In last Monday's "What's wrong with 'choice'?" we noted the abortion establishment's recent abandonment of the "pro-choice" label, and that it seems to indicate their inability to come to terms with the consequences of choice. That inability results in a stunted vocabulary.

Because advocates refuse to think about abortion as something for which we're answerable to a holy God, they imagine there's nothing to "repent," nothing to be "forgiven." These terms are foreign to them. "Right" and "wrong," "good" and "bad" are, therefore, purely self-oriented. The only question is, "Will abortion help me in my present circumstance?"

They fall into the trap of thinking the experience of sin teaches whether it is, indeed, sin. Their thinking goes something like this: "If, after I've done it, I have negative feelings, it may have been the wrong decision for me at that time. But it may be okay for you, or for me at another time. Who am I to judge?" Abortion decisions are perfect test-cases for the post-modern worldview.

The Bible, however, tells us why we're incapable of recognizing sin or its effects, and why we're never better off  having experienced it. God not only expects us to avoid sin by learning from the experiences of others, but implores us by special revelation to submit solely to His explanation of what sin is and does.

In one enigmatic statement, Jesus told His disciples to be "shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves." This finds its parallel in Jeremiah 4:22, to the negative effect --

My people are foolish, they know Me not;
They are stupid children and have no understanding.
They are shrewd to do evil, but to do good they do not know.

In Romans 16:19, Paul recasts Jesus' words: "I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil." He says it another way in 1 Corinthians 14:20: "Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature."

As we learn in Proverbs, it is possible for the "simple" (young or inexperienced person) to avoid becoming a "fool" or  "scoffer" and instead move on toward "wisdom"  and "maturity" through "prudence" and "understanding." Such terms are sorely lacking in the language of choice. 

According to the Bible, how do we become wise and mature? The lesson begins with fearing the Lord, and often is reinforced through rote obedience. We make further progress by rigorously keeping to the well-lit but narrow way and avoiding the paths of violent men and wanton women. How many abortions would have been avoided if the warning of Proverbs 1 had been heeded?

My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.
If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood,
Let us ambush the innocent without cause;
Let us swallow them alive like Sheol,
Even whole, as those who go down to the pit;

. . . My son, do not walk in the way with them.
Keep your feet from their path,
For their feet run to evil and they hasten to shed blood.

. . . But they lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush their own lives.
So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence;
It takes away the life of its possessors.


We do have a choice to make about abortion. Choose now, and choose rightly.

A lot has been written lately about abortion advocates dropping the "pro-choice" label.


While I can understand why they don't want to be "pro-abortion," I'm not all that clear on why they're suddenly anti-"choice." It seems they regret not nabbing "pro-life" before we did. Of course, I think "pro-death" seems more appropriate, but I was willing to give them "choice."

This very public shrugging-off of a label (which they, ironically, chose) is like a gawky teenager who can't quite find comfortable clothes. Why are our opponents having such a hard time?

I think it's because they've always been unwilling to come to terms with the consequences of choice. They have habitually wanted to have their cake without calories.

Some do admit abortion ends life, but instead of taking that to heart and saying, "You know what, some choices aren't worth the pain caused" or "This is a bad choice," they persist in upholding the freedom to choose abortion at all costs. In the language of Proverbs, that would be the definition of foolishness.

Religious abortion advocates argue from the free will angle. God made us with a mind and a will, they reason, therefore we have the right to choose.

Well, yes, but from Eden on we've seen where that's taken us. As Isaiah 53:6 shows, we have all exercised freedom of choice and to that God has attached His own label: "iniquity." 

The end of choice

So what's the point of abandoning "pro-choice"? Is it an admission that the exercise of choice isn't an end in itself? I don't think they're there yet, but maybe it's an opening. If only they could bring themselves to make a good confession, starting with the words of Jeremiah 8:6 -- "What have I done?" If only they wouldn't continue headlong on a reckless path.

Choices have consequences. They either make God smile or frown. That's Theology 101.

Abortion rights advocates often say, "Although I'd never have one, I'll fight for your right to abortion." But why never have one if abortion is morally neutral? Why are they so like the Fonz, never able to admit, "It's w-w-w-wr-wrong"?

They emphasize the agony of the process of choosing abortion over any physical agony the aborted child might experience. It's as though the pain of the abortion decision will validate its choice, mitigate any "wrongness," and temper any future pangs of remorse the woman might feel.

