Every Life Matters

By Pastor Nate Powell
 
The past three days have been some interesting days. This past Friday, the United States Supreme Court upheld the case of Dobbs v. Jackson regarding the Mississippi abortion law that banned the procedure at 16 weeks of pregnancy in that state. But the court did not stop there. They went on to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, two decisions that (for 49 years) found a right to abortion for women in the constitution. It is not an outright ban of abortion in the country but places the legislation of abortion regulation back on the states. I will not deal with the legal arguments here, but would simply ask those who thought the courts findings in the Roe or Casey cases were legal and just: Where in the original text of the constitution is there a “right to abortion”? (Hint: You won’t find it. It takes a lot of mental gymnastics to get there.)
 
From 1973, the church gradually awakened to understand what abortion actually was, especially as ultrasound technology has enabled us to look inside the womb and find that this organism is much more that a clump of cells, it is a human being worthy of dignity and respect. Abortion is the taking of a human life, an innocent human life. From 1973, the church prayed for and petitioned for an end to this unjust court decision. From 1973, the church promoted crisis pregnancy centers, adoption agencies and other means to support women in choosing life.
 
On June 24, 2022, Roe was overturned. This is what Christians who love life had prayed and hoped for over several decades. I believe it needs to be said today that it is both allowable and acceptable for Christians and for the church to express joy because a wrong has been righted and because justice is being done. We should not gloat or be proud, but simply be thankful that God has granted on request. The work is not over for life, but this is certainly a victory.
 
That said, it has been a taboo subject in the pastoral community as to whether or not to speak up on this subject. Sadly, some presume that to remain evangelistic and winsome to our communities, we must not speak up on issues by which others would judge us and consider us unloving.
 
To the contrary, I believe that a church and a pastor must speak for truth, defining sin, calling all people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
For the benefit of our church family, I am writing this short article today simply to remind you where I stand and where our church stands with regard to abortion and with regard to life. Our church’s bylaws, which we have voted to approve and which we agree to upon our placing of membership, address the issue this way: “The sanctity of life – We believe in the sanctity of life which begins from the moment of conception. We believe there is a Christian alternative to abortion. Instead of terminating the life of the unborn child, the newborn can be placed for adoption by loving Christians. Adoption is a concept authored by God, for all Christian believers have been adopted into the family of God. By choosing to give birth to her baby rather than having an abortion, the birth mother spares the life of a child created in the image of God.”
 
So is this just an opinion of man? Or does this have deeper roots in the scripture? After all, the word “abortion” is not in the Bible. Does this mean the Bible is silent on the issue? Not at all. What does the Bible say? The basic biblical argument looks like this
 
  • Humans are image bearers // Genesis 1:26-27: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” When God creates humans, he says they are his special creations. To take a human life is much different that simply a decision to put a cat to sleep or to take the life of livestock for food. The human life is distinct, with God-given dignity and worth. We are the pinnacle of his creation and should be treated as such.
  • Man and Woman’s gift of sexuality are intended for marriage and family // Genesis 1:28: “And God blessed [man & woman, created in His image]. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.’” Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” From the beginning, God’s plan was for mankind to form families as husband & wife. Their calling is to live in covenant as one flesh, “til death do us part”, and to reproduce as God blesses and allows. This is God’s intention for our sexuality, our marriages and his design for the safe upbringing of our children.
  • Children are a blessing // Psalm 127:3: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Mark 10:14: [Jesus said] “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” Children are to be viewed by all people as a blessing, not a burden. They are his beautiful creations, and He loves them.
  • Murder is the taking of innocent life // Exodus 20:13: “You shall not murder.” The sixth commandment of the 10 commandments is quite clear: Murder goes against God’s law. All the rest of biblical morality falls in line with this command. To murder in the biblical sense is to put to death improperly; that is selfishly for selfish reasons. Specifically, this has to do with the taking of innocent human life. By all means and definitions, a baby or child is the most innocent and defenseless among us.
  • Children in the womb are people // Psalm 139:13: “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.” Jeremiah 1:5: [The Lord says to Jeremiah] “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.” As well in Luke 1:41, when Mary and Elizabeth meet, each pregnant with Jesus and John the Baptist respectively, the text says that the “baby leaped in [Elizabeth’s] womb.” John has an awareness of being in the presence of Jesus. In all these cases, the scripture clearly treats the child in the womb with personhood and respect. They are worthy of being called a person, and are worthy of life.

 

To be clear, we as a church want to be unambiguous and full-throated in our support for life & the family. This is why we are investing heavily in the future of our church. Our children matter to God. Our families matter to God. We will not back down from that position or apologize for it. Children and life matter to God, and they must matter to us!

 

In conclusion, I will readily admit that I understand the reasons why churches are negligent to address this issue at points. There are women in their church or community who have had abortions. They have family members who have had abortions. We all know someone who has had one. What we, as a church, must preach and teach is that there is forgiveness and grace in Jesus Christ for all who murder, for the cold-blooded killer, for the abortion doctor, and for the woman who has made this choice. When you repent and turn to Jesus Christ, you can know forgiveness and new life. In all things, we as a church call all people to see that they have sinned, to turn from their sin, and embrace Jesus as Savior & Lord.

 

In all things, Jesus has called us the light of the world. (Matt 5:14-16) We bring light to the darkness, exposing it for what it is (Eph 5:11), and we call people to step into the light of Jesus. (John 8:12)

 

Walking in His Life and Light,
Pastor Nate