Have you ever heard someone say something like this when it comes to the topic of abortion and whether churches ought to be involved in pro-life issues: “Church leaders shouldn’t talk about abortion because the Bible doesn’t mention the word abortion. It’s a political issue, not a religious issue; therefore, it doesn’t warrant any attention in church”?
Many churchgoing people get the willies whenever they see announcements in the church bulletin promoting pro-life activities, or when their pastor preaches against abortion. Heck, many churches in America look more like the “see no evil, say no evil, hear no evil” monkeys than they do the One who triumphed over evil. “Don’t talk about abortion—and certainly don’t preach about abortion” is the position of many churches today.
Yet the future of the pro-life movement is dependent on American churches and parishes being educated and emboldened about what the Bible teaches about human life.
Though many wish we would remain silent, Scripture is far from silent on the sanctity of human life. And where the Bible speaks, the Church must speak. So my prayer is that the Church will end her silence and speak with the authority of Scripture.
Scripture is far from silent on the sanctity of human life.
The Bible provides a simple, yet elegant foundation regarding abortion and the Church’s involvement in ending it. The Bible answers three fundamental questions about human life:
- Is God the creator of all human life?
- Does God permit us to end innocent human life?
- Does God command the Church to protect innocent life?
Discovering the answers to God’s role in creating human life, what He allows us to do to that life, and what He calls His Church to do makes a critical difference in whether we have a responsibility to promote and protect human life. So let’s ask and answer each question in turn.
1. Is God the creator of all human life?
In the will and mind of God, there is no such thing as an “unplanned pregnancy.” Every time a couple gets pregnant unexpectedly, God doesn’t wring His hands or slap His forehead and say, “Well, I never saw that coming!” The couple may be surprised, but God NEVER is.
God is never surprised because God is sovereign. Psalm 103:19 declares, “The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all” (NASB).
The Holman Bible Dictionary defines God’s sovereignty this way:
[The] biblical teaching that God possesses all power and is the ruler of all things (Ps. 135:6; Dan. 4:34-35). God rules and works according to His eternal purpose, even through events that seem to contradict or oppose His rule.
Few were as proud or had reason to be, like King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Believing he was sovereign over his kingdom, he eventually discovered God’s all-powerful control the hard way. God inflicted him with a mental illness where he thought and acted like a cow. For seven years he ate grass and wandered in a pasture until he acknowledged God’s sovereignty. And when he did, he humbly declared:
“For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
But He does according to His will in the host of heaven
And among the inhabitants of earth;
And no one can ward off His hand
Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” (Daniel 4:34-35)
God is sovereign over not only rulers and kingdoms; He is sovereign over the smallest details of our existence. For instance, He knows the exact number of hairs on each of our heads—which is more significant for some of us than others (Matthew 10:29-31).
David expressed his amazement at God’s creative genius and power in controlling all the tiny details of his life.
O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O LORD, You know it all. …
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them. (Psalm 139:1-4, 13-16)
Wow! What an amazing statement! God is in control of it all, which is why David could write in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the LORD’S and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.”
Simply put, God is the Author of all life. Every child is conceived within God’s complete control and plan. He creates every one of us, regardless of the circumstances of conception. We are His. Even if our families consider us unwanted or unplanned, in God’s mind we are always planned and wanted.
2. Does God permit us to end innocent human life?
Since God, by His sovereignty, creates every human being—meaning no one is accidental or a surprise to Him—the next logical question about abortion is, “Does the Creator God permit us to destroy His creation?”
Consider an artist who creates a beautiful painting of a garden or a girl—say, Monet’s Water Lilies or da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. With paint-stained fingers, the artist labors over this painting. With painstaking attention to detail, every brushstroke, every hue of color is a masterpiece. And once the artist completes his work, he steps back—his clothes covered in reds, blues, yellows, oranges, and whites—and admires his creation. He frames it to accentuate the many colors, and he hangs it on a wall for others to see and admire. He is proud of his work and wants nothing more than for others to enjoy it.
