It seems to be the topic which consumes so much of our world at this time. A great argument is taking place in the public square. Everywhere you look someone has an opinion and they are likely willing to share it with passion, or will never discuss any controversial subject.
For the Christian we have two questions with which we must wrestle. The first is simple, is the morality of abortion clear in scripture? The second begins to get more complex. To what extent do we engage in the political debate of our culture and how do we go about that? Much could and has been written about this so let me cover each question briefly.
Is the morality of abortion clear in scripture? There is no doubt it is clear in scripture, and it all flows from a Biblical worldview. The Christian worldview demands that it is morally a sin and offense against God. Why? First, All people are made in the image of God.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Gen. 1:26-27 ESV)
Being made this way means that to take the life of another human being is morally wrong. Thus we read “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” (Gen. 9:6 ESV) You may at this point recognize that I am assuming the child in the womb is human. Certainly scientifically it is a human, it is a baby, it is a person but the Bible also leads credence to this view as well. Psalm 139:13 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.”
So the Christian worldview must see the fetus, unborn child as just that a child, a baby, even another human being. The only question then becomes: What of the woman’s freedom? Two things inform the Christian here. First, freedom does not outweigh life, these are not morally equal. Second, there is a sense in which a woman is free with her body to do as she likes, but abortion has little to do with her body and life and everything to do with the body and life of her child.
Even as I write this it is clear that some call themselves Christians and disagree. How should we think about this? Number one: Unfortunately we are not completely logical people and can even act against our beliefs or have illogical beliefs. Our responsibility as people is to seek to be as reasonable as possible in how we live out our beliefs. Number two: If a Christian disagrees he or she is abandoning the Christian worldview in order to hold another view and is as James says “doubleminded.”
We come now to question number two: To what extent do we engage in the political debate of our culture and how do we go about that? By this question I mean to focus on abortion itself. I do believe there is some freedom here. Clearly abortion is not on the level with the gospel which we cannot be silent about. There are different levels of involvement from voting, to conversations to protesting, all the way to running for office and seeking to legislate. I will not say how you or any Christian should engage with those around you on this issue but I will say two things.
First, We must engage in a way that speaks the truth in love, if we lose this we have lost already. (Rom. 12:17-21). Be careful to address others with truth and not feeling or whim. More than this we know that without love we can do nothing (1 Cor 13). Our lives must display the transformation Christ has done in us. We are not the agents of change, Christ and His Gospel is. In the end our hope is not in the changing of a law, though we may wish it change, but in the glory of God. This is the end for which we strive.
Second, take heart if you choose to engage. The public square and particularly politics are a difficult place to engage and survive. Remember that it was through the work of one politician in particular, William Wilberforce, that the British Empire was convinced to abandon the slave trade and that it was morally wrong. This political fight was brutal on the Wilberforce. The morals of a culture are always changing and yet they can be changed in a good way, so we must take comfort in knowing that we are not locked in our current moment. Engagement can be good and effective, but again what is our goal? Our goal is that God be glorified.
Jude 1:24-25. Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.