“Sure… I can see where abortion might be wrong… but what about…?”
Guest posting by Carmen Gauvin-O’Donnell
(This article can also we found on our website
at http://www.bethelkingston.com under the tab called "Blog")
This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.
Last week Mark opened the topic of abortion by delving into God’s word. There we saw (in Psalm 51:5) that what is in the womb matters, because the baby is a (sinful) person from the very beginning, even if he or she may go through different stages of development (zygote, fetus etc.). Only persons can be sinful.
I was also able to help Mark out by coming up and talking about the challenge that has been articulated by some people (i.e. “okay, so the fetus may be human, but it’s not a ‘person’…”). I explained that what does or does not define someone as a person is usually a very arbitrary, personal, list, and that such lists can be ultimately very dangerous:
- They will tend to include things which should not be included (i.e. some radical animal rights groups have started suggesting that animals have the exact same rights as human beings)
- At the other end of the spectrum, they will exclude things which should be on the list. As an example of the dangers of this idea, in the first service I mentioned that the Nazis had made lists of who should or should not live, and most genocides happen because one group decides another has no right to live.
Well as a result of that talk, Mark and I both got some questions which we thought we’d briefly respond to in this Touching Base (by the way, we LOVE that about the congregation at Bethel: no topics are too hot, no questions too difficult that we can’t all wrestle with them!)
a) What about the poor woman who has been raped? What about pregnancy in a young teenage girl?
I thought I would answer these two questions together.
As I explained last week, one of the most important things to be conscious of is that, while abortion is a very emotionally-charged issue, what we MUST remember, above all, is this:
If the unborn isn’t a human being, then no justification for abortion is necessary.
But if the unborn IS a human being, then no justification for abortion is adequate.
But if the unborn IS a human being, then no justification for abortion is adequate.
So as you can see, there is only one question to be answered: Wwhat is the unborn? We need to know the answer because we all agree that it’s wrong to kill an innocent human being.
So when the question of rape or the age of the mother is brought up, the question isn’t about the mother, as sympathetic as we might be with the sometimes-tragic circumstances. The question to be answered comes down to this: what has the baby, a human person, done that he deserves to lose his life?
The pro-abortion groups have pulled off a very neat trick here: they have taken the baby out of the equation completely and made it all about the mother, when the question is all and only about the baby. No matter how tragic the circumstances or how emotional the situation, we as Christians must remember that it’s all about an innocent child. What we will do with this most defenseless of God’s creations? That’s why outstanding organizations like the Kingston Pregnancy Care Centre exist, so they can provide alternatives to abortion.
b) What happens to a fetus who dies while she’s still in the womb?
Firstly, we can look at Romans 1. In it, Paul tells us that all men and women are without excuse before God because He reveals Himself as Creator in the awesome universe all around us (for you armchair theologians out there, this is called “General Revelation”). Since a fetus has never had the opportunity to see that general revelation, God’s mercy must rest upon her. I am also reminded of King David’s words when speaking of his dead infant son, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Sam 12:23) This can be understood to imply that the child is in heaven, where he will eventually be joined by David.
Also, again God’s grace must be present since this is a human being who will never get the choice to decide whether or not to follow Christ.
Finally, we can also rest in Genesis 18:25: “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” We can concede that at times God’s plan is a mystery to us on this side of eternity. There are times when we must bow the knee and simply say, after Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” (13:15). We know that God’s justice, mercy and grace are perfect and we know He will always do the right thing.
As an aside, some have said that, in that case, why not encourage abortion since then we’re guaranteeing that more people go to heaven? This is wrongful thinking for two reasons:
- We are commanded not to murder (more on this below)
- God ultimately gets to decide who lives and dies, from conception to natural death. Anything else means that we are playing God, which we are also commanded not to do.
This argument is actually put forward by some as an argument in favour of abortion (just as some say that since Jesus didn’t talk about homosexuality that had to mean he was in favour of it).
Firstly, there are a couple of reasons why there would be no problem with the silence:
- Klusendorf (p.139) writes that a study of the Jewish culture and writings of that time shows it to be a profoundly anti-abortion one (among others, the historian Josephus wrote about the anti-abortion laws of the time; the Sybiline Oracles also pronounced as “wicked” those who had abortions)
- In very early Christian history (mid to late 1st century), the Didache, a document published to guide the early church, specifically speaks of abortion in paragraph 2.2: “You shall not kill a child in the womb nor expose infants.”
Secondly, the silence of the New Testament is not compelling to me personally, since Christians are people of the whole Bible: it seems to me that “You shall not murder” (Deut. 5:17) pretty much covers abortion, doesn’t it?
What do you think? Do these answers make sense? Do you agree or disagree? There are many more questions that could be asked and answered - don’t hesitate to contact us and ask! And if you can, take some time this week to talk with your group or other people about this vital issue for our times.
Finally, take some time to pray for all the defenseless in our midst that we, as followers of Christ,, would have the courage to stand and defend them.
If interested in joining or starting a small group contact firstname.lastname@example.org
RESOURCES FOR FURTHER READING/TRAINING
The Didache, or The Teaching of the Lord Given to the Gentiles by the Twelve Apostles, can be read online, along with commentaries, at http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/didache.html
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (www.evangelicalfellowship.ca) “The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) is the national association of evangelical Christians in Canada. It gathers Evangelicals together for impact, influence and identity in ministry and public witness” Their website has a page titled “Abortion/Fetal Rights” at http://www.evangelicalfellowship.ca/page.aspx?pid=365
Klusendorf, Scott. The Case for Life. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2009.
Life Training Institute (www.prolifetraining.com) “LTI was started by our president Scott Klusendorf in order to create a ministry that focused entirely on pro-life issues with the goal of maximizing its impact through single-minded dedication. Simply stated, our sole purpose is to train others to save lives. That's what we're all about.”
Stand to Reason (http://www.str.org): “Stand to Reason trains Christians to think more clearly about their faith and to make an even-handed, incisive, yet gracious defense for classical Christianity and classical Christian values in the public square.” Their website contains hundreds of pages of free resources and training material on many apologetics issues, including defending the pro-life position (search the website for “abortion”). Together, Greg Koukl and Scott Klusendorf have created the outstanding course, Making Abortion Unthinkable, which is available for purchase on the site.