Abortion advocates say, "Abortion may not be a good choice, but it's less bad than others," (i.e., living in poverty due to having this child, being unable to cope with a disabled child, having less to give my children already born, etc.). Such excuses may help justify abortion to themselves, but can they do so successfully with God? Have they consulted Him or sought His help avoiding abortion? Have they actually found Him wanting, or just assumed He doesn't care and can't help?

When a woman is pregnant, she has three options: give birth and parent, give birth and release the child for adoption, or have the child aborted. Each choice has permanent consequences. No responsible pro-life person would ever say carrying a child and giving birth is without pain and hardship, or that parenting is always joyful. Adoption is its own kind of hard. But abortion is a whole other thing altogether.

Abortion means a child is dead. A unique human life is gone from us into eternity. In more ways than one, abortion is the end of choice.

In an NPR interview Friday, an author identified her book's main character as a "bad choicer." She goes on to describe him:

I don't think he's an irredeemable bad person. I think he's a bad, bad choicer. Part of what's wonderful about writing, and reading too, is you can see yourself on the same continuum, you know, to wonder, 'What would I do, if I were more desperate than I am? Or am I three or four mistakes away from doing something like this, something unimaginable to me right now?' 

Some choices are bad; some people choose badly. Abortion is, or ought to be, in the category of "unimaginable choices."

Many women today look back on their abortions with deep regret. Yet, like the character in the book, they are not irredeemably bad. Having examined abortion and the thought-process that led them to it, they've repented before God and accepted His forgiveness in Christ. They now warn others away from the brink.

The consequences of our choice

What about the consequences of being pro-life? Have each of us reckoned with how it obligates us to help pregnant women? Do we expect them to make hard choices without our lending a hand or an ear? Are we trusting God with them for help avoiding temptation?Are we living by the faith we say we have?

Related: A Christian appeals to his pro-choice neighbor

The media is always full of stories about abortion in January, but this being the 40th anniversary there seems to be an added focus. I've noticed a trend of feature articles putting a positive spin on the lives of abortion doctors:


"Pity the lonely, harrassed hero!" This bias is amply countered by these stories:


I could go on, but am limiting myself to articles from this month. Don't miss these two articles:


Please pray for abortion doctors and their supporters. They need the Savior. The truth will set them free (John 8:34,36).

UPDATE: Two stories from the week of 2/8/13 add to the pile of "things that abortion clinics must answer for" -- Carhart Patient Dead From Horrific 33-Week Abortion Injuries and Ambulance Transported Another Sella Patient to Hospital Moments Before Board Dismissed Negligence Charges

This just in, 2/21/13: Michigan abortionist: 'It’s too late for me, I’m possessed'

Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in this country. Most Supreme Court cases fade into history, but this one remains far from settled.

All you have to do is glance at recent headlines to find evidence of that. The news this time of year is full of stories about where we are as a nation as a result of Roe -- pro and con. Depending on the point of view, the stories usually reference how far there is left to go in securing abortion "rights," or how much ground our side has gained toward full protection of unborn babies' right to life.

One recurring theme concerns numbers: How many abortions there have been since 1973 (54,559,615 in the U.S.*); how many per year worldwide (approximately 44 million*); how many pro-life laws have been passed; or how many tax-dollars Planned Parenthood gets from the government each day ($1.5 million).

Numbers can boggle the mind, but don't tend to move people to lasting action. They seem to only make us angry or overwhelm us into inaction. And then we're on to the next atrocity.

Meanwhile, which side is winning or losing is scored with as much precision as presidential election polling, but we really don't know the pro-life side has won until a "vote" is cast . . . until a woman chooses life for her child. And we only get that information if we're privy to the counseling room in a pregnancy care center, or to conversations taking place on the sidewalk at an abortion clinic.

You can also feel closer to the "action" through involvement with a pro-life ministry as a regular supporter and/or prayer warrior. If you're not enlisted that way already, I recommend finding a "front lines" pro-life ministry to pray for. Choose one that's good at communicating prayer requests on a regular (even daily) basis via Facebook, Twitter, or email. It could be a pregnancy center in your  neighborhood or across the ocean. We can make recommendations.

Numbers in the millions are too many to fathom, so concentrate on one at a time. One baby at risk. One mom tempted by abortion. One pregnancy care center offering abortion alternatives.

