Hello brethren, and Happy New Year!
It doesn’t take a high degree of biblical literacy to understand that God created us. Psalm 139 (verses 13-16 specifically) and many other passages of scripture teach us about God’s knowledge of – and love for – those not yet born. All bible-believing people can agree that life begins before a baby is born. Many of us even refer to the “sanctity of life.” If we claim that human life is sacred, we must be extremely clear and unapologetic about why we believe this to be so: because mankind, human beings, even those unborn, are made in the image of God. This is abundantly clear in Genesis 1:27. Our IMPACT students and I have had a couple of fun conversations in recent days about what this means and the implications thereof. Our middle school students do not completely understand it. I don’t completely understand it. Moses, King David, and Isaiah didn’t completely understand it. It seems to me that Adam and Eve, even before sin entered the picture, didn’t understand it either.
Though we do not, and probably can not, know exactly what it means to bear the image of God, we can know beyond a shadow of a doubt several implications of this crucial truth. One of those implications is a decidedly pro-life stance. The Church, across time, has always been a womb-to-tomb defender of the defenseless. Even under the persecution of the Roman Empire, we cared for orphans, not just our own, but orphans of our own Roman persecutors. It ought go without saying that we are a pro-life church. We choose to take part in decidedly pro-life denominational structures. I hope our church, and many others, will put our money where our mouth is and do whatever it takes to protect those in need, from the womb to their tomb!
Obviously there are many applications of being pro-life. Indeed, I believe that there are many end-of-life applications to this biblical world view that tend to get over looked. I would very much like to discuss some of these at another time, but in this article, I’d like to look at one particular pro-life application. If we may, let’s narrow our focus to the issues of aborting pregnancies. I would submit that abortion is a great scourge across our society and a great moral stain on our country. A stain for which, we will be held to account one day. I believe abortion is sinful, destructive to those committing the sin, lamentable, and though its presence might anger us, it should all the more sadden us and break our hearts.
Politically, I am no fan of out-lawing sin. I think it’s a fool’s errand to attempt to legislate my version of morality. It’s plain ol’ legalism, and it breeds a Puritanism that falls far short of changing hearts and lives. I’ve said before – from our pulpit – and I’ll say again that my goal is not to make abortion illegal, rather, my goal is to make abortion obsolete. When the love of Jesus, and the great good news of salvation in Him change people’s souls, I’m quite frankly indifferent about what laws allow them to do. That being said, I will always support legal efforts to reduce abortion in hopes of seeing it end one day. I’m sure many of you have by now heard about the new law of Texas regarding pregnancy termination. As many of you well know, I’m a consummate skeptic, and I’m more convinced that the law is a political ploy than it is a good-faith attempt to save lives. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. says it is “awkwardly worded”, and I’m very curious how the enforcement mechanism will stand the test of legal review. However, I commend Texans for making such a bold attempt to protect life!
The Supreme Court’s decision regarding Roe vs. Wade in 1973 and 1992’s Planned Parenthood vs. Casey decision are not infallible. I believe strongly that both are subject to review and could very well be over turned one day, however, assuming the so-called “Roe/Casey legal framework”, I think it’s possible for bible-believing people to affect change that will protect the lives of babies. In various evangelical circles, including within the Southern Baptist Convention, there is an ongoing discussion whether it’s better to be abolitionist or incrementalist in our thinking [please ask me about how this played out at the Convention meeting in Tennessee I attended in June!]. I would humbly submit to you that any effort, great or small, to hem in abortion is good. If any baby is saved, it’s worth the effort. Given the horrors taking place in so many states, it would be wise to quickly identify areas of public support and incrementally reign in the availability of abortion (which methods are allowed, how far along can women abort for any reason, which reasons are disallowed from the start, what happens with fetal tissues post-abortion, etc.) and cease granting incentives to providors.
I would like to commend to you the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. They have done much good work in this realm of public policy. We ought be proud of their efforts to proactively allow Christian ethics to flourish in this country, and they have a high commitment to biblical fidelity! In our own back yard, The Pregnancy Network in Greensboro and Winston-Salem is a Christ-centered non-profit organization providing free medical care to women, and actively working to give ladies alternative choices to abortion. I hope that in the months ahead, we’ll have more opportunities to partner alongside this wonderful organization. It will certainly give us a chance to walk the talk of being pro-life. From providing adoption avenues, to mentoring young mothers during and after pregnancy, to discipling parents and children, may God’s Church stand up and protect the pre-born, and those already born, regardless of age! We do this, because we bear His image, and they do too!
Rescue the perishing, duty demands it; strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
back to the narrow way, patiently win them, tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died!
Rev. Andrew J. Reynolds