This transcript is taken from the Stand in the Gap Today program originally aired on Feb. 6, 2020. To listen to this program, please click HERE.
Sam Rohrer: Well hello and welcome to Stand In The Gap today. I’m Sam Rohrer and today accompanied by Gary Dull and special guest Scott Klusendorf. Scott is the founder and the president of Life Training Institute. Now on this program yesterday, if you listen to us, I hope that you enjoyed it. Lot of great comments about the program yesterday as we commented on the president’s state of the union address from Tuesday night. And if you did not listen, I encourage you to go to our website, standinthegapmedia.org, listen to it there or even better, download our free app by putting in the phrase, “Stand in the gap on your smartphone.”
Sam Rohrer: And then you can listen to all of the archives of three radio programs that we do and the TV program and a whole lot more right there at your fingertips and at your convenience. But yesterday we highlighted in the president’s address and such a critical phrases as these. One was this, “Whether we are Republican, Democrat or Independent. Surely we must all agree that every human life is a sacred gift from God.” He said, and we talked about yesterday on this program, “We lift our voices in prayer and we raise our sights to the glory of God.”
Sam Rohrer: And then in his address, the president responded and closed with, “Our spirit is still young. The sun is still rising. God’s grace is still shining.” As a matter of fact, let me just play that short clip right now from the president’s address. You can hear him himself saying his comment about the sacredness of life.
President Trump: That is why I’m also calling upon members of Congress here tonight to pass legislation, finally banning the late term abortion of babies. Whether we are Republican, Democrat or Independent, surely we must all agree that every human life is a sacred gift from God.
Sam Rohrer: And in fact, that’s where we’re going to go today on this program and focus on that statement that he made. Surely we must all agree that life, human life is a gift from God. And we’re going to tie that together with the recognition that life is interconnected with freedom and Liberty and a greatness of America. Our theme for today’s program is this, “The sacredness of life, foundational for freedom and blessing.” And our special guest, as I mentioned, is well positioned to help us in building out this fundamental point.
Sam Rohrer: Again, that’s Scott Klusendorf, president and founder of Life Institute. And in this program, we’re going to look at several issues. For instance, what does it mean to view all human life as sacred and a sacred gift from God? What does banning late term abortions really mean? And does it far enough? And then we’ll answer the question, “Why is it so critical that we all agree that human life is a sacred gift from God?” And with that, I’m welcoming you to the program right now Scott, thanks for being with us today.
Scott Klusendorf…: Good to be with you Sam and Gary,
Sam Rohrer: Scott, I know you listened to the president’s speech and I know the comment that I have played. I just want to ask you here right now. Not the why part, we’re going to save the why part for the third segment, but what does it mean? What does it mean to recognize human life as a sacred gift of God? And then embedded within that if you could, perhaps just a little bit about your vision and mission of Life Training Institute and why you do what you do there.
Scott Klusendorf…: When we say that human life is sacred, what we mean Sam is that human life is intrinsically valuable, not merely instrumentally valuable. And here’s what that distinction entails. To say that something is intrinsically valuable means it has value in and of itself. We don’t have to add any performance or function to it to make it valuable. So when Christians say that every human life is sacred, we are saying every human life has intrinsic value because every human life bears the image of its maker. And it doesn’t matter whether that human life can function at a high cognitive level, whether it can perform at a high athletic or physical level or how eloquent or brilliant that life might be. All human life has value because it’s intrinsically valuable.
Scott Klusendorf…: If we say it is only instrumentally valuable, then what we’re saying is what gives you and I our value is not our nature that bears the image of God. Only the things we can do at a performance level. Of course that leads to savage inequality. Because if human life is only valuable based on our performance or function, and you have more of those functions than I do, you have a greater right to life than me and human equality is out the window.
Gary Dull: You know Scott, I really liked what the president said, that he used the right terminology when he talked about late term abortion of babies. That shows to me that he recognizes that there’s life there. Let’s talk a little bit more about this idea. Did Our nation ever fully agree with the principle that life truly is a sacred gift from God? And if so, what did it look like in those days?
