Abortion and the Church

I am pro-life. Completely. Totally. Absolutely. 

I believe abortion is wrong. Period.

I state that right up front because I want you to know where I stand. I am occasionally criticized for not preaching on it often enough or for not “observing” Sanctity of Life Sunday in my message on the third Sunday in January. (Honestly, since I tend to preach expositional sermon series, I don’t observe most special days—there are dozens of them.) I’m also criticized because I do not openly endorse pro-life candidates (I don’t endorse any candidates) and because I don’t openly and publicly promote anti-abortion laws or court decisions.

Let me focus on that last part. I don’t openly endorse laws or court decisions because (1) I’m not a politician or a judge, and (2) I am not convinced that laws and court decisions influence human behavior to any great degree. As a Christian and a pastor, I am convinced that only God’s Spirit working on the human heart changes human behavior.

Don’t get me wrong. I want a country with good laws and courts that correctly interpret them. But I don’t spend much time focusing on the laws and court decisions, because, unfortunately, laws and court decisions rarely change human behavior.

Need some examples?

We have strong drunk driving laws in America. Yet in any given year, about 1.5 million people are arrested for drunk driving. Laws don’t change human behavior.

We have some of strongest drug laws in the world, yet we arrest another 1.5 million people on drug charges every year. Laws don’t change human behavior.

We have strong laws against murder, yet America records nearly 25,000 homicides every year. Laws don’t change human behavior.

America has incredible and strong laws. Unfortunately, we also have the highest per-capita prison population (by far) in the world. That’s because strong laws don’t change human behavior, they simply lead to more people in prison.

Strong anti-abortion laws and courts that support them will seem like progress, but the issue will remain.  Abortions will still occur, but they will be done underground and illegally in less-than-safe environments and there will be even more medical emergencies as a result. Arrests will be made. Prison populations will increase once again.

So instead of changing laws, we must change human hearts.  Here’s how we do that:

Preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. God alone can change human hearts and human behavior. If more people turn to faith in Jesus Christ, then the evils so evident in our country (murders, drunk-driving, abortions, thefts, violence, etc.) will decrease.

Teach the truths of the Word. The “sanctity” of human life is one of many Biblical values that must be taught.  From both a medical and moral point of view, a new human being is formed at conception, so that life is sacred to God and to us.

Celebrate children. Pregnancies. Births. Dedications. Adoptions. Birthdays. Graduations. As we celebrate children, we are communicating that they are a good thing! 

Model our belief in the “sanctity” of life in all ways. If life is “sacred” then we must show God’s love to all, not just the unborn. Help the poor. Provide homes for the homeless and medical care for the sick. Love people from all nations and all faiths.

There’s still more that could be done, for we need to see positive changes in American culture.  A change in the following areas would help:

I’d like us to do more to help struggling pregnant women and young mothers. Many choose abortion because they have very little in the way of resources, help, insurance, and support. Churches, non-profits, and governments can do more to help women keep their babies.

I’d like to see adoption made easier and cheaper. Today, adoption is cumbersome, time-consuming, and expensive. We need to make sure that good parents can adopt quickly and within any family’s budget.

I’d like to see intelligent discussion. Ranting doesn’t change opinion. Angry protestors make their opinions known but don’t do much beyond that. We must reframe the discussion rationally and in non-partisan ways. We’re not anti-women; we’re pro-child. We believe in a woman’s right to choose; we also believe in a child’s right to life. We’re not just anti-abortion, we’re pro-family, pro-education, pro-adoption, pro-quality medical care, pro-respect for all, and pro-religious freedom for all.

I hope you understand what I’m trying to say. I believe that human life has been created in the image of God—but laws alone won’t solve the abortion issue.  The issue is a deeply ingrained heart issue.

And only God can change a human heart.