Press Interviews

Latest ERLC podcast series focuses on the topic of life

Baptist Press

March 12, 2024

NASHVILLE (BP) – The latest series on the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) podcast covers a variety of topics related to life including abortion, adoption, foster care and the ministry of pregnancy resource centers.

The series discusses the changing landscape of pro-life ministry since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but also speaks on other important topics relevant to creating a “culture of life” throughout the nation.

“The 50-year mission of the prolife movement was realized when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, but there’s still much work to be done for our country to truly embrace a culture of life,” said Lindsay Nicolet, ERLC editorial director and podcast host. 

“The mission of those who believe that every life has inherent dignity from the moment of conception to the day of natural death is far from over. And that’s why we wanted to highlight topics related to life on our latest podcast series. We want to assist Southern Baptists to stand firm and persuasively articulate what the Bible teaches about all human life. In so doing, we pray the Lord uses the efforts of his people to work toward a day when abortion is unthinkable, mothers, babies, and fathers are cared for, and families flourish.”

Life is one of the ERLC’s four focus areas, along with religious liberty, marriage and family and human dignity.

The podcast previously covered the highly requested topic of gender and sexuality, which falls under the focus area of Marriage and Family, when the podcast relaunched last September. 

Featured in the episode is Herbie Newell, president and executive director of Lifeline Children Services and its ministry arms. Under Newell’s leadership, Lifeline increased their international outreach to 25 countries through adoption and strategic orphan care, obtained licensure in 17 states and established a foster care arm.

He spoke about how pastors and leaders play an important role in helping create a “wrap-around” pro-life culture within their ministries.

The second episode contains the ERLC Research team conducting an interview with Scott Klusendorf, the author of the book “The Case for Life.” Klusendorf has a vast array of experience advocating for the pro-life cause. 

Klusendorf has participated in debates against abortion advocates including Planned Parenthood directors and attorneys who have argued for abortion access before the Supreme Court.

He is also known for his work with Life Training Institute, which helps prepare Christians to articulate and defend the pro-life movement with rational and theological arguments.

He spoke about how he began his life’s work in pro-life ministry after seeing a video depicting abortion at a pastor’s conference, saying “everything changed for me that day.”

The last episode in the series discusses the on-going ministry of pregnancy resource centers throughout the nation and abroad.

The episode includes an interview with Todd Unzicker, executive director-treasurer for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, speaking about how the convention approaches pro-life ministry.

“This issue of life is theological,” Unzicker said. “I became a Christian at the age of 28 and dove right into God’s word and immediately realized that all people are made in His image from the very first pages of the Bible. The imago Dei is why we advocate for life, and all of life. The pages of Scripture scream out that God is for life.”

“The answer to how our convention works with the pro-life movement is the same way we would work on any issue, and that is it begins with the local church. The buckets that we like to think about it at a convention level is that pro-life means that we defend, love, adopt and volunteer. 

Unzicker also said the ERLC’s Psalm 139 Project has “fit like a hand and glove with churches in North Carolina.”

The episode also features a conversation with Karen Roseberry, who served much of her life as the executive director of Care Net Women’s Resource Center in Lancaster, Calif.

Roseberry tragically died in a car accident after recording her interview for the podcast, but Care Net’s staff encouraged the ERLC to still share her words of wisdom since pro-life ministry was her life’s work.

She spoke about the changes Care Net experienced since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022, and the opportunities they have to share the Gospel.

“We have seen an increase of over 20 percent across the board, and certain demographics even higher, of the number of clients who are walking through our doors,” Roseberry said.

“There’s a greater and greater need for services that we provide. Far too few people know that pregnancy centers exist … so really an opportunity and a challenge is for us to be able to be better known through our community.

“We have two parts to our center. We have our clinic and we have our material center. On the clinic side, we perform pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. We also have our advocates who meet with the moms, just providing a listening ear … and as a faith-based clinic also seeking to take each opportunity that we have to share Jesus any chance that we get. We want moms and dads to know that their greatest and most important resource is Him.”

Read the full Baptist Press article here.

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