One life lost is too many. You can be sure one life is on the line right now.

One life at a time is, after all, what God demands an accounting of. In Genesis 9:5, He said:

"From every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man."

As God demanded an accounting from Cain over the loss of Abel, so God will demand from someone an account of every unborn baby lost to abortion. He doesn't miss a single one, even if the official counters do. The blood of the innocents cries out to Him (Gen. 4:10, Psalm 9:12).

America will have a lot of explaining to do, for first legalizing abortion and then exporting it around the world.

There's one more that needs our attention: the woman regretting her abortion at this moment. She needs to hear of the blood of Jesus "that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel." It's a word of invitation, not accusation. He wants her to unload her burden of sin at His feet. He's offering forgiveness and a new life. We are privileged to bear that message.

*We're forced to rely on abortion providers and the government for figures on abortion because otherwise we'd have no access to them. Corrected 1/22/13: The link given above is to a National Right to Life compilation of figures through 2011; adding another year of 1.2 million abortions to the that total yields 55,772,015 abortions since Roe v. Wade.

Related:
Time & Abortion
Roe v. Wade: 40 years later
Roe v. Wade month - part 1, part 2
40 years after Roe, human dignity hangs in the balance
You Can Change Our Culture's Mind on Abortion - tools to use
Better Reporting for Abortions

There is no "hobby lobby," but maybe there should be. Advocates of crafting everywhere, UNITE!

There is a Christian-owned company by that name, and it has become a focal point in the battle over government intruding on basic religious freedoms.

Earlier this year, Hobby Lobby petitioned the government for relief from the mandate that employers provide insurance covering contraceptives that can cause abortions. The case is still pending appeal, but the Supreme Court recently denied a request for an emergency injunction. Hobby Lobby says it has no intention of complying, and so, beginning on January 1, the government will fine them an unfathomable $1.3 million dollars per day!

In an open letter, CEO David Green lays out the principles that guide the company:

We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. 

We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.

But now, our government threatens to change all of that. . . . Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one.

. . . So, Hobby Lobby – and my family – are forced to make a choice. . . . My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the government is going to make that much more difficult. The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law. I say that’s a choice no American – and no American business – should have to make.

Blogger Kevin DeYoung says, "Millions of Americans are already outraged. And rightly so. Our government not only allows for abortion, and celebrates abortion rights, and wants women to have unfettered access to abortion on demand, it now requires other Americans to pay for abortion-inducing drugs or face crippling fines. It is not an endorsement of any political party to conclude that this policy is morally degenerate. More Americans should be alarmed than are already."

Denny Burk agrees: "This is the most egregious violation of religious liberty that I have ever seen." He goes on to explain this case is not about banning contraception. "Nothing could be further from the truth. No one wants to outlaw contraception. This controversy is about the fact that the government is forcing pro-life business owners to pay for chemical abortions. If the federal government can force citizens to purchase items that they believe to be immoral, where will this end?"

To borrow freely from Martin Neimoller:

First they came for Hobby Lobby,
but I didn't speak out because I wasn't crafty . . . or a Christian employer;
then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

January 5th was a Hobby Lobby Appreciation Day, but it's going to take more than one day of shopping at the chain of big-box arts and crafts stores to win this battle. Something sacrificial. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty represents the company in its lawsuit, going as David against the Goliath of the U.S. government. I don't know how much it will take to win, but they are accepting donations.

Related: Hobby Lobby: First martyr under Obamacare?

Update: Hobby Lobby Delays Obamacare Fines for Now

Which would be harder to hear: "Mom, Dad . . . I'm pregnant" or "Mom, Dad . . . years ago I had an abortion because I was afraid to tell you I was pregnant"?

It's not a hypothetical exercise. Given the numbers of teen pregnancies and abortions in this country, for many families it's all too real . . . like the family to which the Garden of Hope recently introduced us.

A young woman called their hotline last week, seeking information about abortion. She thought she'd "quickly and secretly" terminate her pregnancy while on a visit to Grand Rapids. As a college student, having a child would complicate her life, but her greatest challenge would be telling her parents.

We talked for a long time and this dear, sweet girl had no clue about the devastation brought on by the decision to end the life of her child. I assured her that her parents would know something had happened because the sparky, happy young girl that left their house to come to GR would never be back and they would want to know what was happening to their daughter.

