founded by Billy Graham, C. Everett Koop, and Edith Schaeffer!) as a political lobby when "evangelical Protestants" joined Catholics in their post-Roe v. Wade opposition to abortion. (Koop, previously unaffectionately known as "Captain Condom," has now linked-up with the Clintons to promote pro-abortion health care plans!) By 1981, CAC began organizing CPCs; approximately 450 centers are now affiliated with CAC. (Birthright runs 500 CPCs in the U.S. and 75 in Canada. Birthright centers often have informal links to the Catholic church.) Outside of the umbrella organizations are many independent CPCs, but nobody knows how many or what methods and morals predominate.

Other religious humanist organizations are also getting into the act of "advising" CPCs. An article in the 5/94 Focus on the Family magazine (a publication of self-love advocate James Dobson's ministry) is titled "Crisis Pregnancy Centers Receive the Focus Touch." Dobson says that FOTF has started a new quarterly newsletter, Heart to Heart, in an "effort to encourage and support crisis pregnancy centers. ... will help build a strategic network for center-to-center communication ... Each issue will feature evaluations of resources, including counseling manuals and programs, pro-life videos and abstinence programs, as well as related news stories, creative ideas, successful approaches and special projects. Every crisis pregnancy center on FOTF's mailing receives Heart to Heart free of charge." (Notice there is no mention of the Gospel of Christ.)

-  We will focus on the Christian Action Council's/Care Net's materials, specifically its 71-page Crisis Pregnancy Center Volunteer Training Manual. Despite CAC's claim that its primary focus is to evangelize its counselees, the Training Manual gives only brief lip-service to the necessity of a Christ-centered gospel versus a man-centered one (p. 61). When one examines the rest of the Manual , it is unclear how any volunteer counselor could possibly present any semblance of an accurate gospel message to the lost (one focusing on God and others to the detriment of self) -- the counseling training material comes straight from the teachings of anti-Christian, self-loving, godless humanists, teaching such concepts as unconditional acceptance, self-esteem/self-image/self-worth/self-ad nauseam, "feelings-oriented"/man-centered counseling techniques; Rogerian client-directed listening therapy, Freudian ventilation therapy and psychosexual dysfunction therapy, etc., all about which the Bible knows nothing! [CAC even admits (p. 7) that "... these terms are borrowed from secular psychology," but incredibly claims that "they reflect biblical principles" anyway!] In fact, with only two pages out of the entire 71-page Training Manual devoted to the gospel message, evangelism appears more as an afterthought than a CAC priority.

Perhaps a specific example from the Volunteer Training Manual would better illustrate the nature of the unbiblical teaching perpetrated by CAC: "How To Talk to the Client About Sexuality" (pp. 55-57). The entire approach for effecting change comes from a self-centered rather than a God-centered perspective -- discussion of the risks of continued promiscuity (for a girl testing negative on her pregnancy test) centers on "her future happiness" and her "well-being." This self-centered motivation for change is the antithesis of the Bible's teaching on motivation; i.e., the Bible says that sufficient motivation for any change is the believer's desire to do what is pleasing to God, not "what's in it for me?" or how will it affect my "goals and hopes" later in life (Rom. 7:7-25). Sinful man in his sinful, self-centered nature will never be able to effect long-term, permanent, godly change on the basis of "what's good for me" (Jer. 17:9). The Bible says "change because God commands it." But without Christ, this is impossible. With Christ living within us, however, we have all the power and the motivation necessary to make the change from an immoral lifestyle to a godly one (i.e., "put-off" sinful behavior and "put-on" righteousness -- Eph. 4:17-5:2 and Phil. 4:13). Yet, with CAC's pitiful emphasis on the gospel message, one wonders how any counselee can ever hope to get to the point of repentance and subsequent desire to live a godly life!

