Can you be “pro-choice” and a Christian?
Is it consistent with biblical Christianity to hold to the view that abortion is morally acceptable, and therefore we should not frown on it? Another take may be that abortion is wrong, but it is not the place of the church or the government to interfere with a woman’s choice to have one or not.
These are a few of the opinions along the spectrum of those who profess to be Christian while believing that the lawful practice of abortion ought to be allowed continue within society. What these varying opinions have in common is that they are out of step with historical Christianity and cannot be supported by a sound examination of scripture.
To support the practice of abortion requires something other than a biblical worldview.
A Christian has to step out from the under the authority of scripture and come under a different authority and argue by a different sort of logic. In some cases, Christians may be able to explicate sound doctrine with regard to soteriology or Christology, but then regurgitate “progressive” talking points when it gets this issue.
Either consciously or unconsciously, they shut off biblical reasoning and begin to think as secularists. I cannot speak for and judge the hearts of all professing “pro-choice” Christians, but in my estimation, they are at best horribly misguided, and at worst are pagan priests in Christian guise.
It is no wonder that historically, conventional Christian thought, from the Didache in the early second century on down, has almost unanimously denounced what is now called abortion, and has upheld the dignity and value of life in the womb. Meanwhile the greatest numbers of “pro-choice” Christians are found among mainline denominations, many of which (perhaps not coincidentally) have also abandoned a high view of scriptural authority and accuracy.
It is my contention that it is unbiblical to either to have an abortion or to support another’s “right” to an abortion.
Conversely, the Bible calls for the church to decry such grave injustice, and for the state to punish it as evil while protecting the innocent victim of abortion, that is, the unborn child.
This opens me up to accusations that what I call “biblical” is “just my interpretation.” Therefore, I will provide scripturally derived principles that can proved or disproved by exegesis.
After that, the burden of proof is on my opponents to refute my points using biblical argumentation. If they cannot, they should concede that they have not submitted to God’s Word on this matter, and repent.
1. You shall not murder (Ex. 20:6; Gen. 9:5-6). Human beings bear the image of God, thus, it is wrong to take innocent human life. “The Lord hates… hands that shed innocent blood” (Pr. 6:16). While God called for capital punishment and sent the Israelites to war and conquest, at least leaving room for discussions of Just War theory, you will be hard pressed to find justification for anyone killing another person (let alone a parent their child) on the grounds that most abortions take place.
2. The fetus is our neighbor (Ps. 139:13-16; Jer. 1:5; Luke 1:39-45). Throughout history, many have tried to devise arbitrary conditions as to what constitutes a human person and, therefore, who is worthy of dignity and protection—and who is not.
The Bible strongly implies the personhood of the human fetus, describing God’s intimate knowing of the child, his fashioning of them in the womb, and even their capacity to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It is an ageist lie and is unbiblical to purport that an unborn child, at any stage of gestation, is not yet a person. If we apply that logic consistently, then neither do the elderly nor the mentally handicapped possess personhood.
3. Children are a blessing (Gen. 1:26-28; Ps. 127:4-6). In the biblical narrative, childbearing was always considered a blessing and children a reward to their parents. You will never find anyone bemoaning an “unplanned” pregnancy, (though quite a few pregnancies came in less than ideal circumstances). Further, sex has always been understood to be for the purpose of procreation. It has more to do with the Sexual Revolution than with biblical teaching to have a list of conditions that must be met in order for the news of a child to be considered a blessing.
4. Jesus is Lord of All (Mat. 28:18-20; Ps. 2). Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth, including Washington. Our commission to make disciples of the nations, therefore, must be able broach the public square and influence public policy.
It is interesting how many of the most vehement “pro-choice” politicians claim, according to their Protestant or Catholic background, to be “personally opposed” to abortion, but feel it is not their place as elected officials to prohibit it. Instead, they invariably promote it at every pass. The churchgoer who thinks that we ought not to “legislate our morality” is no better. If we are not legislating Christian morality, then we are legislating the morality of another ideology, and have placed that authority over Jesus.
5. The role of government (Rom. 13:1-7). Jesus’ word to government officials is that they are his servant, and their role is primarily to “punish evildoers.” Currently, our laws protect evildoers and our leaders partner with those who profit on the killing of children at the behest of their parents. As servants, they will answer to God for this gross abuse of their delegated authority.
6. The conscience of the state (Mat. 5:11-16). From Israel’s prophets to the early church to today, God’s people have been called upon to subvert corruption, immorality and injustice in society, and to condemn it with all the voice they have.
With over 60 million babies killed by their parents under the protection of the law, we are looking at literally the most egregious instance of institutionalized injustice in history.
How can anyone who sees the world through a biblical lens be at peace with this?
Jared Walker is a pastor and Bible college professor who loves to read, write, think and speak on the Christian worldview and its application to public life. He lives in Chicago with his wife and three children. He may reached at Jwalker@sum.edu.
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