As she hung up the phone, she promised to talk to her parents, and the next day she called back to report. Her mom "felt badly" she'd been afraid to talk to them. They support her plan to continue the pregnancy and assure her they'll work out everything together.

Not all parents are this understanding -- some overtly pressure reluctant daughters to abort their babies -- but most are mature adults who know how to handle disappointments and setbacks. Parents love their children, have sacrificed much on their behalf already, and genuinely want what's best for them. Young people need encouragement to enlist parental input and not act on mistaken assumptions their parents will "kill" them when they receive bad news.

Still, as Russell Moore cautions in his response to TIME magazine's cover story on how the pro-life side seems to be winning, "It’s easy to identify as 'pro-life' when one sees nothing really at stake." He goes on:

A feminist leader once said that most Americans are pro-life with three exceptions: rape, incest, and “my situation.” When the teenage daughter is pregnant, the theory is abandoned and bloodthirsty pragmatism rules. I fear this feminist is all too right.

Pharaoh was pro-immigrant until the Israelites threatened what he wanted. The first Herod Administration was pro-Messiah until the actual Messiah threatened his throne. The second Herod Administration was fine with desert prophets until one meddled with his “adult entertainment.” Lots of people are pro-life and pro-child until the lives of children become personally inconvenient.

. . . [W]e must have a realistic view about how ingrained the abortion-rights worldview is in our culture.

Yes, in our culture, and in our hearts. As with other temptations, it's well before we face this one that we need to determine what our response will be. If we expect our teens to do the right thing when their backs are to the wall, we also must be firm in our minds how we'll react when they make a mistake.

Most Christian parents are zealous about getting the message of sexual purity across to their teens. The trick is striking a balance between that and the equally biblical message of the sanctity of human life. So that his daughter wouldn't err into thinking abortion was better than coming home pregnant, our president Tom Lothamer repeatedly told her, "If you make a big mistake, like getting pregnant outside marriage, don't run to the world for help. Come home! It's safer. Whatever it is, we'll handle it together."

Truly, grace is greater than all our sin. The challenge is to be "cross-bearing for the child-bearing," as John Ensor writes. "To be a lifesaver, you must do what lifesavers do every day" in pregnancy care centers. In closing, I summarize his points:

  1. You must listen and love
  2. Lower her fear and increase her hope
  3. Amplify the voice of her own moral conscience
  4. Inform and educate her
  5. Offer your personal help

Related: 

In our sadness over the murder of innocent children in Newtown, CT, at Christmastime it's not hard to draw parallels with Herod's slaughter of children in Bethlehem near the time of Christ's birth. As then, the tears flow, and the cries go up. We ask, "Why? Why do the innocent suffer? Where is God?"

Asaph asked this question in Psalm 73, but phrased it somewhat differently: "Why don't the wicked suffer?" When the innocent suffer and the wicked don't, the result is the same -- people are tempted to doubt God.

They say: “How does God know? And is there knowledge with the Most High?”
Behold, these are the wicked; and always at ease, they have increased in wealth.
Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence;
For I have been stricken all day long and chastened every morning.

The wicked life of ease is as much a problem as the evil that befalls the undeserving. When God doesn't prevent evil or immediately punish it, some people conclude He doesn't exist, He knows nothing, or is weak. It's far from an academic exercise or idle speculation. If a satisfactory answer isn't found, some turn away from faith in God, or are hardened in unbelief (Hebrews 3:12-15).

Asaph recognized the danger. He was careful not to vent his tortured thoughts while they were still foremost in his mind, lest he betray God's people -- the generation among whom he walked. He wasn't like some teachers who raise provocative questions without making an effort to answer them. As the writer of Hebrews says, we have a responsibility to the congregation: "Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called 'Today,' so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin."

So what's Asaph's answer? Does God know what's in the heart of the wicked person before he acts? Does He see the future? Is He aware of who the victims will be and the void they'll leave behind? Should we continue believing in God and maintaining pure hearts when pain is the result?

The answer is yes, God does know and see all. Righteous living is worth it. In suffering, we experience the consequences of the Fall and recognize our need of a Deliverer. In His sovereignty, we're allowed by it to glimpse the brevity of this life and prepare for the next.

