At the Vietnam War Memorial, there stands a wall containing 58,272 names of those who fell in the Vietnam War. The Wall was designed by Maya Lin and is made up of two gabbro walls 246 feet, nine inches long. At the highest tip it’s just over 10 feet tall. While I have never been there, this looks like a very impressive structure that it was ranked 10th on the List of America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.
Today, we observe Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. I echo what Russ Moore and other evangelicals have said in that I hate that we have to observe this! That we’ve come to a point where human life at all stages and circumstances. January 22, 1973 was the 40th anniversary of the Roe V. Wade decision. Since that decision, 55 million unborn children have lost their lives due to this procedure. In fact, it is now the second most common surgical procedure in the US. Prior to 1973, abortion was allowed to save the woman’s life or in cases of rape or incest.
The law of Roe v. Wade prevented the government from stopping abortions, and included the clause “right to privacy” to consider a woman’s decision to terminate the pregnancy. The ruling also stated that the “fetus” is not a person in the sense intended by the Constitution and therefore has restricted rights. Plus, there’s no regulations on the first trimester.
We could go on. But how do we react? Some react violently. They say, if we bomb the abortion clinics, even the ones performing the procedures, then that’s one less office, one less doctor, one less system of machinery. But that doesn’t make sense, being pro-life using destruction and murder to make a pro-life point. Pass.
Some look at this passively. “Well, the pro-life movement is gaining some momentum—I’m convinced abortion will pass away soon.” In the meantime, 4,000 abortions are happening every hour. Most who have those abortions would not have if they had received any type of support at all!
Some act legally. The argument here is this: “The Supreme Court ruled that this was legal—and don’t you believe that women do have a right to choose? What kind of a country would we be if we went backwards in removing this right?” Yes, it is legal—but consider this. Slavery at one point was legal for a long time—from colonial times until the 13th Amendment was passed in January, 1865. Slavemasters used the same argument: “Slaveholding is legal. They used the rationale that their economy would fall apart! using this rationale to subjugate an entire race of people for their conceived purposes. Not everyone in the South believed that slavery was right—90% of them didn’t own them. But it was a blight on the entire nation.
Now, replace slaveholding with those who are pro-abortion, and replace the rationale (economy with numerous other reasons): a group of more powerful people inflict their choice on another less powerful people. Not everyone is pro-abortion, but it is a blight on the entire nation.
Scripture calls us not to act violently, passively, nor even legally as a justification in how we deal with abortion. He wants us to act biblically, gracefully, and even gospelly.
I was deeply moved by Russ Moore’s insight, when he said that he hated Sanctity of Human Life Sunday because it was a day that was necessary for us to even have, but that he loved it because it could reaffirm some things. And we must be careful, too. Even in church world, this can touch us. He brings up a scenario of a young girl who had grown up in church who after an immoral encounter with a boy became pregnant. She repented, asked God to forgive—but then what? What would folks at church say when she began to ‘show’? How would they treat her? He speaks of those who, considering how judgmental church folks are, would be advised by family or friends to abort the child to be spared of such reactions.
I would say that, all the while affirming God’s design should be affirmed over our desire in that area in not committing those sinful acts, the tape cannot be rewound. Regardless of how that child is coming into the world, that child bears God’s image and is of value (Genesis 1:26-27). That child is now on its way—and if the gospel is the gospel, we have to recognize, yes, the clear teaching of God’s Word and not compromise, but not forget that there is only one unforgiveable sin and we need to come along and support with the situation before us.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
He makes no distinction that unborn (or born) children are of any more or less value because of how they came into the world! No, human being = imagebearer of God! And yes, while those imagebearers can take their bodies God gave them to shake their fist at him, even with this it doesn’t change the fact. We are born once—and the value inherent in being in an imagebearer is even made greater by the cross and empty tomb and how Christ came to rectify the situation Adam brought in. For all who would believe, Christ reverses the curse that Adam brought into creation and to the bodies and souls God made. While we may not understand everything else in Scripture, this aspect is crystal clear.
Let’s be pro-earthly life and pro-eternal life. You can be pro-life but not be a follower of Christ. But I will say this—you cannot be a follower of Christ and not be pro-life. You cannot say you treasure the author of life, and then turn around and not treasure the life He authored.
May we react in this way!
Thanks to ethicist Ken Magnuson and his notes from Introduction to Christian Ethics at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2002.