Are we ready for things to become even more volatile in our politics? I hope that we are, because this shift is very likely to cause even more drama than we’ve come to know around abortion unless we, as believers in Jesus Christ, lean into the Spirit-given fruit of self-control, kindness, gentleness, etc. (Galatians 5:22-23). This is our test and that is our task.
As a part of that important process, we determine to assess social issues with a critical eye, constantly holding them up to the Scriptures to see not only what is objectively good, but also what behavior glorifies God or distracts from His goodness. That being said, we should establish that the topic of abortion is not about us (good) versus them (evil) for either political party. Although this is a common view, it incorrectly suggests that non-Christians are not recipients of God’s common grace (Romans 2:14) and that Christians are infallible (i.e. unable to err, morally and ethically perfect, or glorified here on earth which nearly all of orthodox Christianity disowns [1 John 3:2]).
Instead, we know that all of humanity, including Christians, are a very nuanced mix of good and bad. Though we, Christians, are justified in the eyes of God, it was due to Christ’s perfection, sacrifice, and resurrection, but certainly not due to our own capabilities (Ephesians 2:9). No – believers in Christ still fall to temptation and struggles and we will until the day we die (Romans 7:15-20). Every human being is, indeed, a nuanced balance of good and bad.
Instead of good versus evil, this whole discussion is about is women’s rights versus babies’ rights. The Democratic party generally (though there are a very small minority who vocalize joy in aborting children) lean into women’s rights to make decisions that pertain to their bodies without being sensitive to the basic right of babies to live.
The Republican party generally (and especially by office-holders and by policy) focus exclusively on a baby’s right to be born and neglect most attempts to give explicit God-given dignity to mothers and children post-birth.
This is where the balance of sanctity of life arguments is difficult. From a biblical perspective, God demands dignity for all who are created in the image of God with the only specific mention of unborn children occurring in the Mosaic Law (Exodus 21:22-25) which was specifically given for the theocratic nation of Israel. All other passages about the importance of life, from “you shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13) to mentions of all humanity being created by God in the womb (Psalm 139:13-16) to the blessing that children are upon their parents (Psalm 127:3-5) are about the importance of all who are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), without an “age cut-off”.
This is partial reasoning for why it is incredibly important that believers in Jesus Christ give equal weight to the defense of unborn life with fighting against the demeaning reality of the terrible struggles that children post-birth and young mothers exist within. We must recognize that a baby’s life is precious from the moment of conception (Job 31:15), but also that economic struggles these families are burdened by break the heart of God (Proverbs 17:5). He asks that we provide for the less fortunate, which will bring us blessing (Proverbs 19:17), but that if we ignore their cries, we will also receive judgment (Proverbs 21:13). This goes beyond modern economic theory into explicit, universal, and unconditional commands from our God (Deuteronomy 15:11).
To be consistent, pro-life/sanctity of life argumentation becomes compromised when Christians “curse people who are made in God’s likeness”, even if they might disagree with us (James 3:9-10). We must be clear that, even if every individual pregnancy defended by pro-life efforts results in a baby who would later defend abortion, the efforts were still God-honoring and biblical. Carrying that to its logical conclusions, defending the dignity of all, including pro-choice individuals, honors their Father in heaven who also numbered the hairs of their heads (Luke 12:7).
Rather than simply defend the unborn, we must consider how we might creatively come alongside and dignify families who struggle to pay their rent or cannot purchase groceries for the week. We must determine for the Church to be the one place that will dignify single mothers, bringing them hope and unconditional love they won’t find anywhere else (1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Hebrews 12:14). We must dignify the people who hold political perspectives or live in ways we do not agree with, lest we become like the Pharisee who said, “thank you God that I am not like that unrighteous tax collector” (Luke 18:9-14).
Following Jesus’s pattern of cultural engagement leads the Church to be what Pastor Derwin Gray calls, not the party of the elephant or the party of the donkey, but the party of the Lamb (Isaiah 55:8-9). Jesus rightly stood against both the Scribes and the Pharisees of His day and said, not that His chosen political affiliation would arise in a far-off land a few thousand years in the future, but that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). On this foundation, we choose not to fall into unquestioning allegiance to any man-made institution, but instead, we determine to speak out against the ideals and behavior of our chosen political party that conflict with what is taught in our Scriptures.
If our chosen side does not value pre-born life, we must use our voices to communicate to our officials that it is wrong. Likewise, if our chosen side does not “love vulnerable children—whether in the womb, in abusive homes, in foster care, or in our own pews” as Russell Moore says, we should use our voices to communicate to our officials and to one another that God calls us to higher standards as well.
In the end, we do a great disservice to the world if we do not biblically defend the lives of the unborn. We do just as much a disservice to the world if we harden our hearts to the tangible circumstances and inherent humanity of others. Jesus Christ was One who perfectly portrayed God’s desire for both and His example is the most beautiful news that the world has ever seen (Hebrews 1:3; Luke 2:10 – “And the angel said to them, Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people’”). May we use this latest distraction from Satan not to allow division, but give ourselves completely to our mission as laid out in the Scriptures, which is to love God and love others (Matthew 22:36-40), propagate the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) rather than the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:20 – “hostilities, strife… outbursts of anger, etc.”), and to go out to make, not enemies, but disciples who are drawn into the beauty and majesty of our God (Matthew 28:16-20). This is the most beautiful work we will ever be able to give ourselves over to. This is where the world sees the hope of God.
Love you all,
Young Adult Minister – Evan McNeff