-  More and more CPCs are offering post-abortion counseling, generally in the form of small-group Bible studies. (This is encouraged by CAC in its brochure "Facts You Should Know About Abortion.") One such Bible study is titled "Women in Ramah: A Post Abortion Bible Study," published by PACE (Post Abortion Counseling and Education), and written by Linda Cochrane, a psychiatric nurse. Some examples of the teaching in this 71-page manual are worthy of note:

(a) Appendix: "Why A Group?" (pp. 67-71) -- The techniques recommended are strikingly similar to the psychiatric group therapy that one might have become familiar with if he had seen such movies as "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" or "The Dream Team." It is thoroughly "feelings" and "emotions" oriented, and loaded down with psychological platitudes that are in direct conflict with Biblical teaching. "People grow by living through their pain," is but one example of the psychobabble being bought-into by the professing Church today, and being passed off as a spiritual truth in this Bible study.

(b) "Naming Your Baby" (pp. 58-59) -- This teaching is clearly one with spiritism underpinnings. PACE recommends that a woman who has had an abortion embrace a pillow to relieve the "empty arms feeling," communicate with the aborted baby by writing the baby a letter, and imagine the aborted baby communicating its thoughts to you, the mother. These "techniques" are not only gestalt in nature, but are, in actuality, forms of necromancy, i.e., consultation with the spirits of the dead (only, in this example, without a medium to aid in the process). This practice is one of those strictly forbidden by God, and called by Him an abomination (Deut. 18:10-13). It is also extremely dangerous for the spiritual health of anyone dabbling in it, not only because God forbids it (which should be reason enough for any Christian not to engage in it), but because it can serve as an introduction to the occult, a realm in which the demons do not respect the innocence nor the naiveté of the participant.

-  Both Birthright and the Christian Action Council/Care Net require their affiliates to pledge a vow of "absolute confidentiality" to the pregnant mothers who come in for counseling. But as Christians, should we be willing to make such a vow? Dr. Jay Adams (in his book, Handbook of Church Discipline), says no we should not, since this type of vow "originated in the Middle Ages and is unbiblical and contrary to Scripture." Also, "absolute" confidentiality often prohibits the proper exercise of church discipline and possible restoration for a young woman or couple (Matt. 18:15-17). CPCs need to reserve the right to tell those people who are Biblically authorized to know.

Most CPCs today do not have a policy of notifying a Christian girl's parents or pastor when they have knowledge that she is uncertain as to what she is going to do with her pre-born child, or worse, declares her intent to abort her baby. Instead, most have policies of absolute confidentiality. At that point, the CPC is sharing the same confidentiality policy as Planned Parenthood. The CPCs have a standard answer for their absolute confidentiality policy. They fear that if they bring parents or husbands and pastors into the situation, pregnant woman will stop coming to their center. But, does this not presume that godly parents, spouses, and pastors will not be used by the Spirit to guide a Christian woman back to the right path, to bring accountability back into her life, and maybe bring an end to the matter in such a way that brings glory to Him?

But with such an unholy vow of silence covering the CPCs, how can the fornication or adultery often leading to the "crisis pregnancy" be set right? What keeps the sinners from ending up again at the CPC or the abortion mill? Very little is corrected with silence. CPCs should attempt to steer the unwed pregnant girl and her family to a church that understands and teaches the Bible, so as to facilitate confession, repentance, and restoration unto Christ. If the girl and the family reject this, then the death of her pre-born baby is not on the CPC's hands. But since many involved with CPCs have courses or degrees in psychology, and have already replaced Biblical/ethical counseling with psycho-therapeutic counseling, the moral foundation of these CPCs has already been destroyed. Thus, they are often ill-equipped to accept the deeper moral problems concerning "absolute" confidentiality. (Adapted from "Are Some Crisis Pregnancy Centers Fanning the Abortion Crisis," by Paul Dorr, FWR Report, 4/93.)

* Note: The CAC has changed its name to Care Net (1/15/94, World). It will now supposedly de-emphasize what it is against (abortion) and reemphasize what it is for (women). In our opinion, this will only lead to an even greater emphasis on pop psychology and victimization theology.

Biblical Discernment Ministries - Revised 5/94