Asaph felt as wretched as anyone could "until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end." He came to terms with reality in the Temple where He was reminded of 1) God's holiness, 2) His desire to fellowship with men, 3) the problem of sin in the hearts of all men which separates us from God, and 4) the provision of sacrifices to atone for it. He saw that the wicked are on a slippery path, even though it appears they have it made. Their end is in sight; their destiny is destruction. (See also Matthew 7:13-14.)

As for the pure in heart, they seem to live precariously, but the truth is they'll be with God "afterward" (Ps. 73:24) -- even as are always with Him now (v. 23). He is holding their hands, guiding them. God is all their desire, their strength, and portion (vv. 25-26).

This is even true in times of doubt. In verses 21-23, Asaph admitted:

When my heart was embittered and I was pierced within,
Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.
Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand.

Evil exists. To avoid it, we'd have to go "out of this world," as Jesus noted. But good exists too -- with God. As Asaph says, "the nearness of God is my good," not all the stuff over which I'm envying the wicked. Sometimes we need a reminder that the only real good in life is the presence of God. Suffering is, therefore, useful in getting us to loosen our grip on other things that have taken His place.

One day Jesus was asked about some people who were killed by Pilate. Were they being punished for something they'd done, or was this just another outrage against goodness? Jesus chose to focus on something else. He warned, "Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." This could be the sobering lesson of Sandy Hook Elementary School, too.

God didn't let a bitter, brutish Asaph go, and He's not going to cast away the honest questioner of 2012 either. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Let us humbly bow before Him.

I pray the grieving families will experience the nearness of God in all its goodness and take refuge in Him (Ps. 73:28) during this impossibly difficult moment. His Father heart grieves with them. The Son He sent to once-for-all atone for sin is the One who assures they can someday be joyously reunited with their children.

Related: 

Time was when pet euthanasia was used as a rational for people euthanasia. The logic went something like this: If we can put a dog or cat out of its misery, why can't we do the same for humans?

[For examples of this sentiment, see the following articles: Pro-euthanasia ads air on Australian TV, Is euthanasia for the living or the dying? and Dutch Euthanasia.]

While the pro-life side appreciated the ever-so-slight acknowledgment that human beings deserve better treatment than dogs and cats (that was the intent, right?), we reject the rationale. Human beings stand above the animal world as imagers of God. (Genesis 1:26-27, 9:2-4; Psalm 8:6-8)

The death of animals is morally neutral, while that of humans requires scrutiny. In Genesis 9:5-6, God made animals accountable for the death of humans, not the other way around.

"Better" treatment of human beings, in our view, involves easing suffering -- through  palliative care and hospice ministries that affirm every patient's worth as valuable to God -- not ending it by killing the sufferer. Our LIFT program trains Christians to do that for fellow-church members and others.

So now it's amusing to read about a new twist on the old argument. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, dying pets are receiving palliative care rather than euthanasia. In 'It's Just a Dog. Get Over It.', Jessica Pierce writes about how the line is being blurred between pets and other family members. Owners are shelling out big bucks to provide pets with care from one of the approximately 75 veterinary hospice services available around the country.

"Once euthanasia was the default response to an animal's mortal illness. Not any more. . . . Working together, pet owners and veterinarians can often maintain a good quality of life for an animal long after we might, in past times, have simply euthanized it."

Will this mean the end of the euthanasia-for-people argument? Will euthanasia advocates now say, "If we can give pets life-affirming care like hospice, why can't we do the same for humans?" One would hope so, yet it would be sadly ironic that it would take uber-love for pets to get us to view people from the proper perspective.

It's too late for those who have been legally euthanized in places such as Belgium and the Netherlands. And in Oregon and Washington state. (Click the above links for the latest statistics.) Here's some commentary from those who have digested the figures:

  • There have been 5,500 cases of euthanasia in 10 years of legal euthanasia in Belgium. The European Institute for Bioethics raises serious questions about the practice, including how intertwined it is with organ retrieval for transplants. Wesley Smith says Belgium has gone "off the moral cliff."
  • The Netherlands prize their euthanasia efficiency, but Dr. Bernard Lo questions the extent of government oversight in a recent Lancet article, (volume 380, issue 9845, pages 869-870, 8 September 2012, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61128-3). Alex Schadenberg says euthanasia there is "out of control."
  • The Physicians for Compassionate Care Education Foundation bemoans the steady increase in numbers of physician-assisted suicides in Oregon and the lack of transparency in the process. (This seems to be a common theme.)
  • Washington is the latest arrival to the euthanasia scene, but it appears to be surpassing Oregon in numbers, according to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Church. 

