COEUR D’ALENE, Id — In an unprecedented response to abolitionist exhortations, church leaders gathered for a conference Saturday designed to discuss the ongoing abortion holocaust and what a Biblical response to it ought to look like.

The conference was organized and hosted by Candlelight Christian Fellowship, one of several local churches which abolitionists have previously visited as part of the controversial “Church Repent Project” in America.

“We stood outside of Candlelight at least twice,” said Idaho abolitionist Scott Herndon. “We knew they were a conservative evangelical presence in the community and that the pastor, Paul Van Noy, was an outspoken voice against various cultural evils in the city, except abortion, since there are no surgical abortion facilities in the county.”

Van Noy, who is the president of the Kootenai County Ministerial Association, did not rebuff the call for corporate repentance and call the police on abolitionists as some church leaders have done. And unlike some Christian podcasters and social media personalities, he did not decry the abolitionists as cult members or people who “hate the church.”

Instead, he invited Herndon to multiple ministerial association meetings and gave him the opportunity to present his abolitionist views to local pastors so they could assess them in the light of Scripture.

Herndon was able to discuss the five tenets of abolitionism, including the obligation of the body of Christ to actively oppose the evil of child sacrifice. After these meetings, Herndon followed up with a letter to the ministerial association that provided some recommended actions they could take to fight abortion, first and foremost being personal and corporate repentance for apathy toward the murdered preborn. According to Herndon, the letter also contained information about the Idaho petition initiative that abolitionists were preparing to circulate at the time.

“When the petition entered the signature gathering phase in October 2016, I sent it to Paul Van Noy via email and his whole staff was struck by the gravity and biblical reflection [of] the petition,” Herndon said. “They wept and repented of their lack of faithful action regarding the abortion genocide.”

Candlelight subsequently provided hundreds of signatures on the petition and Van Noy began lobbying other pastors to support it. Idaho abolitionists have subsequently met resistance from many pastors and leaders who object to making abortion first degree murder, or treating mothers who murder their pre-born children the same as mothers who murder their born children.

“That is why [Van Noy] organized the conference,” Herndon said. “The goal is to be a resource to further lead local pastors to engage abortion abolition in their congregations and examine the aspects of IVF and birth control as sources of murder.”

Van Noy also helped facilitate meetings between state legislators and abolitionists, who hoped to persuade the legislators to repent of compromise and begin to rightly address abortion as murder.

As a result, Idaho Senator Dan Foreman introduced legislation that mirrored the petition language. Foreman’s bill would abolish abortion as murder, and instruct state officials to defy the federal courts, similar to HB 948 in Texas. Foreman, who spoke about his bill at Saturday’s conference, said that not a single religious organization in the Boise area has supported the bill or even contacted him about it.

Foreman said leaders need to remind people that they can fight evil and win. “People have grown accustomed to accepting things that are not right,” he said. “They are afraid… We have to remind people they can stand up and fight and win.”

Other speakers included Van Noy, pastor Jim Williams of Emmanuel Baptist Church of Coeur d’Alene, pastor Cory Kirkham of Calvary Chapel Rathdrum, pastor Mike Slothower of River of Life Friends Church in Post Falls, and pastor Tim Remington of The Altar in Couer d’Alene. Christine Denova, director of Life Choices Pregnancy Center in Sandpoint, and Valencia Paulus, a Life Choices RN, also spoke.

Remington, speaking on the compromising efforts that have been thus far pervasive in the fight against abortion, said “You cannot abolish abortion by allowing it to continue in any fashion… by compromising with the culture. Any strategy to end abortion in this culture… that compromises… is useless.”

“Compromise only leads to death,” Remington said. “Anything outside of faith is sin. If you are doing what is right, God will do the rest. We may have to crowd the court rooms. Because sin is prevalent. And the Church is doing the same thing. The Church is involved with sin.”

Herndon has also spoken on Slothower’s Saturday morning radio program on Rathdrum’s 89.9 FM, the station that also carries Herndon’s show, Abolitionist Radio.

According to Herndon, there are members of the ministerial association who either support abortion or object to holding mothers accountable for it. He hopes Saturday’s conference will help correct wrong thinking, and even lead some to repentance.

During the conference, Van Noy addressed this hesitance to call abortion murder, saying “By trying to be nicer than God, we lose the opportunity to minister.”

Conference speakers addressed a range of topics including legislation, adoption, in vitro fertilization and the plight of frozen embryos, birth control, pure and undefiled religion, and the guilt of the church. Herndon said that while some of the discussions fell short of properly addressing the issues, the conversations were helpful overall.

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