Scott Klusendorf…: Well, we certainly had that principle in our founding documents. When you look at the Declaration of Independence, it’s right there. All human beings have intrinsic value because they bear rights that come from their creator. Our founders understood this. We did not always apply it though. And the immediate issues that come to mind are slavery for example. The way sometimes treated native Americans. America has had a history of haggling over this question, “What makes humans valuable in the first place and who counts as one of us?”
Scott Klusendorf…: And that’s what the abortion debate is about in our nation right now. It’s not about a surgical procedure, it’s not about choice and who decides, it’s not about trusting women to make their own personal decision. It’s not about who loves women and who hates women. It’s about one question, “Who counts as one of us?” And that is why our nation is bitterly divided right now. Whenever you have a debate about who counts is one of us, it’s going to heat up and heat up quickly. And if you think I’m kidding, all you got to do is go on your Twitter account or your Facebook account and post a statement saying, “Unborn humans have intrinsic value,” and then stand back and wait for the sparks to fly because you’re going to get them.
Sam Rohrer: And Scott, that’s a great point. Boy, I’d love to develop that even further. Before we leave the segment though, what would it require? The president said, “We surely must all agree,” and we’ll build that out a little bit more and near the segment, but what would it require for it to be said once again of our nation that we agree that every human life is a sacred gift from God?
Scott Klusendor…: Well, it would start with a general understanding of what makes us equal in the first place. And you’ve got one side of the abortion debate that says what makes us equal is our performance, our abilities, our characteristics that are fully exercised. You have the other side of this debate, the pro-life saying, “No, what makes us valuable is our humanity and that’s all you need for it.” When you look at the scriptures and the idea of the Imago DEI, the image of God and man, it is never linked to characteristics like rationality or thought or moral sense. The Bible simply says humans have value because they bear the image of their maker.
Sam Rohrer: Welcome back to Stand In The Gap. I’m Sam Rohrer accompanied today by Dr. Gary Dull and our special guest, Scott Klusendorf, president and founder of Life Training Institute, which their website which I encourage you to check out is prolifetraining.com. Our theme today is this, “The sacredness of life foundational for freedom and blessing.” And we’re linking this today off, of a key statement that the president made in his state of the union address just a couple of nights ago.
Sam Rohrer: In the president’s address, he highlight if you watched it, little Ellie Schneider, born at just 21 weeks and six days weighing less than a pound and that as the president said, “Through the skill of her doctors and the prayers of her parents, little Ellie is now a strong, healthy two year old girl sitting with her amazing mother Robin in the gallery.” And you all remember that, it was a beautiful shot, just really wonderful of the two of them. And then the president went on and said this…
President Trump: Ellie reminds us that every child is a miracle of life and thanks to modern medical wonders, 50% of very premature babies delivered at the hospital where Ellie was born, now survive. It’s an incredible thing. Thank you very much. Our goal should be to ensure that every baby has the best chance to thrive and grow just like Ellie. That is why I’m asking Congress to provide an additional $50 million to fund neonatal research for America’s youngest patients. That is why I’m also calling upon members of Congress here tonight to pass legislation finally banning the late term abortion of babies.
Sam Rohrer: It was right after that statement that the president then went on and said, and the quote that we played at the beginning of the program, “Whether we are Republican, Democrat or Independent, surely we must all agree that every human life is a sacred gift from God.” And that’s the heart of where we’re looking here today. Every human life, a sacred gift from God. Scott, just a sense of how did you react to the president’s recognition of little Ellie and her mom and then to his urging of Congress to, as he said, “Pass legislation finally banning the late term abortion of babies?” How did you respond to all of that?
Scott Klusendorf…: It was masterful both on a moral and political front. On a political front, what was great about it is he set the Democrats up perfectly. He’s talking about a girl talking about medical care, how she was helped by health care, which of course is a sacred cow of Democrats. And then he did a turn on them and said, “Now this little girl who was born at 21 weeks.” He’s basically arguing this is the same little girl at 21 weeks born premature that’s sitting up in the gallery today. It’s not that Ellie evolved from a fetus. She once was one and she just got here earlier than the rest of us. She came in at 21 weeks rather than 40 weeks.
