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Who Settles the Abortion Debate?

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Who Settles the Abortion Debate?

Should scientists tell us when life begins? Or bioethicists when cells become a person? What about the Supreme Court? For Christians, the answer should be absolutely clear.

Learn the why behind the headlines.

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Why is the abortion discussion so complicated? God clearly values life. The first thing He told Adam and Eve to do was “be fruitful and multiply.” “Thou shalt not kill” is the sixth commandment. And He calls Himself a Father—so families are important to Him.

Yet here we are. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade—the landmark 1973 decision that made abortion legal across the United States—and the response was elation, horror and everything in between. Everything—even among Christian denominations.

“I recognize there are people on both sides of the question in the Catholic Church,” said Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. “What we are finding though is that when people become more aware of what the church is doing to assist women in difficult pregnancies…hearts and minds begin to change.”

Many evangelical Christian leaders welcomed the decision, including Bart Barber, newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. Southern Baptists “rejoice at the ruling,” he said.

The Supreme Court ruling of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization stated that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. The move gives states the right to regulate the practice.

The decision—expected to lead to sweeping abortion bans in more than 20 states—was decried by other mainline Protestant leaders, including Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. “I am deeply grieved,” he said.

The United Church of Christ, a staunch supporter of abortion rights since 1971 as a part of their Justice and Witness Ministry, responded with a joint statement by their general ministers: “Today’s Supreme Court decision…discarding nearly 50 years of precedent, will endanger the lives and well-being of birthing people who do not choose to continue pregnancy. God loves and cares for people who have abortions, and so does the United Church of Christ.”

Troy Newman, president of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue took the prospect of complete abortion bans an entirely different way. Many feel the same as him: “Half the states will now become abortion free and millions of innocent lives will be spared from the barbaric practice of abortion. This is a human rights victory beyond all others and justifies the decades of tireless work by selfless pro-life individuals and organizations,” he said in a statement.

Rather than settle the abortion debate, the Supreme Court move has done the exact opposite, with each side digging in its heels. Pro-life backers are ready for more laws in line with their cause and pro-abortion supporters are ready to fight tooth and nail.

Jacqui Lewis, senior minister at Middle Collegiate Church in New York City, summed up the pro-abortion movement in a tweet: “This court has no legitimacy. We will not live by this decision.”

The issue of abortion is incredibly visceral for most everyone. Christians on both sides are throwing heated words while they back their stances with scientific, legal and ethical arguments. Most are ready to take political action.

Yet the back-and-forth arguing does nothing to end the abortion debate. And the Supreme Court decision has only stoked the flames. Abortion-related clashes and violence are on the rise. On August 6, pro-abortion protesters attempted to enter a Catholic church in New York City—shouting that the parishioners were Nazis. And pro-lifers regularly target abortion clinics. A masked woman set fire to a planned clinic in late May in Casper, Wyoming.

The vitriol and violence can make us all feel that enough is enough.

Something is seriously wrong here. Amid all the fruitless debate, few stop to ask: What does God think of this bitter divide?

Can Christ Be Divided?

The apostle Paul answered emphatically in I Corinthians 1: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but [that] you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (vs. 10).

Regarding abortion, no one is speaking the same thing. The quotes you just read make this abundantly clear.

Division is not what God wants. Paul drove his point home in verse 13: “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you?”

As absurd as it is to think that Paul was the savior of mankind, so it is to think that Christ is divided. The Body of Christ—God’s Church—cannot hold on to conflicting beliefs. The Bible states this!

Yet the picture of today is this: Division and debate, with both sides culpable.

Now read Romans 1:29, which lists some of the sinful works of the flesh: “fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate…”

Debate is listed here next to murder. Both are abhorrent to God. He says He is “not the author of confusion, but of peace” (I Cor. 14:33). And Paul said everything done by the Church should be done “decently and in order” (vs. 40).

So why all this disagreement and bickering among those who proclaim to follow Christ?

Another Problem

Whether they know it or not, pro-life and pro-abortion Christians agree on one thing. They both are in favor of using man’s political systems to enact what they see as “God’s will.”

David Rhoades, lead pastor of Broadview Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas, said in an email that the court decision was on a par with the Emancipation Proclamation and Juneteenth, and will reverberate for years.

He hoped church members left Sunday’s service after the Dobbs decision with a clear understanding of what they must do next, including to “minister to both the baby and its mother, and continue to work to elect pro-life representatives.”

A statement from Adam Greenway, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said: “We must urge legislators to protect the unborn, and we must provide compassionate support for women that will help them choose life.”

During a service after the ruling at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the South Hills in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, director of music Mary Pratt read aloud a denominational statement affirming it would remain “committed to reproductive justice.”

As with division and debate, there is a huge problem with using the political arena to make a religious point. Again, we turn to the words of Christ.

Just before Jesus’ crucifixion, Pontius Pilate asked the Savior if He was a king. His answer: “My kingdom is not of this world: if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is My kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36).

Jesus said His Kingdom had not arrived. It is the same today. If it were here now, then it would look like this: “Of the increase of [God’s] government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever” (Isa. 9:7).

Clearly the world is not experiencing conditions of endless peace and perfect equity. It is quite the opposite.

So if God’s Kingdom is not here on Earth, then Christians are not to intervene in political affairs.

The Lord’s Prayer adds to this. We are to pray, “Your kingdom come.” Why would Jesus tell us to pray this if the Kingdom were already here?

No Kingdom of God on Earth. No trying to change the governments of this world.

