Friday, January 25, 2008

A Paean to Life

"You shall not murder.”
- Exodus 20:13

“In our case, murder being once and for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the foetus in the womb….”

- Tertullian (ca. 160-235AD), quoted by Michael Gorman in, Abortion and the Early Church, p. 55

“I hate abortion.”

- C.J. Mahaney, Humility, p. 33

Question - What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?
Answer - The duties required in the sixth commandment are, ….protecting and defending the innocent.

- Westminster Larger Catechism 1:135

“…Christians should not be embarrassed when their opposition to abortion is described as ‘religious.’ It is, of course, precisely that.”

-John Frame, Medical Ethics, p. 86

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

-Theodore Geisel (Dr. Suess)

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

- Jesus in John 10:10

1977, 1979, 1980, 1993, and 1996. These are the years my 5 children were born, and all after that terrible day on January 22nd, 1973. Anyone born after that date should be doubly thankful for God’s mercies. Since that date legalized abortion has taken the lives of about 50 million children in the United States. To put it into perspective 50 million is roughly 1/6th of the current US population, or the roughly the combined populations of Canada and the Netherlands. The entire State of California has a population of about 37 million. The number of legalized US abortions is far more than Hitler’s holocaust of 11-14 million, or Stalin’s purges of 10-20 million. Why is the church relatively unaffected by these numbers? I fear that we’ve imbibed a culture that embraces convenience in exchange for life. As of yesterday we’re 35 years after Roe v. Wade and the demise of abortion seems an impossible reality. At times it seems like we’re not even trying. Where is the church’s insistence that life must be preserved? Why do pregnancy resource centers often suffer from lack of funding and their staffs often suffer from overwork? Why is adoption not more seriously considered by Christian families? Why are we reluctant to get involved with and care for unwed mothers? From the very beginnings of the church there was a commitment to life, and specifically a commitment to the unborn and the unwanted infant. While the unbelievers turned their unwanted children out to be exposed to the elements, the Christians would gather them and adopt them as their own.

Sitting at my work bench at a machine shop in Portland, Oregon in the late 70’s something happened. I read a tract that was written by Melody Green and produced by Last Days Ministries. The tract was about abortion and it changed my life. Up to that point I knew abortion was wrong, but this time I wept bitter tears for my apathy. I pleaded and asked God for mercy and after that I knew I could no longer remain ambivalent. Over the next few years I wrote letters, marched with signs, got shouted down and got called names, and even got arrested for protesting outside a clinic. And while we lived in Eugene one of my older daughters was interviewed for the evening news because of her very young and out-spoken concern for life. As I look back now much of it seems pretty radical, but I think back then I realized that abortion is for keeps. There is something profoundly and defiantly anti-God in 1.4 million abortions per year. How will this culture be overturned? It will take more than a legal decision and it will take more than an arrest. It will take the power of the gospel, and not just for the unbeliever. It will take the power of the gospel in our lives to awake us from our slumber and enable us to love life the way God does. When the church embraces life as God embraces life and she placards herself as a God-saturated, life-loving people an unbelieving world will take notice. They may not agree, but the apologetic will be compelling.

In 2007 the dear saints at Christ Our Redeemer Church embraced the Savior and embraced life. By their sacrifice and demonstrable love for Jesus Christ the Bowens were able to adopt Jack. What a story! In the unmistakable providence of God and the overwhelming and generous commitment of these folks a handsome little boy is now in a Christian home. Not only has the church been a means of grace for the Bowens, but Jack has been a means of grace to us. Through him God has given us the opportunity to demonstrate our love for Jesus Christ and our love for life.

Thank you COR family for loving the Savior and unequivocally standing for life.

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