Saving lives in Florida, one ultrasound at a time

September 30, 2014

Over-churched and under-reached.

That’s how pastor Dean Inserra described his city of Tallahassee, Fla.  

“There are a lot of church buildings, but not a lot of people in the churches. Christianity around here is much more cultural than it is convictional,” he explained.

The Sunshine State’s capital city is also host to two major colleges: Florida State University and Florida A&M University. And this gives the local Church multiple opportunities to reach the “under-reached” in that area.

But not in the way we might think when we think of college ministry.

Between both schools there were approximately 3,000 reported pregnancies last year. Statistically, 40 percent of pregnant college students have abortions.

Inserra’s wife, Krissie, is the former Campus Coordinator for A Women’s Pregnancy Center, a local crisis pregnancy center. As a liaison between the center and the two colleges—a worker on the front lines of the pro life movement—she brought home story after story of the fight for the sanctity of life. Krissie now cares for her newborn at home while Briley Cotton, another City Church member, is the new coordinator.

Inserra and his 2,000-member congregation, City Church, responded and decided it was time to roll up their sleeves, open their wallets and put hands and feet to their conviction that every life matters.

Like several other established churches in the area, City Church began supporting A Women’s Pregnancy Center through monetary donations that fund the purchase of ultrasound machines.

Inserra wants the Church to find more ways like this to be actively, tangibly pro life: “I have always been passionately pro life. Sometimes we need to figure out what it means and how we should carry that out. As a Christian, I want to be able to put feet to that position and make a difference.”

And the difference has been astounding. From January through June of 2014, 120 women were given ultrasounds. Of those women, 53 of them were abortion-minded prior to the ultrasound. After the ultrasound, 35 of those abortion-minded women chose life for their unborn babies.

Inserra is energized and encouraged by these results.

“It is mind blowing to see how many women chose life because of the ultrasound experience. It is a game changer because no one can deny what it is; when you see the baby, you see it’s a life,” he explained.

City Church supports the center by participating in other efforts, such as their annual Walk for Life, fundraising banquets and general volunteer work.

Inserra said his church also offers a helping hand and assurance to the moms-to-be: “We tell these moms, ‘we will walk alongside you and be here for you. We will help you raise this baby or we will help you place this baby for adoption. We care about your baby and we care about your soul.’”

The ministry goes beyond the woman and the baby. A men’s ministry was started to reach the fathers of these unborn babies.

“A woman is more likely to carry the child if the father is on board. One of the reasons a woman walks into an abortion clinic is because the guy is telling her to do it. In her mind, she is going to raise this baby all by herself,” Inserra explained.

“If the baby’s dad can get on board, the mother knows she has support. And then lives can be saved.”

As a believer that abortion is the greatest social justice issue of our time, Inserra urges the younger generation of believers to see it for what it is—and to be vocal and active.

“I see a generation that seems to be all about social justice: wearing this bracelet and liking that cause, but they seem to be largely silent about this issue,” he said. “Crisis pregnancy centers across the country are actually ground zero for social justice.”

Referring to abortion as “our generation’s holocaust,” Inserra looks to 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 as the motive to speak out and take action on behalf of the unborn.

“We are compelled by the work of Christ—the love of Christ—to care about the most vulnerable and least of these. And the most vulnerable and voiceless are the unborn children,” he explained.

“As gospel-believing people we will speak on behalf of the unborn. We are going to be people who are about justice. And you cannot be about justice unless you start there.”

Inserra is hopeful that more in the Church will see abortion as a gospel issue rather than a political issue. He wants to see the power of the gospel infiltrate the abortion industry and change lives.

“We have seen the gospel restore broken people who have come into the center. They finally realize that the blood of Jesus covers not just our sin in part, but the whole. I’m not banking on a court reversal of Roe v. Wade

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24