Finally, Revelation 11:15 points to a future time after many climactic events occur. At that time, God’s Kingdom will be fully established: “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.”

Christians follow Christ. He clearly stated that we should not fight to change this present evil world. Rather we are to live in it and not be of it.

Ending an unwanted pregnancy is clearly wrong. Yet that does not mean you should lobby lawmakers or help a state senate pen a bill that then goes before the Supreme Court—as is what happened with the Dobbs decision.

Both pro-life and pro-abortion groups go sideways on this point. To them, the government is seen as the answer to lock in certain rights that align with the doctrines of their churches.

See the many problems here? Christianity in the U.S. is utterly divided. Both sides want to use man’s governments to end the debate. But that will never work. It did not work half a century ago when Roe v. Wade happened, nor is it going to work now.

Pro-lifers often quote Jeremiah 1:5 showing that God knew the prophet in the womb. Yet they never quote that Jeremiah also says that man cannot direct his steps (10:23).

Man cannot direct his steps—cannot govern himself. Do not lose sight of this. Yet the Bible says so much more to frame the subject of abortion.

Wrong Focus

Contentious topics such as abortion always center on the wrong things. The arguments focus on what should be done if a 13-year-old girl is pregnant from rape or incest. Or what to do if a woman is certain to die unless an abortion is performed. This article is not about such tragic instances.

Keep God’s perspective in mind. Deciding to terminate an unwanted pregnancy is so far down the trail of sin and sinful consequences that it is not even worth arguing over. Fornication is sin (I Cor. 6:18). So is rape (Deut. 22:25). Aborting another life is the same.

The typical talking points from pro-life and pro-abortion groups do nothing to end the debate once and for all. To do that, we need to zoom out even more.

Back to Jeremiah 1:5. God sanctified Jeremiah as a prophet while he was in the womb. But read the start of the verse more carefully: “Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet unto the nations.”

God knew Jeremiah before he was in the womb. That means, before the sperm met the egg, God knew about Jeremiah.

Huh? This can be difficult to wrap our minds around. Other Bible verses help bring clarity.

Ephesians 1:4 states: “According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”

God selected individuals before the foundation of the world. Let that sink in. This verse means what it says: God foreknew certain individuals before Earth existed. This shows He has been planning and working for millennia on His plan for mankind.

This plan is further laid out in verse 5: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” 

Romans 8:15 adds to this: “For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

Keep things simple here. God is expanding His Family by adding sons and daughters.

From the Beginning

Go back to the first page of the Bible. God states His purpose for mankind on Earth—and it puts an end to the abortion debate.

God said this in Genesis 1: “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth” (vs. 26).

The Creator wanted to add beings to His Family, which is why verse 27 states: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.”

Now notice the very first thing God told Adam and Eve: “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth…” (vs. 28).

Human beings were made in God’s image. They were commanded by Him to multiply so that He would have more children.

The expansion of God’s spiritual Family is mirrored by physical families. God even uses the physical process of conception, gestation and birth to type being born into this divine Family.

Jesus explained this to Nicodemus in John 3:2-5, when he “came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that You do, except God be with him.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

“Nicodemus said unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

While the process of being born physically and born again spiritually are separate, both are sacred to God. Both are crucial for His master plan for all mankind.

God is working with individuals spiritually. He also is creating life physically. Remember, God said He formed Jeremiah in the womb. It is not a stretch to say He is the one forming every single child.

David added to this in Psalm 139: “You formed my inward parts. You wove me in my mother’s womb” (vs. 13).

Would you want to get in the way of God’s personal handiwork? Would you want to get in the way of His master plan?

God’s Timing

The Bible shows God has a timeline to work with everyone who has ever lived. He is working with certain individuals now, with many others later.

This understanding helps clarify other challenging verses about God. You could think: Why did He command Israel to kill entire cities?

Deuteronomy 20:16-17 says this: “But of the cities of these people, which the Lord your God does give you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes: but you shall utterly destroy them…as the Lord your God has commanded you.”

God told Israel to leave alive “nothing that breathes.” The previous verses make clear this includes man, woman, young and old. This would also have included pregnant women.

What was God doing? Is He a monster?

God was working closely at the time with ancient Israel and longed for the nation to stay away from heathen practices.

This had an important purpose back then—and our fair and loving God will work with all of those killed at a later time. The Bible shows resurrections will occur when individuals can learn God’s Way and stop their wrong ways of living.

Jesus said in John 5:28-29: “For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed in the Old Testament for wickedness. Yet they will come up and have a chance to receive eternal life and be born into the God Family.

Luke 10:12 shows they will receive a period of time before a judgment: “But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.”

The Queen of Sheba, who visited King Solomon, will also come back: “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here” (vs. 31).

So too will the men of ancient Nineveh: “The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah…” (vs. 32).

Also realize that every aborted child will be given a life they were robbed of in this life.

Your Kingdom Come

The Supreme Court did not do anything moral. It just kicked the decision to the states. Pro-lifers in those states will continue to work to enact their view of abortion. It will be the same for social justice pro-choicers.

Again, Christ said His Kingdom is not yet of this world. The key word is yet. But it will soon be! At that time, the complicated and convoluted debate surrounding abortion will be a thing of the past. God will make utterly clear His plan and there will be no divisions in the world.

His government will have laws completely in line with His ways. No one will have to work fruitlessly and hypocritically in an attempt to get it.

God will end the abortion debate. And His Family will expand for eternity.

This article contains information from The Associated Press.

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