Here we are, once again, staring at another black and white moral issue that, suddenly, has become grey for many, including Christians. The amount of people crying out “this is not a gospel issue that should divide us!” is astonishing.
I wonder why that always happens? What is it with us evangelicals these days that when a clear issue of morality takes the world’s centre stage of controversy our heads go all fuzzy and, just like that, we completely lose our moral compass? Our blushing and immediately acquired inability to put two clear coherent sentences together on issues that should be a no-brainer for us is embarrassing.
There is no way around this one, folks. From conception onward, aborting a baby is one of the pinnacles of moral evil.
Biblical and historical Christianity has always been pro-life
The Bible is a pro-life book that regards gestation as the sacred environment where God begins the process of knitting together his image-bearers. For example, according to Exodus 21:22-23, the unintentional killing of the unborn is worthy of a much harsher sentence, meaning the death penalty, than the general crime of manslaughter described in Deuteronomy 19:5, where the criminal was still allowed to live in the confinement of the cities of refuge.
Echoing that understanding, beginning with one of the most ancient extra-biblical documents of the Christian faith called the Didache, from around the year 70AD, which clearly states “thou shalt not procure abortion”, through to the Epistle of Barnabas, Athenagoras, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Sts Ambrose, Chrysostom, Jerome, Augustine, Calvin, Luther, Spurgeon, and the many councils of the Church throughout the centuries, the overwhelming witness of the Church of Jesus Christ has always been for the protection of life, especially the life of the most vulnerable such as the unborn children.
The wide acceptance of abortion has never really been a thing among Christians up until recently. The approach has always been that life should be preserved whenever and however possible, so those who are now trying to advocate for classifying this as a complex matter that we need to think about are doing so not under the guidance of a Christian worldview, but rather under the influence of ideologies that birthed last century’s sexual revolution into the western landscape.
Pro-choice Christians should be excommunicated and treated as non-believers
Since both the biblical account as well as the history of the Christian faith so broadly condemn the murdering of the unborn, how is the Church supposed to deal with those who claim to uphold a Christian faith whilst striving to establish nuanced excuses for the evil practice of abortion?
I know this word might sound a little old-fashioned and is, perhaps, absent from the vocabulary of most Christian churches these days, but the right response to the question above is but one: excommunication. After all the steps of church discipline from Matthew 18 were applied without the evidence of repentance, those who claim to be followers of Jesus and at the same time advocate for the intentional ending of the life of the unborn should be treated by the Church as unbelievers.
The process of church discipline is not designed to say if a person is or isn’t ultimately a Christian but, rather, like the case of the immoral brother in 1 Corinthians 5, church discipline is designed to protect the witness of the community of the faith, whilst leading the person in sin to repentance, if they have, in fact, been born again.
It is also important to remember that in 1 Corinthians 5 Paul not only rebukes the immoral brother engaged in the wrongdoing, but he also rebukes the whole church for their arrogance masquerading as grace which was displayed in their tolerance of the evil person. To call love and tolerance what the prophetic and apostolic witness calls arrogance is only further indication of the blinding power sin can have in the life of the church. If the word of the Lord is forgotten, the culture of the world will start to shape our worldview.
(And yes, this means that, in Australia, we really don’t have a Christian Prime Minister unless he repents from his latest revealed position on abortion, among some other things. Just in case you are wondering.)
There is hope in Christ for the sin of abortion, but it starts by calling it what it is: a sin
Whilst it is true that abortion, perhaps the most celebrated sin in our society alongside all the different forms of sexual immorality, is that evil, it is important to remember that “where sin increased, grace abounded even more” (Romans 5:20).
Remember when Christians were ridiculed for saying a person as evil as Hitler could be forgiven if he ever repented from his sins? This is why the Gospel of Jesus is good news for sinners. When Christians previously said that all of us have the potential to be Hitler-like hidden inside of us and that such potential would manifest itself given the right circumstances, they were not kidding.
Yes, you and I like to think we are much better than those evil guys out there, but, in reality, that’s not quite so accurate. We are perhaps not as bold, not as articulate, not as famous, not as influential, and not as powerful as those famous evil characters, but, given the right push, we would be surprised how far we could go but for the grace of God that restrains evil.
If a person has had any involvement with the abortion industry, from being a person who is merely sympathetic to the cause, to being a doctor who has murdered hundreds or even thousands of babies, wherever one may fit in that spectrum, that person should know this, forgiveness is available from God. Yes, you heard me right, anyone can be forgiven for all the different kinds of sin associated with the maintenance of one of the vilest industries this world has ever seen.
Although this doesn’t mean the erasing of the human consequences of participating in this kind of evil, whatever they may be, it is true that the forgiveness that Christ offers to those who repent from their sins and put their faith in his sacrifice for sins on the cross and resurrection from the dead three days later, bringing about the dawn of a new era where things like abortion will, one day, be no more, that forgiveness is very real and will change the lives of those who receive it.
This is why we cannot just simply agree to disagree when it comes to abortion, because, in order for a person to have access to the forgiveness of sins offered by Jesus, we cannot call sin a matter of perspective. Sin is to be called by what it truly is, sin, an abomination to the Lord worthy of judgement in this life and in the life to come. Having said that, “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).
No, the call to any playing whatever part in the maintenance of the abortionist movement out there is not “let’s agree to disagree on this one” but rather “repent and put your faith in Jesus because the judge is at the door”.