Life is a precious gift from God, and the taking of an innocent life, whether in the womb or born alive, is murder against which the Church must take a stand, both to defend life and offer grace to those who have been scarred by it.
This month marks the 37th anniversary of a day that will live in infamy just as the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, is also a date that will live in infamy. On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Roe v. Wade, made it legal for our nation to murder its own children by what doctors call an abortion. Here is at least one pastor’s perspective on the issue.
Since 1973, some 50 million lives have been snuffed out, without legal representation, without evidence of any guilt, without the opportunity to even speak in their own defense. Imagine a disaster where the entire populations of California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington are wiped out; that is 50 million lives! Abortion is the American holocaust, and it is a moral outrage that ought to make every Christian in this nation rise up in righteous indignation. But for some reason abortion has become a politicized issue, polarizing Democrats and Republicans. For people of faith, abortion should not be a political issue at all.
The Old Testament records God’s message in Deuteronomy 30:19:
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
Abortion is really not a political issue; it is a moral issue. Christians can be both Democrats and Republicans, because following Christ has nothing to do with a political party. God is neither a Democrat nor a Republican; but God is pro-life, and followers of Christ, both Democrats and Republicans, ought also to be pro-life!
I. God Creates and Values Life
As Christians, we claim to accept the Bible as the inerrant (or perfect) word of God and therefore the final authority on all subjects that it addresses. Of course, the Bible doesn’t address all topics, but where the Bible does speak clearly on an issue, we, as followers of Christ, must take that as the ultimate authority.
A. Unborn Human Life in the Old Testament: Psalm 139:13-16 says:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
These verses tell us that God creates life in the mother’s womb, and that the unborn child is the object of God’s love and concern. Look at the pronouns in these verses: I, me, my, etc. This is not an “it,” a “thing,” or a blob of tissue that can be removed from the woman’s body like a tumor. Look at Jeremiah 1:5. Jeremiah was a prophet, and God told him: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I consecrated you (or set you apart).” God doesn’t consecrate a growth or a blob of tissue to become a prophet; He consecrates a person.
B. Unborn Human Life in the New Testament: In Luke’s Gospel, chapter one, we read that Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus, went to visit her relative Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist. Listen to verse 41: “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” When an unborn baby kicks in the womb, you never hear the expectant mother say: “A blob of tissue leaped inside me” or “Gee! I think my fetal tissue just kicked me.” No, she says her baby kicked her. In fact, the Greek word brephos is used when it says that the baby leaped in her womb. That word can be translated, “an unborn child, embryo, fetus, a new born child, an infant, a babe.” It is the same term that is used to describe Jesus, the “babe” wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger (Luke 2:12, 16). In other words, there is no distinction made in the Greek New Testament between an unborn baby and a newborn child. An unborn child is therefore not an “it,” or a pre-human; in God’s eyes, an unborn child is a baby.
Some say that is just a fetus, meaning that this tissue is not a human being. Actually, the word fetus is merely the Latin word for unborn child. The fetal stage is merely one stage in a person’s life, as is the teenage stage, the young adult stage, etc.
Well, what happens in an abortion? I think most Americans do not know the truth, and I think that ignorance explains why so many American Christians continue to vote for pro-choice politicians. Because of the invention of sonograms, you can actually watch an abortion, almost like watching a television program. Some abortion doctors inject the womb with a saline solution that literally burns the baby alive. Other abortion doctors use a vacuum device that dismembers (cuts off the arms and legs of) the struggling child and sucks the lifeless body out of the womb. Others simply use forceps which, based on the sonograms, the baby fights to avoid. They rip off the limbs, crush the baby’s head, pull it out of the womb, and throw it in the trash; literally!
Thank God that Congress has at least outlawed partial-birth abortion, a procedure by which a living, full-term baby is delivered breech (or feet first) up the point of the head, and then a sharp instrument is stabbed into the base of the baby’s skull, and the brains are removed so that the skull can be collapsed and the baby removed. Unfortunately the other methods of abortion, which are no less inhumane and grisly, have not. I mean, we would expect this kind of gross brutality in the Nazi death camps of Auschwitz, not the hospitals, doctor’s offices and health clinics of America. Yet this barbaric destruction of life goes on daily in the state of Tennessee.
II. The Church Must Defend Innocent Life and Offer Grace
Unborn human life must be protected by all Americans, but particularly by Christ-followers. Proverbs 24:11-12 says:
Rescue those being led away to death, hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say: “We knew nothing about this,” Does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who guards your life know it? Will He not repay each person according to what he has done?
As Christians we need to stand up and speak out because abortion is morally wrong! It is premeditated murder! It violates the Sixth Commandment in Exodus 20:13: “You shall not murder,” and if Christians don’t stop it, who will? That’s why I’m writing on this today.
God is pro-life, and according to the plain language of Proverbs 6:16-17, He hates abortion: “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven are an abomination to Him,” among those are, “hands that shed innocent blood.” God hates the shedding of innocent blood! And His ears are filled with the cries of the innocent being slain in this nation, and, friend, there will be a day of reckoning!
Many churches will not address this issue from the pulpit for fear of offending or being accused of using the pulpit for politics. Saving human life is not a political issue. It is a moral issue. The people who sit in the pews every Sunday need the truth. But if we pastors will speak of the issue in a redemptive way that also extends grace to those who have been ensnared and wounded by the lie that abortion is just a “choice,” then we can leave the outcome of our speaking to God. Christ is both grace and truth. And abortion calls for us to speak both into our culture.
I believe God is calling out to his Church, the hands and feet of Christ, to get involved, save lives, and stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves! As a pastor, I pray we will respond.