Tom and Jack were comparing notes about their wives during their lunch break. Tom was largely satisfied with his wife and had no real complaints. She wasn’t the best in the kitchen and they didn’t share many interests, but Tom loved his wife dearly and she loved him. Jack, on the other hand, was positively exuberant about his spouse of seven years. She is really quite remarkable, the glowing husband beamed. She cooks well and keeps a clean house. She is artistic and athletic. She has lots of friends and makes more money than I do—and she works only twelve hours a week! There is… uh… one thing…. My wife… er… is having an affair with her former boyfriend. She knows I know about the affair. In fact, she is quite proud of it and tells me she hopes the affair will ‘last forever.’ But other than that, I have the best wife in the world!
Other than that? Excuse me? Every flesh-and-blood human being has flaws, but an ongoing affair? Isn’t that what we call a game-changer? Isn’t that a fatal flaw that puts an end to the marriage? A deal breaker? The catch that cannot be overlooked?
Like you, I have been watching the political landscape recently, and I wonder if you have seen the scorched earth, game-changing ideology of one of our political parties. I refer to the utter disregard—on the part of our president and his party—for the weakest members of our society, for the unborn who cannot speak for themselves. I speak of the abortion regime that is determined to exterminate life under the guise of “reproductive choice.” I speak also of the party of abortion that has in its platform these words:
[Our party] strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.
I speak of our president who, during the second presidential debate bragged four times that his budget included funding for Planned Parenthood, an organization that ends the life of a child every 95 seconds.
the heart of the issue
No doubt some reading this are aghast. Perhaps you are tempted right now to toss the Community News into the recycling bin, disgusted that Reed has gone political on us. Santa Barbara Community Church, this is not about politics. This is not about the size of our government, federal monetary policy, or deficit reduction. This is about fundamental morality. Abortion is not one issue among many. Abortion is not a single issue; it is a singular issue. Abortion is like the affair Jack’s wife enjoys: this one behavior disqualifies her from being called a good wife. Similarly, the approval of abortion-as-birth-control involves an unthinkable depravity that ought to make us shudder and cry out for God’s mercy. This global and national holocaust makes other evils look tame by comparison. Worldwide, we are slaughtering over 50 million babies a year. In the United States we are putting to death nearly 1.5 million children a year, and fully one-third of babies conceived are destroyed by abortion.
Before going on in this essay, we must pause to affirm the greatness of God’s grace for those who have participated in this silent holocaust. The Scriptures are clear: Jesus died for sinners, and his forgiveness runs deeper than our guilt and shame. His blood cleanses us from every stain and wrinkle. The apostle John wrote, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from allunrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Have you had an abortion? Have you encouraged another to that end? Confess and be made clean!
the biblical response
Look again at the statement from the party platform. It argues for abortion as a means of birth control for any reason or for no reason, and it argues that the state should pay for such abortions if the mother herself cannot afford to. Notice the words: We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Could any statement be more fundamentally opposed to a Christian worldview?
Those who love God, love what God loves. God is the giver of every good and perfect gift, and life is God’s most fundamental gift. As Christians, we believe that every human being is created in God’s image. Every human life has an inherent, God-given sanctity. Every life deserves the protection of the law and the respect due to all persons. We do not believe that a person attains his or her rights based on size (small, short people have the same rights as large, tall people). We do not believe a person is accorded rights because of intelligence (the mentally challenged have the same rights as the intellectual elites). We do not believe a person attains his or her rights based on the absence of deformities or abnormalities. On the contrary, we believe all of us are flawed to one degree or another.
Furthermore, we believe that life begins at conception and is, from that moment, precious in the sight of God. Interestingly, the scientific community is confirming—without resorting to arguments based on theological considerations—that every conceived baby is a human life. Consider the following from Dr. Jerome Lejeune, professor of fundamental genetics at the Paris School of Medicine:
Life has a very long history but each individual has a very neat beginning, the moment of its conception. The material link is the molecular thread of DNA. In each reproductive cell, this ribbon, roughly one meter long, is cut into pieces, or chromosomes. As soon as the twenty-three paternally derived chromosomes are united through fertilization to the twenty-three maternal ones, the full genetic meeting necessary to express all the inborn qualities of the new individual is gathered and personal constitution takes place. At two months of age, the human being is less than one thumb-length from the head to the rump. He would fit at ease in a nutshell, but everything is there, hands, feet, head, organs, brain. In the fourth week, there is consciousness. All are in place. His heart has been beating for a month by the second month. His fingerprints can be detected, his heart is beating 150 to 170 beats a minute. To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place, a new human being has come into being, is no longer a matter of taste or opinion.
We also believe that the biblical mandate given to human government is to punish evil and protect those who do good (Romans 13:1-7). Therefore, it is the responsibility of the church to both pray for those people governing the land (1 Timothy 2:1-2) and, in a free society such as our own, to elect individuals to govern who know and pursue that which is good and right.
the christian’s responsibility
Am I suggesting how you vote? In a word, yes. I am not telling you for whom you should vote, but I am suggesting—strongly—that you vote Christianly when you cast your ballot. I am urging you to take your convictions about God into the public square and into the voting booth. Read what theologian Albert Mohler said about matters of life and abortion:
We are not looking at minor matters of political difference. We are staring into the abyss of comprehensive moral conflict. Christian voters can escape neither the consequences of their vote, nor the fact that our most basic convictions will be revealed in the voting booth come November. Christians cannot face these questions without the knowledge that God is the Giver of life, who made every human life in his image.
The protection and preservation of life is dead center of what we as Christians believe. African American pastor and writer Tony Evans was asked how he teaches his 9,500-member church to prioritize the most important issues at the ballot box. His answer was forthright: I will always start with the right to life. Because all other rights depend on your ability to live.
another voice for the voiceless
One of the heroes of our time is the WW2 Christian martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This German pastor boldly spoke out on behalf of those without a voice, and he had the courage to follow his convictions all the way to his untimely death.
Adolf Hitler was oppressing Jews and other non-Aryan people groups, gaining power in Germany, and setting the stage for war in Europe. Bonhoeffer was appalled that the church was remaining silent in the face of moral evil. But theFührer had promised a degree of religious freedom to the church in return for her uncompromising allegiance to his authority and ascendancy. In September 1934, Bonhoeffer wrote this in a letter to a friend:
It is also high time we broke with our theologically based restraint towards the state’s actions—which, after all, is only fear. “Speak out for those who cannot speak”—who in the church today realizes that this is the very least that the Bible requires of us?
Bonhoeffer’s questions should challenge each of us at the very core of our being. Who will speak out for those who cannot speak? Who in the church today realizes that this is the very least the Bible requires of us? God help us.