Scott Klusendorf…: And he immediately pivoted right over to the abortion issue, which was brilliant. Politically he caught his opponents off guard, really put them in a vice on that one. Morally, I loved how he was making the argument that Ellie today is identical to Ellie the fetus and the embryo of yesteryear. And to distinguish between the two of them is nuts. And to be able to look right at this girl in her mother’s arms, standing there and I loved it by the way, when Ellie’s mom gave the celebration sign when the president mentioned that he wanted to ban late term abortion. She was all on board with that as she’s holding the same little girl they just celebrated a moment ago. It was a great moment.
Gary Dull: And that was a beautiful picture that the nation saw when that was up on the screen Scott. There are some people who may question as to whether the president asked for enough in his speech the other night. For instance, do you think he should have said, “I urge Congress to pass legislation to finally end the abortion of all babies,” and then follow that up. Do you think we are close to seeing Roe versus Wade overturned?
Scott Klusendorf…: Well, I’ll take the second part of that first. I don’t know. What I think is likely, and I cannot say with utmost certainty here, given the current configuration of the court and given who’s on it right now, assuming no additional judges added. It seems more likely to me that they would gut Roe meaning strip it of most of its force, but leave the edifice staying there to preserve the integrity of the court so to speak. That’s what I think they would probably do.
Scott Klusendorf…: Either way, whether they gut row or reverse it, the issue is going to be coming back to the states in fuller measure. Meaning, each of us in our individual states must be prepared to make a case for life because the people are once again going to get more say in the issue. That’s the tragedy of Roe V Wade. The federal courts co-opted the abortion issue from the legislative and executive branches, stripping the people through their legislative representatives from having any say in this issue. If Roe is reversed, it will not outlaw abortion in any state at all. It just means the States individually will now have the authority to act.
Sam Rohrer: And Scott, I’m going to build off, of that and go back to the original question that Gary was asking you. And that is this, I want you to build it out. Should the president have, I mean some perhaps could say, “Well president, I’m glad for what you recommended that we pass legislation by Congress to end late term abortions, but that’s not going all the way. If abortion is murder then let’s get rid of it all the way completely.” And you happen to have spoken very eloquently on this topic. I have an article that you wrote, Why Pro-life Advocacy Is Not Compromise, and you made the case there for seeking incremental gains in the arena of laws and course and why that is not wrong.
Sam Rohrer: Talk to us about that. And again, you already said what the president did was very politically astute. It was a good turn on what he did, but he didn’t go for the whole basket. He didn’t eliminate abortion, but he did go for that most obvious part of the late term. Talk to us about that.
Scott Klusendorf…: Well, keep in mind, Frederick Douglas, the great abolitionist, the African American abolitionist, reminded us in his tribute to Abraham Lincoln that politics is the art of the possible. We can’t always get everything we want immediately. And in those situations, it is not compromise to force the other side to give up ground. And when we contend for incremental changes to abortion law, for example, outlawing third trimester abortions or late term abortions as the president called for. We are not the ones compromising.
Scott Klusendorf…: The other side is compromising because they’re being forced to retreat from a position where no child has a right to life, where there are cases you can’t kill unborn humans now. So they’re the ones making the retreat. And here’s how I would phrase this. All pro-lifers want to immediately end abortion. And if we could wave a magic wand and do it, we would. But we are not powerful enough to do that right now. Therefore what we do, we’ve been forced to do by the political realities that are out there to become incrementalistic in practice while being immediatist in principle.
Scott Klusendorf…: Meaning in principle, we want to protect all children immediately right now. But since we do not have the political ability to do that right now, we incrementally limit the evil done in so far as possible given the realities we are up against. That isn’t compromise, it’s only compromise when your side gives up ground and when you aren’t committed to protecting all children and your final resting point is to say, “Well, we’ll protect some children but not others.” I don’t know a single pro-lifer out there anywhere, Sam, that says, “Oh, we should only protect some children, not all of them.”
Scott Klusendorf…: We want to protect all of them, but given we can’t do that right now, there’s nothing wrong with working incrementally to limit the evil done and promote the good in so far as possible.
