Abortion and The Ministry of Christ

Today I received an intriguing email from a friend of mine. It was concerning a YouTube video from John Piper, you can view it here.  In response to that video clip my friend and I had a short discussion. Here is how it went.

“Jerry, I’m not trying to be a smart a** here, but let me ask you, do you really think Jesus would have spoken out against abortion? If so, based on what?

It amazes me that within the Christian community you find avid pro-lifers and avid pro-choice advocates. How can that be if the message is somehow clear that Jesus would have spoken out against abortion? That somehow in the biblical text there is a clear mandate or even a strongly implied mandate that life is sacred. My goodness, even God had no trouble destroying the “first born” of Egypt to get his point across.

I am appalled at our President’s and our country’s casual stand in support of abortion. However, if the voice of the Christian community cannot unite around the horror of such an event, the question must be asked “Why not?”

My Friends reply: “The most powerful part of the argument for me is the dichotomy between the pro-choice view of “protecting the rights of women” while ending the lives of unborn woman.   

Was there abortion in Jesus’ day?”

My Reply:

“Yes, there are a slew of dichotomies… a pregnant woman is murdered and the person responsible is charged with killing two people. How can that be if the “fetus” is not a human being?  A woman can have her “baby” ripped from her womb and dumped in a trash can or flushed down a toilet, but another who gives birth and leaves her newborn baby in a trash can is charged with a homicide.  The list goes one.   Many Americans care more about saving whales or spotted owls.

 Now to your question. I know it is not definitive, but a couple of on-line resources make the following observations.

 Different religions have different teachings about abortion. It was most common in ancient Greece and Rome. The Assyrians impaled women on stakes for attempting abortion. The Jewish Talmud teaches the fetus is not a person and has no rights. In the year 1312, The Church in the Council of Vienna embraced the view that abortion was considered homicide only after the fetus was already formed, which was usually at the end of the first trimester.  (All About Popular Issues, http://www.allaboutpopularissues.org/history-of-abortion-faq.htm )

 [edit] Prehistory to 5th century

Abortion was a common practice. Evidence suggests that late-term abortions were performed in a number of cultures. In Greece, the Stoics believed the fetus to be plantlike in nature, and not an animal until the moment of birth, when it finally breathed air. They therefore found abortion morally acceptable.[55]  (Wikipedia)

That being said, I suspect one could conclude that yes abortion was practiced in Jesus’ day. In fact it may have been common. Now whether it was an issue that Christ encountered during any of his ministry may not be known. However, you would think such a heinous act (at least in our minds) would have been hard to escape. That may allow us to draw two conclusions; 1) he was not concerned about the practice as it existed in those days or 2) he was unaware of the practice.   Having said that, one would think if people came to him for all manner of healing, for trivial questions concerning taxes, or even his encounter with the woman caught in adultery, the topic might have come up. Even the woman at the well with five husbands was either sterile, had a ton of kids, was really lucky or aborted some pregnancies. Either case, Jesus mentioned nothing specific about any of it.

 Don’t ya just love easy answers to hard questions?”

He had a short reply that included this remark, “And he (Jesus) did love children.”

*****

Now I’m not certain the issue of abortion will ever be resolved, at least not in my lifetime. However, I do believe unless we come to terms, as a nation, on this issue and stop destroying innocent lives, we will never prosper or be a light to others. That does not mean we are or are not a Christian nation and should or should not adhere to Christian principles, it simply means that if we are not a nation of moral conscience, we will never be an example to other nations. Never.

I don’t know why Jesus did not address this issue. I’m not sure why someone like Luke, apparently a physcian (Col. 4:14), did not address this issue. For whatever reason they both were silent. That ought to give us pause for concern about our “line in the sand” mentality when it comes to what the Bible says about abortion.  Furthermore, it ought to give us a bit of reasonable understanding for those who support a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.

I for one, think it’s wrong and should never be something our government supports. However, I oppose it on socially moral grounds not so much specific biblical grounds. I also oppose it on practical grounds – if we allow the killing of innocent babies how far down the road will it be before we decide to kill “useless” old men and women?

Yes, Jesus did appear to love children. At least he loved thier innocence.

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3 Comments

Filed under Gospel of Luke

3 responses to “Abortion and The Ministry of Christ

  1. I completely agree with your article. The ting I am finding is that our society has become lax in moral and righteousness living. These things have become so common place that people just accept them as being part of life but if we do not take a stand in a responsible way of educating people then we only condone and dilute the Word.

    Thank you for your posts !

    Rev. J

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  2. Hi Norm, Provocative subject.

    I am also amazed at the split among Christians, as you have eluded to, on subjects like this esp when the Bible is so clear. I am morally against abortion also as we all should be. No excuses by authorities or women with me. I’m firm.

    I am passionate about it because this nasty spirit raised its head in my family and fulfilled its mission. I should have six grand-kids instead of five.

    The favorite argument of those who believe in abortion is the right of the mother to choose when it comes to her own body. Well, guess what, it’s not a part of HER body, it is growing independently in her body. So much for that argument.

    The next argument is her right to choose, period. What about the right of the baby to choose? What about his/her rights. Life begins at conception, period. Abortion is nothing more than population control for the last days. Period. (Right?)

    Norm, here’s an amzing fact in every case, one-hundred percent of the time: EVERYONE who is for abortion has already been born. End of story. Right?

    Oh and when you talk to that friend again you might mention the fact Jesus knows everything even of the girl at the well when He told her of her husband. (I don’t remember her telling Him about him.)

    And it was their own doing that the first child was taken because those children were already born not aborted. God told them that if they didn’t let the people go, that the plagues would hit. It was their own undoing not Gods. Cause and effect.

    And as far as a Scriptural basis for abortion, read Deuteronomy 30:19. This is a blanket Scripture and not meant for only one purpose.

    Thought provoking as usual Norm. Good job. Keep writing brother.

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  3. Norm

    Gee Jim, how do your REALLY feel about the subject? 🙂

    I sense your passion about the topic. It’s a passion shared by a great many on both sides. Only a few have been “touched” by it as your family has. That’s unfortunate, but reality none the less.

    Perhaps if everything were as black and white as you seem to state in your reply the issue would be moot and settled. But it is not. At least it does not appear to be.

    There is still the issue, and it is an important issue, if abortion was practiced in the time of Jesus, as I believe it was, his silence on the topic is deafening. I’m not sure what to make of it, but to ignore it is problematic.

    Also, I’m not at all sure what Deut. 30:19 has to do with the topic. If it’s the “choose life…” part, than I’m uncertain its application. Verses 15 & 16 are the pivot points of the passage.

    Thanks again for your comments and support.

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