Postscript: Get ready for the next assault on the sanctity of human life -- plant rights! See Pea Personhood? and, for the inevitable twist, Why Did We Ever Start Calling Patients “Vegetables?”

This just in (3/8/13): Someone in the UK says disabled children are too costly, and should be 'put down.' Horrible! See also We Already 'Put Down' the Disabled!

Blogger Jonathan Dudley started something when he wrote "When Evangelicals Were Pro-Choice" (for CNN) and "How Evangelicals Decided that Life Begins at Conception" (for the Huffington Post).

His contention is that "what conservative Christians now say is the Bible’s clear teaching on [abortion] was not a widespread interpretation until the late 20th century." For proof, he cites individuals and groups who agreed with the legalization of abortion in some, if not all, circumstances in the late 60s and early 70s.

Dudley explains the migration to the current pro-life view as evangelicals falling under the influence of powerful leaders of the "Religious Right," such as Jerry Falwell. Christians should, in his view, "consider the possibility that they aren’t submitting to the dictates of a timeless biblical truth, but instead, to the goals of a well-organized political initiative only a little more than 30 years old."

Why does it matter that what evangelical leaders say is "the biblical view on abortion" was not a widespread interpretation until about 30 years ago? For one thing, it's harder to argue the Bible clearly teaches something when the overwhelming majority of its past interpreters didn't read the Bible that way. For another, it illustrates that evangelical leaders are happy to defend creative reinterpretations of the Bible when it fits with a socially conservative worldview -- even while objecting to new interpretations of the Bible on, say, homosexuality, precisely because they are new. And for another, by looking at the history of how today's "biblical view on abortion" arose, one can begin to see the worldview that made it possible. In the process, it becomes apparent it is that unacknowledged worldview, and not the Bible, that evangelical opponents of abortion are actually defending.

Several Christian writers generated helpful responses: Mark Galli of Christianity Today (here and here), John Stonestreet of Breakpoint, and Albert Mohler. I'd like to add a few points to the discussion:

  • InterVarsity may have published (and then rescinded under pressure) a 1984 book that said abortion was legitimate in some instances, but it had already published Michael Gorman's Abortion and the Early Church in 1982. This book built the case that from its earliest days, the church opposed abortion.
  • Regular Baptists, from which Life Matters Worldwide sprang, were solidly pro-life from the beginning. In 1971, two years before the Roe v. Wade decision, the GARBC (which would call themselves "fundamentalists" rather than "evangelicals)" acknowledged that "the sanctity of human life is well documented in Scriptures" and resolved to "go on record as being thoroughly opposed to abortion on demand."
  • Diverse methods for interpreting Scripture -- in the past or today -- better explain why there's diversity in Christendom on abortion. Your stance on this issue has more to do with where you land on the errancy/inerrancy spectrum than anything else. Those who approach the Bible with a non-literal hermeneutic are the ones who come up with novel interpretations (concerning homosexuality, for instance), while we who take God's word literally have always maintained it's a sin. 
  • The same is true of abortion. Taking God's word at face value and employing grammatical-historical methods of interpretation, we are satisfied with statements about the personality of unborn humans as found in Genesis 16:11-12 and 25:22-24, Psalm 139:13-16, Jeremiah 1:5, Hosea 12:2-3, Luke 1:15 & 41, and Galatians 1:15-16. 
  • What hindered many Christians from early involvement in the pro-life movement was not lack of biblical support, but hesitancy to join the political fray. What increased the comfort-level with the pro-life movement for many evangelicals (and brought them into the political arena by the backdoor) were hands-on ministries such as pregnancy care centers that sprang up in the 1980s. PCCs gave them opportunities to prevent abortions by offering alternatives. They could serve families in their communities, reach out to women who'd already had abortions, and share the Gospel.  

Over time, our understanding has grown about just how pervasive the sanctity of human life ethic is in Scripture, and what we are called to do about it. More than a few proof-texts, it's a theme from Genesis to Revelation.

Every age has been confronted by challenges that require Christians to go to work "rightly dividing the word of truth." If, as Peter says, "His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness," then we are equipped to handle questions that didn't necessarily arise in the 1st century -- or the 3rd, or the 13th.