Sam Rohrer: Scott, I’m really glad that you took and you wrote that article and ladies and gentlemen, look for that, Five Moral Principles of Marriage. Where we either have or will be posting that on our Facebook as well. American pastors network Stand In The Gap Radio Facebook pages and look for that. I think you’ll be moved by it but Scott, I just want to give some affirmation from what you’re saying. When I served in the Pennsylvania house here in the general assembly for about 18 years, I was a part of the pro-life group and us are good guys. I’ll put it that way.
Sam Rohrer: The good guys who are committed to biblical truth and life. We talked a great deal when it came to the matter of life and other issues about how can we make our votes on things that came up when it may appear that we might be compromising truth or however. And we ended up coming down to the same position that you did. And we said this, ultimately disposition. That when it comes to giving up ground, no compromise is acceptable. But when it comes to reclaiming ground that has been lost, incremental gains is wise.
Sam Rohrer: Just to offer that there for folks who are listening, sometimes you look at those who may be in office and how they vote, considerate across the nation, not just life, but are they a compromising and giving up ground if they are chastise them. But if they are not, really pray for them even more. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Sam Rohrer We’re at the mid point of the program now today and again, if you’re just joining us, we welcome you to the program. I’m Sam Rohrer accompanied today by Gary Dull and our special guest Scott Klusendorf who was the president of Life Training Institute.
Sam Rohrer: Our theme is this, The Sacredness Of Life Foundational For Freedom and Blessing. And we’re picking up a statement that the president made in the State of the Union Address. If you did not hear it, we’re going to play that clip again in just a minute. But if you only got a review of the State of the Union Address from what you heard on the general media news, I really, really, really encourage you to go to our website, standinthegapradio.com or download on your app, put in the phrase, “Stand in the gap.”
Sam Rohrer: Listen to the program yesterday where we had entitled it, “The 2020 state of the union resounds to the glory of God.” And we picked that up and you will see why we use that phrase. And part of it was in fact, that the president’s reference to God, to the glory of God. He used those words and that’s why he went and he talked about prayer. He also talked about human life being sacred. We’re going to consider more in this segment now, why is it so important? And we talked about the what in the first segment, but why is it so important that all Americans and certainly those who are lawmakers or judges hold to this concept that human life is sacred and it is a gift from God? Let me play it one more time exactly what the president said to Congress right now. Tim, play that clip one more time.
President Trump: That is why I’m also calling upon members of Congress here tonight to pass legislation finally banning the late term abortion of babies. Whether we are Republican, Democrat, or Independent. Surely we must know that every human life is a sacred gift from God.
Sam Rohrer: And that’s where we’re going to go next. Scott, yesterday on the program, I referred to it a little bit. I shared when we talked about this piece. That the founders of our nation, the Declaration of Independence signers. In that document, they recognize that life was foundational to freedom and national blessing and it’s why they started with the phrase that most all listening would recognize, “We are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights and among these are life and then Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Sam Rohrer: Scott, you’ve already referred to it a little bit in that first segment, but why is it so foundational for us as a nation, a representative republic who wants, loves our freedom and our Liberty? Why is it so important that we start with life and the fact that it is sacred?
Scott Klusendorf…: Our founders recognize that our fundamental rights, what they referred to as natural rights applied to us as human beings, and they don’t flow from government. Government does not create these fundamental rights. Government’s job is to recognize and protect them. And to help listeners understand the difference between natural rights and what we might think of as positive law, imagine that you take a trip to the United Kingdom Sam. Do you have a right not to be gunned down in the streets of London while you’re there? And of course the answer is yes, you do.
Scott Klusendorf…: But that’s not a right the British government grants you. That’s a right you have as a human being. But just because you have a natural right not to be gunned down in the streets of the UK somewhere doesn’t mean you get to vote in that nation’s election next time around. Natural rights apply to you as a human being. Legal or positive rights are those granted by government. And the reason why life is so important in the Declaration of Independence as the foundation for all other rights.
Scott Klusendorf…: Our founders understood that all other rights that apply to human beings spring from our human nature, our endowment from our creator. And if you take away the right to life, you are stripping the foundation for all other natural or fundamental rights. And that’s why the right to life is paramount.
