In The Beginning - A Look at the History of Christian Life ResourcesRev. Robert Flesichmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources
Clearly Caring Magazine, Jan/Feb 2008, Vol. 28, No. 1
Not long after the 1973 legalization of abortion in the United States, an organization called the "Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights" (RCAR) was formed to incorporate many mainline liberal Christian denominations. The Christian witness almost immediately became confused in the public arena.
To clarify the Christian witness of God’s Word on this matter, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod at its 1979 convention took the unprecedented step of adopting its own resolution on abortion. Delegates adopted the resolution to condemn abortion except in cases to save the life of the mother. They further resolved to encourage the WELS membership to actively support alternatives to abortion programs.
Meanwhile, in northern Illinois a layman, the late Larry Marquardt, coordinated an effort to protect unborn children by opening our first pregnancy counseling center. Bolstered by the synodical resolution on abortion more centers opened throughout the country. Staffed by volunteers, these centers saw thousands of women in need of God’s Word about unborn life and the sacrifice to save those lives eternally.
Growing activism within the WELS and ELS for the protection of unborn children created the need for uniformity and structure. In May 1983, a group of people met at Good Shepherd Ev. Lutheran Church in West Allis, Wisconsin, to form a national organization.
Having discovered that another group had already formed using the name, "Lutherans for Life," the delegates at that constituting convention adopted the name, "WELS Lutherans for Life."
While adopting this new name cleared up one area of confusion, it created some other challenges:
- Although we adhere to the doctrine and practice espoused by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), we were not part of the synodical administrative or funding structure. Many mistakenly assumed the use of the letters, "WELS," placed us in that structure.
- Members of our sister church body, the ELS, also served as volunteers at our affiliates and on the national board. The letters "WELS" failed to acknowledge their involvement.
- "WELS" and "Lutherans" did not allow us to play as strong a role in the public arena as we desired. We wanted to posture the pro-life position as more than a "Lutheran" or specifically a "WELS Lutheran" position but as a Christian position.
- Interested parties not otherwise knowledgeable about our work confused WELS Lutherans for Life as a gathering of lifelong WELS Lutherans.
Today we are called Christian Life Resources. Just as the work of our affiliates personally touched the lives of thousands over the years, the more generalized name of Christian Life Resources enables us to touch the lives of millions.
Article Shortcut: http://www.christianliferesources.com?7469
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