Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Is It Possible To Be A Christian And Pro-Abortion?

by Brian Fisher

There are numerous mainstream Christian denominations supported by thousands of congregants who identify themselves as Christian and pro-abortion. I defined what it means to be a Christian and then listed the main arguments that pro-abortion Christians typically cite to support their pro-abortion position.

I believe Scripture is abundantly clear on this topic and that it’s a serious contradiction to claim to be a follower of Christ and also be in favor of abortion. However, let me once again stress a key point: As Christians we are to correct each other in light of what the Bible says, and do so with grace, gentleness, and truth. In the Church today, it is far too easy to cast stones at each other over various issues. So we must let Scripture speak plainly to us and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work.

In this email I will unpack what the Bible says about the sanctity of life in the hope that these biblical truths will open the hearts and minds of all who claim Christ as their Savior. (Once again I am indebted to Reverend Jamie Peterson for his thoughtful and generous collaboration on this article.)

Throughout the centuries, true Protestant Christians have taught and believed that the Bible is indeed the Word of God, as it’s contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and that it’s the only inerrant and infallible rule of faith and practice. (Our Catholic friends also rely on extra-biblical texts, although the Catholic Church remains unflinchingly pro-life.) Inerrant means “without error,” and infallible means “steadfastly true.” Therefore, the Bible is the guide for Christians in that it teaches us what is true concerning Christ and how we are to live for Him.

Man Is Uniquely Created

First, we must consider the uniqueness of God’s relationship with humans.
  • The Bible tells us that both male and female are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Generally speaking, this means that in some sense all human beings are like Him. This is not to say that we are divine in any way. However, we do have some characteristics in common with God, such as personality, the capacity to love, consciousness, and so on.
  • Being created in God’s image also means that we have the capacity to relate to Him and, likewise, He relates to us. From the part in Genesis where we read how God created the first man and throughout the rest of Scripture, we see God relating to humans in a way that He does not do with any other part of His creation. He created us to have a unique, special, and intimate relationship with Himself. No other created being has this privilege.
So while it is clear from Scripture that God—through Jesus Christ—pursues and maintains a relationship with His people who are outside the womb, what does Scripture say about those who are still inside the womb, yet to be born?

Old Testament

The Bible makes no distinction between the life of an unborn child and the life of one who’s been born. Yeled is the most commonly used Hebrew term in the Old Testament, and it refers to a child or a boy. Genesis 25:22 mentions yeladim (children) struggling inside the womb of Rebekah. And Moses recites a law (Exodus 21:22-25) that covers what should happen if a pregnant woman is struck during a fight and a yeled (child, boy) comes forth from the woman (is born prematurely).

Regarding whether or not an unborn child bears God’s image, in Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV) we see God relating to an unborn child through the intimate knowledge that He has of the child:

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.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

And in Jeremiah 1:5, we see that God acknowledged Jeremiah before he was conceived, and then God set Jeremiah aside for a special work before he was even born:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

New Testament

The same principle that claims unborn children are image bearers of God is maintained in the New Testament as well. The Greek term brephos is used to refer to the young Hebrew males who were slaughtered at Pharaoh’s command in Acts 7:17-19, as well as to an unborn John the Baptist who leapt at the presence of Jesus while they were both still in their mothers’ wombs (Luke 1:41-44).

Clearly the biblical position is that unborn children are indeed human beings, created in the image of God and with the capacity to relate to Him. And while our society is filled with “unplanned pregnancies,” Christians rely on the sovereignty of God. In other words, no child—a unique and special creation of God—is truly unplanned in the mysterious and unsearchable plan of God. After all, from a purely human standpoint we could argue persuasively that Jesus was the result of an unplanned pregnancy. However, with God there are no mistakes. He alone is the Lord and Giver of life.

In the next installment of this series, I will address the most common scriptural references cited by pro-abortion Christians and reveal the fallacies in each argument.

Brian Fisher
President, Online for Life

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