In a moment of passion, I wrote “Kermitt Gosnell: Blood on Our Hands.” The main gist is the reality of abortion is much worse than many of us would allow ourselves to believe. This self-blinding prevented many of us from acting out of love for these children and for their mothers. You see so much of the rhetoric that gets Pro-Lifers in trouble grows out of a lack of love. It is similar to those who while orthodox fail to love those who are not. We are not vampires who must live off the blood of others.
My theological argument presented in the previous article which I presume an atheist could get behind is a cord made of up of four strands--(1) we are all created with equal dignity (2) with equal value, (3) with a right to life, and (4) to love others. These strands I argue are part of a much larger rope--the gospel story.
I ended that article by saying, “We need to repent. All of us. Down to the least of us.” As I contemplated what I wrote and thought about abortion, I found myself not wanting to be the kind of Christian who is content to say, “Abortion is deplorable!” and post a few memes on Facebook shaming those who have had abortions or making an earnest point trite through poor delivery. I wanted to consider what could the average Christian do to help transform our culture. Here’s what I’ve come up with.
1. Creating a Gospel Culture in Our Churches, Communities, and Homes
Creating a gospel culture starts within our home. It means modeling forgiveness, repentance, love, justice, and humility with our spouses and children (a kind of household gospel if you will). It also means we must live out the kind of humble orthodoxy briefly expressed above. If we desire to show love in handling such a delicate and important issue as abortion then we must practice demonstrating this kind of love in our family dealings and theological disagreements.
We must also learn how to share the gospel more winsomely. As I previously quoted Francis Schaeffer said, “I am afraid that as evangelicals, we think that a work of art only has value if we reduce it to a tract.” We have done the same with the gospel. It is much bigger, much deeper, much wider, more multi-faceted than we could have ever imagined. How dare we make small what is infinite beyond measure. We must be about the kind of grace that takes a murderer, adulterer, traitor, or slave trader and makes them disciples of Jesus Christ.
For the girl who has been raped and is pregnant the issue of abortion is not just an easy hypothetical answer. It is a question that deserves an honest answer that addresses the deep pain, suffering, and possible depression that results from atrocious acts of violence and sin.
2. Fighting for Legislation to Protect the Lives of the Most Helpless
Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech at Western Michigan University in December 18, 1963 sums up nicely this point:
Now the other myth that gets around is the idea that legislation cannot really solve the problem and that it has no great role to play in this period of social change because you’ve got to change the heart and you can’t change the heart through legislation. You can’t legislate morals. The job must be done through education and religion.
Well, there’s half-truth involved here.
Certainly, if the problem is to be solved then in the final sense, hearts must be changed. Religion and education must play a great role in changing the heart.
But we must go on to say that while it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated.
It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless.
It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me and I think that is pretty important, also.
So there is a need for executive orders.
There is a need for judicial decrees.
There is a need for civil rights legislation on the local scale within states and on the national scale from the federal government.
We should be cautious about getting sucked into the political game of thrones. Having our preferred President or Congresswoman may not decisively win the day as one might have expected. Our trust must ultimately be in the God who turns the hearts of kings. We should also be cautious about turning hearts away from our cause by appearing unloving. So many of the sound bites you hear on the news are a result of this very thing.
3. Creating a Safe Haven for Pregnant Women
The church must do a better job at addressing the roots of the abortion epidemic I am afraid we may have contributed to many of these deaths--which is why I said we all need to repent. If a young woman gets pregnant in our church outside of marriage does she feel safe coming before the church? We shouldn’t downplay the seriousness of sexual sin but we also should not foster a culture of shame. Consider the life of Jesus. The prostitute knew Jesus did not approve of her sin (which is why he told her “Go and sin no more”) but she also knew about his great love (which is why she felt confident he would not turn her away from washing his feet).
Pastors, you must preach the whole counsel of God. Do not preach a truncated gospel. Do not miss preaching the fall without redemption. Do not preach sin without the anchor of our souls Jesus Christ.
The beauty of the Bible especially the Old Testament is the gritty portrayal of life. It covers almost all possible expressions of human sinfulness either directly or indirectly. Preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in the narrative of David and Bathesheba. Preach the gospel from Judges 19. Preach the gospel from the life and preaching of Hosea. Whatever you do not create a culture where people fear coming forward when they are entangled in a sin.
We also must create a safe haven for woman who have been sexually abused. For those of us who have experienced this kind of sin we must be willing to share our stories. We must be willing to testify to power of the gospel over even the worst kind of sin. That does not mean we minimize or downplay sexual abuse. Not at all. God’s wrath is serious business. Too many of us have been willing to be Pro Life in theory while contributing to abortion by providing no rest for the weary.
4. Creating a Culture which Celebrates Adoption
I blog about adoption frequently (searching for “adoption” in the search bar turns up seven pages of results). We must create a culture in our churches where adoption and fostering children are celebrated. Dan Cruver and Together for Adoption and Johnny Carr with Bethany Christian Services do a great job of exploring the theological underpinnings of adoption to promote the adoption of children in the here and now.
Pastors, you must preach this from the pulpit. It must be tangled within the fiber of our churches. We should revel in the grace of our own adoption and should contribute towards the adoption of others. Not all of us will adopt children directly but we can all contribute towards adoption. I can name a handful of couples right now who desire to adopt but currently are unable to because of the prohibitive cost or other circumstance.
It also means becoming comfortable around adopted children and not saying foolish things. It may also mean considering fostering children who need a temporary home or helping a family adopt a niece or nephew so that a child is not separated from their family.