When I first graduated high school, I decided I wanted to study philosophy. One of the first classes I took at a community college in the Seattle, Washington area was moral philosophy. In that class, I heard the world’s take on every moral and social issue. One of the topics that came up was abortion. As I listened to the topic of abortion being taught, I quickly became horrified and sickened to my stomach. As I interacted with people throughout the school I began to note that the vast majority of them did not hold to the pro-life position.
Currently there is a trial for a man who has been accused of doing horrible things to unborn children. Apparently there was a media blackout, and so naturally Facebook and Twitter exploded with people’s thoughts about this event. This incident got me thinking about sitting in that moral philosophy class over ten years ago and how in that timespan the debate hasn’t abated but rather has become more heated. The events of the Gosnell case, much like when I was sitting in that secular moral philosophy class learning about how the world views moral and social issues, have once again saddened and horrified me about the moral and spiritual trajectory of our society.
Life is important and special since the Lord God breathed life into Adam and into the lives of every human being since. Abortion is murder because the Lord breathes His life into every human whom He created in His image and likeness. Abortion is an issue of worldviews as people from across the political, religious, theological and philosophical spectrum have divergent opinions, believing their position to be the right one. More important than opinion is the Truth from the mouth of the Creator who created, gave, and sustains life.
In order to understand why abortion is such an important issue we need to understand what an abortion is, the biblical evidence for the pro-life position, why abortion is wrong, statistics on abortion and why Christians should engage this issue proclaiming the truth of the Word of God.
What is an Abortion?
First, what is an abortion? Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by the removal from the uterus of a fetus/embryo, resulting in or causing its death. Abortions include procedures of various kinds as well as RU-486 and the morning after pill. Other items that can cause abortion are the intrauterine device (IUD). The result is an abortion, the killing of a conceived person. (Alcorn).[i]
What is the Biblical Evidence for the Pro-Life Position?
Second, what is the Biblical evidence for the pro-life position? The Jews believed that an abortion of a preborn child and exposure of a born child are both murderous sins. God created life and breathed life into Adam. Genesis 2:7 states, “Then the LORD God formed the man of( dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (ESV). God created man and woman for the purpose of procreation as noted in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (ESV).
The Bible makes it clear that murder of a person created in God’s image is murder. Exodus 20:13 declares, “”You shall not murder.” The word murder is the transliterated word ratsach and according to Strong’s means, “To murder, slay, kill, premeditated, accidental, as avenger, slayer intentional, and to assassinate.[ii] The Didache an ancient manual for church instruction said, “You shall not commit murder. You shall not procure abortion, nor commit infanticide.”[iii] There is a difference between a child in a mother’s womb and one outside of it and the early church saw both as equally living people and taking the life of either as murderous.
Charles H.H Scobie said, “Scripture uses the Greek word brephos for Elizabeth’s unborn child (Luke 1:41,44), unborn Jesus in Mary’s womb (Luke 2:12) and also for the children brought to Jesus (Luke 18:15).”[iv] God in His Word reveals that a child in the womb and a child singing and dancing around in worship are equally human beings, who bear the image of God. Abortion is wrong because it is the killing of an unborn child created in the image and likeness of God.
Statistics on Abortion
A third element of this discussion are the statistics on abortion? In the United States there are 1.37 million abortions every year, and approximately 3,700 everyday (The Alan Guttmacher Institute and Planned Parenthood’s Family Planning Perspectives.).[v]1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest; 6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child, and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient). (The Alan Guttmacher Institute and Planned Parenthood’s Family Planning Perspectives). Who’s having an abortion? Women identifying themselves as Protestants obtain 37.4% of all abortions in the U.S.; Catholic women account for 31.3%, Jewish women account for 1.3%, and women with no religious affiliation obtain 23.7% of all abortions. 18% of all abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as “Born-again/Evangelical”. (The Alan Guttmacher Institute and Planned Parenthood’s Family Planning Perspectives.).
Christians and the Pro-Life Issue
Furthermore, my fourth point is Christians must take a stand on ethical issues and proclaim God’s Word. God’s Word reveals His will in regards to theological, moral and ethical issues like abortion. President Barack Obama in a speech on the 36th anniversary of Roe Vs. Wade said, “We are reminded that this decision not only protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters.”[vi]
Jesus taught believers they are to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13). The Lord created life when He breathed into Adam’s nostrils and breathes life into every human being since. Christians have a biblical and moral obligation to speak out on social issues especially issues such as life. With all due respect to President Obama abortion is murder and God will ultimately deal with those who murder innocent children in the womb. Dr. Moore, President-Elect of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission rightly noted this balance this morning on Twitter, “The gospel speaks to both, with a God of justice and justification.”
Non-Christians do not need to hear our opinions, what they need is to hear the thunder and power of God’s glorious good news in Christ. Christians must learn now more than ever to speak clearly, compellingly and boldly on moral and social issues always from the Word of God and not based merely on their opinions.
The issue of abortion like many issues will only increase as our culture continues to reject God. Christians today must think not through the lens of their opinions but through a biblical worldview. Part of learning to do this is to open the Bible and read and study what it says about the origin of life. Knowing the answers to Bible and theological questions is not enough since the Bible tells us to not only be hearers but doers of the Word of God (James 1:22).
Our greatest need and challenge as Christians is to respond appropriately with the Word of God and not overact to social issues as if the world is ending right now. The world will end, but we also know how it will end, with the glory of Christ reigning from the throne of David from Jerusalem.
One of the greatest needs for ministry leaders is to train Christians, not only in sound doctrine but how to apply sound doctrine to every area of life. I believe we do this by speaking clearly, lovingly and compelling, teaching the people of God the Truth to include how to engage moral and social issues from the Word of God.
Finally my brothers and sisters in Christ, I urge you to open the Bible and read what the Creator has to say about life. The Lord created life when He breathed into Adam. The Creator is the One who gives life. Call your elected officials and tell them pro-choice is no choice. Know what your elected officials believe about social and ethical issues. Do not vote for elected officials who do not have a biblical worldview.
To prevent abortions it is necessary for Christians to stand upon God’s Word and fight for the unborn. The events at Gosnell are horrible and horrific, but what is even worse is if we don’t take up the challenge to speak out from the Word of God on moral and social issues and instead choose to remain silent. I challenge you to remember today what an abortion is. I challenge you to apply what you have learned about the importance of a biblical worldview regarding life. I challenge you to go out and make a difference for the cause of the unborn who are dying every day. I challenge you to speak up often and with every chance you get regarding God’s plan to give life, but do so with the Word of God, for the glory of God.
[i] Alcorn, Randy, Prolife Answers to ProChoice Arguments (Multnomah: Sisters, OR; 1994), 118.
[ii] Strong, James, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson), 943.
[iii] Didache 2.2.
[iv] Charles H. H. Scobie, Ways of our God: An Approach to Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids: MI: Eerdmans, 2003), 834.
[v] “Fastfacts on Abortion.” The Alan Guttmacher Institute and Planned Parenthood’s Family Planning Perspective, accessed April 12, 2013. http://www.abortionno.org/Resources/fastfacts.html
[vi] Obama, Barack, “Obama’s Statement on 35th Anniversary of Roe V. Wade”, Jan 22, 2008, accessed April 12,2013. http://www.barackobama.com/2008/01/22/obama_statement_on_35th_annive.php