Gary Dull: Scott, I certainly appreciate what you and your team does and ladies and gentlemen, I would encourage you to go to their website, prolifetraining.com and learn more about them. That’s prolifetraining.com, that’s what this is all about. But Scott in our contemporary 2020 day and age in which we live, recognizing human life is sacred and the gift from God is really the first step of understanding a biblical worldview that we talk about a lot here on Stand In The Gap Radio and television.
Gary Dull: But having such laws legalizing abortion for example, we’ve really walked into the culture of death in our nation. And that has burdened the heart of many of us down through the years. But what other cultural problems are we dealing with right now in our nation that we would say as a consequence of rejecting this principle that all human life is sacred?
Scott Klusendorf…: Well, look at the whole debate over transgender or gay marriage. Each of those ideas, the idea that each is permissible, that you can identify as any gender you want or make up one if you prefer. Or you can marry your canary if you want to. Both of those ideas spring from a premise that human nature is not fixed, it’s socially constructed. We don’t have an endowment that determines what we are, we make it up for ourselves.
Scott Klusendorf..: And once you throw human nature out the window as being fixed and objective, anything goes as regards human beings. And so we end up seeing debates over gay marriage. We end up seeing people say, “Why can’t I just make up a gender that I want to be?” But you also get on the other end of life as we near our old elderly years, you get people saying, “Well, human life doesn’t have value at the end of the spectrum because it can’t function the way it once did in the earlier ages when that person was more fit and more cognitively aware, and therefore doctor assisted suicide euthanasia, they’re not harmful, they’re actually humanitarian in nature.”
Scott Klusendorf..: And that’s what happens once you throw out the notion that human nature is fixed and objective. We make it up for ourselves and who’s going to end up making it up? Might makes right, those in power will. And that could mean the federal courts, that could mean politicians, cultural elites. But then you’re throwing the concept of human equality under the bus. Those in power will decide who has value
Sam Rohrer: And Scott, when Gary asked you that question, he referred to a biblical worldview and we described that on the program as Judeo-Christian worldview, a biblical worldview. There is God, there was a creation, an act of God. There was a fall where sin came into the world, precipitated by real live devil, but then there is redemption secured by Jesus Christ.
Sam Rohrer: Now that’s how we net it down and put all of this together where the concept of life assumed that there was a God you referred to it in the founders. I mean they believe that, link the strength of the belief in the value of life, the sacredness of life to a Judeo-Christian or a biblical worldview and contrast that to this culture of death mentality that says we can abort and therefore some lives are more valuable than others. And link that to the alternate world views against which we are really at the end of the day, competing. That’s what it comes down to. Link those together and build that out if you could.
Scott Klusendorf…: Yeah, I’ll do it two ways. First of all, there’s an underlying worldview that drives the abortion debate and it’s a worldview known as body self dualism. Body self dualism, don’t be threatened by that big term. It simply means that you are not your body in any sense of the word. The real you is not your body. It’s your thoughts, your feeling, your cognitive awareness, your desires. And until you have those things, there’s no you that is there.
Scott Klusendorf…: And that worldview justifies abortion because it says until a fetus or an embryo can have a sense of self in a psychological context, it isn’t a person and therefore we can kill them and we’re not doing anything wrong. And that same worldview that there is a sharp difference between a human being and the human person is played out in debates over doctor assisted suicide, euthanasia, cloning, and the whole mess we see in bioethics today. Going up even further though Sam, or I should say maybe even to the more foundational issue, the two worldviews at its source come down to this.
Scott Klusendorf…: Did the universe come from nothing? And was it caused by nothing? If so, human beings are cosmic accidents and we make up our own rules. Nothing has intrinsic value. Doesn’t matter your age, doesn’t matter whether you’re an embryo or a 15 year old or a 35 year old at the top of your cognitive abilities. If the universe came from nothing and was caused by nothing, all living things are cosmic accidents.
Scott Klusendorf…: The contrasting worldview is that a reasonable God created creatures in his own image that bear his likeness in their value and dignity and that veil, the likeness of God in those human creatures is the foundation for their dignity and intrinsic value. And it’s real easy to see that the Christian worldview can ground human dignity. The secular worldview cannot.
Sam Rohrer: You said a tremendous amount Scott there in just a couple of minutes and ladies and gentlemen, I hope you got that. And again, another reason to go back and listen to this program.
