Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor of the multi-campus Free Chapel Church in Gainesville, Georgia, urged more than 4,000 Christians to speak out against abortion at an event celebrating life with former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson from the hit movie ‘Unplanned’ Saturday.
“If America is going to be destroyed, it will be destroyed by the silence of the pulpits and the silence of the righteous minority called Christians who are failing to lift their voice and say with great passion ‘we are going to protect the life of the unborn,’” Franklin said in opening remarks at his ‘Life Is Beautiful’ conference.
He also recommended grace for people who have had abortions or were engaged in the abortion industry.
“With just as much passion and just as much fervency, we are going to extend grace and compassion to anyone who has experienced an abortion, been anyway involved in it, we’re not mad at you. Jesus loves you and we love you. And we’re here to walk through life. We’re all flawed people. We need God’s grace. We can make our nation greater. We can make our world a place that values life because life is beautiful,” Franklin said.
He also highlighted the recent legislation in New York permitting abortion up until the point of birth, as well as a similar proposal in Virginia and noted: “If they’re not ashamed to take that stand, then I am not ashamed to take the Word of God and say with all the love in my heart, that life matters to God and it matters to us.”
Franklin further urged the gathering, which included a number of national Christian leaders, public servants, and the church community to unite on the issue.
"We no longer have the luxury of disunity in the Body of Christ. The lines have been drawn. Stand up for life. And stand up for compassion and grace for those that have experienced abortion. We dare not be silent in such a time as this,” he said.
Franklin, Johnson and others who spoke at the conference raised concern about pregnant women who feel like abortion is their only option and also prayed for women grieving past abortions.
Johnson, who is now pregnant with her eighth child, shared her story of going through two abortions herself.
“Most people who work inside these abortion clinics are not there because they love abortion, they’re there because of misguided compassion,” she said of her eight years working for Planned Parenthood. "I was very ignorant surrounding the topic of abortion. It was my ignorance, it was my naivety that led me inside the doors of the abortion industry."
She revealed that her conversion came in 2009 when her supervisor asked her to double the quota of abortions at her clinic. She was also affected by her role in an ultrasound-guided abortion procedure on a 13-week-old unborn baby boy.
“I watched this perfectly formed innocent human being become dismembered in his mother's womb,” she said. “I believe that all of these things that happened in 2009 were God's way of chipping through the callous that had formed around my heart. I knew then that what I had seen was a grave injustice.”
Since then, Johnson has been fighting for life.
“There is no such thing as an unwanted child because every child is created in the image and likeness of God, and very much wanted by our Father,” Johnson said. “Let us do everything that we can, not just to make abortion illegal, but to make abortion unthinkable in our society.”