Zechariah 12:10 Project (1985)

John C. Rankin

In early 1985 I received a phone call from a Christian businessman (from Atlanta as I recall, whose name I forget) with a proposal, for which he had funding for the costs, but not for my time and work. He wanted to market a 50-minute pro-life home video called The Hidden Holocaust, produced by the Moody Institute of Science (Whittier, California). Chuck Colson, presdient of Prison Fellowship, introduces the video, and with these words on the cover: “What you will see in this film is happening in your community. And you must not turn away.” It was also labeled as part of the Jeremiah 1:5 Project (“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you came forth from the womb, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations”). The man wanted me to write the text and help market it, and where he would do the design work for a large glossy brochure.

The man had a vision for using the video to equip the church to address the debate over abortion, and he had in mind a three-fold schema: preaching, teaching, reaching. I was hesitant. First, did I want to start with the negative language of “holocaust” oi address the subject? Even though there was and is such a holocaust. And second, would this be little more than an advertising campaign, that like so many, and would only have minimal impact?

Well, I proceeded. Below is the content, sans the graphics, of the glossy brochure, followed by my post mortem review.

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[Cover]

ZECHARIAH 12:10 PROJECT

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” – Zechariah 12:10, NIV

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[Pages 1-2]

THE MISSION

Abortion is a brutal reality. More than 4,000 unborn children are killed each day in the United States. Abortion tears apart human life. Sin, by definition, tears apart the wholeness of life that God has created for us to enjoy.

The cross of Jesus Christ is a brutal reality. Upon it, our Savior’s life was torn apart. In paying the price for our sin, Jesus was torn so that we do not have to be. He faced death on our behalf, and through the power of his resurrection, he has overcome it.

This prophecy in Zechariah 12:10 points us to the crucifixion. In enables us to face the brutality of the cross, an encounter made possible by a spirit of grace and supplication which God pours on us. This is a painful experience which causes us to realize that it is our sin that pierced him. Only when we have come to the cross are we then able to move beyond it and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to minister wholeness and forgiveness in a broken world.

We need this spirit of grace and supplication to face the brutality of abortion today. If we have faced the cross, we can then face abortion and be equipped by the Holy Spirit to overcome it in our society. If we cannot face abortion’s violence, then we need to return to the cross and look anew at God’s love for us. Only as we encounter the brutality of abortion can we then move beyond it and serve as God’s ambassadors of the Gospel to oppose and remedy it.

We must grieve for the children who are being slain. The Zechariah 12:10 Project confronts the horror of abortion. Not with a view that just shocks us, but with a view that celebrates God’s grace to overcome the horror.

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THE PROJECT

1

PREACHING

The Urgent Truth About Our Growing Abortion Crisis

Showings of The Hidden Holocaust bring the immediacy of the abortion crisis to the attention of the local church. God will pour out a spirit of grace and supplication. Thus the piercing can be looked upon, and the mourning can be embraced.

This film provides members of a church with an opportunity to consider the abortion issue. A sermon outline assist a pastor or other Christian leader to develop a Christ-centered message in conjunction with the showing of The Hidden Holocaust.

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 2

TEACHING

Small Groups: The Biblical Basis For Protecting The Unborn

Using study materials written especially for the Zechariah 12:10 Project, the pastor or other Christian leader can lead a group in the study of the biblical basis for the sanctity of life.

These materials explain how abortion strikes at the core of Scripture itself. The nature and scope of our abortion crisis is examined in light of the foundational doctrines of creation, sin and redemption. Based on this biblical foundation, the Zechariah 12:10 Project builds an unimpeachable strategy for opposing abortion. And for finding a remedy.

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3

REACHING

Our Local Communities With The Realities Of Our Nation’s Hidden Holocaust

The study materials, combined with the guidance of the Zechariah 12:10 Project, are designed to equip a local group of Christians to make a powerful impact on the surrounding community. They can reach across the pain and touch lives with God’s love. They can put an end to the killing.

This approach balances justice and evangelism. Because it is based on a biblical understanding of “the strength of childlikeness, this strategy van hardly be opposed by the advocates of legal abortion. The humble confidence of this approach can effectively silence the opposition. It is designed to bring peace and wholeness into an angry and torn generation.

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THE OPPORTUNITY

“But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” – Romans 5:20 NIV

In the face of the abortion holocaust, there are profound opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Indeed, it is God’s nature to shine the light into the darkest corners of human sin and pain.

Of the many moral evils facing us today, abortion most seriously attacks the image of God, the family, and the definition and protection of personhood. By effectively addressing the issue, the church can establish the proper foundation for truly addressing other social issues with the Gospel.

Abortion is tearing this nation apart as no issue has since slavery in the 19th century. In England, William Wilberforce spearheaded the abolition of slavery bu unabashedly preaching the Gospel in Parliament and society. As a result, bloodshed was averted. But in the United States, the Christian consensus was divided, and the Civil War claimed half a million lives.

As we face the abortion crisis, it is crucial for the church to be united in its opposition and in its healing ministry. Sin has increased — shall we permit God’s grace to increase through us.

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For further information on how to sponsor The Hidden Holocaust, contact: The Zechariah 12:10 Project, c/o The New England Christian Action Council, 11 Pleasant Street, Gloucester, MA 01930, (617) 283-4575 or 546-9229.

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I am not sure what the distribution of the many thousands of brochures was, but I never received one inquiry for The Zechariah 12:10 Project. And in reviewing it 31 years later (2016), I am struck by how vague it was — no specifics advertised as I did otherwise. My initial and instinctive misgivings were borne out. I was far more effective in simple grass roots relationships where I was face to face with multiple thousands of people across the years, and so much of that was one-on-one in various settings. And I always emphasized the proactive first, and only then to look, as necessary, at the reactive pain we were addressing.

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