Sam Rohrer: In the president’s state of the union address, he referred specifically to prayer and the pulpit. We talked about that yesterday and played that full clip. On this program, we also so strongly urge prayer by God’s people in particular because they are the ones if they are living, if we as those who say we are a part of the family of God, if we are living obediently and we are praying properly, God will hear our prayers and that’s what we need.
Sam Rohrer: I hope that you’re praying for revival in America. I hope that you’re praying for our president and all who are in positions of authority, that we may lead quiet and peaceable lives. I hope that in your own personal lives you are living in daily dependence on the Lord and not your own self or somebody else. But we know that only the truth of God’s word can bring our nation back to a point of blessing. We’ve stayed at many times, man can try and do all they want and the president is trying to do that to make America great again.
Sam Rohrer: But at the end of the day, do we not know that America will never be really great again until once again, God is great in America? That’s why we need to pray and we need to live accordingly. And that’s why we on this program and the American pastors network have initiated our 52 Tuesdays prayer initiative. We’re asking all of you who are listening, many have come to our website and signed up. I’m really making a plea for all of you who are listening. If you listen to this program and you have not come to our website and sign up, please, please, please make a point to do that.
Sam Rohrer: It’s not just helping us, that’s not the point. The point is that you are linking your prayers with others who are committed to praying for our nation. Our goal is to build a team of 10,000 prayer warriors that are not just praying for themselves, but we start there, but praying for our nation, praying for all of these things, but more importantly, praying that we live a lifestyle of obedience and prayer. That’s what makes prayer powerful. Go to our website.
Sam Rohrer: Please sign up, become a part of this growing team. Go to americanpastorsnetwork.net and you’ll find a banner there that you can sign on to. Now, the president this morning spoke at the national prayer breakfast. I was not able to be there this morning, I’ve been there many before. But I just went through and pulled out just a couple of clips, statements that the president made in the prayer breakfast approached this morning. I want you to listen to this. Some of it he said at the state of the union, a lot of it was new. Listen very carefully as we put together a number of segments from the president’s statements this morning at the national prayer breakfast.
President Trump: But this morning we come together as one nation, blessed to live in freedom and grateful to worship in peace. As everybody knows, my family, our great country and your president have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people. They have done everything possible to destroy us and by so doing, very badly hurt our nation. They know what they are doing is wrong, but they put themselves far ahead of our great country. Weeks ago and again yesterday, courageous Republican politicians and leaders had the wisdom, fortitude, and strength to do what everyone knows was right.
President Trump: I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong, nor do I like people who say, “I pray for you,” when they know that, that’s not so. So many people have been hurt and we can’t let that go on. Everyone here today is united by our shared conviction.
President Trump: We know that our nation is stronger, our future is brighter, and our joy is greater when we turn to God and ask him to shed his grace on our lives. As I said on Tuesday in the house chamber, in America we don’t punish prayer, we don’t tear down crosses. We don’t ban symbols of faith. We don’t muzzle preachers, we don’t muzzle pastors. In America we celebrate faith, we cherish religion, we lift our voices in prayer and we raise our sights to the glory of God.
President Trump: So much of the greatness we have achieved, the mysteries we’ve unlocked and the wonders we’ve built, the challenges we’ve met and the incredible heights that we’ve reached has come from the faith of our families and the prayers of our people. Before America declared independence, patriots in all 13 colonies came together in days of fasting and prayer. But what they did was have an unwavering belief that God was with them. I believe that too. God is with the people in this room. Before a single skyscraper rose up in New York city, thousands of poor American families donated all they could to build the magnificent St. Patrick’s cathedral.
President Trump: When Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon he said, “Euston, I would like to request a few moments of silence.” Then he read from the Bible. At every stage, our nation’s long march for civil rights was inspired, sustained, and uplifted by faith, prayer, and devotion of believers.
Sam Rohrer: Didn’t that move your heart ladies and gentlemen? I hope that it did. There was a lot more that the president said. I pulled that just those few, but let that be as an example. Thank you Scott. Thank you Gary. Well, thank you for being with us today on this program. Again, go back and listen to it in the archive, standinthegapradio.com or on your smartphone.