No, the word "abortion" never appears in the Bible, but if you study topics such as violence or the murder of innocent people, you'll find those are the domain of wicked people. Furthermore, the treatment of widows and orphans as well as all poor people is also tied to the sanctity of human life. Thus, if you make a move to strike someone, or abandon a hungry person to her own devices, you're placing them at risk of death -- their blood would be on your hands.

Abortion is nothing if it is not violent; it is the ultimate injustice. The pregnant mother and her unborn child must not be abandoned. We are learning what to do when it comes to this issue.

Postscript 12/6/12: Here's a pertinent article by Phil Cooke that appeared on a Huffington Post blog -- How Christianity Lost Its Voice in Today's Media Driven World

While some people are critical of social networking (and the Internet in general) as being a time-waster and a dangerous source of filth and misinformation, I'm a fan. Unlike mainstream media, it's a form of communication that we can turn to our advantage.

I wouldn't be blogging if I didn't think so, but I do acknowledge the truth of what the critics say. As with any good thing, moderation and discipline are advised. I want to add another misuse to the list: Social media such as Facebook and Twitter give occasion for people to spout off in ways they probably would not in polite company.

I can't count the number of times I've cringed at the response of someone who claims to be a Christian because what he or she has said was disrespectful or hateful. Mom was right: We should think before we post.

And we should apply Paul's words to Timothy about communication with or about opponents:

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 24-26)

I apply these words this way:

  • The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome . . . on Facebook or in comments posted elsewhere online. I don't think this means we shouldn't respond, but we mustn't be argumentative. Any reply should be for the reader's benefit and not for me to "score points."
  • The Lord's bond-servant must be kind to all . . . on Facebook or in comments posted elsewhere online. I take this to mean there ought not be any name-calling, verbal abuse, or harshness.
  • The Lord's bond-servant must be able to teach . . . on Facebook or in comments posted elsewhere online. Teaching is something other than the clever jab or sound byte. It requires time and patience. More on this below.
  • The Lord's bond-servant must be patient when wronged . . . on Facebook or in comments posted elsewhere online. Oh, it's so tempting to retaliate when the other side calls us a name or is harsh and abusive about an idea or person we admire -- abundant evidence of that online -- but their behavior doesn't excuse our responding in kind. "Love keeps no record of wrongs." We also don't have to rebut every charge made against our side.
  • The Lord's bond-servant must with gentleness correct those who are in opposition . . . on Facebook or in comments posted elsewhere online. If repentance is the goal-- and it always is -- then gentleness is the key for dealing with opponents.

It's tempting to say nothing when we can't think of something nice to say, but the unborn can't afford our silence. I'd like to take this opportunity to challenge all of us to become an army of patient persuaders as described by Paul. If we can't learn to articulate our beliefs in ways that appeal to others, then can we at least point them to resources that can be counted on to not bash them over the head? Here are a couple good ones:

Stand to Reason - basic Christian apologetics 
Life Training Institute - pro-life apologetics (see The Case for Life companion site)

One last thought: Our opponents are not exempt from kind treatment because they advocate the killing of innocent unborn human babies. At the time of writing 2 Timothy, Paul was in prison awaiting execution by Nero. He didn't allow fear or hatred to deter him from attempting to persuade guards and soldiers -- who had participated in the deaths of other Christians -- to accept Christ as Savior. He took great delight in the Gospel going forth, even though others might do so out of spite (Phil. 1:12-17). And, while he acknowledged the harm some Christians had done to him, he prayed God wouldn't hold it against them (2 Tim. 4:16). That's something to remember the next time we're attacked.

Related: 
Should pro-lifers verbally "bash" anyone? (on Facebook)
Monday musing for October 5: Love the enemy
Monday musing for September 17: Christians in an age of aggression

Postscript: The reason we often lack graceful speech is we fail to rely on the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, in Luke 12:11-12, "When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Thus it might be advantageous to learn to cite Scripture and not certain radio talk show hosts who may or may not always speak from a biblical point of view.

Page 12 of 13First   Previous   4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  [12]  13  Next   Last   
© Copyright 2018 Life Matters Worldwide
Life Matters WorldwideP.O. Box 3158Grand Rapids, Michigan 49501(616) 257-6800
Login