But what do you think the artist would say if you walked into his studio, saw the painting, and said, “That’s the ugliest painting I’ve ever seen in my life. It looks like a barrel of monkeys was let loose and flung paint willy-nilly on the canvas. That’s no more ‘art’ than when I used to paint by number”? And what do you think the artist would do if you picked up a pair of scissors and began shredding his painting, or if you put a lit match it, or threw turpentine on it?
If I were the artist, I’d probably throat punch you and then call the police. But regardless of the artist’s reaction, destroying a masterpiece is not only criminal—it’s tragic.
Admittedly, this metaphor is crude. But it illustrates the point I was trying to make earlier: each child is a masterpiece whom God designed with care, intent, and love. And He does not permit us to destroy the lives of His creation.
God makes this clear in the sixth commandment of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not murder” another human being (Exodus 20:13). And if that isn’t clear enough, God—who does not stutter—speaks plainly in Ecclesiastes 8:8, “No man has… authority over the day of death….”
Let me repeat that: No man has authority over the day of death.
God ordains life and is responsible for the creation of every human being. And only God has the authority to take life. He alone determines the day of death. He does not give us the right to decide who should live and who should die.
3. Does God command the Church to protect innocent life?
God doesn’t permit us to end innocent human life, but the reality is we destroy womb-bound lives at an alarming rate every day. So, what is the Church’s responsibility, as God’s representatives on earth, to preserve and protect innocent life?
Many churches answer that question with, “Nothing.” They refuse to engage the abortion holocaust because, as they say, “Abortion is a political issue, not a church issue.” Those that hold this view make two mistakes about abortion.
First, protecting the sacredness of life isn’t merely an “issue.” Abortion represents a level of rebellion against the life-giving and life-sustaining God that can only be spoken of as a grievous evil and worthy of divine judgment. Without mincing words, abortion is murder on a scale that defies imagination.
Second, it is a fallacy to regard abortion—a clear violation of the fundamental right to life—as nothing more than “political.” The right to life is the cornerstone of human rights and dignity, endowed by our Creator. This makes abortion theological and sociological, as well as political, and it places the reality of abortion at the front door of every church. To ignore abortion by relegating it as a matter of politics exclusively is to stand squarely in opposition to God and to condemn to death the most innocent among us and those most vulnerable to abortion—children in the womb.
To put it another way, if we accept the truth of the Bible—that God creates every human being, and our Creator does not permit us to destroy His creations—then continually downgrading abortion until we regard it as nothing more than a political football greatly dishonors our Creator.
Abortion is the killing of innocent human life. It is not about choices, reproductive rights, or Republicans versus Democrats. It is not about labels, marketing campaigns, or votes.
Abortion is about a mother, a father, and a child. The child loses his or her life, and afterward the parents suffer emotionally and spiritually and often physically. There are no winners in abortion.
If we allow abortion to remain solely in the political realm, then its holocaust is measured only by statistics, not by humanity.
The Church must be intimately and passionately engaged in protecting and preserving the lives of not only preborn children, but also their mothers and fathers, and the communities that ought to be nurturing these children through every stage of life. And God’s Church must also be healing helpers of men and women who are suffering from abortions in their past.
Scripture is replete with commands to help, serve, heal, protect, preserve, forgive, feed, nourish, and rescue.
Proverbs 24:10-12a says,
If you are slack in the day of distress,
Your strength is limited.
Deliver those who are being taken away to death,
And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back.
If you say, “See, we did not know this,”
Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts?
And does He not know it who keeps your soul?
Aren’t the preborn being taken away to death? Aren’t they staggering to slaughter? There can be no other answer than yes.
Jesus commands us to love God and love our neighbors and to treat others the way we want to be treated. But how can we say we love God when we give so little care or concern for our neighbors in the womb and the families of those not yet born?
The Bible speaks clearly, authoritatively, and passionately about the Creator of life and our obligation to protect and preserve the life He has created. The Church’s silence on abortion is sinful, and it has now become harmful and deadly as well. It’s time for the Church to be the hands and feet of Christ in caring for “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40 NIV).
Millions of lives—born and preborn—depend on it.